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Biology 111
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Zombie Ants Post one

Click on picture for video

This ant along with many like it has been infected by a deadly parasitic fungi. Not only does this fungus kill the ant but it has evolved so that it possesses the ability to alter the ant’s behaviour so much that it basically controls it. This fungus attaches itself onto carpenter ants as they walk across the forest floor. It soon grows inside of the animal and releases chemicals that drastically change the ant’s behaviour. Finally, when the ant’s life is coming to an end, it will crawl to a leaf's underside and inflict onto it what is called a "death grip". This is when the ant bites directly into the main vein of the leaf, keeping it in place until its death and locking the fungi in place. Once the ant is dead, the fungi will sprout out of its head producing a pod of spores which will in return infect other ants so that the fungi can multiply.

Sample, I. (2010, August 18). 'zombie ants' controlled
by parasitic fungus for 48m years. Retrieved from

Worlds Top 5 Weirdest Creatures Post two

1. The Aye-aye or the Daubentonia madagascariensis

This pretty little thing is from Madagascar. It is the world's largest nocturnal primate and eats much like a woodpecker.
It uses its long middle finger to tap trees in order to find grubs. It then chews a hole into the tree and fishes his food out with the same finger.

2. Tongue Eating Louse

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Although this parasite resembles a Sandshrew, It is a nasty thing to happen to a fish. This creature will crawl into the gills of a fish and move to the mouth. Once there it actually replaces the tongue with its own body.

3. The Leopard Slug

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These are not like any slugs you will find in your back yard. First of all they contain both male and female reproductive parts. In order to mate they first make a string of mucus that they slide down, once they are in midair they will both extend penises from their heads and exchange sperm.

4. Blob Fish

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These blob like fish are found deep in the ocean near Australia and Tasmania.

5. Mike, the Headless Chicken

You might have heard about chicken living without heads before but not for 18 months. The reason for his life is the fact that his owner a farmer named Lloyd Olsen has terrible aim with an axe. He severed Mike's head, but missed the jugular vein leaving one ear, and most of the chicken’s brain stem intact.

gomchen, . (n.d.). Top 5 weirdest animals.
Retrieved from http://hubpages.com/hub/Top-5-Weirdest-

The on going evolution of humans Post three

Even before the nethanderal times humans were rapidly changing, evolving. What might surprise people now is that it’s still happening. Natural selection helps humans adapt to their surroundings and it happens more frequently then scientists originally thought. This process occurs when the human body is faced with a problem involving its environment, such as heat, cold, disease and attitude. Single-nucleotide polymorphisms or SNPs are sites where one nucleotide pair substitutes for another. The alternant versions of DNA at each SNP are called alleles. SNPs can significantly alter height, eye colour, ability to digest milk, or susceptibility to disease. Natural selection greatly favours one particular allele, as a result, it becomes more common in a population throughout the generations, and the disfavoured allele becomes less common. The trait will spread throughout the population until it is found in the entire residents; this trait becomes fixed in that group. Although it happens often, the favoured allele can takes thousands of years to spread. Some believe the time it takes depends on the severity of need for the change. A few Examples of natural selection and favoured alleles are:
· The gene that helps digest the sugar in milk has undergone rapid evolution among diary-farming populations in Europe, the Middle East and East Africa over the last 5 000 to 10 000 years.

· A gene called hypoxia-inducible factor 2-alpha has spread throughout Tibetans over the past thousand years. It helps them live

14 000 feet
above sea level by adjusting their red blood cell production.

· Throughout evolution in the past 10 000 years, women who live in the Bolivian Altiplano, which is

12 000 feet
above sea level, have developed so that their uterine artery undergoes accelerated growth during pregnancy compared to those who live in lower regions.

· Humans living in areas with high UV levels developed dark skin because the UV rays could penetrate it to make vitamin D without damaging the skin. As humans moved to areas with less UV rays their skin had to become lighter so that the weaker UV rays could enter it in order to get vitamin D.

· The LARGE gene, that helps the body fight infection, has recently spread rapidity throughout the Yoruba of Nigeria due to the emergence of Lassa fever.


Pritchard, J.K. ( 2010, October). How are we evolving. Scientific American, 303(4), 41-47.

Forming your Opinion

Connection to ATP
Creatine in the type of phosphocreatine and is important in storing energy in muscle cells. When the body undergoes exercise, phosphocreatine is broken down to creatine and phosphate, and the energy released is used to restore ATP. The production of ATP is dependent on creatine phosphate. Knowing that, it makes sense that people would take this supplement to increase the muscle amount of creatine and creatine phosphate the muscles store to produce and replenish ATP.

It has been studied that when people take creatine, their performance in both sprinting and strength training is increased by 5-15%. Also, when doing short activates their performance goes up by 5-8% and their vertical-jump performance can go up by 5-10%. When given creatine for a longer period of the percentages continue to rise. Along with an increase in exercise performance, it may also cause an increased rate of resynthesis of phosphocreatine between sessions of activity, enhance metabolic efficiency, help the body adopt to more training and may also help individuals gain lean body mass.

Despite the benefits of creatine, every rose has it torn and of course, this supplement has side effects. The most obvious side effect is weight gain. It is also known to cause water loss which puts the user at risk for dehydration, kidney failure, diarrhea and a possibility of death. Also, because the person is gaining strength and body mass, it may lay extra stress on bone, joints and ligaments.

Sports Teams
As far as sports go, creatine is not banned by any major sport organizations. However, some do warn players about this supplement because of some of the unknown long term affects. On the other hand, other organizations and teams such as sports teams in the NFL, MLB, NBA, and the NHL have actually supplied their players with creatine. These teams see no harm in this supplement because most studies have not shown too many negative effects caused when taking the right amount.

In my own opinion I think that you are better to be safe then sorry. Although there are not many side effects found in taking this supplement responsibility and there are positive results in taking it, there are still so many things unknown about how it may affect the body to be completely sure of its safety. The pros do out number the cons and most of the studies done have came up with different results when it came to side effects but, a person’s health is more important then their success in sports any day.

Ambrose, P.J. (n.d.). Drug use in sports: a veritable arena for pharmacists: dietary supplements used in sports. Retrieved from http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/487473_7

Kreider, R.B. (n.d.). Creatine, the next ergogenic supplement? . Retrieved from http://www.sportsci.org/traintech/creatine/rbk.html

Gene identified that prevents stem cells from turning cancerous Post Four

Connection between high amounts of stem cells and cancer
It is proven that having too many stem cells or having stem cells that live for too long, can raise the likelihood of getting cancer.

What is this gene?
This gene is called Sept4 and this particular gene encodes a protein named ARTS. ARTS boosts programmed cell death, by antagonizing other proteins that prevent cell death. It has been found that organisms with leukemia and other cancers lack this gene.

How ARTS works
They interfere with molecules that prevent cells from killing themselves called IAPs. By doing so, they help to take the brakes off the process of apoptosis, allowing the cell to die on schedule.

What difference does it make?
In cells lacking ARTS, there are tremendous differences in hematopoietic progenitor and stem cells. In an experiment done, newborn mice that were ARTS deprived had about twice as many hematopoietic stem cells as the control group of mice. The mice lacking ARTS were more likely to acquire a mutation then the mice with regular amounts of ARTS. Also, the ARTS deprived mice the tended to developed spontaneous tumours at about twice the rate of the control group.

Importance of this study

 Of course this study was the first to prove the role of the ARTS gene in assisting in tumour cell resistance by regulating cell death, but it also links this gene to other forms of cancer, stem and progenitor cell proliferation. This study is the first to show that inactivating a natural IAP antagonist actually causes tumours to grow; this was contrary to what they originally believed. It also suggests that the premature silencing of the Sept4/ARTS pathway at the stem cell level may herald cancer to come. The most important thing about this study is that from the identification of the ARTS gene and its role in cancer cell death provides it may inspire new therapeutic approaches. This is huge progress in the possible treatment and prevention of cancer.

Gene identified that prevents stem cells from turning cancerous . (2010, October 15). Retrieved from http://www.biologynews.net/archives/2010/10/15/gene_identified_that_prevents_stem_cells_from_turning_cancerous.html
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The Biology song....adorable...

The Effects of Stress on the Human Body Post five

I figured like myself, many other students in the class experienced some form of stress prier to the midterm. I understand that stress has extreme effects on the human body but have never been told how. This article explains the biological effects of acute stress on various parts of the body.
Basically, stress can come from anywhere or anything. It can occur in anyone no matter how strong that person may come off as. Most people become stressed over things such as work, finances, exams and midterms. Although stress can happen to anyone, individuals handle it and experience it differently. Stress is the human bodies’ way of staying safe; it activates reactions in the body needed to become more alert in times of possible danger. It is a natural instinct humans have developed throughout the years. Unfortunately, stress does not usually come upon us in times of need, but rather when we need it the least.

The effect of stress in the brain
When experiencing stress the brain will release steroid hormones (glucocorticoids). This includes the main stress hormone, Cortisol. The brain also will release neurotransmitters such as dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine. These chemical messengers activate a part of the brain called the amygdale which then triggers an emotion related to stress. Finally the brain releases a protein that alters stress by decreasing the need for sleep while increasing awareness and gives a certain sense of anxiety. This protein in named neuropeptide S. When experiencing stress the same chemical messengers that activated the amygdale will suppress activity in areas at the front of the brain that deal with short-term memory. This in return will negatively effect concentration, inhibition, rational thought, the ability to handle difficult social or intellectual tasks and behaviour. On the other hand, these messengers activate a different part of the brain called the hippocampus which will store the stressful event in long-term memory for later possible uses.

Effect on the Heart, Lungs, and Circulation
As the stressful event approaches, your heart rate and blood pressure will go up at the same time. Your lungs will start to take in more oxygen resulting in rapid breathing. Also the spleen will send out more white and red blood cells to insure enough oxygen is getting to muscles, lungs and the brain. Circulation may actually increase by up to 300-400%.
Effect on the Immune System
Stress in the human body is meant to take place when danger or harm is about to occur, it is an instinct. So naturally, the bodies’ defensives would prepare for battle. The white blood cells do so by rearranging themselves so that they gather around the skin and lymph nodes. They do so because they are preparing for possible infection, cuts or injuries to the body.
Effect on the Mouth and Throat
People experiencing stress will often have a dry mouth because the body will remove liquid from nonessential areas to insure the essential areas have enough. Individuals may also have muscle spasms in their throat.
Effect on skin
When undergoing stress blood flow will decrease around the skin in order the supply more important things such as heart and muscle tissues. This is also because if injury does occur blood loss will be at a minimum. The loss of blood flow results in clammy, cold, sweaty hands. Sometimes, the scalp may tighten giving the feeling of hair sticking up.
Metabolic response
Digestive will shut down during this period of time to save energy for more crucial activities and in preparation for intense physical activity.
stress - the body's response. (2009, February 13). Retrieved from http://www.umm.edu/patiented/articles/what_biological_effects_of_acute_stress_000031_2.htm


Think Biology is fun? So do I! Even on its own biology has the ability to keep me entertained for hours. I also enjoy the occasional online game. So when you mix these things together what could be better?! I enjoyed this site and I hope you will too. There are plenty of games that are all based on Biology. Have fun :D

