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Lahey Health has more than 1, local providers in adult and pediatric primary care and almost every medical specialty. Find your team today. Clostridium difficile are spore-forming bacteria that normally live in the colon, or large bowel. Not all strains of C. Under certain conditions, C.

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A new discovery about dangerous C. The new finding from the University of Virginia School of Medicine explains why certain patients are highly susceptible to C. The UVA researchers found that the immune response to C. This solves a longstanding mystery about why disease severity does not correlate with the amount of bacteria in the body but, instead, to the magnitude of the immune response.

It also explains why patients with inflammatory bowel disease IBD are more likely to suffer severe C. The bowel condition colitis, the researchers determined, has a lingering effect on the immune system, priming the patient for a worse C. While scientists have known that C. But UVA's research reveals that the truth is far more complex. Oftentimes, the type of immune response generated by the body can dictate the outcome of disease independently of bacterial toxin.

You don't need to understand anything more than the fact that the bacteria make toxins," said UVA's William A. Petri Jr. Yes, the toxins are important, but the toxins are important because they affect the immune system in dramatic ways. Seeking to understand why patients with IBD are so susceptible to C. He was able to determine that mice that recovered from colitis actually had changes in their immune system -- an adaptive immune response.

Immune cells known as Th17 cells had become hypercharged, primed to cause a severe reaction to subsequent C. Even the same amount of the bacteria would now cause a dangerous, outsized response.

The researchers then looked at human samples to determine if their finding would hold true. It did, and they were able to use substances in the blood, including a protein known as interleukin 6 IL-6to predict disease severity.

Patients with high amounts of IL-6 were almost eight times more likely to die from C. Petri, of UVA's Division of Infectious Diseases and International Health, explained: "Now we know from Mahmoud's work that if I, as a physician, measure IL-6 in one of my patients with IBD, I'll be able to know how severe disease will be in that person and I can make the decision about whether the person needs to be admitted to the hospital The research also suggests a potential new way to treat or prevent severe C. And so even though we have very, very good antibiotics for this, the [body's] response is so severe that even though we're killing the bacteria with the antibiotics, patients are suffering from their own immune response.

While more research will need to be done to create such a treatment, Petri and Saleh are proud to have solved a big mystery about C. The research team consisted of Saleh, Alyse L. Frisbee, Jhansi L. Leslie, Erica L. Ma, Morgan E. Simpson, Kenneth W. Scully, Mayuresh M. Abhyankar and Petri. Materials Cedis infection wiki by University of Virginia Health System.

Note: Content may be edited for style and length. Science News. Lingering Effects The bowel condition colitis, the researchers determined, has a lingering effect on the immune system, priming the patient for a worse C. Journal Reference : Mahmoud M. Saleh, Alyse L. Buonomo, Carrie A. Cowardin, Jennie Z. Abhyankar, William A. ScienceDaily, 23 April University of Virginia Health System.

Revealed: The secret superpower that makes C. Retrieved July 20, from www. People treated with antibiotics are at heightened risk because ScienceDaily shares links with sites in the TrendMD network and earns revenue from third-party advertisers, where indicated. Print Share.

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