The blog of Dr Jon Lieff explores the interface of biology, neurology, and the mind.

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  • Human tissues that are exposed directly to the outside environment include the skin, the gut, and the lungs. In all of these, unique cells must deal with the complexity of exposure to toxins and many kinds of microbes. As with the gut and the skin, the path of air into the lungs ...
  • All of life is based on interactions of signaling entities—communities, people, organs, cells, and even viruses. Remarkable progress has been made in deciphering the conversations between cells, but it is much harder to track signals among organelles. Observation is much more d ...
  • White blood cells (also named leukocytes) are called into action with microbe attacks and tissue damage of all kinds. They use very specific modes of travel to the inflammation site, spurred by the signals of capillaries, tissue cells, and other immune cells (these have been desc ...
  • Neurons are vital for many processes not previously associated with them. Neurons can stimulate all of the symptoms of inflammation and use these mechanisms for neuroplasticity. Complex interactions of inflammation and cancer are now coming into focus and neurons are an important ...
  • Conversations among cells are the basis of all life. Important signaling occurs between immune cells, tissue cells, and brain cells. One of the most active and vital type of communication occurs among the cells that form the lining of organs and the matrix cells that form the con ...
  • T cells are vital to fighting all types of invaders and to fix trauma using cytokine signals, physical attack, and various forms of inflammation. They either directly attack cells to kill them, influence the development of many different kinds of inflammation by orchestrating oth ...
  • Cancer cells have elaborate communication among the cells in their developing community. They also converse with many other tissue cells—vascular, immune, and supportive cells nearby are cajoled into collaboration. Cancer cells signal in the same way a bacterial community does ...
  • The previous post described current understanding of the complexities of barriers that guard the brain. What is becoming clear is that all of the different compartments, and barriers, have differing characteristics—blood brain barrier, choroid cells, blood-CSF barrier, dura, su ...
  • It has been thought that the brain doesn’t have typical immune responses—it has been called “immune privileged.” With the discovery of the dual role of microglia as supportive glia brain cells and resident immune cells, this view changed somewhat. Then it was discovered t ...
  • The nervous system regulates the heart, the lungs, and the GI tract often through circuits that rapidly respond with reflexes such as sudden change in heart rate or blood pressure. Now, research is finding similar reflex regulation of many immune events and responses. The circuit ...
  • A previous post noted how microbes can help cancers in all stages of their development. Now, it has been found that the one-time microbe now the mitochondria is also vital for cancer to start, to grow, to survive and to metastasize. These microbes and the mitochondria use back an ...
  • One of the first discoveries about the unusual behavior and cognitive abilities of bacteria was a signal put out by many of the members of a community to make a group decision. This "quorum sensing" signal stimulates collaborative attacks and migration by sensing if there are eno ...

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