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biology 111


external image ES-Neurons.jpg Our “thinking business”, also known as the brain and the spinal cord are made up of many cells. These cells include neurons and glial cells. There are about 100 billion neurons in the brain which vary in size from 4 microns (.004 mm) to 100 microns (.1 mm) in diameter. Their length varies from a fraction of an inch to several feet. and many more glial cells. Glial cells provide support functions for the neurons, and are far more numerous than neurons. The word “neuron” came from a German scientist Heinrich Wilhelm Gottfried von Waldeyer-Hartz. Neuron cells are like little letter carriers; they are designed to send and receive electro-chemical signals to and from the brain and nervous system. These signals can range up to 200 mph and unlike most other cells, neurons cannot regrow after damage. A neuron consists of a cell body (or soma) with branching dendrites (signal receivers) and a projection called an axon. The axon is what conducts the nerve signal. At the other end of the axon, the axon terminals transmit the electro-chemical signal across something called the synapse; which is the gap between the axon terminal and the receiving cell. There are three different types of neurons: the sensory or bipolar neurons which carry messages from the body’s sense receptors (eyes, ears, etc.) to the CNS. There are also motoneuronsor multipolar neurons and interneurons or pseudopolare cells. Motoneuronsor multipolar neurons carry signals from the CNS to the muscles and glands and interneurons or pseudopolare cells form all neutral wiring within the CNS. The Brain is also composed of glial cells, which make up 90% of the brain’s cells. Glial cells are nerves that don’t carry nerve impulses. These cells perform many important functions such as digestion of parts of dead neurons, manufacturing myeling for neurons, providing physical and nutritional support for neurons, and more.

Citation:The Brain. Enchanted Learning. Copyright ©2001-2010. Retrieved February 26, 2011.

HOMEWORK POST 2: APOPTOSIS external image apoptosis.jpg

Apoptosis, also known as programmed cell death, is a regular part of the development and health of a multicellular organism. The reason for cell death is the variety of responses of stimuli. In general intrinsic signals initiate apoptosis via the involvement of the mitochondria. Apoptosis allows these cells to do so in a controlled, regulated way, making apoptosis distinct from another cell death called necrosis which is uncontrolled. Apoptosis is a process in which cells play an active role in their own death, which is way they are also referred to as cell suicide. Some reasons to initiate apoptosis:· In order to prevent damaged cells from becoming neoplastic (cancerous) or virus-infected cells from spreading the infection.· Cellular stress due to exposure to radiation or chemicals to viral infection.· Consequence of growth factor deprivation. Before a cell goes through apoptosis, they go through a series of changes. A family of protein known as caspases are typically activated in the early stages of apoptosis. This protein breakdown of cleave key cellular components that are required for normal cellular function which includes structural proteins in the cytoskeleton and nuclear proteins such as DNA repair with enzymes. They can also activate other degradative enzymes such as DNases, which cleave the DNA found in the nucleus. Usually, the cell begins to shrink during apoptosis. In the beginning stages, it starts with the breakdown of chromatin in the nucleus that often leads to nuclear condensation, and then the cell continues to shrink. Apoptosis cells undergo plasma membrane changes that trigger the macrophage response. One of such change is the translocation of phosphatidylserine from the inside of the cell to the outer surface. The final stage often reassembles the appearance of membrane blebs or blisters. Small vesicles called apoptotic bodies are also sometimes observed.

Citation:Apoptosis. Phil Dash.


Also known as a sun allergy, photosensitivity is an immune system reaction that is caused by sunlight and may be inherited. Photosensitivity reactions include solar urticaria, chemical photosensitization, and polymorphous light eruption and are usually characterized by an itchy eruption on patches of sun-exposed skin. Some other diseases like systemic lupus erythematosus and some porphyrias can also cause the skin to break out in response to sunlight.

