Up to 12 percent of men who suffer from infertility have an autoimmune response to their own reproductive cells.
How the Testes Interact with the Immune System
Recent UVA School of Medicine research could be a game-changer when it comes to some cases of male infertility, certain autoimmune diseases and cancer vaccine failure.
Science textbooks note that an impenetrable wall of cells separates the testes from the immune system. But the researchers discovered that this isn’t true: There’s actually a small door in the wall. When testes create sperm, they release antigens, substances that can trigger an immune response, and the immune system ignores them.
Since cancer vaccines target antigens, scientists developing these vaccines need to make sure they’re not targeting the same antigens that the immune system ignores.
In some infertility cases, mens’ immune systems are essentially attacking their sperm. This discovery helps researchers understand how that’s happening, which could lead to new treatments.
Two years ago, UVA researchers also discovered a direct link between the immune system and the brain.
It would be magical just to change your diet, to change the bacteria you take, and fix your health – and your mood.
Researchers Reverse Depression Symptoms In Mice With Yogurt
Depression is one of the most common mental health conditions in the U.S. What if, to treat it, you could simply adjust your diet? UVA School of Medicine researchers may be one step closer to this reality. They reversed depression symptoms in mice by feeding them Lactobacillus, a bacteria commonly found in yogurt.
The next step is for researchers to confirm these findings in patients with depression. They hope that this discovery will lead to new strategies for treating depression and other conditions, such as anxiety.
However, people who are currently receiving treatment for depression should not stop taking their medications without talking to their doctor.
The benefit is gigantic for families, not just because it provides them a naturalistic setting, but they don’t have to travel.
Telemedicine: Less Driving, More Access to UVA Specialists
Telemedicine, or telehealth, uses videoconferencing technology to connect faraway patients and primary care doctors to UVA specialists. Over the last 20 years, UVA’s telehealth services have saved patients millions of miles of driving. They can access more than 60 specialties through telemedicine.
Developmental pediatrician Mariam Halpern, MD, describes telemedicine like this: “You get to see very well the patient in a comfortable setting. So I get to see these children with their families in a room where they can play; they’re not feeling like they’re at a doctor’s office.”