Day 260. Day of Immunology

In April 2013 on April 29, 2013 at 8:35 am


Happy Day of Immunology!

Yes that’s right, immunology. The science of your immune system.

What has your immune system done for you lately? Well how about some or all of the below:

  • It has fought off viruses you picked up on your hands from the escalator rail at the shopping centre;
  • It has sampled bits of food you ate and worked out they weren’t worth getting excited about – unless you have a food allergy or a condition like inflammatory bowel disease;
  • If you’re a menstruating woman, it may have decided whether or not to let deposited sperm survive and fertilise an egg – and subsequently, whether to let a resulting embryo implant and grow;
  • If you breathed in pollen from your neighbourhood pine tree, it probably decided it to be non-threatening –  if you have hayfever on the other hand, a localised immune response may have resulted in mucous, sneezing and coughing;
  • If some of the cells in your body started growing in an abnormal way (the precursor to a tumour), hopefully it managed to detect this change and kill the cells;
  • If you had an immunisation, it formed ready-to-go cells and antibodies so that if you happen to encounter the corresponding disease you will be armed and ready for action.

Here in Adelaide, the RiAUS is running a Vaccination Cafe in association with the Australasian Society for Immunology to mark World Day of Immunology. Have a cup of coffee, get a flu shot, and chat to some scientists, how fun does that sound?! I think it’s a great idea.

You can read more about immunology on the Australian Society for Immunology website, or even take an immunology quiz. FYI, I achieved 16/16 correct answers. Go on, try and match that*!

*All bragging aside, it’s a great quiz actually, as all answers are explained.

[image thanks to NHSE on flickr]


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