Stem Cell Research

Homework assignment

Similar to other beliefs, I feel stem cells are an extraordinary advance and may greatly help the world. The human race as a whole could potentially benefit from this research. I believe that anything that has the potential to save lives and improve living conditions of many others should be looked into. In the case of embryonic stem cells verses adult stem cells, I realize the possibilities and importance of both. As for extraction methods I believe all should be controlled other then created stem cells for research purposes which should be prohibited. Although I believe these cells are important to the human race, part of me can not help but think of the potential life that is being destroyed. On one hand, there are millions of people in our world dying from horrible diseases and even more suffering with an incurable disease. I can not imagine the pain that individual and their family would have to deal with. On the other hand, the human being that may have been developing from that embryo may have had the potential to do even greater things then the stem cells they process. It is even possible one of them could have developed another way of saving lives other then using stem cells. Also, I feel that all life is sacred and equal so killing one to save another is a hard concept for me to grasp. As you can see I am some what undecided on how I stand on the matter emotionally. Lately, I have been basing my opinion on the possible medical advancements stem cells could lead to and also considering the concurs of others.

Embryonic stem cells from existing cell lines – Should be controlled because only one potential life is destroyed in order to same countless others.

Embryonic stem cells made for research – I feel this is an unnecessary method because there are many other ways to extract stem cells.

Embryonic stem cells from excess embryos – I believe this should be controlled because the excess embryos if not used for research or healing others, would be discarded of. Potential lives being thrown away is defiantly worse then ones used to save others.

Embryonic stem cells made by SCNT – I think that this should be controlled. Only therapeutic cloning should be allowed because there are possibilities there that other methods do not have. This includes making stem cells that match the patient’s DNA.

Hypothyroid Disease Post six

This is a common disease, especially in women. Unfortunately, I am in the 10% of women who have it. Although I have been diagnosed in grade seven and take medicine daily, I have never know what is really wrong with me. This disease is caused when a person’s body creates an insufficient amount of the thyroid hormone. This hormone is created in the thyroid gland which is located in the front of the neck. It is made up of two parts called lobes, which are joined together by a tissue named isthmus.
The thyroid gland’s main function is to convert iodine into thyroid hormones.
In a healthy body, they do this by combining iodine and the amino acid tyrosine to make thyroid hormones T3, T4, T3 and T4. After creation, they are released into the blood stream where they are transported throughout the body so that they can regulate metabolism. Every cell in the body depends upon thyroid hormones for regulation of their metabolism. When ever the hormone production gets too low, the pituitary gland in the brain produces a thyroid stimulating hormone called TSH. The pituitary gland is triggered by another hormone in the brain called the hypothalamus. This gland produces TRH which simulates the production of TSH.
There are two main reasons why the thyroid gland is under active. The first is previous or present inflammation of the gland which leads to the destruction of cells. This is typically caused by autoimmune thyroiditis. This is caused by the patient’s immune system. The second reason is a result of surgical extraction of part of or the entire thyroid glad. This could be due to thyroid cancer or other diseases.
There are many symptoms and complications associated by this condition. In some cases complications can result in severe life-threatening depression, heart failure, or coma if this condition is left untreated. The over production of TSH to try and regulate the hormone can result in the forming of a goiter. A goiter is the swelling of the gland resulting in a noticeable mass in the neck. Some symptoms include:
Weight gain or increased difficulty losing weight
Coarse, dry hair
Dry, rough pale skin
Hair loss
Cold intolerance (you can't tolerate cold temperatures like those around you)
Muscle cramps and frequent muscle aches
Memory loss
Abnormal menstrual cycles
Decreased libido
Some patients which this condition do not even know they have it because their symptoms are so unnoticeable, but other may experience some of the above. The severities of them are affected by the length of time the patient has had the condition untreated. It can also be affected by the amount of time with the disease and other factors. In most cases this condition can be treated by daily medications, but sometimes added treatments may be needed.
My personal experience with this condition started in the summer going into grade seven. I become extremely tired and weak along with having massive headaches, fainting spells and experience dizziness and nausea. Luckily, my mother has the same condition and suspected what was going on and with the help of a simple blood test, although I cried getting it done, we knew what was wrong with me. I started taking pills that day. They help a lot although my dosages have gone up over the years. Most of my symptoms are still there just in weaker forms and the way I feel tends to vary day to day. I see a huge change in myself when I miss a day… or three from taking my medication. I get nauseous, headaches, irritable, have memory loss, weakness, fatigue, cold intolerance (worse than usual) and my skin seems paler.


