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Knocking out genes is a technique which researchers and scientists use when the want to find out
which gene is responsible for production of which protein. In a human body there are around 20,500 different genes that each gene is responsible for making a protein because they are known to be the building blocks for different components of the body be it muscles or bones or brain and more. Apparently, our body is made up proteins. Every gene is responsible for producing a different type of protein and the knocking out technique only helps scientists figure out who is responsible for what.
Knocking out a Gene
The scientists first find out genes with some serious mutation or mistake or create one if needed. These genes are dud genes and do not contribute a bit in production of protein. Now, this gene is injected into the DNA of a healthy cell. The scientists attach a tag called reporter gene to it for identification purpose of whether they have been accepted by the cell. Another identification of reporter genes is that the proteins they produce often glow in blue or green. The scientists apparently fool the DNA in a way. A DNA a we know is made up of long strand of genes and these genes can get damaged but the DNA has an inbuilt mechanism to fix the issue. With the help of a cellular tool box the scientist insert the knocked out gene into the DNA. They do this very smartly by making it look like a perfect copy of the surrounding gene that is to be replaced in that DNA. This disguise of sorts fold the DNA repair system and its swaps the dud gene for the old healthy gene, thus knocking out the original gene.
Some times scientists do not have to swap the gene fully. They can simply insert the reporter gene into the DNA they wish to get rid of, randomly. Now, the reporter gene is wedged in the middle of the old gene. Now, there is an all new piece of DNA inside and if a cell goes to read the gene, the instructions would not make sense to the cell due to its presence there. It would not use the gene to make a protein.
The scientist keep a watch on the process. They observe the working in case it is yeast or bacterium but if it is an embryo, scientists observe on how the animal or plant growth differs from other normal ones.
Today, scientists use different techniques to knock out the genes of any organism they want to. It could be mice or bacteria or for that matter even plants that have knocked out genes. Well, scientists today can knock out even human cells growing in the labs.
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Flu as we all know is a common condition that all of us encounter many a times during our stay on the earth or say our life span. You would rarely find a human who has not been a victim of this health condition. But, there is some good news around this condition. A recent study of a new vaccine containing ancestral flue virus genes is a ray of hope for researchers in the direction of life long protection against flu.
The vaccine was tested on mice and gave 100 percent results. The vaccine was so effective that even after being given nine different flu virus dozes of lethal nature they survived. The best part was they didn’t even fall sick.
Comparatively those mice that were given the traditional shots of flu did fall sick after these lethal doses were given to them and even died. Though, the study is primarily conducted on mice and it would be too early to say how it worked on humans, there is definitely a ray of hope. The hope that one day a universal flu vaccine is developed that would provide long term rather life long protection against flu viruses.
Though even after trying out the researchers still haven’t really succeeded in creating a vaccine that could offer life long protection because of the reason that flu viruses mutate fast. A recent study though used a different approach. The vaccine they created had ancestral and consensus flu genes from four main strain types namely H1 to H5. The delivery of these genes was done using adenovirus, the one responsible for causing common cold but an altered version of it that was harmless and had the ability to carry ancestral genes.
The results as mentioned were affirmative as these mice survived heavy doses of H1N1, H3N1, H3N2 and H5N1 which can easily kill the mice. Apparently 100% of the vaccinated mice survived.
Well, its too early to confirm the success but further study on different animals will certainly help the researchers determine the efficacy of the vaccine in terms of long term protection.
In the present times when screens are very much becoming an integral part of our routines lives and most of the day you are hooked to your laptop, computer or PC, here’s some news around effects of screen time just before sleeping.
Screen-time just before sleep leads to a bad nights sleep and leaves you groggy the next morning. We all know that blue light is bad for sleep already. But, screen time before sleep tends to affect your body clock as per a researcher. The body clocks natural cycles intimate us about sleep and waking up times. Also known as Circadian rhythms, they find help from the light of the day and night for keeping their internal body clock running over a 24 hour cycle.
The fact that the electronic gadgets are around us round the clock makes their use and hence exposure to blue light all the more evident. Now, the study was conducted over 19 subjects in their 20’s. Everyone had to spend around 2 hours before bed time on computer screens. The results obviously varied between students because the computer screens were not all the same. The were tweaked. Some screens emitted soft blue light, while some emitted intense blue. Some of them emitted intense red and some soft red as well. This was done to check the effect of each one. Even after the subjects went off to sleep, the researchers recorded how many of them work up and how many of them slept all through the night. Further the researchers also note down the sleep phase called REM (short for rapid eye movement) and even asked the subjects themselves about their sleep experience.
The researchers observed that the subjects who were exposed to intense blue light suffered sleep issues for around 16 minutes as compared to the ones who were exposed to red light. They even woke up through the night more often than the red light exposed subjects. The researchers observed that the blue light emissions from the computer effected melatonin, the sleep hormone of each subject. This hormone is responsible for making us sleepy and is secreted around 9 pm in the blood. Now, the blue light restricted the melatonin secretion and hence the subjects exposed to intense blue light felt alert to fall asleep even if they were tired. Those exposed to red light did not find any such issues.
Well, the researchers through this study brought forward the fact that the intense blue light emissions from computer screens just before sleep time does affect the body clock. Though the light used for the study was extremely bright that generally the TV or tablet or computer emits, there is no cent percent surety of the damage it causes.
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Now, here is some news related to the ability to expressing emotions. A study has found that the rare condition experience by 10% of the healthy population called alexithymia leads to difficulty in understanding emotions, talking or relating to them or even expressing them.
The researching scientists adopted a completely untested approach of study which included testing 62 individuals divided into categories based of severity of alexithymia as low, medium and high. The testing was known as olfactory tests and were carried out to find out their reactions on different kinds of stimulation.
The scientists were also explained the reason behind using the olfactory test’s suitability in studying this psychological conditions. According to them, between the areas in the brain there is a partial develop that deals with olfactory perception besides with those that are into processing emotions.
One of the important finding of the test were that scientists found the alexithymic patients react differently than others when it comes to smells. Apparently, its a result of their psychological parameters like accelarated heart rate or electrical skin conductivity. Additionally, the scientists also observed difference in reactions in subjects suffering from affective alexithymia and effective alexithymia wherein the areas of imagination, sensation and creativity are restricted compared to subjects with congnitive alexithymia, wherein identification, expression and distinguishing ability is compromised.
The results clearly stated that altered psychological response to olfactory stimuli is one of the characteristics of alexithymia. The test also brought to light an interesting fact that The psychological reactions of individuals suffering from alexithymic conditions to smell induced emotions are apparently more intense, contradicting general expectations on the same.
A significant observation as it may be and counter intuitive too, subjects with alexithymia become insensitive to difference, changes or color shades that are said to enrich our routine lives scientifically due to the situation of extreme perpetual activation with respect to emotions, they are said to be in.
Well, now you know how nose and emotions are interconnected or interdependent for that matter.
There is certainly a relation between yeasts and diabetes and most logically it is sugar that relates yeast infections to diabetes. Yeast are generally found growing near mucous membranes around the skin. When there is a build up of yeast, it is called yeast infection. As yeast feeds on sugar and diabetics tend to sweat, pee and secrete a lot of mucus due to high glucose levels, automatically inviting yeasts to build on and cause yeast infections. The areas where yeast grow rapidly are those with warm temperatures typically under skin folds and breasts, mouth and around genitals.
The most common of the yeast infections with women is the vaginal infection and generally occurs in people suffering from diabetics that is not under proper control. When the diabetes is not controlled properly, it also effects the immune system adversely. Apparently, it suppresses the growth of immune proteins known as beta defensins, responsible for killing microbes.
Furthermore, even after treatment, there is high possibility of re-occurrence of the infection in people with poorly controlled diabetes. This is because after colonization of the yeast in a particular area, its becomes easy for yeast to re-attack. The extra sugar levels in diabetics helps in colonization on the yeast and makes it easy for other pathogens to stick to mucous gland and skin cells as well.
The doctor asks for vaginal secretion sample test to confirm the vaginal yeast infection. The microscopical review of the sample is carried out for confirmation of Candida fungus in abnormal amounts. Sometimes even urine samples are tested.
Most of the doctors prescribe anti-fungal creams that can be easily applied to the affected area. These creams are usually available over the counter. Only when creams aren’t effective is when doctors prescribe a dose of anti-fungal medication.
Alternatively, home remedies like using oregano oil, yogurt, over the counter creams, coconut or tea tree oil for treating yeast infection are commonly tried.
Prevention is always a better idea, and particularly for diabetics, wherein there is high possibility of yeast infection to reoccur. But, certain precautionary measures can help you keep the yeast infection at bay. This includes keeping body and genital dry, using clean cotton under garments and perfumed pads of good quality. As far as diet supplements are concerned, eating yogurt on a daily basis helps a lot.
Though, treating the root cause would definitely help you the most so try keeping your glucose levels under control to prevent the complications that arise due to the same.
Apparently, serum sickness is nothing but a delayed response to certain anti-serums or medications that is more common with children, a type of hypersensitivity reaction to certain medications, you may say. Well, Pediatric serum sickness is a rare possibility these days primarily due to the limited use of antitoxins, but it is still seen amongst children taking the antibiotic of penicillin and others like fluoxetine, cephalosporings, to name a few.
Causes and Symptoms
Pediatric Serum Sickness is like any other allergy you get which occurs when the body misinterprets the protein of the serum as something harmful to t he body and activates the immune system to battle it out and commonly occurs in children. Symptoms vary from individual to individual though initial ones include redness and itching around the injected area. These could be followed by joint pain, malaise, swollen lymph nodes, flushing, wheezing, diarrhea and more.
Diagnosis and Treatment
The diagnosis is based on the symptoms primarily and if the doctor suspects it to be a drug reaction, medical tests are not required. In case of doubt lab tests are considered and in rare cases biopsy. The diagnosis is positive if the lab tests show increase in WBC, proteinuria on UA, ESR and CRP while positive results for biopsy include perivascular neutrophils and eosinophils invasion as well as lymphocytic vasculities with decrotic debris.
A medical treatment is needed when such a conditions occurs even though it is said to subside within a week or 10 days, in rare cases it could cause serious nervous system disorders anaphylaxis, a life threatening allergic reaction.
In order to subside the symptoms or reduce them, medications like analgesics, medications to relieve you from the itching caused and corticosteroids like prednisone only in serious cases are prescribed by the consulting doctor.
Home remedies – Do’s and Don’ts
The traditional acupuncture therapy could be tried as it is known to be an effective means of decreasing the body’s sensitivity towards the allergic reactions.
Generally, intake of food rich in vitamin B, iron, anti-oxidants and avoiding meats, cold water fish, refined foods, coffee, to name a few, is a good idea. Drinking around 8 glasses of water and exercising for 30 minutes daily also helps a lot. But, you need to talk to your health consultant before trying out nutrient and supplement intakes.
A massage is a strict no no as a treatment for serum sickness because it not only aggravates the inflammations, but might lower the blood pressure as well.
Well, Pediatric serum sickness is generally considered to be a self limited disease that usually gets cured automatically on stopping the respective drug intake. Having said that, consulting your doctor is still highly recommended for avoiding complications, pain relief and speedy recovery of your child.
It has been centuries since it is a known fact that the heart and brain inter communicate with each other and that the heart sends far more signals to the brain than otherwise. Well, may be this point was never really explored much earlier as neo-cardiology is a relatively newer field. But, now after substantial research in the field it has been established that our heart does have its own little brain and that is is apparently a sensory organ. It is also proved that it is an encoding and processing center that’s highly sophisticated enough to designate it as a heart brain.
The heart brain
The heart brain or the hearts nervous system is made of ganglia which in turn consists of sensory neurites spread all over the heart and different types of circuit neurons. The findings about the little brain residing within the heart are startling. The nervous system of the heart is a self organized but convoluted system. The demonstration of its ability to reform new neural connections on a short term and long term span in order to reorganize itself is demonstrated clearly. The extrinsic cardiac ganglia in the thoracic cavity is indirectly linked to many organs, arteries and skin through the spinal cord and directly linked to organs like esophagus and lungs. The processing and integration of the information from sensory neurons in the heart and the extrinsic nervous system is carried out by the intrinsic nervous system.
Heart brain & Brain communication
The heart generates powerful rhythmic information patterns for continuous communication with the brain while the brain receives the information sent by the heart via the nodose ganglion and the vagus nerve to the medulla. After reaching the medulla, the signals further commute to the cortical and sub-cortical areas. Studies and research have found that heart communicates with the brain on a continuous basis via different modes be it biochemical, neurological, energetic or biophysical. It also has a vital role to play in synchronization of the body.
Thus, the heart is apparently at the heart of regulation of dynamics of processes due to its high influence on physiological, emotional as well as cognitive systems, all this because of its little own intrinsic brain.
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