Moments of Acute Stress Can Cause Molecular Alterations in Immune Response

Findings come from study that involved participants jumping out of planes —

Chronic psychosocial and emotional stress has well-documented negative effects upon the human immune system, measurably increasing the risk of disease. Much less is known about the health effects of acute but transitory episodes of stress, such as jumping out of an airplane. Do these panic-inducing moments also raise the risk of stress-related conditions and disorders, such as cardiovascular disease, sleep dysfunction, impaired wound healing, depression and obesity?

A team of researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, Stony Brook University in New York and elsewhere addressed that question by asking study participants to literally jump out of a plane, taking blood samples before and after to measure key immune response indicators.

Their findings are published in the March 4 issue of Brain, Behavior and Immunity. … Read the Full Story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Nadejda Beliakova-Bethell, PhD, Assistant Project Scientist and infectious disease researcher in the Department of Medicine, is co-first author on the study report.

Read the Report in Brain, Behavior and Immunity (UC San Diego only)

Searching for the Soul of the Genome

The discovery that a “gene desert” on chromosome 9 was a hotspot for coronary artery disease (CAD) risk was among the highlights of findings produced recently by genome-wide association studies, which compare the genomes of many people for genetic variations and have been broadly used in the past few years to study hundreds of diseases and complex traits. Gene deserts are large genomic segments devoid of genes. … Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom

One of the co-authors of the study report is M. Geoffrey Rosenfeld, M.D., pictured at left. Dr. Rosenfeld is Professor of Medicine in the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism and Professor of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.