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Back to my page: rn immune SAC

My personal thoughts, questions and discovery of answers:

1. Why do some people get allergies and other people don't? Is it purely a genetic predisposition that causes it or is it unknown to why it occurs in some people and not others?
- Allergies tend to be genetic, running in families.
- "A family history of allergies is the single most important factor that predisposes a person to develop allergic disease. If one parent has allergic disease, the estimated risk of the child to develop allergies is 48%; the child's risk grows to 70% if both parents have allergies."
- Many people have a genetic predisposition to an allergy but it is not until they move somewhere else new or something like that that they experience the effects of the allergy or become sensitized.
- Environmental exposure or non exposure
- No clear answer found yet

Hmm...
I guess sensitization plays a role in this. Sensitization is the initial exposure to the allergen and antibodies are produced to this allergen. What about nut and dairy allergies that are developed over the lifespan. How and why do allergens sensitize all of a sudden. Why do people suddenly get the effects when they didn't used to? Conversely, how do some allergies suddenly not effect a person anymore? For instance, many children grow out of dairy allergies and asthma. Can allergies also be caused by other reasons? for instance, if your body doesn't produce a certain enzyme.
Do food allergies cause a different response from the body? Ahh!

Ok so, after some research:
Food allergies can be slightly different to the normal pollen response.
They can be:
IgE mediated - oral allergies, type 1 hypersensitivity reactions. This is the classic case of food allergies and this follows the response i will be focusing on.
IgE and/or non IgE mediated - allergic eosinophilic (type of WBC) reflux, inflammation of the lining of the stomach and stomach flu
Non IgE mediated - intolerances, syndromes, enteropathy (disease/disorder of the intenstinal tract) eg. coeliac disease
  • last two not really allergies, intolerance is separate

After some looking around on the ASCIA (Australasian society of clinical immunology and allergy) [http://www.allergy.org.au/content/view/111/124/]
I have seen their explanation of allergies and on genetic predisposition.
"Atopy is the genetic tendency to develop allergic diseases. People with atopy are said to be atopic.
When atopic people are exposed to allergens they can develop an immune reaction that leads to allergic inflammation (redness and swelling)."

2. This still doesn't answer my question about why some people can suddenly develop an allergy to something they never had or no longer be affected to them.

I've been talking to my parents about it and my mum suggested that perhaps sensitization itself is a process. As in depending on the allergen and the person, the sensitization can occur after the first exposure, or, it builds up over a period of time.

Anyways, i've decided i was getting a little bit of track. The main focus of this presentation is allergies and the biology involved and i need to keep that in mind and not go off topic. I only have 5 minutes!
yes, stay focused, have you thought about the images you will use? VM
im getting there... just wanted to get everything worked out in my mind first but i do have an idea as to what sort of pictures i will use ideally.

Now, allergic reactions would come under specific immunity yes, seeing it involves the use of B cells (humoral response). Hmm ok.

3.Something else. Why doesn't the body try and destroy the allergen? I know that B cells are involved but why doesn't it call upon the use of T cells. Great question. I think answering this will illustrate a thorough understanding of humoral response and cell-mediated response. Think about it, what do T-cells destroy? VM Do our immune systems know that these substances are harmless?

They fight the actual cell. But, is there an additional way of knowing that something is non self, because if the B cells interpret the allergen as being non self then why don't the T cells do so as well. Oh! Sudden realization. They destroy cells. Allergens aren't cells!
Am I correct?

Lia and I just had a discussion about allergies and the immune response and we wanted to know why IgE is the only antibody formed in response to the allergen. How is it that all allergens have the same antigens. And why do they have antigens anyways if they are not cells?
- discovered this answer as i was being naive and perceiving all IgEs to be the same! How stupid. That is just the name of the general group!

What is the role of the B memory cells in an allergic response? Is it different from the standard response as the allergen doesn't get "defeated"?
- haven't been able to find a answer to this but im from knowledge im saying that the allergen is remembered, as people have reoccurring allergies and also, when antibodies are produced, the memory B cells automatically remember this.

So, now I'm feeling confident and good. I have prepared the pictures and what im going to say in dot point form. Now comes the recording. Hopefully I don't mumble too much or sound like the boringest person on earth!

Reflection:
I was pretty angry at the end of this SAC because I felt like I could've done better, especially seeing how much work I put into it. I recorded about 7 times because the software kept on getting me confused so by the time recess had begun my thought pattern followed along the lines of screw it, ive had enough of this for now. I talk too fast in my presentation! I was rushing because the first time I finished at 5.40 and after cutting stuff out it was at 5.20 or 5.10. It ended up at 4.57 or something. Perfect.
I also did something else really bad. I said antigen instead of antibody! such a bad mistake, i feel like suuuch an idiot. Hmm, overall i think that this media idea was good but it might have just been a little bit too complicated for my liking. It defiantly has its cons and pros but yeah, would have preferred to do an oral presentation, which says something because I don't like talking! Ah well, I enjoyed learning about allergies and I don't think I've ever wanted to learn as much as this ever. The immune system is truly fascinating.