Immunity is very much a hidden super power which we only really appreciate when we get sick. It is a shame because without our immune system working around the clock in every part of our body we just would not be able to survive.
Most people know that their immune system fights off the common cold and basic infections but did you know that it plays a key role in preventing all sorts of illnesses including:
- Cancer: Viruses and bacteria cause several cancers
- Diabetes: Type 2 has been linked to viruses that attack the pancreas and stop it producing insulin
To understand a lot of what is covered in the Fit2Thrive site you really need to understand at least the basics about the immunity you benefit from every day, the ways it can go wrong and how you and your daily habits can help it.
So, recently I came across some awesome introductions to immunity that can give you a brief overview without the hours of study. I have been using basic knowledge like this for decades to keep myself and those I care about safe and healthy but I did not know how to share the knowledge. These days there are so many great resources available I can just share these with you and carry on sharing knowledge that builds on these fundamental learning blocks. So without further ado here is a basic introduction to the human immune system.
The immune system in 15 minutes
First I came across this short summary video by Paul Andersen which reminded me just how fascinating, complicated and darn important the immune system is. If you have a spare 10 minutes it is definitely worth it even if like me you have studied immunity in depth.
If you don’t have time to watch the video now just be aware that Paul explains:
- how your body protects itself from invading viruses and bacteria.
- the nonspecific immune responses of skin and inflammation.
- how we use antibodies to disrupt the function of antigens and mark them for destruction.
- both the homoral and cell-mediated immune response highlighting the importance of B and T lymphocytes.
- the process of long term immunity.
Your immune system 101
This next video really got me hooked because it goes into more detail and is presented so very well. It reminds me of the lessons I had learning biology from the good teachers because they always made it fun and interesting.
It is a full lecture presentation so I am watching it over several sessions but it is totally worth it. It reminds me that there really is nothing quite as fascinating and dramatic as the living human being. So I urge you to check it out if only to understand a little more about what you get for free in this amazing thing the human being.
Innate immune system
So as usual, I watch two cool immune videos and along comes another one making this a cool week for recapping immunity. Just like your teachers told you it is always The cool thing to learn from a variety of sources and these videos make that point clearly. The first two videos focused mainly on explaining the theory and basically how stuff works and this next video focuses mainly on why and the practical uses and applications of your immunity in the first place.
In a clear cartoon animation based format you get the opposite of a lecture so the pace is different and so is the audience. The video discusses innate responses only and as an example gives a nice description of how our innate defences find ways to create tiny wholes in the membranes of invaders to make the invaders swell and lyce (burst) through different methods.
The Immune system and transplants
This is a beautiful introduction by the Medical Research Council to how the immune system detects and attacks foreign organisms in the body and how teams doing clinical transplants are learning to work with the system to maintain the body’s capacity to resist infections diseases.
Flu attack: How a virus invades your body
The following video is a funny tutorial on how the cold virus infects cells to give you a simpler idea of how viruses attack and your immune system tries to defend itself.