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THE SCIENCE OF DEPRESSION

What exactly is going on inside of a depressed person? We look at the scientific basis for depression, and shed light on the fact that it is a disease with biological, psychological, and social implications.

We can see it in our biology, in our genes and in our actions. For those who are depressed, it’s not simply something they can ‘get over’ and ‘be more positive about’. If you know somebody who is suffering, please be compassionate and know that depression is a serious illness and requires genuine recovery/help. 

(via science-junkie)

Why Can’t I Make This Work?!!

This video shows a Veined Octopus (Amphioctopus marginatus) trying to form a protective shelter from two pieces of a broken jar. This species is also known as the “coconut octopus” because it is often found using two discarded coconut shells to hide in.

See more video clips of the Veined Octopus

It is found in tropical waters of the western Pacific Ocean. It commonly preys upon shrimp, crabs, and clams, and displays unusual behaviour, including bipedal walking and gathering and using coconut shells and seashells for shelter. Like hermit crabs with shells, it will actively investigate other items for protective potential. Here the octopus tries in vain to make two broken glass halves fit together. It’s amazing to watch his repeated attempts to make this work. Filmed in the Lembeh Strait, Sulawesi, Indonesia.

© Peter Scoones / Science Source

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Happy National Aviation Day!!

The holiday was established in 1939 by Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who issued a presidential proclamation which designated the anniversary of Orville Wright’s birthday, August 19th, to be National Aviation Day. Mr. Wright, born in 1871, was still alive when the proclamation was first issued, and would live another nine years.

See photos of Aviation’s Pioneers

The three images above show a plastic 1/48-scale model of an F-18 aircraft inside the “water tunnel” more formally known as the NASA Dryden Flow Visualization Facility. Water is pumped through the tunnel in the direction of normal airflow over the aircraft; then, colored dyes are pumped through tubes with needle valves. The dyes flow back along the airframe and over the airfoils highlighting their aerodynamic characteristics. Water tunnels such as the one at Dryden are used as a “first step” in providing important information about anomalies and phenomena revealed in wind tunnel tests or in actual flight tests.

See more images of Aerodynamics

Images above © NASA Dryden Flight Research Center / Science Source

BY9867 (F-18 Aerodynamics Test #1)

BY9869 (F-18 Aerodynamics Test #2)

BY9868 (F-18 Aerodynamics Test #3)

Shake That Body For Me!

A Honeybee (Apis mellifera) near center of frame performing a waggle dance. Waggling enables a bee to communicate to others the direction of a food source.

See more video clips of the Waggle Dance!

The direction and duration of waggle runs are closely correlated with the direction and distance of the resource being advertised by the dancing bee. For cavity-nesting honey bees, flowers that are located directly in line with the sun are represented by waggle runs in an upward direction on the vertical combs, and any angle to the right or left of the sun is coded by a corresponding angle to the right or left of the upward direction. The distance between hive and recruitment target is encoded in the duration of the waggle runs. The farther the target, the longer the waggle phase. The more excited the bee is about the location, the more rapidly it will waggle, so it will grab the attention of the observing bees, and try to convince them. If multiple bees are doing the waggle dance, it’s a competition to convince the observing bees to follow their lead, and competing bees may even disrupt other bees’ dances or fight each other off. The frequency of the waggles tells other bees the distance to the food source. The faster the waggling, the closer the source. Honeybees also communicate by touching antennae and by pheromone fanning.

Video © Peter Matulavich / Science Source

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Crohn’s Disease

Crohn’s disease is a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It usually affects the intestines, but may occur anywhere from the mouth to the end of the rectum

See endoscopic photos of Crohn’s Disease

The top image shows a barium X-ray of the transverse colon of a patient suffering from Crohn’s disease. Crohn’s disease causes inflammation, thickening and ulceration (red mottled region at upper left) of the intestinal tract, most often the small intestine and the colon (large intestine). Its cause is unknown. Symptoms include abdominal pain, diarrhea and the malabsorption of food, leading to weight loss. Crohn’s disease is treated with antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs. Surgical removal of inflamed regions of the intestine is sometimes also required. Barium is a radio-opaque medium that allows soft structures to be seen on X-ray.