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THE EFFECTS ON THE SKIN:In individuals with chronic inflammatory diseases, like photosensitivity, 1,25-D is rapidly synthesized from 7-dehydrocholesterol when sunlight falls on the keratinocytes of the skin. According to the Marshall Pathogenesis, many of these patients are parasitized by bacteria; they produce interferon-gamma, which is part of the bacterial defense mechanism, and TNF-alpha. This causes the cells of the patients to produce a lot more 1,25-D in their skin than their healthy counterparts. There have been studies to show that patients who get enough natural light on their skin on a regular basis, 1,25-D can elevate high enough to become immunosuppressive and stop bacterial killing. A study of people who go tanning frequently showed that practice has an addictive quality- an effect which, according to the Marshal Pathogenesis is due to systematic immunosuppressant oh high levels of 1,25-D. Most MP patients don’t get enough regular continuous light exposure on their skin to offset the olmesartan blockade. They can, however, get a surge of natural light exposure that causes an increase in symptoms due to rapid fluctuation of hormones including 1,25-D. Also, did you know that most sunscreens are ineffective in blocking vitamin D production or blocking sun flare symptoms in photosensitive patients?

Citation: Photosensitivity. Marshal Protocol Knowledge Base. © 2011, Autoimmunity Research Foundation. Last modified: 03.06.2011. Retrieved from


Hemophilia is a genetic disorder that disrupts the body's ability to control blood clotting or coagulation which is used to stop bleeding when a blood vessel is broken due to trauma. There are two types of hemophilia: Hemophilia A, a clotting factor VIII deficiency, which is the most common and hemophilia B, a factor IX deficiency. Hemophilia is a recessive X chromosome disorder. Because of which, this disorder is more likely to occur in a male. In order to have this disorder, all chromosomes must be infected, thus explaining why it occurs more often in males. Males only have one X chromosomes while woman have two. In order for a woman to be hemophiliac both parents must have the disorder. The chances of a woman having two defective X chromosomes is quite rare. Females are almost exclusively asymptomatic carriers of the disorder if they have one defective X chromosome.

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Hemophilia lowers blood plasma clotting factor levels of the coagulation factors needed for a normal clotting process in a human. When a blood vessel is injured, a temporary scab forms, but the missing coagulation factors prevent fibrin formation, which is necessary to maintain the blood clot. Hemophiliacs do not bleed more intensely than a healthy being, but they can bleed for a much longer period. In people who are severally hemophiliac, in areas such as the brain of inside joints, injuries can be fatal of permanently debilitating.

CITATION: hemophilia. Wikipedia®. last modified on 11 March 2011 at 23:15. retrieved from


From the prospective of biology, psychopaths can be thought of as emotionally disabled with emotions. They seem to experience a very limit range of emotions. They still know the difference in between what we see as “right” and “wrong” but cannot experience guilt, empathy, remorse and love that areemotions a healthy human would experience. Without the “little voice inside our heads” we call conscience, psychopaths feel free to do whatever their needs and wants require, without feelings of guilt.

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Research has shown that not only do psychopaths lack emotions of conscience and empathy, but individuals with APD lack the physiological responses normally associated with fear. Since psychopaths do not experience physical clues that signal how to behave in dangerous or threatening situations, with the lack of fear of punishment, there is little to stop the psychopath from committing a serious crime if it serves the fasted route to gratification. More studies have shown a connection between the brain and violence. Scientists found that individuals with APD have 11% less prefrontal gray matter than do healthy comparison subjects, and discovered that the brains of violent criminals diagnosed with APD show both anatomical and physiological anomalies.

Citation: Genetics of APD & Psychopathy. Copyright Tami Port. retrieved from

POST 4: Mexternal image 36683_story__organ.jpgIRACLE GROW.

STATEMENT: more than 100,000 people are waiting for organ transplants in the US alone and everyday 18 of those people die waiting.

FACT: many of these people will die waiting, and not only are healthy organs in short supply, but donnor and patient also have to be closely matched or the patient's immune system could reject the new organ.
WHAT IS MIRACLE GROW: Scientists have actually come up with a process that allows you to regrow you're own organs.
HOW DOES IT WORK: Scientists start by taking cells from the diseases or infected organ, but only the few healthy cells, and put them in a petri dish and cause them to multiply profusely. Then, they go through different contrusction methodes varying on the specific organ they need.
STEPS TO REGROW A KIDNEY:1. sample a tiny bit of the patient's kidney.2. sort kidney tissue cells from those of blood vessels running through it.3. multiply both types of cells in lab cultures.4. inject the culture cells of the patient into a scaffold, which is made by washing a pig kidney with mild detergent until the pig cells are gone and only the tough collagen remains.5. incubate at 98.6F in a bioreactor that delivers oxygen and nutrients to the growing tissue.6. implant into the patient a functioning human organ - his own that is.

