How immune system evolved to take control of decision-making processes + Chest fire

How our immune system evolved to take control of our decision-making processes

EXCERPT: Two new research papers are shedding light on the fascinating relationship between inflammation and behavior, suggesting our immune system can play a significant role in both our motivation and decision-making abilities. An interesting body of evidence is growing around the idea that inflammatory activity in the brain can influence everything from behavior and mood, to self-regulation and decision-making. For example, several recent studies have contended a strong association between neuroinflammation and suicidal thoughts, implying major behavioral outcomes can be linked to physiological mechanisms.

[...] It's important to note that these studies are not trying to entirely explain away mental health conditions by suggesting inflammation is the sole cause of major depression or even schizophrenia. Instead, it is hoped these new understandings into how behaviors can be influenced by immune responses may lead to novel therapeutic approaches for a variety of mental health disorders. "We're not proposing that inflammation causes these disorders," says Treadway. "The idea is that a subset of people with these disorders may have a particular sensitivity to the effects of the immune system and this sensitivity could contribute to the motivational impairments they are experiencing." (MORE - details)

The inflammation/decision-making study was published in the journal Scientific Reports. The dopamine behavior study was published in the journal Trends in Cognitive Sciences.

Fire in the hole! Er, in the Australian man's chest rather.

EXCERPT: . . . Dr. Ruth Shaylor, the anesthesiologist at Tel-Aviv Medical Center in Israel and Austin Health in Melbourne, Australia [...] presented the case study ... despite the rarity of the occurrence, she fears it may become more common...

[...] it takes three essential elements to start a fire: oxygen, heat, and fuel. Pure oxygen, like the kind that pumped through the patient’s lungs and out through burst bullae, is extremely combustible. During surgery, the doctors used a common tool called an electrocautery pen, an electronic device that generates high heat using an electrical current and is used to cauterize small wounds to quickly stop bleeding. Fuel, the third ingredient, came in the form of dry surgical packs. These simple items are dry pieces of gauze that surgeons use to either absorb bodily fluids or hold tissues out of the way during surgery.

The combination of oxygen, heat, and fuel quickly turned into a small blaze inside the man’s open chest cavity, with the dry surgical packs igniting in conjunction with the pure oxygen and hot electrocautery device. Shaylor reports that she and her fellow doctors quickly doused the flames with saline solution and checked for tissue damage. “There wasn’t any,” she says. The rest of the surgery went off without a hitch, and the patient was successfully treated for his aortic dissection. (MORE - details)

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