This category is for questions about how our bodies identify and fight off disease, infection or pathogens through specialized cells, tissues and organs. The system that does this is called the immune system. It produces antibodies which recognize intruders and neutralizes potentially pathogenic organisms or substances.
Why do you get Muscle ache with flu?
Muscle aches caused by a flu virus cannot be accounted for by fluid loss from excretions and emesis alone, because often muscle aches are the first sign of the flu, long before vomiting or diarrhea may ever occur (and they do not occur in most flu infected folk). Instead, it is the increasing body temperature (the fever that is one of the body's most effective responses for killing off heat-susceptible invaders) that causes an increase in water usage at the cellular level. Full body dehydration then almost inevitably occurs, as the flu-infected usually have their thirst and appetite mechanisms decreased as well. However, as the previous writer puts it: One of the most notable symptoms of having the "flu"the is a persistant (and often disgusting!) loss of fluid. This can be a result of vomiting, diarrhea or often a combination of the two. Within this fluid are precious ions (electrolytes) that enable all the good stuff in your body to happen: Muscle contractions, nerve impulses, even basic cellular metabolism! One of the most important (as far as your muscles are concerned) is potassium -- [although calcium, magnesium, and sodium are all equally important but just dont get the same amt of press]. Low potassium levels mean special ion channels in your muscle cells cannot function properly, and that leads to a sensation of "exhaustion", much like you just finished a marathon. Without potassium (and other molecules such as ATP) your muscles just can't function! If you have the flu and you'd like to beat the muscle ache, chow on some high potassium-sodium ratio foods such as avocados or dark green veggies (think spinach); [bananas are merely ok regarding this K/NA ratio, much more important than is absolute amount of potassium alone]. Gatorade or other (preferrably lower in sugar) sports drinks can help both replenish lost electrolytes (like potassium!) AND water, a great two-fer when you're socked in with this bug (watch the sugar level or you'll end up low on potassium again, if you get my drift!).
Asked in Immune System
Is lymphocytes the second line of defense in the immune system?
Generally, no because they include t and b cells which are part of the 3rd line of defense. But there are specific cell types, that are lymphocytes that are considered part of one's innate immune response (2nd line of defense). These are gamma delta T cells, which are involved in the early phages of an immune response.
What should a normal white cell blood count be?
White blood cell count (WBC). The number of white blood cells in a volume of blood. Normal range varies slightly between laboratories but is generally between 4,300 and 10,800 cells per cubic millimeter (cmm). This can also be referred to as the leukocyte count and can be expressed in international units as 4.3 - 10.8 x 109 cells per liter.
What could a lump be on the back of your neck where the hairline starts?
It could be a neck bone spur. Look for any sores or scratches in your scalp as this could be a swollen lymph node trying to rid your scalp of infection. See a doctor if there are no other symptoms. If the lump is in the hairline it could be an ingrown hair or a Furuncle, a Furuncle is basically a large infected hair follicle which is red, swollen, tender, and has a central core of pus like a pimple. These require incision and drainage along with antibiotic therapy, failure to keep the neck clean can contribute to these. A Carbuncle is a collection of Furuncles and are most commonly seen in the elderly, diabetics, and debilitated persons with compromised immune systems. They commonly occur at the base of the neck. It could also be a Wen or Sebaceous Cyst, these are slow growing benign cyst that can occur on the scalp and contain a white cheesy-like substance. They can be drained but usually will recur unless the cyst wall is removed, sometimes there is just one or their can be several. They are also seen in body builders using anabolic steroids. There are glands in the back of the neck. These are the occipital lymph nodes, the posterior cervical lymph nodes and the jugular chain of lymph nodes. If we assume that this is a lymph node then most of the time the cause is an infection. The only clinical concern is to rule out any possibility of malignancy. I am leaning towards an infection but given the constraints of the internet I feel that I have not been able to satisfyingly rule out possible malignancy. Ofcourse it could be a myriad of other things which are less alarming. Aneurysms tend to be throbbing on touch (you can feel a very strong pulse there). Being in the back of the neck that wouldn't be a classical presentation. I would recommend you have someone look at it. There is no substitute for clinical examination in your case. A hard lump that is on the back of your neck where your hairline starts is a swollen lymph node. Lymph nodes in that area tend to swell up and become firm in the presence of an ear infection or tooth abscess/impaction - but the infection may not even be prominent. If the swelling persists for months or more, see your doctor and inquire about lymphoma, which is potentially fatal. Although this lump could be a lymph node it sounds highly unlikely and it could be an in-grown hair, hard cyst (not cancerous in most cases) or a bony spur. It's best to see your doctor and have it removed if possible. Everyone has that lump. It's part of neck and head, it's a joint section.
