Recently, a dear relative fell to the ground and damaged her eye. The surgeon worked on it for 5 hours, trying to dig out much of the clot and dying tissue. His words to us after the surgery were these; if the eye could sense light, even a little bit, then it could remain in the body. If the eye could not sense any light, the body would turn on it as a foreign invader and ultimately reject it.
That’s not the bad part. The body would then turn on the good eye, battling it as if it were an invader. Ultimately the body would win. the eye would lose. And complete blindness would be the result.
But that’s not what is most intriguing to this student of behavior. The fact that the eye in some way talks to the immune system and says “leave me alone” is nothing short of incredible. That our neural system in some way can influence the immune system is astounding, at least to me.
Then again, there are those mystics who believe that the right chant, the right light, or the right crystal can also enhance your immune system. As a skeptic I find these claims hard to swallow. There are those who claim the right herbs, the right diet, and the right eating rituals will also improve your ability to ward off evil bugs. Again, my skeptical gourmet says “where’s the beef?”
Finally, and most convincingly, there are those who can show a link between stress (as evidenced in cortisone levels) and the ability of mice and men to resist infection. But even this link is at the molecular level.
Finally, we have real evidence that our neurons and our immune system are linked. Medical fact hints at the fact that our brains and our physical strength are connected. What other surprising connections are there in our behavioral universe? I can’t wait to find out.