Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
I decided to do some more research about this bacterium. MRSA causes infections in different parts of the body because it is all over a human body. Today, it is tough to treat certain staph strains because of resistance. Resistance emerges because of over use of medications to treat it. Once an infection occurs with this bacterium, there is usually a painful pimple or boil. On the other hand, in more serious cases, infections can enter surgical wounds, the bloodstream, the lungs, or the urinary tract. Now that I have talked about worst case scenario, the worry today is about the spread of tough strains of MRSA. Because it's hard to treat, MRSA is sometimes called a "super bug."
Now that I have talked about the symptoms of a staph infection, some information about the actual bacteria seems appropriate. Regular staph lives all over our bodies, with the majority taking refuge in our noses. A majority of people can go on with their day without having problems with this bacterium.
As I explain earlier, this bacterium has an evil side which shows up when it enters our body through a cut. Once there, it can cause an infection. Staph is one of the most common causes of skin infections in the U.S. Usually, these are minor and don't need special treatment. The game of trying to treat infections from this particular bacterium is a never ending battle. The reason why is because MRSA is constantly adapting. This is scary because researchers have to continue to develop new antibiotics.
In the end, since I talked about this bacterium, I thought I should bring in my personal story. About six months ago, I thought I had a normal pimple but boy was I wrong. The area started to become painful so I went to the doctor. The doctor cultured the area and the result was great. The result was a staph infection but of the non-MRSA type. I was so relieved.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Evolution of Life in 60 Seconds
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
In light of the recent events,
The Kissing Bug (Panstrongylus geniculatus) is a member of the Assassin Bug family Reduviidae. These insects get their name from the location of their bite, which are usually the lips. Kissing bugs feed mostly on the blood of vertebrates, but the ones that feed on human blood can carry serious disease. In South American countries, these little critters are the main vectors for a parasite called Trypanosoma cruzi which causes Chagas Disease.
An interesting fact about T. cruzi is that it is not passed from saliva to blood like many other disease spreading vectors (i.e. mosquitoes), but rather through the Kissing Bugs feces. These parasites crawl their way into the wound made from the bite. Soon after the parasite enters the wound, the site of infection becomes enlarged and swollen. Other symptoms include: fever, fatigue, body aches, headache, rash, loss of appetite, diarrhea, and vomiting. You may think that this is as bad as it gets, but unfortunately this disease can lay dormant inside you for years and is incurable. When this nasty disease finally does reemerge, the symptoms are much worse and usually cause severe heart damage and malformation of the intestines.
Though the Kissing Bug really doesn’t have any attachment to Valentine’s Day, I just thought its name was appropriate for the occasion. So now you may be wondering what the Kissing Bug and T. cruzi have to do with
As I said before, there is no cure for this disease so prevention is important. So if you even have the urge to do some traveling around South America, be sure to take a mosquito net when camping outdoors. Insecticides can only do so much to control their numbers and prevent the Kiss of Death.
Monday, February 16, 2009
My research into the characteristics of this fungus came up with some interesting results. To start off, A. flavus belongs to the genus Aspergillus. According to a mold remediation company, the genus Aspergillus includes over 185 which I thought was interesting. Around twenty species have so far been reported as causative agents of opportunistic infections in man. Among these, Aspergillus fumigatus is the most commonly isolated species, followed by Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus niger. There are other species like Aspergillus clavatus, Aspergillus glaucus group, Aspergillus nidulans, Aspergillus oryzae, Aspergillus terreus, Aspergillus ustus, and Aspergillus versicolor which are not found too much as opportunistic pathogens. Aspergillus is a group of molds which is found world-wide, especially in the autumn and winter in the Northern hemisphere. The fungus also causes allergic diseases in asthmatics and patients suffering from cystic fibrosis. I thought this was interesting that these kids suffer from this type of fungus. On the one hand as I stated that I thought that this was interesting, I feel their pain because they are already suffering a lot from just the cystic fibrosis by itself.
Upon some additional research of this fungus, I found some other interesting facts. According to a site totally devoted to the fungus, this species has pathogenic properties. These pathogenic properties can cause problems to plants, animals, and humans. I thought an interesting fact about this fungus is that pathogenic (disease causing) properties can affect plants. I think that a fungus affecting plants is awesome because this will ensure dominance of A. flavus to a particular area. As long as the fungus dominates, the chances of other competing fungi taking over a particular area would be very slim.
