Welcome to Morgan MacGregor's Wikispace!

Post #1
Anton van Leeuwenhoek (1632-1723)
"My work, which I've done for a long time, was not pursued in order to gain the praise I now enjoy, but chiefly from a craving after knowledge, which I notice resides in me more than in most other men."
//- Antonie van Leeuwenhoek//

Anton van Leeuwenhoek

Anton van Leeuwenhoek was an unlikely scientist, born in Delft, Holland. With skill, diligence, an endless curiosity, and an open mind free of the scientific dogma of his day, Leeuwenhoek succeeded in making some of the most important discoveries in the history of biology. Leeuwenhoek discovered bacteria, free-living and parasitic microscopic protists, sperm cells, blood cells, microscopic nematodes and rotifers, and much more.

After being inspired by Robert Hooke's illustrations he seemed inspired to take up microscopy. He learned to grind lenses, made simple microscopes, and began observing with them. He is now known to have made over 500 simple microscopes and with his precise vision and great car in adjusting lighting where he worked, managed to build microscopes that magnified over 200 times!

Should Leeuwenhoek be credited with being the "inventor of the first microscope" ?
Personally, I feel that Anton van Leeuwenhoek deserves the credit of being the "inventor of the first microscope." There are a few reasons why I feel this way. The first reason is because though he technically wasn't the first to make a microscope, his microscopes could see much more closely the specimen that they were observing. Secondly, his microscope making skills were described as practically flawless, and nobody even came close to created ones like his at the time.

Ford, B. J. 1991. The Leeuwenhoek Legacy. Biopress, Bristol, and Farrand Press, London. <http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/history/leeuwenhoek.html>

Post #2Apoptosis - "Suicide Sac"

Definition of Apoptosis:

"A type of cell death in which the cell uses specialized cellular machinery to kill itself; a cell suicide mechanism that enables metazoans to control cell number and eliminate cells that threaten the animal's survival programmed cell death, caspase-mediated cell death."
WordNet® 2.0© 2003 Princeton University

When does it happen?
A controlled sequence of events leads to the elimination of cells without releasing harmful substances into the surrounding area. Many types of cell damage can trigger apoptosis, and it also occurs normally during development of the nervous system and other parts of the body. Apoptosis refers only to the structural changes cells go through and the underlying process.

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. 2005. Spinal Cord Injuries: Emerging Concepts. Available at: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/news_and_events/proceedings/sci_report.htm

Post #3
Sickle Cell Disease
sick.jpgWhat is Sickle Cell Disease?
Sickle-cell disease or sickle-cell anemia is a genetic blood disorder characterized by red blood cells that have an abnormal, crescent moon shape - a "sickle" shape. The sickle shape in the red blood cells decreases the cells flexibility and can often result in a number of complications. This "mutation" is found in the haemoglobin gene, the iron-containing oxygen-transport in the red blood cells of vertebrates.

Where is it most commonly found?
Sickle-cell disease is more commonly found in people from more tropical and sub-tropical regions where you can also find malaria. Approximately one-third of all people who live in Sub-Saharan Africa carry the sickle-cell gene.

Dangers of Sickle Cell Disease:
Life expectancy is shortened and an average life expectancy of 42 in men and 48 in woman.
Sickle-cell disease can also cause stroke.

Platt OS, Brambilla DJ, Rosse WF, et al. (June 1994). "Mortality in sickle cell disease. life expectancy and risk factors for early death." N. Engl. J. Med. 330: 1639–44

Post #4UV Rays - Good vs. Bad

uv_ray_graphic_560w.jpgWhat are UV rays?

Ultraviolet (UV) rays are invisible rays that are part of the energy that comes from the sun. They can be extremely harmful to our eyes, hair, and skin if we do not protect those parts of our body carefully enough from exposure to the sun. On a better note though, UV rays are used as a very big part in assisting our bodies to make vitamin D to strengthen our bones and our teeth and helps our bodies build up certain immunities to diseases and certain cancers. Though we are unable to see UV rays with the naked eye, certain animals can see them, and UV vision helps bees collect pollen from flowers.

Facts about UV rays:
  • UV rays cause sunburn
  • UV rays can cause skin cancer (from sunburn)
  • Too much exposure to eyes may cause blindness
  • Best way to avoid UV exposure is to wear sunglasses, hats and sunscreen
  • They are electromagnetic radiation

Written by: Paulla Estes; Edited: Niki Foster January 22nd, 2011, "What are UV Rays?" copyright © 2003 - 2011, conjecture corporation

Post #5Mike the Headless Chicken

Mike the Headless Chicken is quite the unbelievable creature, and has always been known as a record breaking animal. His ability to beat the odds was something that people all around the world became excited about and before long... Mike was quite the celebrity let me tell you.

The amazing true story of this famous bird dates back to September 10, 1945 when Mike, a little Wyandotte rooster, was about to become the dinner of farmer Lloyd Olsen in Fruita, Colorado. With a sharp ax in hand, Mr. Olsen firmly held Mike, preparing to make the bird ready for his wife Clara's cooking pot. Mr. Olsen swung the implement, thereby lopping off poor Mike's head. Mike shook off the event, then continued trying to peck for food. Mike's will to live remains an inspiration. It is a great comfort to know you can live a normal life, even after you have lost your mind.

COBB & Associates, Inc., . (2007). Mike the headless chicken. Retrieved from http://www.miketheheadlesschicken.org/index.php

Post #6Shingles

shingles_rash.jpgA few summers ago I was struck with a terrible virus known as shingles. At first, I had absolutely no idea what it was and decided to just let it go. It started out very mild and then progressively got worse. The first signs were small rashes all over the left side of my body. The largest spots were on my neck and in between my arms and eventually those rashes turned into large blisters. This is when I became slightly more concerned and took myself to the doctor. He diagnosed me with a virus called “Shingles.”

