Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Eating Worms

As MSers we're all aware of T-cells. They are the immune cells believed to be responsible for an autoimmune response in our bodies that results in MS. But we also have B-cells. They are also immune cells responsible for identifying foreign invaders and marking them for destruction by creating antibodies.. They do this with the help of T-cells.

A recent study has come out that indicates the B-cells may also be responsible for more action than previously thought. The B-cells must be present for the T-cells to mature and operate the right way. Chemicals the B-cells produce are necessary for the immune system.
B cells' effects on T cells may open a new window on such diseases as lupus, asthma, multiple sclerosis, and diabetes, where doctors know that T cells are active. Maybe manipulating B cells offers a new way to affect the activity and survival of the T cells that cause disease.

The study I'm speaking of is one conducted on mice. Researchers exposed the mice to a certain type of parasitic worm that plays havoc on the immune system and watched how the immune system fought off the parasites. This is how they discovered the different roles of the B-cells. Researchers have been speculating that the presence of parasites triggers some sort of immune response that in some people helps reduce the symptoms of MS. This research is another step towards figuring out how and why.

Just before this study was released, was the announcement of a major study of MSers who willingly are exposed to certain parasitic worms to determine the value of them as a treatment. It's not so much the worms that could prevent MS relapses or worsening symptoms, but what those worms cause our bodies to do to protect ourselves from MS. I've written about this before. I don't have a problem with eating worms. I'm quite sure I have a veritable cornucopia of bugs and other creatures in my system as it is. What's a few more?


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