The thymus is one of those under appreciated organs you just don’t hear much about. Sitting in your chest, just in front of your heart, the thymus is at its largest and most active during infancy and childhood. By adulthood, the thymus has shrunk to practically nothing, being mostly replaced by fat. It plays an important role in the health of your immune system, and is the location where certain immune cells, called T-cells, go to mature and develop properly. The thymus is like a schoolhouse for T-cells where they learn important lessons, like “recognize these sets of proteins as part of our own body and don’t attack them, but attack anything you don’t recognize because it must be a… Read more..
Posts Categorized: News & Information
Researchers have conducted the first ever trials of smart pills that can measure intestinal gases inside the body, with surprising results revealing some unexpected ways that fibre affects the gut. Intestinal gases have been linked to colon cancer, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), but their role in health is poorly understood and there is currently no easy and reliable tool for detecting them inside the gut. The first animal trials of smart gas sensing pills developed at Australia’s RMIT University – which can send data from inside the gut directly to a mobile phone – have examined the impact of low and high-fibre diets on intestinal gases and offer new clues for the development of treatments… Read more..
In today’s hustle and bustle world, processed foods are commonplace time-savers. But that convenience factor may come with a bigger price tag than previously known, says an international team of researchers. In findings published earlier this year in Autoimmunity Reviews, researchers from Israel and Germany present evidence that processed foods weaken the intestine’s resistance to bacteria, toxins and other hostile nutritional and not nutritional elements, which in turn increases the likelihood of developing autoimmune diseases. The study was led by Professor Aaron Lerner, of the Technion Faculty of Medicine and Carmel Medical Center, Haifa and Dr. Torsten Matthias of the Aesku-Kipp Institute (Germany). The research team examined the effects of processed food on the intestines, and on the development of… Read more..
The number of U.S. kids living with type 1 diabetes has increased by almost 60 percent since 2002, and experts are not sure why. Using a national database, researchers found that the prevalence of type 1 diabetes stood at just under 1.5 cases per 1,000 children and teenagers in 2002. By 2013, that figure had risen to 2.3 per 1,000. The study, published online Dec. 17 in the journal Diabetes Care, adds to evidence of a global—and puzzling—rise in type 1 diabetes. Unlike type 2 diabetes—a common adulthood disease—type 1 diabetes has nothing to do with obesity. It’s an autoimmune disease in which the immune system mistakenly attacks the cells that produce insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar. And it’s usually… Read more..
Researchers at the UT Southwestern Medical Center have found an enzyme they think is a culprit in at least two autoimmune disorders. Writing in the Oct. 20 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the investigators in Dallas report experiments in mice suggest shutting down production of the enzyme could help tame autoimmunity. The molecule they were studying is cyclic GMP–AMP synthase, or cGAS. In 2012 Zhijian “James” Chen, professor of molecular biology at UT Southwestern, and his team reported that cGAS is a “sensor” molecule for the innate immune system, which mounts the body’s earliest defense against invading pathogens such as bacteria. In response to pathogens cGAS spurs the innate immune system and sets off a… Read more..
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is often treated with an inexpensive drug called methotrexate. Now it appears that this same drug may be helpful for people who suffer from Osteoarthritis (OA), and that’s surprising. Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory autoimmune condition where the body’s defense system attacks healthy tissue in the lining of the joints, causing inflammation and pain. Methotrexate is a drug designed to treat certain autoimmune conditions and certain cancers. It works by suppressing the immune system and slowing growth of certain cells. For RA, it suppresses the immune system from attacking joints, and lessens the inflammation in the joints, which eases pain and reduces long-term damage to joints. Either there are no banners, they are disabled or none… Read more..
Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute have made a new discoverydiscovery that could help in the fight against both cancer and autoimmune diseases. Enzyme that relays signals between cells’ mitochondria could help fight disease. They have found that the enzyme receptor-interacting serine-threonine kinase-3 (RIPK3) has a role not previously envisaged: sending messages between the cells’ mitochondria “powerhouses” and the immune system, according to an article published in the journal Nature Communications. It appears that the communication carried out by RIPK3 has two functions: first, to launch immune responses against tumors, and second, to regulate inflammatory responses that may result in autoimmune diseases. RIPK3 was already known to control the induction of necroptosis, which is a form of programmed cell death…. Read more..
Women are more likely to develop autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis (MS), and a lab accident has come closer to determining the reasoning behind this, according to findings published in The Journal of Immunology. Researchers from Northwestern University accidentally used all female mice instead of all male mice in an experiment which lead to the discovery that the innate lymphoid cell, a type of white blood cell, exhibits different immune activities in males versus females. A mouse model of MS was induced into the animals and essentially 100% of the mice got sick if they were female. However, a notable difference the researchers found was that male mice either do not get sick or experience lesser symptoms. That’s the reason behind… Read more..
(7/21/15) Children prescribed courses of antibiotics were found to have twice the risk of developing juvenile arthritis than children who did not receive antibiotics, according to the findings of a new study. Researchers estimate that around a quarter of antibiotics prescribed to children are unnecessary. The estimate is higher for antibiotics prescribed for acute respiratory infections. The study, published in Pediatrics, also found that the more antibiotics the children were prescribed, the greater their risk of juvenile arthritis developing. It is believed that around half of antibiotics courses prescribed to children for acute respiratory infections are unnecessary, giving more significance to the researchers’ findings. “Our research suggests another possible reason to avoid antibiotic overuse for infections that would otherwise get… Read more..
One drop of blood can reveal every virus you’ve had! Using less than a drop of blood, a new test can reveal nearly every virus a person has been exposed to, scientists report. The test, which is still experimental, can be performed for as little as $US25 ($32) and could become an important research tool for tracking patterns of disease in various populations, helping scientists compare the old and the young, or people in various parts of the world. It could also be used to try to find out whether viruses, or the body’s immune response to them, contribute to chronic diseases and cancer, the researchers said. “I’m sure there’ll be lots of applications we haven’t even dreamed of,” said… Read more..