Advanced Pillows Improve Poor Sleeping Quality and Health

Posted by on Sep 17, 2016 in Writing Assignment 1 | No Comments

Clinical scientists and doctors have always been studying and trying to improve the conditions of many sleeping problems such as headache, back pain, and shoulder pain. A report from 1954 indicates that stiff neck could result from a sudden sharp turn of the head, cold draft, or more commonly, an uncomfortable sleeping position. Though it seldom prevents the patient from working, but the sensation of stiffness and pain from the back of the neck is often bothering and also limits the victim from flexibly twisting his head. The symptom could stay for days and weeks or sometimes disappear in just a few hours (Hult, 1954). Thirty-four years later, Gustave R. Rinz filed a patent for his invention of the orthopedic pillow, a pillow case that can be inserted to a conventional pillow to prevent and relief morning headache, tension, back pain, and stiff neck (Rinz, 1988).

Recent studies have further shown that one’s sleeping condition is important to health. Sheldon Cohen, a psychology professor at Carnegie Mellon University, and his research group discovered that poorer sleep or shorter sleep duration is associated with lower resistance to illness. Sleep deprivation can reduce natural killer cell activity and increase circulations of proinflammatory particles in the body, which weakens the immune system and increases the risk of developing verifiable illnesses. In addition, Cohen found that poor sleeping quality also reduces antibody responses to both influenza immunization and hepatitis A (Cohen et al., 2009).

Current technology has made the pillow into a more convenient treatment for many sleeping problems. There are many different types of pillows designed according to individual sleeping habits. For example, stomach sleepers need a soft and fairly flat pillow, and back sleepers need a medium thick pillow. Classic pillows are the standard pillows that have no contour and are designed for sleeping both on the back and the stomach. These pillows aim to support your head and neck by alleviating your upper back. A more advanced form of pillows is contour pillows, also known as cervical pillows, which have curved surfaces and are usually made from memory foam, gel or latex. The contours provide support for the neck and also make comfortable cervical spine position. Contour pillows can help to alleviate medical conditions such as migraines, snoring, insomnia, and shoulder pain.

A recent study focused on the SONA inclined pillow, which is a triangular pillow that has space to place the arm under the head while sleeping on the side. The SONA inclined pillow was discovered to have the ability to improve sleeping conditions. This pillow can moderate or even completely stop snoring and obstructive sleep apneas. People’s health conditions can be improved by having undisturbed sleep (Zuberi et al., 2004).



Figure 1. SONA Inclined Pillow; Figure taken from Zuberi, 2004.


Moreover, technology has allowed pillows to obtain cooling properties. Gel pillows are made from polyurethane or silicone materials and aim to benefit the sleeper’s body temperature regulation. There are many benefits to sleeping at cooler temperatures. According to a published study, colder sleeping temperatures lower the risk of diabetes and metabolic diseases by providing several metabolic advantages such as doubling the amount of good fat in the subject’s body (Lee et al., 2014).

Poor sleeping quality and short sleeping duration can deteriorate one’s health.  Current technology has turned pillows into solutions to the problem. The methods to improve sleeping quality and health through advanced forms of pillows are still in progress, and scientists are working to reach this milestone.



  1. Zuberi, N.A., Rekab, K. and Nguyen, H.V. Sleep Breath (2004) 8: 201. doi:10.1007/s11325-004-0201-5
  2. Lee, P., Smith, S., Linderman, J., Courville, A.B., Brychta, R.J., Dieckmann, W., Werner, C.D., Chen, K.Y., and Celi, F.S. (2004) Temperature-Acclimated Brown Adipose Tissue Modulates Insulin Sensitivity in Humans,Diabetes2014 63(11), 3686–3698.
  3. Cohen S., Doyle W.J., Alper C.M., Janicki-Deverts D., and Turner R.B. (2009) Sleep Habits and Susceptibility to the Common Cold. Arch Intern Med. 169(1):62-67. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2008.505.
  4. Hult L. (1954) The Munkfors Investigation: A Study of the Frequency and Causes of the Stiff Neck-Brachialgia and Lumbago-Sciatica Syndromes, as Well as Observations on Certain Signs and Symptoms from the Dorsal Spine and the Joints of the Extremities in Industrial and Forest Workers, Acta Orthopaedica Scandinavica, 25:sup16, 3-76. DOI: 10.3109/ort.1954.25.suppl-16.01
  5. Rinz, G.R. (1988) Pillowcase and Insert for Converting Conventional Pillow Into An Orthopedic Pillow. United States Patent.

