Biomedical Engineering Blog

Biomedical Engineering

The Biomedical Engineering blog is the place for conversation and discussion about topics related to engineering principles of the medical field. Here, you'll find everything from discussions about emerging medical technologies to advances in medical research. The blog's owner, Chelsey H, is a graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) with a degree in Biomedical Engineering.

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Starve A Fever

Posted October 17, 2016 12:00 AM by Chelsey H

Everyone has heard the old adage ‘feed a cold, starve a fever.’ A recent study published in the journal Cell sheds light on what mom used to say.

Viral and bacterial infections induce different types of immune responses so our metabolism might require different fuels to prevent damage to the body.

Researchers infected a group of mice with the bacteria Listeria, a common cause of food poisoning, and another group with influenza virus. When the mice were force-fed, those with bacterial infections died – but those with viral infections were more likely to survive. Image Credit

Interestingly, researchers were able to determine that glucose (rather than protein or fats) in food was responsible for the outcome. When the team used drugs to block glucose, the mice infected with bacteria survived, while those infected with the virus died.

The findings of this study show that glucose seems to play an important role during a viral infection. However, during a bacterial infection, fasting benefited the mice by allowing them to use ketones, a different fuel that is produced when fat is broken down.

This is a very specific study looking at very specific illnesses in mice, but researchers are hoping that their research will translate into advice about how sick people should eat and how doctors can feed infected patients in intensive care units.

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Re: Starve A Fever

10/17/2016 3:37 PM

Interesting. Maybe the bacteria use the glucose in the blood for fuel.

Sometimes "old wives' tales" have wisdom that later proves to have a scientific explanation.

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Re: Starve A Fever

10/17/2016 4:37 PM

So we don't need antibiotics after all... Just the Atkins diet....

....for colds...............................................for fever

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Re: Starve A Fever

10/18/2016 6:23 AM

So, in other words: "Scientists find out; mom knows what the hell she's talking about."

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