Nav: Home

Optimistic outlook may benefit lungs

May 20, 2002

ATLANTA--An optimistic outlook may improve lung function, suggests a study presented at the American Thoracic Society International Conference in Atlanta on May 20. The study of 670 older men found that those with a more optimistic outlook had significantly higher levels of lung function and a slower rate of decline in lung function than more pessimistic men.

"Previous studies have shown a link between optimism and enhanced well-being, while pessimism has been shown to be a risk factor for poor physical health," said lead researcher Rosalind J. Wright, M.D., M.P.H., Instructor in Medicine at Brigham & Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston. "This is the first study to show such a link specifically between optimism and improved lung function over time."

Dr. Wright said that a person's outlook may somehow influence the body's immune system processes that play a role in the airway inflammation associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

"The study suggests there may be reversible factors that may have an impact on patients' long-term rate of lung function decline, which has been shown to be related to a person's risk of mortality," Dr. Wright said. "Preliminary studies on heart patients have suggested that through behavior modification to change a person's outlook, you can improve a person's mortality risk. Further research may show whether improving a person's outlook can lengthen life and improve the quality of life in patients with lung disease."

The study followed 670 men, the majority of whom were white, and whose average age was 63 years at the beginning of the study. They were followed for an average of eight years, and had an average of three lung exams during that time. Men who were shown to be more optimistic according to a questionnaire derived from the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) had significantly higher lung function, and a slower rate of decline in lung function compared with more pessimistic men.

"It has been suggested that pessimistic people may be more likely to smoke to control stress and negative emotions, but we found that optimism was linked to improved lung function even after we took smoking into account," she said.

Dr. Wright and colleagues are now using study data from a more diverse population to see whether optimism and pessimism have the same effect on lung function in women, in younger people, and in people of different races. "There are differences in the way that men and women tend to internalize stress and experience emotions, so it will be interesting to see whether their outlook affects their lung function differently," she said.
-end-


American Thoracic Society

Related Lung Function Articles:

Lung, immune function in kids could protect from severe COVID-19
Differences in lung physiology and immune function in children could be why they are more often spared from severe illness associated with COVID-19 than adults.
Identification of new factors important in maintaining lung function in the elderly
Japanese researchers have found that elderly carriers of a specific DsbA-L gene type are at increased risk for lung function decline.
Weight gain associated with accelerated lung function decline in adulthood
Lung function declines naturally over the course of the human lifespan.
Inhaled immunosuppressant may increase survival, pulmonary function after lung transplant
University of Maryland School of Medicine researchers found that lung transplant recipients who had early signs of organ rejection could increase their chances of survival by inhaling a liposomal form of the immunosuppression drug cyclosporine through an investigational nebulizer.
Exposure to BPA in the womb linked to wheezing and poorer lung function in children
Pregnant women exposed to higher levels of the commonly used chemical bisphenol A (BPA) are more likely to have children who suffer with wheezing and poorer lung function, according to research presented at the European Respiratory Society International Congress.
Exposure to outdoor air pollutants, change in emphysema, lung function
Whether exposure to outdoor air pollutants is associated with emphysema progression and change in lung function was the focus of this observational study.
Girls who are more physically active in childhood may have better lung function in adolescence
A study of more than 2,300 adolescents underscores the pulmonary health benefits of physical activity.
Exposure to chemicals before and after birth is associated with a decrease in lung function
A European study, published in The Lancet Planetary Health, analyses for the first time the impact of the exposome on respiratory health.
Common e-cigarette chemical flavorings may impair lung function
Two chemicals widely used to flavor electronic cigarettes may be impairing the function of cilia in the human airway, according to a new study led by Harvard T.H.
Monitoring lung function at home in teens with Duchenne muscular dystrophy
Heart and lung complications are responsible for much of the morbidity and mortality associated with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD).
More Lung Function News and Lung Function Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Listen Again: The Power Of Spaces
How do spaces shape the human experience? In what ways do our rooms, homes, and buildings give us meaning and purpose? This hour, TED speakers explore the power of the spaces we make and inhabit. Guests include architect Michael Murphy, musician David Byrne, artist Es Devlin, and architect Siamak Hariri.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#576 Science Communication in Creative Places
When you think of science communication, you might think of TED talks or museum talks or video talks, or... people giving lectures. It's a lot of people talking. But there's more to sci comm than that. This week host Bethany Brookshire talks to three people who have looked at science communication in places you might not expect it. We'll speak with Mauna Dasari, a graduate student at Notre Dame, about making mammals into a March Madness match. We'll talk with Sarah Garner, director of the Pathologists Assistant Program at Tulane University School of Medicine, who takes pathology instruction out of...
Now Playing: Radiolab

What If?
There's plenty of speculation about what Donald Trump might do in the wake of the election. Would he dispute the results if he loses? Would he simply refuse to leave office, or even try to use the military to maintain control? Last summer, Rosa Brooks got together a team of experts and political operatives from both sides of the aisle to ask a slightly different question. Rather than arguing about whether he'd do those things, they dug into what exactly would happen if he did. Part war game part choose your own adventure, Rosa's Transition Integrity Project doesn't give us any predictions, and it isn't a referendum on Trump. Instead, it's a deeply illuminating stress test on our laws, our institutions, and on the commitment to democracy written into the constitution. This episode was reported by Bethel Habte, with help from Tracie Hunte, and produced by Bethel Habte. Jeremy Bloom provided original music. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.     You can read The Transition Integrity Project's report here.