The Origins of The Elements From The Basis of Chemical Reactions In Massive Stars In Deep Space

Posted by on Sep 17, 2016 in Writing Assignment 1 | No Comments

All of the elements on the Periodic Table have some origin. From the smallest and most basic of elements to the biggest ones, that were created naturally, they all seem to have a similar origin. The most basic elements, hydrogen and helium, have supposedly arisen from the Big Bang. Primarily hydrogen was brought about by the Big Bang initially. Supposedly there is “enough cool, neutral gas to form all the starts visible today” and the “decrease of gas content… reflects the conversion of gas into stars” (Pei et al., 1999). After the other remnants in the vastness of space would condense, which included mostly gases, and eventually heat up, the masses would eventually form stars. In them, “the first thermonuclear reactions to take place are those that convert deuterium, lithium, beryllium, and boron into helium” (Cameron, 1957).

The nuclear reaction goes on in even our sun, where hydrogen is used in a nuclear reaction to create helium, and nuclear reactions such as these are continuous throughout the universe, with smaller elements becoming the fuel for bigger elements through these nuclear reactions. “In this sequence an intermediate-mass star evolves from an oxygen-rich to a carbon-rich (C) star. This evolution is explained as the result of a series of nucleosynthetic and mixing event, which alter the C/O ratio from the values typical of the first giant branch stars to the enhancements found in C stars” (Abia & Wallerstein, 1997). Essentially, bigger elements are created by the fusion reactions of smaller elements and the conditions that allow for these reactions happen within stars.

While stars create bigger and bigger elements, they eventually run out of ‘fuel’ to allow for the reactions and eventually explode, scattering their vast atomic contents across the universe. Stars are able to continue this process for only so long before exploding and so the question of even bigger elements comes into mind. Humanity hasn’t found certain elements yet as they have been too big, but some have been created here on the Earth, “man has been able to produce artificially the neutron, technetium, promethium, and ten transuranic elements” (Burbidge et al., 1957). The creation of these elements has posed much danger as such extreme conditions are required to make them. With something going wrong, “there is no question that this type of action would serve to contaminate a considerable area to a dangerous degree” (Hamilton, 1949). Consequently there haven’t been too many man-made elements as it is dangerous, but more possibilities are being discovered.



Figure 1. - Mean Metallicity of Interstellar gas in galaxies in units of the solar value and comoving density of heavy elements in galaxies.

Figure 1. – Mean Metallicity of Interstellar gas in galaxies in units of the solar value and comoving density of heavy elements in galaxies. (Pei, et al., 1999)


Works Cited

Abia, C. “Heavy-element Abundances in Seven SC Stars and Several Related Stars.”          Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 293.1 (1998): 89-106.

Burbidge, E. Margaret, G. Burbidge R., William Fowler A., and F. Hoyle. “Synthesis of    The Elements In Stars.Reviews of Modern Physics 29.4 (1957): 548-51.

Cameron, A. G. W. “NUCLEAR REACTIONS IN STARS AND NUCLEOGENESIS.”   Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific 69.408 (1957): 201-22.

Hamilton, Joseph G. “The Metabolism of the Radioactive Elements Created by Nuclear    Fission — NEJM.The New England Journal of Medicine 22nd ser. 240 (1949):       n. pag.             The New England Journal of Medicine.

Pei, Yichuan C., S. Fall Michael, and Michael Hauser G. “Cosmic Histories of Stars, Gas,Heavy Elements, and Dust in Galaxies.The Astrophysical Journal 522.2 (1999):       n. pag. IOPSciecnce.

Cultivation of Big Data and Crowdsourcing Software Development

Posted by on Sep 16, 2016 in Writing Assignment 1 | No Comments

Yelp has been one of the most successful crowdsourcing websites ever since its start in 2004 more than a decade ago. Besides having a social media aspect, it is granted that there is a lot of data science involved given the countless businesses and reviews that are posted on Yelp. It’s most successful feat was utilizing Computer Science to create a product that not only attracts many users to build a large and sustainable community base, but also involves up-to-date algorithms to upkeep the system. Reviews are invaluable to a business – statistics show that higher star ratings are correlated with higher revenue. Findings show that an increase in one star can lead to a 5-9 percent increase in revenue for the business. (Luca 2016) Therefore, businesses will have incentive to create fake reviews. Yelp attempts to counteract this by implementing a filter to detect fake reviews. (Kamerer 2014) To do so, machine learning algorithms are used in order to distinguish legitimate reviews from fake reviews. (Mukherjee, et al.) Furthermore, text data mining is necessary in order to utilize these algorithms to produce data. (Mukherjee, et al.) Interestingly enough, to expand the possibility for innovation that will drive the website way into the future, Yelp consistently hosts challenges that will allow scientists to download parts of legitimate data sets from Yelp for the purpose of creating a new way to use it.

Figure 1: Word cloud for restaurant reviews (Kamerer)

Figure 1: Word cloud for restaurant reviews (Kamerer)

The data sets consist of a stockpile of information including a user database, business database, review database. There are 366715 users, 61184 businesses, and 1569264 reviews available from the Yelp data set. (Yu, et al.) Each of these files are stored in JSON, JavaScript Object Notation. This is a format that describes an object through attributes. In the case of the data sets, these objects could be users, businesses, and reviews. There are countless possibilities for things that could be done with these large data sets. For example, we could create different types of algorithms that would predict a business’ star rating just by the content of the reviews. (Yu, et. al) Furthermore, you could also extract text from reviews for latent subtopics that could potentially help businesses improve their services by observing a “hidden” demand. (Huang, et. al 2014)

As media evolves, companies that rely on technology need to stay on the forefront in order to maintain a status in the online world. In keeping technologically updated, recruiting computer scientists and engineers in their endeavor to constantly keep their website/software updated is a popular tactic used by many other companies, such as Google. Many of these big name companies host Code Challenges that allow them to gather ideas as well as recruit valuable members in the future. In this context, Computer Scientists can be imagined as working in a lab to rapidly create new ways of using changing technology.



Works Cited

Fan, Mingming, and Maryam Khademi. “Predicting a Business Star in Yelp from Its Reviews

Text Alone.” ArXiv Preprint ArXiv:1401.0864 (2014): n. pag. [1401.0864] Predicting a Business Star in Yelp from Its Reviews Text Alone. Web. 16 Sept. 2016.

Huang, J.; Rogers, S.; Joo, E. (2014). Improving Restaurants by Extracting Subtopics from Yelp

Reviews. In iConference 2014 (Social Media Expo)

Kamerer, David. “Understanding the Yelp review filter: An exploratory study.” First

Monday [Online], 19.9 (2014): n. pag. Web. 12 Sep. 2016

Luca, Michael. “Reviews, Reputation, and Revenue: The Case of” Harvard Business

School Working Paper, No. 12-016, September 2011. (Revised March 2016. Revise and resubmit at the American Economic Journal – Applied Economics.)

Mukherjee, Arjun, Venkataraman, Vivek, Liu, Bing, AND Glance, Natalie. “What Yelp Fake

Review Filter Might Be Doing?” International AAAI Conference on Web and Social

Media (2013): n. pag. Web. 12 Sep. 2016

Yu, Mengqi, Meng Xue, and Wenjia Ouyang. “Restaurants Review Star Prediction for Yelp




cs is cool ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

Need for Clinical Intervention to Improve Communication in Head and Neck Cancer Survivors

Posted by on Sep 16, 2016 in Writing Assignment 1 | No Comments

Figure 1. Shows disfigurement after HNC treatment (Park)

Head and neck cancer (HNC) accounts for approximately 3% of cancers in the U.S. The American Cancer Society estimates over 60,000 new HNC cancer cases in the U.S. in 2016, and roughly 500,000 HNC survivors. Although deemed “cancer free,” these survivors must still cope with the physical and psychological consequences of treatment. A study conducted in 2011 interviewed the caregivers of 39 HNC patients on the topic of “Reading the Patient.” This qualitative study showed some common methods of communicating with the patient including “Giving Voice,” “Being There,” “Giving Control,” “Saving Face,” “Normalizing,” “Relieving Pain,” and “Giving Hope.” This study suggests that HNC patients need access to technology and care that eases nonverbal communication and helps them overcome issues such as disfigurement and body image. (McGrory) In a 2015 qualitative study, 14 HNC survivors were interviewed regarding communication changes after their HNC treatment. The responses fell into four different categories: “impairments in communication sub-systems,” “the challenges of communicating in everyday life,” “broad ranging effects of communication changes,” and “adaptations as a result of communication changes.” It was concluded that psychosocial side effects of treatment need to be accounted for when caring for a HNC patient. (Nund)
Some studies have also shown that HNC can result in both constructive and destructive consequences in terms of effective communication. In one instance, a 2012 interview study conducted on a sample of n=39 HNC survivors revealed that there were both positive (“going deeper into life”) and negative (“change in communication”) aspects of survivorship. In addition to causing functional deficits, HNC forces people to consider larger and deeper aspects of life as a result of difficult circumstances. (Fletcher) Research has shown that there are negative psychosocial and physical side effects of HNC treatment that clinicians must consider when coming up with a recovery plan.



Dooks, P., McQuestion, M., Goldstein, D., & Molassiotis, A. (2012). Experiences of patients with laryngectomies as they reintegrate into their community. Supportive Care in Cancer, 20(3), 489-498.

Fletcher, B. S., Cohen, M. Z., Schumacher, K., & Lydiatt, W. (2012). A blessing and a curse: head and neck cancer survivors’ experiences. Cancer nursing, 35(2), 126-132.

