Current biomedical thinking is characterized by mind-body dualism and reductionism. Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) is a modern research area of psychosomatic medicine which tries to overcome such paradigmatic engravings. PNI investigates the interrelationship between psychological factors and stress system activities. In normal individuals, chronic psychosocial stress is associated with increased releases in cortisol (hypercortisolism), lower levels in T helper type 1 (TH1) and higher levels in T helper type 2 (TH2) immune activity. Such stress-induced TH1/TH2 shift promotes diseases in which TH1 is protective (e.g. virus infection) and TH2 is damaging (e.g. allergy). In traumatized patients, stress system functioning is disturbed which is associated with blunted cortisol decreases (hypocortisolism) and inflammation increases under stressful conditions. Inflammation increases, on the other hand, trigger behavioral symptoms related to atypical depression (e.g. fatigue). Investigating bidirectional PNI effects (from psyche to immune, from immune to psyche) is not possible by applying biomedical research approaches (e.g. pre-post design). PNI findings from integrative single-case studies on lupus patients will be presented.
Disclosure of Interest None declared