Category: Miscellaneous

Metabolic switch may bring on chronic fatigue syndrome

Metabolic switch may bring on chronic fatigue syndrome

Chronic fatigue syndrome seems to be caused by changes in the body’s metabolism

By Andy Coghlan

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2121162-metabolic-switch-may-bring-on-chronic-fatigue-syndrome

It’s as if a switch has been flicked. Evidence is mounting that chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is caused by the body swapping to less efficient ways of generating energy.

Also known as ME or myalgic encephalomyelitis, CFS affects some 250,000 people in the UK. The main symptom is persistent physical and mental exhaustion that doesn’t improve with sleep or rest. It often begins after a mild infection, but its causes are unknown. Some have argued that CFS is a psychological condition, and that it is best treated through strategies like cognitive behavioural therapy.

But several lines of investigation are now suggesting that the profound and painful lack of energy seen in the condition could in many cases be due to people losing their ability to burn carbohydrate sugars in the normal way to generate cellular energy.

Instead, the cells of people with CFS stop making as much energy from sugar as usual, and start relying more on lower-yielding fuels, such as amino acids and fats. This kind of metabolic switch produces lactate, which can cause pain when it accumulates in muscles.

Together, this would explain both the shortness of energy, and why even mild exercise can be exhausting and painful.

Øystein Fluge of Haukeland University Hospital in Bergen, Norway, and his colleagues studied amino acids in 200 people with CFS, and 102 people without it. The levels of some amino acids in the blood of women with CFS was abnormally low – specifically for the types of amino acid that can be used by the body as an alternative fuel source.

These shortfalls were not seen in men with CFS, but that could be because men tend to extract amino acids for energy from their muscles, instead of their blood. And the team saw higher levels of an amino acid that’s a sign of such a process.

“It seems that both male and female CFS patients may have the same obstruction in carbohydrate metabolism to energy, but they may try to compensate differently,” says Fluge.

Both sexes had high levels of several enzymes known to suppress pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH), an enzyme vital for moving carbohydrates and sugars into a cell’s mitochondria – a key step for fully exploiting sugar for energy.

Fluge thinks PDH is prevented from working in people with CFS, but that it can spontaneously recover.

Several studies have now hinted that defects in sugar burning can cause CFS, but there is still uncertainty over how exactly this is disrupted. However, a picture is emerging. Something makes the body switch from burning sugar to a far less efficient way of making energy.

“We don’t think it’s just PDH,” says Chris Armstrong at the University of Melbourne in Australia, whose research has also uncovered anomalies in amino acid levels in patients. “Broadly, we think it’s an issue with sugar metabolism in general.”

The result is not unlike starvation, says Armstrong. “When people are facing starvation, the body uses amino acids and fatty acids to fuel energy for most cells in the body, to keep glucose levels vital for the brain and muscles as high as possible.”

“We think that no single enzyme in metabolism will be the answer to CFS, just as no single enzyme is the ‘cause’ of something like hibernation,” says Robert Naviaux of the University of California at San Diego, who has found depletion of fatty acids in patients suggesting they were diverted as fuel.

So what could flick the switch to a different method of metabolism? Fluge’s team thinks that a person’s own immune system may stop PDH from working, possibly triggered by a mild infection.

His team has previously shown that wiping out a type of white blood cell called B-cells in CFS patients seems to relieve the condition. These white blood cells make antibodies, and Fluge suspects that some antibodies made to combat infections may also recognise something in PDH and disable it.

The team is now conducting a large trial in Norway of the cancer drug rituximab, which destroys the cells that make antibodies, in people with CFS. Results are expected next year.

Together, these metabolic approaches are suggesting that CFS has a chemical cause. “It’s definitely a physiological effect that we’re observing, and not psychosomatic, and I’ll put my head on the block on that,” says Armstrong. However, he adds that psychological and brain chemistry factors might be involved in some cases.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.animatedscience.co.uk/2017/metabolic-switch-may-bring-on-chronic-fatigue-syndrome

Investigating Levers – Stretch Project!

Investigating Levers AQA Triple Science P3 – Stretch Project!

 

Introduction

This is a great “technical practical” that you can use to investigate how a lever works, but in
a fun practical way. It requires some tricky kit, so you might need to go do to the local tyre shop to see if they will let you have a go!

Equipment…

  • Force Sensor (range 0.1N to 500N)  (link – for suggested type of sensor)
  • Alloy rim with tyre
  • Metal Lever (0.6m)  (link – suggested type)
  • 30cm ruler
  • Black marker pen
  • Multimeter – set to ohms

 

Safety: to avoid cuts or crushing injury wear gloves and heavy duty shoes, in case your hands slip on the lever as you apply forces.

 

Method

  1. Calibrate a resistance based force sensor using weights and a multi-meter set to ohms. Create a graph so you can convert resistance to a specific force.
  2. Put car wheel on the floor on its side.
  3. Glue a force sensor to the tyre lever on the top of the “load side”
  4. Put markings for distance on a tyre lever every 0.05m from the pivot point and pivot point itself.
  5. Hold the lever with one hand at the nearest point to the pivot, apply enough force to pull the rubber over the rim.
  6. Record the distance, reading on the multimeter in a table then use the graph to convert to a load force which should also be recorded.
  7. Replace the rubber and repeat steps 5 and 6 but 0.05m further away. Record all the results in a table.
  8. Graph the load force v distance from pivot and look for a pattern.
  9. Repeat with a 2nd wheel and compare graphs.

 

Control Variables

  1. During the experiment you must control certain factors. You hand must not slip or move from the distance to the pivot
  2. Force sensor must not change angle against the rim or tyre or the results will vary for the resistance
  3. Pivot point must stay fixed
  4. Temperature may have an effect on the force sensor so all results must be collected on the same day and in the same place.

animatedscience-method

Permanent link to this article: https://www.animatedscience.co.uk/2016/investigating-levers-aqa-triple-science-p3-stretch-project

Tarsia Puzzles for A-Level Physics

Tarsia Puzzles for A-Level Physics

Here is set of Tarsia Puzzles you are free to use for revision for AS AQA Physics in the main. You will need to right click to download, then also put the tarsia formulator on your PC to view and edit…

1 Matter & Radiation

2 Quarks and Leptons Tarsia

3 Photoelectric Effect Circle Tarsia

3 QM Energy levels tarsia Excitation

4 Waves Tarsia

5 Optics

6 Forces in Equilibrium

7 On the Move

7 to 9 Vectors and Forces Tarsia

12 Electricity Intro

OCR X Rays Image intensifier Tarsia

Permanent link to this article: https://www.animatedscience.co.uk/tarsia-puzzles-for-a-level-physics

BBC News: James Webb’s mirror is revealed

James Webb’s mirror is revealed – https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-36144300

Permanent link to this article: https://www.animatedscience.co.uk/2016/bbc-news-james-webbs-mirror-is-revealed

iGCSE Physics Forces & Astronomy

iGCSE Physics Forces & Astronomy 1d

 

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Here are a set of resources to help with iGCSE forces and Astronomy Section. The syllabus aims are shown below and also all the resources for the lesson. The idea is to have a printed version of the PPT ideally or use on a PC where you can edit it, or view on a tablet. As you work through the activities you should have a 2nd browser tab open for the quiz, and work through the questions as you go. Also linked from the quiz are some breakout videos to view if you get stuck. I would also suggest you download a QR Code reader so you can find any links quickly.

Syllabus…

1.32 Understand gravitational field strength, g, and recall that it is different on other planets and the moon from that on the Earth

1.33 Explain that gravitational force:

  • causes moons to orbit planets
  • causes the planets to orbit the sun
  • causes artificial satellites to orbit the Earth
  • causes comets to orbit the sun

1.34 Describe the differences in the orbits of comets, moons and planets

1.35 Use the relationship between orbital speed, orbital radius and time period

1.36 Understand that:

  • the universe is a large collection of billions of galaxies
  • a galaxy is a large collection of billions of stars
  • our solar system is in the Milky Way galaxy.

Resources…

iGCSE Forces and Astronomy 1d (PPT Version)

iGCSE Forces and Astronomy 1d (PDF Version)

Solar System Data (PDF)

Solar System Data  (Excel)

Quiz (iSpring Assessment)

iSpring PDF version (if you cannot load the quiz)

 

Weblinks

Gravitational Force F=ma extra help video

Gravitational Fields g =GM/r^2 extra help extension video

Circular Velocity v= 2πr/T extra help video

iPad QR Code Reader

Android QR Code Reader

 

[yt4wp-video video_id=”85jkZE2_oNg”]

 

Permanent link to this article: https://www.animatedscience.co.uk/2016/igcse-physics-forces-astronomy

Sky lights up over Sicily as Mount Etna’s Voragine crater erupts

Sky lights up over Sicily as Mount Etna’s Voragine crater erupts

 

Display of volcanic lightning inside giant smoke and ash cloud over Europe’s tallest active volcano is Voragine crater’s first eruption in two years. The night sky lights up over the east coast of Sicily as Mount Etna’s Voragine crater erupts for the first time in two years. The giant plume of smoke and ash thrown up by the blast creates a dazzling display of volcanic lightning, a mysterious phenomenon seen in many of the most powerful volcanic eruptions.

It is thought that ash particles rubbing together inside the cloud could lead to the buildup of an electric charge that triggers the lightning strikes, much as a weak charge builds up on a balloon rubbed on a jumper

When the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull erupted in 2010, the combination of dust with ice and water from an overlying glacier produced a spectacular “dirty thunderstorm” that sent streaks of lightning leaping around inside the plume that drifted overhead.

The tallest active volcano in Europe, Mount Etna stands 3329m high and has been erupting for an estimated 2.5m years. In modern times, towns and villages in the foothills of Etna have been protected by ditches and concrete dams that divert lava flows to safer ground. The volcano has five craters: the Bocca Nuova, the north-east crater, two in the south-east crater complex and the Voragine. The Voragine crater formed inside the volcano’s central crater in 1945.

Volcanic activity in the region is driven by the collision of the African tectonic plate with the Eurasian plate. Magma from molten rock erupts as lava and ash and builds the volcano in the process.

The ash cloud from Mount Etna’s Voragine crater lights up the sky.
Pinterest
The ash cloud from Mount Etna’s Voragine crater lights up the sky. Photograph: Marco Restivo/Demotix/Corbis
Fire and ash emissions spew from Mount Etna’s Voragine crater.
Pinterest
Fire and ash emissions spew from Mount Etna’s Voragine crater. Photograph: Marco Restivo/Demotix/Corbis
Lightning highlights the ash as it spews out Mount Etna’s Vorgaine crater.
Pinterest
Lightning highlights the ash as it spews out Mount Etna’s Vorgaine crater. Photograph: Marco Restivo/Barcroft Media

https://www.gu.com/p/4enax?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_WordPress

 

Permanent link to this article: https://www.animatedscience.co.uk/2015/sky-lights-up-over-sicily-as-mount-etnas-voragine-crater-erupts

Roundworm good, Hookworm bad

Parasitic worm ‘increases fertility’ – https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-34857022

Permanent link to this article: https://www.animatedscience.co.uk/2015/roundworm-good-hookworm-bad

Pluto in a higher definition..

New Horizons: Tension mounts over Pluto signal – https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-33531751

Permanent link to this article: https://www.animatedscience.co.uk/2015/pluto-in-a-higher-definition

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