New light on common cold

Hello!  We the Accessibility team at would like to end this week by sharing an article with you that comes from the Medical arena.  Believe it or not, the cold and flu season is here once again, so please be careful and remember to take your flu shot.

Have a pleasant day.
Your Accessibility team
New light on common cold; Calgary research on cells in nose
aims to help develop better prevention and treatment options
 Noor Javed
The Toronto Star, Oct. 24, 2008
Annoying cold symptoms, such as a runny nose and watery eyes, are caused by
the way our body responds to a cold, and not by the cold virus itself,
according to researchers from the University of Calgary.
The study, to be published today in the American Journal of Respiratory and
Critical Care Medicine, is the first comprehensive look at how epithelial
cells in the nose change when they are exposed to the cold virus, known as
The research is meant to help scientists develop more effective cold
prevention and treatment options.
“The idea initially was that the virus itself is having a nasty effect on
all of your body and causing big problems,” said Dr. David Proud, a
physiology professor at the University of Calgary, and lead author of the
“Now what we’re saying is that the virus itself is relatively innocuous to
the cell that it infects – they can live in there for days and days. What it
does is change the way your body reacts to the presence of that virus,” he
“That is what really triggers all of these symptoms.”
The research found that when the epithelial cells in the nose are infected,
it induces a cellular response – creating genes that make the inflammation
and others that try to fight off the infection.
“Among the groups of genes we saw were those that would make the
inflammation worse, increase swelling, and bring in the white blood cells,
but there are
also these genes in the epithelial cells which should be antiviral and help
to fight the virus,” said Proud.
He said future research for cold treatments could include finding ways to
reduce the chemical causing the inflammation, or identify and increase the
of molecules that are part of the body’s natural antiviral defence.
“Those are the two approaches: Can we identify the bad things and maybe
selectively shut down a few of them, or can we identify what we think are
good responses and make those bigger,” said Proud.
Research volunteers were infected by the rhinovirus, and the nasal scrapings
were taken before and after the infection occurred. Using a technique called
“gene chips,” the researchers were able to look at the microscopic cellular
changes taking place in the cells.
“We were simultaneously looking at 35,000 genes and seeing what changed,”
said Proud. “That’s why this research was so comprehensive.”
The goal is to use this research in developing new treatments for the cold
and, in the long-term to study, the effect of the rhinovirus on more severe
such as asthma and bronchitis.
“So this research is both useful for the common cold and for the severe
complications of the common cold,” he said.
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About Donna Jodhan

Donna Jodhan is an award winning blind author, advocate, sight loss coach, blogger, podcast commentator, and accessibility specialist.
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