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B. How Mind-Body Interventions Impact the Immune System

Narrator: This is Science Today. Understanding how the mind-body approach may impact the immune system is a rather new area of investigation and really did not begin to emerge as a scientific discipline until about ten years ago. Dr. Michael Irwin, a researcher at UCLA's Jonsson Cancer Center has been studying how mind-body interventions may improve well-being and immunity.

Irwin: Recent work done here at UCLA has found that the practice of a very simple behavioral technique called Tai Chi Cha, which is a variant of Tai Chi, can significantly improve the immune system of older adults.

Narrator: Irwin specifically looked at an immune cell that is predictive of risk for developing a particular kind of viral infection called shingles, which affects older people, as well cancer and AIDS patients.

Irwin: I'm not suggesting that they forgo vaccinations against viral illnesses, but rather that this complimentary approach can augment at least this one aspect of the immune system that may promote health.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.