cell membrane

we’re currently learning about phospholipid bilayers of the cell surface membrane, membrane proteins and membrane processes!! really enjoy learning about biology so far!!(^ω^)

I made this guide for my mom because she is trying to eat more plant based! I hope this helps you too :)

Vitamins:
 
- B1 (Thiamine)
 - B12 (Cobalamin)
 - B2 (Riboflavin)
 - B3 (Niacin)
 - B5 (Pantothenic Acid)
 - B6 (Pyridoxine)
 - B7 (Biotin)
 - Folate
 - Vitamin A
 - Vitamin C
 - Vitamin D
 - Vitamin E
 - Vitamin K

Minerals:
 
- Calcium
 - Copper
 - Iron
 - Magnesium
 - Manganese
 - Phosphorus
 - Potassium
 - Selenium
 - Sodium
 - Zinc

B1: Maintains healthy hair, nails and skin and aids in mental focus and brain function.
-Nutritional yeast, pine nuts, soymilk, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, green peas, asparagus, most beans, rice bran, watermelon, whole grains, macadamia nuts, artichokes, coriander.

B12: Red blood cell production, needed for optimal brain function to prevent depression and mania. Aids in digestion and improves iron uptake.
-Fortified almond milk, fortified cereals, spirulina, vegan protein powder and nutritional yeast. I just take a B12 tablet J

B2: Converts food to energy, maintains healthy hair, nails and skin. Aids in mental focus and brain function.
-Whole grains, almonds, sesame seeds, spinach, fortified soy milk, mushrooms, quinoa, buckwheat and prunes.

B3: Converts food to energy, maintains healthy hair, nails and skin. Aids in mental focus and brain function.
­-Chili powder, peanuts, peanut butter, rice bran, mushrooms, barley, potatoes, tomatoes, millet, chia seeds, whole grains, wild rice, buckwheat, green peas, avocados, and sunflower seeds.

B5: Converts food to energy, maintains healthy hair, nails and skin. Aids in mental focus and brain function.
-Nutritional yeast, paprika, mushrooms, sunflower seeds, whole grains, broccoli, avocados, tomatoes, soy milk, rice bran and sweet potatoes.

B6: Aids in maintaining homeostasis, prevents anxiety by helping the amino acid tryptophan to convert to niacin and serotonin for healthy nerve function. Also helps ensure a healthy sleep cycle, appetite, and mood. Helps with red blood cell production and immune function.
- Almonds, chia seeds, peanuts, sweet potatoes, peanut butter, onions, oats, tomatoes, carrots and walnuts.

 B7: Converts food to energy, helps reduce blood sugar by synthesizing glucose, helps make and break down fatty acids needed for healthy hair, skin and nails.
- Almonds, chia seeds, peanuts, peanut butter, sweet potatoes, oats, onions, tomatoes, carrots and walnuts. 

Folate: Merges with B12 and Vitamin C to utilize proteins and is essential for healthy brain development and for healthy red blood cell formation.
- Spinach, beans, lentils, asparagus, lettuce, tomatoes, broccoli, avocados, mangoes, oranges, whole grains, basil, peanuts, artichokes, peanut butter, cantaloupe, walnuts, flax seeds, sesame seeds, cauliflower, sunflower seeds, peas, celery, hazelnuts, and chestnuts.

Vitamin A: Keeps skin healthy, improves immune system function and aids in the production of healthy blood and cellular function.
- All leafy greens, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, carrots, winter squash, wheatgrass, grapefruit, cantaloupe, red bell peppers, orange bell peppers, and goji berries.

Vitamin C: Helps fight inflammation, improves your mood, and helps fight off diseases and colds. Beneficial for skin, hair and nails and supports natural collagen function in the body.
- All leafy greens, all vegetables, all fruits, chestnuts, goji berries. Oranges, lemons, limes and fortified orange juice are the best sources.

Vitamin D: Helps with bone health, digestive health, overall metabolic health, and important in preventing muscle weakness, cancer and depression.
- All types of mushrooms, fortified cereals, almond milk, soy milk and the sun!!

Vitamin E: Protects your skin, fights the look of aging. It’s a powerful fat soluble antioxidant that helps protect cell membranes against damaged caused by free radicals. Helps with cholesterol.
- All nuts, all seeds, avocado, spinach, rice bran, wheat germ, whole grains, broccoli, mango, tomatoes, kiwi fruit, swiss chard, olives, mustard greens and asparagus.

Vitamin K: Helps with blood clotting to prevent excessive bleeding. Also helps prevent blood clots. Important for protecting our bones and prevents easy breaks and fractures.
-Kale, spinach, romaine lettuce, swiss chard, parsley, Brussel sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, blueberries, prunes, grapes and raspberries.

Calcium: For bone building, as well as responsible for proper muscle contraction, maintenance of the heartbeat and transmission of nerve impulses.
-Broccoli, Brussel sprouts, butternut squash, carrots, cauliflower, kale, sweet potato, chickpeas (hummus), lentils, pinto beans, black beans, kidney beans, fortified almond milk, fortified soy milk, whole wheat, fortified orange juice, orange and raisins.

Copper: Helps with bone and connective tissue production. Also helps produce melanin. Without it you can cause osteoporosis, joint pain, lowered immunity and helps absorb iron.
-Kale, mushrooms, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, cashews, sesame seeds, chickpeas, prunes, avocado, and tofu.

Iron: Needed to make proteins, such as hemoglobin and myoglobin in the blood. It helps carry oxygen from our lungs to our tissues. Iron rich foods should be eaten with foods high in Vitamin C to help with absorption.
-Molasses, dark leafy greens like kale and spinach, tofu, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds.

 Magnesium: Important nutrient for a host of regular enzymatic functions throughout your body. Helps with energy, insomnia, irritability, anxiety, lack of energy and fatigue, joint pain, low blood sugar, lack of concentration and PMS. 
-Oats, almonds, cashews, cocoa and cacao, seeds, all leafy greens, bananas, sweet potatoes, whole grains, beans and brown rice.

