Conventional antibiotics are overprescribed and overconsumed. They are given out like parade candy, tossed out to anyone waving their hands. 2010 data obtained by the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) show that a whopping 833 antibiotic prescriptions are handed out on average per every 1,000 people. Continue reading
Lung inflammation occurs when fluid collects either inside your lungs or within the inner lining of your lungs. The exact cause of lung inflammation varies, but toxins, pollutants, viral infections and lung diseases such as tuberculosis, cystic fibrosis and emphysema appear to contribute to this condition. Symptoms of lung inflammation include chest tightness, shortness of breath, Continue reading
Let’s face it — we couldn’t possibly have a discussion on overprescribed medications without mentioning Big Pharma’s billion-dollar cash cow, antibiotics. Continue reading
Not long ago, a rubber stamp was affixed to the idea that you can stop the spread of viruses simply by washing your hands regularly. Viral infections are a big threat to humanity, making them fodder for Hollywood in such films as the “Contagion.” Researchers have found that we could help Continue reading
Sometimes the disease itself doesn’t kill; the killer is the victim’s own immune system.
A growing amount of research shows that this can happen with certain infections, such as those that cause Lyme disease, syphilis, mycoplasmal pneumonia, and especially viral infections of the nervous system. Death and severe neurological damage come from an attack by our own body’s immune system and not from the damage done by the invading microorganism.
Activation of the body’s immune system triggers the release of glutamate which slowly kills brain cells by a process called excitotoxicity.
A recent study examined a viral infection of the central nervous system of mice which produced severe damage to the hippocampus area of the brain and to the spinal cord, and resulted in death in all of the mice in a little over a week. In some of the mice, researchers used an AMPA type glutamate receptor blocker, which prevented death in most of the animals and also prevented spinal cord damage.
Ironically, at the time the animals were protected from the damage by the glutamate receptor blocker, Continue reading
Breakthrough discovery is likely to advance medicine and human health
A scientist at the Gladstone Institutes has discovered a novel way to convert human skin cells into brain cells, advancing medicine and human health by offering new hope for regenerative medicine and personalized drug discovery and development.
In a paper being published online today in the scientific journal Cell Stem Cell, Sheng Ding, PhD, reveals efficient and robust methods for transforming adult skin cells into neurons that are capable of transmitting brain signals, marking one of the first documented experiments for transforming an adult human’s skin cells into functioning brain cells.
“This work could have important ramifications Continue reading
Having an optimistic expectation about the future can help improve your ability to fight viral and bacterial infections.
Psychological scientists from the University of Kentucky and the University of Lousiville studied 124 first-year law students over a period of six months. They were asked questions about how optimistic they felt about law school and were then injected with a material that would summon an immune response on the skin. They returned two days after each injection to have the site measured.
The skin test measured cell-mediated immunity (CMI), which plays a central role in protection against viral infections.
The students who began the semester more optimistic had more helper T-cells and higher natural killer cell cytotoxicity (the ability of the immune cells to kill cancer cells) mid-semester than those who had been pessimistic.
As the semester went by, the students’ expectations about their schooling waxed and waned, and their immune responses did as well. At more optimistic times, they would have a bigger immune system response. The response seemed to be situation specific – the belief that one would succeed at a certain goal, which normally varies over the course of a school year.
“I don’t think that I would advise people that they should revise their expectations to be unrealistic,” says Suzanne Segerstrom of UK. “But if people have slightly more positive views of the future than is actually true, that’s adaptive…We have seen that optimism positively affects the psychological response to stressful events, and this research reflects a first step toward expanding that observation to include physical health under stress.”
Past research has also tied optimism to improved immunity and better coping and disease course after a challenge such as surgery. Optimism is associated with a slower immune decline among patients with HIV, for example.
Reference: “Optimism is Associated With Mood, Coping, and Immune Change in Response to Stress”by Suzanne C. Segerstrom, Ph.D., Shelley E. Taylor, Ph.D., Margaret E. Kemeny, Ph.D., and John L. Fahey, Ph.D.; Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,