Exercise and Behavioural Immunology


This module examines how exercise and psychological factors influence immune function and what consequences these alterations may have for health. It includes developing an understanding of basic and neuroendocrine immunology, and applying this to athletic, healthy, older, and patient populations.

Topics include the role of the immune system in overtraining, how stress and exercise influence wound healing and vaccination responses, and the role of stress and exercise in the progression of HIV and cancer. Students will learn to critically evaluate the existing literature, design plausible proposals for future research, and how to convey the findings of research to a lay audience.By the end of the module the student should be able to:

  • Describe the major constituents of the immune system and how they function.
  • Describe the functional links between the neuroendocrine and immune systems.
  • Critically analyse the evidence that exercise and psychosocial factors can influence immune function in a variety of populations.
  • Critically analyse the evidence that any exercise- or stress-induced changes in immune function are clinically relevant to a variety of populations.
  • Design appropriate studies to examine this field for a particular interest group.
  • Appropriately communicate cutting edge science to a lay audience.


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