Acetylcholine

July 19, 2014

Saffran.Zine

 

I chose to research acetylcholine. I had previously learned a bit about acetylcholine when researching an infection for another course I’m taking. It was really interesting to be able to learn more about this neurotransmitter and make connections with the knowledge I already had.

I tried to present as much information as I could without it being irrelevant or overwhelming. Hopefully, people can realize the importance of acetylcholine and its various functions throughout the brain and the rest of the body.

I’m not a very creative person, but I tried to make the zine colorful and include a few drawings to make it interesting and keep people’s attention. I wish that I could have been more creative or artistic!


Glycine microzine

July 19, 2014

frost.zine

         The neurotransmitter I chose to research was Glycine, simply because I hadn’t come across it before and wanted to learn about something new! I have already some knowledge on neurotransmitters such as GABA and dopamine from my study of Psychology, and was keen to look into Glycine since it is (along with GABA) arguably one of the most important neurotransmitters in the brain.

          I wanted to accurately convey scientific information/concepts, while also throwing myself into the microzine mind set. I also wanted to make sure it was an easy read for someone who had little/no knowledge about this particular neurotransmitter.

          I firstly decided to create my microzine on the computer because I wanted the information to be displayed clearly and neatly. With this in mind, I tried to go for a colourful, vibrant vibe with my microzine. I also wanted to display a couple of diagrams to assist the concepts (for example, the synapse on the front cover which was drawn using Paint!)


Melatonin

July 19, 2014

Bukzin.Zine

I chose melatonin as my neurotransmitter for my zine.   I chose melatonin because I myself have problems with sleep and have taken melatonin supplements for a long time and I thought it would be interesting for me to find out the science behind melatonin, why people have problems with it etc.  I tried to convey the basic facts about melatonin without getting too overwhelming.  I made sure to only say the basic information so anyone could pick this up, read it and understand a great deal about it.  My creative process was very simple.  I used many different fonts and colors for the visual aspect but I also included a few diagrams and photos to assist with my descriptions and explanations of melatonin.


Norepinephrine

July 19, 2014

 

 

I chose norepinephrine, an excitatory neurotransmitter that causes the brain to feel of intense focus and awareness. I chose it because I had remembered hearing about it from biology class, when we were studying the endocrine system. I knew that the adrenal glands released epinephrine and norepinephrine, but I didn’t know anything about norepinephrine’s dual function as a chemical neurotransmitter. Thus, it was interesting to learn about the many different effects when norepinephrine bonds to synaptic receptors.

I tried to convey that norepinephrine is an excitatory molecule. All of norepinephrine’s effects are somehow related to energy and excitement: increasing blood flow to the brain, activating glucose energy stores, causing a sense of awareness, activating the fight-or-flight response, increasing heart rate, etc. That’s why I chose the title “In the Zone” for this Zine.

In terms of creative process, I tried not to let the pictures and gimmicks interfere with the overall scientific information. I did use shading, and I added pictures of lightning bolts and frightened faces because they fit with my theme. Otherwise, I let my natural instincts decide how to embellish things.

Gong.Zine


Research Exercise

July 19, 2014

Popular media article
“Why Coffee Is Good For Many Hispanics’ Health”
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/04/coffee-hispanic-health_n_5093415.html
This article talks about the study conducted on the effects of coffee in relation to cirrhosis mortality. It focuses on this study in relation with another study, which showed that Hispanics were twice as much vulnerable to chronic liver disease compared to “non-Hispanic whites”. By putting these two studies together, the article is able to make the connection that Hispanics should be drinking two or more cups of coffee per day to reduce their risks of death from liver cirrhosis by 66%. The authors of this piece make it seem as though they have come up with a solution for Hispanics, specifically, regarding this issue.

Primary Literature article
“Coffee, alcohol and other beverages in relation to cirrhosis mortality: The Singapore Chinese Health Study”
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/hep.27054/abstract
This study observes the correlation between coffee consumption as well as the consumption of other beverages, such as black tea, fruit ice, or soft drinks, and the risk of cirrhosis mortality. This research was carried out amongst a population of 63,275 middle-aged and older Chinese subjects. The follow-up check ups resulted in the findings that daily drinkers who drank two or more cups of coffee had a 66% decline in the risk for death from cirrhosis. Other beverages were not associated with the mortality risks of cirrhosis. In conclusion, the study showed that coffee had a positive impact on people with non-viral hepatitis risk of cirrhosis.

Do you think the popular piece accurately reflects the scientific finding?

The popular piece does provide some of the main factual information and findings provided by the study, but does not go further to explain it in the circumstance of the study. On the other hand, the study itself is informative, while clearly explaining its purpose, data, and conclusion. It is not trying to sell its study, which prevents it from making biased and distorted statements. The popular article, however, tries to use the information in the study selectively to formulate a solution to a significant issue, while targeting Hispanic people at risk for cirrhosis.

 How are these two different?
These two pieces are different in that the study focuses solely on its own findings and its data to reach a conclusion, while the popular article connects this study to another to prove its argument and reach its conclusion. Although the two studies were not similar enough to be used in the same context, the popular article made it look as though their solution was justified by simply placing the two studies in the same piece. The audience is going to believe it, because the article has all the information they want to hear. They do not realize the skewed difference between this article and the original study, which prevents them from understanding the information from the study in context.

Where is the aspects exaggerated or misrepresented?

The popular article starts out with, “Are you a Hispanic? Do you like coffee? Well good news, your fondness for that “cup of joe” can be showing you liver some love.” This is a hook that gets people reading such articles, as it addresses someone personally by asking a question. The article goes on to state facts and subsequent interpretations based on the two studies presented in this article. However, the article is is not particularly correct in connecting these two studies. The first study compares the risks for cirrhosis of Hispanics in comparison to non-Hispanic whites. The second study clearly states that, “Limited experimental and epidemiologic data suggest that coffee may reduce hepatic damage in chronic liver disease” The popular article has misinterpreted the context of the study, resulting in an article that promotes coffee amongst the Hispanic population. Coffee could be effective on the Hispanic population, but it is not possible to make such assumptions based on a study on a different population.

 How would you improve the popular media piece?
This popular piece could be improved by firstly changing the misleading title into something more study-centric. Sensationalism does not have to be risked, as appropriate and relevant comparisons can also lead to an engaging article, while simultaneously promoting the study in the right context. Context is extremely essential to evidence, as it is crucial to provide some background information so that the readers can get the complete picture. Many people read only one article on the topic, and that article should be able to give them all the necessary information in a simple but effective manner.


Glutamate

July 19, 2014

I chose to research glutamate because it is currently part of a study on epilepsy in a neuroscience lab I am currently working in. In the making of my flip book I tried to convey the importance of this neurotransmitter in cell communication, as it is present in nearly every cell. I attempted to use a cartoon-like style to present the information I found. I used a lot of different colors in order to make the information more organized and memorable. Also, I wanted to make the information visually appealing and make the reader sort of excited to read it.Cathey.Brianna.Zine


Serotonin

July 19, 2014

What neurotransmitter did you choose and why? I chose serotonin because it was 1 of the 2 I had heard of. (Dopamine seemed like a very popular pick so I went the road less traveled) .

What message did you try to convey? I tried to show the non-“trippy” side of serotonin. A lot of the time it is associated with LSD and psychedelic drugs so I attempted to stay away from that.

Describe a little bit about your creative process too, why you designed it like you did, what look were you going for, etc. Contrary to my last answer, I used a psychadelic theme with a lot of different colors.


Microzine: Dopamine

July 18, 2014

I chose to create my zine on dopamine. I had heard of dopamine before, but did not know exactly what its role was in the brain. In biology class a few years ago I had heard that cocaine affected the brain’s levels of dopamine, but that was the extent of my knowledge on the neurotransmitter. Thus, I was eager to learn more about is with this assignment.

With my microzine, I tried to convey the importance of dopamine in a friendly, educational way. I wanted people to understand not only the importance of the neurotransmitter, but also its use in the brain.

As for my creative process, I kind of winged it! I’m not very artistic, so I tried to make up for that by using lots of colors and making the zine look fun. I added a few drawings as visual aids of dopamine as well. I wanted the zine to be informative, but not intimidating, so I really tried to go for a fun, friendly feel.

 

nawrocki.zine


Microzine: Dopamine

July 18, 2014

I chose to research dopamine because I had heard of it before but never knew much about the neurotransmitter. It seemed very interesting, and I wanted to learn more. In my microzine I tried to convey a general understanding of the neurotransmitter dopamine. I designed it with a picture on each page to convey the message of the information written on that page. Housman.Hope.Zine


Research Exercise

July 18, 2014

Popular Media Piece:

A Stinky Compound May Protect Against Cell Damage, Study Finds by Laura Stampler

http://time.com/2976464/rotten-eggs-hydrogen-sulfide-mitochondria/

Note: The article was revised and corrected after the magazine was criticized for incorrectly interpreting the information. However, original quotes and information can be found in this article, which picks apart Stampler’s original piece: “Scientists Say Smelling Farts Might Prevent Cancer”.

http://mic.com/articles/93482/no-smelling-farts-won-t-actually-prevent-cancer

Primary Source:

“The synthesis and functional evaluation of a mitochondria-targeted hydrogen sulfide donor, (10-oxo-10-(4-(3-thioxo-3H-1,2-dithiol-5-yl)phenoxy)decyl) triphenylphosphonium bromide (AP39)”

http://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2014/md/c3md00323j#!divAbstract

The media piece revolves around an experiment conducted at the University of Exeter. The article explains to the reader that the findings of this experiment demonstrate that the smell of human flatulence and rotten eggs may be useful in repairing cells that were damaged from diseases such as cancer. Stampler reports that the experiment concluded that the exposure of cells to hydrogen sulfide gas prevents their mitochondria from being damaged.

Do you think the popular piece accurately reflects the scientific finding?

The original article was revised and corrected after the author was criticized for her misinterpretation of the experiment. This original article can no longer be found. The original article was called “Scientists Say Smelling Farts Might Prevent Cancer”, but this title was changed when the article was revised. There are many bloggers and writers, however, that have written pieces criticizing the original article. The original piece was wildly inaccurate.The author exaggerated certain aspects of the research that seemed promising in order to make her article more “media friendly” by offering shocking information to the public. The article went viral immediately after it came out as it basically stated that “smelling farts” could cure cancer.

How are these two different?

As mentioned earlier, Stampler exaggerated certain aspects of the experiment in order to make it more shocking and appealing to the audience. For example, the author had stated that “although the stinky gas can be noxious in large doses, the researchers seem to think that a whiff here and there has the power to reduce risks of cancer, strokes, heart attacks, arthritis and dementia by preserving mitochondria”. This was not at all the result of the experiment. In truth, the experiment simply stated that hydrogen sulfide seems to have a strengthening effect on our mitochondria. There was no mention of cancer or implication that this discovery was in any way a cure for cancer. 

Where is the aspects exaggerated or misrepresented?

According to the primary source, hydrogen sulfide is naturally produced by the body in high quantities and is part of a compound called AP39 which may help strengthen mitochondria. The mitochondria is known for helping to fight certain diseases, however nowhere in the article does it say that these findings prove that hydrogen sulfide could be responsible for preventing diseases such as cancer. This is where the exaggeration comes in. Firstly, the author found her first opportunity to shock and attract with the title : Smelling Farts Might Prevent Cancer. It is made clear in the article that the cells would have to be exposed to small quantities of hydrogen sulfide NOT farts. Furthermore, the author stated that the experiment proves that hydrogen sulfide is able to cure certain diseases (that were not mentioned in the experiment), when the purpose of the experiment was merely to get an idea of how much of the compound should be used in order to actually be useful in dealing with disease. This is a very big difference!

How would you improve the popular media piece?

The media piece was improved by the author herself, and I believe that this revised piece is much more accurate. If it had been up to me, I would definitely have changed the title. The original was misleading and a complete misinterpretation of information. Furthermore, I would make sure that I am only stating what is absolutely true according to the research. I would take out any over-the-top assertions regarding the healing qualities of hydrogen sulfide on patients with cancer or other such diseases. I would state that the scientists researched the effect of cellular exposure to hydrogen sulfide and found out that the compound strengthens mitochondria. I would say that this research has the potential of becoming very useful in the medical field as researchers continue to look at the amounts of hydrogen sulfide needed in order to prevent certain diseases or aid in treatment.