Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Natural Killer Cells and Our Brains

Image found here. 

While I'm holding daughter's hand and feeding her ice cream after her wisdom teeth surgery today, I'm sure that I won't have a lot of time to concoct - er - thoughtfully write - a profoundly wise post.

In the meantime, take a peek at this NPR story about NK white blood cells. You can refresh your memory about these specialized white blood cells and the adaptive immune system here and here. NK cells have a direct role in autoimmunity, which is why this story caught my attention.

However, autoimmune diseases are not the focus of the piece, which is entitled Humans' Big Brains Tied To Chimps' Immunity? Here's a little snippet, but go read it - or listen to the NPR program - in it's entirety.

It's a provocative — even astonishing — hypothesis: Could the same set of genes that explains why chimpanzees are protected from some diseases also explain why humans have big brains?
That's what researchers at Stanford University are suggesting.
The genes in question control a type of white blood cell known as natural killer cells, or NK cells.

I........I.......suddenly have a craving for bananas......

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