Welcome to Jessica Worrall's Biology 11-1 wiki!



When the body attacks itself

The immune system works to defend the body of any infections by identifying and eliminating
invading viruses, bacteria, and any other disease causing agents. However, with autoimmune
disorders, the body turns against itself by attacking its own cells, tissues and organs. Autoimmune disorders are gender biased. 75% of people with rheumatoid arthritis, 70-80% of people
with lupus, and 80-90% of those with multiple sclerosis are female.
The immune system works by producing white blood cells called "T cells". These T cells determine
and attack anything foreign to the body. But recent studies have shown that the T cells function may be
flawed in people with autoimmune disorders. When scientists study autoimmune disorders they
often look at autoantibodies. Autoantibodies are proteins that make up all cells, which
are made in the immune system, and recognize the bodies tissues and organs. The T cells role is
to travel through the blood stream and tissues to find any foreign proteins that may be a sign of
infection or disease. Early in the T cells development, they must learn to recognize which proteins are
foreign and which are normal proteins. Antigen-presenting cells expose T cells to protein that come from
invading bacteria and viruses and teach them to attack whenever they find these foreign proteins, but they
also teach T cells to recognize cells from the body, and to ignore them. In Autoimmune disorders, these
antigen presenting cells are immature due to a mutation, and lack two essential genes. This is what causes
sufferers bodies to attack themselves. This immaturity causes these antigen presenting cells to teach the
T cell, that cells from our own body should be attacked, therefore they start to attack.
But the question is, why are female immune systems more likely to attack their own body than males?
Many scientists believe that females get autoimmune disorders because of their hormones. Years ago,
scientists performed an experiment with nonobese diabetic mice. This involved them giving female mice testosterone,
and it actually diminished their development of the disease. Although they think testosterone and estrogen have something
to do with this disease, they lack scientific proof.
I personally think that estrogen has something to do with this disease. Because there are so many hormones and chemicals now a days, the smallest thing
can hurt you. Also, it has been proven that estrogen prevents heart disease, therefore I believe that hormones can have certain effects on certain things,
some may be bad, some may be good, and with autoimmune disease, it appears that estrogen causes bad effects.

Faustman, Denise. (1998). When the body attacks itself. Scientific American , Retrieved from http://www.sciamdigital.com/index.cfm?fa=Products.ViewIssuePreview&ARTICLEID_CHAR=0EDB11C4-3801-4EB2-9EB5-95042ED45E8

Post #2

Apoptosis, or otherwise known as programmed cell death, is a crucial process that all living things undergo. As it is crucial for our bodies to make new cells, it is just as important that they self destruct when unable to function properly. As scientists have studied, it is apparent that too much or too little cell death can contributes to diseases like cancer, AIDS, Alzheim-
er’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis. Proper development of organisms highly depend on the elimination of certain things, such as a tadpole turning into a frog. They do this by removing their tale, and how do they remove their tale? through apoptosis. One would think that destructing cells is bad, but without it, none of us would function properly.

Duke,Ojcius, Young, Richard, david, john. (1996). Cell suicide in health and disease. Scientific American, Retrieved from http://www.sciamdigital.com/index.cfm?fa=Products.ViewIssuePreview&ARTICLEID_CHAR=85741894-E29B-42EC-AB60-DFB272BCA80

Post #3

Scientists say dolphins should be treated as 'non-human persons'
dolphin1b.jpgDolphins have been now declared the second most intelligent species after humans, and studies have shown that they have many similar communications to those of humas. They have been backed up by by anatomical research that they have higher intelligence than chimpanzees. These researchers argue that these highly intelligent creatures should not be used in circumstances such as amusement parks, or to kill them for food. 300,000 whales, dolphins and porpoises die each year from such circumstances. The studies show how dolphins have distinct personalities, a strong sense of self and can think about the future, their species are cultural, and can pick up one anothers behaviors. Diana Reiss, a professor at the of New York, showed in her studies that bottlenose dolphins could look in the mirror and inspect certain parts of their bodies. In another, she found that captive animals (such as dolphins in amusement parks) also had the ability to learn a symbol-based language.

Leake, J. (2010). Scientists say dolphins should be treated as 'non-human persons'. The times, Retrieved from http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/science/article6973994.ece

Post #4

Happiness improves health and lengthen lives
smiley.jpgOver the years many studies have been performed related to happiness, and one would think "How does happiness affect health?". It has been proven in different cases that positive moods reduce stress-related hormones, increase immune function and promote the fast recovery of the heart after exertion. Many of the doctors were very surprised with the consistency in their research. Diener said "All of these different kinds of studies point to the same conclusion: that health and then longevity in turn are influenced by our mood states." While happiness itself may not cure a disease, it is proven that positive emotions and thoughts contribute to a better and healthier life. So if you are feeling like you can't do something, or you are tired of trying so hard, tell yourself this, "It could be worse, and thinking negatively is only going to make me feel worse." Put on a smile, tell yourself you're okay, and you'll be on your way to a long healthy life!

