Author(s): Vedhara K, McDermott MP, Evans TG, Treanor JJ, Plummer S,
Abstract Share this page
Abstract OBJECTIVE: This investigation examined whether the immune dysregulation that characterises elderly informal caregivers (e.g., spousal caregivers of dementia patients) extends to a younger caregiver population, specifically spousal carers of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). METHOD: MS spousal caregivers (n=41, mean age 43 years, 14 women, 27 men) and noncaregiving controls (n=62, mean age 33 years, 44 women, 18 men) were recruited. Psychological morbidity (i.e., self-reported stress, anxiety and depression), endocrine activity (i.e., salivary cortisol and DHEAs) and immunity (i.e., IgG and HAI responses to influenza vaccination and IFN-gamma and IL-4 levels) were assessed. RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: MS caregivers and noncaregivers did not differ significantly in their IgG or HAI responses to influenza vaccination or in levels of IFN-gamma and IL-4. However, it remains unclear whether the "preserved" immune response of these younger caregivers was due to (1) an absence of immune senescence, (2) a relative absence of psychological morbidity, or both.
This article was published in J Psychosom Res
and referenced in Journal of Phylogenetics & Evolutionary Biology