Just what is genomics? Most people have some idea as to what genetics is all about, or are at least familiar with the term. Introduce genomics into a conversation however and you’re apt to get a blank stare. There are those who use the two terms interchangeably, thinking they mean the same thing, but that’s not quite true, even though there is a definite relationship.
It’s All in the Genes
When we think of genetics, we usually think of it in terms of heredity. We inherit our ancestor’s genes, both the good ones and the not so good ones. When the conversation in about genetics, it most often is about individual genes and what their role is in heredity.
If genetics focuses on matters of heredity then, just what is genomics, and what is its focus? If you haven’t heard the term before, you still very likely have run across the term genome, specifically the human genome. A genome is much more complex than a gene, because it is a collection of genes. The human genome is in fact a collection of all of the genes that make up a given organism, whether that organism is human or something else.
What is Bioinformatics? A Guide to Biological Technology
What is bioinformatics? This is a question that one probably wouldn’t ponder unless the word “bioinformatics” were to come up in conversation or read about in an article. Bioinformatics is a specific research and development field dealing with technology that organizes, stores, and retrieves biological information. On top of that, bioinformatics technology may also process certain types of biological information on a level that would be highly difficult for humans to interpret and process by hand. Comparing and matching DNA sequences and pinpointing genome mutations are just part of what bioinformatics has a hand in.
Whenever I work in the lab, I don’t like to be disturbed as much as possible even with personal necessities. So I sometimes hold myself and avoid urinating even if I wanted to until I have finished my experiment. But I was afraid it could take a toll on my health.
One of the health problems I fear having is developing kidney stones. Kidney stones develop from the chemicals found in the urine such as the phosphorus, uric acid, oxalic acid and calcium. In my research, I found out that the real common causes of kidney stones are mineral imbalance, dehydration, excessive vitamin D consumption, improper diet and gout.
Many people are asking what do kidney stones feel like because just like me, they are worried they might already have these stones. Regardless of the size of the stones, they can cause severe pain on a person. Other symptoms may also come out such as frequent urination, vomiting, nausea, painful urination and excessive sweating.
Many cases of kidney stones can be treated at home using natural ingredients. Based on my research, here are some of the most common home remedies for avoiding or eliminating kidney stones:
1. Apple Cider Vinegar
A mixture of 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar mixed in a cup of warm water and a teaspoon of honey is one of the most inexpensive home remedies for kidney stones. Drink this mixture several times a day.
2. Olive oil plus lemon juice
The combination of olive oil and lemon juice is a traditional remedy for gallbladder stones, which may also work as well for kidney stones. The citric acid in lemon juice can help break down the vitamin D component of the kidney stones and stop its growth.
Simply combine 4 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice and equal amounts of oil. Drink this mixture followed by water. Drink it three times a day for three days or more. One drawback of this remedy is that it may not be an effective remedy for large stones.
Pomegranate seeds and juice both contain astringent properties which can help in passing kidney stones. Making this fruit a part of your diet can help you avoid and pass kidney stones.
Basil which is one of the most common herbs used in the kitchen is regarded as a good tonic for the kidney and may also help induce expulsion of stones from the kidney. Steep at least five basil leaves in a cup of boiling water for 10 minutes. Let it cool before drinking. You may also add a teaspoon of honey to the tea for better taste. You could take it in the morning before breakfast for at least five months.
5. Nettle Leaf
Nettle leaf helps promote smooth urination and can be a good remedy for people with kidney stones. It acts as a natural diuretic and can help avoid the formation of kidney stones. To benefit from this remedy, get a cup of hot water and then add 2 teaspoons of dried nettle leaf. Steep for 10 minutes, strain, and then drink the tea. Drink at least two cups of this tea every day for several weeks.
If you do have kidney stones but are afraid you may develop it because of your lifestyle, or if you already have kidney stones that you want to get rid of, these simple home remedies may be able to help you. You may still need to see your doctor for advice.
I have known of some people who are suffering from various skin problems such as rashes, pimples or acne, which cause them to be less confident about themselves. I even have a classmate in my master’s class who really spend a significant amount of her budget on creams and ointments just to get rid of acne. Thankfully, I don’t have to deal with serious skin problems until now. But one of my greatest fears is to have nodular acne because I have seen how disturbing it can become if a person has it especially on the face.