Manganese: Required by the body for proper enzyme functioning, nutrient absorption, wound healing and bone development.
-Hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts, almonds, cashews, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, sesame and flax seeds, whole wheat bread, tofu and beans.

Phosphorus: Required for proper cell functioning, regulation of calcium, strong bones and teeth, making of ATP, and helps with anemia, muscle pain, bone formation and weakened immune system.
-Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, sesame seeds, flax seeds, Brazil nuts, tofu, beans and lentils.

Potassium: Important mineral for the proper function of all cells, tissues and organs in the human body. Helps with your nervous system and shin splints or locked toes.
-Lima beans, swiss chard, sweet potato, potatoes, soy milk, spinach, avocado, lentils, pinto beans and coconut water.

Selenium: Mineral that is needed in small amounts by the body to help regulate the thyroid hormones and support a healthy immune system. It is also an antioxidant that protects cells from damage due to free radicals.
-Mushrooms, couscous, whole wheat pasta, rice, oats, Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, tofu and beans.

Sodium: Needed for proper muscle contractions, nerve transmissions, maintaining pH balance and hydration.
-Everything has sodium, don’t worry about this one. If you use table salt, you are good. (But don’t use too much or it will cause bloating). Drink lots of water when consuming sodium.

Zinc: Helps your body with carbohydrate metabolism, efficient production of testosterone to prevent estrogen dominance, helps enhance skin and nails, helps enhance your sense of smell, healthy growth, healthy eyesight, wound healing and your immune system. 
-Beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, oats, wheat germ, and nutritional yeast.

Give me a nice, Wholesome AU™ where Vlad ~somehow~ stops being a super-creep and agrees to mentor Danny– not because he wants to marry his mom and make him his son, but because he genuinely just wants to help another halfa out since HE didn’t have help way back when.

(Also for angst you could throw in a bit of “plus I feel responsible, because without the research we did in college, your parents would never have made their portal in the first place” or “I feel responsible because I kiiiinda pissed off a bunch of ghosts and all they know is ‘the halfa did it’ so that maaaybe why you’ve been seeing more ghost activity, idk lol.”)

Anyways give me an AU where we’ve got Vlad and Danny training in the basement at 1 am and Vlad’s trying to incorporate Danny’s school curriculum into the training because GOD KNOWS when he’d actually find time for THAT.

“Wait, can I try again? Just one more! One more run through…” Danny says, looking at Vlad with scorch marks on his face that have already begun to heal.

“Daniel, we’ve been at this for hours,” Vlad says, running a hand through his messy, singed hair. “I think that’s as good as it’s going to get tonight.”

“No!” says Danny, but quickly checks his volume, “No. Please, I… but I worked so hard on this power…if I could just–”

“And I know you did.” Vlad says, walking over to him, “I’m proud of how far you’ve come Daniel, but even halfas get exhausted.” He places his hands on Danny’s shoulders and the boy seems to consider this for a moment. But in the end…

“Just one more.”

Vlad sighs.

“You’re gonna be on all those business trips, we won’t meet up again for a month!”

“Fine.” Vlad relents, “Just one more drill. But after that you’ll need your rest.”

Vlad starts up the machines again as Danny gets into a ready position.

“Remember to breathe.” says Vlad as the starting lights blink down in sequence. He uses his own power to bring up a noise-reducing barrier around the training area.

-blink-

-blink-

“Begin.”

The first target pops out of the wall, close to the ceiling, and Danny flies up to meet it with an ecto-energized punch. The next one appears from the floor, so Danny blasts it with a basic beam. Once Vlad feels he’s got a rhythm he starts the study session again.

“What is the smallest group of biological classification?” He asks, watching his form carefully. Danny rolls out of the way of a hostile drone but still is able to answer.

“Species.”

“And the largest?” Vlad observes Danny blasting the drone.

-BOOM-

“Kingdom.”

“How many chromosomes does an individual human have?” Vlad continues. Danny goes intangible to avoid some debris.

“46.” He’s not missing a beat.

“What are the three major parts of a cell?” Two more hostile drones join the fray, and the young halfa starts to falter.

“The membrane, the, uh, cytoplasm, and the nucleus.”

“Is the cell membrane nonpermeable?”

“No,” Danny takes a couple heavy breaths, “It’s semipermeable.”

Vlad pauses upon reading the next one.

“What are the physical or chemical factors in genetic mutations called?”

“M… Mutagens.” Danny swallows dryly, his gaze shifting to the portal at the end of the room.

“What is the phase most cells spend the majority of their time in?”

“Crud, uh…” A drone explodes too close to Danny and he throws up his arms, forgetting to go intangible. The smoke makes his throat burn.

“… Interphase?” He finally coughs out.

“Correct. Pay attention now…”

Seven smaller drones appear from all directions, intent on overwhelming the young halfa. Danny flies up and ecto-punches through the highest one, then grabs it, somersaults, and throws it into the one directly below.

“Good!” Vlad says, standing up in his excitement. They both notice the other 5 drones coming in fast.

“What is the functional unit of heredity?”

“What’s the what of what?!?” Danny blurts out between blasting with one hand and swinging a panicked punch with the other.

“Get higher, try splitting!” Vlad says, abandoning the study guide and moving closer to the battlefield should his assistance be required.

Danny flies almost as high as he can go without phasing through the ceiling. He manages to get some distance between himself and the three remaining drones, but they are close behind.

Quickly he closes his eyes and grits his teeth, trying with all his might to imagine himself splitting into two entities.

“Okay, one more try.” he says to himself, “Kinda like Mitosis…” Somewhere in the back of his mind he can hear Vlad saying something, but he forces that away to keep his focus on the task at hand. Slowly Danny begins to feel what he can only describe as a peeling sensation– as if his “cells” were dividing in such a way that reminded him of when he would peel glue off his skin in elementary school– starting from his wispy tail, creeping up to where his legs should be…

Suddenly, a drone’s blast hits him squarely in the chest. Danny’s eyes snap open, all concentration lost. Belatedly he realizes his tail had reformed after having been split into two. A familiar pink beam takes out the offending drones.

