Saturday, October 31, 2009
Thursday, October 29, 2009
"When (immune cells) go bad they cause inflammatory diseases, so asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease ..." Prof Mackay said.
"We think one of the mechanisms for their normal control is short chain fatty acids binding to this receptor.
"And if we were to speculate on the real significance of this, we believe firmly that the best explanation for the increase in inflammatory diseases in western countries ... is our changes in diet."
A lack of dietary fibre could also be behind the rise in type 1 diabetes, Prof Mackay said.
The research suggests that having a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and seeds would reduce a person's risk of autoimmune disease.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Thursday, October 8, 2009
I've been wanting to post on this topic for a while, but never got around to it. I just saw this article in ABCNews titled "Allergy Desperation: I'll Take a Parasite, Please" (linked to from this blog post). It includes a story of a guy named Jasper Lawrence who in desperation from long-term allergy problems decided to infect himself with hookworms. The result was that his symptoms were dramatically diminished (if not cured). Why?
The hypothesis goes that until recently, humans were fighting off some sort of parasite or another for millions of years, ever since humans evolved into humans. That co-existence eventually led humans to evolving an immune system that worked with parasites."When you're born you have an immune system, but your immune system is a blank slate," said Weinstock.Weinstock explained that just as humans create a functioning digestive system by populating their digestive system with bacteria, humans historically developed an immune designed to account for parasites in the body.But in the last 150 years, the industrialized world's clean food supply and plumbing suddenly removed parasites from people's bodies. In response, researchers now widely think that people's immune systems stopped developing properly.Weinstock said most people still have a powerful "attack" function of their immune system, but that many believe the immune system does not develop to regulate properly in the absence of helminthes (parasitic worms)."People who are not exposed to helminthes have sloppy regulation," said Weinstock. As a result some people's immune systems go off kilter and misfire against their own bodies creating autoimmune disorders such as allergies, asthma, or inflammatory bowel disease.