Stress hormone jabs can actually help people recover from illness

Updated: Sep 13, 2012, 18:51 PM IST

London: Short bursts of stress could actually be good for your health - warding off infection, helping wounds to heal and even speeding up the recovery following surgery, researchers have claimed.

There are even suggestions that injections of stress hormones could be used to help people to recover from illness, the Daily Mail reported.

Researchers at Stanford University in the US, who have been investigating the beneficial effects of worry and pressure, said that such injections might be beneficial for those about to undergo surgery or anyone having a vaccination, in order to “turbo charge” the immune system’s response.

In a key study in 2009, the Stanford team showed that stress helped boost post-surgery recovery.

The results, which showed those most stressed — and therefore with the best immune response — recovered more quickly, had less pain, better knee function and greater mobility than those with the weaker stress response.

In their latest research, the Stanford team has managed to pinpoint exactly how stress boosts the immune system, the report said.

“Mother Nature gave us the fight-or-flight response to help us, not kill us,” Professor Firdaus Dhabhar, who led the research, said.

The findings were published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery.