News tagged with immune system

Related topics: cells , immune cells , immune response , bacteria , protein

Infections can affect your IQ

New research shows that infections can impair your cognitive ability measured on an IQ scale. The study is the largest of its kind to date, and it shows a clear correlation between infection levels and impaired ...

May 21, 2015
popularity 100 comments 0

Shining a new light on the immune system

Scientists at the University of St Andrews have developed a revolutionary method of identifying cells of the immune system with "molecular fingerprints" which could pave the way for the rapid detection of ...

May 21, 2015
popularity 150 comments 0

Inflammation stops the biological clock

Researchers at Trinity College Dublin and the University of Pennsylvania have uncovered an important link between our body clock and the immune system that will have relevance to the treatment of inflammatory ...

May 18, 2015
popularity 257 comments 0

Educating the immune system to prevent allergies

With the arrival of spring, millions of Canadians have begun their annual ritual of sneezing and wheezing due to seasonal allergies. A research team at the Montreal Children's Hospital from the Research Institute ...

May 14, 2015
popularity 75 comments 1

Breakthrough opens door to safer lupus drugs

A ground-breaking discovery by Monash University researchers could revolutionise treatments given to lupus sufferers, saving thousands of people each year from serious illness or death caused by secondary ...

May 14, 2015
popularity 117 comments 0

Immune system

An immune system is a collection of biological processes within an organism that protects against disease by identifying and killing pathogens and tumour cells. It detects a wide variety of agents, from viruses to parasitic worms, and needs to distinguish them from the organism's own healthy cells and tissues in order to function properly. Detection is complicated as pathogens can evolve rapidly, producing adaptations that avoid the immune system and allow the pathogens to successfully infect their hosts.

To survive this challenge, multiple mechanisms evolved that recognize and neutralize pathogens. Even simple unicellular organisms such as bacteria possess enzyme systems that protect against viral infections. Other basic immune mechanisms evolved in ancient eukaryotes and remain in their modern descendants, such as plants, fish, reptiles, and insects. These mechanisms include antimicrobial peptides called defensins, phagocytosis, and the complement system. Vertebrates such as humans have even more sophisticated defense mechanisms. The immune systems of vertebrates consist of many types of proteins, cells, organs, and tissues, which interact in an elaborate and dynamic network. As part of this more complex immune response, the human immune system adapts over time to recognise specific pathogens more efficiently. This adaptation process is referred to as "adaptive immunity" or "acquired immunity" and creates immunological memory. Immunological memory created from a primary response to a specific pathogen, provides an enhanced response to secondary encounters with that same, specific pathogen. This process of acquired immunity is the basis of vaccination.

Disorders in the immune system can result in disease. Immunodeficiency occurs when the immune system is less active than normal, resulting in recurring and life-threatening infections. Immunodeficiency can either be the result of a genetic disease, such as severe combined immunodeficiency, or be produced by pharmaceuticals or an infection, such as the acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) that is caused by the retrovirus HIV. In contrast, autoimmune diseases result from a hyperactive immune system attacking normal tissues as if they were foreign organisms. Common autoimmune diseases include Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes mellitus type 1 and lupus erythematosus. Immunology covers the study of all aspects of the immune system which has significant relevance to human health and diseases. Further investigation in this field is expected to play a serious role in promotion of health and treatment of diseases.

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