Monday, May 4, 2009

Sleep Habits and Susceptibility to the Common Cold


The Archives of Internal Medicine has an article titled, "Sleep Habits and Susceptibility to the Common Cold." This study found that "Poorer sleep efficiency and shorter sleep duration in the weeks preceding exposure to a rhinovirus were associated with lower resistance to illness."

This study evaluated 153 healthy adults who volunteered to let this happen to them: "participants were quarantined, administered nasal drops containing a rhinovirus, and monitored for the development of a clinical cold (infection in the presence of objective signs of illness) on the day before and for 5 days after exposure." I wonder how many of those 153 adults were medical students. When I was in medical school, some of my colleagues were volunteering themselves for studies that involved biopsies of their leg muscles. Medical students will volunteer for anything, won't they!

Rhinovirus causes the common cold, but I wonder what this reflects about our immune system's response to other viruses like influenza and swine flu.

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