Monday, March 2, 2009

Why am I so tired?

I'm REALLY tired today. I have the cold that won't quit, and the Humira has short-circuited my immune system so I'm not fighting the cold off as well as I could. Ironically, because I'm tired, I'm having a hard time getting the motivation together to write about an article on fatigue and inflammatory illnesses that I found last week. But this is really cool science... I've been excited to share it.

In short:
Although the brain is usually isolated from the immune system, the study suggests that certain behavioral changes suffered by those with chronic inflammatory diseases are caused by the infiltration of immune cells into the brain. The findings suggest possible new treatment avenues to improve patients' quality of life.
It was previously thought that immune cells couldn't make it to the brain... but this study shows that in folks with inflammatory illnesses, white blood cells called monocytes do get up into our noggins and make us feel sick. The researchers in this study were able to reduce "sickness behaviors"(fatigue, malaise, loss of social interest) in sick mice by blocking monocytes from the brain. And one way they were able to block these monocytes was by blocking TNF signals, which as we know is part of what Humira does.

I love the idea of these little mice suddenly exhibiting social interest. What, are they making martinis? Playing bridge? At least now I know that my Humira is making me sick and outgoing at the same time.

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