Immune Systems Ebook
Ironically, destruction of the ozone layer at the upper levels could increase the amount of ozone at the Earth's surface. In addition, the decline in stratospheric ozone is thought to increase hydrogen peroxide in the stratosphere, contributing to acid rain. The ozone layer acts as a protective shield against UV radiation. As ozone diminishes in the upper atmosphere, the Earth could receive more UV radiation. Increased radiation, especially of the frequency known as ultraviolet-B (UVB), the most damaging wavelength, promotes skin cancers and cataracts, suppresses the human immune system, and produces wrinkled, leather-like skin. It also reduces crop yields and fish populations, damages some materials such as plastics, and intensifies smog creation.
Although skin cancer rates have increased alarmingly, it is difficult to separate the effects of ozone loss from those of increased Sun exposure due to people moving to lower latitudes. In the United States, it is estimated that a 1 loss of stratospheric ozone results in a rise of approximately 3 in non-melanoma skin cancers and 1 in fatal melanomas. Increased UV exposure is also increasing eye damage since the cornea absorbs UV light. High doses cause snow-blindness, temporary corneal damage that disappears after several hours, but chronic exposure brings about cataracts. Increased UV may also cause immune system suppression and reduce peoples' defenses against infectious diseases and some cancers. Some of these effects are already being seen near the Antarctic ozone hole.
It would have been fairly straightforward to conduct a follow-up study on Pusztai's research to find out, for example, if any of the GM products we are eating create similar organ or immune system problems. But, having seen what happened to Pusztai, no one was willing to go there. It is important to note that none of the published studies refuted Pusztai's discovery of damage to organs and the immune system. Similar problems may have afflicted laboratory animals from the other studies, but since the scientists weren't looking for that, their research designs would not have detected them.
Artificial infection is given by vaccination, or rather the objective is to administer the antigenic substances produced by the disease organisms in a vaccine without the host developing the disease. Vaccine can be given, but immunity does not always result due to poor administration, the vaccine no longer being potent, or the host not developing an immune response. Therefore, the term vaccination is mostly used in this book to indicate the administration of vaccine rather than immunization, which can be misunderstood as immunity has been given. The immune system of the full-term newborn is capable of producing antibodies and mobilizing cellular defenses. Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) and polio can be given shortly after birth and killed antigen vaccines are also effective from the first month of life. Some live vaccines like measles do not provide protection if given early because of circulating maternal antibodies.
Stratospheric ozone forms between about 15-50 km (9-30 miles) above the surface of the earth when oxygen molecules are split by ultraviolet radiation from the sun and then bond with other oxygen molecules to form ozone (O3). The ozone layer is essential to human health, helping screen out harmful ultraviolet radiation (UV-B), excessive amounts of which can cause sunburn, eye disorders such as cataracts, infectious skin disease, skin cancer, skin aging and depression of the immune system. It can also kill micro-organisms and cells in animals and plants, decrease photosynthesis, damage seed quality, reduce crop yields, and limit the production of phytoplankton in aquatic ecosystems, affecting the early development stages of fish, shrimp and other marine species (UNEP, 1995). UV-B radiation can also contribute to the formation of tropospheric (ground-level) ozone, which is harmful to human health. Ground-level ozone is a byproduct of interactions involving various pollutants generated by...
A fascinating source of mutation-like changes has recently been discovered. Viruses and other pieces of DNA can transfer genes from one animal, plant, or bacterial species to another, a process known as horizontal gene transfer. Such transfers appear to have played little part in our own recent history, but they have been involved in the acquisition of important, new capabilities in the Past the origin of our adaptive immune system is one remarkable example (Agrawal et al., 1998).
