Psychoneuro-immunology Neuromodulation

Cape Town Psychiatrist Dr Kerryn Armstrong

Psychoneuro-immunology is a relatively new field that studies the interactions among behavioural, endocrine, neural and immune system processes. The brain communicates with the immune system through neuroendocrine and autonomic nervous system activity.

Researchers know that our Central Nervous System (CNS) and immune system can communicate with each other; only recently have they started to understand how they do it and what it means for our physical and mental health.

The nerves in the spinal cord and brain make up the CNS while the immune system is made up of cells and organs that defend your body against infection. Both of these systems produce proteins and small molecules that can act as messengers between the two systems. In the CNS, these messengers include neurotransmitters and hormones. On the other hand, the immune system uses proteins called cytokines to communicate with the CNS.

A cytokine is a protein that is released by cells, especially cells in the immune system. There are many different types of cytokines; the ones that are usually stimulated by stress are called pro-inflammatory cytokines.

By addressing stress and the underlying psychological and behavioral contributors, psychoneuro-immunology neuromodulation can shift you towards a healthier mental and physical state, reducing risk of certain illnesses and chronic conditions.