As a result of studying Immunology all morning, I now have many interesting tid-bits to share:
- Babies make a TH2 immune response to prevent their mothers from rejecting them. However, after nine months in utero, babies stop making this response, so their mother can now reject them, and literally does by ejecting them via the birthing process. I don't want you anymore mass of foreign cells, out you go!
- The majority of childhood allergies are out-grown-of by age fifteen as the body starts making TH1 responses and stops making its childhood TH2 responses. Becca was allergic to milk as a baby, but then grew-out of it, success!
- A general rule of thumb is that if a child experiences more than three upper-respiratory infections before age three, then it is far more likely that he or she will develop asthma. (Childhood eczema and excessive antibiotic administration are also indicative of a future asthma diagnosis).
- Our immune systems operate best when we have a parasitic infection. Through evolution, we have have developed specific immune factors and cells (IgE, mast cells, and eosinophils) for parasitic infections. As the majority of North Americans will never catch a parasite, these factors and cells get very bored and turn their attention onto common everyday particles (such as peanuts, dust, gluten, dander), causing allergies and sensitivities. My professor said that (generally) there are no cases of food allergies nor any asthma in Africa due to the abundance of parasites (and thus the correct activation of the immune system).
- Immunotherapy (which is actually immunoeducation) attempts to reeducate the immune system. In some cases, it just teaches the body how to make a less invasive (e.g. non-inflammatory) immune response against the so-called antigens Body, please don't attack cat dander, it's really not that bad. But, if you must attack it, just don't make me swell-up. Thanks.
- Early and often microbe exposure is best to prevent babies from developing atopic symptoms (i.e. allergies, asthma, eczema). According to my professor, babies should eat dirt at least twice. :P
I love Immunology.