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Sunday, October 11, 2015

Immune Research: Sleep may strengthen long-term memories in the immune system ♦ How normally protective immune responses kill neurons ♦ Connecting Alzheimer's disease, immune system

Tick spit protein may trigger allergic reactions Ticks have had millions of years to figure out how to bite without triggering their victims' immune response. Proteins in the arachnids' spit evolved to manipulate immune cells so that the bloodsuckers can suck blood and transmit pathogens in peace. But these measures may not always have the desired effect when ticks bite humans, leading to severe allergic reactions, argue infectious disease specialists.
Connecting Alzheimer's disease, immune system Researchers investigate how genetic risk factors for Alzheimer's disease may influence a key type of immune cell. Their results lay the groundwork for designing better therapeutic strategies and better prediction tools for risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.
Sleep may strengthen long-term memories in the immune system More than a century ago, scientists demonstrated that sleep supports the retention of memories of facts and events. Later studies have shown that slow-wave sleep, often referred to as deep sleep, is important for transforming fragile, recently formed memories into stable, long-term memories. Now, in a new article, researchers propose that deep sleep may also strengthen immunological memories of previously encountered pathogens.
Scientists identify how normally protective immune responses kill neurons Scientists have discovered why certain immune responses, which typically help cells recognize and fight viral and bacterial infections, can sometimes be harmful to the brain. Many brain disorders involve the death of neurons, or nerve cells, but how these neurons die is not well understood. A new study describes how the activation of normally protective immune responses causes nerve cells to die and identifies the protein responsible, providing a potential target for therapeutic intervention.
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