Ingested pesticide residues are found to damage both the structure and functioning of the immune system in animals and humans, and are also implicated in neurotoxicity, the disruption of the endocrine system and carcinogenicity (BSAEM BSNM, 1995 Faustini, 1996 Repetto and Balinga, 1996 Colosio, 1997 Voccia et al, 1999 Dewailly et al, 2000 Hancock et al, 2008). Tests on certified organic food show a 3-4 times lower risk of containing pesticide residues than industrially produced food, and following an organic diet eliminates exposure to common insecticides (Lu et al, 2005 Winter and Davis, 2006). The handling of pesticides results in 3 million pesticide poisonings a year and 20,000 deaths, largely in less industrialized regions (WHO, 1999).
The first valuable virtue of the modern grid is that it will possess the ability to heal itself. The modernized grid will be equipped with technology that lets it perform continuous self-assessments. These self-assessments will help the grid detect, analyze, and respond to problems quickly. This self-healing concept for the modern grid will infuse it with what the NETL describes as its own immune system, or what is, in effect, the ability to maintain grid reliability, security, affordability, power quality, and efficiency.
Occurrence and distribution Leprosy is found mainly in the tropical regions of the world, with poor socio-economic conditions probably being a major factor. LL is more common in Asia and TT more common in Africa. This differing susceptibility might help to explain the response of the peoples of these two continents to BCG. BCG, given at birth, can produce a hypersen-sitivity and change the cell-mediated immunity from negative to positive, but some people appear to have no natural immunity and remain always susceptible to the lepro-matous form of the disease. BCG protected
With anti-inflammatory agents, and use of novel therapies such as antiangiogenic agents, immunotherapy and gene therapy 32, 97 . The impact of these advances on the developing brain will need to be carefully studied. It will be important to include evaluation of neuropsychological and adaptive outcomes as these new techniques are incorporated into treatment protocols. In addition, continued long-term follow-up of survivors of childhood brain tumors is indicated given that these survivors will be facing the developmental challenges of adulthood with neuropsychological and medical vulnerabilities that can have an effect on overall functioning over the lifespan. Future research will need to employ more sophisticated methodology as the complex interactions among multiple factors in outcomes become clear. Neuropsychological outcomes vary widely, especially in children, and future investigations will need to identify factors promoting resilience in particular individuals to help guide...
Canada and the USA (resulting in 3231 cases and 176 deaths in the USA), countries where this infection had not occurred before. While most people suffered minor illness, individuals with weakened immune systems, such as people with chronic diseases, those on chemotherapy or the elderly suffered more serious effects, including meningitis and encephalitis.
Table 14.1 presents the major anatomical structures of the endocrine system, their general function, and associated hormones. These structures regulate and release hormones in the body. The system is responsible for growth and development, reproduction, metabolism (energy production and storage), homeostasis, and responding to internal and external environmental changes. There are strong interactions between the endocrine, nervous, and immune systems. The pituitary gland and the hypothalamus are particularly important because they are involved in a feedback regulation of hormone production across the thyroid, adrenal, and gonadal axes. In general, a neural signal of imbalance in one of these endocrine systems leads to secretion of releasing factor from the hypothalamus, which triggers the pituitary gland to release a tropic hormone. The tropic hormone stimulates production and release of hormones from the specified endocrine gland. As a result, levels of circulating hormones...
Ozone damage to pine trees in the national forests of the San Bernardino Mountains of Southern California has been well understood since at least 1950.46 Plants use carbohydrates for growth, for maintenance, and for their immune systems. Ozone reduces a plant's ability to produce carbohydrates and triggers its consumption of the carbohydrates it has stored to repair damage caused by that same ozone in the first place. Over a period of years, carbohydrate levels are gradually depleted to the point at which little is available for dealing with exceptional stresses such as drought and insect infestations.This ozone damage then accelerates needle drop in pine trees, triggering a kind of premature aging and causing trees to shed larger amounts of needles than normal.
Hazardous waste in fresh water, oceans, or soil can kill fish and marine organisms or be taken up by plants that are later eaten by animals. This is how waste enters and contaminates the food web. In fact, predators (including humans) are most at risk from contaminants since toxins often concentrate in predators' tissues (bioaccumulation). Hazardous wastes can cause liver and kidney damage, as well as disruption to the nervous, reproductive, and immune systems. They can produce cancer and death in young and adult animals either from direct skin contact or gradual systemic poisoning.
