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      Social Support and Health: A Review of Physiological Processes Potentially Underlying Links to Disease Outcomes

      Journal of Behavioral Medicine

      Springer Science and Business Media LLC

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          Abstract

          Social support has been reliably related to lower rates of morbidity and mortality. An important issue concerns the physiological mechanisms by which support influences such health endpoints. In this review, I examine evidence linking social support to changes in cardiovascular, neuroendocrine, and immune function. Consistent with epidemiological evidence, social support appears to be related to more positive "biological profiles" across these disease-relevant systems. Recent research on immune-mediated inflammatory processes is also starting to provide data on more integrative physiological mechanisms potentially linking social support to health. The implications of these links, along with future research directions are discussed.

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          Most cited references 113

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              Inflammation in atherosclerosis.

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              Abundant data link hypercholesterolaemia to atherogenesis. However, only recently have we appreciated that inflammatory mechanisms couple dyslipidaemia to atheroma formation. Leukocyte recruitment and expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines characterize early atherogenesis, and malfunction of inflammatory mediators mutes atheroma formation in mice. Moreover, inflammatory pathways promote thrombosis, a late and dreaded complication of atherosclerosis responsible for myocardial infarctions and most strokes. The new appreciation of the role of inflammation in atherosclerosis provides a mechanistic framework for understanding the clinical benefits of lipid-lowering therapies. Identifying the triggers for inflammation and unravelling the details of inflammatory pathways may eventually furnish new therapeutic targets.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Journal of Behavioral Medicine
                J Behav Med
                Springer Science and Business Media LLC
                0160-7715
                1573-3521
                August 2006
                June 7 2006
                August 2006
                : 29
                : 4
                : 377-387
                10.1007/s10865-006-9056-5
                16758315
                © 2006

                http://www.springer.com/tdm

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