Medical Research

Story of Stress and Disease: Robert Ader Pioneering Psychologist

Kristen Sparrow • December 26, 2011

This is the story of Robert Ader who first coined the term “psychoneuroimmunology” or PNI. If you’re interested in stress and disease, as I am, you probably would like to read the whole article. A few excerpts here.LinkLink

Robert Ader, Who Linked Stress and Illness, Dies at 79

Dr. Robert Ader, an experimental psychologist who was among the first scientists to show how mental processes influence the body’s immune system, a finding that changed modern medicine, died on Tuesday in Pittsford, N.Y. He was 79…

His initial research, in the 1970s, became a touchstone for studies that have since mapped the vast communications network among immune cells, hormones and neurotransmitters. It introduced a field of research that nailed down the science behind notions once considered magical thinking: that meditation helps reduce arterial plaque; that social bonds improve cancer survival; that people under stress catch more colds; and that placebos work not only on the human mind but also on supposedly insentient cells.

At the core of Dr. Ader’s breakthrough research was an insight already obvious to any grandmother who ever said, “Stop worrying or you’ll make yourself sick.” He demonstrated Linkscientifically that stress worsens illness — sometimes even triggering it — and that reducing stress is essential to health care…
“My father used to say, ‘I just didn’t know any better,’ ” she said, recounting how he had described his pioneering research.

He told her, she recalled, “I didn’t know the immune system wasn’t supposed to be connected to the brain.”

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