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  Messages 9-6 deleted by author between 07-22-2006 09:28 AM and 07-21-2006 08:59 AM
Charlie StrossPerson was signed in when posted
12:06 PM ET (US)
Nix: depends on your definition of environment and toxin. Certainly the immune system works fairly well against weird peptides that get into your circulatory system, and I'd tend to describe such as toxins. Heavy metal poisoning is another matter ...

Vomiting is indeed not usually a direct immune response. However, it's a common side-effect of pyrexia and fever. And it's also a common side-effect of a variety of triggers that disrupt gastric motility. Survival value? How about, "if this stays in your gut it may poison you worse, so let's get it out of there as fast as possible."
08:03 PM ET (US)
I must be dumb today: how, exactly, did the immune system evolve to protect us from environmental toxins?

I don't know many biologists who'd class the detoxifying function of, say, the liver as an immune function. (Nor is vomiting an immune reaction in my book.)
Mary Kay
08:17 PM ET (US)
It's only fair. That bug I got from you at Boskone has only just left. I think. It has appeared to depart several times only to jump back on me whenever any physical stress occurred. Personally, I think our highly evolved immune systems could have done better than mucus and phlegm....

Charlie StrossPerson was signed in when posted
04:33 PM ET (US)
Um, too late. In the past twenty-four hours I've done a photo shoot for a Big Science Magazine and edited my way through 4/9th's of ACCELERANDO (which has got to be the cognitive equivalent of being dragged backwards through a bed of nettles -- ouch!).

I think I'm going to lie down and gibber for a bit.
01:58 PM ET (US)
Sounds like the same bug (described by my GP as "a communal chest infection") that everyone I know in Edinburgh has had in the last few months, but a little faster and more intense. I'd take it very easy until the headache and stuffiness go away - it snuck back on me a couple of times before finally going away, and one friend developed pneumonia (which is a pretty remarkable effort for a non-smoker at 27).

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