FEB 16, 2016 9:21 AM PST

What Raising A Child Does to Your Own Immune System

WRITTEN BY: Kara Marker
Human immune systems vary based on multiple characteristics including genetics, gender, obesity, and age, with the latter having the most staggering effect. However, a new study highlights the entry of another factor into the picture: raising a child.
 

“The sleep deprivation, stress, chronic infections, and all the other challenges of parenting does more to our body than just gives us grey hairs.”

 
Dr. Adrian Liston, from the VIB and KU Leuven in Belgium and co-led the study with researchers from the Babraham Institute in the United Kingdom, also said that parenting is a “severe environmental challenge” that “radically rewires the immune system.” This rewiring makes parents more susceptible to infection during the early stages of changing diapers and baby burping, but the immune system bounces back after ample rest and recovery. The study was published in the journal Nature Immunology.
 
In their study of 670 people aging between 2 and 86 years old, the researchers looked at all potential factors impacting how the immune system is weakened. They found that two unrelated people who live together and had a child together showed a “50 percent reduction in the variation between their two immune systems.”
 
Two immune systems converging with the introduction of a child (pink flash)


By following the study participants for three years, the researchers were able to observe patterns in “immune landscape” fluctuation. Expected immune stress occurred after a flu vaccine or during bouts of gastroenteritis, commonly referred to as the “stomach flu.” However, in the couples who lived together and shared a child, the immune impact from this experience was larger than flu vaccines or cases of gastroenteritis.
 
Scientists continue to learn more about how genetic and environmental factors affect the action of the immune system. In this case, prospective parents can expect to be vulnerable to infection while raising a baby after many sleepless nights, but at least they can rest assured knowing their partner will be experiencing the exact same thing.
 
 
Source: Babraham Institute
 
About the Author
  • I am a scientific journalist and enthusiast, especially in the realm of biomedicine. I am passionate about conveying the truth in scientific phenomena and subsequently improving health and public awareness. Sometimes scientific research needs a translator to effectively communicate the scientific jargon present in significant findings. I plan to be that translating communicator, and I hope to decrease the spread of misrepresented scientific phenomena! Check out my science blog: ScienceKara.com.
You May Also Like
MAR 02, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
MAR 02, 2020
DIY Fecal Transplants Improve Symptoms in 82% of People
Fecal transplants (FMT), the process of putting a healthy person’s fecal matter into another person’s colon, ...
MAR 28, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
MAR 28, 2020
Could the Blood of Coronavirus Survivors Save Lives?
As the search for a treatment for coronavirus continues, a perhaps obscure-sounding candidate has begun to make headline ...
APR 02, 2020
Immunology
APR 02, 2020
Potential New COVID-19 Vaccine is Delivered by Patch
The coronavirus pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2 is demanding the world's immediate attention.
APR 08, 2020
Immunology
APR 08, 2020
How the Skin Shields Against Zika Infection
Aedes mosquitoes are native of Africa but are commonly found in regions of the Americas, Asia, and the Pacific. These da ...
APR 21, 2020
Cancer
APR 21, 2020
Scientists develop tumor immunity map
A new study published in eLife describes the findings from a study that has successfully mapped tumor cell molecule ...
MAY 19, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
MAY 19, 2020
Can Chinese Drug Cure COVID-19 Without Vaccine?
Researchers at China’s Peking University have announced that they are developing a treatment capable of blocking C ...
Loading Comments...