Positive mood on day of flu shot may boost viral protection, study finds

Older patients who are in a good mood when they receive a flu shot are likely to display higher levels of antibodies in the weeks following vaccination than their grumpier counterparts, according to a study published in the journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity.

For the study, researchers assessed the moods, physical activity levels, diets and sleep habits of 138 adults ages 65 to 85 who received the 2014-15  flu shot. Researchers conducted assessments three times a week over a six-week period prior to vaccination. The team also analyzed antibody levels present in 136 study participants' blood at four and 16 weeks post-vaccination.

Among all factors measured, good mood over the six-week observational period was the only factor associated with higher levels of antibodies. Additionally, when the patient was in a good mood on the day of vaccination, the correlation was even higher.

"Interestingly, we found the effects of positive mood on the day of vaccination appeared to be more pronounced than positive mood over the six-week period surrounding vaccination as a whole," the researchers concluded. "This suggests the day of vaccination may be a particularly salient time-point at which positive mood influences immune responses to vaccination."

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