Self-perceived health is a very useful indicator for older people. Although this is an individual and subjective concept, it is considered a valid parameter for measuring the state of satisfaction and well-being, as well as the presence or absence of disease. However, it has always been considered that this is a rather general impression. Now a psychological study from the University of Konstanz (Germany) suggests that Our brains can judge our own health more accurately than we think.and even, probably, be able to correctly assess the state of our immune system.
In a paper published in the scientific journal Biological Psychology, researchers looked at how people recently vaccinated against covid assess the strength of their immune response to SARS-CoV-2. Participants’ self-reports were compared to the actual amount of antibodies in their blood.
After vaccination, study participants were able to surprisingly good at gauging how strongly your immune system was prepared to fight disease “The field of medicine is moving in the direction of being more patient-centered. Our results support the idea that patients’ self-perception provides valuable information about their health status. Doctors should listen more to them,” said Stephanie Dimitroff, one of the study leaders. It is reported by Europa Press.
Actually, 71% of participants who did not feel well protected after vaccination also had a below average immune response.. “The most notable finding is that those who thought they did not develop elevated levels of antibodies after vaccination were usually correct in their assessments,” the expert explained. Conversely, participants who rated their immune response as good were not always correct. However, everyone who had a particularly strong immune response also reported feeling well protected.
The organ responsible for communication between the central nervous system and the immune system is island, an area of the brain involved both in the perception of emotional stimuli and in the formation of appropriate responses to these stimuli, as well as in the perception of pain and interoception, that is, in the ability to perceive internal bodily sensations. Something that can also work in reverse, meaning signals from our brain can affect our immune system.
“It’s important to know that when we get sick, such as a cold, this feeling is largely due to the connection of the immune system with the central nervous system. The brain receives signals that something is wrong in the body and, as a result, causes a feeling of illness.”— explains the researcher.
Dimitrof is cautious about the results of the study, as he believes that in the positive results of such an aspect as vaccination, there may also be a certain Placebo effect. Thus, people who are strong believers in vaccination, or who are generally optimistic, may actually develop better immune defenses and feel better protected. That’s why, it is possible that belief in the effectiveness of the vaccine increases its effectiveness, and this may also explain the high accuracy of the self-assessment. “Our results show that it is likely that people have a real ability to assess their own health. HoweverI cannot rule out that there is a combination of effects in the game, including a placebo effect and/or a sense of optimism.”