Norman, J. (n.d.). Hypothyroidism: too little thyroid hormone. Retrieved from http://www.endocrineweb.com/conditions/thyroid/hypothyroidism-too-little-thyroid-hormone

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The possibility of alien life Post seven
The possibility of alien life has been questioned time and time again. I am sure everyone has either seen or heard of the hundreds of alien related movies, books, T.V shows and alien related merchandise. Also, many may be aware of so called alien sightings; some people even claim they have been adducted and worse yet probed. Alien sighting pop up all over the world mostly stories of UFOs. Most of the stories I found about UFOs have been detailed accounts of bright lights or moving objects. Others though tell of alien or humanoid sightings. The most bizarre thing to me through is alien adductions. Many people report being adducted by aliens and the same people claim others are adducted and just don’t know it. So if you have ever wondered about aliens or are worried you could have been adducted or worse… check out these warming signs from an original list of 52.
If you have experience many of these, you may have been adducted!
2.Have been paralyzed in bed with a being in your room.
4.Have seen balls of light or flashes of light in your home or other locations
5.Have a memory of flying through the air which could not be a dream.
7.Have seen beams of light outside your home, or come into your room through a window.
10.Have a cosmic awareness, an interest in ecology, environment, vegetarianism, or are very socially conscious.
11.Have a strong sense of having a mission or important task to perform, without knowing where this compulsion came from.
13.For women only: Have had false pregnancy or missing fetus. (pregnant, and then not)
14.Have awoken in another place than where you went to sleep, or don't remember ever going to sleep. (i.e. upside down in bed, or in your car)
15.Have had a dream of eyes such as animal eyes (like an owl or deer), or remember seeing an animal looking in at you. Also if you have a fear of eyes.
16.Have awoken in the middle of the night startled.
18.Have inexplicably strong fears or phobias. (i.e. heights, snakes, spiders, large insects, certain sounds, bright lights, your personal security or being alone).
19.Have experienced self-esteem problem much of your life.
21.Have awoken with marks, burns or bruises which appeared during the night with no explanation on how you could have possibly received them.
25.Have been suddenly compelled to drive or walk to an out of the way or unknown area.
28.Have seen a strange fog or haze that should not be there.
29.Have heard strange humming or pulsing sounds, and you could not identify the source.
30.Have had unusual nose bleeds at any time in your life. Or have awoken with a nose bleed.
31.Have awoken with soreness in your genitals which can not be explained.
32.Have had back or neck problems, T-3 vertebrae out often, or awoken with an unusual stiffness in any part of the body.
33.Have had chronic sinusitis or nasal problems.
34.Have had electronics around you go haywire or oddly malfunction with no explanation (such as street lights going out as you walk under them, TV's and radios affected as you move close, etc.).
35.Have seen a hooded figure in or near your home, especially next to your bed.
36.Have had frequent or sporadic ringing in your ears, especially in one ear.
38.Have insomnia or sleep disorders which are puzzling to you.
41.Have the feeling that you are going crazy for even thinking about these sorts of things.
44.Have channelled telepathic messages from extraterrestrials.
45.Have been afraid of your closet, now or as a child.
47.Have to sleep against the wall or must sleep with your bed against a wall.
48.Have a difficult time trusting other people; especially authority figures.

I suspect that like myself, many of you reading this think it is insane, almost funny even. The scary thing is a lot of people believe in it, the scarier thing is they could be right. The question is, are these people nuts or do they have some sort of insight we just don’t know about? There is scientific proof that life on other planets could exist. First of all Stephen Hawking, one of the most intelligent human beings on our planet, believes it is not only a possibility but the chances that no life form exists other than our own is slim to none. He explains that there are 100 billion galaxies, each containing hundreds of millions of stars. In such a mass place he says it is unlikely that Earth is the only place that has evolved to form life. “To my mathematical brain, the numbers alone make thinking about aliens perfectly rational,” he said. “The real challenge is to work out what aliens might actually be like.”(Stephen Hawking) He also says they may not even live on a plaent but rather in the centre of stars or floating in interplanetary space. Most of the life will most likely be microorganisms similar to the first forms of life on Earth. Stephen is not the only one to believe in such things lately the scintific world have been picking up this idea as a strong possibilty. Scineitists at NASA have discovered that hydrogen on was flowing down through Titan's atmosphere and disappearing at the surface. This leaves them to believe that life may exist on one of Saturn’s moons. The life form could be using Hydrogen much life we use oxygen. They also found that acetylene was doing something similar making them believe that it may be used as we use water. These conditions could produce methane-based life. Other places of question are Mars and Europa. Finally, one Earth we are finding more and more organisms that can sustain in extreme environments. These include lack of water, sunlight, oxygen, intense temperatures, acidic levels and in high levels of salt. We have also found organisms that can use chemicals as energy called chemoautotrophs. Recently scientists have found an organism on Earth that feeds off of arsenic. This is a huge discovery because the same sort of organisms could easily be living on other plants. The final question is, are aliens real? What are they like? And, should we be looking for them? “Trying to make contact with alien races is “a little too risky”. Said Stephen Hawking: “If aliens ever visit us, I think the outcome would be much as when Christopher Columbus first landed in America, which didn’t turn out very well for the Native Americans.” Amazing Stephen is not the only scinetist to think this, his thoughts are shared by many scinetists including Professor Brian Cox and Lord Rees.

Leake , J. (2010, April 25). Don’t talk to aliens, warns stephen hawking. Retrieved from http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/science/space/article7107207.ece
Alien abduction, do aliens abduct humans, abduction information. (n.d.). Retrieved from [[http://www.alien-ufo-pictures.com/alien_abduction.html|http://www.alien-ufo-pictures.com/alien_abduction.html]][[http://www.alien-ufo-pictures.com/alien_abduction.html|]]Choi, C.Q. (2010, June 7). Strange discovery on titan leads to speculation of alien life . Retrieved from http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/titan-life-methane-speculation-100607.htmlexternal image alien.jpg

Scientists found a way to create a mouse from two father mice Post eight

This was achieved by manipulating fibroblasts from a male mouse fetus to make a pluripotent stem cell line. Cell colonies grow from this XY cell line and lost the Y chromosome, creating XO cells. The XO cells were injected into blastocysts of female mice. The treated blastocysts were transplanted into surrogate mothers, giving birth to female XO/XX chimeras having one X chromosome from the original male mouse fibroblast. The female chimeras, carrying oocytes derived from the XO cells, were mated with male mice. The offspring were both male and female and contained DNA from both fathers.
This new finding could bring great possibilities such as preserving endangered animals that do not have many females left, improving livestock breeds and advancing human assisted reproductive technology which would open a whole new window for same sex couples looking to reproduce. With this new technology scientists are on their way to produce methods in which same sex couples can have child that contain both parents genetic information.
Click on picture for video link
Click on picture for video link

Reproductive scientists create mice from 2 fathers . (2010, December 9). Retrieved from http://www.biologynews.net/archives/2010/12/09/reproductive_scientists_create_mice_from_2_fathers.html

How to Become Smarter Post nine

Looking for a hundred on your next test? Seeking one more percent before exams? Looking to ace your exams? Well these steps to increasing brain activity may be the key. Some times studying may not be enough, here are some things to make you smarter.

  1. Stay motivated. You are more likely to learn something that you are interested in. If the subject is forced upon you try to spice it up with something entertaining.
  2. Make sure you continue to read and learn regularly but more importantly, people learn by doing, so practice what you are learning and make sure to do your homework!
  3. Carry a journal or notepad around to write down ideas and thoughts. Not only is expressing yourself good but you can reflect upon them later.
  4. Place yourself among intelligent people every so often. This will open your mind to new ideas and opinions. Also, it will keep you motivated to succeed.
  5. Try doing new things, learning new things. Push yourself to do things you are not good at or have not tried. Be ambitious and aim as high as you can.
  6. Change your work environment. Make it relaxing, exciting, peaceful or comfortable. This will inspire new ideas and keep you motivated.
  7. Double check everything!
  8. Divide problems into small chunks and take care of them one at a time.

How to improve you brain physically

1. Brain foods are important such as omega 3 found in fish.
2. Eat carbohydrates when you are tense such as bread.
3. Drink plenty of water
4. Make sure you get enough sleep! This is essential to maintaining your brain. Teenagers up to 18 are supposed to receive 10 hours a night. 18 and up 8 hours.
5. Take some time to yourself. Walking in fresh air can help to clear the mind and to reduce stress. Plus this gives you time to think and prime time for new ideas.
Good Brain Foods
Avocados, Bananas, Beef, lean
Brewer's yeast, Broccoli, Brown rice, Brussels sprouts
Cantaloupe, Cheese, Chicken, Collard greens, Eggs
Flaxseed oil, Legumes, Milk, Oatmeal, Oranges, Peanut butter
Peas, Potatoes, Romaine lettuce, Salmon, Soybeans, Spinach, Tuna
Turkey, Wheat Germ.

Bad Brain Foods

Alcohol, Artificial food colorings, Artificial sweeteners, Colas,

Corn syrup, Frostings, High-sugar "drinks", Hydrogenated fats, Junk sugars, Nicotine, Overeating, White bread.

Brain foods. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.increasebrainpower.com/brainfoods.html
Lemire, D. (n.d.). How to become smarter. Retrieved from http://lemire.me/blog/archives/2007/11/22/how-to-become-smarter/

Aphthous ulcers Post ten
What you did not know about canker sores

These small irritating mouth sores can be a pain. Although common, these sores otherwise known as canker sores, can be the sign of something more serious. They are always found inside the mouth either on the tongue, cheek, inside the lip, etc. These ulcers are not contagious and are small measuring from three mm to 10 mm in length. They appear as a white or yellow oval with an inflamed red border. Sometimes a white circle or halo around the lesion can be seen. The oval in the center is created by the formation of layers of fibrin, a protein involved in the clotting of blood. They can be painful especially if irritated. Other possible symptoms include tooth pain, swelling of lymph nodes and fever. Interestingly the cause of these sores is not known but scientists have noticed the appearance of canker sores after the consumption of citric foods, physical trauma, stress, lack of sleep, sudden weight loss, food allergies, immune system reactions, deficiencies in vitamin B12, iron, zinc and folic acid. Nicorandil and certain types of chemotherapy are also linked to aphthous ulcers as well as people with Celiac disease, Crohn's disease and Behçet disease. Woman and people aged 16-25 also seemed to be more likely to get canker sores.

Fortunately, there are measures people can take to prevent these pesky sores from forming such as using non- alcoholic mouth wash and brushing your teeth with toothpaste containing sodium dodecyl sulfate. There are also plenty of treatments for the nastier sores although most canker sores will disappear by themselves. Treatments include: analgesics, anesthetics agents, antiseptics, anti-inflammatory agents, steroids, sucralfate, tetracycline suspension, silver nitrate, Amlexanox paste, Vitamin B12, salt water, over-the-counter mouthwashes, benzocaine, benzydamine, choline salicylate and Milk of magnesia.
external image canker-sore.jpg

Aphthous ulcer. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aphthous_ulcer

Neat Site that leads to lots of bio learning fun!


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