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November 1985

Psychologic Modulation of the Human Immune Response to Varicella Zoster

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Psychiatry (Dr Smith), Medicine (Dr Smith), and Pediatrics (Mr Marmer and Dr Steele), University of Arkansas College of Medicine, Little Rock.

Arch Intern Med. 1985;145(11):2110-2112. doi:10.1001/archinte.1985.00360110186036

• Psychoimmunology, the interrelationship between the brain/mind/psyche and the immune system, is now an established area of scientific research. Based on prior investigations we hypothesized that an experienced meditator could affect her delayed hypersensitivity reaction by a psychological process. A single-case study design was employed in which the subject was skin tested weekly with varicella zoster skin test reagent. After baseline immunologic studies, she was able, as hypothesized, to significantly reduce both the induration of her delayed hypersensitivity skin test reaction and in vitro lymphocyte stimulation to varicella zoster. Then, as predicted, she was able to allow her reaction to return to baseline. As a confirmation of what is to our knowledge this previously undescribed phenomenon, she was able to reproduce the entire sequence nine months later. It appears that this subject can intentionally modulate her immune response by a psychologic mechanism.

(Arch Intern Med 1985;145:2110-2112)

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