Gillian Glover -WIKISPACEBIOLOGY 111

Post # 1-Article:

Why Hair Turns Gray; New Research Finally Tells Us
It is the unfortunate truth that our hair will one day turn gray. Some people hide this biological sign of old age by dying their hair; a pretty costly means of trying to retain their youthful look. So why does hair turn gray as we age anyway? There were many different explanations to this perplexed questions asked by mankind for so many years. European scientists have gotten to the root of the problem (literally) and discovered the true reason why.
Hair turns gray because of a massive bulid up of hydrogen peroxide after years wear and tear on our hair. This blocks normal synthesis of melanin, the hair pigment. Well why does this happen you might ask? Well according to the scientists reasearch they discovered that there was a reduction in the enzymes that break down hydrogen peroxide into water and oxygen. Hair follicles could not fix this damage caused because of the low levels in the enzymes that would normally carry out this function. And to add to it all "high levels of hydrogen peroxide and low levels of MSR A and B, disrupt the formation of an enzyme (tyrosinase) that leads to the production of melanin in hair follicles." Basically your colour doesn't stand a chance.
This got me thinking that if they have finally solved the reasoning behind the pigmentation loss, are they going to be able to create a corrective solution for it? Maybe theres a chemical to be discovered that can actually slow or even stop the graying of hair. I'm no scientist but with this discovery I can foresee forty year olds and up saving a lot of money on their monthly hair appointments.

(Credit: iStockphoto/Kevin Russ)
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (2009, February 24). Why Hair Turns Gray Is No Longer A Gray Area: Our Hair Bleaches Itself As We Grow Older. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 6, 2009, from­ /releases/2009/02/090223131123.htm

Post # 2-Article/Video:
Biophysicists Grow Pretty Bacteria In Petri Dishes To Find Antibiotics

"Biophysicists are growing Petri dishes of different species of bacteria in order to develop new antibiotics. The bacteria are subjected to different temperatures and have limited food sources inside the dish. Despite these conditions, most colonies tend to communicate and reproduce. Their growth results in unique patterns of varying colors--a sort of 'bacteria painting.' Researchers are hoping to learn more about the strategies the bacteria use to thrive, in order to find weaknesses that new drugs could exploit."
I thought this video and article was interesting because it showed how scientists would go about discovering antibiotics for different bacteria that cause sickness. It was amazing to see how resourceful these bacteria are with some being able to soak up the antibiotics and transform themselves into new strain that are less sensitive to the drug to protect themselves from the rest of the colony.
CLICK HERE to view video and read article

American Physical Society, and Ivanhoe Broadcast News. (December 1, 2008). Biophysicists Grow Pretty Bacteria In Petri Dishes To Find Antibiotics. Science Daily. Retrieved 18 October, 2009, from

Post # 3- Article
The "Tall" Truth about Jealousy

Researchers from the Universities of Groningen and Valencia have discovered a link between a persons height and the jealousy they feel towards another. They asked 549 men and women in the Newtherlands and Spain to "rate how jealous they felt and to identify the qualities in a romantic competitor that were most likely to bug them." Men were generally most jealous of attractive, rich, and strong rivals were increasingly so the shorter they were, whereas women were most jealous of others beauty and charm but least so if their own height was average. According to research this makes evolutionary sense because taller men do better with ladies and women of medium height who have the best health, fertility, and popularity with men. But this is not the case in all situations, and when faced with socially or physically powerful rivals it was medium height woman who actually felt more jealous then smaller or taller women. This may be because socially well connected, or tall and strong women pose a threat since they may win the conflicts usually non-existing with medium feminine favorites; including phsical fights... " Taller women are more dominant and have greater fighting abilities than shorter women," writes the researchers in Evolution and Human Behavior.
Who knew your height could be so strongly linked to your emotions! When I did further research on the topic I discovered that a mans height can also be linked to how financially successful they are.


(March 15-21, 2008). Why small people fall foul of the green-eyed monster. New Scientist, In Brief Pg. 19.

Post #4
Your Brains Perspective

So last year in PDCP Mrs. Boutlier showed us this video of a virtual ballerina spinning...and at first it didn’t seem like the most interesting thing. That is until we realized some of us were seeing the ballerina move counter-clockwise while others were seeing it move clockwise and some were even seeing it switch directions. You can imagine how confused we were. I sat there for about twenty minutes staring at this ballerina spin until finally I saw her switch directions (I was one of the last to see the miracle). When I researched this I found out that the direction you see the ballerina spinning depends on your brain activity at the moment. If you see her moving clockwise this means you are using more of the right side of your brain at the moment and if you see her moving counter-clockwise the left.

uses logic
detail oriented
facts rule
words and language
present and past
math and science
can comprehend
order/pattern perception
knows object name
reality based
forms strategies

uses feeling
"big picture" oriented
imagination rules
symbols and images

present and future
philosophy & religion
can "get it" (i.e. meaning)
spatial perception
knows object function
fantasy based
presents possibilities
risk taking

Here is a video of the spinning ballerina. Sit down with a friend or family member and watch her spinning. You will see her switch directions at different times, or you may not see her switch at all. Give it a try! (Hint: watch the shadow of her feet, I found that it helped)
Herald Sun, . (2007, October 09). Right brain v left brain. Retrieved from

Post #5- Information
A “Nailing” Truth

We clip them; we file them; we buff them; we paint them; but why do we have them? Ever wonder what nails are and what their importance on our body is. I know I have. Your nails serve you with more purpose than most would think. They support the tissues of the fingers and toes, to safeguard the fingertips and the tips of the toes from injury, assist us in picking up small objects, help us manipulate objects, and of course help us with those itchy spots.

