The Durk Pearson & Sandy Shaw®
Life Extension NewsTM
Volume 13 No. 5 • October 2010

A loser is someone who won’t take “yes” for an answer.
— Sandy Shaw
Narcissurfing — Googling yourself to see where and how many times your name comes up.
— from “The Buzzword Dictionary”
Evils which are patiently endured when they seem inevitable become intolerable when once the idea of escape from them is suggested.
— Alexis de Tocqueville 1856
I consider the foundation of the Constitution as laid on this ground that ‘all powers not delegated to the United States, by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states or to the people.’ To take a single step beyond the boundaries thus specially drawn around the powers of Congress, is to take possession of a boundless field of power, not longer susceptible of any definition.
— Thomas Jefferson, Opinion on
the Constitutionality of a National Bank, 1791
Schroedinger’s cat walks into a bar ... and doesn’t.
— US comedian Brian Malow
(as reported in the 30 Sept. 2010 Nature).

Inflammation and Emotion

Inflammation as an Indicator of Sensitivity to Social Rejection

Inflammatory processes are involved importantly in the development and progression of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and aging, as well as age-associated diseases such as diabetes and Parkinson’s disease. Inflammation has also been linked to many forms of psychological stress, as well, such as depression. Here, an interesting new study1 reports that, in 124 young, healthy human volunteers, exposure to laboratory-based social stressors (the Trier Social Stress Test, TSST), especially those involving judgment by others and possible social rejection, elicited significant increases in two markers of proinflammatory activity, a soluble receptor for tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) and interleukin-6 (IL-6).

The stress test involved preparing and delivering an impromptu speech and performing difficult mental arithmetic in front of a nonresponsive, socially rejecting panel of raters. (Fun, huh?) Later, 31 of these participants were fMRI scanned while playing a computerized ball-tossing game in which two other supposed game participants booted them from the game, thus socially rejecting them. The researchers compared the inflammation results to that of the TSST.

Similar inflammatory increases occurred after the stressors without differing on the basis of gender, ethnicity, or body mass index. Brain regions previously implicated in processing rejection-related distress and negative affect, including the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex and the anterior insula, were found to be activated. The greater the inflammatory responses, the greater the activity in these brain regions. Interestingly, the authors report, “the relations between neural activity and inflammatory responding were found despite the fact that the neuroimaging session and social stressor session took place several weeks apart. This result suggests that these neural patterns of responding represent at least a moderately stable trait that, in turn is involved in potentiated inflammatory responses to social stress.”

What these results suggest to us, in addition, is that modulation of inflammatory responses by omega-3 fatty acid supplementation may reduce the inflammatory responses and accompanying social distress resulting from rejection. Next time you have to give an impromptu speech and do difficult mental arithmetic before a nasty audience, give it a try. We take 2 capsules 4 times a day of our omega-3 fish oil formulation to get a total of 1.6 g. of DHA and 2.88 g. of EPA daily. You won’t have to worry about embarrassing EPA and DHA fishy-smelling burps in front of your highly critical audience, either, because our formulation is specially purified and deodorized.


  1. Slavich et al. Neural sensitivity to social rejection is associated with inflamatory responses to social stress. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 107(33):14817-14822 (2010)

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