Vidyya Medical News Service
Volume 6 Issue 88 Published - 14:00 UTC 08:00 EST 28-Mar-2004 Next Update - 14:00 UTC 08:00 EST 29-Mar-2004
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Wrestling boosts immune system of adolescent boys

Wrestling boosts the immune system, reveals a small study of adolescent boys in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

While research has shown that exercise boosts the immune system in adults, little research has been done on children, especially under field conditions. Evidence is beginning to accumulate which suggests that children go through distinct developmental periods that in turn influence the extent to which exercise and fitness affect subsequent growth.

Researchers tested the circulating levels of white blood cells and other indicators of immune system responsiveness, before and after a 1.5 hour session of wrestling in eleven 14 to 18 year old boys.

The levels of all groups of white blood cells rose significantly after the exercise, particularly natural killer cells.

Natural killer cells are the body's first line defence against cancer cells and cells infected by viruses. They search out the equivalent of a 'flag' carried by normal cells, and those without are blasted with a potent cocktail of chemicals to kill them off.

Chemicals involved in inflammation also surged in response to the exercise, and the authors comment that as yet, the precise role of these changes is not yet known. But they suggest that white cell responses to exercise during childhood and adolescence may be important for the development of the immune system for overall growth.

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