Immunology

New ophthalmology research finds that dry eye - the little understood culprit behind red, watery, gritty feeling eyes - strikes most often in spring, just as airborne allergens are surging, the first direct correlation between seasonal allergens and dry eye, with both pollen and dry eye cases reaching a yearly peak in the month of April. 

It's a dilemma many working parents: your child has a cough or a cold, do you send them to daycare?

Researchers from the University of Bristol have investigated the process of decision-making that parents go through when faced with this situation and find that parents viewed coughs and colds as less serious and not as contagious as sickness and diarrhea symptoms. This resulted in parents sending their child to daycare with a respiratory tract infection (RTI), which can result in the spread of similar illnesses in the wider community. 

The mosquito transmitted Chikungunya virus, which causes Chikungunya fever, is spreading continuously. No vaccine is so far available. Researchers of the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have experimentally recombined segments of the virus surface protein E2, thus creating artificial proteins. The domain generated that way - "sAB+" - was able to confer a protective effect against Chikungunya virus to the animal. An immunization by means of this small protein fragment could thus provide a suitable approach to developing a Chikungunya vaccine.

Household pets can transmit infection to people, especially those with weak immune systems, young children, pregnant women and seniors, according to a new study. Health care providers and pet owners should be aware of this risk to prevent illness in vulnerable people.

Surveys suggest that the general public and people at high risk for pet-associated disease are not aware of the risks associated with high-risk pet practices or recommendations to reduce them; for example, 77% of households that obtained a new pet following a cancer diagnosis acquired a high-risk pet," states Dr. Jason Stull, assistant professor, Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio.

In 2012 the US saw a resurgence of pertussis (whooping cough) cases. the highest since 1955. Like in engineering, the reason a small increase in anti-science beliefs can lead to a big change in the number of cases comes down to degrees of freedom and the math of networks.

The likelihood of being bitten by mosquitoes could be linked to our genes, according to a recent study. Previous papers have suggested that human attractiveness to insects is based on differences in body odor or diet but there has been no clear and consistent dietary explanation. 

For me, it was hornets.

One summer afternoon when I was 12, I ran into an overgrown field near a friend’s house and kicked a hornet nest the size of a football. An angry squadron of insects clamped onto my leg; their stings felt like scorching needles. I swatted the hornets away and ran for help, but within minutes I realized something else was happening. A constellation of pink stars had appeared around the stings. The hives swelled, and new ones began appearing farther up my legs. I was having an allergic reaction.

A study of disease dynamics in a California grassland has shed light on fundamental principles underlying the spread of pathogens among species, according to researchers at the University of California, Santa Cruz who measured the amount of disease on the leaves of plants in a meadow on campus.

They found that the amount of disease on each species depended on how common it was, as well as on the abundance of its close relatives. The results were a tight link between the structure of a plant community and the vulnerability of individual species to disease. In addition, when the researchers introduced novel plant species into the grassland, they were able to predict which ones would be most strongly affected by naturally occurring diseases. 

Western dietary guidelines support the consumption of dairy but how much of the specific ratios is cultural versus evidence-based has always been a debate.

One thing that has never been debate is if there is anything special about yogurt. Though it has become increasingly popular due to marketing claims about "probiotics" there is no evidence any of it is true, nor is it helping with any of the physical and mental parameters analyzed in a new study of 4,445 Spanish adults.

Scientists at the Vetmeduni Vienna investigated whether stomach ulcers in cattle are related to the presence of certain bacteria. For their study, they analyzed bacteria present in healthy and ulcerated cattle stomachs and found very few differences in microbial diversity. Bacteria therefore appear to play a minor role in the development of ulcers.

The microbial diversity present in the stomachs of cattle has now been published.