Excerpt from todayï¿½s NY Times article by Jane Brody on Stress and the HolidaysFull article at: http://www.nytimes.com/2003/11/25/health/p...ogy/25BROD.html Integrating Mind and BodyPsychoneuroimmunology is the study of the way emotions, the nervous system (read brain) and the immune system interact. The slowly accumulating, incontrovertible evidence confirms what most people have long known but that many doctors these days seem to have forgotten: that mind and body are integrated parts of the human organism and constantly "talk" to each other through chemical and cellular signals. In other words, what affects one affects the other, positively and negativelyï¿½What many doctors fail to take into account is the effect of a constant or oft-repeated outpouring of these hormones on physical well-being. It is now known, for example, that undue stress inhibits the responsiveness of the immune system, especially the natural killer cells and macrophages that are the first-line warriors against infection and foreign invaders like cancer cells.Chronic stress can also raise blood pressure and blood sugar, constrict major arteries and interfere with normal digestive processes. These effects, in turn, increase the risk of hypertension, heart disease, strokes, chronic reflux disease, diarrhea or constipation,and insulin resistance, the precursor of Type 2 diabetes.