something scientific

The recent articles I have been working on were science articles and I can say that I was able to immensely relate to each of the topic covered. I have, after all, been bred and trained to be a scientist. It just so happened that the blood is thicker and writing is what pulses in my veins.

But then again, I cannot help but share the two most interesting scientific articles I’ve written about. Of course, they are on the branch of Biology. A repost would be located in my bio blog, which unfortunately I am unable to update.

Just a note: These are not the original articles I have submitted. I would never infringe copyright laws.

In this article are the following posts reposted from Practical Biology:

Menopausal Women Maybe at a Higher Risk for Obesity

D4DR Gene To Blame For Adventurous Spirit

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Menopausal Women Maybe at a Higher Risk for Obesity

Ladies, have you ever noticed how you get food cravings every time your period is near? There is a very valid scientific explanation for this. Our menstrual cycle is governed by hormones produced primarily by the ovaries. Two of the most significant hormones are estrogen and progesterone. During the menstrual cycle, these hormones reach a peak or a threshold which corresponds to the time the egg is released (or ovulated in technical terms). After the egg is released, these hormones drop their levels.

When that happens, it creates a signal in the brain that makes you feel hungrier thus prompting you to eat more food. At the same time, the body starts to store the excess calories from these additional food intake as adipose tissue or fat. Why does the body do such? Well, it is part of its preparation for pregnancy. You see, when the egg is released, the body normally assumes that it would be fertilized. In the same way that the uterus is prepared with blood-filled tissues for implantation (these are the ones that are shed and expelled as “mense”), the body also prepares the energy source that the growing embryo, or baby, would later on require.

Now what happens during menopause? The ovaries stop releasing eggs and producing hormones. That’s why during menopause, women no longer have their monthly period because the uterus no longer needs to prepare for any implantation. However, the food cravings remain. With the ovaries no longer producing estrogen and progesterone, the brain identifies that there are low levels of these hormones. The stomach then has difficulties when it is full. At the same time, the body cells need lesser calories to burn. As such, all the excess food intake is stored as fat.

But it does not mean that a woman automatically becomes obese when she enters menopause. Remember that a person becomes fat only when the body fails to burn all the calories it consumes. So an active lifestyle and regular exercise would still help the body burn all those calories, even if you do take in more than the usual.

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D4DR Gene To Blame For Adventurous Spirit

I have often wondered if I am more adventurous than others. I recall how one time we went to a theme-park and I wanted to try all the thrilling rides but my friends were content with the mild ones. I also know that I tend to crave for adventure all the time. Be it in the form of thrilling amusement park rides like rollercoasters or extreme sports like bungee jumping (which I have yet to try) or simply the discovery of a new place. I could cite numerous instances when I have ventured out on adventures that others would label as reckless.

bungee jumping

There was the time I explored Binondo all alone. There was that instance I travelled to Balayan, Batangas, a place I hardly knew, in the dead of the night with a sleepy van driver. There was that time I insisted that I want to try and I could complete an Auzie rapel. Then there was that latest foray into an unknown area in Pampanga to meet people I only knew from the internet. Even when I was a little kid, I was always the adventurous type constantly seeking new ways to introduce thrills in my life that no one would ever dare do.

Today I found out that this could be due to an abnormally long D4DR gene in my brain. D4DR is the gene that codes for the receptor of dopamine, a brain neurotransmiter (chemical signal) responsible for feelings of pleasure and well-being as well as increasing alertness. Satisfying a hunger is enough to release dopamine levels that would normally make a person feel satisfied and pleasurable. But persons with a longer D4DR gene would require higher levels of dopamine just to satisfy them. If the dopamine levels are not met, these people tend to be depressed, inert and moody. Interestingly, pain also increases dopamine levels.

D4DR Gene
D4DR Gene

Now could that also be the explanation why I like gory movies and why I relish so much the thought of pain? I had no qualms pricking my finger and letting blood ooze from them for our physio experiments. I constantly want to donate blood to charity. I am never afraid of any cut or bruise or painful accident. In fact, I seem to relish them.

Caution though, dopamine is also responsible for a number of personality traits and psychiatric disorders. Not that I am saying I am insane, but I must be careful.

Now, of course, there are drugs that can stimulate the brain to produce more dopamine and as such improve the moods of those requiring higher dopamine levels. Coccaine is one of them. It is even presumed that those with mood instabilities caused by low dopamine levels are “self-premedicating” on the drug. Although, hard core drug abusers are more often a result of the environment conditions than the actual need for the drug.

However, most adventurers also take a huge amount of time planning out their adventures. Most adventurers, like mountain climbers, have carefully laid out plans. But then again, there are more adventures that one could say are made at a whim. Also, in my personal experience, planning for an upcoming adventure already increases the excitement in me. Of course, there are moments of apprehension but they are easily squashed and by-passed. So long as the thrill of the upcoming adventure remains, every day that it draws near and every carefully laid out plan made in preparation for it adds to the thrill it presents. In that case, dopamine levels remain to be the ones to blame for such adventurous spirits.

The D4DR Gene

“D4DR is a human gene, located on chromosome 11. It is (so far) one of the only genes proven to be directly linked to a human personality trait. When the D4DR gene is mutated or elongated, studies have shown that the individual may be more interested in danger, excitement and thrill seeking.”

~ Wikipedia

Source: The Naked Scientist

Author: elleica

Jesus Lover. Writer. Blogger. Biologist turned marketer. Child of Learning. Thrill Seeker. I long for my next adventure.

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