immune system

Explainer: how does the immune system learn?

Explainer: how does the immune system learn?

We’re outnumbered by bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi that can make us ill. And the only thing standing between them and our devastation is our immune system. The immune system does such a good job most of the time that we only really think about it when things go wrong. But to provide such excellent protection against a whole host of pathogens, our immune system must constantly learn.

We may be able to treat depression with anti-inflammatory drugs – here’s why

We may be able to treat depression with anti-inflammatory drugs – here’s why

There is growing evidence that inflammation – already known to be a cause of many whole-body diseases – is also involved in diseases of the brain, including psychiatric conditions like depression.

How a nasty, brain-eating parasite could help us fight cancer

How a nasty, brain-eating parasite could help us fight cancer

We’ve known since the turn of the 20th century that some infectious diseases are a major risk for developing specific cancers. More worryingly, about one-sixth of cancers worldwide are attributable to infectious agents. Globally, more than 2m cancer cases are linked to certain carcinogenic viral, bacterial or parasitic agents. Two-thirds of these occur in developing countries.

Food allergies linked to overactive immune system at birth

Food allergies linked to overactive immune system at birth

One in every ten babies in Melbourne develops a food allergy during their first year of life. New research has found children who are born with overly active immune cells are more likely to develop allergies to milk, eggs, peanuts, wheat and other common foods. This finding could lead to future treatments for babies to prevent childhood food allergies.