Psychoneuroimmunologic studies on positive emotions are few, and their clinical relevance is limited.
Aims: This "SHoRT" (Smiling Hospital Research Team) study evaluates the effects that Smiling Hospital artists have on hospitalized children.
Methods: Blood samples were taken in a non-painful way through branules in an accredited Infectology Ward, 30 minutes before and 1 hour after a visit of tale tellers, puppeteers and handicraft artists. 24 children were visited and 9 were included in the control group. Blood lymphocyte counts and Th1/Th2 cytokine levels were determined. Artists evaluated their effect on a subjective scale.
Results: In the visited group, the increase of lymphocytes was 8.43% higher, the decrease was 12.45% lower, and the proportion of children showing increased lymphocyte counts was more increased. Changes were more marked after more successful visits. Authors found non-significant, still considerable changes in interferon-γ level (p < 0.055) and in Th1/Th2 cytokine ratios.
Conclusions: This pediatric study suggests that immunological changes may develop when more attention is given to hospitalized children.