Throughout this book I’ve summoned fifty years of medical experience to advance the notion that unabated stress alters our body functions and makes development of life-threatening, chronic disease more likely. I’ve drawn attention to the science of psychoneuroimmunology where evidence continues accumulating to support my observations.
To additionally support my observations let me share some important and potentially very hopeful news for those who have kidney disease and need a transplant,and for those already living with a successful transplant.
Although I cannot divulge many details yet, one of my kidney-transplant patients is participating in a clinical trial, the purpose of the which is to test protocols for preventing chronic rejection, which may be caused by host-specific antibodies and may lead to kidney dysfunction or loss several years post-transplant. The test involves an injectable drug that works by blocking a receptor for a cytokine called interleukin 6. Interleukin 6 is made by immune cells and causes inflammation. In a transplanted kidney, it can lead to loss of kidney function.
Additionally, here’s some more scientific evidence of how the mind, through meditation, can reduce inflammation by reducing levels of interleukin 6. In March 2018, a study published in Biologic Psychiatry, reported on two groups. Both had blood work for inflammatory markers including Interleukin 6. Four months later, the group that practiced meditation had significantly lower levels of all inflammatory markers including interleukin 6. I have asked my patient to practice mediation as an adjunct to his experimental interleukin 6 inhibitor. This is important study should encourage all of us to fend off stress with “mindfulness.”