· Nails are made up of keratin, like our hair. Believe it or not nails are pretty complex.
· The hard part is called the nail plate and underneath is a network of tiny blood vessels that give the nail a light pink tint.
· The whitish half moon shaped area at the base of the nail is called the lunula. It’s shape and pale colour come from the nail cells that are not fully matured.
· The cuticle is the thin tissue that overlaps the nail plate and surrounds the base of the nail. Its purpose is to protect the nail from debris that could cause infection.
· The nail bed is the finger tissue underneath the nail plate. It contributes to nail growth by supplying it nutrition through the tiny blood vessels through it.
· The matrix is the area beneath the cuticle. Here the keratin is created when nail cells divide and lengthen the nail plate.

Ever wonder how your nail sticks to the nail bed? “Both the nail bed's surface and the nail plate's underside feature vertical ridges and depressions that fit together like puzzle pieces, locking the bed and plate together.”

This is the woman with the world's longest nails... kind of gross.
Woman with the worlds longest nails.

To get a more detailed description about the parts of your nail visit the link below!

Brain, R. (2007, December 5). What are Nails and Why do We Have Them?. Retrieved December 7, 2009, from­are-­Nails-­and-­Why-­do-­We-­Have-­Them?&id=866341

Post #6- Video
Kids, Don’t Smoke!
This video pretty much gives you every stat out there on the negative effects of smoking. It’s a scary reminder on how bad smoking really is. It says smoking cause 1 out of 5 deaths in America wow eh, I didn’t realize it was that deadly. And I bet you didn’t know that smokers are more likely to become sick because their bodies have a build up of mucus where bacteria and virus like to breed. This video is full of new facts.

illumistream , . (Producer). (2007). The Real cost of smoking. [Web]. Retrieved from

Post # 7- Article
Got Milk
During most of human history the ability to digest lactose (the principle sugar of milk) ended once a baby was weaned off breast milk because there was no further need for the lactase enzyme that broke the particular sugar down. That is until cattle became domesticated and their meat and milk began to be consumed. Natural selection favoured this mutation that kept the lactase gene switched on throughout adolescence and adulthood. “Such a mutation is known to have arisen among an early cattle-raising people, the Funnel Beaker culture, which flourished some 5,000 to 6,000 years ago in north-central Europe.”
Interestingly enough almost all Dutch people and 99% of Swedes are lactose-tolerant, but the mutation becomes less common in Europeans who live at increasing distance from the ancient Funnel Beaker region. This mutation in the human species is “one of the strongest genetic signatures of natural selection yet reported in humans,” and contained a survival advantage so powerful to its owner.

For more details read the article found at this link:

Wade, N. (2008). Study detects recent instance of human evolution. The New York Times, Retrieved from

Post # 8-Article

Okay so I came in from the cold the other day and my arms and legs were covered in goose bumps, and they wouldn’t go away! So it got me thinking what are goose bumps? I mean we’ve all had the at least once in their lifetime (once a day for me) but do we actually know what they are. So I went on a search to find the answer to this.

Goose bumps were more useful when humans had more hair, and although we have evolved to have less hair they remained. Goose bumps are caused by two things; fear and cold. It protects humans and others animals from the cold by erecting the hair (or fur) upwards trapping air which creates an added layer of insulation. Goose bumps are triggered when you are fearful because back when humans had that extra hair the hair would erect and make us appear larger. This applies still to most animals

For more details check out the site I found!

Smith, S.E. (2003). What are Goose Bumps?. Wisegeek. Retrieved (2010, January 7) from

Post 9- Article
Cell Phones Possibly Could be a Medically Good Thing!
Forget that cell phones could possibly cause a brain tumour, there is now evidence that long term exposure to electromagnetic waves could prevent and actually REVERSE Alzheimer disease. The research was led by University of South Florida researchers at the Florida Alzheimer's Disease Research Center (ADRC). Extensive research was perform on, of course, mice (poor mice) with the Alzheimer disease and mice not yet genetically exposed to the disease. Reduction of disease in both cases was proven significant when they were exposed to electromagnetic waves produced generally by cell phones! So cell phones aren`t only beneficial to our social lives and jobs but also possibly to our health. YAY.

The researchers showed that exposing old Alzheimer's mice to electromagnetic waves generated by cell phones erased brain deposits of the harmful protein beta-amyloid, in addition to preventing the protein's build-up in younger Alzheimer's mice.


University of South Florida Health (2010, January 7). Cell phone exposure may protect against and reverse Alzheimer's disease.

Post 10-Video
Man Vs. Wild
So I always watch the show Man vs. Wild and marvel at all the outrageous, dangerous, and sometimes just plain dumb things that this guy does. To be fair he does give some pretty useful survival tips (I mean if you`re ever fighting for your life on the top of a mountain or struggling with heat exhaustion in the middle of the dessert). I came across these videos where he shows you how to beat dehydration in some pretty extreme conditions (like being stranded in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean) The first video is kind of questionable... he keeps himself hydrated with bird feces water by giving himself enema (not positive where he is sticking that tube...). He always finds a way to get water using his shoelaces. Nifty to know I suppose! One thing you can learn by watching his youtube videos is that water is the key to surviving any condition and without it you aren't going to last so it is usually the first thing he shows you how to achieve.

Bear Gyllus, Initials. (Photographer). (2009). Man vs. wild. [Web]. Retrieved from

Thought this little video was appropriate to celebrate the end of the wikispaces and the near ending of this semester and a WONDERFUL biology class. hehe;)