TagImmune System

The immune system is essential for protecting us from pathogens like bacteria and viruses. However, there are cases in which it may do more harm than good. Allergies, for example, occur when the immune system reacts adversely to something that we wouldn’t normally consider a threat. In more severe cases, the immune system reacts to the body itself, … Read More

One might not think human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and computer viruses have much in common, but researchers at the University College London have recently discovered a striking similarity between the two. The study showed that the two types of viruses have a similar way of spreading throughout their domains with HIV infecting the cells and computer viruses affecting … Read More

When we get sick, we want our bodies to mount the best possible defense against invading pathogens. The immune system is responsible for fighting infections. Researchers at Boston’s Children’s Hospital have discovered that oxPAPC, a chemical that naturally occurs in damaged tissues, triggers a strengthened immune response that could have useful implications for developing more effective vaccines. … Read More

Bacteria have been used for thousands of years in helping prepare fermented foods such as cheese, wine, and yogurt. What may not be well known is that researchers have discovered bacteria can also help diagnose cancer. Researchers from MIT and UCSD have programmed probiotics, a type of beneficial bacteria found in yogurt, to become bioluminescent. Bioluminescence, the emitting of light through … Read More

It is safe to say that at some point in time, you or someone you know has experienced the frustration of having a blistered lip. These blisters, commonly called cold sores or fever blisters, result in minor pain and irritation that people would certainly rather avoid altogether. But what causes cold sores in the first place? Cold … Read More

Flu-like symptoms, slow deterioration of the immune system, fatal complications of a lung infection: this is the general progression of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). Although there is currently no cure for the disease, affected individuals can successfully slow down the progression of the virus through a combination of three different medications from two classes of anti-viral drugs. There are many different … Read More

A recent discovery by researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine suggests that skin adipocytes, or fat cells directly beneath the skin, play a role in defending the body from infection. Adipocytes release an antimicrobial substance called cathelicidin antimicrobial peptide (CAMP), an important molecule in the immune system that directly kills pathogens like bacteria and viruses. Researchers … Read More

Blood is important to how our bodies function. Blood contains red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets, which carry oxygen, work in the immune system, and help form blood clots respectively. It would not be wrong to claim that blood can be found running everywhere throughout our bodies in blood vessels, considering the many roles that blood plays. … Read More

From pills to intrauterine devices, women have many options available for birth control. However, for men there are very limited contraceptives on the market. The common ones, condoms or vasectomies, are either permanent or not 100% effective. Embed from Getty Images  New development of male contraceptives will yield new possibilities. That said, recent research has … Read More

In Part 1 of this article series, we discussed the relevance of HIV infection and the development of AIDS. We then gave a general overview of the CRISPR/Cas system in Part 2 of this series. Finally, this last post will synthesize the two to touch on how CRISPR/Cas can be applied to develop a treatment for HIV … Read More

Despite hundreds of years of research on the human body, a new discovery at the University of Virginia just goes to show that there are still parts of the body yet to be discovered. For the first time, researchers have discovered that the brain is directly connected to the immune system, overturning the well-established notion that no … Read More

In Part 1 of this article series, we discussed how HIV infection and AIDS have become a major public health issue due to the ability of viral DNA to become part of human DNA. When this DNA is replicated, the infection spreads to other cells. This ends up developing into AIDS and suppressing the immune … Read More

In the past, smoking cigarettes used to be the “cool” thing to do, but eventually people realized that cigarettes contain many chemicals known to cause lung cancer. As the National Cancer Institute reports, 90% of male deaths and 80% of female deaths from lung cancer are caused by smoking. Amidst the negative health impacts and … Read More

Full disclosure, I have an identical twin brother. Identical twins have long occupied the popular imagination with their nearly indistinguishable genomes (verifiable via sequencing). Seeming to belong to the realm of Star Wars and science fiction, they are genetically clones. In the world of medicine, this represents an intriguing possibility: an identical twin is a living, walking … Read More

Having a bad day? Feeling stressed out from work or school? Here’s an easy solution: hug someone! According to studies, hugging is a great way to not only bond with someone but also boost your physical and emotional health. Hugging increases levels of oxytocin, a naturally occurring hormone in your body that has powerful health benefits including reducing stress, fighting fatigue, boosting … Read More

You may remember being told to put on extra layers before leaving the house as a child, especially when it was cold outside. This piece of advice has been widely accepted as a good way to prevent catching a cold, but the question remains: Does cold weather actually cause colds? This assumption may not make much sense, since viruses such as … Read More

With ear plugs pushed in, shades draped over his eyes, and seat fully reclined, the weary, jet-lagged traveler pulls out a sleeping pill hoping for a good night’s rest. While this scene may sound familiar to many of us, melatonin, the hormone in that sleeping pill, may be a little less familiar. Naturally produced by … Read More

A study by a research team including Adrian Egli from the University of Basel in Switzerland found that a variant in a gene called IL-28B may influence the effectiveness of the flu vaccine. Usually, the flu results in mild symptoms such as nausea, cough, fever, and stuffy nose. However, in some, the condition can lead to serious … Read More

Hair loss is typically dealt with by using cosmetic products. It is an inconvenient occurrence that generally comes with aging and can be explained by the reduced division of cells located at the end of each strand of hair, known as hair follicles. Your immune system deals with infections by producing macrophages from white blood cells called monocytes. Macrophages basically … Read More

You may have heard the phrase “nature versus nurture” before. This is the debate between whether a person’s behavior is shaped more by genetics (nature) or more by experiences and environmental influence (nurture). New research from Stanford University sought to resolve this debate and see whether differences in the human immune system could be attributed to genetics (heritable influences) … Read More

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