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The immune system in sport: getting the balance right
  1. Richard O'kennedy
  1. School of Biotechnology Dublin City University Dublin 9, Republic of Ireland

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    The immune system consists of a vast number of cells, tissues, and messengers—for example, cytokines—that play a key role in the protection of the body against infection and in healing after injury. It is becoming increasingly evident that it is highly integrated with our neurological and endocrine systems, and research now seeks to understand and exploit these interactions.1 The need for an active immune system is self evident if an athlete is to continuously produce peak performances, but often intense exertion and treatment for inflammation lead to partially reduced immune capacity and consequently potential infection or disease. To circumvent such problems, it is of major importance to understand how to achieve the optimum balance of the immune system.

    A review of the literature highlights the fact that sports immunology is …

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