Nav: Home

Regular exercise, stress can both make a big difference in lupus, study finds

September 13, 2017

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Waking up in the morning with the joint pain, swelling and stiffness that accompanies lupus doesn't exactly inspire a workout.

But research in mice and a related pilot study in humans are showing how regular activity and stress reduction could lead to better health in the long run.

In the mouse model of lupus, researchers from The Ohio State University found that moderate exercise (45 minutes of treadmill walking per day) significantly decreased inflammatory damage to the kidneys. While 88 percent of non-exercised mice had severe damage, only 45 percent of the treadmill-exercised animals did.

And the researchers think they know why: Several biomarkers known to drive inflammation plummeted in the exercise group.

To take the research a step further, the team wanted to see what happened to those same biomarkers in lupus mice exposed to a well-established animal model of repeated social disruption known to induce psychological stress -- in particular, daily encounters with a stronger "bully" mouse.

The results were almost exactly the opposite -- the inflammatory markers shot up, which caused substantial kidney damage in the mice.

"If we observe similar results in human studies, this could mean that stress reduction and a daily regimen of physical therapy should be considered as interventional strategies to be used alongside current medical treatment," said study senior author Nicholas Young, a research scientist in rheumatology and immunology at Ohio State's Wexner Medical Center.

"We may have started to characterize an effective way to reduce inflammation and help people with lupus aside from conventional drug therapy," he said.

Previous studies have supported the idea that physical activity is good for lupus patients, but hard scientific evidence explaining why has been scarce, he said.

Because of that, daily moderate exercise and stress management often aren't strongly emphasized in the care of lupus patients because their roles in controlling inflammation aren't well understood, Young said.

"What you hear a lot from patients is that they're hurting and they don't want to get out of bed in the morning and don't feel like exercising," Young said. "One of the largest hurdles to get over is that it may not seem intuitive that movement will make you feel better, but it does."

The study conducted in mice appeared in the journal Frontiers in Physiology.

To see if these results might apply to humans, Young's research team enrolled a group of lupus patients into a daily tai chi program in a small pilot study. The classes focused on both moderate exercise and stress reduction. Initial results show a significant decrease in some of the same inflammatory biomarkers identified in the mouse experiments and provided enough supporting evidence that the researchers are seeking funding for a larger human trial, Young said.

The preliminary results of the tai chi intervention, called the Stress Moderation Impacting Lupus with Exercise (SMILE) study, were published in the abstract supplement for the annual European League Against Rheumatism conference in June and will be presented at the American College of Rheumatology meeting in November.

"We've shown on a molecular level that both exercise and stress can impact inflammation by regulation of the immune system, which may provide a unique opportunity to help people suffering from the chronic inflammation associated with autoimmune diseases like lupus," Young said.

"If we find consistent benefits in a large group of people with lupus and can standardize a specific regimen, you could almost imagine a prescription for exercise and stress reduction."

Young said that the research findings prompt him to wonder about the potential for similar exercise-induced inflammatory changes in other diseases that affect the joints, including arthritis and gout. Ongoing work in his laboratory will be examining these conditions as well, he said.
-end-
Other Ohio State researchers who worked on the mouse study and human pilot study include Saba Aqel, Jeffrey Hampton, Michael Bruss, Juliette Yedimenko, Alexa Meara, Stacy Ardoin, Kendra Jones, Giancarlo Valiente, Lai-Chu Wu, William Willis, Stacy Ardoin, Sudha Agarwal, Brad Bolon, Nicole Powell, John Sheridan and Wael Jarjour.

CONTACT: Nicholas Young, Nicholas.Young@osumc.edu

Ohio State University

Related Stress Articles:

Captive meerkats at risk of stress
Small groups of meerkats -- such as those commonly seen in zoos and safari parks -- are at greater risk of chronic stress, new research suggests.
Stress may protect -- at least in bacteria
Antibiotics harm bacteria and stress them. Trimethoprim, an antibiotic, inhibits the growth of the bacterium Escherichia coli and induces a stress response.
Some veggies each day keeps the stress blues away
Eating three to four servings of vegetables daily is associated with a lower incidence of psychological stress, new research by University of Sydney scholars reveals.
Prebiotics may help to cope with stress
Probiotics are well known to benefit digestive health, but prebiotics are less well understood.
Building stress-resistant memories
Though it's widely assumed that stress zaps a person's ability to recall memory, it doesn't have that effect when memory is tested immediately after a taxing event, and when subjects have engaged in a highly effective learning technique, a new study reports.
Stress during pregnancy
The environment the unborn child is exposed to inside the womb can have a major effect on her or his development and future health.
New insights into how the brain adapts to stress
New research led by the University of Bristol has found that genes in the brain that play a crucial role in behavioural adaptation to stressful challenges are controlled by epigenetic mechanisms.
Uncertainty can cause more stress than inevitable pain
Knowing that there is a small chance of getting a painful electric shock can lead to significantly more stress than knowing that you will definitely be shocked.
Stress could help activate brown fat
Mild stress stimulates the activity and heat production by brown fat associated with raised cortisol, according to a study published today in Experimental Physiology.
Experiencing major stress makes some older adults better able to handle daily stress
Dealing with a major stressful event appears to make some older adults better able to cope with the ups and downs of day-to-day stress.

