Immunology

How does Zika get transmitted? In America, it seems to be sex, but in South America it is mosquitoes? While all three vectors are ecologically useless - they could be blasted out of existence with no impact at all anywhere - it is helpful to know which ones are the real culprits.

Researchers have now been able to directly connect the Aedes aegypti mosquito with Zika transmission in the Americas during an outbreak in southern Mexico. 


Despite two generations of prevention, awareness and treatment, gay and bisexual continue to have high levels of HIV infection, a new study led by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health shows. 


Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) develops through chromosomal alterations in blood-forming cells of the bone marrow and usually occurs in older persons. Around 20 percent of adults diagnosed with leukemia suffer from this type of blood cancer.


Celiac disease is a rare immune-based condition brought on by the consumption of gluten in genetically susceptible patients. In recent years a larger number of people have stated they are gluten sensitive or even celiac despite lack of a diagnosis, and many dismissed that as the nocebo effect - people who give up something harmless and feel better, the opposite of people who take something harmless and feel better, a placebo. They argued that people who were embracing it because of pop culture books on wheat.

It's no surprise that the rise of peanut allergies correlates to the rise in helicopter parenting. Where kids once built up immunity by getting dirty and eating the foods their parents, a subset of modern parents schedule play dates, buy antibacterial soap and believe that breast milk has "otherworldly power."


If we want to cut down on antibacterial resistance, we should certainly stop buying that stupid hand soap, but we should also stop doing symptom-based medicine when it comes to sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs), which the regular medical community abandoned years ago.

Leave that kind of 'act first, think later' approach to homeopaths, naturopaths and chiropractors.

If we did, 75 percent of emergency department patients with symptoms of gonorrhea or chlamydia would not just be handed antibiotics only to test negative.  


A few years ago, there were concerns about Dengue in Florida. This plight on humanity is carried by a small number of mosquitoes that have no ecological value of any kind, they are just disease carriers that have somehow survived evolution. 

Pesticides obviously work, DDT has been killing the bugs that carry malaria for 70 years, but a more targeted approach is making sure they can't viably reproduce - a genetically modified mosquito does that quite well, but an activist mom, funded by environmentalists, whipped the public into frenzy. Science rationally showed that the arguments were hype, not science


Gay men who live outside major Canadian cities are less likely to get an HIV test than their metropolitan counterparts, according to a survey which also finds that the lower testing rates are likely connected to internalized feelings of homophobia and a reluctance to disclose sexual preferences at a doctor's office. 

The team surveyed 153 people recruited through online dating sites and events in the gay community. The results were that 24 percent of men living in smaller communities had never had an HIV test, compared to the 14 to 17 percent of untested men living in large cities such as Vancouver and Toronto.


Some broad-spectrum antibiotics that disrupt the gut microbiome may raise the risk of complications from stem cell transplantation, according to a new study evaluating data from more than 850 transplant patients, as well as from mice.

The findings suggest that selecting antibiotics that spare "good" bacteria may help protect against graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), which occurs when transplanted donor cells, recognizing their new home as foreign, attack the recipient's body.

Transplant patients vulnerable to life-threatening bacterial infections are often treated with broad-spectrum antibiotics.


A new study presented today demonstrates the potential challenge posed to public health systems across Europe as a result of the prevalence of Hepatitis B among new refugee populations. 

With nearly 1,000,000 asylum applications lodged in Germany alone last year, the European Union (EU) is experiencing an unprecedented wave of immigration by refugees and asylum seekers. With many coming from the mid-east, health authorities in the EU face serious challenges in responding to the spread of communicable diseases among both refugee and native populations.