Social Status Might Be Good For Immune System, New Study Shows

By Rodney Rafols , Nov 25, 2016 02:30 AM EST

Social status has always shown that those who can afford will get better health care over those who can't. It might be that it isn't just money that might make a difference there. Social status might be good for the immune system, as a new study shows.

Having money means a person can have a better life, and that would include being able to get the best in health care. But money might not be the only factor to better health. A study shows that social status improves the immune system. The study was made on rhesus monkeys and found that those on the lower status ranks had poorer immune systems than those on the upper status.

The study focused on female rhesus monkeys that are at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center in Emory University. The monkeys in the lower status ranks had their immune systems working hard when infection sets in. However, those same monkeys would get better once they're placed in a higher status.

For the experiment, 45 rhesus monkeys have been placed together. The monkeys have not met each other previously. The researchers watched to see who among the monkeys show dominance, and those who were more submissive. Soon the group had a social order, ranking from those who came first and those that followed later.

The researchers first took immune cell samples from the monkeys. Those who were in the higher order had more of a type of white blood cell that attacks infectious cells. For the second part of the experiment, the researchers rearranged the monkeys' social grouping, according to Science Daily.

The second part had the higher status monkeys moved down the social rank, while the lower status monkeys were moved up the social rank. The monkeys that had their ranks promoted were now the ones sought, which in turn has also raised their immune levels since bonding has relieved stress. The findings of the study has confirmed what earlier studies have already shown, as Science News reports.

"This suggests the health effects of status aren't permanent, at least not in adulthood," observed Jenny Tung, co-author of the study and an assistant professor of Evolutionary Anthropology and Biology at Duke University. The study might also explain in some way why people in lower classes have more inflammatory diseases, as noted by Luis Barreiro, co-author and assistant professor of Immunogenomics at the University of Montreal. Social rank has much effect then on the immune system, as even previous studies have stated.

With the new findings, social status might be good for the immune system, as a new study shows. Changing one's status in life could relieve stress, as there are lesser worries on how one would live. A study has also found that dementia is on the decline, especially for educated people.


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