University of Georgia scientists have utilized a well-known cell-signaling protein in fighting influenza and the results have been promising:
Kimberly Klonowski, assistant professor of cellular biology in the UGA Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, and her colleagues found that administering a cell-signaling protein known as IL-15 to mice infected with influenza reduces their peak viral load by nearly three times.
"We gave the IL-15 intranasally and found that it enhanced the movement of the immune system's natural killer cells and CD8 T cells into the lung airways," said Klonowski, whose findings were recently published in the journal PLoS ONE. "As a result, the animals that received it cleared the virus faster than the control group."
In some ways this new work reflects the thinking behind trends in the greater population toward building up the immune system as a way of fighting off infections. Further defining the most effective components of the immune system builds a better, more sustainable premise for improved health care, and improved health, for more people. Congratulations to Dr. Klonowski and her colleagues.
Image: 2ILA Interleukin 1 Alpha protein, licensed under Creative Commons.
It's a perennial issue on college campuses nationwide, one with heavy effects on the health and saefty of students: Binge drinking.
A doctoral candidate from psychology has published findings that suggest patterns of binge drinking establish the environment for dangerous situations.
The study, recently published in the journal Violence and Victims, found that first-year female college students who drank four or more alcoholic drinks in one day at the start of the study were 33 percent more likely to be victims of a sexual assault in the following months. Women who drank four alcoholic beverages during two days or more were 17 percent more likely to be sexually assaulted later. In contrast, 6 percent of the non-drinkers experienced a sexual assault during the course of the study.
"It's not just the amount you're drinking—it's the pattern," said lead author Emily Mouilso, a doctoral candidate in the psychology department in the UGA Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. "Even if the volume of alcohol is the same, when you drink it all at once, you are putting yourself at the highest risk."
And speaking of Dr. Shepherd, he was quoted on the New York Times Green blog this weekend, per how he answers questions related to the changing global climate:
Climate scientists, like the rest of us, have friends and relatives who wonder what is happening. So I asked the scientists: When you see your extended family over Thanksgiving or Christmas and they ask about the weather, what do you tell them?
“My answer on that has evolved,” replied one, J. Marshall Shepherd. He’s the head of atmospheric sciences at the University of Georgia and the president-elect of the American Meteorological Society, the leading group for scientists seeking to understand and predict weather and climate.
“I used to say things like, ‘It’s really difficult to attribute any one single event to climate change, but some of these are certainly consistent with what our broad body of science says is occurring,’” Dr. Shepherd said. “More recently, I’ve been saying: ‘We may already be seeing examples of a new normal.’”