The barrels would fill with water, overflow, and wash the chemicals into nearby Wilson Creek, which led to the Ohio River. Chemicals found in the drums included toluene (associated with liver and kidney damage, respiratory illness, damage to developing fetuses, and death) and benzene (causes leukemia, neurological problems, and weak immune systems). This incident was another national spur to the creation of the Superfund.
Project goals included providing a noninstitutional, comfortable, and healthy environment for a population with disabilities and challenged immune systems, lowering operating costs through energy and resource efficiency, and using durable and easily maintained materials and equipment. Healthy Indoor Environment Among the most unique aspects of this project are the synergies between the needs of the target population formerly homeless individuals and sustainable design. This is one of the first green projects to be built for such low-income residents, many of whom suffer from addictions, mental health problems, physical disabilities, and challenged immune systems from years of living on the street. The healthy features of this building go beyond improved indoor air quality and energy efficiency and address less tangible human needs by providing plenty of natural light and ventilation, attractive views, and a warm, noninstitutional feeling.
An allergic response is one in which components of the immune system react strongly to a normally inoffensive foreign substance. Some of us inherently have a greater-than-normal tendency to mount an IgE response. Those who do are referred to as atopic. Atopy appears to be the strongest single risk factor identified so far, increasing the risk in those affected by 10-20 times. IgE antibodies call forth a type I hypersensitivity, which involves inflammatory reactions engendered by IgE antibodies bound to mast cells. This reaction results from the release of a cascade of cytokines, and is an immediate reaction, following exposure to an antigen trigger. This reaction is also known as an allergy . and antigens that stimulate allergies are termed allergens. Curiously enough, these hypersensitive allergic responses are far higher in the more affluent, Western, industrialized countries than in less developed countries, a seeming contradiction requiring explanation. For years the steady mantra...
Behavioral toxicology is the investigation of adverse cognitive and behavioral effects of PBTs (Weiss, 1998). All PBTs, including industrial emissions, heavy metals such as mercury and lead, and pesticides, are stored in fats and other tissues, and build up with repeated exposure (thus the term, bio-accumulative). These substances can be directly toxic by killing or damaging cells, or produce indirect effects by altering endocrine or immune system functioning. The developing nervous system is particularly vulnerable to the effects of toxins, and its study is reflected in the subdiscipline of developmental neurotoxicology.
Soil creatures and fungi are the immune system for plants. They protect them against diseases, weeds, and insects - when this living community is harmed by agricultural chemicals and fertilizers, even more chemicals are needed in an increasingly vicious and harmful cycle which eventually kills the living soil through starvation, toxicity, and chemical transformation.19
Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a form of electromagnetic radiation that lies between visible light and x rays in its energy and wavelength. It is a component of the radiation that reaches the Earth from the sun. The broad UV band, having wavelengths between 190 nanometers (nm) and 400 nm, is conventionally divided into three parts UV-A or near-UV (315 to 400 nm), UV-B or mid-UV (280 to 315 nm), and UV-C or far-UV (190 to 280 nm). Much of the incident solar UV radiation is absorbed by gases in the earth's atmosphere and never reaches the earth's surface. This is fortunate, because UV radiation can chemically alter important biological molecules, including proteins and deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), and thereby cause damage to living systems. The most familiar effect on humans is sunburn, which is the manifestation of UV's damage to outer skin cells. Long-term effects of excessive UV exposure include skin cancer, eye damage (cataracts), and suppression of the immune system.
Persistent bioaccumulative and toxic (PBT) chemicals represent a group of substances that are not easily degraded, accumulate in organisms, and exhibit an acute or chronic toxicity. They may therefore pose serious concerns for human and environmental health. The effects of PBTs range from cancer, endocrine disruption, reproductive dysfunction, behavioral abnormalities, birth defects, disturbance of the immune system, damage to the liver and nervous system, to the extinction of whole populations.
