Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Link between shyness and cancer?
…When HA saw a headline about this, she wondered, “If you were too shy to say no to cancer, you might get it?” But no, that is not what they meant.
…It’s all part of a weird lashup called psychoimmunology, meaning how temperament may affect illness.
…HA is extremely leery of generalizations that make it seem like someone is “responsible” for getting something because of some mindset or characteristic.
…Univ of Chicago researchers (Hormones and Behavior) says they think there is a relationship between shyness and cancer, but cannot say why that is—for sure.
…A long-held theory that stress may lead to a compromised immune system and cancer makes sense on one level—stress hormones flooding the body and affecting the growth of cells.
…But do shy people have more of these because they are always being thrust into unfamiliar situations?
…Ah, the research was done on rats, some of them timid and lacking in social skills. The timid ones developed tumors sooner.
…As it the stress hormones? Strangely, the shy rats had fewer, not more.
…Isn’t it fun to be a scientist?
…Sadly, it’s too soon to conclude that your reclusive neighbor is doomed or that dancing on the bar at a kegger will save you.