Mind games can predict the severity of your next cold : ScienceAlert
Daily brain tests could reveal how prepared your immune system is to deal with a future viral infection.
A study led by researchers at the University of Michigan (UM) has shown that poor immune performance it tends to go hand in hand with periods of fluctuating cognitive performance.
During the first few days of the eight-day study, three times a day, 18 the participants tested their attention, reaction time and ability to switch between numbers and symbols. On the fourth day of the study, the group was deliberately exposed to the human rhinovirus (HRV), typically responsible for the common cold.
During the remaining days, the participants self-administered a nasal rinse to measure the presence and volume of viral cells shed.
Volunteers were also asked to rate their experience of eight symptoms, including chills, cough, headache, blocked nose, runny nose, sneezing, sore throat, and tiredness.
Ultimately, those who throw the most virus and had the worst symptoms tended to show inconsistent cognitive scores in the days before their illness.
“At first, we did not find that cognitive function had a significant association with disease susceptibility because we used the raw scores,” He says bioinformatics researcher Yaya Zhai at UM.
“But later, when we look at the change over time, we find that variation in cognitive function is closely related to immunity and susceptibility.”
In other words, a single, one-time test is probably not enough to determine the state of a person’s immune system. However, a trend of measured cognitive performance over the days might be just the ticket.
The study authors acknowledge that it is unlikely that most people will take a cognitive test three times a day for the rest of their lives. But their results still showed strength even when only five tests were taken into account. – as long as they were started three days before infection and at least one test was performed per day.
In the real world, a person does not know when they will be exposed to a virus again. That means that for brain tests to predict future immune responses, they probably need to be done on a semi-regular basis. How regular remains to be determined.
The current study is small and only hints at a possible connection between cognitive function and a healthy immune system. More research among larger cohorts is needed to verify the results.
In the past, scientists investigating brain health and function relied on raw cognitive scores. But emerging research suggests that the ups and downs of brain tests contain more information than any one test alone.
An awesome 19 year old studioFor example, he found that when a person’s reaction times show greater variability on tests, that person is at greater risk of falls, neurodegenerative disorders, and death.
The authors of the current study hope that one day the public will be able to easily access and track brain tests using their own smartphones.
Information about an individual’s typing speed, typing accuracy, and sleep time, for example, could be combined with tests of attention and memory to better predict when they are at higher risk of severe disease.
Then precautionary measures could be taken to reduce your exposure or secure your body’s defenses.
“Traditional clinical cognitive assessments that look at raw scores at a single point of time often don’t give a true picture of brain health.” Explain neuroscientist P. Murali Doraiswamy of Duke University.
“At home, periodic cognitive monitoring, through self-diagnostic digital platforms, is the future of brain health assessment.”
The study was published in scientific reports.