Tag Archives | Immune System

Study Suggests Yoga Boosts The Immune System On A Genetic Level

yogaThe results support yoga as a powerful therapy, but more broadly, reinforce the fact that our very genes are affected by our activities and moods. Pacific Standard writes:

Newly published research from Norway suggests that a yoga program rapidly produces internal changes on a genetic level. The results help explain the well-documented health benefits of this ancient practice.

“These data suggest that previously reported effects of yoga practices have an integral physiological component at the molecular level, which is initiated immediately,” writes a research team led by Fahri Saatcioglu of the University of Oslo.

The experiment featured 10 participants who attended a yoga retreat in Germany. For two days, participants spent two hours practicing a comprehensive yoga program and meditation. For the next two days, they spent that same time period going on a nature walk and then listening to jazz or classical music.

Immediately before and after each of the four sessions, the researchers drew blood from each participant.

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Animals Self-Medicate Far More Than Previously Realized

animals self medicateScience Daily on animal pharmacology as part of the ecosystem:

It’s been known for decades that animals such as chimpanzees seek out medicinal herbs to treat their diseases. But it now appears that the practice of animal self-medication is a lot more widespread than previously thought, according to University of Michigan ecologist Mark Hunter and his colleagues.

Animals use medications to treat various ailments through both learned and innate behaviors. The fact that moths, ants and fruit flies are now known to self-medicate has profound implications for ecology and evolution.

Wood ants incorporate an antimicrobial resin from conifer trees into their nests, preventing microbial growth in the colony. Parasite-infected monarch butterflies protect their offspring against high levels of parasite growth by laying their eggs on anti-parasitic milkweed. Lacking many of the immune-system genes of other insects, honeybees incorporate antimicrobial resins into their nests.

“Perhaps the biggest surprise for us was that animals like fruit flies and butterflies can choose food for their offspring that minimizes the impacts of disease in the next generation,” Hunter said.

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Can We Engineer Immunity on Demand?

Immune_responseCaltech scientists have already engineered stem cells into B cells that produce HIV-fighting antibodies – and an NIH researcher engineered T cells that recognize tumors which has already had promising clinical trials again skin cancer. Now a microbiology professor now asks: could we just genetically engineer all the antibodies we need?

Describing “Immunity on demand, he writes “…there’s a good chance this system, or something like it, will actually be in place within decades!”

“Our best hope may be to cut out the middleman. Rather than merely hoping that the vaccine will indirectly lead to the antibody an individual needs, imagine if we could genetically engineer these antibodies and make them available as needed?”… Read the rest

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