Psychosocial Interventions and Immune System Function: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Randomized Clinical Trials
Many therapies are shown to improve immune function and can improve health outcomes in patients
56 randomized clinical trials with over 4,000 participants were analyzed to determine if various kinds of psychosocial therapies positively impact the immune system of patients who sought treatment for a variety of mental and physical problems. A large body of research demonstrates that the immune system is involved in a wide variety of mental and physical health problems that cause substantial morbidity and mortality, including anxiety disorders, depression, suicide, schizophrenia, cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, stroke, and autoimmune and neurodegenerative disorders.
A robust improvement for up to 6 months was measured. They looked at 7 immune outcomes (proinflammatory cytokine or marker levels, anti-inflammatory cytokine levels, antibody levels, immune cell counts, natural killer cell activity, viral load, and other immune outcomes.
For the first time, the types of psychosocial interventions that have the most robust associations with immune system function and health outcomes are analyzed. Future work needs to research the mechanisms that actively improve the mind-body connection and how it maintains good mental and physical health.