Understanding Health
Understanding Health

Understanding Health

The concept of health refers to so much more than whether or not you are sick. When researchers and doctors study health, they are studying the way that the body works, how it changes over time, what can break it down, how to protect it, and how to treat problems that do occur. This section of Frontiers for Young Minds will include articles from across nutrition, fitness, disease, genetics, systems of the body, prevention, injuries, treatment and medicine, mental health, adolescence, and other changes that happen to the body as it ages. It will also include articles about the tools that are available for studying the body, measuring how it changes, preventing problems, and treating issues that do occur. By providing access to fundamental ideas and cutting-edge knowledge about health, Understanding Health wants to enable the next generation to develop a better understanding of their own bodies and make more informed decisions regarding their own futures. show more show less

Core Concept

What Does Tinnitus Have to Do with Hearing Loss?

Our sensory organs along with the brain give us a rich perception of the world around us. If something goes wrong with any of the sensory organs, it will affect our everyday functioning. This will be demonstrated with the example of hearing loss and tinnitus. Hearing loss is defined as the loss of auditory information due to damage to the hearing system. Tinnitus is the phantom perception, which often occurs as a result of hearing loss. People describe it as ringing, buzzing or hissing sound but there is no object around that is creating this sound. We describe some strategies, which can be used to protect our hearing such as: moving away from the sound source, protecting the ears and reducing the volume levels of the devices. There is no cure for tinnitus yet. We discuss how to manage tinnitus such as: educating yourself about tinnitus, relaxation and paying attention away from tinnitus and seeking professional assistance.

Authors

Winfried Schlee / Giriraj Singh Shekhawat
Reviewed by Parts and Crafts
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Core Concept

Bacteriophages: The Enemies of Bad Bacteria Are Our Friends!

Some bacteria can enter the human body and make people ill. Usually, these diseases can be cured by antibiotics, but sometimes bacteria are resistant to them. In these cases, bacteria become very dangerous. Bacteriophages are viruses that infect bacteria but are harmless to humans. To reproduce, they get into a bacterium, where they multiply and finally, they break the bacterial cell to release the new viruses. Therefore, bacteriophages kill bacteria. Here, we explain how bacteriophages can be used to treat infectious diseases or to remove bacteria from other places where they are undesirable.

Authors

Diana Gutiérrez / Lucía Fernández / Beatriz Martínez / Ana Rodríguez / Pilar García
Reviewed by Anjishnu
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New Discovery

How Does a Fruit Fly Say “Ouch”?

Fruit Fly is an ideal model animal for biological research. Just like the human skin, the fruit fly has an outer layer to itself protect from injury or damage. If the human and the fruit fly respond to injury in similar ways, then we can use fruit fly to discover new steps to improve human health. Fruit flies can grow quickly and in the lab we can study many fruit flies at the same time. Using small needles to wound the fruit flies, we are able to injure and ask questions about repair. In a basic experimental method we test how our Action can cause a Reaction. Fruit flies are small and we use microscopes to see a wound reaction--Ouch! The goal of this research is to test changes in the fruit fly DNA and understand the chain of events in wound repair.

Authors

Michelle T. Juarez
Reviewed by The Metropolitan School of Panama
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Core Concept

Be Aware of Ticks When Strolling through the Park

Ticks are blood-feeding arthropods distributed worldwide. They feed on different animal hosts, including humans. Tick bites are unnoticed by the host since tick saliva contains molecules that prevent inflammation and pain. This camouflage allows ticks to feed for several days without alarming the host. A major problem is that ticks transmit pathogens while blood-feeding. This report provides basic information on tick evolution, anatomy, life cycle, transmitted diseases and how to prevent tick bites.

Authors

Alejandro Cabezas-Cruz / Agustín Estrada-Peña / James J. Valdés / José de la Fuente
Reviewed by Jack
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Core Concept

Autoimmunity: Why the Body Attacks Itself

The human body is made up of 37 trillion cells and billions of these die every single day. The body has special immune cells, called macrophages, which consume dying cells to prevent them from building up in your body. Macrophages are able to also eat any cell that is infected by a bacterium or virus. This ensures that your body will remain as healthy as possible. Sometimes the macrophages are given the wrong signals and they attack healthy cells. When this happens your body develops an allergic reaction or inflammation which can lead to autoimmunity.

Authors

Ryan R. Davis / Thomas Hollis
Reviewed by Holyrood Secondary School
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Core Concept

Why Is It Important to Improve Vaccines against Latent Tuberculosis?

Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious (contagious) disease transmitted from persons that many times harbor the bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis within their lungs, from where they are expelled during coughing. TB is mainly present in developing countries, yet, given the facility to travel among different cities and countries; a single infected person could potentially spread TB to people in several places. TB affects several parts of the body during childhood and could become a fatal disease, therefore vaccination is recommended shortly after birth in countries with elevated numbers of infected people. Today, the only available vaccine is ineffective in preventing a chronic (latent) form of infection. During latent TB, Mycobacterium tuberculosis remains “dormant” within an infected person without causing trouble, but upon weakening of our defense (immune) system, it “awakes” and promotes active disease with coughing and potential to transmit to other people. Here, I present ideas to improve vaccines to prevent chronic (latent) tuberculosis as a way to diminish the chances of starting new infectious cycles upon “awakening” of “dormant” mycobacteria.

Authors

Mario Alberto Flores-Valdez
Reviewed by Aidan
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Core Concept

Caring for Your Brain: What You Need to Know about Concussions

Concussions are an injury to the brain that can result in changes in the way you think (cognitive), the way your brain works (neurological) and the way you feel (physical and emotional). Concussions can be caused by accidents where you hit your head with the ground, tree, or another person. It is important to know the signs and symptoms of a concussion and what you need to do to allow your brain to heal properly. It is also important to know how to prevent concussions.

Authors

Caroline J. Ketcham / Eric E. Hall
Reviewed by Darius
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Core Concept

Big Bad Biofilms: How Communities of Bacteria Cause Long-Term Infections

Bacteria are tiny living things that like to attach to surfaces. Most bacteria are harmless, but if the wrong kind of bacteria get into the human body where they do not belong, they can cause an infection. Infections make the human body very sick. Most infections can be cured by antibiotics, but not infections caused by biofilms! Biofilms are communities of bacteria living together and covered in protective sticky goo, and most medicine does not work against them. Here we explain how biofilms protect bacteria from antibiotics, and what we can do to fight these long-term infections.

Authors

Mira Okshevsky / Rikke Louise Meyer
Reviewed by Vine Academy
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Core Concept

Can We Use Nanotechnology to Treat Cancer?

Could the next big change in cancer treatment actually be tiny? There are many reasons that cancer is such a difficult disease to treat. Scientists can try to come up either with new and better cancer medicines, or better ways for patients to receive their medicines. This paper describes a possible new way to deliver cancer medicines using nanoparticles – tiny, tiny sponge-like materials that have the cancer medicines inside – to try and improve the delivery of the cancer medicine into tumors. By putting the medicine inside the nanoparticle, we can protect the healthy cells in the body from these strong medicines, and we might be able to use a lower dose of the medicine to treat the patient. This exciting technology is still being researched and optimized, but could one day be used as an effective strategy to treat cancer patients.

Authors

Courtney R. Thomas
Reviewed by Aidan
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