McGrory, A. (2010). Communicating with head and neck cancer patients.ORL-head and neck nursing: official journal of the Society of Otorhinolaryngology and Head-Neck Nurses, 29(3), 7-11.

Nund, R. L., Rumbach, A. F., Debattista, B. C., Goodrow, M. N., Johnson, K. A., Tupling, L. N., … & Porceddu, S. V. (2015). Communication changes following non-glottic head and neck cancer management: The perspectives of survivors and carers. International journal of speech-language pathology,17(3), 263-272.

O’Brien, K., Roe, B., Low, C., Deyn, L., & Rogers, S. N. (2012). An exploration of the perceived changes in intimacy of patients’ relationships following head and neck cancer. Journal of clinical nursing, 21(17‐18), 2499-2508.

Park, M. (2010). Oral cancer’s toll cruel. Retrieved September 12, 2016, from

So, W. K., Choi, K. C., Chen, J. M., Chan, C. W., Fung, O. W., Wan, R. W., … & Bernice, W. L. (2014). Quality of life in head and neck cancer survivors at 1 year after treatment: the mediating role of unmet supportive care needs.Supportive Care in Cancer, 22(11), 2917-2926.

Cyberknife: Robotic Radiosurgery Shows Promise for Accurately Targeting and Treating Cancerous Lesions

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Ariana Gopal

Cyberknife: Robotic Radiosurgery Shows Promise for Accurately Targeting and Treating Cancerous Lesions

              Cyberknife is a form of robotic radiosurgery that is geared toward precisely targeting cancerous masses in the body.  Paired with real-time imaging, the radiosurgery is delivered from an adjustable robotic arm that points a high dose linear beam of radiation to a target site (Shinohara, 2016).  Before the radiation therapy is applied to the target site, an individualized treatment plan must be created.  First, an imagining technique such as an MRI is evaluated to determine how much radiation therapy can be handled by the specific cancer site (Chang et al., 1998). After this is established, the three dimensional geometry of the cancer lesion can be devised and used by the Cyberknife system to determine the optimum beam dosage for the cancer site, and ultimately provide the safest and most efficient treatment for the patient (Chang et al., 1998).

Past research on the Cyberknife has shown promise in its ability to successfully target cancerous lesions.  For example, a research study conducted in 2004 indicated that the Cyberknife was capable of delivering treatment at an average positional error of 0.2-0.4 mm to spinal cancer sites, indicative of how precise this radiosurgery system can be (Yu et al., 2004).  A 1998 study evaluated the efficiency of Cyberknife radiosurgery for 72 patients with cancerous tumors in the intracranial region (Yu et al., 1998).  After 9 months post-treatment, 32% of patients reported no visible tumors, 63% tumor shrinkage, and 5% tumor enlargement (Chang et al., 1998).   Additionally, research using the Cyberknife system on spinal lesions showed spinal pain improvement in over 90% of patients with no reported neurological deficits or radiation toxicity post treatment (Gerszten et al., 2004).  This study also shed light on the outpatient nature and speedy recovery time associated with Cyberknife surgery.

Since these studies were conducted, the Cyberknife has been modified to reduce treatment duration and new algorithms have been programmed to improve the system’s calculation of radiation dosage (Dieterich & Gibbs, 2011).  However, as clearly exemplified in the research above, Cyberknife procedures have predominantly been conducted on patients with cancerous lesions directly effecting aspects of their nervous system.  Additional literature can be reviewed to determine what other types of cancerous tissues have been targeted using the Cyberknife system, such as the lung and the prostate.  It would also be helpful to compare the impact of Cyberknife to other cancer treatment methods, such as traditional radiation therapy and surgery.  Nevertheless, as deduced from this current review, the Cyberknife does show promise in terms of safety, accuracy, and effectively treating cancerous lesions of the brain and spine.


Figure 1: The Preliminary Design of the Cyberknife System (Chang et al., 1998)



Chang, S. D., Murphy, M., Geis, P., Martin, D. P., Hancock, S. L., Doty, J. R., & Adler, J. J.  (1998). Clinical Experience with Image-guided Robotic Radiosurgery (the Cyberknife) in the Treatment of Brain and Spinal Cord Tumors. Neurologia Medico-chirurgica Neurol. Med. Chir.(Tokyo), 38(11), 780-783.

Dieterich, S., & Gibbs, I. C. (2011). The CyberKnife in Clinical Use: Current Roles, Future Expectations [Abstract]. IMRT, IGRT, SBRT Frontiers of Radiation Therapy and Oncology, 181 -194.

Gerszten, P., Ozhasoglu, C., Burton, S., Vogel, W., Atkins, B., Kalnicki, S., & Welch, W. (2004). Cyberknife Frameless Stereotactic Radiosurgery for the Treatment of Spinal Lesions: Clinical Experience in 125 Cases [Abstract]. Neurosurgery, 55(1).