“Danny!” Vlad says, eyes still glowing red, “Are you alright?”

“Yeah,” Danny says as he floats down sullenly, “I’ll heal.” Vlad reaches out to guide him towards the spare workbench they use as a first aid station.

“Better put the salve on it just to be safe.” Vlad says. Danny sits down and watches Vlad take out the special formula he made in his own lab back in Wisconsin, then tosses himself back to lay on the bench.

“ARGH! I was SO close! Right? Was I close? Because it felt like I was close…”

“You were.” says Vlad, “But I think you should stick to the exercises I showed you while I’m gone.” He transforms and makes a few duplications to demonstrate, starting slow but getting faster with each iteration.

“Who knows, by the time I get back you may be splitting in circles around me.” Danny looks up and realizes all the Vlads are literally standing around him in a circle and laughs.

“Ha! So you’re making the jokes now?” He says as Vlad pulls it together.

“Believe it or not, my wit may be used to humor us both.”

“Pfft. Some wit. That was real 'cheesy’, Wisconsin Ghost.” Danny snickers at his own quip and Vlad rolls his eyes.

“You’re never going to let that go, are you?”

“Nope!” Danny says, “Say, what was that last question? On the guide?”

“The functional unity of heredity.”

“Geez that’s a lot of syllables for one thing.”

“Do you know the answer?”

“Uh…” Danny thinks for only a moment. Without the distraction of the fight, he quickly grasps the question.

“Oh! It’s genes!”

“Correct again, Little Badger.” Vlad says, handing off the small salve tin. “I think you will do well on the test tomorrow.”

“Thanks.” Danny says, detransforming. He yawns as his exhaustion catches up with him. Courteously, Vlad lends him a hand.

“Come, I’ll fly you upstairs before I go.”

MBTI Types as Enzymes (and Proteins)

ISFJ - Ferritin, stores iron in red blood cells to help maintain eurythropoiesis

ESFJ - G-actin, makes up the cytoskeleton and gives support to the cell

ISTJ - Centriole, required in the process of mitosis

ISTP - Autolysin, breaks down tissue from where it was produced and therefore preparing cell for mitosis (specific to bacteria)

ESTP - Myosin, transports vesicles through the cytoskeleton

ISFP - DNA polymerase II, replicates and repairs DNA in prokaryotes

ESFP - Pol α, essential to the replication of DNA in eukaryotes

ESTJ - Hemoglobin, what facillitates the transport of O2 to cells for cellular respiration

ENTJ - aPKC, an enzyme that directs what type of cell a stem cell should differentiate into.

INTJ - NgAgo, an enzyme capable of editing the genome of any given organism

INTP - Mst3b, important to the regeneration of axons and other nerve fibers

ENTP - Phytase, breaks down phytic acid into minerals for the body to use (doesn’t actually digest food)

INFJ - Sucrase, the enzyme that breaks down complex sugars

INFP - Insulin, important to maintaining cellular respiration by facillitating transport of glucose through cell membranes

ENFJ - Nmnat, an enzyme important to the maintenance of nerve fibers and neuroprotection

ENFP - Pectinase, breaks down pectin from fruit

Molecule of the Day: VX

VX (C11H26NO2PS) is a colourless, odourless, oily liquid under room temperatures. It is a member of the V-series of nerve agents, and is an extremely potent poison - only 0.01 grams of it is needed to kill a person by skin contact. VX was recently implicated in the assassination of Kim Jong-nam, the half-brother of the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, in Malaysia.

VX is a potent inhibitor of acetylcholinesterase, which breaks down the neurotransmitter acetylcholine into acetic acid and choline. The normal function of the enzyme is to regulate the concentration of acetylcholine within the synaptic cleft, so as to control the frequency of binding of acetylcholine to cholinergic receptors on the postsynaptic cell membrane and hence the transmission of impulses across the synapse.

Consequently, the inhibition of acetylcholinesterase results in a rapid increase in the synaptic concentration of acetylcholine, as the presynaptic knob continues to synthesise it and secrete it into the synaptic cleft. As a result, the cholinergic receptors on the postsynaptic cell membrane are continually stimulated, and a rapid series of action potentials are triggered. This results in muscle spasms and eventual paralysis, leading to death by asphyxiation due to paralysis of the diaphragm.

VX exposure is usually treated using an injection of atropine and pralidoxime. Atropine inhibits certain cholinergic receptors, reducing the binding of acetylcholine to receptors and thus the triggering of action potentials. On the other hand, one end of pralidoxime binds to acetylcholinesterase and the other binds to the phosphate group of VX, which causes the VX molecule to detach from the enzyme together with the pralidoxime molecule (see below). This restores the ability of acetylcholinesterase to hydrolyse acetylcholine, hence reducing its synaptic levels.

VX is synthesised from phosphorus trichloride over multiple steps; first, it is methylated, reacted with ethanol, then transesterified with N,N-diisopropylaminoethanol to produce QL. This is then oxidised with sulfur, and isomerised via heating to produce VX.

Quantitative Structure-Activity Relationship (QSARs) - Drug Development

QSAR modelling predicts the biological activity of a compound based off its physical properties. They are used to avoid synthesising and testing every possible version of a molecule to find the optimum for bioactivity. A small number of structurally similar molecules are synthesised and tested, and these results are used to mathematically predict other similar molecules on a computer.

Hydrophobicity 

This dictates the ease at which a molecule will pass through a cell membrane. Too hydrophobic and the molecule will be drawn to lipids and its bioactivity will be reduced, too hydrophilic and the molecule will be too polar to pass through the phospholipid bilayer and will not carry out its desired activity (will be excreted in urine)

LogP - a measure of the whole molecule’s hydrophobicity 

  • High logP = more hydrophobic
  • Low logP = more hydrophillic (polar)
  • Optimum for bioavailibility = 2-4.5

A regression equation can be formed with c=concentration for max activity

1/c = K1 logP + k2

If linear, values for other similar structures can be taken off the line. If parabolic = logP^2, indicating that after a max concentration bioavalibility will not increase as the drug becomes too hydrophobic and moves into fats.

