Immunology

I drank raw milk as a kid.  If you were poor and living in the country decades ago, when dairy farmers still had some measure of autonomy from government rules, you probably did too.  

It didn't hurt me. That doesn't mean it's a good idea to drink it; now, instead of poor people in the country who didn't want to pay a lot for milk in a store because it was price controlled by the government, raw milk is a fad for the wealthy anti-vaccine crowd. 
One strategy for tackling hard-to-treat bacterial infections could be viruses that can target and destroy bacteria. The development of such novel therapies is being accelerated in response to growing antibiotic resistance, says Dr David Harper at the Society for General Microbiology's Spring Conference in Dublin.

Primary Immune Deficiencies (PIDs) can be defined as defects in the immune system. 

No, that can’t be enough.

PIDs are defined as inherent defects in the immune system?

Nope. Still not good enough.

PIDs are defined as the susceptibility to rare pathogens?

Not quite.

Recurrent infections?

Nope.

We’ve known about PIDs atleast since the 1950s. We shed a tear at the John Travolta movie “The boy in the plastic bubble” (partly because of the movie but mostly because it had John Travolta). Indeed, Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID) as described in the movie is the most well known of the PIDs. But is that all? Are PIDs simply the abcence of a functioning immune system?

If you do not have your 11-year-old child in a car seat while driving and in a bicycle helmet while playing, you are putting them at severe risk.  We have to protect them.  Or not. While we expose kids to all kinds of harmful cultural stuff at earlier and earlier ages (sex, violence, political debates) we don't trust their physical competence or their judgment.

Heck, the people behind the government health care plan think 25 should be the earliest age for adulthood.
Scienceagogo claims that having sex when you are sick can boost your immune system. “Healthcare Magic” seems to bring the question of is it ok to have sex when sick or with a flu mainly down to whether you infect others. The most important result of my whole last week: If you are already sick with the sniffles, just don’t do it! No matter how sexy she (or whatever rocks your boat) is – it isn’t worth the risk.

Science for the win!

Since the first appearance of the highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 virus in 1997, over 500 human cases have been reported--more than 60% of which resulted in death. Researchers are still trying to work out the many possible routes of disease transmission in order to decrease human exposure to the virus. This is not an easy task given how many wild and domestic birds may be carriers, and the variety of ways in which these animals may come into contact with both each other and the humans they can ultimately infect.

The development of simple tests to predict a leukemic relapse in young patients has come a step closer. Approximately 20 percent of young leukemia patients who are treated with stem cells derived from umbilical cord blood will experience leukemic relapse but new research findings published in Blood demonstrate that the blame falls partially on T cells, a subset of white blood cells. 

The researchers analyzed blood samples from young children who received an umbilical cord blood transplant for the treatment of blood disorders, including leukemia. They were particularly interested in studying the three to six month time period post-transplantation, when the children were most susceptible to both relapse and infection.

If you're worried about getting the flu, chances are that you got an influenza vaccine; these are created on an annual basis and use a method from the 1950s; it is egg-based technology, literally produced in chicken eggs.  Some vaccines, like polio, are now created using laboratory-grown cell lines that are capable of hosting a growing virus.  The first is inefficient, the second is expensive.(1)

The future of vaccines looks a little different. The race is on to create a universal flu vaccine, one that does not have to be recreated each year, and to also bring the technology cost down to where it is more financially constructive to get people a vaccine than have them in the hospital.(2)

Well, according to a new study, blame the micro RNAs (miRNAs) linked to the X chromosome. The study, published in  BioEssays, investigated the observation that women live longer than males and are more able to fight off shock episodes of sepsis, infection or trauma. Thus, the researchers from Ghent University, Belgium, decided to take a look at the X chromosome and the miRNAs linked to it.