Shinohara, E. (2016). Radiation Therapy: Which Type is Right for Me?

Yu, C., Main, W., Taylor, D., Kuduvalli, G., Apuzzo, M. L., Adler, J. R., & Wang, M. Y. (2004).  An Anthropomorphic Phantom Study of the Accuracy of CyberKnife Spinal Radiosurgery [Abstract]. Neurosurgery, 55(5), 1138-1149.

The Dangers of Cosmic Radiation and Possible Future Solutions

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As space technology becomes more advanced and flights manned flights become longer, the perils of outer space will only become more dangerous for astronauts. As we have not yet started traveling far enough to require new fuel sources or relativistic speeds, the most prevalent health issue related to contemporary space travel is cosmic radiation.

Cosmic radiation in space is much different than on Earth. The Earth’s atmosphere deters the high energy particles that become so deadly in outer space (Durante 1247). On top of that, the wide array and randomness of particles in space makes the effects of radiation very hard to predict (Cucinotta 460). Prolonged exposure to this radiation can readily cause many varied health problems such as cancer or eye cataracts (Cucinotta 464).

The most obvious solution to the issue of radiation is to maintain a shield around the spaceship. The most likely metal candidates are lead (most likely too heavy to be used efficiently) and aluminum. The problem with these shields is that cosmic radiation causes with the nuclei in the shield to split and cause further radiation damage to the humans onboard. Figure 1 shows the probability of an aluminum shield withstanding the barrage of cosmic radiation particles over a certain period of time. Note that the mass of the shield does not seem to have much of an effect on the probability. Other nonmetal materials have yet to be extensively tested for their potential application aboard spaceships (Setlow 1014-1015).


Figure 1. Probability of complete radiation protection by an aluminum shield of variable mass over a variable length of time (from Setlow 1015)

Figure 1. Probability of complete radiation protection by an aluminum shield of variable mass over a variable length of time (from Setlow 1015)

If the structure of spacecraft cannot be properly made to stop cosmic radiation, then there may instead be hope for protecting the astronauts themselves. Research suggests that several different drugs, such as vitamin E and the steroid 5-androstenediol, may be administered to reduce tissue damage from radiation (Seed 240-243).

Before medicating astronauts becomes widely practiced, another method may be used to ensure they are safe: adapting them to the radiation. Humans living in more highly radioactive areas have consistently proven that they are less susceptible to the effects of radiation. Mortazavi and his team even assert that chronic exposure to radiation can make a potential astronaut build up an immunity or at least a resistance (Mortazavi 1544-1547). In the future, spaceships might not even defend against radiation as all astronauts (potentially a large percentage of the population) may become immune to the effects of cosmic radiation.



  1. Durante, Marco, and Francis A. Cucinotta. “Physical basis of radiation protection in space travel.” Reviews of Modern Physics 83.4 (2011): 1245.
  2. Mortazavi, SM Javad, J. R. Cameron, and A. Niroomand-Rad. “Adaptive response studies may help choose astronauts for long-term space travel.” Advances in Space Research 31.6 (2003): 1543-1551.
  3. Setlow, Richard B. “The hazards of space travel.” EMBO reports 4.11 (2003): 1013-1016.
  4. Seed, Thomas, et al. “New strategies for the prevention of radiation injury: possible implications for countering radiation hazards of long-term space travel.” Journal of radiation research 43.Suppl (2002): S239-S244.
  5. Cucinotta, F. A., et al. “Space radiation and cataracts in astronauts.” Radiation research 156.5 (2001): 460-466.


Sustainable Building: A Step Towards a Greener Future

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Ever since the beginning of the environmental movement, which commenced during the 1960s, the United States has been encouraging the use of green technology. In recent times, it has especially stressed the practice of sustainable building, also known as green building. Conventional buildings are responsible for 40% of global energy and material use. The practice of green building combats this issue by increasing the efficiency of energy, water, and raw materials during the construction process and throughout a structure’s lifetime. This can be achieved by reducing the use of rare resources and by including green technology in the designs of buildings (Tandon, 2016). In comparison to a standard building, a green building uses 42% less energy and 34% less water (Nalewaik & Venters, 2008). Through green building practice, environmentalists hope to develop and encourage environment-friendly living habits.

