Immune system

Category archives for Immune system

On Thursday, I had a post published on Scientific American’s guest Blog about claims that genetically modified food crops could contain allergens. In it, I am critical of the Union of Concerned Scientists (a science advocacy and policy organization), for what I read as misplaced opposition to genetic engineering: The UCS’s concern about the dire state of…

Every time I see an ad for some remedy that “Helps BOOST the Immune System!”  I die a little inside. It’s not just that these products are often homeopathic bull*, but (as I’ve mentioned before), boosting the immune system can actually be a terrible idea. The immune system is a finely tuned instrument, and too much can…

For this week’s OAS Wednesday, I thought I’d try to highlight some research that’s in my field. As a result, I will likely be more prone than usual to lapsing into jargon and assuming knowledge that I shouldn’t (or maybe I’ll over-correct and get too simplified). Please let me know if anything needs clarification. In real…

One of the things that bugs me most in pop-sci and woo-woo science is the obsession with “boosting” the immune system. The immune system is in a constant balancing act – tip it too far one way and even normally harmless bacteria become life-threatening. But tilt it too far in the other direction, and you…

A “potentially historic” blizzard is barreling down on us here in New England, and is poised to drop up to two feet of snow on Boston. All of the schools in the area preemptively closed, our public transit system is shutting down at 3:30pm, and trying to buy groceries last night was bedlam. The snow is just…

There are a lot of reasons that posts to this blog sometimes don’t happen for months at a time, but one of them is that I can often get sucked down the rabbit hole that is Reddit. If you don’t know about reddit yet, you may not want to click that link, but if you…

In case you missed it, over the past couple of days there have been reports of an outbreak of Ebola hemorrhagic  fever virus in Uganda. As of this writing, the most recent report I’ve seen puts the death toll at 16, with a few other suspected cases. Ebola is terrifying for a number of reasons – it’s…

The vast majority of funding for biological research in the US comes from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and as a result, most of our grants are written in a way that plays up the clinical importance of our work. Some variant of the phrase, This research has implications in the treatment/prevention of [insert…

In honor of the great Scienceblogs migration, and inspired by Ethan’s wonderful post about the migration of the universe, I thought I would talk about something on a smaller scale: cell migration. The scale is small, but the problem is huge. Most of your organs are locked in place – your heart never needs to…

I know something’s amiss when my google news alert returns headlines like these: Why women who lust after Brad Pitt may just fancy his immune system It’s His Immune System That You Actually Want to Sleep With The key to male sexiness: A powerful immune system? and my personal favorite Antibodies, Not Hard Bodies: The…