Our continuing success depends on an elaborate, dynamic, and regulatory communications network of hundreds of millions of specialized calls passing information among them. This sensitive system produces a rapid, specific, and effective immune response. Any protein capable of triggering an immune response is called an antigen. It can be a virus, a bacterium, or even tissue or cells from another individual as in transplants that can trigger rejection. An antigen heralds its presence, its foreigness by special shapes, epitopes, receptors that protrude from its surface. Some have several others, hundreds and some will be more effective than others in evoking an antibody response. Enter the B and T cells ( B for bone marrow and T for thymus, where each undergoes maturation and multiplication). They are now capable of producing an immune response and capable of distinguishing self from nonself. The vital business of B cells is to secrete antibody into the body's fluids. Antibodies will...
Naturally, in the wild, without the preferred human around, the virus is transmitted among birds, the reservoir, by mosquitoes, the vector. Interestingly, most human infections are subclinical, asymptomatic. In New York one in five people who were infected developed the frank disease, and only one in 150 developed meningioencephalitis, West Nile fever, with severe neurologic involvement. Those whose immune system could manage the virus typically developed flulike symptoms along with headache, fever, chills, and backache within 3-14 days, which disappeared without treatment in 3-6 days. The risk of encephalitis increases with age over 50, as the immune system begins to weaken. Currently there is no antiviral treatment preventive or cure for West Nile or any member of the Flaviviridae family. Curiously enough, West Nile was given in an unsuccessful experimental treatment for advanced cancer in New York, in the 1950's 15 .
Organisms A number of different organisms have been implicated including Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, Mycoplasma pneumoniae, influenza, rhino-viruses, adenoviruses, metapneumovirus and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Viruses are of a wide range, with each species having a number of serotypes, with new ones appearing from time to time. However, the most important cause is S. pneumoniae or the pneumococcus or H. influenzae. The host defends him or herself by producing an appropriate immune response, but because of the large number of serotypes, it is a continuous process. Infection will cause illness in some people, but not in others who have developed an immune response to the specific organism or an antigenically similar serotype. New antigenic mutations, as occur in influenza, can cause epidemic or pandemic spread
While cleaning products help remove harmful contaminants such as mold, bacteria, and particulates, exposure to many conventional cleaning products can also create health problems, particularly for individuals who have preexisting health conditions such as asthma or allergies, or who have chemical sensitivities or a compromised immune system. Some cleaning products can cause headaches, dizziness, skin irritation, respiratory irritation, eye irrita-
As noted, more than four decades have passed since the introduction of the last new anti-tuberculosis drugs, and neither the existing drug pipeline nor the level of research funding indicates that a new compound could become available by 2010 (Glickman et al. 2006). At the same time, nearly every third person in low-income countries is infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and while under normal circumstances fever than 10 of infected individuals develop the disease, the activation rate of latent TB rises once the immune system is weakened, a condition increasingly common with spreading HIV. The worst possible combination is that of HIV-infected patients stricken by extremely drug-resistant (XDR) TB. And while there have been many isolated XDR TB cases, the first virtually untreatable outbreak of the infection, which affected more than 100 patients in rural KwaZulu Natal in South Africa, occurred in 2006 (Marris 2006).
Also forms when specific compounds are burned, such as the plastic polyvinyl chloride. In this instance, some of the chlorine reacts with organic compounds to form dioxin. No living creature, no matter how remote its home, is completely untainted by dioxin. The harmful effects of dioxin are not yet fully understood, but it may restrict the body's ability to manufacture proteins and decrease immune system function. Some studies suggest that dioxin may cause cancer the family of illnesses characterized by uncontrolled cell growth and other serious illnesses.
