Social factors may relate to anti-inflammatory gene expression, Psychology Today reports.

Recent research headed by psychologists at Wayne State University tested how self-disclosure (revealing information about yourself to others) relates to the expression of the gene NR3C1. This gene has an anti-inflammatory property. Asthma, for those who aren’t steeped in medical knowledge, or who didn’t spend their entire lives with semi-functioning lungs, is an inflammation of the lungs that reduces airflow. So, knowing how and to what extent genes express themselves that are related to inflammation is important potentially to understanding asthma and the experience of asthmatic people.

This research found that the levels of self-disclosure that teenagers with asthma did not necessarily relate to the amount of activity in the NR3C1 gene. But it did for people who felt like their self-disclosure was being listened to and understood by the people in their lives (probably friends and family, possibly also a person they met on the bus or a really friendly Wal-Mart greeter).

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