immune system

This flu season, one product is making its comeback: orange juice. Sales of OJ seem to have gotten a boost — after years of decline — due to consumers' fears of getting the dreaded illness. 

But is dosing yourself with high amounts of Vitamin C warranted for this year's flu from hell?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

People who have an allergic parent are pretty likely also to be allergic. But those of us with two allergic parents (yours truly) are really hosed. We are much more liable to have atopic dermatitis, (aka AD, eczema) (1) and that isn't much fun.

The name is a bit misleading (2) because atopy is not just itchy skin. Atopics are genetically predisposed (3) to also suffer from allergic rhinitis (hay fever, allergies to animals,) have allergies to certain foods and asthma. When these three occur together (which is not uncommon) is it called an "atopic triad." I can personally tell you that it just plain sucks.

Until now, standard treatments for severe eczema have been topical steroids and UV light therapy. Each carries its own...

Cow's milk allergies

Allergy to cow's milk is not well understood*. It is known that the phenomenon is more common in children than adults and that it generally goes away as a child grows up. As one might suspect in our age of hypochondria, parents who think their child has a milk allergy are far more common than parents who have a child with an actual milk allergy.

In an effort to understand how cow's milk allergies (CMA) form, an interdisciplinary team of scientists investigated if there is a link between certain kinds of sugars found in a mother's breast milk and the presence of CMA in her...

Credit: Shutterstock Credit: Shutterstock

Being an astronaut is not easy. Not only must you be in top physical and mental shape, but your body undergoes a constant assault from the effects of microgravity. According to Scientific American, prolonged space flight results in muscle atrophy, cardiovascular problems, neurological and...

Last year, a team of researchers led by Ellen Foxman and Akiko Iwasaki of Yale University provided supporting evidence for the popular notion that being in cold weather makes a person more susceptible to catching cold. They showed that mouse cells do not respond well to rhinovirus, a cause of the common cold, when incubated at temperatures lower than normal body temperature. In particular, mouse cells secreted less and were less responsive to interferon-β, a type of antiviral defense molecule. Thus, their research demonstrated a plausible molecular mechanism to explain the phenomenon.

Now, the researchers are back with yet more evidence. This time, they...

sniper via shutterstock sniper via shutterstock

The human body's immune system is similar to having millions, if not billions, of snipers at the ready aiming and poised to shoot any foreign invader which is why transplanted tissues and organs are so vulnerable to rejection.

The technology for growing insulin-producing beta cells from human embryonic stem cells was successfully accomplished by Harvard researchers in 2014. However, the immune system, unable to distinguish between the good guys and the bad, quickly destroyed those...

Fever 2When a mild fever strikes healthy kids or adults, that small rise in body temperature usually prompts a move towards the medicine cabinet, seeking relief in the form of a pill. But perhaps, this is a reaction that needs to be reconsidered.

The reason to do so comes into focus by first understanding why the body produces a fever in the first place. To that point, it's a self-corrective, physiological response that aids overall human health.

Knowing this, in deciding how to treat a fever, we need a better understanding of: normal human body temperature; what's happening to the immune and circulatory systems; and whether the...

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We ve written several times about the easily-preventable Disneyland measles outbreak that occurred earlier this year. A total of 147 people were sickened in the US, and infections also spread to Mexico and Canada. The outbreak once again sparked the debate about vaccinations. With most people having finally abandoned their mistaken belief happily encouraged by quacks and supplement salesmen that vaccines cause autism (they don t), anti-vaxxers instead resorted...

1037197_16221105Scientists and doctors alike have considered gene therapy a potential panacea since it was first postulated on in the 1970s. If harnessed correctly, gene therapy could provide real cures for an array of ailments from cancers to Parkinson s to Tay-Sachs. The common thread in these is that a cell s genome is altered in a very specific way that is detrimental to the organism s physiology. In gene therapy, the idea is that by using a...