Stress resulting from problems like social rejection could increase the flare ups of arthritis and other inflammatory diseases in patients, finds a new study.

To find out correlation between social rejection and inflammatory reactions, researchers at the University of California conducted a study involving 124 volunteers. They asked the volunteers to perform verbal tasks for a panel of judges.

The judges were instructed to remain unresponsive during a presentation of impromptu speeches. The volunteers were also urged to perform a number oriented task before judges who were asked to appear bored by their lack of performance.

The objective of the test was to study social rejection and the relationship it may have to arthritis and other inflammation related diseases. An analysis of saliva samples following the task showed that the volunteers had elevated levels of two inflammatory markers.

In another experiment, the researchers again asked one quarter of the volunteers to play computer games in which other players were instructed to exclude them.

Magnetic resonance images revealed that this test triggered increased activity in two brain regions associated with rejection. Those who had the highest level of inflammatory responses were also those who had shown the greatest brain activity.

The results of the study, even it involved a small group of volunteers, suggest that there may be an association between stress and inflammation aggravation.

Stress, resulting from the emotional response experienced by those who exhibit stress due to social rejection, can have a direct bearing upon inflammatory diseases. The causes can vary from relationship issues such as a death in the family, divorce, or even arguments with loved ones, the researchers noted.