Substituent hydrophobicity constant,  π

Measures the hydrophobicity of individual substituents in a compound.

π = logPX - logPH

X= partition coefficient for substituted compound 

H= partition coefficient for unsubstituted compound (Hydrogen (so if H was in place of the substituent of interest))

  • Compares how hydrophobic a substituent is compared to hydrogen
  • π = +ve –> X= more hydrophobic than hydrogen
  • π = -ve –> X= less hydrophobic than hydrogen

Note: can be used to calculate logP by adding substituents, rather than having to synthesise and test the molecule (clogP = calculated logP)

Electronics

Pharmacokinetics (administration, distribution, metabolism and excretion) rarely depends on hydrophobicity alone. The polarity of a compound dictates its passage through the patient and its binding at point of activity.

Hammett substituent constant, σ

The starting point  is a chemical equilibrium for which both the substituent constant and the reaction constant are arbitrarily set to 1: the ionization of benzoic acid (R and R’ both H) in water at 25 °C.

Provides K0.

RCO2H <–> RCO2- + H+

uses the dissociation constant

kH = [RCO2-][H+] / [RCO2H]

  • If X is electron withdrawing, it will stabilise RCO2- and shift the equilibrium to the right. kX will increase
  • eg NO2, CN, Cl –> +ve  σ
  • If X is electron donating, it will destabilise the RCO2- anion and shift equilibrium to the left, with a drop in kX.
  • eg alkyls, ethyls, methyls = -ve σ

σ = logkX - logkH

Steric properties 

Taft steric parameter, Es = rate of hydrolysis of XCH2CO2Me under acidic conditions

Es = logkX - logKH

If X is physically small, the rate of hydrolysis (time taken to reach tetrahedral intermediate) will be fast.

Here, the size of R affects the rate of reaction by blocking nucleophilic attack by water.

           H             1.24 +ve value: little steric resistance to hydrolysis
         Me             0.00 the reference substituent in the Taft equation
         t-Bu          -2.78 -ve value: large resistance to hydrolysis

Small X = large Es, large X = small Es

Accuracy of calculation decreases as the bulk and length of the chain increases.

Hansch equations put several of the parameters together to compare overall bioavailibility of different compounds.

Craig plots

  • Plots 2 constants
  • functional groups with similar activity will be in the same quadrant
  • the optimum quadrant, eg +ve σ and -ve π, will contain all the substituents worth investigating

The image above shows an example of an amphiphile which is a term used to describe a chemical compound that contains both lipophilic (fat-loving) and hydrophilic (water-loving) properties.

A common and important class of amphiphillic molecules include phospholipids, which are the main component of cell membranes. The amphiphillic nature of these molecules actually defines the way in which the cell membrane is arranged. The arrangement of polar hydrophilic groups on the outside, so as to interact with the aqueous environment and non-polar lipophilic groups on the inside, away from the aqueous environment, hence forms the basis of the bilayer. 

Requested Anonymously

Swalot swallows a lot. According to the pokédex, Swalot has no teeth but can open its mouth wide enough to swallow a tire, where it can be dissolved in its acidic stomach. There’s lots of interesting science going on in this purple blob of a pokémon, so let’s talk about it!

There are a lot of animals in our world who don’t have teeth for chewing, so they swallow things whole: frogs, ducks, and most remarkably, snakes. A snake’s lower jaw actually has two parts, connected by tendons. This makes the snake’s jaw extremely flexible, and able to open extremely wide to swallow things that are practically bigger than it. (Check out this video to see it in action)

While that’s really cool, it doesn’t really help us understand Swalot. We have no reason to believe Swalot is a vertebrate at all, or even has a jaw bone. In fact, Swalot’s whole body seems incredibly flexible, and it is able to distort itself to swallow prey.

This is a lot less like an animal eating a meal, and more like a process called phagocytosis used by single-celled protozoans and a few other cells, including in your own body. In your immune system, white blood cells will often devour harmful bacteria using phagocytosis. Phagocytosis comes from the greek work “to devour”, and that’s a fairly accurate description of what it does. 

During phagocytosis, the predator engulfs the prey by surrounding it with its body. The predator’s cell membrane wraps around the prey and fuses back together, sealing the prey inside its own body and creating a cavity known as a phagosome, essentially a new stomach. Other parts of the cell, called lysosomes, will then flock towards the new stomach, and release enzymes to digest the prey: stomach acid. As the prey digests, the nutrients are absorbed into the cell. Whatever is leftover, the waste, can be thrown away by simply parting the membrane again, opening the stomach out to the world, and dropping the waste out. 

Creatures that use phagocytosis don’t have just one stomach. Instead, they essentially create a new stomach every time they need to eat. This stomach can be as big or as small as they want: whatever size it needs to be to dissolve their prey.

At first glance, Swalot might look too large to be a single-celled organism and use phagocytosis. But, there are plenty of single celled organisms that aren’t microscopic. The algae Valonia ventricosa, for example, is a single cell that grows several inches in diameter.

So maybe Swalot is a single-celled organism! Perhaps Swalot’s mustache is a kind of flagellum, which acts as a sensory organ to see/smell/detect chemicals like flagellum do in single-celled organism. It is pokémon, so the interpretation is entirely up to you. One alternative theory could be that Swalot is a colonial organism, like Trubbish (read here).

Swalot is a single-celled organism that uses phagocytosis to digest its prey. It wraps its body around its prey, sealing them in and creating a new stomach. Enzymes are injected into the new stomach by lysosomes, which digest the prey and absorb its nutrients.

youtube

Homeostasis and the Cell Membrane King

We are in awe of the cell membrane! Why? It keeps us in homeostasis! Let the Amoeba Sisters tell you how!

Check out our YouTube Channel! www.youtube.com/user/AmoebaSisters

These are just some ideas I’ve compiled that have worked for me!

1. Quizlet games. I love using the matching game because not only does it force me to actively look for a term’s definition, but it also allows for backwards recall. So by seeing “has both magnitude and direction,” somewhere in your mind is a little voice going “vectors!” This is a good way to test how well you’re able to recall the material regardless of the format it’s given in. 

2. Make up rhymes and mnemonics. Little rhymes like “I before E except after C” help with memorization, and “Charles watches TV” is a good mnemonic to use for remembering that Charles’s law has to do with t-t-t-temperature and v-v-v-volume.

3. Physically get up and act it out. This can work for history, literature, physics, biology, etc. For example, if you’re having trouble memorizing the process of exocytosis, pretend to be a particle leaving the cell and stop at different parts of the room so you can understand that stop 1 is the golgi apparatus and stop 2 is the cell membrane.

4. Teach. If you don’t have anyone to explain the material to, you can use stuffed animals or an invisible audience full of ten year-olds. Come up with questions that your “students” might ask and then answer them in a simplified way if possible. Try to think of the best way to explain the material in a clear way. That way, if, on an exam, you happen to get one of those questions you came up with, you’ll be able to explain it in a coherent fashion because you took the time to fully comprehend it.

5. Type up your notes as if you were a tutor making a study guide for your students. You can print these out and possibly bind them or just study from the computer.

6. Annotate PowerPoints if the professor has made them available. This will allow you to build on existing knowledge and to make your own connections.

7. Take old practice exams. This is really helpful for subjects that require calculations, like math or physics, but if your professor gives you old exams to practice with, use them, no matter the subject. They are good indicators of what might show up on your exam in terms of format or content.

8. Study sitting down, standing at a tall desk, in the library, in a park, etc. If it helps, change up your position and/or your location once in a while. It might give you a fresh perspective. 

9. Summarize material on one sheet of paper. Just one. The size of the paper depends on how many topics you’re covering. There should be no detailed notes on this page. It should basically have those bolded subtitles you see in textbooks along with quick, supplementary notes on them. 

10. Make lists. I find it easier to recall this: 
Excitatory neurotransmitters:
(1) Acetylcholine
(2) Norepinephrine 

Inhibitory neurotransmitters:
(1) Dopamine
(2) Serotonin 
(3) GABA

rather than this:
“Acetylcholine and norepinephrine are excitatory neurotransmitters, and the inhibitory neurotransmitters are dopamine, serotonin, and GABA.”
The two methods might not sound very different because it is the same material after all, but personally, I would rather memorize these from an organized list rather than a sentence. My brain just processes this visually: there are 2 excitatory and 3 inhibitory. That way, if I’m stuck on a question during the exam, I’ll know if I’ve only got 2 out of the 3 inhibitors and that I’m missing one more. 

11. Recall old teaching methods. If you’ve ever thought to yourself, “I still remember ___ because of the way my teacher taught it,” these might be the methods that work for you. It might have been a small, interesting fact in history that you remember, or a fun way to memorize the periodic table of elements. Either way, this information stuck with you for a reason. Use those methods to study new material.

Quick fact. Ready?
The dietary fat that we consume determines the health of the membranes that surround our cells. Why? Because these membranes themselves are mainly composed of fats called phospholipids.

A diet high in mono and polyunsaturated fats results in healthy cell membranes, and thus cells are better able to function, hold nutrients, and communicate more efficiently with one another.

Physiology of Ageing - Muscles
  • Loss of lean body mass 
  • Infiltration of fat and connective tissue 
  • Altered muscle metabolism 
  • Insulin resistance 
  • Reduced levels of key regulatory hormones 
  • Impaired oxidative defence 
  • Muscle strength peaks at approx. 20-40 years 
  • Strength dictated by muscle cross-sectional area 
  • Age-associated decline in concentric strength (leg > arm
  • Decline in concentric strength occurs earlier than decline in eccentric strength 
  • Power generation ability declines faster than max. strength  

Sarcopenia 

= loss of muscle mass (and strength) due to ageing 

  • Two phases: 
  • ‘slow’ from 25 to 50 years (approx. 10% lost) 
  •  ‘rapid’ from 50 onwards (approx. 40% lost from 50-80) 
  • Deterioration in motor unit remodelling 
  • Reduced cross-sectional area and functionality 
  • Disuse atrophy (ageing is associated with becoming more sedentary(not as active)) may contribute to changes 
  • Reduced regenerative capacity 
  • Stem cell function affected by circulating factors? 
  • ‘Systemic inflammation’ theory of ageing? 
  • Increased apoptosis 
  • Anabolic resistance 
  • Protein degradation (muscle & nerve) 

Motor Unit

  • Entire motor unit affected: 
  • Alpha-motorneuron 
  • Fibres innervated 
  • Shift to predominance of slow-twitch fibres 

Force transfer

  • Network of cytoskeletal proteins align and transmit force produced by actin and myosin along muscle fibres and out to extracellular matrix 
  •  E.g. Costameres = sub-sarcolemmal proteins that connect sarcomere to cell membrane 
  • Found in Z and M lines 
  • Transmit force laterally 
  • Significant decrease in costameres and lateral force in ageing

Muscle protein metabolism in ageing 

  • Basal muscle protein synthesis unchanged 
  • Protein/amino acid feeding leads to increase in muscle protein synthesis in both groups 
  • BUT, response is smaller in the elderly 
  • Resistance exercise leads to increase in muscle protein synthesis AND breakdown 
  • BUT, synthesis rates lower in the elderly 
  • Food + exercise needed for anabolic response 
  • Response delayed in elderly, but can achieve similar rates 

Metabolic Capacity

  • Decrease in Mitochondria 
  • Decrease in capillary density 
  • Reduced ability of muscle to extract O2 from blood 
  • Decrease in enzymes for metabolic pathways 
  • Reduced speed of O2 utilisation 
  • Therefore ↓ (a-v)O2 diff (and ↓VO2max) 

Co-morbitities

  • Decline in muscle mass and oxidative capacity, plus increased fat mass leads to greater risk of developing: 
  • insulin resistance and/or type II diabetes 
  • hyperlipidaemia 
  • hypertension 
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Reduced bone mass contributes to loss of functional capacity and risk of injury 
List of Herbs That Treat HERPES

Here is a great list I am compiling for those of you fellow herpes sufferers who are looking for natural or herbal alternatives to acyclovir (Valtrex, Famivir, etc.) for preventing herpes outbreaks as well as treating sores that have already emerged. 

