London: Researchers have discovered that short bursts of stress can ward off infection, help wounds to heal and even speed up recovery after surgery. Researchers at Stanford University in the US, who have been investigating the beneficial effects of worry and pressure have said that injections of stress hormones might be beneficial for those about to undergo surgery or anyone having a vaccination, in order to `turbo charge` the immune system`s response. The new study has pinpointed exactly how stress boosts the immune system. The researchers subjected rats to frequent blood tests, which caused them to be stressed, the Daily Mail reported. They monitored the changes in blood levels of three hormones (norepinephrine, epinephrine and cortisol) released when the brain feels the body is under threat. They found that when the rats were stressed, the brain immediately ordered the carefully choreographed release of each hormone in a particular order - norepinephrine first, then epinephrine and finally cortisol. Each hormone appeared to have a specific role in dispatching disease-fighting immune system cells to different parts of the body to defend against attack. Norepinephrine, for example, had the job of mobilising cells into the bloodstream. Epinephrine, on the other hand, appeared to be in charge of sending them to the skin to act as protection in case of injury.
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