Navigation Links
Be happy: Your genes may thank you for it
Date:7/29/2013

A good state of mind that is, your happiness affects your genes, scientists say. In the first study of its kind, researchers from UCLA's Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology and the University of North Carolina examined how positive psychology impacts human gene expression.

What they found is that different types of happiness have surprisingly different effects on the human genome.

People who have high levels of what is known as eudaimonic well-being the kind of happiness that comes from having a deep sense of purpose and meaning in life (think Mother Teresa) showed very favorable gene-expression profiles in their immune cells. They had low levels of inflammatory gene expression and strong expression of antiviral and antibody genes.

However, people who had relatively high levels of hedonic well-being the type of happiness that comes from consummatory self-gratification (think most celebrities) actually showed just the opposite. They had an adverse expression profile involving high inflammation and low antiviral and antibody gene expression.

The report appears in the current online edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

For the last 10 years, Steven Cole, a UCLA professor of medicine and a member of the UCLA Cousins Center, and his colleagues, including first author Barbara L. Fredrickson at the University of North Carolina, have been examining how the human genome responds to stress, misery, fear and all kinds of negative psychology.

In this study, though, the researchers asked how the human genome might respond to positive psychology. Is it just the opposite of stress and misery, or does positive well-being activate a different kind of gene expression program?

The researchers examined the biological implications of both hedonic and eudaimonic well-being through the lens of the human genome, a system of some 21,000 genes that has evolved fundamentally to help humans survive and be well.

Previous studies had found that circulating immune cells show a systematic shift in baseline gene-expression profiles during extended periods of stress, threat or uncertainty. Known as conserved transcriptional response to adversity, or CTRA, this shift is characterized by an increased expression of genes involved in inflammation and a decreased expression of genes involved in antiviral responses.

This response, Cole noted, likely evolved to help the immune system counter the changing patterns of microbial threat that were ancestrally associated with changing socio-environmental conditions; these threats included bacterial infection from wounds caused by social conflict and an increased risk of viral infection associated with social contact.

"But in contemporary society and our very different environment, chronic activation by social or symbolic threats can promote inflammation and cause cardiovascular, neurodegenerative and other diseases and can impair resistance to viral infections," said Cole, the senior author of the research.

In the present study, the researchers drew blood samples from 80 healthy adults who were assessed for hedonic and eudaimonic well-being, as well as potentially confounding negative psychological and behavioral factors. The team used the CTRA gene-expression profile to map the potentially distinct biological effects of hedonic and eudaimonic well-being.

And while those with eudaimonic well-being showed favorable gene-expression profiles in their immune cells and those with hedonic well-being showed an adverse gene-expression profile, "people with high levels of hedonic well-being didn't feel any worse than those with high levels of eudaimonic well-being," Cole said. "Both seemed to have the same high levels of positive emotion. However, their genomes were responding very differently even though their emotional states were similarly positive.

"What this study tells us is that doing good and feeling good have very different effects on the human genome, even though they generate similar levels of positive emotion," he said. "Apparently, the human genome is much more sensitive to different ways of achieving happiness than are conscious minds."


'/>"/>

Contact: Mark Wheeler
mwheeler@mednet.ucla.edu
310-794-2265
University of California - Los Angeles
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Controlling genes with light
2. Susceptibility genes for cerebral infarction or hemorrhage in the Han in Hunan, China
3. Cigarette smoke impacts genes linked to health of heart and lungs
4. Insecticide causes changes in honeybee genes, research finds
5. Symptoms of Prader-Willi syndrome associated with interference in circadian, metabolic genes
6. Its all in the genes -- including the tracking device
7. The genomes 3-D structure shapes how genes are expressed
8. 4 genes indentified that influence levels of bad cholesterol
9. Study: MicroRNA cooperation mutes breast cancer oncogenes
10. AACR news: Misregulated genes common to tobacco-related cancers offer potential new prognostic tool
11. CSHL neuroscientists show jumping genes may contribute to aging-related brain defects
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/28/2016)... First quarter 2016:   , Revenues amounted ... quarter of 2015 The gross margin was 49% (27) ... the operating margin was 40% (-13) Earnings per share ... operations was SEK 249.9 M (21.2) , Outlook   ... M. The operating margin for 2016 is estimated to ...
(Date:4/15/2016)... DUBLIN , April 15, 2016 ... of the,  "Global Gait Biometrics Market 2016-2020,"  report ... http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160330/349511LOGO ) , ,The global gait ... CAGR of 13.98% during the period 2016-2020. ... movement angles, which can be used to compute ...
(Date:3/29/2016)... March 29, 2016 LegacyXChange, Inc. ... "LEGX" and SelectaDNA/CSI Protect are pleased to announce our ... in a variety of writing instruments, ensuring athletes signatures ... created collectibles from athletes on LegacyXChange will be assured ... the DNA. Bill Bollander , CEO ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/3/2016)... ... May 03, 2016 , ... ... development, skill-building and compliance training platform on mobile devices, today released a new ... Regulatory Requirements for Medical Devices. The course is essential for owners or operators ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... ... May 03, 2016 , ... Flagship ... Dr. Nancy Gillett to its Board of Directors. Dr. Gillett recently retired from ... Executive Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer. A board-certified veterinary pathologist, Dr. Gillett ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... , May 3, 2016 - ... Developers and Producers of Those Competitor Biologics  ... Companies, Activities and Prospects ,  Who are ... companies? And what are their sales potentials? Discover, in ... see results, trends, opportunities and revenue forecasting. ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... , ... May 03, 2016 , ... ... fertility clinics and IVF laboratories. A contingency of reproductive endocrinologists, including Dr. ... and women experiencing infertility and to help them build families. , Ovation Fertility ...
Breaking Biology Technology: