The Starfish, a Russian Zoologist, and Your Immune System

Who knew we’d have the larva of starfish and some brilliant Russian dude called Ilya Mechnikov to thank the beginning to the understanding of our immune system?

Well, let’s all say “thanks” to the long deceased (he died in 1916) Mechnikov for poking thorns into the larva and watching the phagocytes, now called macrophages (white blood cells), surround the thorn and protect the organism. We can’t forget the starfish either.  It probably didn’t dig getting poked with thorns. However, it’s sacrifice led to the beginning of understanding how our white blood cell army functions to protect, and in some cases, ravage us.

I’m pretty sure none of us are literally poking thorns into our parts but I’ll bet lots of us are activating our immune systems by making poor nutritional choices.