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Posts Tagged "immune system"

Food Matters

Genetically Engineered Bananas – Audiommunity with Pamela Ronald

Screen Shot 2014-06-04 at 3.49.18 PM

Bananas are delicious. Personally, my favorite consumption methods are in oatmeal or cereal, in smoothies, or just on their own (for the record, I peel them the right way, not from the stem like some savage). But bananas aren’t just some tasty delicacy, they’re actually a staple crop for millions of people, just behind wheat, [...]

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Food Matters

The Genetics of the Immune System

a-new-vision-for-teaching-science_1

Last week, I had the opportunity to talk with a group of students from Grandview Heights School in Edmonton, Canada. The students are learning about genetics, and the instructor, John Chase asked me to talk about how genetics impacts my field, and to give them a perspective on how this stuff translates to the real world. [...]

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Food Matters

What’s eating us?

From wikipedia (click for source)

As #SciAmFood week draws to a close, we’ve heard a lot about the food we consume, from not getting enough to astronaut nutrition (and getting too much) to tricking your brain about what it’s getting. But what about the things in our food that consume us? We humans do not live a sterile life, no [...]

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Observations

Skin Bacteria Are Your Friends

skin bacteria immune infection

Americans have been on an antibacterial kick for the past several years. Our hand soap, dish soap, and body wash have morphed into an arsenal of bug-killing napalm, eliminating all but the heartiest of bacteria. And there are, indeed, some scary microbes crawling around out there—Staph and C. Diff, just to name a couple. But [...]

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Observations

Hotel Rooms’ Most Bacteria-Laden Surfaces? Don’t Touch That Dial

hotel room bacteria remote

Whenever I stay in a hotel room, I’m a little wary of the throw pillows, a bit skittish about the television remote and would never even consider taking a bath. Perhaps I’m being overly paranoid, but as a slight germaphobe, I figure it doesn’t hurt to be a little cautious. New preliminary research vindicates at [...]

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Observations

Saturated Fats Change Gut Bacteria–and May Raise Risk for Inflammatory Bowel Disease

saturated fat western diet milk gut microbiome inflammatory bowel disease colitis risk

The relationship between food and a gastro-intestinal disease might sound simple. But new research is revealing that what we put into our bodies can cause a cascade of complex interactions among various systems—from metabolism to the immune system—that keep us well or make us sick. And it appears that a popular component of the classic [...]

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Observations

Can You Predict a Monkey’s Social Status by Looking at Its Genes?

rhesus macaques in India

Rhesus macaques, which are some of the best studied of all monkeys, establish hierarchies in their social groups. Whenever two macaques tussle over a piece of food, say, or the right to mate, the monkey with the higher rank usually wins. Primatologists have established that monkeys of a lower social status are generally more stressed [...]

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Observations

Y Chromosome Can Raise Heart Disease Risk by 50 Percent

coronary artery disease

Men tend to get coronary artery disease much earlier than do women. For some men, the reason for that might be in part because of their fathers—and their father’s father—according to a new study, published online Wednesday in The Lancet. The study analyzed data from 3,233 unrelated white men enrolled in previous U.K. studies. From [...]

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Observations

Specialized Immune Cells Fight Hardening Arteries

dendritic cell

Immune cells do more than just fend off infections. When cholesterol starts building up in arteries, scavenger white blood cells known as macrophages report to the scene to start trying to digest it. These little cells, though, don’t always manage to clear the site and often end up as part of the blockade themselves. These [...]

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Observations

Some depression might have roots in immune-generated inflammation

some depression might stem from inflammation caused by the immune system

NEW YORK—The immune system works hard to keep us well physically, but might it also be partly to blame for some mental illnesses? "The immune system may play a significant role in the development of depression," Andrew Miller, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Emory University School of Medicine, said Tuesday at a [...]

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Observations

Another reason vitamin D is important: It gets T cells going

vitamin d immune system activation t cell

Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to a rapidly expanding inventory of ailments—including heart disease, cancer and the common cold. A new discovery demonstrates how the vitamin plays a major role in keeping the body healthy in the first place, by allowing the immune system’s T cells to start doing their jobs.  In order for [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

No Shots for the Octopus, Its Immune System Doesn’t Remember

octopus immune system shots

Flu season is almost upon us, so millions of us are already rolling up our sleeves to get the annual shot. This jab is formulated to introduce our immune system to this year’s circulating strains of the virus so that it will remember how to make the specialized antibodies to fend it off the viral [...]

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