Mind-Body Medicine: Stress and Its Impact on Overall Health and Longevity

Authors


Address for correspondence: Dr. Luis Vitetta, Associate Professor and Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Molecular Biology and Medicine, Epworth Medical Centre, 185–187 Hoddle St. Richmond, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia 3121. Voice: +61 3 9426 4200; fax: +61 3 9426 4201; E-mail: lvitetta@cmbm.com.au

Abstract

The belief that adverse life stressors and the emotional states that can lead to major negative impacts on an individual's body functions and hence health has been held since antiquity. Adverse health outcomes such as coronary heart disease, gastrointestinal distress, and cancer have been linked to unresolved lifestyle stresses that can be expressed as a negative impact on human survival and ultimately a decrease of the human life span. Psychological modulation of immune function is now a well-established phenomenon, with much of the relevant literature published within the last 50 years. Psychoneuroimmunology and psychoneuroendocrinology embrace the scientific evidence of research of the mind with that of endocrinology, neurology and immunology, whereby the brain and body communicate with each other in a multidirectional flow of information that consists of hormones, neurotransmitters/neuropeptides, and cytokines. Advances in mind-body medicine research together with healthy nutrition and lifestyle choices can have a significant impact on health maintenance and disease prevention and hence the prolongation of the human life span.

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