Immune system

Tag archives for Immune system

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…

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…

[This question was originally asked on www.reddit.com/r/askscience on Jan 17, 2013] Why do microorganisms only begin breaking down our tissues after death? What stops them from doing so whilst we are still alive? The main reason is that our body maintains a multitude of barriers that largely prevent bacteria and other microorganisms from gaining entry.…

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 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…

I promise, this will be my last semen post for a while. I’ve talked about allergy to semen. I’ve talked about allergens in semen. And I’ve talked about autoimmunity to semen. All of these are problems, leading to discomfort or infertility. But what if those problems could be leveraged for our benefit? [Source: These drawings…

Allergies 101

One of my favorite places on the internet is r/askscience, a place on reddit where people come and ask questions, and a panel of scientists answer. People can ask follow-up questions, and there is often some great back-and forth (to be honest, part of the reason I haven’t been writing as much here is because…

That one looks delicious

While researching my recent post on the Nobel Prize, I discovered that the website has a series of “educational productions,” including games and written/illustrated primers on different topics. I’ve been playing the malaria game all morning – you have to fly a mosquito around drinking the blood of humans while avoiding bug spray and mosquito…