All posts by Jeanmarie Tucker

Human Physique and Sexual Attractiveness

What makes a person attractive? How do we rate the attractiveness of a female or male counter parts comparable to another’s? In the study by Dixson et. Al. relates human physique to how sexual attractive the opposite sex was. They hypothesizes that evolution has left physical markers for the reproductive qualities for potential mates for those of European ancestry.  People of New Zealand and California were asked to complete 5 studies that related an particular physical trait to sexual attractiveness. the Frist study woman rated muscularity of males to their attractiveness and in the second study the measures the amount of pubic hair on the chest and the genitals to attractiveness. Study three tested penis sizes that the attractiveness of the male. This study showed that on average women thought that the largest penis was rated the most attractive, then the medium or the smaller sized penis. The fourth and last study was comparing the curves and skin color of an female, respectively. The studies showed that men attractiveness toward an female slightly curvy and light-skinned woman preferred in both New Zealand and California.

Does alcohol truly prevent coronary heart disease?

Everyone can enjoy a glass of wine or even an cold glass of beer, but does alcohol consumption provide more the just an way to unwind. According to a recent article by Mukamal et. Al. a two alcoholic beverages a day can lower a person chances of getting coronary heart diseases.

Several studies have indicated that moderate drinkers have a lower risk of both nonfatal myocardial infraction and fetal heart diseases than people who abstain from alcohol. Mukamal et. Al has compiled information from 42 peer-reviewed published studies in to a single analysis whose purpose is to answer this issue. The article goes in brief details of the many hypothesis and studies conducted up until now that have supported and even falsified that alcohol reduces getting coronary heart diseases.  Their finding proved that while alcohol consumption deceases person chances of contracting a heart related problem alcohol also increases the levels of certain molecules that promote heart diseases. Through meta-analysis of people who drink alcohol regularly, Rimm and colleagues (1999) found that alcohol lowered important factors in atherosclerosis, inflammation, and thrombosis such as high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) otherwise known as the “Good Choloesterol”. The studies showed that 30 grams of alcohol or about two drinks per day increases the levels of HDL-C similar in strength to gemfibrozil, a prescription medication that is used to treat patient with high levels of cholesterol and is accounted for a 16.8% decrease in in the risk of coronary heart diseases. While the studies show so proven benefits, alcohol can also increase levels of triglyceride by about 5.7percent, with can increase an chances of devolving heart diseases by a 4.6% increase.

Whether alcohol decrease the risk of developing a coronary heart diseases is up the reader, especially since there is an 50-50 percent chance of lower your own risk of heart disease. However drinking in moderation is always still the preferred way to go.

Racial differences in blood clotting

I found this article extremely interesting while I was writing my paper. This article focused on the differences between clotting factors of African Americans and European-descent American. The article driven their research on how it can improve medications and even lead to personalized medication in the future for heart related problems.

African Americans have a greater chance of incidence of heart attacks then White patients and lower survival rates, with is 21/2 times lower then whites. This difference has lead researchers to study the differences between African American that can contribute to higher incidence of heart disease. Despite the traditional differences such as socioeconomic status, diet, and environment, researchers at Thomas Jefferson University found that African American have an more potent blood clotting factor then Caucasians. In the experiment, Bray et.Al. took blood samples from 154 subjects( 70 blacks and 84 whites) and tested the blood clotting affinity. They found that that Blacks blood clots faster because of the clotting agent PAR4. PAR4 bind more thrombin, a blood platelet activator, faster then other agents in Whites. Another gene called PCTP, which mediates platelet activation of the PAR4 was another difference between clot formation of blacks and whites. PCTP was expressed higher in black then in whites.

This new research present new way of thinking about prescriptions. Many blood thinners work by targeting the PAR gene family to prevent blood clotting. However in Blacks that have PAR4 genes are unaffected by drugs currently on the market.  In class we have often talked about individualized treatments an I think that this article is strong evidence that support the idea of individualized medicine in the future.

Leonard C Edelstein, Lukas M Simon, Raúl Teruel Montoya, Michael Holinstat, Edward S Chen, Angela Bergeron, Xianguo Kong, Srikanth Nagalla, Narla Mohandas, David E Cohen, Jing-fei Dong, Chad Shaw, Paul F Bray. Racial differences in human platelet PAR4 reactivity reflect expression of PCTP and miR-376c. Nature Medicine, 2013; DOI: 10.1038/nm.3385


Melanin: Animals Vs. Insects.

In my presentation, I talked about the roles of melanin in human, mostly focusing on the compound’s protective properties from UVA and UVB rays. I mentioned slightly that melanin is found in all types of animal and even insects. Since I did not go into further details within my presentation, I want to bring this article on the blog to open up this topic for discussion.

This article, written by Manickam Sugumaran, compares the properties for melanin production in animals verses melanin production in insects. The article details the processes and the distinct types of protein factors for melanogenesis. Through the presentation I discussed human, which is responsible of hair, eye, and skin color.  Eumelanin is produced from the hydroxylation of tyrosine by tyrosine. Insects contain produce their melanin through an different process, which employs phenoloxidase and dopachrome( decarboxylating) isomerase for melanin production. Since the pathways for creating melanin is significant different between animals and insects, Sugumaran says that the advantages of are also an mirror to these differences.

In insects, phenoloxidase and melanin has many functions, Sugumaran talks about the major three physiologically important biochemical processes. The first is sclerotization of the insect cuticle. Sclerotization is the transformation of the soft and pale cuticle (outer shell of the insect) into a hard exoskeleton. If the exoskeleton does not harden and dry quickly the insect will die of dehydration. The second hypothesis is insect immunity. Insects lack immunoglobulin, and melanin forms a second line of defense (first being the exoskeleton) that traps pathogens by depositing melanin on the forging object. The melanin goes through the phenoloxidases cascade, which prevents the multiplication and the growth of the parasite. The last hypothesis is healing injury. Melanin and phenoloxidase is uses a clotting factor in insects to prevent the lost of haemolymph. Here we see major differences between melanin in animals and insect, but yet understand why has evolution left such differences.

This is a good article to start off with the continuation of the advantages of melanin from the oral presentation. It also offers new material for discussion on why melanin productions was conserved by yet has different advantages in various organisms.


“Even More Scared” The Effect of Childbirth Reality Shows on Young Women’s Perceptions of Birth

During class, we went into discussion, briefly, about childbirth and cesarean

Sections. Our talks leaned on the class’s anxiety towards giving birth in the near future. Giving birth is a serious and stressful matter, however almost a full 100% of the class expressed their pressing fears in delivering a child. Lauren Elizabeth Rink at the University of Michigan went to address this growing anxiety about birth in the United States. Her thesis focused on the effects of the media, particularly television reality shows, on young woman’s perception of childbirth.


In Rink’s thesis she hypothesis that the increasing anxiety experienced by younger woman, about 18-22 years of age, is do in large because of the media representations of childbirth. Rink describes woman who are pregnant and planning of starting a family as “high information seekers”. As so, they turn to media sources such as television, the Internet, video’s, and books to learn about childbirth. It is this imperative, in Rink’s opinion, to study the effects of birth reality show like Lifetime’s One Born Every Minute on undergraduate women’s perception of childbirth. In this study, undergraduate female students (n=78) from the University of Michigan participate in pre and post survey after watching One Born Every Minute. Her finding founding were that after watching One Born Every Minute, student anxiety of having high risks births greatly increased. Through the surveys, Rink also found that the increase in television media seems to created “norms” about childbirth that limits different birthing options available. Such options as midwifery and natural Births are minimized because they are not shown a frequently as medicalization. I found this paper very interesting because it continued from our talk in class.