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Matthew Blackhand

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About Matthew Blackhand

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  • Location
    United States of Europe
  • College Major/Degree
    General Medicine
  • Favorite Area of Science
    Molecular biology
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  1. From the point of a person with some clinical genetics background, empiric or population risk is used here. It's really simplified outlook on reality, but since we often do not know much, it has to be enough. (Some examples can be taken from this site: http://www.nchpeg.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=120&Itemid=118 , note that it there are also other numbers), but let's say incidence of schizophrenia is 1% . This means that if you are going to be a parent, you have 1% chance of having a child with schizophrenia (or cleft palate). It's based on many families where schizophrenia occured. If a 1st degree relative, such as sibling or parent has the disease, the risk is calculated by Edwards equation: $R=/sqrt(P) * N$ where P is the population risk and N is number of affected 1st degree individuals. If individuals are farther (such as grandparents) the risk is taken as "slightly higher" than populational. It's still very imprecise, but better than nothing. Hope this helps
  2. Hi, I recently found this site, might be of usage: https://osf.io/ some kind of FTP server might work too, but not an expert in this.
  3. At first, you could describe the microflora in an organism in some area, then try to find some kind of evolutionary/migrational and ecological explanation for these differences. I think it might be too complicated though for undergrad students. :/
  4. Hi, well... I guess it depends on the educational background of individuals and the outcomes you want to have. I don't actually understand, if you already have the group of people, or are just trying to find someone? Since I don't have enough information, I'll just post my random thoughts, we can discuss it later Besides sharing ideas, the two groups can actually compete for example. I really like this method of learning. Give them a measurable objective (e.g. who will write the most articles on wikipedia (meaningful articles) in their language/about the topic of their team... ). Joint project could work too... Since they live in different regions, I would suggest also the microflore there is different, so why not to focus on that? Choose people to groups at random, and make sure they work as a team, so they would have to communicate with their groupmates.
  5. I haven't read the book and judge only by the review you provided and comments below, which however might not provide me the whole idea the book was about, but I think the concept or the book is nothing new. Our selves are formed on the base of our genetic background with more or less respect to the environment we are growing up (and living) in, the people we interact with etc. We (our selves) are formed by the interaction with the real world. In fact our whole concept of the world is just an "illusion", made by our brain. It's just some kind of coding, the brain interpreting some physical properties of the "real" world outside. Certain wavelengths of EM are interpreted as some colours, mechanic vibrations as sounds and all these sensations are actually only some electrochemical changes in the brain. All of the feelings, the dreams, the "self" is just a sum of these complex electrochemical changes. I think this is well acknowledged throughout the scientific community (But in no way I can speak for the community). So yeah, from this point our perception of the world and also the self is just an illusion. As I already said, from the review of the book, I don't see any epochal novelty the book is supposed to bring. What I find a bit more interesting question however: Even though the self and our perception of the world is just an illusion of our brain, does it make any less real?
  6. I like the halo newspapers are doing from the regular science articles IMHO immortality is still a music of "very" far future Nowadays, it isn't problem to make cardiomyocytes or neurons from stem cells, what is problem is to put them into living organism and still maintain it's functionality and integrity. I will talk about cardiomyocytes rather than neurons... We can manufacture them completely functionable in a tissue, but yet we cannot implant them into the heart because heart muscle needs to contract in a precise manner, precise order and this is the problem. Our artificial tissue needs to be implemented into existing one, connect myofibrils together in fasciae adhaerentes and make intercalated disks (fasciae adherentes, desmosomes and gap junctions). This is the main problem now. I can imagine the same problem with neurons... We can make them, but we cannot make them behave the way we want (If we ourselves know what we want from them). But for example, we have also problems implementing and making new cartilage, not only these highly functional cells such as neurons and kardiomyocytes. The issues of cell energy and telomerases are slightly interconnected. But we are able to repair telomeres. For this is responsible the telomerase enzyme. Young, undifferentiated cells in our bodies are able to do that. For example HSC, the cell in your bone marrow, which forms blood elements. Also all of the cancer cells are capable of producing telomerase... In fact, cancer cells are very close to being called immortal. It's by the process of differentiation that cells lose the ability to produce telomerase. Again, we can manufacture it, but we don't know yet, how to use it... Some research projects show kinda promising results though. As for the cell energy, shortening of telomeres directly affects mitochondrial metabolism in few pathways, e.g. shortening of telomeres results in the overproduction of p53 protein (Product of tumor supressor gene TP53, which has many more functions in protecting cells), this protein then inhibits the expression of mitochondrial metabolism regulators PGC1-[latex]\alpha[/latex] and PGC1-[latex]\beta[/latex] which lead to overproduction of free radicals and problems with ATP production, which may result in cell death. (http://www.nature.com/nrm/journal/v13/n6/fig_tab/nrm3352_F2.html) This can be solved by continual repair of telomeres or overexpression of PGC1 species. But yeah... In 30 years, many things might be possible and I believe may of the problems I mentioned here will be solved.
  7. Hi, all of the muscles in human body contain all of the muscle fiber types(I,IIA and IIB) in a ratio, which is relatively stable thrughout your whole life and is dependent on genetics as well as on the function of the muscle (e.g. the postural muscles contain much much more fibers of slow type I, because they have to endure very long time w/o exhaustion, but they don't have to be that fast). These fibers are distinguished by different type of myosine ATPase. (There are also another methods of distinguishing fibers, such as according to their myosine heavy chain structure). When a beginner starts pulling weight, his muscle fibers (syncytia = collection of many cells) contain some myofibrils and mitochondria. He has few myofibrils, so he isn't able to pull much weight. Also, the number of mitochondria isn't that big, so he can run out of energy very fast. However, as he exercises, syncytia produce more myofibrils and also number of mitochondria raises, so he has more strength and also more energy, which leads to higher endurance. It's controversial, whether the number of muscle fibers itself raises. This "training" happens in the fibers, which are exercised, so doing endurance excercise will "train" primarily muscle fibers type I. As for muscle repair, if you excercise too much/hard, so that you will damage the fibers (it happens often, but this is above some level), it actually lowers the ability of muscles to become more effective in a way mentioned above, because the fiber has to spend more energy on the repair itself than on becoming more efficient. So to sum an answer to your question: It's about the current fibers becoming more effective.
  8. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1495189/?tool=pmcentrez) IMHO demineralized water is just a commercial step of some companies, and it has very little to do with their care about their customer's health. (Their wallets are different case). I've read a few studies about this, and the positive results of drinking such water on health were described only in studies of these companies or of other organizations related to them. It's a very good gold mine and they don't want to loose it. Moreover to some point people can get used to the quality of the water they daily use. Different case would be in areas, where is no suitable source of drinking water or where the source is very polluted (Some parts of Africa etc.). In these areas I find reverse osmosis a good way to provide drinkable water for people. (The biggest problem there is that they can't afford such "machine for cleaning water"(as you've already mentioned it costs up to thousands $), so nobody cares about this solution.) Anyway, if you find anything interesting and new about this topic, let me know. I'd be happy to find some new information on this topic.
  9. http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/dwq/nutdemineralized/en/ That's the statement of the World Health Organization... You can download the full document from the right panel Although I'm not sure if it'll fully answer your question, I hope you'll find that useful
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