Azara Blog: Feeling insecure is allegedly bad for the immune system

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Date published: 2007/02/14

The BBC says:

Feeling insecure in a relationship may take its toll on the immune system, Italian research suggests.

A study of 61 healthy women, showed that those who struggled to form close, trusting relationships may have weaker immune function.

Blood tests revealed that the women's "natural killer" immune system cells did not function as well.

However, the study in Psychosomatic Medicine could not show if this made the women more susceptible to illness.

A classic case of confusing correlation and causation. The second paragraph could equally have been written as: "A study of 61 healthy women showed that those who have weaker immune function may struggle to form close, trusting relationships". Nobody knows which slant on the story is correct (assuming either are) because the "research" has only demonstrated a correlation, not a causation. The reason they get away with the slant they have proposed is that everybody believes it to be true. But this "research" provides no evidence one way or the other. And they only had 61 women in the study, which is hardly a large number. All in all, it's unbelievable that the BBC just publishes this kind of stuff without question. Of course it's Valentine's Day and perhaps the BBC felt it needed to have some angle on this.

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