Low Social Status Bad for Your Health

The immune system is happier on top
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 14, 2012 6:00 PM CDT
Low Social Status Bad for Your Health
It's good for your immune system to be this guy.   (Shutterstock)

It's not only good to be king—it’s good for your health, according to a new study. British research has long shown that underlings in the corporate pecking order suffer from more stress-related, life-threatening health problems than the executives who order them around. Now the Economist reports that a study of macaque monkeys shows exactly how low social status can damage the immune system.

Researchers from the University of Chicago organized 49 monkeys into groups, controlled their social rank, and tested their blood. Sure enough, genes associated with immune-related cells and inflammation were so affected by social status that researchers could identify a monkey’s ranking by looking at a blood sample 80% of the time. And monkeys who rose up in their group saw health benefits right away. “The best medicine, then, is promotion,” quips the Economist. “Prosper, and live long.” (Read more immune system stories.)

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