*These methods do not necessarily work for everyone, and there is skepticism among some medical personnel regarding the safety or effectiveness of these treatments. You may want to consult an herbalist or naturopath before beginning treatment. This being said, I have tried nearly every herbal remedy listed here  on my own risk and have not experienced side effects*

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Coconut oil- if you’re not already an advocate for Coconut oil in general, i HIGHLY recommend you include this magic substance in your life! Coconut oil has anti-viral and anti-fungal properties, and alongside promoting healthy teeth, skin, organs and hair when taken orally, it is also an analgesic and anti-inflammatory when applied topically to wounds. The Lauric acid in coconut oil is thought to ward off, fight and prevent replication of the Herpes simplex Virus. I recommend using it daily in cooking, as a moisturizer, and of course, topically to cold sores and genital OBs to soothe the area and promote healing.

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Olive Leaf Extract- One of the first herbal treatments I tried. Research suggests that olive leaf may be a true antiviral compound because it appears to selectively block an entire virus-specific system in the infected host. It then appears to offer healing effects not addressed by pharmaceutical antibiotics. Olive leaf’s broad killing power includes an ability to interfere with critical amino acid production for viruses; an ability to contain viral infection and/or spread by inactivating viruses by preventing virus shredding, budding or assembly at the cell membrane; and the ability to directly penetrate infected cells and stop viral replication. I usually take 30-60 drops daily during the onset of an OB (prodrome phase) and it can prevent the sore from even surfacing. I continue this treatment for the duration of a cold sore, should one appear.

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Essential Oils- Many people believe in the healing powers of essential oils for different purposes. They are commonly used for aromatherapy, to promote relaxation and improve sinus congestion. For herpes, peppermint, eucalyptus, and tea tree oil have been said to be effective in soothing the sores for pain relief, as well as promoting faster healing.

CAUTION: POTENT. NOT FOR INTERNAL USE! Essential oils can be TOXIC when ingested orally! DO NOT USE FOR GENITAL OUTBREAKS. 

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Raw Honey-  Some studies have shown that the microbial activity in RAW, unprocessed, unfiltered honey, can have antiviral properties and fight off herpes simplex from replicating when applied topically. These studies show that participants who applied raw honey topically several times daily had improvement in their outbreak as fast, or faster, than the prescription treatment acyclovir or the OTC treatment Abreva! I recommend Manuka honey, as it has hundreds of strains of beneficial bacteria. Raw honey can also draw fluid away from the sore, reducing swelling, redness, chafing and potential discomfort or pain. 

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Echinacea and Goldenseal-  These herbs are commonly paired in herbal supplements because they work wonders together to prevent sickness. Echinacea boosts your immune system, helping your body fight off the herpes virus, while goldenseal is a powerful anti-fungal, anti-viral herb. These can be taken orally as tablets, pills or tinctures, but also come in some topical products.  These are great to use at the first symptom. Echinacea also comes in tea, which is delicious with a spoonful of raw honey.

CAUTION: Echinacea can increase the effects of stimulant medications (such as those used to treat ADHD, CFS or Narcolepsy) and other CNS stimulants including caffeine. Consult a doctor if you take stimulants. Goldenseal should not be taken an excess of 1-2 weeks at a time and may cause upset stomach. Take with food or find topical ointment. 

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Green tea: Green tea can boost your immune system and help your body fight off herpes virus if your body contains enough of the active compounds (You must drink a LOT of green tea each day for this method to work).  Drink your tea strong, with raw honey. The iced green tea they sell that contains mostly water, citric acid and high fructose corn syrup will NOT cut it here. Always brew your own tea so you know how concentrated it is. Using tea bags is also effective, as some tea including black tea, contains tannins which are anti-viral and anti-inflammatory. 

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L-Lysine: If you’ve had herpes for a bit, you should already know the theories behind Lysine and arginine, two compounds found in varieties of food. Arganine has been linked to increase in risk for OBs, being a trigger for many people. Arganine rich foods include nuts and legumes. Lysine works to possibly prevent OBs and speed up the healing process if the sores have already emerged. Usually taken as an herbal supplement orally, but can also be found in topical treatments.

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Beeswax:  Going along with the raw honey idea, Propolis is a compound made by honeybees which is contained in beeswax. Clinical studies have shown that propolis healed herpes sores faster than acyclovir!  Thanks bees! We love you! Many lip creams/ointments use beeswax as a primary ingredient.

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Lemon Balm- One of the most effective herbal remedies for herpes. It has flavonoids, phenolic acid, and rosmarinic acid, which helps in healing the sores or blisters.  You can make tea and apply it using cotton swabs, take a tincture daily, or purchase it in the form of topical creams and ointments. 

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Corn Starch- Simple right? It seems that applying corn starch to a herpes sore helps keep it dry, drawing fluid away from the wound. This can reduce inflammation, swelling and redness, and prevent chafing. This promotes faster healing as well as soothing discomfort or pain.

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Vitamin C: Everybody knows Vitamin C boosts the immune system and promotes a healthy body. It’s found in citrus fruit such as oranges but often taken as a supplement in tablet or tincture form, or as a drink mix (emergen- C). Taking vitamin C regularly can prevent Herpes outbreaks as well as help fight them when they emerge

CAUTION: Vitamin C may cause upset stomach if taken without food. Though unlikely, In extremely high doses, vitamin C has shown to be an abortifacient by promoting uterine contractions and preventing embryonic implantation (pregnancy). Consult your doctor before taking vitamin C supplements if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. 

