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Category: General Health
A new study in the journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity found that especially in aging women, a low level of the personality trait extraversion and high levels of a key inflammatory molecule, interleukin-6, may be linked.
The researchers found that women with low amounts of what psychiatrists call "dispositional energy" or engagement in life had levels of IL-6 that predicted double the risk of death over the next five years.
"If this aspect of personality drives inflammation, dispositional energy and engagement with life may confer a survival advantage," said Dr Benjamin Chapman, assistant professor at the Rochester Center for Mind-Body Research and lead author of the study. "But we don't know if low dispositional activity is causing inflammation, or inflammation is taking its toll on people by reducing these personality tendencies, so we must be cautious in our interpretation of this association."
It has been known for some time that stress causes the body to release various hormones which can take a toll on organs, producing damage and inflammation. Excessive systemic inflammation can contribute to arthritis, Alzheimer's and various forms of cardiovascular disease. Simple blood tests for various inflammation markers are available.
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