The fungus also had ome other properties that were interesting to read. According the fungus devotion site, this fungus is a good nutrient recycler. The reason behind the nutrient recycler property is that this fungus can grow well on many nutrient sources. I think that this capability of nutrient recycling is phenomenal, if you can infect your enemies and grow almost anywhere then you can be unstoppable to almost anything. In conclusion, this fungus has my vote for king of the fungi world because of its defenses and ability to live almost anywhere.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Happy Valentines Day to all you bloggers out there! In my pathetic Valentines night full of ice cream, sappy movies, and shoe shopping, I stumbled across and interesting article about how the body responds to emotional distress, like a broken heart. The body responds to emotional distress the same way is responds to physical distress.Naomi Eisenberger and Dr Matthew Lieberman of the University of California Los Angeles and Professor Kipling Williams of Macquarie University used MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) to study the blood flow in the brain when a person experiences a "social snub". Subject were observed by MRI while they were put through a video simulated ball throwing game. The game had the subjects first observe the game, become involve in the game by having them throw and catch the ball, then they were put through the phase where they were purposely shunned from the game.
They found that at the point where they were left out of the game there were changes in the blood flow to the brain. The anterior cingulate cortex became more active at this point, where part of the prefrontal cortex became less active. The anterior cingulate cortex is known to be linked to physical distress. The prefrontal cortex is known to regulate distress. The body seems to respond similarly to physical pain as it does to emotional pain. To quote the article I read “This suggests the anterior cingulate is more important for elaborating feelings of emotional distress, whereas the prefrontal cortex, already implicated in emotional regulation…counteracts the painful feeling of being shunned,” comments Dr Jaak Panksepp of Bowling Green State University in Ohio in an accompanying article.
It is thought that continuing this research may even one day explain the physical pain associated with a broken heart. Too bad there isn't something you can take to cure a broken heart like you can physical pain with Tylenol. Oh wait.. I think it is called an anti-depressant. (Hehe. Joke)
Hope this was a fun little snip of information for all of you broken hearts out there!
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Another issue teachers have is letting go of a little control to allow the students freedom for exploration and inquiry in the science classroom. They are nervous the students may become unruly, or that the classroom will be trashed after the activity. What actually happens is that students become more involved in the class when they are able to be more hands-on. They are relieved to have a break in the monotony of lectures and will more likely cause less trouble than when they are bored in a silent class. The students are typically more than willing to clean up as long as they are given sufficient time.
If more teachers could explore the option of more hands-on learning in the classroom, then the students might begin remembering a time when science was fun for them. Back when we were all little biologists playing in the stream or the woods near our homes. Then the stigma students have towards science may be lessened, and the science content learned in the classroom might be better understood to later be applied to their lives.
I liked the post "Schinderhannes Bartelsi - The Origin Of Claws In A 390-Million-Year-Old Fossil"
This post first caught my attention due to the fact that last semester in Vertebrate Biology a great amount of time was focused on the origins of many different morphological characteristics; and secondly because of the first paragraph:
"A missing link in the evolution of the front claw of living scorpions and horseshoe crabs was identified with the discovery of a 390 million-year-old fossil by researchers at Yale and the University of Bonn, Germany."
This first paragraph reminded me about our discussion of Tiktaalik, the missing link between lobe-finned fishes and tetrapods. Tiktaalik was discovered by a man named Neil Shubin, who I was fortunate enough to meet after his speech at the Natural History Museum with my Vertebrate Biology class last semester.
I thought that this post was well written, interesting, and informative. I enjoy doing puzzles, and there's nothing like finding the missing pieces that you need to complete the picture.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
The blog, “Do we see what bees see?” is an interesting post about the differences in vision capabilities among bees, hummingbirds, and humans. This post was written by Sheri Williamson and can be found on her blog site, Life, Birds, and Everything .