Green building is a broad idea that incorporates many features. Some of its aspects include energy efficiency, water efficiency, material efficiency, indoor quality, and waste and toxic reduction. Engineers keep these features in mind when deciding what materials and technologies to include in a building design. One strategy used by engineers to reduce energy consumption is replacing materials such as concrete, bricks, and steel with materials with lower embodied energy like asphalt, wood, and gravel. Furthermore, material efficiency is accomplished by using renewable resources such as bamboo, straw, and recycled metal (Tandon, 2016). Green building is also heavily reliant on green technology. A popular green technology used for buildings are green roofs. Green roofs, which are roofs that contain vegetation, can reduce a building’s energy consumption while providing environmental benefits to the local ecosystem. Figure 1 demonstrates the layers of a typical green roof. Vegetative roofs lower the amount of energy utilized during the summer by reducing the amount of heat transferred through the roof. In addition, green roofs are able to delay runoff, thereby preventing sewage overflow and water pollution (Oberndorfer et al., 2007).


Figure 1: Layers of a Green Roof,  Source: Miller, C. (2016, March 14). Extensive Vegetative Roofs. Retrieved from

To encourage the practice of green building, highly industrialized governments around the world have developed grading systems that measure the greenness of buildings. As a result, competition has emerged between companies to see who can create the greenest building. The Bullitt Center in Seattle has earned the title of greenest office building in the world after achieving the Living Building Challenge certification, the highest green building certification (Mirel, 2014). Figure 2 illustrates some of the aspects of the interior of the building. The Bullitt Center is designed with environment-friendly materials and is capable of running on just sunlight and rainwater. The Bullitt Center primarily aims to achieve a zero net water system, harvesting the water it needs on site, and a zero net energy system, ensuring that the total amount of energy used is roughly equal to the amount of renewable energy created on site. It is estimated that ventilation and cooling in this building only accounts for 2 percent of the total amount of energy consumed per year. Furthermore, to reduce the amount of electricity used, workstations are purposely placed no further than 30 feet from a window (Azari-N. & Peña, 2011). In addition, the Bullitt Center is able to provide water for itself through the use of native plant restoration, bio-swales, and pervious pavement. In terms of innovative design, the Bullitt Center contains the first composting toilet system in the world. Buildings like the Bullitt Center serve as inspiration for future green projects (Mirel, 2014).



Figure 2: Green Technology in the Bullitt Center, Source: Newcomb, T. (2012, June 20). Seattle’s Silver Bullitt: A New Office Building Goes Ultra-Green | Retrieved from

By increasing green building practice, the government hopes to reduce waste and pollution, limit the use of energy and water, and protect resident health. This can be accomplished by using resources more efficiently and incorporating green technologies in designs. Although the concept is fairly new, the government hopes to encourage engineering and architecture companies to practice it and create environment-friendly habits.



Azari-N, R., & Peña, R. (2011). Integrated design to achieve zero net energy in an urban office building. Solar.

Miller, C. (2016, March 14). Extensive Vegetative Roofs. Retrieved from resources/greenroofs.php

Mirel, D. (2014, January-February). The greenest of the green: the bullitt center in seattle prides itself on being the world’s greenest office building. Journal of Property Management, 79(a), 30+. Retrieved from

Nalewaik, A., & Venters, V. (2008). Costs and Benefits of Building Green’. AACE International Transactions, 1-9.

Newcomb, T. (2012, June 20). Seattle’s Silver Bullitt: A New Office Building Goes Ultra-Green | Retrieved from

Oberndorfer, E., Lundholm, J., Bass, B., Coffman, R. R., Doshi, H., Dunnett, N., … & Rowe, B. (2007). Green roofs as urban ecosystems: ecological structures, functions, and services. BioScience, 57(10), 823-833.

Tandon, S. (2016). Green Buildings: A Step towards Sustainable Development. International Journal Of Multidisciplinary Approach & Studies, 3(1), 205-209.



Cell Communication: The Different Players and Methods

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Even when we are doing something as simple as sitting, our body is not quite. It is still carrying multiple processes simultaneously. Our body never simply does one thing. There are so many interactions within a cellular level that constitutes our body as we live and breathe. Cellular communication is one of the most complex and intricate systems within our bodies. There are multiple levels of cellular communication, as well as different “messengers” between the cells.

A great example of long distance communication within our cells is how our hormones our distributed. Hormones originate from our pituitary gland within our brain. When it secretes hormones, they are then distributed to usually the blood stream, so that it has the potential to reach every cell in the body. Although there are many ways signaling can occur in these cells, it is interesting how electrical charge can play a role. In a study they modified the calcium ion levels in the anterior pituitary and even used electrical field stimulation to measure the effects on cell to cell communication (Teddy Fauquier 2001). This furthers the notion of how calcium ions and electrical charge play a pivotal role in communication. Especially in heart cells, which were found to be connected through low resistance pathways (Walmor Mello 1975). An over injection of calcium ions led to a temporary cell communication failure, as the charge became to strong, but over time communication became reestablished. So even when the heart cells became overwhelmed with the charge, their cytoplasm was able to reestablish a stable gradient for cell communication.

