Ibane Aizpurua Pérez Psikoneuroimmunologiako ikertzailea

"We want to know the interaction between psychosocial processes and health"

2023/09/01 Galarraga Aiestaran, Ana - Elhuyar Zientzia Iturria: Elhuyar aldizkaria

Ibane Aizpurua Pérez, researcher during her stay in Miami

Ibane Aizpurua Pérez is captured in Miami, where she investigates. She confesses that she is very grateful for the time and environment, because she allows her to walk and bathe, for example, after leaving college.

Aizpurua makes her thesis and goes to the University of Miami to make a stay in a research group in psychology. And besides on the street, college is also very comfortable. "The university environment, professional, work environment, rhythmic, etc., is similar to that of the Basque Country. However, culturally there are differences. For example, they don't interrupt themselves here to eat or drink coffee, and therefore, between colleagues, the spaces that are there are not created."

And what is psycho-immunology? Aizpurua explains this: "It is a science that studies the interaction of psychological processes with the nervous and immune systems and their relationship with health." Aizpurua investigates the psychosocial factors related to breast cancer survival: "specifically, I study the effect of a social intervention on certain psychological and biological variables related to stress in women with breast cancer."

He says that, in general, it is understood that stress can negatively affect our body. "But what is the system that connects stress and health? It seems that the immune system plays a very important role there. In short, the psychological processes and our defenses have a symbiotic interaction. It's a very big, very powerful discipline, and there's a lot of interdisciplinarity, and I'm excited about it a lot, and I really like this line of research."

Specifically, during your stay in Miami, you are investigating patients who have been diagnosed with breast cancer in your county. "I analyze the impact of socioeconomic deprivation as a stressor in the psychological and physiological adaptation of patients, for example by measuring cortisol (stress hormone). And we're seeing, in disadvantaged groups with breast cancer, what are the beneficial variables of psychological interventions?"

Aizpurua believes that interventions should be designed taking into account the weight of socio-economic and cultural factors and that more and more research is being done in this regard.

Desire and tenacity to continue learning, keys

Aizpurua remembers how he entered it: "[UPV/EHU] I am writing the thesis in the Psychobiology group of the Faculty of Psychology. At first, when I started studying psychology, I was interested in the relationship or relationship between psychological processes and health. And the Psychobiology team gave me the opportunity to study it exactly."

The impact of social aids on the modulation of stress and the interaction between psychosocial and health is now being investigated. "Knowing that social aid is an instrument, knowing its impact, they can be oriented to generate maximum benefit. And with this we can do important preventive work, in the area of cancer or in other areas," he explains.

Although public or private health systems do not offer the same services everywhere, Aizpurua believes that the question is what they can do with the information provided by research. "For example, in Miami County, where the most modest socioeconomic conditions, work team researchers are seeing that the survival of people with cancer is lower. And that was to be expected. But so far it was not empirically demonstrated. Now the next step is what we do with that information."

Finally, he thanks the support and collaboration of its members of the Psychobiology team, highlighting that the thesis and the stay are fundamental to continue learning and constancy. He is already writing the thesis and will present it in a few months. After this, he has no doubt: I would like to continue to investigate in the same vein, that is his intention and his objective.

Ibane Aizpurua Pérez
Ibane Aizpurua Pérez was born in Hernani in 1993. After completing the Bachelor's Degree in Psychology, he completed the Master's Degree in Neurosciences and then completed the thesis in the Department of Processes and Basic Psychological Development. He is currently making a stay at the University of Miami in the field of Psychoimmunology. Specifically, the health impact of social assistance interventions on stress in women with breast cancer is being investigated.

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