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Being Multicellular

Explorations in science.

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medicine

What is Hepatitis?

It’s World Hepatitis Day and so I’d like to briefly explore what Hepatitis is. Before research for this post, I didn’t know that there were so many types of hepatitis and that for some of them, especially autoimmune, the causes are unknown.

Hepatitis is the term used to describe inflammation of the liver. The causes are viral infection or liver damage by alcohol. The type determines whether the hepatitis will

Continue reading “What is Hepatitis?”

The Stress Hormone

Cortisol is a steroid hormone made from cholesterol in the two adrenal glands above each kidney. It is best known for its role in the ‘fight or flight’ response and how, in stressful situations, it can increase the body’s energy production temporarily.

The secretion of cortisol is controlled by the hypothalamus, the pituitary gland and the adrenal gland [2]. When there are low cortisol levels in the blood, Continue reading “The Stress Hormone”

Why Do People Sleepwalk?

Definition: a sleep disorder characterized by walking or other activity while seemingly still asleep- Psychology Today

Synonyms: somnambulism, parasomnia

Sleep walking usually occurs when a person is in deep sleep and most sleep walking episodes last for less than ten minutes. 30% of all adults are thought to have sleep walked at least once in their lives. Sleep walking itself is only one of the complex behaviours carried out while a person is asleep like sitting up in bed and looking around, some even drive! Why does this happen? Continue reading “Why Do People Sleepwalk?”

Why Are Women More Likely to Get Alzheimer’s?

In the US, out of 5 million people living with Alzheimer’s, 3.2 million of these are women [1] and I thought that this was due to women living longer than men collectively but this gap between living ages of men and women is not substantial enough to be the whole story; Alzheimer’s is a disease that can last for as long as 20 years before the individual passes away and so the life expectancy of 5-8 years doesn’t add up. Continue reading “Why Are Women More Likely to Get Alzheimer’s?”

Norovirus- The Christmas Stomach Bug

Norovirus is a stomach bug most common during winter time and is aptly named the ‘winter vomiting bug.’ It causes the deaths of 200,000 a year but this risk is limited to those that are immunosuppressed or the very young/old as they have trouble remaining hydrated.

The symptoms of norovirus appear after two days after infection and last for about the same amount of time. I would assume, in the same way that flu is a virus more common as we get closer to Christmas, norovirus is more stable in cold air and low humidity which allow the virus to remain in the air for longer,  survive for longer, increasing the chance of a person inhaling the virus. Continue reading “Norovirus- The Christmas Stomach Bug”

Men and Mental Health-Movember

Suicide is the leading cause of death for men aged 35 to 49, equaling 12.6% of male deaths. Nearly 4 times as many men aged 20 to 34 died as a result of suicide and injury or poisoning of undetermined intent than women. 76%of people who kill themselves are men according to ONS. On average 13 men each day take their life through suicide in the UK.

We are continually bombarded with messages about our health; healthy eating, exercise, reducing alcohol intake but, in men these things are important but do not reduce the risk of the number one killer: suicide. What messages are there to encourage men to speak out about their ‘feelings’ and to have an identity outside of the stereotypical image of masculinity which piles on so much pressure. Pressure that I had never seen acknowledged before researching for this blog post.

Continue reading “Men and Mental Health-Movember”

Top Mankillers 2- Movember

men and cancer
By BeingMulticellular

So why is this? Men are increasing the intake of alcohol, are gaining weight and are exercising less but mainly women are encouraged and have more access to healthcare than men; men are stereotypically supposed to ‘deal with’ their problems which discourages visits to the doctor that women have access to who they become pregnant for example.

My history teacher said that when his wife was pregnant was the first time he had been in a hospital in 25 years. Ultimately, our traditional societal roles lead to women having more opportunity to be checked for cancer which leads to early diagnosis. I’m not completely convinced by this explanation though because early diagnoses does not reverse cancer being developed and early diagnoses can’t cause a 60% gap in my opinion. Why do you think that men develop cancer more than women?

© Being Multicellular 2016. All Rights Reserved.

Sources:

http://www.who.int/gender/documents/10facts_gender_tobacco_en.pdf

http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/causes-of-cancer/smoking-and-cancer/how-smoking-causes-cancer

Sticky Blood- The disease with five names.

Sticky blood has many other names: Hughes Syndrome, Antiphospholipid Syndrome, APS and is an autoimmune disorder where abnormal antibodies attack phospholipids which have an important role in maintaining the consistency of blood; the blood becomes too sticky which increases the risk of blood clots. Continue reading “Sticky Blood- The disease with five names.”

Why Pathology is Important.

I was able to visit a pathology department recently and was told that pathology ‘is the science behind the cure.’ The department was responsible for testing blood, urine, tissue samples, even faeces. Even though getting samples were sometimes embarrassing or difficult if the patient is unable to collect their own samples, analysing them is how they were able to identify the problem with the patient’s health and therefore what treatment should be given.

One of the disciplines of pathology is clinical biochemistry. This concerns the bodily fluids like blood, urine and cerebrospinal fluid (fluid from the brain). Clinical biochemistry is important because the most common diseases like cancer, diabetes, heart problems and kidney failure are all identified in the lab. For example, to test for renal failure blood tests are carried out and the level of waste products like urea are measured in the blood since urea is formed by the break-down of proteins so if the level of urea in the blood increases then the kidney’s aren’t filtering it properly. There are also urine tests and scans that are used to diagnose.

Pathology is also important due to the amount of people that need to be tested. Unless the illness or disease is obvious or uses other equipment like scans for broken limbs, bodily fluids have be tested because there are a number of illnesses that have similar symptoms. For example, if you had a headache, you may just have a headache from a cold or it could be meningitis which are two very different illnesses or something else altogether. Then there is also different types of meningitis, there’s the virus and the bacterial type. If we didn’t have pathology, we could treat somebody for a disease that they don’t have and this trial and error method until there is a positive reaction from the patient could do more harm than good and doesn’t give the patient the best care if they’re just being treated like a guinea pig. Therefore, pathology has improved healthcare tremendously, no more guessing, we know how to identify different diseases depending on what is identified in the bodily fluids and so we are treating more accurately.

Pathology is not just used to find what treatment to give but also to manage this treatment and to say when treatment can stop so that we don’t have people living in hospitals for years. On that note, pathology is very important for the NHS because only the medicine and treatments that are needed to treat the illness that has already been identified and so medicine isn’t wasted and hospitals aren’t full of people that don’t actually don’t have to be on treatment anymore. Prevention and early treatment are also ruled by pathology, reducing the risk of diseases to progress to a point where treatment is no longer an option.

Another great advancement is that clinical biochemistry can be performed at a patient’s bedside now, or at their home if they are unable to get to a hospital. These tests can have immediate results which mean that the patient can receive treatment sooner. These aren’t as accurate as the tests in the lab but, for a person that would otherwise struggle to be tested or would have to wait for the results of a delivered sample to return, this is an important.

The great range of disciplines of pathology include research and diseases have been eradicated by the development of pathology like haemolytic disease, which affected newborn and foetus of Rhesus- negative women (where there is a possibility of the woman’s antibodies attacking the baby’s red blood cells)which has been almost eradicated from the development of  blood typing tests that identify this blood type.

Why else do you think pathology is important or what did I leave out? Comment below.

 

© Being Multicellular 2016. All Rights Reserved.

Sources:

https://www.rcpath.org/

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