After you get chickenpox, the virus remains inactive (becomes dormant) in certain nerves in the body. Shingles occurs after the virus becomes active again in these nerves years later. The reason the virus suddenly become active again is not clear. Often only one attack occurs. Shingles may develop in any age group, but you are more likely to develop the condition if:

• You are older than 60
• You had chickenpox before age 1
• Your immune system is weakened by medications or disease
If an adult or child has direct contact with the shingles rash on someone and has not had chickenpox as a child or a chickenpox vaccine, they can develop chickenpox, rather than shingles.

Vorvick, L. (2010, May 25). Shingles. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001861/

Post #7Lion's Mane Jellyfish
Scientific Name: Cyanea capillata
Common Name: Lion’s mane jellyfish
Size: Can grow up to 8 feet in diameter to 150 feet in length
Habitat: Freezing cold waters of the ocean
Found in: Arctic Ocean and Northern Pacific Ocean during the coldest
months of the year
Feeds On: Zooplankton, small fish, ctenophores and other jellies.
Predators: Seabirds, larger fish, other jellyfish species and sea turtles.
Lifespan: 1 year
Life Stages: Larval, polyp, ephyrae and medusa

Lion’s Mane jellyfish are known to be the gigantic! In fact, they are the largest animals in the world. The diameter of their bell had been known to be able to grow up to 8 feet in diameter… that is huge! Not to mention their tentacles have been recorded to measure a length of 150 feet.

Interesting facts!

The one specimen of Lion's Mane which was found in Massachusetts Bay in 1870 was over 7 feet in diameter and its tentacles were longer than 120 feet in length. However, the bell of the Artic Lion's Mane is known to be able to grow up to 8 feet in diameter, and their tentacles can acquire the length of 150 feet.

A sting from the lion's mane jellyfish is not only incapable of causing human deaths; all it does is cause an itchy rash and mild burning sensation. Although the rash can be painful for sensitive individuals and the toxins in the venom may cause an allergic reaction, the stings from a lion's mane jellyfish can be treated by application of vinegar.

The colour of the lion's mane jellyfish is also dependent on its size. The largest specimens of the lion's mane jellyfish are a dark crimson in colour. As their size reduces, the colour becomes lighter until it is light orange or tan.

Dickerson, N. (2011). Lions mane jellyfish. Retrieved from http://www.jellyfishfacts.net/lions-mane-jellyfish.html

Post #8Blobfish

Blobfish.jpgScientific Name: Psychrolutes marcidus
Common Name: Blobfish
Habitat: The deep waters off the coasts of Australia and Tasmania.

Discovered by: McCulloch in 1926

Feeds On: Edible material that floats by in front of it.

The blobfish is an extraordinary animal that lives in extremely deep waters off of the coasts of Australia and Tasmania. It is an amazingly fascinating creature but unfortunately people, due to the inaccessibility of its natural habitat, rarely see it.

These fish can be found in waters where the pressure is several dozens of times higher than what it would be at a regular sea level. The blobfish is mostly made out of a gelatinous mass with a density that is just slightly less than water which allows it to float just above the sea floor without wasting too much energy.

Though it lacks most muscle and because it is such a jelly mass, it isn’t a disadvantage to the creature since it mostly swallows edible matter that floats along in front of it while it swims.

Post #9Snakeheads!

Scientific Name: Channa argus
Common Name: Snakehead
Habitat: Freshwaters in Asia and Africa
Distinguished by: a long dorsal fin, large mouth and shiny teeth
Size: grow up to 2 or 3 feet
Weight: Over 6 lbs
Predators: Snakeheads are what people call an “invasive species” because they are at the top of the predator list. They continue to reproduce but don’t get killed off.
Feeds On: Snakeheads are thrust-feeders that eat plankton, aquatic insects and mollusks when small. When adult, they mostly feed on other fish like carp or frogs. In rare cases small mammals like rats are eaten. (They are crazy monsters!)

Interesting Facts:
This snakehead can live in water AND spend time on land. They have an extremely interesting way of doing this, and if you watch the following video you will quickly learn how cool this creature of the world is.

Arbor, A. (2011). Snakeheads. Retrieved from http://www.csa.com/discoveryguides/snakehead/overview.php

Post #10INSOMNIACauses:
- Depressionsleepless01.jpg- Anxiety
- Stress (mental, emotional, etc.)
- Schizophrenia
- Bipolar disorder
- Chronic pain
- Nocturnal asthma

There are a series of things that can be done in order to test a patient for insomnia. Doctors may choose to perform a polysomnogram to record the patterns in the patients sleep. There is also the option of asking a series of questions concerning things such as, “Have you experienced chronic snoring or recent weight gain?” Sometimes, doctors will even have you write down your sleep
patterns in a sleep diary over the span of a few weeks.

- Poor concentration and focus
- Difficulty with remembering
- Being uncoordinated
- Impaired social interaction
- Uncertainty

Common People at Risk:
- Travelers
- Seniors
- Pregnant women
- Drug abusers
- Alcoholics
- Teenagers

Tips to Fight Insomnia:

1) Avoid drinking caffeine and alcoholic beverages.
2) Exercise regularly and try to live a healthy lifestyle.
3) Try yoga or meditation.
4) Try not to eat heavy meals before bedtime.
5) Eat a spoon of honey in a glass of milk before bed.
6) Try to create a regular sleep schedule.

Nabili, S.T. (2011). Insomnia. Retrieved from http:http://www.emedicinehealth.com/insomnia/article_em.htm#