Since 1976, Epstein reported, thirty diseases have emerged which are new to medicine. Old ones, such as drug-resistant tuberculosis, have been given new life by new diseases (such as HIV AIDS) that compromise the human immune system. By 1998, tuberculosis was claiming three million lives annually around the world. Malaria, dengue, yellow fever, cholera, and a number of rodent-borne viruses are also appearing with increased frequency, Epstein reported (Epstein, 1998). During 1995, mortality from infectious diseases attributed to causes other than HIV AIDS rose 22 percent above the levels of 15 years before in the United States. Adding deaths brought about by HIV AIDS, deaths from infectious diseases have risen 58 percent in 15 years (Epstein, 1998). The IPCC included a chapter on public health in an update of its 1990 assessment which concluded, C limate change is likely to have wideranging and mostly adverse impacts on human health, with significant loss of life (Taubes, 1997).
Scientists do know that air pollution is related to a number of respiratory diseases, including bronchitis, pulmonary emphysema, lung cancer, bronchial asthma, eye irritation, weakened immune system, and premature lung tissue aging. In addition, lead contamination causes neurological and kidney disease and can be responsible for impaired fetal and mental development. The American Lung Association estimates the annual health costs of exposure to the most serious air pollutants at 40 to 50 billion.
Beef from cows that eat grass may be healthier for red-meat eaters than the factory-farmed kind. The Union of Concerned Scientists surveyed available studies, which suggest that grass-fed beef contains less fat per serving, and higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids (which are good for your heart) and CLAs (conjugated linoleic acids), which are thought to fight cancer, clogging of the arteries, and type-2 diabetes as well as strengthen the immune system.
We humans don't necessarily need perfect water. In fact, evidence suggests that a pristine lifestyle leads to increased immune deficiency. Certain types of minerals and bacteria are required by the human body to enable digestion. And recent studies indicate that children raised on purified water are statistically more likely to suffer from childhood diseases than those brought up on tap water. The reason The immune system needs to be constantly exercised in order to achieve optimum conditioning (just like muscles). Humans that live in sanitized, pristine environments don't get the necessary exposure.
Water may be contaminated when radioactive materials leak into coolant water. The contaminated water can damage the environment if it is released into nearby bodies of water such as streams or the ocean. Water and soil contamination can occur when radioactive waste leaks from storage containers and seeps into underground aquifers. The biosphere (people, plants, and animals) is affected by exposure to radioactive materials in the environment. The effect of exposure is cumulative and can cause the immune system of an organism to degrade.
The attention paid to skin cancer has caused other effects to be overshadowed. Radiation, blindness and cataracts were early identified as potential problems (Dotto and Schiff 1978). More recently, damage to the human immune system has been postulated, and there is some evidence that ultraviolet light may be capable of activating the AIDS virus (Valerie et al. 1988).
Other medical findings have been reported anecdo-tally, but not validated. These include increased prevalence of childhood ear infections and family history of autoimmune disorders (cf. 49 ). Given that certain facial structures (e.g. ear canals) develop concurrently with key cortical structures, it is reasonable to hypothesize that people with cortical variations such as those described in LD might have a greater proclivity toward ear infections. If a person had vulnerabilities in the immune system, he or she would be more susceptible to prenatal or early childhood exposures that could impact brain development and result in an LD.
Acquired (both cellular and humoral) immunity follows an infection or vaccination of attenuated (live or dead) organisms. This will induce the body to develop an immune response in a number of diseases. Immunity is most completely developed against the viral infections and may be permanent. With protozoal infections (e.g. malaria), it is only maintained by repeated attacks of the organism.
It turned out that Kaposi's sarcoma was only one of many symptoms. Gay men were becoming sick with all sorts of rare and terrible illnesses. Soon, they began dying of previously unseen forms of pneumonia. As the disease began to spread in the gay community, it became apparent that what was causing illness and death was not a particular disease, like cancer or pneumonia, but a terrible loss of all immunity. Cases of immune deficiency had been known as rare genetic diseases that required the sufferer to avoid all contact with the outside world. But medical science had never before encountered a case where such a drastic loss of immunity could be acquired after birth. The syndrome suffered by the gay men was called Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). But what caused this disease Early ideas were that certain drugs favored by some gay men might be responsible. Epidemio-logical research into who was affected soon revealed patterns that suggested an infectious agent. Several groups...