Acne nodules are inflammatory acne lesions that can spread all over the skin when there is a severe acne breakout. These nodules are large bumps under the skin which can be painful and difficult to treat. They can also last long and may cause acne scars in the end. Aside from the face, acne nodules may also develop in other parts of the body where there is an abundance of sebaceous follicles. They may also appear on the chest, back, neck, face and in severe cases, on the arms, buttocks and thighs.
While those who have a budget normally resort to expensive treatments such as LED light therapy, there are several remedies available that are less expensive. One of them is salicylic acid peel which involves using salicylic acid as a peeling ingredient. This remedy is known to help improve the skin texture of patients with acne. Although it should be done with a doctor’s supervision, you can also do it at home with some safety precautions.
There are also acne medications that can help reduce swelling of the acne nodules. One of them is cortisone which is injected into the acne nodules to control shriveling and avoid scarring. I have also known of oral corticosteroids that can also be used to get rid of acne. And of course, there are topical products containing active ingredients such as salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide which can help shrink the nodules. In some instances, stronger antibiotics may also be administered to kill acne-causing bacteria.
Aside from conventional medications, you may also be able to benefit from using natural remedies such as herbs that contain antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Natural remedies can also be as effective as commercial treatments and they are also less expensive and generally leave no side effects. Among the known natural remedies you can try are aloe vera and tea tree oil extracts. You can directly apply them on the affected area to promote healing.
I have also known of people who use honey, green tea and ginger to treat their acne, but I am not sure about how they use these products. They are normally prepared as a paste which is then directly applied on the skin.
Different remedies may have different effects on people. One remedy may be effective on one person but not on another. If one remedy does not work for you, you could always with caution try another. Personally, I prefer a natural remedy because it leaves no side effects. But then again, it is a personal choice you have to make.
Feeling nervous at times is normal. I feel nervous every time I make new experiments in the lab. I also feel nervous when I am alone or am in an unfamiliar place. And sometimes, I just feel nervous without any valid reason.
There is nothing wrong with feeling nervous from time to time. It is a normal reaction of the body to stress and more often, it could help a person protect himself from risky situations or to finish a particular undertaking. However, there are people whose nervousness becomes abnormal. I know of some people who have developed anxiety disorders because of frequent unreasonable nervousness. People with problems in dealing with nervousness may also develop anxiety disorders. And it is important to know when nervousness becomes a disorder because it is that time when you should see a doctor.
Here are five of the most common anxiety disorders and how to detect them:
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PSD) is common among people who have experienced a terrifying ordeal where the person’s safety was threatened. That ordeal could be an accident, disaster, physical or sexual assault or military combat. Signs that a person has PSD include nightmares, lack of sleep and persistent memories of that terrifying event. Also, you will notice them to be easily startled or emotionally detached.
People who have a recurrent and unwanted obsession that leads them to do repetitive behaviors or compulsions are known to have an Obsessive Compulsive Behavior (OCD). It is manifested by behaviors like repeated hand washings, checking locks, cleaning excessively and counting objects, among others. Doing their rituals provides people with OCD temporary relief but seeing a doctor is the best way to deal with the problem.
Some people develop an anxiety over an intense fear that they are being publicly watched or judged. This leads them to develop a Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD). Sufferers may have a hard time going out socially, attending occasions, or going to school or work.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Patients with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) are characterized by exaggerated tensions, worries and chronic anxiety even when there is nothing to be worried about. Sufferers can be overly concerned about almost anything such as health, work or family issues, and finances. They often manifest irritability, fatigue, headache, hot flashes and sweating.
Relationship Anxiety Disorder
Fear and love are two factors that could lead a person to develop a relationship anxiety disorder. This disorder is derived from GAD and is not yet officially diagnosed. However, this kind of anxiety is very common in many relationships. Symptoms include inappropriate and excessive jealousy, being overly clingy or needy, and being aloof and disinterested about other things. In their relationships, they also always test their partners and are constantly demanding for reassurance from their partners.
Although patients suffering from anxiety disorders may be able to find relief by taking supplements for anxiety, I still strongly suggest seeing a doctor as the best course of action. Among the people who I know to have anxiety disorders, I have seen some improvements on those who regularly see their doctor for advice.
