Coconut Oil, Enhancing Infections (Abstract Science: June 19-23)
Jillian Scola

Coconut Oil, Enhancing Infections (Abstract Science: June 19-23)

Is coconut oil really a magical health food, new findings in Parkinson’s Disease and how antibodies might be making infections worse.

How do antibodies make infections worse?

(Lab Roots, 6/20/2017, Kerry Evans)

Antibodies are supposed to protect us from infection, right? This is true most of the time except antibodies can actually enhance infection through a process called antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE). In many cases, ADE occurs when sub-neutralizing concentrations of antibody attach to a virus. The Fc portion of these antibodies can then bind to the Fc receptors on immune cells, usually macrophages. This process allows the virus to enter the macrophage and establish a productive infection. Great for the virus, not great for the host.


How coconut oil got a reputation for being healthy in the first place

(STAT News, 6/20/2017, Jonathan Wosen)

If you follow food or nutrition blogs, you may have noticed the recent backlash against a new report released last week by the American Heart Association (AHA). The report reviewed the health harms of saturated fats and urging Americans to eat less of them. But the finding that seemed to come as the biggest surprise to the public was the inclusion of coconut oil on the list of the most egregiously unhealthy fats. Some studies have found that people who eat more coconut in general have higher healthy HDL cholesterol. So how did the healthy reputation come to be?  


Best evidence yet that Parkinson’s could be autoimmune disease

(New Scientist, 6/21/2017, Alice Klein)

Evidence that Parkinson’s disease may be an autoimmune disorder could lead to new ways to treat the illness. Researchers from Columbia University revealed a possible link between the immune system -- the body's defense system against disease -- and alpha-synuclein, the sticky protein that clumps in the cells of people with Parkinson's disease (PD).  These findings build on growing evidence supporting a role of the immune system in PD. Studies have found activated immune system markers in the brains of those with Parkinson's. However, it isn’t clear yet if the immune response directly causes neuron death, or if it is merely a side effect of the disease.


—Compiled by Social Media Specialist Jillian Scola