Besides ions and electrical charge, small molecules can be the messenger between cells. In the tongue, ATP is secreted from the taste buds and stimulate the release of the transmitter, serotonin (Yi-Jen Huang 2007). In cell communication the exact shape of the message plays a huge role. When messages are sent, they can only bond to cells that have the corresponding protein receptors. When hormones are sent throughout the body, only specific cells respond to them and follow the message to grow, or whatever else.

A representation of the Notch pathway; a more direct method of cell communication. The shape of the proteins are differentiated by the number of rectangles

A representation of the Notch pathway; a more direct method of cell communication. The shape of the proteins are differentiated by the number of rectangles

Even in direct cell to cell communication the shape of receptors and proteins are important, such as in Notch signaling. It is a transmembrane receptor leads a signaling system called the Notch pathway, seen in the figure (Eric Lai 2004). The proteins in notch signaling have a specific shape that the receptor corresponds with. A similar cell to cell communication even occurs in bacteria. Quorum sensing is a way of responding to critical density in the bacteria’s environment (Everett Pesci 1999). It is a defense mechanism, that once it detects critical density, it sends an activator protein so that it can induce specific genes of a bacteria.

In cell communication there are many different players that help with this constant and complex process. From electric charge and ions, to specifically shaped proteins that can start the production of ore complex signals or even inhibit the production of a cell product. It is interesting to note how the messages can be as simple as an ion to the complexity and specificity of a protein molecule.


  1. Fauquier, T., N. Guerineau C., R. Mckinney A., K. Bauer, and P. Mollard. “Folliculostellate Cell Network: A Route for Long-distance Communication in the Anterior Pituitary.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences15 (2001): 8891-896.
  2. Mello, W. C De. “Effect of Intracellular Injection of Calcium and Strontium on Cell Communication in Heart.” The Journal of Physiology2 (1975): 231-45.
  3. Huang, Y.-J., Y. Maruyama, G. Dvoryanchikov, E. Pereira, N. Chaudhari, and S. Roper D. “The Role of Pannexin 1 Hemichannels in ATP Release and Cell-cell Communication in Mouse Taste Buds.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences15 (2007): 6436-441.
  4. Lai, E. C. “Notch Signaling: Control of Cell Communication and Cell Fate.”Development5 (2004): 965-73. Web.
  5. Pesci, E. C., J. Milbank B. J., J. Pearson P., S. Mcknight, A. Kende S., E. Greenberg P., and B. Iglewski H. “Quinolone Signaling in the Cell-to-cell Communication System of Pseudomonas Aeruginosa.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences20 (1999): 11229-1234.

Lina Mohamed Blog Post 1

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Lina Mohamed                                                                                    September 12, 2016

MHC 20301

Professor Glen Kowach

-Politicization of Health Care and Dangers of Painkillers- Possible Future Alternatives

Pharmaceuticals, drugs, health care, it is all just a business. Prices for drugs are constantly on the rise and people will not always be able to afford the care they need. Providers of healthcare are just looking for their own interests and ways to maximize benefits even if it means harming the consumers.

Painkillers are an important part of may people’s lives. Whether consumers are taking it for a cold, headaches, body pain, painkillers are often taken without enough caution. This is not always the consumer’s fault because labels can often leave out information about mixing painkillers with other painkillers or alcohol, for example. This leads to people overdosing because they do not know the correct amount when taking painkillers and  then high doses of acetaminophen, for example, can lead to serious liver damage. This problem especially affects older people because as they get older they get addicted to painkillers such as sleep aids and opiate drugs and this was found to be linked to some deaths. Older people also tend to consume alcohol in excess amounts than that of which is safe to drink with these painkillers. Some corporations do change their labels to add information after being sued or other serious situations. However, providers just believe that the benefits of these painkillers/drugs outweigh the risks.

Over the counter drugs just mask symptoms without getting deep down to fix the problem or cure the disease/virus/infection. Will this stop companies from selling painkillers and advertising them as the solution? No. Healthcare providers and pharmaceutical corporations just want to sell products without thinking of the harm they are causing. In the future, I believe that natural alternatives should replace all types of drugs/pills that cause harm to the human bodies. Why would people continue to take pills that tire their livers and cause harm to themselves when most symptoms have natural remedies? Natural remedies can be easily found in nature to cure some of these illnesses. Of course not all illnesses and diseases have natural remedies but for most there are natural remedies that will actually benefit humans more than pills while costing much less. Some examples of natural remedies: for pain; get professional hands-on help that will fix the problem and not just mask the symptoms, for cholesterol; change your diet instead of just taking pills; for high blood pressure; start off with pills if needed then switch to natural therapies to help you quit the medication, for acid-reflux; try slippery-elm lozenges that will coat your throat and stomach instead of Prilosec or other things, for sinus infections; use saline nasal washes instead of turning to meds, etc..