Related Stress Reading:

The Stress-Proof Brain: Master Your Emotional Response to Stress Using Mindfulness and Neuroplasticity
by Melanie Greenberg PhD (Author)

“For people suffering from stress, this book is a godsend.”
Kristin Neff, PhD, author of Self-Compassion

"Highly recommended for mental health professionals and consumer health readers looking to manage stress."
Library Journal (starred review)


Modern times are stressful—and it’s killing us. Unfortunately, we can’t avoid the things that stress us out, but we can change how we respond to them. In this breakthrough book, a clinical psychologist and neuroscience expert offers an original approach to help readers... View Details


The Upside of Stress: Why Stress Is Good for You, and How to Get Good at It
by Kelly McGonigal (Author)

Drawing from groundbreaking research, psychologist and award-winning teacher Kelly McGonigal, PhD, offers a surprising new view of stress—one that reveals the upside of stress, and shows us exactly how to capitalize on its benefits.

You hear it all the time: stress causes heart disease; stress causes insomnia; stress is bad for you! But what if changing how you think about stress could make you happier, healthier, and better able to reach your goals? Combining exciting new research on resilience and mindset, Kelly McGonigal, PhD, proves that undergoing stress is not bad for... View Details


The Mayo Clinic Guide to Stress-Free Living
by Amit Sood (Author), Mayo Clinic (Author)

Have you ever driven several miles without noticing anything on the road, or read a page in a book without registering any of it? Do the day's worries and disappointments crowd your mind as you're trying to fall asleep at night? Do you feel stressed much of the time and aren't sure how to find peace? In this book, Amit Sood, M.D., M.Sc., a Mayo Clinic specialist in stress and resiliency, reveals how the mind's instinctive restlessness and shortsightedness generate stress and anxiety and presents strategies for living a more peaceful life. The book is based on the highly popular stress... View Details


Stress-Proof: The Scientific Solution to Protect Your Brain and Body--and Be More Resilient Every Day
by Mithu Storoni (Author)

Discover simple, science-based strategies for beating stress at its own game

When’s the best time to exercise – and how much is too much?
Which foods fortify the brain, and which do the opposite?
How can we use music, movement, and motivation to boost our rational brain and keep our cool no matter what life throws our way?
 
Short bursts of stress are an inevitable part of modern life. But how much is too much? Research is uncovering the delicate balance that can turn a brief stressful episode into systemic overload, eventually leading to inflammation,... View Details


The End of Stress: Four Steps to Rewire Your Brain
by Don Joseph Goewey (Author)

We all know that stress is serious. If ignored too long, it becomes life-threateningly serious. Yet 83 percent of Americans are doing nothing about it. Don’t be one of them. There’s now a solution to stress that literally rewires your brain for a life of doing well, and being well, on your way to flourishing.

The most important brain discovery in the last 400 years concerns a simple but powerful shift in attitude that can change a brain wired for stress into a brain powered for success. This specific shift literally rewires the brain to deliver the full measure of intelligence,... View Details


The Stress of Life
by Hans Selye (Author)

A physician explains the general-adaptation-syndrome concept of stress and discusses the laboratory research that led to its evolution View Details


The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook (New Harbinger Self-Help Workbook)
by Martha Davis (Author), Elizabeth Robbins Eshelman (Author), Matthew McKay (Author)

The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook broke new ground when it was first published in 1980, detailing easy, step-by-step techniques for calming the body and mind in an increasingly overstimulated world. Now in its sixth edition, this workbook, highly regarded by therapists and their clients, remains the go-to source for stress reduction strategies that can be incorporated into even the busiest lives.

This new edition is updated with powerful relaxation techniques based on the latest research, and draws from a variety of proven treatment methods, including progressive... View Details


Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome
by James L. Wilson (Author), Jonathan V Wright (Foreword)

This is an incredibly informative and reader-friendly book about a common debilitating medical condition that goes largely undiagnosed and untreated. ADRENAL FATIGUE: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome is a very empowering work cram-packed with vital information about a condition that very likely affects millions of people. View Details


Treating Traumatic Stress in Children and Adolescents: How to Foster Resilience through Attachment, Self-Regulation, and Competency
by Margaret E. Blaustein (Author), Kristine M. Kinniburgh (Author)

Grounded in theory and research on complex childhood trauma, this book provides an accessible, flexible, and comprehensive framework for intervention with children and adolescents and their caregivers. It is packed with practical clinical tools that are applicable in a range of settings, from outpatient treatment centers to residential programs. Rather than presenting a one-size-fits-all treatment model, the authors show how to plan and organize individualized interventions that promote resilience, strengthen child–caregiver relationships, and restore developmental competencies derailed... View Details


Stress Test: Reflections on Financial Crises
by Timothy F. Geithner (Author)

New York Times Bestseller

Washington Post Bestseller

Los Angeles Times Bestseller

Stress Test is the story of Tim Geithner’s education in financial crises.

 
As president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and then as President Barack Obama’s secretary of the Treasury, Timothy F. Geithner helped the United States navigate the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, from boom to bust to rescue to recovery. In a candid, riveting, and historically illuminating memoir, he takes... View Details

Best Science Podcasts 2017

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2017. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Simple Solutions
Sometimes, the best solutions to complex problems are simple. But simple doesn't always mean easy. This hour, TED speakers describe the innovation and hard work that goes into achieving simplicity. Guests include designer Mileha Soneji, chef Sam Kass, sleep researcher Wendy Troxel, public health advocate Myriam Sidibe, and engineer Amos Winter.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#448 Pavlov (Rebroadcast)
This week, we're learning about the life and work of a groundbreaking physiologist whose work on learning and instinct is familiar worldwide, and almost universally misunderstood. We'll spend the hour with Daniel Todes, Ph.D, Professor of History of Medicine at The Johns Hopkins University, discussing his book "Ivan Pavlov: A Russian Life in Science."