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    Is my immune system normal?

    By news editor, on 12 June 2013


    Man sneezing, by Placbo on Flickr

    pencil-iconWritten by Maeve McMahon, who attended a lecture by Professor Arne Akbar (UCL Immunology) at the Cheltenham Science Festival, entitled ‘Is my immune system normal?’

    I usually succumb to three bouts of the common cold a year – once over Christmas, once during exams and the final wild-card infection usually manages to time itself to ruin a holiday.

    Is that normal? Hundreds of people who wanted to know the answer attended an event at The Times Cheltenham Science Festival. Vivienne Parry, host of BBC Radio 4’s Am I Normal?, chaired a panel of researchers who investigate immunity.

    Imagine, suggested Professor Arne Akbar (UCL Division of Infection and Immunity), that you are a pork chop left out in the sun. You might just smell a little on the first day. But over the course of a few days, you would begin to stink and turn to mush as your tissue broke down.