Immunology

After playing in every game for some 14 years in baseball, Lou Gehrig of the New York Yankees - "The Iron Horse" - took himself out of the lineup because his manager wouldn't. He had been dropping balls, unable to get to routine plays, hitting in the low .100s, shuffling rather than running.

A month later he was diagnosed with the disease that would become synonymous with his name. That he had been able to do any sports at all, much less Major League Baseball, with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
- ALS - is startling to doctors and patients today. Two years later he was dead but today, as many as 30,000 Americans are living with it.


In unvaccinated hotbeds like California and New York, rich elites rely on 'herd immunity' to protect their children - poor families will get the vaccines and protect the rich ones. That's why in those states, easily preventable diseases have come roaring back, with dangerous consequences.

Developing nations should be a reminder to anti-science progressives about the risks they are inflicting on kids who can't get vaccines, and their own children as well. Nearly 4 million children under 5 die from vaccine-preventable diseases worldwide each year.


The code for every gene includes a message at the end of it that signals the translation machinery to stop but diseases like cystic fibrosis and Duchenne muscular dystrophy can result from mutations that insert this stop signal into the middle of an essential gene, causing the resulting protein to be truncated.

Some antibiotics cause the cell's translation machinery to ignore the stop codons and are therefore being explored as a potential therapy for these diseases. New research in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences finds that this approach could come with the price of triggering autoimmune disease.


West Nile virus is spread by infected mosquitoes and targets the central nervous system. It can be fatal disease and there is currently no cure or drug treatment. It has spread across the U.S., Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean. 

An international research group has developed a cost-effective therapeutic against West Nile virus and other pathogens. The therapeutics, known as monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) and their derivatives, were shown to neutralize and protect mice against a lethal dose challenge of West Nile virus - even as late as 4 days after the initial infection. 


A new type of single-dose vaccine comes in a nasal spray and doesn't require refrigeration.

The latest design and testing of these "nanovaccines" sets the stage to dramatically alter the public health landscape because it can get more people vaccinated around the world squash the looming threats of emerging and re-emerging diseases. 


Nature is always looking for new ways to stay ahead. To-date, resistance to pesticides has been recorded in more than 500 insects, 218 weeds, and 190 fungi that attack plants.

The recorded cases of resistance in insects, mites and other arthropods, which include resistance to multiple pesticides per species, more than doubled between 1990 and 2013, from 5,141 to 11,254.

How will a new glossary help? The authors of updated definitions in the Journal of Economic Entomology say a common vocabulary is needed because the current jumble of terms fosters confusion among scientists in academia, industry and government.  


Crohn's disease, a type of inflammatory bowel disease, is a condition that occurs when your body's immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys healthy body tissue. The exact cause of Crohn's disease is unknown.  

A new report in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology shows for the first time precisely what type of immune cells are involved in driving the inflammation process in the disease. With this knowledge, new compounds can be identified which reduce the activity of these cells or lessen their inflammatory effects. 


Most of the public doesn't know this, but some people are allergic to metal. 10 percent of the Germany public is allergic to nickel, according to background information in a new paper.

But medical implants use nickel. Nickel-titanium alloys are increasingly used as material for cardiovascular implants in minimal invasive surgery and, once implanted, these alloys can release small amounts of nickel due to corrosion. Is that dangerous? 


Polio is an incurable, crippling, contagious and possibly fatal viral disease. The United States last experienced a polio epidemic in the 1950s, before a vaccine was introduced. 

Today, it has been eradicated from most of the planet, but a polio-like syndrome has been found in a cluster of children from California over a one-year period, according to a case report released today.


A few years ago, sugar was engaged in a ground war against corn syrup, and the public relations campaign against high fructose corn syrup was so successful that even corn syrup carried labels saying 'no HFCS' while bleached white sugar was portrayed as a healthier alternative.

But now bleached white table sugar is under the gun also. It doesn't make much difference, really, sugar is sugar. And replacing fructose with glucose won't do a thing to make people healthier, according to a paper in Current Opinion in Lipidology, which shows that when portion sizes and calories are the same, fructose and glucose are the same.