The truth is, the United States is an over-medicated nation that spends more than 300 billion dollars on prescription drugs every year. This is a huge income for many companies and our nation as a whole. This means that converting to natural remedies most likely will not happen anytime soon because people do not know what to turn to. This is because natural remedies aren’t advertised because then pharmaceuticals would lose a great amount of money. However, if people look into these natural remedies and it starts to become more advertised, people will catch on and learn to be more aware of what the are putting into their bodies while saving money at the same time.


– Chorniy, Anna. (2015, n. pg.) Essays on the Health Economics of Pharmaceuticals. Clemson University, Tiger Prints. Retrieved from Google Scholar:

-Corbett, Holly. (2012, n. pg.) Natural Alternatives To The Top Most Prescribed Drugs. Prevention. Retrieved from:

-Friedman, Michael. (2015, n. pg.) Substance Abuse and Misuse in Older Adults. Behavioral Health News. Retrieved from Google Scholar:

-Desmon, Stephanie. (2013, n. pg.) Politicization of Health Care Preventing Real Changes to Out-Of-Control System, Researchers Suggest. John Hopkins Medicine. Retrieved from Google Scholar:







Guinea Worm: What is it and what is being done to eradicate it?

Posted by on Sep 16, 2016 in Writing Assignment 1 | One Comment

Guinea Worm disease is caused by Dracunculus medinensis, one of the largest parasitic worms to infect humans. A female Guinea Worm can carry 3 million embryos and can be as long as 80 cm and as wide as 20 mm. The parasite is contracted through contaminated water. The parasite is contracted when someone consumes contaminated water that has Guinea Worm larvae. Then the larvae travel through the subcutaneous tissues of the person. Usually the worm will present itself as a blister or sore on the victim’s leg or foot, and the feeling is an intense burning sensation, leading the victim to dunk their extremity in a water source (Muller, 1979). This continues the worm’s life cycle because when the blister is submerged, the worm releases larvae, further contaminating the water and spreading the disease (Fig. 1).

The pain caused from a Guinea Worm infection is excruciating and debilitating. To get rid of the worm, a stick must be used to slowly pull out the large worm from the body. This process could take weeks to months because it is important not to break the body of the worm in the process, and most times the pain is too intense to bear for many hours. The disease itself is not necessarily fatal, but infection around the blister caused by the worm can be (WHO, 2016). Since the cause of this disease is unclean water, it is common that  

There is no vaccine or medication for Guinea Worm, the only way to eradicate it is by behavior modification. This disease is found in the poorest countries in the world, where clean water is hard to come by, and knowledge behind how the disease is spread could be a mystery. Teaching communities to filter water thoroughly before drinking can help put an end to the disease.  Additionally, by explaining the life cycle of the Guinea Worm to those in countries affected by the parasite, the risk of contaminating water sources will dwindle. The Carter Center,  WHO and UNICEF have all  been vital parts in helping with this eradication process. In the mid 1980s, the disease was spread over 20 countries, covering Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, with over 3.5 million people infected. Now, in 2016, the disease is confined to the countries of Chad, Mali, South Sudan, and Ethiopia. If the eradication process stays on track, this will be the second disease, after smallpox, to be eradicated. The eradication granting process can begin after 12 consecutive months with no cases of the disease. Then the country will be on surveillance for 3 years, and if no cases are detected, then the country can be granted a certificate of eradication  (Ruiz-Tibin et al., 2006).

Unfortunately, humans are not the only host for Guinea Worm, dogs are also a prime host for the nasty parasite. The canines responsible for the continuation of the disease are primarily in Chad, and it is astonishing the dramatic increase of cases of Guinea Worm in dogs (Fig. 2). This issue could seriously thwart the eradication process of the disease (Galan-Puchades, 2016).

Figure 1: The Carter Center


Figure 2: Guinea Worm in Canines, Carter Center and CDC


Works Cited:

Muller, R. “Guinea Worm Disease: Epidemiology, Control, and Treatment.”Bulletin of the World Health Organization. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 1979. Web. 10 Sept. 2016.

“About Guinea-worm Disease.” World Health Organization. World Health Organization, n.d. Web. 10 Sept. 2016.

Ruiz-Tibin, Ernesto, and Donald Hopkins R. “Dracunculiasis (Guinea Worm Disease) Eradication.” Dracunculiasis (Guinea Worm Disease) Eradication. N.p., 2006. Web. 10 Sept. 2016.

“Eradication Program.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 29 June 2015. Web. 10 Sept. 2016.

Galan-Puchades, Teresa. “Dogs and Guinea Worm Eradication.” The Lancet. N.p., July 2016. Web. 10 Sept. 2016.