Salty taste in mouth is not something we encounter every day. But I did experience this odd taste before and I would say that it was not the nicest taste I ever had. Even if there was nothing in my mouth or I did not eat anything salty, the taste was still there. It is good that I only had it for a short time.
Based on some articles I read, I was not alone with this problem. Many people have also experienced having an abnormal taste in their mouth. Some have a metal taste in mouth, others have a sweet taste, and some have experienced a burning sensation in their mouth. These odd tastes in the mouth could go on for days and some even for months or years. It could affect a person’s appetite for food as the taste could linger even while eating other foods that taste differently.
As I was getting to the bottom of this abnormal salty taste, I found out that there are several possible causes for this problem. One is oral problem which could be a gum disease, tooth decay or oral infection. That is why people with lingering salty taste in their mouth are more often advised to see first their dentist before seeing a physician. Treating the oral problem could also put an end to the taste problem.
If oral problem is not detected, the next step is to see your doctor. There are several underlying health conditions that could also affect your sense of taste. These include a digestive disorder like gastroesophageal reflux disease which can be treated with lifestyle changes. A sinus infection could also be the culprit as it can cause salty postnasal drip. This problem can be treated with antibiotics. Certain medicines can also leave a salty taste in the mouth. These include antihistamines, decongestants, antidepressants, medicines for blood pressure, and sedatives. Additionally, for some women, hormonal changes during menopausal stage may also cause this problem.
Normally, the salty taste issue will just go away once the underlying condition is treated. In the case of certain medications causing it, switching medications is the best resort. But it is important that your doctor first determines your underlying condition. If your doctor is not able to diagnose your problem, you may be referred to a chemosensory center where you would undergo a series of tests and evaluation. This includes a sip, spit and rinse test which can help evaluate your sense of taste. Apart from that, there will also be a test that will evaluate your sense of smell. Smell and taste are closely related. In some cases, people who are perceived to be experiencing an odd taste in their mouth actually have problems with their smell but they don’t realize it.
Having an abnormal taste in the mouth is not something we should take for granted. It may just be a taste for you but it could also be a sign of an underlying and more serious health problem that needs immediate treatment. If you have a salty taste in your mouth and it lingers for several days, it is best to see your dentist or physician as soon as possible.
I have seen numerous times people scratching their armpits in public. For me, that is something gross and should be done privately. But who can resist scratching an itchy armpit? In a casual conversation with one of my friends, someone mentioned who she was scratching her itchy armpits in public and how it was hard to control.
Itchy armpit is not unusual since you might have also seen people unknowingly scratching their armpits. It is just as common as people having pain in right arm or left arm. But even if it is common, it is not normal. In fact, your armpits should not itch at all if they are healthy. If they start to itch recently, perhaps there have been some recent changes in your lifestyle or there could be something wrong with your health.
There are at least five factors that can cause a person’s armpits to itch. Knowing them is the best approach towards prevention:
1. Lack of proper hygiene
Proper hygiene requires washing of your armpits twice a day, preferably once in the morning and once before sleeping. Sweat and dirt collect in the armpits. If you don’t bath regularly and clean your armpits with soap, they will become an ideal breeding ground for bacteria which can cause itchiness. Additionally, if you engage in physical activities that cause you to sweat, it is also important to wash your armpits afterwards to eliminate bacteria to thrive in them.
2. Candida yeast infection
The human body naturally produces Candida Albicans which is a type of yeast. They are not harmful to the body. However, sometimes there will be an overgrowth of this yeast which will normally occur in moist places such as the groin and armpits. Overgrowth can cause infection including rashes. A person may then suffer from itchiness in the affected area. But this condition can be treated using anti-fungal medications.
3. Deodorants and antiperspirants
For some people, their deodorant or antiperspirant is what’s causing them to itch. The product they are using may contain ingredients that they are allergic to. In this case, itching may stop by switching to another product. In some cases, a person may not be allergic to the product itself but instead, the product is causing a blockage in the sweat glands which would cause rashes and red bumps that can be itchy.
