Cocaine and HIV Infection
Week of July 22
We’ve known that cocaine use can increase someone’s chances of getting HIV, mostly through needle sharing and other risky behaviors. Now a study further shows cocaine use fundamentally changes our immune cells, making them more susceptible to HIV infection.
Researchers used special mice engineered with a human immune system. They wanted to prove in a living organism their earlier findings which showed in petri dishes that the CD4 T cell becomes more vulnerable to HIV infection when exposed to cocaine. This is significant because CD4 T cells are a type of human immune cell that’s normally resistant to HIV when it’s not active. Would these resting T cells in the engineered mice be susceptible to HIV infection as they were in petri dish tests?
Sleep - Good for the Waistline
Week of July 15
Two things we’ve heard over and over is that Americans are getting fatter and they’re sleep deprived. The two actually go hand in hand. Numerous studies over the years have proven this link.
For example, sleep deprived people produce 30% more insulin to keep their glucose levels normal. And our hunger hormones, leptin and ghrelin, are altered so that we’re stimulated to eat when we lack sleep. Women in a 16-year study faced a 30% greater chance of gaining thirty pounds in that time if they slept five hours or less a day.
Now a new study further convinces us we need to sleep! Our brains make a chemical called endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoylglycerol or 2-AG. It’s related to the active chemical in marijuana and has the same ability to cause the munchies... More »