For years, scientists have known that growing up on a farm protects children from asthma, but the reasons for this weren’t entirely clear. A fascinating comparative analysis of Amish and Hutterite farming communities has finally uncovered the specific aspects of farm life that are responsible for this built-in immune…
Scientists have long theorized that the immune system has a more neurological connection than previously thought, and research has risen up to validate them. Recent studies, for example, have found that there is a physical connection between the immune system and the brain’s blood supply, and now there seems to be a…
Parents, you can stop fretting about your child’s disgusting habits. An analysis of more than 1,000 kids between the ages of 5 and 11 reveals that nail-biters and thumb-suckers are less likely to develop allergic sensitivities later on in life.
The human body is such a magnificent thing. Just check out this video that shows how our immune system works. When a parasite finds its way inside a place where it clearly shouldn't be, white blood cells immediately start rushing to the rescue. It only takes a few seconds for the parasite to get swallowed.
Viruses are incompetent but smart little things. Unable to make proteins on their own, they hijack ours for their own nefarious purposes. But what if we gave the viruses broken proteins? An incredibly rare genetic disorder in a brother and sister pair does exactly that, making them immune to many classes of viruses…
Ebola is the nightmare virus. It kills ninety percent of people infected, and was for some time feared as the second coming of the plagues of the 1400s. Why is this one virus so much more deadly than other viruses?
Over at Discover, Carl Zimmer tackles a question that many of us are wondering about during flu season. Why do our brains get sluggish when we're sick? It turns out that a neuroscientist named Jonathan Kipnis is working on an answer. He studies how T cells, major players in our immune system, collect in the lining…
It sounds like science fiction, but neuroscientists have identified a molecule in mice that, when suppressed, significantly boosts memory. It's meant as a radical treatment for Alzheimer's patients, but there's no reason the rest of us couldn't take it, too.
Some lucky old mice at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota have been given the gift of youth. Researchers reversed their age-related wrinkles, muscle wasting and cataracts, and it could lead to a fountain of youth for humans, too.
The 2011 Nobel Prizes have been announced, honoring preeminent achievements in the fields of physics, chemistry, medicine, literature, the promotion of peace, and economics. Here's what you need to know about the three science-related Nobel Prizes.
The peanut allergy is one of the eight most common types of food allergies, and the common use of peanuts in a wide range of foods makes it particularly dangerous. But now scientists have a solution: trick your immune system.
Humans aren't the only animals that have to guard against potential infection during sex. Fruit flies are at greatly increased risk of infection during their mating season, which is why the male's mating call actually boosts the female's immune system.
There's a longstanding belief that, on average, women are healthier than men, and with good reason. Women live longer, and studies reveal women fight off disease better than their male counterparts. But where does this advantage come from? Turns out it's all thanks to some microRNA on the X-chromosome.
Sooty mangabeys are a monkey species found on the western coast of central Africa. Their unique immunity to SIV, a relative of HIV, has intrigued medical researchers for decades. Now we know just how their immunity works.
It's only relatively recently that the scientific community has begun to accept that early humans interbred with our Neanderthal cousins. Now it looks as if it was not only possible, it was essential for providing us with immunity from strange diseases.
In 2009, swine flu created a minor pandemic, only killing about 15,000 people but infecting millions more. The avian flu H9N2 is ravaging bird populations throughout Asia. They're bad enough on their own...but what if they joined forces?
The swine flu pandemic of 2009 was one of the worst flu scares in recent memory, even if its actual effects ended up being relatively moderate. Now something unambiguously good could come of all this: a universal flu vaccine.
Intestinal worms have figured out a way to keep themselves protected from your body's immune system, by taking control of part of it. The job of flushing out these worms would normally go to your T cells, which attack invaders. But the worm Heligmosomoides polygyrus makes a protein which restrains the production of T…
Specially engineered killer T-cells could make organ rejection a thing of the past">The greatest problem for transplant procedures is that the body's immune system will reject the life-saving replacement organ. But mice have special cells that can selectively suppress the immune response - and they could revolutionize…
Could playing in the dirt make you smarter? Mice given peanut butter laced with a common, harmless soil bacterium ran through mazes twice as fast and enjoyed doing so.