Childhood Stress + Immune Overactivity = High Blood Pressure in Adulthood?

About 35 million adults in the U.S. may develop high blood pressure because of negative events that happened to them during childhood. Researchers are exploring how an event you experience when you’re a kid can cause high blood pressure as an adult. About 35 million children in the U.S. experience early-life stress (ELS). ELS is … Continue reading Childhood Stress + Immune Overactivity = High Blood Pressure in Adulthood?

The Brain in Your Gut

Did you know your gut has a brain of its own? It’s called the enteric nervous system. The brain in your gut is embedded in the wall of the digestive tract. Together with your “big brain,” the enteric nervous system helps control gastrointestinal function, including the mixing and grinding of food in the stomach and … Continue reading The Brain in Your Gut

Myasthenia Gravis May Be (Literally) All Greek to You

Myasthenia gravis is a disease that affects the way that muscles receive signals from nerves. Myasthenia is Greek for “muscle weakness,” which is a good description of this disease’s symptoms. Muscle weakness, which worsens after physical activity but gets better with rest, is the primary symptom of the condition. Weakness may occur in any skeletal … Continue reading Myasthenia Gravis May Be (Literally) All Greek to You

April Showers Bring May Flowers—and Sneezes

There are plenty of things to love about spring. It’s warmer and daylight lasts longer, so you can spend more time outdoors. It’s the end of cold and flu season, so you may be feeling better than you did over the winter. And it seems that everything is in bloom. However, those beautiful spring flowers … Continue reading April Showers Bring May Flowers—and Sneezes

Your Immune System Makes You Mentally Tough

When we have an extremely stressful experience, such as losing a loved one or being constantly bullied by a classmate, our body can react in different ways. Sometimes we overcome the psychological stress and come out stronger than before. Other times, we fall victim to the stress. These experiences build mental “toughness,” also called psychological … Continue reading Your Immune System Makes You Mentally Tough

Stack the Deck against the Flu

Flu season: It’s the time of year when many of us become acutely aware of anyone sniffling and sneezing nearby. We hope to avoid a brush with the virus, which can leave us feeling awful for a few days or a week or two, causing us to miss work and be unable to take care of … Continue reading Stack the Deck against the Flu

How Your Immune System Can Make You Sick

Your immune system has a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde complex when it comes keeping you healthy.  Traditionally, the immune system is seen as a good guy that kills off viruses and eats up bacteria attacking your body. However, it can also turn against you and cause disease. To fight infection, the cells of your … Continue reading How Your Immune System Can Make You Sick

Blood Types: B Positive about How They Work

Blood transfusions are an essential and safe part of modern medicine, but it wasn’t always that way. In medieval times, transfusions often caused terrible, fatal reactions. Then in 1901, Karl Landsteiner discovered blood types and that humans had four—A, B, AB and O. Because of this discovery, we now know that the secret to a … Continue reading Blood Types: B Positive about How They Work

Stop Scratching! Why Mosquito Bites Swell and Itch

It starts with a buzz and then a nip. If you’re quick enough, the culprit mosquito becomes a squashed smear on your hand. More often, it flies off unscathed. Either way, you’re left with a red, itchy welt. What physiological processes are set off to leave us swollen and uncomfortable when mosquitos bite? It’s actually … Continue reading Stop Scratching! Why Mosquito Bites Swell and Itch

Soak Up the Rays without Soaking Them In: Be Sun Safe and Prevent Skin Damage

Tan lines and sunburns are our souvenirs of summer. Unfortunately, they’re also reminders that we’ve had too much sun and the sun has damaged our skin. How does sun exposure harm skin, and what are the physiological processes that make us tan and burn? The sun gives off a kind of radiation called ultraviolet (UV) … Continue reading Soak Up the Rays without Soaking Them In: Be Sun Safe and Prevent Skin Damage