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2011, March 1). Happiness improves health and lengthens life, review finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 28, 2011, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­/releases/2011/03/110301122156.htm

Post #5

Aids is one of the most serious and deadly diseases in human history. In today's society there are an estimated 42 million people living with HIV/AIDS, and more than 3 million people die from aids each year. Aids is caused by HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) which destroys a type of defense cell in the body called a "CD4 helper lymphocyte". These lymphocytes are a part of the bodies immune system and since HIV destroys them, people with this virus start getting serious infections that they normally wouldn't get. Once these people start getting such serious infections they become immune deficient, which are then given the name acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (in other words AIDS). As scientists study this disease, they learn more and more. They have made drugs able to slow down HIV's growth, but unfortunately haven't been able to find a possible cure. This virus is mainly spread through unprotected sex and shared needles. One of the dangers of HIV is that a person can have it for a long time without knowing. Therefore avoid contact with bodily fluids and stay safe!

Dowshen, S. (2009). Hiv and aids. Teens Health, Retrieved from http://kidshealth.org/teen/sexual_health/stds/std_hiv.html#

Post #6

Listen to your gut
Have you ever heard someone tell you to "listen to your gut instinct"? Well research has now suggested that our guts have more impact on our thoughts than ever realized. Scientists from Karolinska Institute in Sweden and the Genome Institute of Singapore led by Sven Pettersson recently stated that normal gut flora, (the bacteria that live in our intestines) have a great impact on the development of our brain and succeeding adult behavior.
Many of us humans think of ourselves as highly evolved species, but Scientists have proven that the bacterial cells living in our skin and gut outnumber human cells by 10:1. This looks like we’re mostly built up of bacteria rather than human cells! “Princeton University scientist Bonnie Bassler compared the approximately 30,000 human genes found in the average human to the more than 3 million bacterial genes inhabiting us.” Says Robert Martone.
In this new study, scientists raised mice that lacked normal gut microflora, and then compared their behavior, brain chemistry and brain development to mice that had normal gut bacteria. The “normal gut bacterial” animals were more active and, in specific behavioral tests, were less anxious than the mice with which lacked normal gut microflora.
After performing different experiments with the mice, Pettersson’s team asked whether the influence of gut microbes on the brain was reversible. Also they asked, since microbes covered the gut soon after birth, whether there was evidence that gut microbes influenced the development of the brain. They found that covering an adult germ-free animal with normal gut bacteria had no effect on their behavior. However, if germ free animals were inhabited early in life, these effects could be reversed. This suggests that there is a very important period in the development of the brain when the bacteria are influential.
Martone, R. (2011). The neuroscience of the gut.
Scientific American, Retrieved from http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=the-neuroscience-of-gut

Post # 7

What will become of our coral reefs?
Climate change due to global warming has severely affected the way of life in the world. Our world is undergoing negative factors such as pollution and climate change, which is also causing the biological ecosystems to be affected in a negative way. Although climate change has contributed negatively to our environment right now, it is uncertain whether the long-term effects will be negative as well. University of Miami scientist's are using the geologic record of carribean corals to understand how reef ecosystems may respond to this centuries climate changes.
The Pliocene epoch(which is the period in geological time scale 5.332 million years ago,when the climate became cooler and drier) may provide some insight to what coral reefs may look like in the future.
"Estimates of carbon dioxide and global mean temperatures of the period are similar to environmental conditions expected in the next 100 years," explains James Klaus, assistant professor in the Department of Geological Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences, at UM and lead investigator of this project.
If the future truly is like the pliocene conditions, corals will likely survive, whereas well developed reefs may not. If developed reefs do not survive, this could be destructive to the fish and marine species who depend on the reef structure for their habitat.
The scientist looked at fossil records of coral communities to better understand the nature of these ecosystems, and in studying these records they uncovered that Pliocene coral communities were characterized as a great diversity of "Free living corals", whereas today's coral communities are not. They characterized them as free living corals because corals lived unattached to the sea floor, something we don't see today! However, free-living coral experienced spontanious extinction when sea water cooled, nutrients levels decreased, and a livable habitat was eliminated in the carribean. Of the 26 species of free-living corals in the Pliocene, only two remain today.
But why is this all important ?
Scientist believe that the effects of climate changes today are similar to conditions in the Pliocene, and opposite to the factors that caused extinction of the 26 free-living corals. Therefore, the free-living corals of the pliocene would be well suited for todays climate conditions, and the climate conditions predicted for the centuries future. However, unfortunatly, the reef building coral fauna may not be suited to the oceans upcoming conditions.
"Like the Pliocene, we might expect shallow reefs to be increasingly patchy with lower topographic relief," says McNeill. "Rising levels of carbon dioxide will lower the pH in the oceans, a process known as ocean acidification, and will make it difficult for corals to build their limestone skeletons."
Personally, i found this very interesting how although climate change may result in the loss of species, it also may regenerating a species from millions of years ago. To me, it seems like the world goes through such climate changes every million years, and it's only natural for this to happen. However i do think that pollution, humanization, and industrialization has a great factor contributing to our climate change right now, i still believe that the world best adapts to it's surroundings.