Allergic reactions are abnormal responses of the body's immune system to an otherwise safe food. Allergic reactions run the gamut from mild skin rashes and gastrointestinal upset to life-threatening anaphylactic shock. Although all food allergens are proteins, natural proteins are rarely allergenic.
In the sixth slot with 3 of total deaths, is diabetes mellitus (literally, honey sweet diabetes), a group of diseases in which levels of the sugar glucose, are abnormally high because the pancreas fails to release adequate amounts of insulin, an enzyme that normally metabolizes glucose, maintaining steady levels. Diabetes shows itself in two main forms. Type 1 was until recently called insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) or juvenile-onset diabetes. Type 1 occurs when the body's immune system destroys pancreatic beta cells, the only cells in the body that make insulin. This form usually occurs in children and young adults hence juvenile diabetes. But why does the body harm itself Why does the immune system destroy beta cells The essence of the immune system is its ability to distinguish self from nonself. Self is we our cells, tissues, and organs. Every cell in our tissues contains specific modules that identify it as self. Nonself are foreign objects or conditions that do not...
When health effects from molds occur, it is generally as a result of inhaling mold spores. For example, aspergillosis is an infection of the lungs caused by some species of Aspergillus, which can result in difficulty breathing. If left untreated, it can spread through the bloodstream to other organs, resulting in death. It is probably the most common type of building-acquired infection. Individuals with impaired immune systems are most susceptible to this infection. Mold infections can be acquired in health care facilities (nosocomial infections). Careful attention to removing spores from the air and water may be the best method to protect the public from these kinds of infections.
The isolated cases of known human-to-human transmissions of H5N1 do not answer that key question. Certainly the most encouraging fact is that the widespread human exposure to infected poultry has produced only a few hundred human infections. This means that the species barrier to H5N1 diffusion is considerable (Hou and Shu 2006). Moreover, innate immune response (including elevated levels of inflammatory mediators among patients who died) may have been responsible for some of the human disease clusters.
Lepromatous leprosy (LL) reflects the complete breakdown of the host's immune responses and the maximum infection with M. leprae. In the early stages, the signs Fig. 12.3. The spectrum of leprosy illustrating the proportion of bacilli, the cell-mediated immune response and the level of instability, in the different forms of the disease.
There are many serious environmental threats to human health, including numerous persistent organic pollutants, or POPs. Certain pesticides and other POPs can cause cancer and birth defects as well as interfere with hormonal and immune system functioning. Child health experts at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York report that today virtually every person on earth can be shown to harbor detectible levels of dozens of POPs and other toxic substances 6 Samples of Canadians were tested for the presence of eighty-eight harmful chemicals on average forty-four were found in each person. Blood and urine samples from a Toronto mother were found to contain thirty-eight reproductive and respiratory toxins, nineteen chemicals that disrupt hormones, and twenty-seven carcinogens. A First Nation volunteer living remotely on Hudson Bay had fifty-one of the eighty-eight chemi-cals.57 Researchers do not know the long-term health effects of living with this chemical cocktail, but it is known that...
In 2004, it would be surprising if any physician or nurse could recognize Lassa fever in its early stages as symptoms are nonspecific. The only clue was travel in West Africa. In both cases influenza, malaria, and typhoid fever were suspected, and before a firm diagnosis was made, both patients experienced respiratory failure and death. Lassa, Marburg, and Ebola share a common pathogenic attribute the ability to disable their host ' s immune response by attacking and destroying the cells that normally would initiate the antiviral response. Viruses engulfed by defending macrophages become virus replication factories, and with virus expulsion, the virions spread to regional lymph nodes, liver, and spleen. Infection of liver cells (hepatocytes) impairs function of blood clotting mechanisms edema ensues with loss of sodium and severe reduction of blood pressure. Currently there is no effective cure once the virus spreads to major systems. Although Marburg and Ebola are members of the...
