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A new study has revealed that a simple self-rating of health accurately predicts susceptibility to the common cold in healthy adults aged 18-55 years. Lead researcher Sheldon Cohen of the Carnegie Mellon University wanted to examine whether self-rated health predicted effective immune response in younger adults selected for their good health and whether this association was dependent on health practices and socio-emotional factors. In the study, 360 healthy adults with an average age of 33 years assessed their health as excellent, very good, good, fair or poor.
They were subsequently exposed to a virus that causes the common cold and monitored for five days for the development of illness. About one-third of the participants developed colds. The investigators found that those who rated their health as very good, good or fair were more than two times as likely to develop a cold as those who rated their health as excellent. (Read: Do you self-diagnose after googling all your symptoms)
Cohen said that there were some things that people know about their bodies that were not easily detectable by their physicians, adding that their data suggested that this evaluation reflected how the immune system reacts to infectious agents. The study is published in the Journal Psychosomatic Medicine.
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