Watch and learn! Access author selected videos that will help bring key concepts and theories to life, preparing you for your studies/exams/placements.
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Molecules that are essential
Every chemical in your body is important. But there are some that seem to be the first among equals. This SciShow video list those that might be viewed as most important. Some parts are a bit complicated, but check it out nonetheless. If nothing else, the general concepts are important.
What the brain looks like on the inside
The structural organization of the brain is very impressive, and not the mish mash of wires running about at random. In recent years with the development of a ‘see-through brain’ in which fiber paths or certain neurons can be stained, we can now visualize aspects of the brain in ways that we couldn’t earlier. This video from nature video, describes a method to visualize the brain using an approach developed by Karl Disseroff. It’s absolutely stunning?
Turning neurons on and off
Decades ago we could turn on certain brain regions by passing an electric current into the brain through electrodes that had been surgically implanted. This taught scientists much about what drove particular behaviors, but these electrodes were relatively large and excited millions of neurons, making it difficult to define which specific types of neurons were responsible for a given behavior. Later, other approaches were developed in which small amounts of chemicals were administered to specific brain regions, permitting analyses of which neurotransmitters governed particular behaviors. For some years now an impressive procedure, optogenetics, has allowed researchers not only to turn on small sets of neurons, but also to turn them off at will. This clip from nature video shows how it’s done. It’s a bit complex, but you’ll hopefully get the general idea.
Epigenetics: Suppressing the actions of genes
We’ve talked about epigenetics to a considerable degree in this chapter (and others). This SciShow clip ought to help you understand this concept. There are several ways in which epigenetic changes occur, which are described very well. Importantly from the health psychology perspective is the consideration that our diet, experiences, or stressors, can have epigenetic effects, and under some circumstances, the epigenetic changes can be passed on across generations.
CRISPR. The Good and the Risky
Some readers will have heard of the push that exists to deal with illnesses through engineering the genome. In fact, a method referred to as CRISPR (this acronym is for clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats – good idea to simply use the acronym), which is a relatively simple approach, allows the removal and replacement of components that make up a gene, which otherwise permit make-up genes that aren’t up to what we’d like. Understandably, because of its potential uses, this methodology has become the darling of the gene world. There’s no doubt that CRISPR and an associated methodology, Gene Drive, can have enormous effects on human well-beings and could potentially alter species. Thus, scientists have gathered to define which procedures should be deemed ethical, which problems should be tackled, and conversely, which issues need to be avoided. The Risky Bites video link below described how CRISPR and Gene Drive can be used, in this case to eradicate disease carrying mosquitos.
Oxygen free radicals
Oxygen is basic for living cells. However, when oxygen levels are too high and appear in the wrong places, these molecules can be destructive. You might have heard the terms oxygen free radicals or reactive oxygen species, which refers to the form of oxygen that is not good for us. This video clip from SciShow describes how oxygen goes bad and can harm or even kill us.
Hormones: an overview in three videos
There are many hormones that are important for our normal functioning. This whiteboard video created by Armando Hasudungan does a terrific job of describing the endocrine systems in 21 minutes. He indicates in a link (click on his name in the video) that he’s not a doctor or professor, but does this because he likes to draw.
In this next video, produced from Bioidentical Hormone Doctors, David Wolfe covers many hormones, and these are placed in the context of everyday life and health (particularly the influence of various foods)
Finally, the next video clip (by Jason Lee) covers several additional regulatory hormones that aren’t covered in earlier presentations in this set.
Microorganisms are all over our outsides, and they’re plentiful on our insides as well. Microbes typically look gross, and reflexively we think of them as having bad functions, but they do lots of good things, too. This NPR produced video describes the microbiome in a very simple way, and the cartoon microbes look cute rather than scary. The video is meant for kids, but you can learn from it, too.
Immunological factors within the skin
The skin has multiple important functions besides keeping our insides in. This nature video clip describes what the skin is made of and describes immune factors present in skin that protect us from foreign particles that are encountered all the time. Like the other videos from the nature video series, the graphics here are remarkable, and the lecture is first class.
Immunological factors within the gut
Microbes aren’t just covering, they’re in the food we eat as well. Some of the microbes in our food are essential for our well-being, but there are some that can be harmful. Our gut has numerous immune factors present to deal with these challenges. This nature video provides a terrific description of this process through astounding graphics.
Immunological factors within the lungs
Here you’ll get a mini-lecture concerning what your lungs comprise and how they work. Obviously, the oxygen inhaled with each breath you take is essential for survival, but with each breath there’s a good chance that you’re also inhaling some crumby stuff in the air. Fortunately, there are immune factors present in the lungs that can deal with most challenges. However, there are limits to the effectiveness of our protective system. The lungs weren’t meant to deal with some challenges, such as long-term abuse by cigarette smoke, gasoline fumes, and other toxicants, as you’ll see from this nature video.
Natural killer cells
Unlike other immune cells, natural killer (NK) cells are able to kill viruses and some cancer cells even though they have no memory of foreign particles. This video, produced by Kyle Thornwaite, is very informative and simplifies things to just the right extent