Thursday, May 7, 2009

Face Transplant

I was looking at the BBC news website again and I came across a very interesting little blurb of news that was as follows:

"The first person to receive a face transplant in the United States has expressed her gratitude to the donor and doctors, following a successful operation.

Connie Culp, 46, spoke at a news conference at the Cleveland Clinic where the groundbreaking operation was performed.

Culp, from Ohio, was shot in the face by her husband five years ago - he then turned the gun on himself."

I have discovered that this website is incredibly interesting and that health news that does not come from a detailed research article in so base level. I read this and it makes me think of all the discussions that we had about science communication. This is certainly an example of something that is easy to understand, but since college had ruined me in this regard, I completely want to read the scientific journal article version of this story. Anyone know what I'm sayin?

Male Contriception: a new approach

So I was browsing through some articles on the BBC Website and I say a little article that went a little something like this:

Male 'contraceptive jab' closer

Monthly injections of testosterone lowered sperm count

A male contraceptive jab could be as effective at preventing pregnancies as the female pill or condoms, work shows.

The monthly testosterone injection works by temporarily blocking sperm production and could revolutionise birth control, experts believe.

This seemed like a very interesting concept. It would make sense that messing with hormonal factor would lead to decreases in sperm count from what I have seen in Physiology classes, but in my opinion it seems like a bizarre idea. Wouldn't there be too many side effects from the increase in hormone? I wonder if this is really feasible. I mentioned in the article that out of 100 men that underwent these injections only 1 instance was a child conceived. Is it bad that I am quite skeptical??

I'll show you LAC operon!!

Ok. So I took Genetics about a million college years ago (which is really two real years) and I have discovered over time that I really never had the best understanding of the topic. It is also something that I would add to the list of things that every biologist should know, because I have found that without this knowledge there is a large aspect of biology-ness that I do not completely understand, not to mention the genetics GRE questions that I got wrong. There is one thing, though, that I do remember from that class. It is simply a name: LAC operon. It came up on the practice GRE and when I read the question I thought "Oh!! this phrase!! I have seen this before". Much to my dismay I was unable to shake the cobwebs from my mind and uncover the true meaning of LAC operon. Thank you GRE for sending me on this quest for meaning. OK. LAC operon....

"The lac operon is an operon required for the transport and metabolism of lactose in Escherichia coli and some other enteric bacteria. It consists of three adjacent structural genes, a promoter, a terminator, and an operator. The lac operon is regulated by several factors including the availability of glucose and of lactose. Gene regulation of the lac operon was the first genetic regulatory mechanism to be elucidated and is often used as the canonical example of prokaryotic gene regulation." -wikipedia

OK. So if I had to translate this: It seems like this is dealing with lactose specifically. This is going to deal with the metabolism and transport of lactose in bacteria. Why is it important? It is a prime example of prokaryotic gene regulation.

An now I feel like a simpleton for not understanding this straightforward concept. Well...I do now!

A Modicum of Frustration

I have found over my four years here that there are always questions that arise when going through the grind that is undergrad. I have discovered a few that still irk me to this day, even as my studies here come to a close. It seems to be that they are all school related. Guess I should just start somewhere and these science classes have made me so fond of Excel form, thus a listing format.

1) Tier Requirements
Don't get me wrong, I have really enjoyed mixing the hardcore science classes with some fluffy literature variety classes, but I feel that there should not be such specific tier requirements. I took a Jane Austin class that was a special series class from a professor. It was incredibly interesting and I did a great deal of work with the material. Smells like one Tier requirement fulfilled right? Wrong. Didn't have the happy label in the course book and despite working with the registrar: no dice. Come on. Hook a sister up AU!

2)Pre-PT program
It has been excellent having a strong Biology backround after my undergrad is all said and done, but I don't understand why that can't just tell you that as Pre-PT you will be rocking the sport science and biology classes. It would have been nice when I came here if someone said "here are the requirements for the next step: grad school" because they were not just from the bio-chem depts. I figured it out eventually as did my classmates, but it would have been nice to know off the bat.

Those seem like the main frustrations that come to mind. Overall my four years have been awesome and I have few complaints. The experience with the professors and fellow classmates have exceeded expectations. This has been an excellent life decision.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Dear Adorable Pancreas, My future rides on a grade in a class I hate...Sincerely Extremely FRUSTRATED!

So here's the deal folks, I want to be a physical therapist, have wanted to be one since I was 13 years old. And since the momentous time of choosing my profession at a young age I have dedicated myself to doing whatever I needed to do, take whatever classes, intern for no money in order to get into graduate school and earn my degree. I'm in my senior year of college, just barely 4 days until I graduate and am at this moment sweating over whether or not I'll actually be able to attend graduate school. To clear up any confusion I am going to school or rather I've been provisionally accepted to the Department of Physical Therapy at Ohio University. What might you say is making me employ sympathetic induced reactions?


General Physics to be exact. Not that I think that physics should ever be called general for that is too broad a topic applied to this vast subject area. The amount of information that is contained in one word is phenomenal and well...scary. So because I have felt trapped by this subject that has invaded my dreams I decided to do a little research as to how much physics will I actually apply once I attain my degree. The only subjects that I could find that related to the profession were linear motion, forces, angular motion and torque, and heat and energy exchange. Basically three topics that virtually coexist and intertwine. My only complaint....why couldn't I have just learned these topics and then be done with it? Why prolong the torture and make me listen to lectures on electromagnetic conduction. It's more a test of endurance rather than an actual time of learning.

I'm all for the attainment of knowledge but at times when I'm taking a class that has nothing to do with my major but rather it is the requirement for graduate school and it is taught in a manner not conducive to learning...I get a little angry. What's more I asked a number of graduate students at each of my interview times how much they've used physics, and not a single one of them ever said "why yes I have used those theories you slaved over for hours on end". If I'm going to be forced to take a subject that is a requirement for my doctorate degree, then at least have it make sense in relation to my future profession as a whole, not in part.

Monday, April 27, 2009

CMT - whaaat?

CMT or Charcot Marie Tooth is one of the most common neuromuscualar diseases in the United States, my own grandmother and aunt have suffered from this disease for over 30 years. I did previous research on this topic for one of my Anatomy classes in school but I recently found extended research on possible supplemental therapy options. I will be presenting on this information and the background of CMT.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Aww Waterbears!

I have chosen to do my presentation on the phylum Tardigrada.  They have the amazing ability to survive in extreme temperatures.  I'll tell you all about them!