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Biology 111


Homework Post #1 Rebuilding Damaged Brain Cells ====

Hey everyone, for my first post I looked into brain cell research. I found a
really interesting article which explained how adult stem cells in the brain
can contribute to the development of effective medicines for brain tissuebrainCell-die.jpg
repair and regeneration.The article investigated whether this kind of brain
tissue could be used as a source for isolation of neural stem cells. They
would then culture neural stem cells and implant it autologously back
into patients for treatment of neurological deficits caused by trauma. To
test this they isolated and propagated adult neural stem cells from
exposed brain tissue of the patients with open brain trauma. Then put in
autologous neural stem cells into the traumatic regions with MRI-guided
stereotactic device for the patients. After two years patients with this
early form of treatment had significant improvement in neurological function.
The improved brain function also showed partial recovery of activity in
damaged areas of the brain. The rest of the article goes on to enplane how
important this discovery has been for people with trauma injuries to the
brain and that human stem cells in the brain could lead to a brain
regenerative medicine.


Zhu, Shen, Chen and Zhang, J, Y, L, HL . (2008). Biology and therapy of adult human brain stem cells. Retrieved from

Homework post #2 Apoptosis

apoptosis.jpgApoptosis is a word used to enplane programed cell death. In all living things cells are created and cells die. Cells can die from a number of stimuli, but during apoptosis they die in a controlled, regulated fashion. This makes apoptosis different from other cell deaths. Once a cell is given the signal to begin apoptosis the cell itself begins to go through some changes. When apoptosis begins in a cell a specific type of proteins are typically activated. These are known as caspases. In the cell these regulate the breakdown of components that are required for normal cellular function.

Dash, P. (n.d.). Apoptosis. Retrieved from

Garlandscience, (2009). Apoptosis [Web]. Available from

Post #3 The Thylacine
In 1936 the last known living died in the Hobart zoo. This was one of the last solid sightings of this animal and by the 1980's they were classified as extinct. Native to southern Australia and Tasmania the thylacine was known to locals as the tasmanian tiger or tasmanian wolf. However it was not a wolf nor a tiger, infact it was more closely related to a kangaroo. The thylcaine was a marsupial with a backwards facing pouch to old its young. It had tan coloured fur and 20 to 30 thick black strips on its hind legs. When Europeans colonized Tasmania they began building chicken and sheep farms. After livestock on farms began to die farmers were quick to aquas the thylacines for killing them. A bounty was put on their heads and everyone began to kill any thylacine that they found. When they removed the bounties on the animals it was too late, the species could not recover so they slowly died off. Even after the death of the last thylacine in Hobart zoo people throughout Australia and Tasmania still clam to see these creatures today, but no one has proven this and the sitings are most commonly coyotes with a skin disease known as sarcoptic mange. When people first cloned sheep they idea of cloning extinc animals such as the thylacine was born. In the late 1800's a thylucine pup was preserved in a jar of alcohol. When cloning became a reality DNA was taken from this pup. The DNA strands were broken and uncompleted so cloning this animal like they did with Dolly the sheep was not possible. The only way to rebuild the DNA was to add codes from closely related animals of the thylacine to fill in the missing pieces. If the thylacine was re cloned would it technically be a real thylacine? Would it be right to bring back these creatures? In a way I think yes because there is so much we could learn about cloning extinct animals. As to if it would be a real thylacine I think not, because extinction is forever.

I erg you all to look up more about these guys their awesome! Their one of my personal favorite animals.

O'Neill, G. (2006). Additional thylacine topics . Retrieved from

Post #4 Psychosurgery and the transorbital lobotomy

WARNING! The video in this post may be disturbing to some.

