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Explainer: how does the immune system learn?

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http://theconversation.com/explainer-how-does-the-immune-system-learn-37285

theconversation.com

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.

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Our immune system

The immune system does an outstanding job most of the time. To provide such excellent protection against bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi, our immune system must continuously learn.

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Innate immunity

Innate immunity cells quickly respond to invaders and can deal with over 90% of infections.
These cells recognize invaders by looking for broadly shared patterns, such as common molecules...

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Adaptive immunity

When the innate response fails to deal with an invasion, the adaptive immunity takes over. The adaptive cell looks for a specific pattern. It could be a particular protein on the surface of ...

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Always learning

Innate immune cells are changed by previous infections or vaccination through trained immunity.

Because innate learning changes innate immune cells, infection by one invader can chan...

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Environmental factors

Studies suggest the immune learning is strongly affected by environmental factors, like diet, lifestyle, surroundings, and previous infections.

But this provides hope that we can improve imm...

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False Remedies

False Remedies

Much like a hundred years ago when Spanish Flu killed millions, questionable medicinal concoctions and folk remedies have surfaced across the world, claiming to boost the immune system.

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Immunity-Boosting Is A Myth

Pills, superfoods, and other wellness habits do not boost our immunity as the 'symptoms' which we get when infected are in fact measures taken by our immune system to respond to the foreign pathogen.

Many allergies that people have are a misguided response from the immune system that treat harmless foreign bodies as harmful pathogens.

The Symptomatic Treatment

While over-the-counter medicines provide us with a so-called ‘relief’ by suppressing our fever, runny nose and other ‘symptoms’, these are in fact necessary for the body to get well. The symptoms we want to be stopped are not our enemy:

  • The mucus is helping flush out the pathogen.
  • The fever(heat) makes the body impalpable for it to survive and replicate.
  • The body pain is actually the inflammatory chemicals in your veins, guiding the immune cells like an air traffic controller.
  • The brain is provided with a signal to slow down and let the body recover.

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Drink 8 Glasses of Water a Day

Everyone has a different requirement for water. Temperature, humidity, size, age, gender and activity have an influence on your fluid needs.

Instead, drink when you are thirsty.

Eggs Harm Your Heart

Eggs have a lot of cholesterol compared to other foods. Although cholesterol in the blood is strongly related to heart disease, eating cholesterol is weakly associated with raising the cholesterol levels in your blood.

Eggs have other heart-protecting properties and eating it probably won't harm your heart.

Cancer or Alzheimer’s From Antiperspirant

  • A chain email in the 1990s was responsible for the false belief that antiperspirant was raising the risk of breast cancer. 
  • When researchers found higher ratios of aluminum in the brains of Alzheimer's patients, aluminum in antiperspirant was suspect. But it seems aluminum in antiperspirant is hardly absorbed by your skin.

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Our Immunity

Our Immunity

Immunity is defined as the set of defenses, that our bodies possess, which has the role to protect us against pathogens and to fight against infections.

Immunity categories

There are several immunity categories:

  • Nonspecific defenses: these work against all foreign matter and pathogens
  • Specific defenses: these are specialized in fighting against particular threats
  • Innate immunity: natural immunity that protects one from birth until death
  • Acquired immunity: it is the third line of defense, which offers protection against specific types of pathogens.

Active immunity

By active immunity, we generally understand the resistance that our immune system shows against pathogens.

By the so-called 'clonal selection', enough antibodies are built up in order to help our organism fight off colds or different diseases.

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