See barium x-rays of Crohn’s Disease

Below this are 4 images taken with a pill camera that show the lining of the ileum which is the last part of the small intestine. It is red and inflamed due to Crohn’s disease. The inflammation has led to narrowing (stricture) of the intestinal passage. 

Treatment normally involves controlling the symptoms and maintaining remission where possible, using anti-inflammatory drugs and immunosupressants. Surgical removal of inflamed regions of the intestine is sometimes also required.

Images above © Science Source

Allow Our Bouncer To Show You The Door!

Image BC5012 (Macrophage and Microfilaria)

Colored scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of many white blood cells (macrophages, yellow) attacking the larva (microfilaria) of the parasitic nematode worm Wuchereria bancrofti.

See more photos of Parasitic Worms

This worm is passed from human to human via mosquito bites. It lodges in and blocks the lymph nodes that drain to the lower extremities causing elephantiasis, the massive enlargement and deformity of the legs and genitalia.

See photos & scans of Elephantiasis

Macrophages attack many types of disease-causing organisms and clean up cellular debris. 

© Eye of Science / Science Source

Thought Our Moon Was Super? Take A Look At Saturn’s!

Saturn, the sixth planet from the sun, is home to a vast array of intriguing and unique worlds. From the cloud-shrouded surface of Titan to crater-riddled Phoebe, each of Saturn’s moons tells another piece of the story surrounding the Saturn system.

See images of Saturn’s Moons

We’ve discovered a total of 53 natural satellites orbiting Saturn. Each of Saturn’s moons bears a unique story. Two of the moons orbit within gaps in the main rings. Some, such as Prometheus and Pandora, interact with ring material, shepherding the ring in its orbit. Some small moons are trapped in the same orbits as Tethys or Dione. Janus and Epimetheus occasionally pass close to each other, causing them to periodically exchange orbits.

Buy Wall Prints or Postcards of Saturn’s Moons

Here’s a sampling of some of the unique aspects of the moons:

Titan is so large that it affects the orbits of other near-by moons. At 5,150 km (3,200 miles) across, it is the second largest moon in the solar system. Titan hides its surface with a thick nitrogen-rich atmosphere. Titan’s atmosphere is similar to the Earth’s atmosphere of long ago, before biology took hold on our home planet. Titan’s atmosphere is approximately 95% nitrogen with traces of methane. While the Earth’s atmosphere extends about 60 km (37 miles) into space, Titan’s extends nearly 600 km (ten times that of the Earth’s atmosphere) into space.

Iapetus has one side as bright as snow and one side as dark as black velvet, with a huge ridge running around most of its dark-side equator.

Phoebe orbits the planet in a direction opposite that of Saturn’s larger moons, as do several of the more recently discovered moons.

Mimas has an enormous crater on one side, the result of an impact that nearly split the moon apart.

Enceladus displays evidence of active ice volcanism: Cassini observed warm fractures where evaporating ice evidently escapes and forms a huge cloud of water vapor over the south pole.

Hyperion has an odd flattened shape and rotates chaotically, probably due to a recent collision.

Pan orbits within the main rings and helps sweep materials out of a narrow space known as the Encke Gap.

Tethys has a huge rift zone called Ithaca Chasma that runs nearly three-quarters of the way around the moon.

Four moons orbit in stable places around Saturn called Lagrangian points. These places lie 60 degrees ahead of or behind a larger moon and in the same orbit. Telesto and Calypso occupy the two Lagrangian points of Tethys in its orbit; Helene and Polydeuces occupy the corresponding Lagrangian points of Dione.

Sixteen of Saturn’s moons keep the same face toward the planet as they orbit. Called “tidal locking,” this is the same phenomenon that keeps our Moon always facing toward Earth. -NASA-

Images pictured above © Science Source

SD5537 (Saturn’s moon Phoebe)

SF6709 (Enceladus)

BV7509 (Saturn’s Moon Rhea)

BG4698 (Saturn’s moon Titan)

SE9483 (Saturn’s moon Dione)

BG8020 (Saturn’s moon Hyperion)

SF7262 (Epimetheus)

BZ8002 (Tethys)

SF6710 (Mimas)

BV7511 (Saturn Moon’s Telesto)

How Breast Cancer Usurps the Powers of Mammary Stem Cells

During pregnancy, certain hormones trigger specialized mammary stem cells to create milk-producing cells essential to lactation. Scientists at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Moores Cancer Center have found that mammary stem cells associated with the pregnant mammary gland are related to stem cells found in breast cancer. 

