January 27, 2011

Am I Suffering from Depression?

Most people experience depression at one point in their lives. In the United States alone, approximately 20 million people are suffering from depression. Depression affects people of all ages from children to the elderly. Women, however, are at the highest risk of developing depression.

It can sometimes be difficult to identify depression as it progressively gets worse. If you have gone through the below mentioned depression symptoms for at least two weeks, seek attention immediately.

• Always feeling sad and/or hopeless.
• Constantly crying.
• Not being able to sleep
• Sleeping too much
Mood swings
• Inability to concentrate
• No longer enjoy the things you used to enjoy (ie: hobbies)
• Suicidal thoughts

There is an infinite amount of reasons as to why depression occurs. Here is a general list of what puts you at a greater risk of developing depression in comparison to others.

• Have experienced depression in the past
• Have a family member that is or has gone through depression
• Consumption of too much alcohol
• Use of drugs
• Suffer from one or more chronic medical conditions
• Take prescribed medication
• Stress

If you or someone you know is suffering from depression it is important to contact a health care professional. They can provide help for depression by assessing the situation. There are also many different kinds of medications for depression available.

January 21, 2011

Discovery of Arsenic Life Form Redefines Life?

Filed under: genetics — Tags: , , , , , — @ 2:09 am

Until recently, it was believed that all living organisms were made up of an intricate combination of carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen, sulphur and phosphorous. These elements bond to form the complex strands of DNA and RNA that make up life on earth. However, researchers in California have recently developed a bacterium that can ingest and grow on a diet of arsenic rather than phosphorus. This is significant because it had previously been thought that phosphorous was essential for life, acting as a building-block for DNA. It is also surprising because arsenic is generally considered toxic for most living organisms, although it is chemically similar to phosphorous.

The development of this arsenic-devouring microorganism in a NASA-funded study opens a multitude of doors in the science of biology, and could change the present view of microbiology, genetics and medicine. It has the potential to significantly expand genetic understanding and our notion of life, and calls for many biology textbooks to be rewritten.

Similar leaps in genetic-related research through the Human Genome project have changed the face of modern medicine. The Human Genome Project is an  ongoing genetic research project that began in 1990. Through this program, scientists have established a comprehensive database defining the different genes within human DNA. The purpose of this project was to better understand the makeup and presence of different genes in DNA in order to improve the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of many diseases. Medical researchers have specifically used the information established through the work of the Human Genome Project to analyze the different patient responses to medications based on their genetic structures. Perhaps the development of this tiny bacterium will revolutionize modern science and medicine as the Human Genome Project has done.