In the previous two posts we have established how the microbiome is established and then the pressures the host puts on it to maintain a balance between the required functions and the commensal bacteria providing them. In this post I want to look a little deeper at what happens if this balance is disturbed or never properly forms at all. Continue reading
Tag Archives: Immunology
This post is a bit of a cop out. I hadn’t planned anything because I was going to re-spruik my most recent effort at the Scientific American.
This time I wrote about the role a bacteria, nematodes and insects play in glowing war wounds. You can find the post here and of course my previous post is still here. Both can still be shared using the not-so-fancy share buttons at the bottom.
Once again thanks to BoraZ (@BoraZ for twitterers) for inviting me to contribute.
In the last post I talked about babies eating poo how babies develop a gut flora. In this post I wanted to look at how that flora matures into adulthood.
As a baby grows it interacts with its environment and after about a year an infant’s flora will resemble their parent’s. This becomes particularly important as the baby starts to eat solid foods and no longer survives on a milk diet. Now any and all bacteria can have a shot at colonising. So what shapes the bacterial population from this point onwards? Tolerance dictates this uneasy state of play. Continue reading
We try to not be alarmist here at Disease of the Week but two papers were brought to my attention by a PhD student in the discipline (this one and this one). The first response to a new paper should be that the researchers have moulded the current understanding and made some new insights. I have never approached reading papers this way, to my own detriment it must be noted. I always expect each and every paper to have changed the world.
With that preamble I present two papers WHICH CHANGE OUR UNDERSTANDING OF IMMUNOLOGY AS WE KNOW IT! Continue reading
From one series to another it seems. For the next few of my posts I want to look at how the gut flora develops in infants and changes throughout life. We have mentioned the gut flora before but its role in maintaining the human condition is becoming more involved the more we look as we find that the bacterial hitch-hikers in our bellies are not simply the parasites they were once considered to be.
In this post I shall discuss the development of the gut flora in infants and its role in determining paediatric disease but in future posts I will talk about what happens when this process is altered and the adult microbiome.
Something I hear occasionally when talking about vaccines is that they are not required as we have drugs to deal with sickness. It’s true we have developed everything from cold and flu meds to antibiotics and chemotherapy but vaccines are still, in my opinion, the greatest advancement in public health after improved sanitation. Continue reading
Waaaaaay back in the first post of my sub series on vaccines I said I would cover vaccine styles, how they work (and Pt. 2) and why we can’t rely on therapeutics alone. I promise I’ll get to the last one at some point but after a couple of weeks writing about vaccines something occurred to me that I hadn’t really thought about before, what is actually in a vaccine? Continue reading
Australia seems to have pulled its finger out in a big way and contributed $60 million ($58 million US) to the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation! Thus doubles Australia’s previous commitment and puts us up amongst the highest level contributors worldwide.
The pledge comes as Alliance members meet in New York to discuss the GAVI Alliance’s funding plans regarding its 2010-2015 programs. During that time GAVI hope to vaccinate 240 million children and in the process prevent 4.2 million deaths, primarily in the developing world.
The Australian pledge tops up the previous pledge agreement to help the GAVI Alliance reach its funding goal of $6.5 billion. At this stage the fundrasing effort leaves GAVI $4.3 billion short but more pledges are expected to come in over the next few years.
GAVI’s aims of childhood vaccination are targeted at the worlds 2 largest killers of children under 5 years of age; pneumonia and diarrhoea which together account for nearly 40% of all deaths in children under 5.
For more info check out the GAVI Alliance website here.
Our first guest post of the blog. Matthew Higgins is doing a PhD in the same building as James and I, after going through undergrad and honours with us. He works on a particular protein involved in breast cancer that may be souped-up to make super cancer or something: it’s immunology, what do I care? He also often comments around these pages under the guise of “lumpage” (Yes, now I’ve revealed your secret identity!). He lives on The Ranch Dressing. Maybe you should read that.
I love House, the T.V show. It’s great. A fine example of scientific reasoning and deduction condensed in to an improbably short 42 minutes. Oh sure, never in the history of mankind has a medical team been so capable that are so diversely and broadly skilled that they can single-handedly perform every medical and scientific test themselves. But don’t let that stop you from enjoying the show. At the end of the day the cast is just as attractive and amiable, and the patient who just seems to go from moral dilemma to medical dilemma repeatedly generally lives. We all go home happy right?