Writing in the August 11, 2014 issue of Developmental Cell, David A. Cheresh, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Pathology and vice-chair for research and development, Jay Desgrosellier, PhD, assistant professor of pathology and colleagues specifically identified a key molecular pathway associated with aggressive breast cancers that is also required for mammary stem cells to promote lactation development during pregnancy. 

“By understanding a fundamental mechanism of mammary gland development during pregnancy, we have gained a rare insight into how aggressive breast cancer might be treated,” said Cheresh. “This pathway can be exploited. Certain drugs are known to disrupt this pathway and may interfere with the process of breast cancer progression.”

During pregnancy, a new mammary stem cell population arises, distinct from those involved in development and maintenance of the non-pregnant gland. These stem cells remodel the breasts and lactating glands in preparation for feeding the newborn child. Normally, these stem cells contribute only to early remodeling events and are switched off by the time milk production begins.

The researchers found, however, that signals regulating stem cell activation during pregnancy appear to be hijacked by cancer cells to produce faster-growing, more aggressive tumors. “This normal pathway ends up contributing to the progression of cancer,” said Desgrosellier, first author of the study.

A connection between pregnancy and breast cancer has long been known. But the association between pregnancy and breast cancer risk is complex. While having a child reduces a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer later in life, there is also an increased short-term risk for the development of a highly aggressive form of breast cancer following each pregnancy. The current study suggests that molecules important for stem cell behavior during pregnancy may contribute to these more aggressive pregnancy-associated breast cancers, a possibility the researchers plan to investigate further.

The authors are quick to point out that their findings should not be interpreted as a reason to avoid pregnancy. The signaling pathway usurped by cancer cells is not the cause of breast cancer. Rather, they said, it may worsen or accelerate a cancer caused by other factors, such as an underlying mutation or genetic predisposition.

“Our work doesn’t speak to the actual cause of cancer. Rather, it explains what can happen once cancer has been initiated,” said Cheresh. “Here’s an analogy: To get cancer, you first have to start with an oncogene, a gene that carries a mutation and has the potential to initiate cancer. Think of the oncogene as turning on a car’s ignition. The signaling pathway exploited by cancer cells is like applying gas. It gets the car moving, but it means nothing if the oncogene hasn’t first started the process.”

The researchers focused on a family of cell surface receptor proteins called integrins that act as key communications conduits, ultimately zeroing in on the role of one member of this family called beta-3 integrin. Also known as CD61, it was already linked to metastasis and resistance to cancer drugs.

Cheresh noted that CD61 represents a good marker for the incriminated signaling pathway involved in both mammary development during pregnancy and cancer. It’s easily detected and could be used to both diagnose and treat breast cancer cases. “Detecting CD61 might help doctors determine what kind of therapeutic approach to use, knowing that they might be dealing with a more aggressive yet treatable form of breast cancer. For example, there are existing drugs that block CD61 signaling, which might be another potential aspect of treatment.”

(via knowscience)

geometrymatters:

Geometric structure of viruses

(via anxietywannamarryme)

And Don’t It Make My Blue Cheese Blue!

Scanning electron micrographs of Blue Cheese.  The blue color and flavor of the cheese is due to the Penicillin fungus. It is made from cow’s milk using the mold Penicillin to produce the blue-green marbling. Cheese is a good source of calcium, but contains high levels of fat. This is a false color scanning electron microscope image. 

See more micrographs of the cheeses we eat.

Blue cheese is believed to have been discovered by accident, when cheeses were stored in naturally temperature and moisture controlled caves, which happened to be favorable environments for many varieties of harmless mold. The characteristic flavor of blue cheeses tends to be sharp and salty. The smell of this food is due both to the mold and to types of bacteria encouraged to grow on the cheese: for example, the bacterium Brevibacterium linens is responsible for the smell of many blue cheeses, as well as foot odor and other human body odors. Yum!

Images above © Ted Kinsman / Science Source

(via sciencesourceimages)

The Cellular Power Plant!

Colored Scanning Electron Micrograph (SEM) of mitochondria and smooth endoplasmic reticulum in an ovarian granulosa-lutein cell. The cell occurs in the corpus luteum of the ovary, which develops after ovulation and secretes the hormone progesterone. Mitochondria (pink) are seen sectioned, containing tubular cristae. Active secretory cells have many mitochondria which play a role in cell respiration. Membranes of smooth endoplasmic reticulum (yellow) are also seen; commonly found in secretory cells ER synthesizes lipids and transports substances around the cell. 

See more micrographs of Mitochondria

The most prominent roles of mitochondria are to produce the energy currency of the cell, ATP, through respiration, and to regulate cellular metabolism. The central set of reactions involved in ATP production are collectively known as the citric acid cycle, or the Krebs Cycle. Other functions of the mitochondria include; regulation of the membrane, apoptosis (programmed cell death), the regulation of cellular metabolism, and steroid synthesis. 

© Professor Pietro M. Motta / Science Source

Thai Coastline Before & After 2004 Tsunami

The above GIF was created using two composite Ikonos satellite images of Thailand’s south-western coast. The first image was taken on January 13th, 2003. The second image was taken on 29 December 2004. The coast has a number of tourist resorts, including the Blue Village Pankarang resort (upper center) and the Sofitel Magic Lagoon Resort (lower center).

See more images of Tsunamis and their devastation

The 2004 Tsunami was caused by an undersea mega-thrust earthquake that occurred at 00:58:53 UTC on Sunday, 26 December 2004, with an epicenter off the west coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. The earthquake was caused when the Burma Plate subducted (slide under) the Indian Plate and triggered a series of devastating tsunamis along the coasts of most landmasses bordering the Indian Ocean, killing over 230,000 people in fourteen countries. The death toll in Thailand was in excess of 5000, with half of those being tourists.

Image above © Science Source

SE6109 (Thai coastline before 2004 tsunami)

SE6110 (Thai coastline after 2004 tsunami)

SP7289 (Underwater earthquake and tsunami)

Now THAT’S Camouflage!!

The Orchid Mantis inhabits rain forests of southeast Asia and the Indo-Australian Archipelago. They have one of the most perfect camouflage in the insect world.Their bodies are a beautiful pink and white with lobes on their legs that look like flower petals. Although this species does not necessarily live on orchids, it does look remarkably like a flower or orchid.

See more images of Orchid Mantis

They have a color and body plan designed to blend them in with the flowers they typically live on. The mantis can change its color between pink and brown, according to the color of the background. This small predator will sit within a flower waiting for an insect to approach. They then grab the potential pray with their powerful grappling arms equipped with long spines. The spines hold firmly onto prey making handling an easier prospect. 

Buy postcards or framed prints of the Orchid Mantis

Image above © Francesco Tomasinelli / Science Source

Lipids: The Bads And The Goods!

This cutaway computer artwork shows the structure of a Lipoprotein particle. Lipoproteins are the major carriers of cholesterol in the blood and are mainly composed of lipids. The complex structure includes carrier proteins (green slime-like) known as apo-B proteins, which assist transport in the blood. The outer coat consists of phospholipids (stalked spheres) and free cholesterol molecules. Within the core, cholesterol molecules (yellow) are bound into long esters by fatty acid chains.

See more illustrations of Cholesterol

The five major groups of lipoproteins are, in order of molecular size (largest to smallest) chylomicrons, very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL), intermediate-density lipoprotein (IDL), LDL, and high-density lipoprotein (HDL). Although the nickname is simplistic and thus quite misleading, LDL particles are often called “bad cholesterol” because they can transport their content of many fat molecules into artery walls, attract macrophages and thus lead to atherosclerosis. In contrast, HDL particles are frequently referred to as “good cholesterol” or healthy cholesterol, because they can remove fat molecules from macrophages in the walls of arteries.

See images of Atherosclerosis

Image above ©Springer Medizin / Science Source

(via sciencesourceimages)

scienceisbeauty:

This molecular model shows the parts of the Ebola virus scientists are studying in the hopes of finding drugs that will slow the spread of the disease. -a creepy disease by the way-

Source: Why Ebola is so dangerous (BBC)

Ebola virus disease at World Health Organization

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