Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Revealed: the secret superpower that makes C. difficile so deadly

A new discovery about dangerous Clostridium difficile diarrhea has identified a new way that the bacteria – and possibly others like it – cause severe disease. "C. diff" is the most common hospital-acquired infection; ...

Health

Late dinner and no breakfast is a killer combination

People who skip breakfast and eat dinner near bedtime have worse outcomes after a heart attack. That's the finding of research published today in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, a journal of the European Society ...

Radiology & Imaging

High-strength MRI tracks multiple sclerosis progression

The development of scars, or lesions, in the brain's cortical gray matter is a powerful predictor of neurological disability for people with multiple sclerosis (MS), according to study appearing in the journal Radiology. ...

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Inflammation

Inflammation (Latin, inflamatio, to set on fire) is the complex biological response of vascular tissues to harmful stimuli, such as pathogens, damaged cells, or irritants. It is a protective attempt by the organism to remove the injurious stimuli as well as initiate the healing process for the tissue. Inflammation is not a synonym for infection. Even in cases where inflammation is caused by infection, the two are not synonymous: infection is caused by an exogenous pathogen, while inflammation is the response of the organism to the pathogen.

In the absence of inflammation, wounds and infections would never heal and progressive destruction of the tissue would compromise the survival of the organism. However, an inflammation that runs unchecked can also lead to a host of diseases, such as hay fever, atherosclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis. It is for that reason that inflammation is normally closely regulated by the body.

Inflammation can be classified as either acute or chronic. Acute inflammation is the initial response of the body to harmful stimuli and is achieved by the increased movement of plasma and leukocytes from the blood into the injured tissues. A cascade of biochemical events propagates and matures the inflammatory response, involving the local vascular system, the immune system, and various cells within the injured tissue. Prolonged inflammation, known as chronic inflammation, leads to a progressive shift in the type of cells which are present at the site of inflammation and is characterised by simultaneous destruction and healing of the tissue from the inflammatory process.

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