Thursday, October 20, 2011

Does boozing lower immunity?

From today's New Scientist

Alcohol suppresses immune cells, making heavy drinkers more vulnerable to infection

Too much alcohol dulls more than your wits. It also weakens your immune system and could make you more vulnerable to viruses.

Gyongyi Szabo at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester and colleagues exposed monocytes – white blood cells involved in the defence against infection – to chemicals that mimic viruses and bacteria. Half of the cells were also soused in the levels of alcohol that a person might have in their blood after quaffing four or five alcoholic drinks daily for a week.

When the over-the-limit cells were exposed to a virus mimic, they made only a quarter as much of the virus-fighting signalling molecule type-1 interferon as teetotal monocytes made. Monocytes exposed to alcohol and a bacterial chemical not only made half as much type-1 interferon as their abstemious equivalents, they also overproduced an inflammatory chemical called tumour necrosis factor-alpha that in high volumes can damage tissue.


Anonymous said...

Hi Terry hope u are holding up during chemo , just wondered how far have we come in the 10 years with treatment for cll

Anonymous said...

Hi terry recently diagnosed with cll age 43 early watch and wait under local haematologist , i know its difficult to give advice but what are the merits of seeing an cll expert if it was roles reversed would you seek out someone specialized in cll before any treatment .
birmingham uk

Terry Hamblin said...


FCR now established as giving longer overall survival Lots of new drugs like CAL-101, and PCI in the pipeline.



Anonymous said...

Very interesting about alcohol. The even more critical question might be: is there any evidence which shows that over consumption of alcohol can cause the acquired genetic defects typical in CLL?