A person who sweats profusely may suffer from a condition called hyperhidrosis. Excessive sweating can cause bacteria or yeast overgrowth in the armpits, which in turn causes itchiness. There is no clear treatment for hyperhidrosis so the best recourse for a person having this condition is to wash the armpits more often.
You could also have itching armpits if you have dermatitis. Dermatitis is an inflammation caused by an allergic reaction to certain personal care products such as deodorants and soaps. Certain antibiotics may also cause it. Symptoms include itchiness, redness of the skin and lesion.
An itchy armpit is an occurrence that you want to avoid. Basically, prevention just shows how much you give attention to cleaning your armpits. But if you already are suffering from this problem, it would be good to consult your doctor about it than to suffer in silence.
Come summer and people get to enjoy the outdoors again. For me, I consider summer as my favorite season of the year. I would like to go to the beach during summer and spend some time just relaxing or sun basking by the beach. And this is just what many people also would like to do. That is why during summer, many public beaches become crowded with people.
When summer comes, sunburn is almost always associated with the season. Sunburn is a radiation burn resulting from prolonged exposure to the sun’s UV rays. It is hard to resist spending several hours in the outdoors while the sun is up. But doing so without protection may also adversely affect the skin resulting to sunburn. So while summer is still several weeks away, it would be good to know more about some simple care tips for different degrees of sunburn.
First Degree Sunburn
First degree sunburn is the most common sunburn affecting many people. It is easily recognizable among people with fair skin as their skin can turn pink or bright red. Having this type of sunburn can be painful and can dehydrate the body. If the person is still conscious, giving him water may help replenish the lost water in the body. First aid lotions may temporary provide for relief. But if blisters start to appear, medical attention is needed.
One of the tested home remedies for first degree sunburns is the extract of aloe plants. Applying the extract on the affected area can help alleviate the pain and moisten the burned skin. Over time, the burn will heal. When the skin starts to flake off, just let it be until healthy skin replaces the burned part.
Vinegar for sunburn may also provide temporary relief. You could wet a washcloth with vinegar and then dab it on the skin. You should be able to find relief from stinging by doing this.
With a longer exposure under the sun, the body may start to send fluids to the skin to stop the burning process. This in turn will cause blisters which are a common indication of second degree burns. When that happens, do not break or open the blisters. Let the person go indoors immediately and drink as much water to rehydrate. You could apply water mist to the skin to soothe the blisters. However, do not wrap the blisters because the wrapping will just stick to the skin. As soon as possible, seek medical attention. Most importantly, if the burn covers more than one third of the body or when the person already feels nauseous, groggy or cold, call 911 immediately.
Third Degree Sunburn
This condition rarely happens and it can be deadly. This happens when the body is already dehydrated and deep cell damage has already taken place. The person may not feel anything at all because of the destruction of nerve endings. In this situation, take the person in and call 911 immediately.
You don’t want to suffer from any degree of sunburn. To avoid them, be sure to use sun blockers or sun screens when going out of the sun. Better yet, avoid prolonged exposure to the sun when it is at its peak. In case you have sunburns, you should already know how to deal with it.
In my study of bioinformatics, I have learned that genetics play an important role in the overall wellness of a person. Many people suffer from genetic disorders and diseases that are a result of mutation or deletion of genes aside from missing chromosomes and repeat disorders. And if there is something very interesting about bioinformatics, it is the possibility of being able to help find cures for these diseases and conditions.
One of my interests is being able to help develop a cure for conditions that many women suffer from. One of them is stretch marks. Genetics plays a role in a pregnant woman having stretch marks. If her mother had them, there is a big probability that she will have them as well.
Just as childbearing is part of being a woman, the same is true with stretch marks. It is just one of the many physical changes that women undergoing pregnancy may experience. Stretch marks result when the body grows faster than the skin can keep up. The elastic fiber under the skin surface breaks, resulting in unsightly marks. They commonly appear on the belly and breast but may also appear on the buttocks, thighs and upper arms. During pregnancy, they may appear as purple or reddish and fade to gray or white after childbirth. However, some stretch marks may also remain dark and tend to become showier after pregnancy.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, about 90 percent of pregnant women will get stretch marks on their second trimester or onwards. As of now, there are no known creams or lotions that can help prevent these marks. But the severity of these marks may be reduced when you keep your skin hydrated by applying a cream or lotion. These products may also help deal with itchiness that comes with a growing belly.
Some of my friends used to ask me how to remove stretch marks. They are curious if there are any products that can totally eliminate them. I am also curious as they are, so I researched some of the known treatments for stretch marks.
On top of the list of treatments is retinoid which can help speed up cell turnover and also stimulate collagen growth which is necessary for a healthier skin. However, if you are still pregnant or are breastfeeding your baby, this option is not suitable for you. Laser treatment is also a popular option to boost collagen growth. However, it is an expensive treatment and can take several sessions before you can see the results.
In reality, there is no ultimate treatment that can totally eliminate stretch marks. That is why some women resort to unconventional ways of hiding them such as having tattoo over stretch marks. This may be a more permanent option which needs planning because some tattoos may even make your stretch marks look unsightly. Others also resort to using concealer make ups or topical cream whenever they have to wear something that exposes the marks. However, these options just provide a temporary solution.
Because there is no ultimate treatment yet for stretch marks, it is my personal goal to do more research which could help in discovering better treatments for this kind of skin problem.
While I love studying human nature, animals especially dogs continue to fascinate me. Dogs are intelligent, teachable and loyal. It is no wonder why they are one of the most popular pets in many households.
One discovery I found about dogs that is similar to humans is that they also suffer from various forms of allergies. They may also be allergic to things or substances that many humans are allergic to. All breeds of dogs, regardless of age or gender, may be affected by allergies. Pollen, mold and mildew cause airborne allergies to some dogs. There are also food allergies where your dog might be allergic to certain foods including certain brands of dog food, chicken, beef and others. Some dogs also have yeast allergy which causes allergic reaction after eating foods containing yeast. The least common dog allergy is contact allergies which is when your dog experiences symptoms of allergies after contact with cleaners, carpets, grass and others.
When a dog is exposed to certain allergens, it may manifest different symptoms which include bumps sores on the skin, rashes, discoloration of the hair, watery or red eyes, sneezing, coughing, vomiting, and diarrhea. You may also notice that a dog exhibiting allergies often chews or licks its feet or body, or rubs its face against any surface.
However, dogs and humans may manifest different reactions to the same allergens. For instance, exposure to pollen causes some people to sneeze or have watery eyes. But in the case of dogs, this kind of allergen may cause them to have itchy feet instead. This is an important consideration for dog owners who might be confused with the allergic symptoms of their dog.
If you notice some of these symptoms in your dog, don’t take them for granted. Allergies can cause much discomfort or pain on dogs and it is important that proper diagnosis and treatment be administered. You should then bring your dog to a veterinarian as soon as possible.
Remedies and allergy medicine for dogs vary depending on the type of allergy. For most allergies, prevention and treatment include avoiding exposure to allergens. Some veterinarians would also recommend giving your dog allergy shots. This kind of treatment involves injecting small amounts of allergens to your dog weekly so that it will develop less sensitivity to them. Around 75 percent of dogs receiving allergy shots show an improvement in their symptoms. However, it could take months before you will see its full effect. For food allergies, your veterinarian may recommend a special diet for your dog based on a trial diet.
In addition, your veterinarian may also recommend frequent bathing using a natural shampoo to remove any allergens that may still be present in the coat or skin of your pet. Anti-inflammatory medications such as antihistamine and steroids may also be prescribed to alleviate the symptoms. And to prevent further infections, antibiotics may also be needed in some cases.
Don’t allow your pet to suffer from allergies. As a pet owner, you should ensure that your pet is not suffering from any sort of allergic reaction. And if it does, see your veterinarian immediately.
I have known of people who have serious problems with their scalp. Dandruff, scabs on scalp and acne on scalp are just among the major culprits for this kind of problem. Although they are not life-threatening, you would not like to have any of them. Once I had an itchy scalp which lingered for more than a week. I later found out that it was caused by a dry scalp which could have been easily remedied had I known of the cause of the problem earlier.
Some people are like me. They just take their scalp problem for granted, thinking it will just go away. But unless you apply some remedy for it, the problem will not be solved and will linger for days, weeks or even months.
Among scalp problems, a dry scalp is among the more serious problems because it may cause hair loss if not treated earlier. Aside from that, it will cause itchiness and an unmanageable hair. Dry scalp can also be a result of overuse of chemical products such as shampoos, conditioner, sprays and gel on your hair. They will strip all the natural moisture present in the scalp leading to dryness. Additionally, extreme climatic condition such as staying in an air-conditioned room or under the sun for longer hours may also cause this problem. Symptoms include flaky scalp and itchiness.
There are a number of products in the supermarket that claim to help nourish the scalp to prevent dryness. But sticking to natural dry scalp remedies are healthier and less expensive alternatives. They also don’t have potential side effects which are common among chemical products:
- Tea tree oil – This oil offers a moisturizing and nourishing effect to the scalp. At the same time, it is also rich in antibacterial and antifungal properties that can keep your scalp healthy. When using this home remedy, always dilute the oil into water before massaging the scalp.
- Apple cider vinegar – Apple cider vinegar is a known remedy for many ailments including dry scalp. By applying a diluted apple cider vinegar on the scalp, it can help balance the pH level, thereby promoting a healthy scalp.
- Lemon juice – Lemon juice mixed with honey makes an amazing remedy for dry scalp. Lemon has a cleansing property while honey has antibacterial properties, making them a good combination in keeping your scalp healthy. However, if you have a broken skin on the scalp, do not use this remedy because it will cause a stinging sensation and may even cause other problems.
- Coconut Oil – This is one of the most popular remedies for various scalp problems including dry scalp. It can naturally treat any problem related to flakiness and dryness. Simply massage coconut oil on the scalp and leave it for several hours before rinsing.
- Olive Oil – Olive oil is rich in vitamin E which is not only good for the skin but also for the scalp. Massage warm olive oil on the scalp and then leave it for half an hour before rinsing.
When it comes to treating minor health problems, I always go for the natural remedies. Because of that, I highly recommend using any of the abovementioned remedies for dry scalp before trying out commercial treatments.
One of the important things in my continuous studies of human nature is that some illnesses are caused by hereditary factors. Some of these diseases are not just as popular as others. In particular, I found it interesting to learn more about bunions. Perhaps, it is one of the minor health problems that many people are not very proud to have. Of course, who would like to admit to having odd-looking feet?
Bunions are something new to most people. A bunion is a bony bump at the base joint of your big toe. It causes the big toe to become swollen, red or sore. Some people are not aware of what causes bunions until they already have it. Aside from hereditary factors, having flatfeet, foot injuries, arthritis and being engaged in activities that put much pressure on the feet may also cause this disease. However, the most common cause is constantly wearing ill-fitting or tight-fitting footwear.
When you already have bunions, wearing the best shoes for bunions can make a big difference. I researched about some important considerations when choosing shoes for bunions and they are summarized below:
When buying a new pair of shoes, the shoe width is an important consideration. Be sure that the shoes you are considering to buy have enough room on the sides to allow additional room for a bunion.
Shoes that are made from canvas or mesh type materials normally allow for more stretching than other types. As you use these types of shoes, they will become more comfortable around your bunion because of the stretching.
Larger Shoe Size
Sometimes, going 1 size larger can make a big difference in terms of comfort when you have a bunion. In this case, you may have to use insoles to stop your shoe from slipping, but that additional toe space area can greatly help in giving you comfort especially when walking.
No to Pointed Shoes
For women, pointed shoes may be stylish but they are not the best shoes if you have bunions or are at risk of developing them because of hereditary factors. The very limited space around the toes forces the toes to be cramped together, putting pressure on the toe joints, aggravating bunions. Instead of pointed shoes, choose those that have a round or square toe area for more toe room.
No to High Heels
Aside from pointed shoes, high-heeled shoes are also another culprit for bunions in women. Gravity causes the feet to be pushed down, causing much pressure on the toes. If you don’t have bunions yet, it may cause a bunion to develop. If you already have one, it can aggravate the condition.
The general rule when choosing shoes for bunions is shoes that make your feet feel relaxed and comfortable. Don’t choose your shoes just for fashion but also for comfort. This is especially true for people like me who spend several hours standing. It is not yet too late to do something to avoid bunions. Shop for a comfortable pair of shoes and it will make a big difference for your toes.