By Julie Lasselin, PhD, Universitätsklinikum Essen, Germany and John Axelsson, PhD, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
Using The Observer XT to investigate overt signs of sickness and health communication
Our research group is investigating the relationships between the immune system and the brain in Humans. One of the models we use is the experimentally-induced sickness. In this model, we intravenously inject a component of a bacteria (but not the bacteria itself), which makes the immune system believe that the body is infected and that it needs to fight the infection. Therefore, this injection activates the immune system for a short time (3-4 hours) during which a sickness response is triggered. This sickness response is composed of all symptoms that we may feel when sick, such as fatigue, reduced appetite, difficulties to concentrate, reduced motivation to see people, etc (1).
Figure. Activation of the immune system and sickness symptoms using lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and placebo. This experimental sickness model is commonly used to study acute sickness in humans and animals. We evaluated films taken the first 4 hours after injection.