Human spaceflight seems all the more remarkable when you consider the fact that our bodies didn’t evolve for space. We suffer in major ways as a result of microgravity and living in confined quarters hundreds of miles above the surface of the planet. Even our our immune systems take a hit, leaving us more susceptible to infection and disease as we spend more time in space. Continue reading Most of us have viruses sleeping inside us, and spaceflight wakes them up
After a man in Italy was reported to have signs of Zika virus in his semen six months after exposure, scientists are questioning whether the virus is reproducing itself in the male genital tract.
Scientists have long theorized that the immune system has a more neurological connection than previously thought, and research has risen up to validate them. Recent studies, for example, have found that there is a physical connection between the immune system and the brain’s blood supply, and now there seems to be a more psychological connection.
Parents, you can stop fretting about your child’s disgusting habits. An analysis of more than 1,000 kids between the ages of 5 and 11 reveals that nail-biters and thumb-suckers are less likely to develop allergic sensitivities later on in life.
Every year, 4,500 Americans die waiting for a kidney transplant. It’s not just because there aren’t enough donors—part of the problem is that donors need to be compatible to prevent the recipient’s body from rejecting the new kidney. They need the right blood type, but they also have to have the right combination of six antigens–molecules on a cell that have the capacity to trigger an immune response. Any two random people have a one in 100,000 chance that all six antigens will match, and even then it’s not a guarantee that the kidney won’t be rejected.
Mimiviruses are viruses so big they can actually be seen with a simple light microscope. European scientists have now learned that these bizarre organisms have their own immune system that makes them virtually invulnerable to predatory viruses, suggesting these creatures may actually represent a new branch in the tree of life.
In recent years, scientists have been finding new ways to treat cancer outside of the chemotherapy and surgery combination. One technique, called immunotherapy, has showed promising results by reprogramming the patient’s immune system to attack tumors. Researchers from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle tested a version of immunotherapy on patients who had late-stage leukemia and lymphoma that had exhausted other treatment options—some weren’t expected to survive the experiment.