Overall, the piece was very well written with the author’s point clear and her voice strong. The title first caught my attention because I immediately began singing the Christmas song “Do you see what I see?” when I came across it. This title caught my attention, made me want to read more, and made the post memorable. The author did a nice job mixing technical vocabulary with common phrases or her own language. For example, she was describing flowers as either entomophilous or ornithophilous but then ended the paragraph by calling insects “six-legged beasties”. She has a knack for keeping the post understandable and entertaining by her quirky phrases.
Sometimes, I had a hard time understanding what the author was trying to say do to the wording she chose. One sentence began, “Birds go us and bees one further with four types of cones” when she discusses the cones of birds’ eyes. I was cruising along reading the post quite smoothly when I stumbled on this phrase. I had to go back and reread this a couple times to finally grasp what the author was trying to say, and this ruined the flow of reading that I had previously been enjoying.
Other than those few small imperfections, I thought this was a great post, written by someone who is experienced in blogging and knows how to communicate science.
So I'm interested in the oddities of the animal kingdom, and while searching the web I came across a story about this unique creature.
Jim Mataronas , a lobster fisherman from Newport, R.I. was at work like any other day when he discovered this rare creature.
He stated "I pulled it out and thought someone was playing a joke on us. It looked like someone took a ruler right down it," "It looks half-cooked."
Apparently the odds of finding a two-toned lobster are 1 in 50 million! They said that this rare coloration is most likely due to a genetic protein deficiency in the lobsters body.
This rare lobster was too special to be thrown back or eaten, so instead, Jim Mataronas decided to donate him to either the Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut or the Boston's New England Aquarium where he could live out the rest of his life and be admired by the thousands of people that visit these aquariums each year.
P.S: Round of snaps is something I am borrowing from some of my friends. I like to think of it as a kudos for good work/ideas.
Monday, February 9, 2009
- Eye catching introductory sentence to get reader hooked
- Uses many organisms to see how protein structure and function adapt to temperature
- Explains words that general public might not know: mollusks
- Sets a pace: Somero describes hypothesis then goes into experiment to test hypothesis, and finally conclusion to relate to global warming
- Asks questions to readers to get them thinking
- Article Ending: asks questions get readers thinking about big picture beyond the scope of this article; article information may be stepping block to additional experiments.
Saturday, February 7, 2009
In the study of bacteriology, there are many fields of study that are applicable to the world today. Some examples of ways people study bacteria deal with medical microbiology and food microbiology. I think that medical and food microbiology are very prevalent in the world today because humans are involved with these aspects on a daily basis. Medical microbiology has to deal with pathogens that cause illness. An example of a pathogen that causes illness that people deal with today is the influenza virus; this particular virus causes the notorious flu symptoms. Food microbiology is also important in the world today because microbes assist in producing certain foods we eat on a daily basis. Examples of food produced with the use of microbes are dairy and alcohol products. In the end, the food we eat today would not be around without these small organisms.
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
I'm very much an independent learner. I like to learn more about things that I'm interested in. Cell function, although important, not high on my list. Cool animals, I could read for hours. In the marine tank in 327 Kettering an elusive creepy crawler pops up every now and again when I'm cleaning to say hello. I had no idea what it was, so I spent one afternoon with my friend and we tried to identify this creature. With help from our very own resident Darwin, Dr. Stoffer, we got a general idea where to look. As it turned out we have an eight inch fire worm living in our tank! No one for sure knows how he got there, but he is definitely the king of that tank. While reading up on this monster I learned some crazy things I didn’t know, but I’m sure glad I know now. This fuzzy worm is called a fire worm because of the burning sensation that is caused when you touch it. It has what looks like white fluff around it, which are actually like tiny little hollow needles filled with poison! This toxin delivers a terrible burning sensation that can last for several days. Unlike a jellyfish sting that is usually forgotten by the next day. These little bristles pierce the skin and then break off inside. I found one solution in a field guide to removing these mini daggers, tape. Handy dandy tape works like waxing off leg hair; it grips and rips. Just adding to your pleasant experience. This terrorist of the sea floor is found in shallow waters, near coral, rocks, and other hard substrate it can hide under. It also can burrow under the sand to hide. So next time you find a cute little fuzzy underwater caterpillar I’d think twice before picking it up, or swimming near it! I know I probably wont be sticking my hands in that marine tank every again!