Category Archives: immunity

Shingles associated with increased risk for stroke, heart attack

  • Study of more than 200,000 people demonstrated that herpes zoster (shingles) is associated with an almost 30% higher long-term risk of a major cardiovascular event
  • Elevated risk may persist for 12 years or more after developing shingles
  • Risk may be greater among those with potentially immunocompromising conditions or who are taking immunosuppressing treatments

A new study by investigators from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a founding member of the Mass General Brigham healthcare system, demonstrated that shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is associated with an almost 30% higher long-term risk of a major cardiovascular event such a stroke or heart attack. Their results are published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

“Our findings suggest there are long-term implications of shingles and highlight the importance of public health efforts for prevention,” said lead author Sharon Curhan, MD, ScM, a physician and epidemiologist in the Channing Division of Network Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “Given the growing number of Americans at risk for this painful and often disabling disease and the availability of an effective vaccine, shingles vaccination could provide a valuable opportunity to reduce the burden of shingles and reduce the risk of subsequent cardiovascular complications.”

Leave a comment

Filed under immune function, immune response, immunity, shingles

Your body remembers common cold coronaviruses from childhood. How can you get the same immunity to COVID-19?

For a glimpse into the future of SARS-CoV-2 immunity, scientists at La Jolla Institute for Immunology (LJI) are investigating how the immune system builds its defenses against common cold coronaviruses (CCCs).

According to a new LJI study, published recently in Cell Host & Microbe, adults have stable memory responses of CCC-fighting antibodies and T cells, presumably derived from multiple exposures to CCCs in childhood. Thanks to this immune cell army, CCC infections in adulthood tend to be infrequent and mild.

These findings may be a clue to how immunity can build up against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and the leading researchers think the COVID-19 booster shots available today may be critical for long-term immunity.

Leave a comment

Filed under COVID-19, immune function, immune response, immune system, immunity

COVID-19 science: Understanding the basics of ‘herd immunity’ – AHA

Dr. Eduardo Sanchez is the American Heart Association’s chief medical officer for prevention and a former state health commissioner of Texas. He has dealt with major public health crises – including the SARS outbreak. In this occasional series, he’ll break down various topics related to the coronavirus pandemic.

Recently I heard a medical “expert” on the news incorrectly define the term “herd immunity.” It’s a new phrase for many people, but we’re hearing about it more and more, so it’s important to understand exactly what it is.

people cheering

Photo by David Morris on Pexels.com

First, let’s discuss how immunity works for individuals. A person can become immune (or resistant) after exposure to a disease-causing agent, such as the coronavirus causing COVID-19 in this case. The process of becoming immune includes the production of antibodies specific to the virus for future protection. Continue reading

5 Comments

Filed under coronavirus, coronavirus risk, COVID-19, herd immunity, immunity