CITATION: Miracle Grow. National Geographic. Issue March 2011.


external image sleeping.jpgDoes it ever happen to you, just when you fall asleep that you are awoken by a falling sensation and a sudden muscle twitch? Well, just the other night this happened to me, and I wondered why it did. This strange falling sensation and muscle twitch is known as a hypnagogic myoclonic twitch or “hipnic jerk”. I know I am not the only one who experiences this sensation because according to a recent study at the Mayo Clinic, 70 percent of people experience this phenomenon just after drifting into a sleep. Even though experts are still not completely sure why the body does this, they believe that it is a natural part of the sleeping process. The general idea thought by researchers is that as your muscles relax and become in a restful state just as you are falling asleep, your brain senses these relaxation signal ns misinterprets them, thinking you are falling down. To try and fix the problem due to misinterpretation, the brain then sends signals to the muscles in your arms and legs in an attempt to jerk you back upright. These types of misinterpretations are responsible for the “falling” dreams that give you the falling sensation. But these so called dreams are not normal dreams because they are not produced from R.E.M sleep, but more or less like a daydream or hallucination in response to the body’s sensationsEven though this sensation happens to mostly everyone, studies have recently begun to link occurrences of this phenomenon to sleep anxiety, fatigue, and discomfort. People who are having trouble sleeping or can’t get comfortable in bed appear to experience the sensation more often throughout the night. It is extremely common in people who are trying to fight falling asleep or have kept themselves from the sleep they need for more than 24 hours.

CITATION: Failed Success. That Strange Falling Sensation. © Copyright 2008 Retrieved from:


"We have all some experience of a feeling, that comes over us occasionally, of what we are saying and doing having been said and done before, in a remote time - of our having been surrounded, dim ages ago, by the same faces, objects, and circumstances - of our knowing perfectly what will be said next, as if we suddenly remember it!" (Dickens in David Copperfield - chapter 39)

external image Brain-Cells.jpgThe term déjà vu refers to "already seen" and scientists have come up with many different explanations of to why it is this sensation occurs but has not yet been fully explained. Déjà vu has been defined as "familiarity without awareness" because people seem to remember certain things happening to them where the situation feels very similar but cannot date back and connect to that memory. Arthur Funkhouser defines three different types of déjà vu to explain this neurological experience, The three different types that were defined are déjà vecu (already experienced), déjà senti (already felt) and déjà visité (already visited). It is said that déjà vecu is the most common form of déjà vu experience and involves the sensation of having done something or having been in an identical situation before and knowing what will happen next. This neurological sensation is often felt through several sensations: seeing, hearing, taste, touch, and proprioceptive perceptions. The eperience on receives is often incredibly detailed and connected to very normal activities. Even though the episode itself lasts from only a fraction of a second to several minutes, it can often be remembered in minute detail long after the episode has occurred. Déjà senti is differs from déjà vecu in that the episode of the recollection feels more like the recovery of long sought after information. The sensation one gets if the satisfaction of having retrieved a memory although the memory was not actively sought. This type of déjà vu does not involve any feelings of premonition. This form of déjà vu has also been strongly associated with the partial seizure experiences reported by temporal lobe epilepsy patients. There are many possibilities as of to why déjà vu experiences occur. One possibility is simply the occasional mismatch made by the brain in its continuous attempt to create whole pictures out of very small pieces of information. When the brain receives a sensory input like a sight, a smell or a sound that is oddly similar to such a detail experience in the past, the entire memory image is brought forward. The brain confuses the past to be the present by virtue of one tiny bit of sensory information. It is this mismatch of past and present sensory information that causes the sense of disconcertment and unease associated with a passing déjà vu. Another explanation for this neurological sensation is that there is a slight malfunctioning between the long and short-term memory circuits of the brain.

