Researchers report that happiness may be related to the functioning of the body in key processes, such as those of the cardiovascular system and those controlling hormone levels.
Previous studies have shown that depressed people often have more health problems, while happier people tend to live longer. Yet the mechanism of these effects has been unclear.
To look more closely at this psychobiological connection, Andrew Steptoe and colleagues studied emotions and health of more than 200 middle-aged Londoners in their daily lives. The authors found that those who reported more everyday happiness had healthier biological functions in a few key systems. For one, the happier subjects had lower levels of cortisol, a stress hormone related to conditions such as type II diabetes and hypertension. Happier individuals also showed lower responses to stress in plasma fibrinogen levels, a protein that in high concentrations often signals future problems with coronary heart disease. Finally, happy men had lower heart rates over the day and evening, which suggests good cardiovascular health.
These results were independent of psychological distress, the authors say, which implies that positive well-being is directly related to the biological processes relevant to health.
Chinese Herbal Medicine Component Arrests Cancer Growth
Derivatives of indirubin, the active component of a traditional Chinese herbal medicine used to treat leukemia, can potently inhibit the growth of certain types of cancers, according to researchers.
In many cancer types, the Stat3 protein, known to play a role in tumor cell survival and proliferation, is activated by c-Src, an enzyme implicated in tumor formation and metastasis.
Richard Jove, Gerhard Eisenbrand, and colleagues synthesized and characterized 10 indirubin derivatives. One derivative, E804, inhibited Stat3 act
Contact: Leikny Johnson
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS)