Tag Archives: Health

Did your “stress genes” affect on your SAT scores?

 

This is an article that I read a while ago which described the effects of COMT gene and its function in clearing dopamine in the brain that is often released as a result of a stress response. There are two variants of the COMT gene: one which clears dopamine at a faster rate and another one which is a slower acting version. Usually, people with the slow variant do better on cognitive tests in the laboratory. However, under surges of stress, such as high-stake tests, when the brain is flooded with dopamine, researchers found that those with the slower variant were at a disadvantage. In Taiwanese national exams, students with the slow variant scored an average of 8 percents lower. “It was as if some of the A students and B students traded places at test time.”
What do you think about the influence of stress on your performance in school and other tests. Personally, I would love to know my COMT polymorphism in addition to ACTN gene. New genetics lab @ rafakoko?

link to the article:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/10/magazine/why-can-some-kids-handle-pressure-while-others-fall-apart.html?pagewanted=all

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Justin, Alligators, Teeth, and Stem Cells

Let’s get one thing clear.  Scientists will go to low levels to try to grab your attention and make you interested in their research.  I have been to talks where the researcher threw up a pic of actors from Baywatch to make an analogy to methylating protein complexes.  So…naturally this post has absolutely nothing to do with JT… but now that I have your attention, I wanted to share with you recent developments regarding teeth science! As diphyodont species, we can only generate two sets of teeth in our lifetime, and after that we are SOL (SIMPLY Out of Luck).  But other species such as the American alligator can undergo life-long teeth regeneration.  Dr. Chuong and his team at the University of Southern Californiaset out to study the American alligator based on the similarity of teeth layout in the organism compared to humans and to learn more about the nature of stem cells that contribute to teeth regeneration.  The presence of a layer of epithelial tissues known as the dental lamina seems to serve as the home to dental stem cells for the alligator, whose each 80 teeth “can be replaced up to 50 times over their lifetime.”  It is interesting that humans also have the dental lamina layer of cells.  All in all, the group would like to use this alligator model and to isolate cells from the dental lamina to create to see whether they can regenerate teeth in the laboratory.  While you should still brush your teeth twice a day, I think the research creates hope for those suffering form dental diseases to have their own teeth that might look just like Justin’s when restored at the dentist.  Definitely a Fancy thought.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130514101457.htm

Here’s the link for the full article that published the research in PNAS:

http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2013/05/08/1213202110

Doublemint Twins and the Barnstable Brown Symposium

Doublemint Twins and the Barnstable Brown Symposium

So Alex and I were having lunch with my summer research professor at UK when he told us about the history of the doublemint barnstable twins and the diabetes conference. After passing of the husband of Patricia, the twins decided to raise money for diabetes to help battle the disease. I thought this related to the theme of our class on how politics and individuals contribute to the progress of science. Regardless of whether you like doublemint gum or not, you have to admit that celebrity twins throwing a Derby after-party to help support diabetes research is definitely fancy!

Diabetes Research Symposium Directions

university-of-kentucky-biomedical-biological-sciences-research-building-01

So Excited for the Diabetes Research Symposium Tomorrow!!!  Here is the google maps directions to get there.  Also I think there is usually parking behind the building but you can usually park on State or Terrace Street which are really close to the Biomedical Pharmaceutical Complex Building.  Just keep going a block or two after you see the Pharmacy building on Limestone and turn right onto them.  See you at room 124!!!  Also the link to the program:  http://www.mc.uky.edu/odrd/2013%20Program.asp

How Fluorescent Tagging Can Helps Surgeons Excise Tumors

This is another “old”  Ted Talk Video, but still one that shows how basic science using fluorescence can help surgeons identify tumors and identify organ specific cancers visually rather than solely depending on pathologists in the laboratory.  I don’t think Roger Tsien set out to study Aequorea victoria and isolated Green Fluorescent Protein so that we could do better surgery one day. But as a result of his basic–nobel prize winning–research many cancer patients are able to benefit from improved surgical techniques. It’s Fancy! Hope you enjoy it!