Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Some scientists have studied it:
" Why do some people end up in bed feverish, hacking and sneezing for days from the flu — when others seem to never get sick? To answer that question, University of Michigan researchers did the first study of its kind: They infected 17 healthy people with the flu virus and discovered that everyone who is exposed to the flu actually is affected by it, but their bodies just have a different way of reacting to it. Half of the study participants got sick; the other half didn’t notice a thing.
“Many people might conclude that if you are exposed to a virus and you don’t get sick, it’s because the virus didn’t stick or it was so weak, it just passed right through your system and your system didn’t notice. That’s not a correct notion,” says Alfred Hero, professor at the University of Michigan College of Engineering and author of the study, which was published Thursday in the journal PLoS Genetics.
He continues, “There is an active immune response which accounts for the resistance of certain people getting sick, and that response is just as active as the response we all know and hate, which is being sick with the sniffles, fever, coughing and sneezing. It’s just that the responses are different.”
Hero, along with scientists from Duke University Medical Center and the Duke Institute for Genome Sciences & Policy, studied participants’ gene expression to watch how the immune system reacted to the flu virus. The analysis reviewed 22,000 genes and 267 blood samples, and used a pattern recognition algorithm and several other methods to discover the genomic signatures associated with the immune response in people who get flu symptoms and those who do not.
They found significant and complex immune responses in the people who got sick and the people who didn’t. Scientists noticed changes in their blood 36 hours before some people actually felt sick. Although they understand that some people’s immune systems resist the virus, they still don’t know how or why that happens.
“There is a behind the scene active immune response even when you don’t get sick,” Hero says. “What we found were differences in their biological metabolism and gene expression. These differences had to do with antioxidants.”

So sometimes your body responds to a virus...but you just don't know it.  And it's hard to explain how it did it.  Reminds me a bit of how our bodies respond to having Moebius Syndrome.  Right?  I can only see out of one eye at a time.  But I use both of them, and somehow my body adapted to using both of them and switching back and forth fast enough to see what I needed to see.  I couldn't explain to you, though, how it happened.  Our lips and mouths don't work like other peoples'...yet we learn how to speak.  Though explaining how we did it would be hard.

The body...it's an amazing thing.

"Be your character what it will, it will be known, and nobody will take it upon your word."--Lord Chesterfield

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