CITATION: Johnson, Julia. Déjà vu and the Brain, Consciousness and Self. © 1994 - 2011 by Serendip. Retrieved from:


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Yes, the horrid word that none of us want to hear and even more do not wish to experience as a part of aging: wrinkles. Every time we speak, laugh, cry, demonstrate sadness or any other type of emotion we use many facial muscles that are working together all at once. Seen as an indicator of our well-being, inner tension or strain can also be detected through the facial muscles. The greater the tension, the more the facial muscles have to work to stretch the skin. For the skin to relax, elastic fibres composed of amino acids are required. Although over the years, the organism provides a decreasing amount of the required amino acids and the skin, therefore, becomes less elastic due to the aging process. This is a gradual process that we only begin to notice when we look back through older pictures of our young selves.The two causes for wrinkles are:

1. Too much tension in the skin - this can also be due to poor diet, smoking or hyperacidity
2. A gradual decrease, over the years, in elasticity of the fibres responsible for the relaxation of facial muscles.

CITATION: Sarah & Treez's. Why Do Wrinkles Occur? Retrieved from:


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Sleepwalking is when you get out of bed at night and talk walking… while still asleep. People tend to move and act in a robot-like-way such as pacing the room to getting dressed and making yourself something to eat, like daily routines. Most of the time, sleepwalking isn’t dangerous unless you go outside, turn on appliances or fall down.

This interesting phenomenon occurs when parts of the brain are asleep and other parts, including those that control walking and other physical activities, are in some way still awake. Some would assume that sleepwalking occurs during REM (dream sleep), but it actually happens most often during a very deep sleep, which typically takes place in the first third of the sleep period. At this time, the part of the brain that deals with thinking and alertness is asleep.

· 10-15% of people have the tendency to sleepwalk at least once in their lives, common with men and women.
· People who are sleep deprived as they fall into a deep sleep more quickly.
· It is said that the hormonal ups and downs of puberty, being pregnant and even having your period increase the chances of sleepwalking.
· People who are stressed out because the body might find it difficult to rest.
· Drinking alcohol can also lead to sleepwalking.

Generally, if you start sleepwalking as a young child, it’s likely that a member of their family also did when they were a child and has grown out of it. When you start sleepwalking as a child, it is most likely that you will grow out of it, although if you start at the age of nine or so, it will most likely follow you into adulthood. Adult sleepwalking is generally more serious and often more extreme, being at higher risk hurting themselves. A study once conducted found that 19% of adult sleepwalkers have been injured during the midnight walk. In the US, sleepwalkers are not allowed in the armed services, partly because of the threat they pose to themselves and others when they have access to dangerous equipment (such as weapons) and are unaware of what they are doing when they sleepwalk

CITATION: Ifinite Ideas. Cause of Sleepwalking. Disclaimer & Copyright © Infinite Ideas 2008. Retrieved from:


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Alzheimer’s disease was first described by the German neurologist Alois Alzheimer as a physical disease affecting the brain. During the course of Alzheimer’s, 'plaques' and 'tangles' develop in the structure of the brain, leading to the death of brain cells. People that have this horrid disease also have a shortage of some important chemicals in their brain. These chemicals are involved with the transmission of messages within the brain.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, affecting around465, 000 people in the UK. Dementia is described as a set of symptoms which can include loss of memory, mood changes, and problems with communication and reasoning. These symptoms occur when the brain is damaged by a disease, like Alzheimer’s for example. Alzheimer's is a progressive disease, which means that gradually, over time, more parts of the brain become damaged and as this occurs, the symptoms one will receive become more severe.

People in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease may experience lapses of memory and have problems finding the right words. Although, as the course of this disease progresses, they may:
  • become confused and frequently forget the names of people, places, appointments and recent events
  • experience mood swings, feel sad or angry, or scared and frustrated by their increasing memory loss
  • become more withdrawn, due either to a loss of confidence or to communication problems
  • have difficulty carrying out everyday activities - they may get muddled checking their change at the shops or become unsure how to work the TV remote.

It needs to be taken into consideration that every patient is different and that the symptoms may be slightly different in every single being, but, towards the more severed course of the disease, one with the disease will need a lot of care and someone to help them with almost every daily task.

You may or you may not. So far, no single factor has been identified to explain a reason for Alzheimer’s disease, it is likely that a combination of factors such as age, genetic inheritance, environmental factors, lifestyle and overall heath take a responsibility in the cause for this illness. This disease may develop silently for many years before symptoms even begin to appear. Although, with the question asked, in the majority of cases, the influence of inherited genes for this disease in older people seems to be small. As said, if a parent or other relative has Alzheimer’s, your own changes of having this disease are only a little higher than if there were no cases of Alzheimer’s in the immediate family.

