The field of psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) focuses on the studies of the interactions among psychological activities such as stress, and the nervous and immune systems. Many evidences have been identified through animal or human adult observations.
How about children and adolescents? More PNI studies may be needed for this group of population, especially for personalized medicine. In a study of vaccine response data from 126 children (11-year-olds), the associations between psychosocial risks including anxiety and the immune responses were examined before and after the vaccination (O’Connor et al., 2014).
The study showed that children’s internalizing mood symptoms were related to continuously increased antibody responses (O’Connor et al., 2014). The connections between elevated vaccine response and depressive and anxiety symptoms during the early adolescence indicate the possible differences between adults and children in the interactions between the brain and immune systems.
These findings suggest that personalized studies in psychoneuroimmunology based on different age populations are necessary to establish different PNI models for different patient groups.
O’Connor TG, Moynihan JA, Wyman PA, Carnahan J, Lofthus G, Quataert SA, Bowman M, Caserta MT. Depressive symptoms and immune response to meningococcal conjugate vaccine in early adolescence. Dev Psychopathol. 2014 Nov;26(4 Pt 2):1567-76. doi: 10.1017/S0954579414001242.