Immunology Notes is a fascinating introduction to immunology suitable for the
sophisticated general reader, students and physicians who want a refresher
course in the practical application of immunological concepts. The book is
available as a PDF file for download.
In his Preface, Dr. Gislason states:
This is my notebook that contains an outline of a subject that grows in
complexity everyday. Immunology in the broadest sense is the study of immune
defenses in all animals that provides insights into the evolution of defense
procedures, signaling and memory systems. There is a theoretic immunology that
recognizes the complexity of immune networks that tend to create order out of
chaos. I use the concept of networks to replace the misleading description
I emphasize a dynamic model of immune networks with mobile cell populations
and evanescent events that are continuously evolving. Immune cell populations
move through boundaries that open and close. As immune networks become more
active, the migrations become more hectic and the boundaries become less secure;
events tend become turbulent or chaotic. Patients report the events that occur
and can tell physicians about progression of immune mediated diseases over time.
I learned some immunology and developed a basic understanding of allergy when
I was a medical student. I learned more about the practical aspects of clinical
allergy practice – skin tests and allergy shots-- when I joined my first medical
practice that included many allergy patients. Years later, I continued to
practice skin-test allergy in my own practice. My interests, views and knowledge
changed in 1981 when I became ill and discovered delayed patterns of food
allergy. Since then I have studied immunology closely and continue to have a
special interest in Food Allergy. I have written a separate book that deal with
this subject in more detail but retains an outline of the concepts and concerns
in this book.
The applications of immunological knowledge in treating disease have
proliferated in the past decade and promise to be an increasingly important part
of future medicine. Antibodies that block cytokines, for example, are now big
business that offers benefits at a high price. While the applications emerge
from solid science and ingenious production techniques, meddling with human
immune networks is a hazardous pastime.
One of the most dramatic demonstrations of the dangers involved in immune
tinkering occurred in six healthy volunteers. They were given an antibody that
targeted CD28 receptors on lymphocytes. They all promptly developed severe
immune-mediated disease with multiple organ failure. The anti-CD28 antibody was
developed as an activating signal… an immune system booster.
In the popular imagination, boosting your immune system is a good idea.
Consumers buy products, exercises, and strange devices hoping to fulfill that
promise. It is fortunate the commonly advertised immune boosting strategies do