Immunology

Compared with standard dialysis, frequent  hemodialysis,  requires accessing the blood more often than conventional hemodialysis, can cause complications related to repeated access to the blood, requiring patients to undergo more repair procedures to the site through which blood is removed and returned, according to a study in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN). 


Here is a conundrum in the culture wars; genetically modified tobacco has been shown to have numerous beneficial effects and now another one has been added.

The treatment for rabies (painful shots, thankfully not all in the stomach in 2013) is not as bad as the disease (death) but it is hardly civilized, so here is hoping the anti-science crowd does not claim genetically modified tobacco will create giant rats with SuperRabies.  Rabies deaths are not a big issue in the USA, 10 a year or so, and therefore it may be safe to do fundraising campaigns about Frankentobacco here, but for developing nations a better solution would save a lot of lives. 


Why has less than half of the USA gotten a flu shot, when 41 states have reported widespread, severe outbreaks of the flu?

Some of the reason is availability. They aren't going to make any more, either. Another culprit is a growing anti-vaccine movement, typified in coastal California's whooping cough outbreaks.

It's not an awareness issue. Despite widespread knowledge that a vaccine is the best way to reduce the chances of catching and spreading the flu, three of the four main NBC TODAY morning show anchors recently admitted they had not gotten a flu shot - then they did so live on the air.


It's not as fun as the Martini Diet but more scientific than the Tapeworm Diet.

A new paper says that parasitic worm infections, a major cause of disease and disability throughout much of the developing world, might actually help treat metabolic disorders associated with obesity.   

A study in Nature Medicine shows that, once inside a host, many parasitic worms secrete a sugar-based anti-inflammatory molecule that might actually help treat metabolic disorders associated with obesity. The sugar molecule - glycan - is released by parasites to help them evade the body's immune system. By reducing inflammation, they are better able to hide in tissues, and humans experience fewer symptoms that might reveal their presence.


Researchers have identified four new regions on the human genome associated with Behcet's disease, a painful and potentially dangerous condition which
causes inflammation of blood vessels in various parts of the body
- the work was aided because the disease is found predominantly in people with ancestors along the Silk Road.

Named for the Turkish physician who described it in 1937, Behcet's disease has no specific genetic or environmental cause but common symptoms include painful mouth and genital sores, and eye inflammation that can lead to blindness. In some cases, it can affect blood vessels in the brain, lungs, and other vital organs. 


Researchers have identified a mechanism by which the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) colonizes our nasal passages, showing for the first time that a protein located on the bacterial surface called clumping factor B (ClfB) has high affinity for the skin protein loricrin.


Researchers say they have discovered a new form of cell division in human cells, which they believe serves as a natural back-up mechanism during faulty cell division, preventing some cells from going down a path that can lead to cancer. 

"If we could promote this new form of cell division, which we call klerokinesis, we may be able to prevent some cancers from developing," says lead researcher Dr. Mark Burkard, an assistant professor of hematology-oncologyat the UW School of Medicine and Public Health, who studies cancers in which cells contain too many chromosomes, a condition called polyploidy, and also sees breast cancer patients.


Current thinking on how the Toxoplasma gondii parasite invades its host is incorrect, according to a study published today in Nature Methods describing a new technique to knock out genes. 

Toxoplasma gondii is a parasite that commonly infects cats - and therefore people who own a lot cats- but is also carried by other warm-blooded animals. Up to a third of the UK population are chronically infected with the parasite, according to estimates. In most cases the acute infection causes only flu-like symptoms but women who become infected during pregnancy can pass the parasite to their unborn child which can result in serious health problems for the baby such as blindness and brain damage. 


It's too late to treat Lou Gehrig, but he would probably still be batting .300 and playing every day for the New York Yankees if he had not been struck down by the disease that now bears his name.

Researchers who are not in the US, or who are Red Sox fans, prefer the more scientific amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) term for Lou Gehrig's Disease and results from eleven independent ALS studies provide some hope for the afflicted community – because they reveal that the disease may be treatable by targeting new mechanisms revealed in neural stem cell-based studies. 


The parasite Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii) is one of the major causes of food-borne diseases but new insights into how the immune system combats T. gondii could lead to the development of long-sought vaccines. 

To fight off pathogens, the immune system relies on Toll-like receptors (TLRs), a class of proteins that recognize microbes and activate immune responses. The important role of TLR11 in recognizing the T. gondii infection was previously demonstrated by a team led by Sankar Ghosh of Columbia University and Alan Sher of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. But scientists had not yet identified any TLRs, including TLR11, that could promote survival in infected animals.