Why Is Inflammation a Dangerous Necessity?



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Why Is Inflammation a Dangerous Necessity? - Quanta

The immune system protects us from a full spectrum of pathogens, but without balance, it can end up hurting us over time, too. The immunologist Shruti Naik explains how our defenses can turn on us.

We’ve heard a lot about the immune system over the last couple of years of the COVID-19 pandemic, but of course our immune system fights off much more than the coronavirus. And while the immune system protects us brilliantly from countless pathogens every day, sometimes it can also attack our own bodies, causing harmful and even deadly inflammation. In this episode, host Steven Strogatz speaks with Shruti Naik, an immunologist and assistant professor of biological sciences at the Langone Medical Center of New York University, to learn why the immune system works so well — and how that effectiveness can backfire.