Allergies/autoimmunity

Category archives for Allergies/autoimmunity

Allergic to Spunk

For about two years in high school, I would occasionally break out into pretty severe hives. I would first notice a mild itch on my wrists or ankles, and I would know that the hives were coming if I gently scratched my forearm and raised red streaks were left behind (I have a picture somewhere…

The Trouble with Magic Bullets

Antibodies are often thought of as magic bullets, and as far as bullets go, they are about as magic as you can get. Antibodies are proteins that are manufactured by specialized “B-cells,” and their main feature is that they stick to things. At first glance, biochemical stickiness does not seem all that magical; there are…

Tolerance isn’t easy

Our immune system needs to be on a hair-trigger. When you breathe in a virus or a bacterium enters a cut on your arm, you don’t want to mess around: (disclaimer: most of what George Carlin says in the rest of that clip is not supported by the science (though it’s funny as hell)) But…