Toucan Play That Game

A blog about life...literally

Sharks Saving Lives

When you think of sharks, you usually think big and scary. Never in your wildest dreams would you think that a blood-thirsty shark could help you in any way. But with the help of Helen Dooley and her job to
bleed small sharks, they actually can provide us with future drugs to help cancer.According to biochemist Hidde Ploegh, “…the molecules and even tinier fragments of [the antibodies], often called nanobodies, are easier for researchers to make, more durable, and more soluble. Small antibodies can work inside cells, and their size allows them to wend deep into tissues, which regular antibodies have a hard time penetrating.” These helpful characteristics will help make the pesky diseases, that affect so many, much more bearable to get ahold of. For instance, these antibodies that are found in these sharks help bind and stabilize wobbly proteins. But not only are sharks helpful aids, llamas and camels also help us with the distribution of antibodies. These special antibodies that are found in llamas have been shown to diminish the disease where blood clots being produced cause strokes, organ failure, or death.

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But other than that, these antibodies found in these animals have already been put to work with various diseases. Diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and lupus along with many other diseases are on their way of being stabilized with these special antibodies. Many various brain diseases could potentially be opened up within with these small antibodies. The fragment in these antibodies might open up for the drug, rituximab, which is a cancer-killing antibody to break down the problem that cancer embodies. These small antibodies can be broken down to therapeutic remedies and “tumorvisualizing agents”. These new advances in science can open up a world of new discovery. With more research and study with these antibodies, the diseases being worked on now could be non-existent later. This also opens up to the antibodies of other animals. With the new information found in llamas, camels, and sharks, researchers could open up their research to other species of animals.

This article interested me because I am very interested in animals and the networking inside of animals. As human beings, we have so much going on in our bodies that keep us running everyday. Our heart and brain do so much to just take a step or blink our eye. With this being said, every animal species has this going on inside of them and this article definitely proves that. The antibodies in these animals could actually cure a diseases such as potential cancers and that’s mind-boggling. So not only am I reading an
article about the inner workings of an animal, but I am also reading scientific discoveries that are helping mankind. We have a lot of dieases that effect us as humans but with the help of animals and the things
that make them breath and grow, we can grow healthy as well. Cancer has always been a threat to our world but anything that could help us find the solution to this problem helps.


Written by Maddie N.| Tagged | Leave a Comment

How Stress is Impacting Your Health

As finals draw closer and closer for most high school students, there is one thing plaguing them all, stress. Some may believe that stress is perfectly fine in life, but that is not the case. Prolonged exposure to levels of stress can drastically alter a person’s mood, behavior and health.

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Alligator and Otter Become Friends! How Cute!

The most fascinating happenings in our current social settings are based on unusual animal behavior- related to ecology. An article by the Science Daily discusses odd behaviors of Alligator sightings at the beach and a strong possibility of nearly-extinct species coming back to their once inhabited habitats. It is also stated that People should not feel frightened or threatened by these returning species, but rather a degree of respect as they “came” first. The interesting observations of this article connect to our real world by the constant changes of biodiversity that continue to evolve, even with human stasis. The fact that the writer references people almost wiping about this particular species of alligator is an astonishing addon to the comeback of the species. By coming back to their habitat, they return to what was once theirs and can repopulate to regulate their population.

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The Impressive Periwinkle

The cure for cancer has always been a heavily researched topic. Countless of researchers have attempted to find this seemingly impossible cure. After 15 years of research, Professor Sarah O’Connor at the John Innes Centre have taken one more crucial step into finding the answer to stop this uncurable disease.

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Whale, Would You Look at That!

If you are hard of hearing and still want to track whales, then there may be hope for you. Researchers have found ways to detect “environmental DNA” in places that whales have for a maximum period of two hours after the whales’ arrival at the particular location. My initial reaction was to think “well that’s obvious” whales poop and pee like the rest of us, but I was wrong. The method used in this article can detect skin that was shed from the whale. Because whales tend to slough lots of skin, so this method becomes very effective for tracking whales. This new method will not only improve our ability to track whales, but it is also non-invasive. It is worth mentioning that this particular method has not been tested in the open ocean but has been tested with great success in smaller bodies of water. The method was tested on killer whales as they entered and exited Puget Sound (a sound along the pacific coast of the U.S. with an area of 1020 miles squared). The excitement of this new tracking method is born from the possibility of its utility if it were to be perfected for use in the open ocean. This could help scientists study and research various whale-like species non-invasively. This is especially exciting because it could strongly aid researchers’ efforts in finding very rare species of whale similar to beaked whales.

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Written by Jason K.| Tagged | Leave a Comment

How Does The Human Brain Work?

The topic of neurons, which are the primary signaling nerve cells that transfer information within the body, appears in our lesson in biology. The human brain contains around 100 billion neurons.  So how does our brain work? Being aware of the fact that the brain is full of countless amount of information, and that it is able to make fast connections, the human brain is often compared to a computer. The brain has many “programs” like the ones that allow us to move, think, feel and make decisions; including the following examples:

  • Control body temperature, blood pressure, heart rate and breathing
  • Accept a flood of information from various senses (seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and touching)
  • Handle physical movement when walking, talking, standing or sitting
  • Allow to think, dream, reason and experience emotions

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Why Koalas are Such Picky Eaters?

We all have our favorite food, but favorite food is an understatement when it comes to koalas and their love and dependency on eucalyptus leaves. Koalas have evolved to have an exclusive diet of eucalyptus leaves over time. Not only that, researchers have also found that koalas also have a preference of the species of eucalyptus and the individual trees they feed on. So, why are koalas such picky eaters and what can scientists do to assist in conservation efforts?

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CTE: The Ultimate Gamble

Thanks to the media and quickly growing modern medicine, concussions and their dangers are taken more seriously now than ever. In my personal past, I have had four fairly major concussions, which still affect me today. For many professional athletes, mostly football, concussions aren’t always caught in enough time. A current phenomenon in medicine is CTE, also known as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy.

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Winged Wednesday – European Honey Bee

Read more about the threats facing honey bees here.


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