Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Who will you hug today?

Believe it or not, hugs may be an effective way to prevent the common cold, according to a new study from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA, USA. According to Tech Times, the benefit is greatest among people with immune systems weakened by stress due to conflict with others.

During the study, Carnegie Mellon researchers quizzed 404 people about their personal conflicts and the type of support they received. Then they exposed them to a common cold virus and put them in quarantine.
Results showed that people who felt well-supported by family and friends were less likely to fall victim to infection due to stressful situations. Hugs were responsible for one-third of the protective effect of social support.

Professor Sheldon Cohen, who led the study, told Science Daily that increasing the frequency of hugs may be an effective means of reducing the deleterious effects of stress. This may be due to physical contact itself, or to hugging being a behavior of support. "Either way," he said, "those who receive more hugs are somewhat more protected from infection."

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