Five cases of human plague were reported in the United States in 1996, two of which resulted in deaths. On average, 10-20 cases per year are the expectation, occurring mostly in young people under 20, with highest rates are among the Navajo. Others at risk are hunters and veterinarians. Although an ancient affliction, plague remains one of the world's most feared diseases, and appears to be too complex to be eradicated. This zoonotic disease has reservoirs on nearly every continent and has the uncanny ability to overwhelm host immune systems. Obviously plague is a perfect choice as a bioweapon, even though its spread is preventable and the illness curable if diagnosed rapidly and appropriate treatment instituted. Nevertheless, the devastation attributed to bubonic and pneumonic plagues dwarf that of most other diseases. Estimates put the death toll at 200 million.
For one, they tend to recruit immune system entities known as complement molecules, which can directly harm tissue. The complexes, either by themselves or with the help of the complement molecules, also elicit an inflammatory response. This response involves an invasion by white blood cells that attempt to wall off and destroy any disease-causing agents. Inflammation is a protective mechanism, but if it arises in i Lupus arises when the immune system mistakenly produces antibodies that attack the body's own tissues, including the kidneys, skin and brain. i The causes of this attack are complex, but a central component seems to be aberrant signaling within and between at least two types of immune cells B lymphocytes (the antibody producers) and the T lymphocytes that help to activate the B cells. One impressive abnormality involves a process known as apoptosis, or cell suicide. For the body to function properly, it has to continually eliminate cells that have reached the end of their...
Sepsis can become risky as a result of surgery and or the insertion of intravenous catheters, urinary catheters, and drainage tubes. The likelihood of sepsis increases as the time of the indwelling catheters increases. Of course, injecting drug users introduce bacteria directly into their bloodstreams. Also at increased risk are individuals taking anticancer medications, as well as HIV AIDS patients whose immune systems have been compromised. Septic shock, in which blood pressure falls to life-threateningly low levels, can be a frightening side effect, occurring most often in newborns, the elderly, and those whose immune systems are in disarray. If infant care is inappropriate, and HIV AIDS continues unabated as it appears to be doing, septicemia and septic shock will remain integral components of the list.
The adaptability of parasites to their human hosts might even have advantages for us. Ascaris, Trichuris and the hookworms secrete substances to reduce the host immune response, which inadvertently are absorbed by the gut lining and help reduce allergy such as that due to hay fever. Our more hygienic surroundings, by decreasing these parasites, may be responsible for the increase in allergic diseases such as asthma in the developed countries. It is a strange irony to actually introduce these parasites to combat allergic reactions.
An allergen is a substance that causes a reaction by the body's immune system against an otherwise harmless foreign protein. People are allergic to many different proteins, from milk to wheat. For allergens that affect breathing the immune reaction occurs when the allergen has been inhaled. Initially the body becomes 'sensitized' against a particular allergen causing the body to generate antibodies against the inhaled protein. These antibodies are Immunoglobulin E (IgE). Certain families are genetically prone to generate more IgE than others and have a tendency to develop more asthma, hay fever or eczema than other groups. The common allergens in houses relate to dust mites and domestic pets.
Hazardous air pollutants (HAPs), also referred to as air toxics, are pollutants that can cause severe health effects and or ecosystem damage. Serious health risks linked to HAPs include cancer, immune system disorders, neurological problems, reproductive effects, and birth defects. The Clean Air Act (CAA) lists 188 substances as HAPs and targets them for regulation in section 112 (b) (1). The air toxics program complements the NAAQS program. Examples of HAPs are benzene, dioxins, arsenic, beryllium, mercury, and vinyl chloride.
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