Can an individual's state of mind effect how well a vaccine may work? In the case of seniors and shingles, the answer is yes.Reporting in the current online edition of the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, Dr. Michael Irwin, a professor of psychiatry at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA, demonstrates a link between untreated depression in older adults and decreased effectiveness of the herpes zoster —or shingles — vaccine.
Shingles is a painful, blistering skin rash that can last for months or even years. It's caused by the varicella–zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. It's thought to strike more than a million people over the age of 60 each year in the U.S.
Every year, health officials urge individuals 50 and older to get vaccinated against the virus. The vaccine boosts cell-mediated immunity to the virus and can decrease the incidence and severity of the condition.