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Ultimately, I recommend a combination of these herbal treatments. You should certainly do more research before going out and buying these products, just to see what will work for you.  Some herbs can interact with certain medications or substances, so please be aware of this before beginning treatment. See a naturopath or herbal specialist at your local supplement shop or health food store. Most people employed in the store sections with herbal supplements know at least a bit about their properties and uses. 

Send me an inbox, as well, if you’re interested in knowing how these treatments worked for me personally. I do not take acyclovir for my oral outbreaks anymore! 

Just Follow Your Nose


HAVE YOU EVER wondered why cannabis varieties smell very different? this difference is due to the presence of different volatile essential oils called terpenoids. in cannabis, terpenoids are primarily produced in the flowers and leaves, especially in the trichomes.

anytime you smell cannabis or virtually any fruit, herb, tree, flower or plant, you smell its terpenoids. all spices and herbs derive their unique aromas and tastes from terpenoids.  terpenoids are the basis of most natural fragrance’s, flavoring’s and coloring’s.

terpenoids are the biggest family of natural plant chemicals, with over 30,000 produced in nature. they’re found in all organisms. chlorophyll, beta-carotene, and vitamin E are examples of well-known terpenoids found in plants.

there are over 120 (some say 200) different terpenoids in cannabis, but only a dozen or so are found in enough quantity to significantly modify a cannabis strain’s effects. terpenoids interact with the different cannabinoids and modify THC’s effect, which is why different varieties of cannabis with similar smells often have similar effects.


(the following information concerning specific terpenoids in cannabis was taken from Cannabis Heath News Magazine)

THE MAJOR TERPENES OF CANNABIS RESIN AND THEIR EFFECTS:

BORNEOL – BORNEOL IS A MAJOR COMPONENT OF CANNABIS RESIN THAT CAN ALSO BE FOUND IN CINNAMON AND WORMWOOD (ARTEMESIA SPP). IN CHINESE MEDICINE HERBS CONTAINING BORNEOL ARE RECOMMENDED FOR FATIGUE AND OVERSTRESS. BORNEAL IS MENTIONED TO BE A CALMING SEDATIVE.

CORRYPHYLLENE – CORRYPHYLLENE IS A MAJOR COMPONENT OF CANNABIS RESIN THAT CAN ALSO BE FOUND IN BLACK PEPPER AND CLOVES. IT IS A FAIRLY WEAK AGONIST OF THE TYPE 2 CANNABINOID RECEPTORS (CB2). AS A CONSTITUENT OF A SALVE OR LOTION CORPHYLLENE IS AN EFFECTIVE ANTI- INFLAMMATORY AND ANALGESIC. DRUG DOGS ARE TRAINED TO SPECIFICALLY SNIFF OUT CORPHYLLENE EPOXIDE, A SIMILAR COMPOUND PRODUCED ONLY BY CANNABIS.

CINEOLE/EUCALYPTOL – CINEOLE/EUCALYPTOL CONTENT IS QUITE VARIABLE ACROSS VARIETIES OF CANNABIS, BUT IS OFTEN A MAJOR COMPONENT OF THE ESSENTIAL OIL. IT IS ALSO FOUND IN ROSEMARY AND EUCALYPTUS AND IS USED TO INCREASE CIRCULATION, AND REDUCE PAIN AND SWELLING WHEN APPLIED TOPICALLY. IT READILY CROSSES THE BLOOD/BRAIN BARRIER, POSSIBLY HELPING CANNABINOIDS TO CROSS MORE READILY AS WELL. THE EFFECTS OF CINEOLE, WHEN COMBINED WITH ORAL OR SMOKED CANNABIS, ARE REPORTED AS BEING VERY UPLIFTING, NOTICEABLY INCREASING MENTAL AND PHYSICAL ENERGY. THIS TERPENE, OR OTHERS LIKE IT, MAY BE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE REPORTED DIFFERENCE IN EFFECT BETWEEN INDICA AND SATIVA STRAINS WITH A SIMILAR CANNABINOID PROFILE.

LIMONENE – FOUND IN CANNABIS RESIN AS WELL AS LEMON RINDS, LIMONENE IS AN ANTI-BACTERIAL, ANTI FUNGAL AND ANTI CANCER AGENT. IT SMELLS SURPRISINGLY LIKE ORANGES OR TROPICAL FRUIT.  CURRENTLY UNDERGOING TRIALS FOR USE AS AN ANTI DEPRESSANT, IT IS ALSO KNOWN TO INCREASE THE ABSORPTION OF OTHER TERPENES BY MAKING CELL MEMBRANES MORE PERMEABLE. THE PRESENCE OF THIS ANTI FUNGAL AGENT MAY BE HELPFUL IN PROTECTING AGAINST ASPERGILLUS INFECTION IN THOSE WITH COMPROMISED IMMUNITY WHEN USING SPOILED OR POORLY CURED MARIJUANA. LIMONENE IS CURRENTLY IN TRIALS TO STUDY ITS ABILITY TO PREVENT BREAST CANCER FORMATION.

(*DELTA-3-CARENE – A COMPONENT OF CANNABIS, ROSEMARY, PINE, AND CEDAR RESIN.  ~~~~~ AROMATHERAPY OILS THAT CONTAIN HIGH LEVELS OF DELTA-3-CARENE ARE USED TO DRY EXCESS FLUIDS FROM THE EYES, NOSE, OR MOUTH. IT IS THOUGHT TO BE AT LEAST PARTIALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DRY MOUTH AND EYE PROBLEMS THAT ARE COMMON SIDE EFFECTS OF THE USE OF CANNABIS.*)

LINALOOL – THIS MAJOR COMPONENT OF CANNABIS AND LAVENDER OILS IS BELIEVED TO POSSESS ANTI ANXIETY AND SEDATIVE PROPERTIES. STRAINS THAT ARE HIGH IN LINALOOL AND SIMILAR COMPOUNDS MAY BE PARTICULARLY BENEFICIAL FOR PATIENTS WHO EXPERIENCE INSOMNIA WHEN CONSUMING CANNABIS.