What is meant by the term pathogen?
How do you secure loose teeth in a partial plate?
Asked in Immune System
What is ring immunization?
Also known as ring vaccination. Crucial to eradication of smallpox (less vaccine/money needed). From http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=23979: "The vaccination of all susceptible individuals in a prescribed area around an outbreak of an infectious disease. Ring vaccination controls an outbreak by vaccinating and monitoring a ring of people around each infected individual. The idea is to form a buffer of immune individuals to prevent the spread of the disease."
What is a sedimentation rate-westergren test?
Erythrocytes sedimentation rate (ESR), Westergren method,(Sed Rate) is blood test measures how quickly red blood cells (erythrocytes) settle in a test tube. The more red cells that fall to the bottom of a special test tube in one hour, the higher the sed rate. When inflammation is present in the body, certain proteins cause red blood cells to stick together and fall more quickly than normal to the bottom of the tube. These proteins are produced by the liver and the immune system under many abnormal conditions, such as an infection, an autoimmune disease, and cancer. There are many possible causes of an elevated sedimentation rate. For this reason, a sed rate blood test is done with other tests to confirm a diagnosis. Once a sed rate blood test is conducted, the course of the disease or the effectiveness of treatment can be monitored. The normal sedimentation rate (Westergren method) for males is 0-15 millimeters per hour, and for females is 0-20 millimeters per hour. The sedimentation rate can be slightly more elevated in the elderly and is much lower for children.
Asked in Immune System
How do lymphocytes destroy bacteria?
Lymphocytes are categorized into B cells, T cells or NK cells. B cells are mainly responsible for the production of antibodies against pathogens while T and NK cells are primarily cytotoxic. The production of antibodies have 3 critical roles in your immune system: opsinization, it neutralizes and it starts the complement cascade. B cells are the factories that produces antibodies once exposed to an antigen (foreign body). T and NK cells take a more direct approach in fighting pathogens (bacteria/fungus). They will act directly on an infected cell and induce apoptosis (cellular suicide).
Does having a cold affect your immune system?
Yes, your immune system is triggered to fight the cold and the immune system starts that process with an immune response. It gets busy making your body create a hostile environment for the virus (with fever and other metabolic changes) as well as producing antibodies to disable the cold virus particles.
Asked in Genetics, Immune System
What is monoclonal antibody BT-061?
BT-061 is a therapeutic monoclonal antibody that selectively activates regulatory T cells. BT-061 is currently clinically developed by Biotest AG (Germany) for the treatment of autoimmune diseases like Rheumatoid Arthritis and Chronic Plaque Psoriasis. First signs of efficacy with BT-061 and a good tolerability in these indications have been published on scientific congresses (EULAR 2010, Rome; ACR 2010, Atlant).
Does the H1N1 vaccine provide lifetime immunity?
There are studies that suggest that over time the flu vaccines can lose some effectiveness. This is partially due to the original vaccine being less effective on mutated forms of the same virus. But for the same exact strain of H1N1 that is in the vaccine, and others that are very similar to it, many people do retain lifetime protection. One of the ways new viruses are created is through mutation of existing viruses. If the H1N1/09 Pandemic Swine Flu virus mutates to a strain that our immune systems do not detect as the same, then the body would have to either be vaccinated with a new vaccine that includes the new strain, or develop new immunity naturally by infection.
What is Anti CCP antibodies?
Anti-CCP, which stands for anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide antibody, is a new blood test that helps doctors confirm a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis. Anti-CCP is a test that can be ordered during the diagnostic evaluation of people that may have rheumatoid arthritis. If it is found at a moderate to high level, it confirms the diagnosis and may also indicate that the patient is at increased risk for damage to the joints, as lower levels of this antibody are less significant. Previous to this the rheumatoid factor (RF) was measured to help confirm a diagnosis.