Rare Genetic Mutation May Explain Some Forms of Multiple Sclerosis

Canadian scientists have uncovered a single genetic mutation that significantly heightens a person’s chance of developing a progressive and severe form of multiple sclerosis. While no single factor is responsible for causing the neurological disease, the discovery points to possible treatment options.

Source: Rare Genetic Mutation May Explain Some Forms of Multiple Sclerosis

That’s a very small sample size…

How One Study Produced a Bunch of Untrue Headlines About Tattoos Strengthening Your Immune System

A recent study published in the American Journal of Human Biology suggests that people with previous tattoo experience may have a better immune response to new tattoos than those being inked for the first time. That’s the finding if you read the open access journal article, anyway. If you stick to the headlines of recent writeups of the study, your takeaway was probably that tattoos are an effective way of preventing the common cold. (sorry to break it to you, but they’re probably not).

Source: How One Study Produced a Bunch of Untrue Headlines About Tattoos Strengthening Your Immune System

Something similar happened with dietary salt, many years ago. Now we have a nation that erroneously believes salt is bad for you.

Smart Video Reveals How Antibiotics May Have Created a Dangerous Apocalyptic Scenario

There is plenty of places to spread the blame around, and this is coming from one of my doctors: The patients who do not take all of their meds when they are sick, then wonder why they often feel like crap again when they relapse, and then the doctor’s who overprescribed antibiotics as if they were candy. In both instances are opportunities for increased resistance. There were warnings of this years ago and they were mostly written off as “Chicken Littles”.

I also wonder if the modern [North American] parental insanity to keep their kids clean to the point of a sterility guarantee may also share some of the blame because exposure to daily life I would think strengthen the immune system making it more able to fight off infections. When I was a kid we played, and we played hard, to the point of looking like Pig Pen when we walked in the door. Virtual dirt playing Minecraft on an iPad inside all day does not quite equate to the same thing.

Bone Broth Won’t Boost Your Immunity (but It Still Makes Great Soup)

If you see someone walking down the street with a coffee cup in hand that smells more like a bowl of chicken noodle soup than a pumpkin spice latté, don’t be alarmed. It’s just part of the newest food craze: drinking bone broth.

Source: Why You Shouldn’t Believe Everything You’ve Heard About Bone Broth

The broth does contain a few important nutrients, but you can get them in far greater quantities from other types of food (like, for example, the meat you ate off the bones before you started boiling them). The claims that the broth is “nourishing” or that it contains any meaningful amount of collagen protein are pretty much dead in the water—and we’ve known that since 1934.

Couple of related reads:

Eat Everything Piping Hot to Avoid Traveler’s Diarrhea

If you’re visiting a place this summer with less than ideal sewage disposal — maybe a resort in Mexico or a village in Rajasthan — chances are your GI tract will give you trouble at least once … maybe twice … maybe continuously.

There are just about as many misconceptions and myths about traveler’s diarrhea as there are names for it. So we’re here to try to set the record straight — or at least discuss what’s known and not known.

Source: Can You Protect Your Tummy From Traveler’s Diarrhea?

Could have used this earlier in the season…

Typical American Diet Can Damage Immune System

…Many reports have observed that heavier patients appear more likely to come down with infections during a hospital stay, acquire weaker protection from vaccinations and, as with River, suffer more complications from the flu.

Weight alone may not be the entire explanation. A tantalizing line of evidence suggests that unhealthful foods — fatty, salty, sugary, processed foods — may disrupt the body’s defenses in a way that promotes inflammation, infection, autoimmune diseases and even illnesses like cancer.

Source: Typical American diet can damage immune system

I think it was QI (highly recommended) where I heard about the study into hereditary genetics, how what grandparents ate was believed to affect grandchildren.

A $25 Blood Test Could Detect Every Virus That’s Ever Infected You

You’ll probably remember the last time you had the flu, but what about that time you had measles – or was it chicken pox? Your blood knows: it keeps a record of every virus you’ve ever been infected with. A tiny drop of the stuff can now be tested to reveal a person’s viral history.

The test, called VirScan, reveals that adults around the world tend to have been infected by an average of 10 viruses over their lifetime. It could also be used to identify links between viral infections and mysterious diseases like chronic fatigue syndrome.

Source: Cheap blood test reveals every virus you’ve ever been exposed to

The article goes on to largely dismiss the use of the test, as the immune response takes time to build up the antibodies necessary to register an indication of infection.  And points out that we have established symptoms…

What You Can Learn By Drinking Pig Spit

Something to supplant tequila?

In 2001, Ajit Varki drank a bunch of pig spit. What does drinking the extraction of pig salivary glands give you? Sialic acid, something every mammal in the world produces except humans. Why are we left out?

Source: What You Can Learn By Drinking Pig Spit

Neu5Gc has been covered before: Large Red Meat Consumption Triggers Immune Response, Leading to Cancer

Looking At Sick People Primes Your Immune System

If, on the way to your desk, you pass that one person in the office who absolutely won’t go home, even though their face is exploding with mucus, don’t count on a day off. Just looking at sick people can kick your immune system into gear.

Source: Looking At Sick People Primes Your Immune System

Works for germs and food…

Compassion: Changing the World and Ourselves

…what if recognising our shared humanity was more than just a sentimental ideal? What if consciously practising kindness could change the wiring of your brain and make you live longer?

This is neuroscience’s latest frontier – a growing body of research that shows compassion could be the key to improved health, happiness and longevity.

Brain imaging reveals that exercising compassion stimulates the same pleasure centres associated with the drive for food, water and sex.

Other studies show it can be protective against disease and increase lifespan.

Source: Changing the world and ourselves through compassion

Interesting read, but light on the science.

And you have nice hair!

Sorry, but I don’t believe altruism exists.  Doing something compassionate to be seen as such is in fact selfish.  And I’ve seen compassion make people rather myopic, sneering at what they’d label as socialism – social programs to support the aftermath of their political views.