MYRCENE – SIGNIFICANT CONCENTRATIONS OF MYRCENE ARE PRESENT IN CANNABIS RESIN. IT IS ALSO FOUND IN MANGO, HOPS, LEMON GRASS, EAST INDIAN BAY TREE, AND VERBENA. BECAUSE OF ITS APPEALING FRAGRANCE, MYRCENE IS USED IN THE PERFUME INDUSTRY. IT HAS A SIMILAR MODULATING EFFECT ON THE BINDING OF CANNABINOID AGONIST DRUGS AS CANNABIDIOL, POSSIBLY REDUCING EFFECTS OF CANNABIS RESIN THAT ARE FOUND TO BE UNPLEASANT FOR SOME MEDICAL USERS. IT HAS ANTI MICROBIAL, ANTI SEPTIC, ANALGESIC, ANTI OXIDANT, ANTI CARCINOGEN AND ANTI-INFLAMMATORY PROPERTIES. IT HAS SHOWN SOME PROMISE WHEN USED AS AN ANTI DEPRESSANT, OR AS AN ADDITIVE TO OTHER ANTI DEPRESSANT DRUGS AND IS ALSO USED IN MASSAGE THERAPY AS A MUSCLE RELAXER.



TERPINEOL – MINOR COMPONENT OF CANNABIS RESIN, USED EXTENSIVELY IN THE PERFUME INDUSTRY. INTERESTINGLY THIS TERPENE DECREASES MOTILITY OF LAB RATS BY 45 PERCENT, THIS OBSERVATION COUPLED WITH THE FACT THAT THIS IS A TERPENE PRODUCED PRIMARILY IN CANNABIS INDICA PLANTS INDICATES TERPINEOL COULD PLAY A ROLE IN DECREASED MOTILITY SOMETIMES REFERRED TO AS “COUCH LOCK”.



so, the next time you are confused by all the new strain names, just check the chart above, use your nose, and you can easily figure out which one is right for you.  - CW

Let's Talk About COX

Everyone has some kind of NSAID in their medicine cabinet whether it be Advil, Aleve, or Aspirin. These drugs are so common that they are often not even considered drugs and so people freely take more than they should or give them to their pets. Understanding how these drugs work not only helps explain why the directions for using them are so specific, but also shows how really amazing it is that we even have them. So, let’s get to the real reason you are here- COX.

Animal and human cells are sort of like water balloons. The “balloon” part of the cell is the membrane which is made up of lipid molecules. The water is actually still water but also filled with lots of different organelles, proteins, enzymes, and other things that make the cell work. Located within the cell membrane is a special lipid called arachidonic acid (AA). Usually AA just hangs out in the membrane not doing a whole lot. It takes an enzyme called phospholipase A2 (PLA2) to free the AA from the cell and let it get to work.
PLA2 is itself “turned on” by other enzymes but to make it simple, it is activated when there is an injury of some kind. It breaks the AA free of the cell membrane so that it can then be turned into other useful molecules.

Usually AA can be turned into three different types of molecules: prostanoids, leukotrienes, and epoxides. We are only going to worry about prostanoids today.
Prostanoids are a group of molecules that do lots of different things in the body including create inflammation, dilate blood vessels, activate platelets, de-activate platelets, protect the GI tract, make sure the kidneys have enough blood flow, and other important for living type things.

Here is where the COX comes in. COX-1 and COX-2 are enzymes that convert arachidonic acid into usable molecules. In very general terms COX-1 is responsible for making housekeeping type molecules, the ones that protect the gut and keep the kidneys working. COX-2 is the enzyme that makes the inflammatory molecules. In reality it isn’t that simple and box COX enzymes overlap in function but we are keeping it simple.
COX converts AA into PGH2 which is then further into five different prostanoids, Thromboxane, PGD2, PGI3, PGF2, and PGE2. The prostanoid we care about right now is prostaglandin E2 (PGE2). PGE2 is an inflammatory mediator and is responsible for the classic signs of inflammation: redness, swelling, pain, and warmth or if you wanna impress your friends using Latin: rubor, tumor, dolor, and calor.

PGE2 has four different receptors that it can bind to, each one doing something a bit different. EP4 is the receptor responsible for causing pain and inflammation.

*Head explosion* I know, it is a lot. Let’s summarize. Injury causes PLA2 to free arachidonic acid from the cell membrane. COX-1 and 2 convert AA into PGH2. PGH2 turns into PGE2. PGE2 binds to receptors on cells which then cause inflammation and pain.

Now we can discuss medications. Corticosteroids like prednisone work by blocking PLA2 way at the beginning of the pathway. This means everything downstream is stopped. There is no production of prostanoids, leukotrienes, or epoxides. Steroids are like bringing a bazooka to a knife fight, they work but there is a lot of collateral damage. We cannot use steroids for very long because of the severe side effects they cause.

NSAID’s are COX blockers. Some block both COX-1 and 2, others are more selective and mostly block COX-2. This prevents formation of PGH2 which prevents all of the prostanoids down stream from being formed. Celebrex was a popular human NAID that preferentially blocked COX-2 which sounded great. However it prevented the formation of PGI2 which was a vasodilator and anti-thrombotic, this caused many people to die of heart attacks. This doesn’t seem to be an issue in pets but blocking COX does lead to GI ulceration and renal damage in some animals. Aspirin irreversibly binds to platelets and prevents clotting which can be a problem in humans and animals in addition to causing GI ulcers.

A fairly new class of drugs called Piprants has been developed and they specifically target one of the receptors that PGE2 binds to. This leaves all of the other molecules available to do their jobs and only prevents pain and inflammation. This means the drug is safe for dogs with liver or kidney disease and shouldn’t have any GI side effects. Hopefully something similar for humans is produced as well.

So that in a very complex nutshell is how NSAID’s work and hopefully now you have a greater understanding of just how important it really is to follow all drug labels. And you now you can tell all your friends about your COX.

*Disclaimer- NEVER give OTC pain meds to your pets. Many are toxic to them and the safe ones require different doses than what humans take. Always consult with your vet first.