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Costly medicines. Untreatable disease. Doctor shortages around the world.

We’re working every day on these issues, and your support can help:

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Explore ways you can support the Health System.

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  • Part of our personality may actually be dictated by the immune system.

    Research Shows Immune System Controls Social Behavior

    Researchers at the School of Medicine have determined that the immune system directly affects – and even controls –social behavior, such as the desire to interact with others.

    Formerly thought to be isolated from each other, research suggests that the brain and the adaptive immune system closely interact. In fact, some of our behavior traits might have evolved as our immune response to pathogens.

    “It’s crazy, but maybe we are just multicellular battlefields for two ancient forces: pathogens and the immune system. Part of our personality may actually be dictated by the immune system.” Says Jonathan Kipnis, PhD, chair of UVA’s Department of Neuroscience.

    Read more about this research into the immune system.
  • I thought, well, I’m in good hands, so I’m going through with this.

    After a hip replacement at UVA, Susan is horseback riding again.

    Susan Mong loves riding her horse. She’s been riding for more than 50 years. A few years ago, she broke her hip while riding and had to have screws implanted. This led to osteoarthritis and other complications.

    Eventually, the pain got so bad that Susan couldn’t ride. She searched online to see where doctors themselves go for hip issues, and UVA came up. She made an appointment with orthopedic surgeon Quanjun Cui, MD

    “I met Dr. Cui and we had a nice conversation,” Susan says. “I thought, well, I’m in good hands so I’m going through with this.” 

    Her biggest question: When could she ride again? 

    Watch Susan's story.
  • Who knows? This may end up being the ‘fountain-of-youth' gene.

    Gene May Offer Way to Block Aging’s Effects

    For years, scientists thought the Oct4 gene did nothing in the human body after prenatal development. It turns out they were wrong.

    The gene may actually hold the secret to reversing some effects of aging.

    UVA researchers have found the gene helps prevent heart attacks and strokes, which often occur when plaque that builds up inside our blood vessels ruptures. The gene creates protective caps inside the plaque, so the plaque is less likely to burst. It also enables cells that don't normally move to migrate into the protective caps.

    This knowledge opens the door to develop new drugs that prevent heart attacks and strokes. Manipulating the gene’s expression might also block age-related decline in the body, helping it to better heal itself and repair wounds.

    Read more about this heart attack, stroke and aging research.

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