Thursday, 27 November 2014

Did you Know? #11- Neurotransmitters and hormones

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My Dear Sexy Readers,

Today a very short sexy story part of our Did you Know? series. I was writing about stress and how our body copes with it. There was obviously a lot of mention of hormones and neurotransmitters and I thought "Hang on, are we clear on what these are?" 


What are hormones and neurotransmitters? #DYK11
* Hormones are molecules produced by a gland and released into the bloodstream where it will be vehiculated to its target site.
* Neurotransmitters are chemical signals released from the presynaptic nerve to specific receptors on postsynaptic neurons transiently changing the electrical properties of the target cells, leading to an intracellular response.
Note: Some hormones change the way neurotransmitters operate.


How neurotransmitters (on the left) and hormones (on the right) work
An example we might all be familiar with is adrenaline! Adrenaline is a hormone released by the adrenal gland into the bloodstream and it affects the heart; and it's a neurotransmitter when it is released from a stimulated presynaptic nerve cell and acts on it's neighbouring postsynaptic cell.

In summary, they are distinct classes of molecules, but some of these chemicals are used as both hormones (to send messages all over the body) and neurotransmitters (to send messages from one part of the brain to another).

See you Soon for more Sexy Science,

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

What is COPD?

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My Dear Sexy Readers,

Do you know what COPD stands for? I think it's one of those things, if you don't know anyone affected by it, it's highly unlikely you would know about it. However the disease is fairly common unfortunately (estimated 3 million of people in the UK!) and has been attributed its own World Awareness Day - 19th November 2014.
Worldwide, COPD affects 329 million people or nearly 5% of the population.
In 2012, it ranked as the third-leading cause of death, killing over 3 million people.

COPD stands for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease

You may have heard words such as emphysema, chronic bronchitis?
Typical symptoms include increasing breathlessness when active, a persistent cough with phlegm, frequent chest infections.

And unfortunately, guess what? The main cause is Smoking (pollution and genetics to a MUCH lesser extent)! And the longer you have smoked in your life, the higher the chance your airways are damaged:
Over many years, the inflammation leads to permanent changes in the lung. The walls of the airways thicken and more mucus is produced. Damage to the delicate walls of the air sacs in the lungs causes emphysema and the lungs lose their normal elasticity. The smaller airways also become scarred and narrowed. These changes cause the symptoms of breathlessness, cough and phlegm associated with COPD. - NHS.UK

It is important that COPD is diagnosed as early as possible (as early as 35 years old!) so treatment can be used to try to slow down the deterioration of your lungs - the best way is by stopping smoking. This is particularly true for smokers who dismiss their symptoms because they think all they have is a bad "Smoker's cough"!

In UK, there are about 25,000 deaths related to COPD so it's not just a case of bad cough!

The number of deaths is projected to increase due to higher smoking rates and an aging population in many countries.
That's why awareness days are important!

See you Soon for more Sexy Science,

Friday, 14 November 2014

World Diabetes Day - 14th November

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My Dear Sexy Readers,

Did you Know that the World Diabetes Day is observed on the 14th of November?
Now this month is rich of disease awareness campaigns, so why should you bother reading about Diabetes?
Well first of all, as I wrote previously, it's very important to understand what is diabetes and what is the difference between the different types of diabetes:

Diabetes
Diabetes is when our body either doesn't make enough insulin (produced by our pancreas) or cannot use its own insulin properly to help get the sugar (coming from food or our liver) to move from our blood into the cells of our body, causing build up of that sugar in our bloodstream.

Insulin glucose diabetes
The Insulin binds to its Receptor and makes the Glucose transporter move to the cell surface where it can open up a passage to let the Glucose come inside the cell. If there's no insulin or the receptor doesn't recognize or respond to it, the Glucose is stuck in the blood and accumulates = Diabetes
There are 2 types of diabetes
Type 1 is when the body doesn't produce insulin. It requires insulin to treat, is typically developed as a child or young adult, and is a disease that destroys pancreatic cells meaning no insulin production is possible.

Type 2 is when the body doesn't produce enough insulin or the insulin produced is not working properly. It is considerably more common and typically affects people over the age of 45, who are also overweight.

Diabetes is when our body either doesn't make enough insulin (produced by our pancreas) or cannot use its own insulin properly to help get the sugar (coming from food or our liver) to move from our blood into the cells of our body, causing build up of that sugar in our bloodstream.


Diabetes is when our body either doesn't make enough insulin (produced by our pancreas) or cannot use its own insulin properly to help get the sugar (coming from food or our liver) to move from our blood into the cells of our body, causing build up of that sugar in our bloodstream.

The disease is life-long and requires many lifestyle adjustments to be made
In order to make the right decisions about behaviour when managing and living with diabetes, sufferers need to be correctly informed about the implications.
Poor diabetes education results in more chance of complications and less chance of leading a healthy life.
Being aware of risk factors such as obesity, glucose intolerance, lack of exercise and an unhealthy diet is important in the fight against further incidences of diabetes.

Awareness of risk factors such as obesity, glucose intolerance, unhealthy lifestyle is vital  #WorldDiabetesDay 
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Those with these risk factors also need to look out for warning signs including tiredness, weight loss, increased thirst, blurred vision and lack of concentration.  Education is key to prevention.

Do you know anyone with diabetes? What are their challenges? Do you think it's important to remind people through awareness campaigns?

See you Soon for more Sexy Science,

Monday, 10 November 2014

Talk Nerdy to me

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My Dear Sexy Readers,

Today, I would like to share with you this TED video:

Melissa Marshall brings a message to all scientists (from non-scientists): We're fascinated by what you're doing. So tell us about it — in a way we can understand. In just 4 minutes, she shares powerful tips on presenting complex scientific ideas to a general audience.

"Make sure that we can see that your Science is Sexy"  

"Scientists and engineers, please talk nerdy to us. I want to share with you a few keys on how you can do that to make sure that we can see that your Science is Sexy"




"Make sure that we can see that your Science is Sexy"  

 
See you Soon for more Sexy Science,


Sharing is Sexy