Klaus, s. (2011). Ancient corals provide insight on the future of caribbean reefs. Science Daily, Retrieved from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110407141336.htm

Post # 8

Squirrel monkeys!
Squirrel monkeys are the smallest of the primate family "cebidae". They live in the northern part of South America, to Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay and Brazil. These mokeys live in forest and cultivated areas along rivers and streams. These mokeys form groups of as little as 2 and as great as 20, and commonly break up and rejoin! The reason these squirrels live in such great groups is because this way when a predator attacks, the pack of monkeys will kill the predator. The squirrel monkeys' main enemy is the eagle (however i wouldn't have expected that), this is because the eagles usually soar down and pick the monkeys up. However, one particular subspecies is very endanged in costa rica, with only a small number of 2000 animals left in the wild. There is a great effort to raise enough money to research this type of animal, that way they can try and repopulate them.
Just because i love monkeys so much, here is a cute video of a little baby leaf monkey!
leaf monkey

Campbell, N. (2010). Squirrel monkeys. Endangered wildlife, Retrieved from http://www.edu.pe.ca/southernkings/sqmonkey.htm

Post # 9

High fat diet during pregnancy may cause diabetes!
There is a very common diet for pregnant women where they eat 45 percent fat. However, a professor of nutrition Yuan-Xiang Pan has stated that exposure to a high-fat diet before birth modifies the genes in the liver making them more likely to overproduce glucose, which can cause early insulin resistance and diabetes. Professor Pan performed a study, and in this study he
fed obesity-resistant rats either a high-fat or a control diet from the first day of gestation.
"At birth, offspring in the high-fat group had blood sugar levels that were twice as high as those in the control group, even though their mothers had normal levels," Strakovsky said.
After this study, she noted that the high fat group had epigenetic modifications to their genes that regulate gulcose metabolism. One of these modifications made it easier to produce more glucose. Pan stated that it would not be easy to change these epigenetic marks but if people were aware of them, they could change their diets and lifestyle to delay or even prevent the development of diabetes!
University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (2011, June 3). High-fat diet during pregnancy programs child for future diabetes, study suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved June 5, 2011, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­/releases/2011/05/110525164110.htm

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Post # 11

Thinking of a new animal?
Are you thinking of a new pet? maybe a dog, fish, cat? How about a pot-belly pig?

They are intelligent, readily trained, affectionate, curious, playful, clean, generally quiet, odor free, and usually non-allergenic. Since pigs are very intelligent, they easily become bored, which can lead to destruction. They are easily trained such as dogs, and love to cuddle, however you have to be prepared for their need of attention. Pigs are very unrelenting for their quest for food. They can learn to open cupboards, fridges, almost everything that holds food. Unfortunately, they can become a little violent when people get in the way of food. Pigs can be a very good asset to a family, offering comfort, affection, and entertainment. Pot belly pigs usually live around 12-18 years and usually weigh around 125 pounds.

Regular access to the outdoors for exercise is a necessity as well. Pigs are social animals so needs lots of attention and interaction, and if affordable, owners should consider keeping more than one pig just to keep them happy. So, if you are looking for a new pet, maybe consider a pig, i mean, look at their cute faces! :)

Mcleod, L. (2011). Pot bellied pigs as pets. Answers, Retrieved from http://exoticpets.about.com/cs/potbelliedpigs/a/pbpexpect.htm


Post # 12

This post is to say thank you to Mrs. Holyoke Walsh. This term has taught me so much about biology. Not only do i feel like i have greater knowledge, but i have learned information that i am extremely intrigued by. This class has definitely shown me that I want my future to be within the science of biology. So thank you for being a great teacher and for all of the experiences you've given to us!