Doctor_dude.jpg In the early years of medicine when people were all looking for the "miracle cure" the idea of psychosurgery was developed. We now know that this is false and is not proven to help anything. Psychosurgery was the idea that nerves connecting to the frontal lobe within the brain were damaged or broken in some way causing someone to be mentally ill. To cure people who were sufering from mental illness the nerves of the frontal lobe would be cut in the hopes that they would grow back healthy. Three known procedures were developed for this; the prefrontal leucotomy, prefrontal lobotomy, and transorbital lobotomy. Leucotomys and lobotomys are both similar as they use drills to open the front of the skull and sever the nerves in the frontal lobe. The transorbital lobotomy however was very different. Developed by Dr. Walter J. Freeman the transorbital lobotomy was simply an ice pick hammered into the skull through a space between the eye and eye lid. The pick would then be wiggled to sever the nerves and pulled out. This was known as a blind surgery because doctors didn't know if they has cut the right nerves of if the nerves had even been severed. Even though there were countless risks with these operations the numbers of patients who were getting lobotomized went soaring, but in 1954 a new drug called thorazine was created and marketed as a chemical lobotomy with no risks. After this Dr. Freeman tried to markets his lobotomys to everyday people such as children who were misbehaving. In all Dr. Freeman lobotomized 19 people under the age of 18.

Johnson, C. (2009). About lobotomy. Psychosurgery, Retrieved from

Post #5 Asthma

Asthma is a chronic disease that causes difficulty breathing, it can't be cured however it can be managed.
People who have asthma have extra sensitive airways. This means that when you breath in something like

dust, dirt, smoke and even cold air can cause your airways to become red and swollen. In some cases
the airways will fill with a thick mucus making it increasingly harder to breath. Signs that someone may
have asthma are wheezing, coughing, feeling short of breath or a tight feeling in the chest. Some other
often over looked symptoms could be dizziness, chest congestion and sensitivity to cold air. The only
way to aid someone with asthma is to have them take on a puffer such as ventolin. In some more serius
cases stronger medication is required like advair or symbicort. Both of these have a bronchodilator,
which is used to relaxed the tight muscle of the lungs, and a corticosteroid that is used to calm down
the inflamed airways. As stated earlier asthma is a diseas which means it has no cure and can never
be completely treated, but it can be controlled.external image moz-screenshot-1.png

Canadian lung association, (2010). Asthma Retrieved from

Post #6 Sarcoptic Mange

Sarcoptic mange is
a skin disease that is caused by a little mite called sarcoptes scabei. The sarcoptes scabei is a nasty little creature that lives on the surface of the skin. When a female sarcoptes scabei has mated it will burrow into the skin of the host animal and lay 3-4 eggs. Once the eggs hatch the mites will dig to the surface and begin the cycle all over again. This act of burrowing in and out of the skin leaves holes that over time will become visible to see. A lot of wild coyotes will get mange, and most often will die.

Vista, M. (209). Sarcoptic mange. Also called scabies, Retrieved from

Post #7
Pulsatrix perspicillata

The Pulsatrix perspicillata, or the common name the spectacled owl, is found primarily in South America. Like most owls they are generally nocturnal and roost –sleep– in the day. Adult birds have dark brown, almost black, plumage with a lighter brown belly. They have bright white feathers surrounding their bright yellow eyes, much like spectacles, giving the owls their common name. They will grow to a length of 17-18” and will way between 16-32oz. Females are much heavier weighting anywhere between 24 and 32oz while the males will tend to be 16 to 24oz. Juvenile birds will have the complete opposite in markings, as they will be almost if not completely covered in soft looking white feathers with a black mask. Most of the time these owls can be found in the rainforest. Hunting for small mammals, birds, frogs and even insects. When nesting, females lay between 1 to 2 eggs during the dry season. Young birds will stay with their parents for about a year.spectacled_owl.jpg
I think these owls are very fascinating to look at. They do look similar to the owls we have in Canada, but they have such a colloquialism to them. As well as them being very cute, I just love the word pulsatrix.

Lewis, D. (2005). Spectacled owl. Retrieved from