What is known is that tangles of proteins are found in brain cells killed off by Alzheimer's, but there is no effective treatment or cure to stop this progression, nor is it possible to predict when the symptoms will actually start appearing. Although, it has been discovered that there is an early test that cannot change the course of Alzheimer’s disease, but can predict who will show symptoms of this disease later on in life. This test is basically created to prepare those who will have the disease and the love ones around. It’ll help to try and delay the course of this disease.

Alzheimer's Society. What is Alzheimer's Disease? All content © 2011 Alzheimer's Society. Registered office at Devon House, 58 St Katharine's Way, London E1W 1LB. Retrieved from

CBCNEWS. Test for Early Alzheimer's diagnosis shows promise. Copyright © CBC 2011. Retrieved from


The box jellyfish is the most venomous jelly fish in the world. Within minutes, maybe even seconds the venom from the box jellyfish tentacles could kill any human. This infamous jelly fish can stun or kill its prey instantly so that it does not damage its tentacles while trying to escape. Their tentacles that contain the venom are said to be the most deadly in the world, containing toxins that attack the heart, nervous system, and skin cells. The toxins are so overwhelming that it is said that a human will go into shock and die of heart failure or drowning before they reach the shore.Those rare cases that do survive usually end uo with huge scars that will remind themm of that incident fro the rest of their lives.

It is said that box jellies are highly advanced among jellyfish. They have developed the ability to move instead of just drift in a pulse like motion, jetting at up to four knots through the water. It is also said that they have eyes that are grouped in clusters of six on each of the four sides of their bell-like structure.Each cluster consists of a par of eyes with a sophisticated lens, retina, iris and cornea. Although, because they do not have a central nervous system, scientists are not sure how they process what they see.

These box jellies, who are also referred to as the sea wasp or marine stingers, typically live in coastal waters off Northern Australia and throughout the Indo-Pacific.They are a bell like shape and a blue transparent color. 15 long venomous tentacles can grow from each corner and grow up to 10 feet long! Each one of its tentacle has about 5,000 stinging cells, which are triggered not by touch but by the presence of a chemical on the outer layer of its prey. Yikes! Wouldn't want to tango with this squishy cnardian invertebrate!

CITATION: National Geographic. Box Jellyfish. © 1996-2011 National Geographic Society. All rights reserved. Retrieved

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High blood pressure, heart problems, headaches, cancer, ulcers, respiratory diseases, depression, eating disorders, colitis and muscle tension are some of the physical and emotional harms caused by stress. These disorders caused by stress can be fatal and even disabling for many daily activities. The cure for stress can be impossible to identify, especially in cases of anxiety, depression and mental illness.

Stress is very unhealthy for the human body and most of us are affected directly or indirectly by it every day. Our body responds to stress by giving way to many diseases. Typically, the most common reactions seen among those with stress are high blood pressure, palpitations and a high pulse rate. Stress is not something that can be ignored. When someone is frequently stressed or has ignored the state for a long period of time, he or she will develop the risk to heart problems and many respiratory diseases. Anxiety and depression are also two psychological extremes caused by over reactions of stress on our body.
In some cases, people tend to develop disorders caused by stress which makes it crucial for them to learn how to manage stress properly for themselves. Many individuals indulge themselves in eating bad foods when they are stressed. Over eating and eating unhealthy can lead to obesity which can further lead to diabetes. People who are more prone to diabetes will receive it much quicker than someone who isn’t from an indirect reason of stress.
Stress can really affect and take over our whole lives. Stress can connect us directly or indirectly to illnesses and diseases that could be life threatening, physically or mentally. Sometimes we all just need to slow down and take a break until we are ready to tackle an obstacle without getting over stressed. Sometimes we need to find what a de-stressor for ourselves is and do it, even if the time is inconvenient. Exercising, drawing, taking a bath and reading are all good ways to de-stress.
Every day we must remind ourselves that it’s a new day and we have nothing to fear. We must remind ourselves that to stay in good health we mustn’t stress, we must take a deep breath and tackle our tasks, one by one.
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CITATION: Stress Managing Tip. The Harms of Stress. Copyright - © 2006 - 2011. Retrived