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 Post subject: Men make terrible patients
 Post Posted: Wed Mar 01, 2006 1:28 am 
Men are the sickly sex

@ DM / 01Mar2006

ACCORDING to many long- suffering wives and girlfriends, men make terrible patients.

They constantly complain and exaggerate, making a simple case of the sniffles sound like a terrible dose of the flu.

But research has shown that such moaning may be justified because men are more susceptible to some illnesses than women.

This is due to the fact that male and female immune systems are different – with men more vulnerable to catching viruses such as colds and flu.

The differences could also explain why women are more prone to autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.

The researchers carried out tests on the immune systems of male and female mice of various ages.

Their study of 12,000 genes involved in immunity showed that both males and females have similar immune systems when young.

But, during puberty, changes occur.

The researchers explained that our immune system is made up of two branches – innate and adaptive immunity. Adaptive immunity, which is the more complex of the two, involves the production of antibodies which play a vital role in warding off infections.

Analysis of the adult mice showed that this part of the immune system was weaker in males.

This left them more prone to illnesses caused by bacteria, viruses and fungi.

At the same time, the higher level of adaptive immunity in the females could make them more vulnerable to autoimmune conditions such as multiple sclerosis.

These illnesses involve the body being attacked by antibodies produced by its own immune system.

Further experiments showed that the change in the immune system at puberty is driven by the female sex hormone oestrogen.

Dr Rebecca Lamason, who led the study at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, said that other studies had shown that men are more likely to die from infections than women.

Writing in the journal BMC Immunology, she said: ‘It has been observed that males have a higher mortality due to infectious diseases than females.

‘The data presented here suggests that males have a relatively diminished immune response, which is critical for the elimination of micro-organisms. Thus, the documented higher mortality rates in males worldwide may be due in part to this relatively deficient adaptive immune response.’

Her findings could also explain why up to 80 per cent of cases of autoimmune disease are found in women.

Multiple sclerosis, which affects more than 85,000 Britons, is up to three times as common in females.

Similarly, rheumatoid arthritis affects up to three times as many women as men.

Daily Mail

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