What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos


Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers


Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge


Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more

How Alcohol Dulls the Immune System

October 1, 2011, 11:15 AM

What's the Latest Development?

Researchers have found that consistent alcohol use weakens the immune system and makes individuals more susceptible to viruses, including H.I.V. In an experiment, University of Massachusetts Medical School scientists exposed white blood cells—the body's first line of defense against disease—to chemicals that mimic viruses and bacteria. Half the white blood cells were soaked in alcohol, the equivalent of four or fives drinks daily for a week. The cells exposed to alcohol made only a quarter of the special virus-fighting molecule as healthy cells did. 

What's the Big Idea?

The research is consistent with data that shows heavy drinkers with H.I.V. die sooner than infected teetotalers and that sober cancer patients are better at keeping the disease at bay. Lead researcher Gyongyi Szabo says that heavy drinkers should be aware that they are not only damaging their brain but their immune system as well. "Mark Hutchinson of the University of Adelaide in South Australia says that the results tally with post-mortem data showing that chronic drinkers have less immune chemicals in their blood than normal."


How Alcohol Dulls the Immun...

Newsletter: Share: