Mar 26, 2011


Carbohydrates include both sugars and the polymers of sugars. The simplest carbohydrates are the monosaccharides, or single sugars, also known as simple sugars. Disaccharides are double sugars, consisting of two monosaccharides joined by a condensation reaction. The carbohydrates that are macromolecules are polysaccharides, polymers composed of many sugar building blocks.

Monosaccharides (from the Greek monos, single, and sacchar, sugar) generally have molecular formulas that are some multiple of the unit CH2O.

The structure and classification of some monosaccharides. Sugars may be aldoses (aldehyde sugars, top row) or ketoses (ketone sugars, bottom row), depending on the location of the carbonyl group (dark orange). Sugars are also classified according to the length of their carbon skeletons. A third point of variation is the spatial arrangement around asymmetric carbons (compare, for example, the purple portions of glucose and galactose).

Glucose, the most common monosaccharide, is of central importance in the chemistry of life. In the structure of glucose, we can see the trademarks of a sugar: The molecule has a carbonyl group and multiple hydroxyl groups (–OH). Depending on the location of the carbonyl group, a sugar is either an aldose (aldehyde sugar) or a ketose (ketone sugar). Glucose, for example, is an aldose; fructose, a structural isomer of glucose, is a ketose. (Most names for sugars end in –ose.) Another criterion for classifying sugars is the size of the carbon skeleton, which ranges from three to seven carbons long. Glucose, fructose, and other sugars that have six carbons are called hexoses. Trioses (three–carbon sugars) and pentoses (five–carbon sugars) are also common.

Still another source of diversity for simple sugars is in the spatial arrangement of their parts around asymmetric carbons. Glucose and galactose, for example, differ only in the placement of parts around one asymmetric carbon. What seems like a small difference is significant enough to give the two sugars distinctive shapes and behaviours.

Although it is convenient to draw glucose with a linear carbon skeleton, this representation is not completely accurate. In aqueous solutions, glucose molecules, as well as most other sugars, form rings.

Monosaccharides, particularly glucose, are major nutrients for cells. In the process known as cellular respiration, cells extract the energy stored in glucose molecules. Not only are simple sugar molecules a major fuel for cellular work, but their carbon skeletons serve as raw material for the synthesis of other types of small organic molecules, such as amino acids and fatty acids. Sugar molecules that are not immediately used in these ways are generally incorporated as monomers into disaccharides or polysaccharides.

A disaccharide consists of two monosaccharides joined by a glycosidic linkage , a covalent bond formed between two monosaccharides by a dehydration reaction. For example, maltose is a disaccharide formed by the linking of two molecules of glucose.

Also known as malt sugar, maltose is an ingredient used in brewing beer. The most prevalent disaccharide is sucrose, which is table sugar. Its two monomers are glucose and fructose. Plants generally transport carbohydrates from leaves to roots and other nonphotosynthetic organs in the form of sucrose. Lactose, the sugar present in milk, is another disaccharide, in this case a glucose molecule joined to a galactose molecule.

Polysaccharides are macromolecules, polymers with a few hundred to a few thousand monosaccharides joined by glycosidic linkages. Some polysaccharides serve as storage material, hydrolyzed as needed to provide sugar for cells. Other polysaccharides serve as building material for structures that protect the cell or the whole organism. The architecture and function of a polysaccharide are determined by its sugar monomers and by the positions of its glycosidic linkages.

Storage Polysaccharides
Starch , a storage polysaccharide of plants, is a polymer consisting entirely of glucose monomers. Most of these monomers are joined by 1–4 linkages (number 1 carbon to number 4 carbon), like the glucose units in maltose. The angle of these bonds makes the polymer helical. The simplest form of starch, amylose, is unbranched. Amylopectin, a more complex form of starch, is a branched polymer with 1–6 linkages at the branch points.

Plants store starch as granules within cellular structures called plastids, which include chloroplasts.

Synthesising starch enables the plant to stockpile surplus glucose. Because glucose is a major cellular fuel, starch represents stored energy. The sugar can later be withdrawn from this carbohydrate “bank” by hydrolysis, which breaks the bonds between the glucose monomers. Most animals, including humans, also have enzymes that can hydrolyse plant starch, making glucose available as a nutrient for cells. Potato tubers and grains—the fruits of wheat, corn, rice, and other grasses—are the major sources of starch in the human diet.

Animals store a polysaccharide called glycogen , a polymer of glucose that is like amylopectin but more extensively branched. Humans and other vertebrates store glycogen mainly in liver and muscle cells. Hydrolysis of glycogen in these cells releases glucose when the demand for sugar increases. This stored fuel cannot sustain an animal for long, however. In humans, for example, glycogen stores are depleted in about a day unless they are replenished by consumption of food.

Structural Polysaccharides
Organisms build strong materials from structural polysaccharides. For example, the polysaccharide called cellulose is a major component of the tough walls that enclose plant cells. On a global scale, plants produce almost 1011 (100 billion) tons of cellulose per year; it is the most abundant organic compound on Earth. Like starch, cellulose is a polymer of glucose, but the glycosidic linkages in these two polymers differ. The difference is based on the fact that there are actually two slightly different ring structures for glucose .

When glucose forms a ring, the hydroxyl group attached to the number 1 carbon is positioned either below or above the plane of the ring. These two ring forms for glucose are called alpha (α) and beta (β), respectively. In starch, all the glucose monomers are in the α configuration. In contrast, the glucose monomers of cellulose are all in the β configuration, making every other glucose monomer upside down with respect to its neighbours.

The differing glycosidic links in starch and cellulose give the two molecules distinct three–dimensional shapes. Whereas a starch molecule is mostly helical, a cellulose molecule is straight (and never branched), and its hydroxyl groups are free to hydrogen–bond with the hydroxyls of other cellulose molecules lying parallel to it. In plant cell walls, parallel cellulose molecules held together in this way are grouped into units called microfibrils.

These cable–like microfibrils are a strong building material for plants as well as for humans, who use wood, which is rich in cellulose, for lumber.

Enzymes that digest starch by hydrolysing its α linkages are unable to hydrolyze the β linkages of cellulose because of the distinctly different shapes of these two molecules. In fact, few organisms possess enzymes that can digest cellulose. Humans do not; the cellulose in our food passes through the digestive tract and is eliminated with the feces. Along the way, the cellulose abrades the wall of the digestive tract and stimulates the lining to secrete mucus, which aids in the smooth passage of food through the tract. Thus, although cellulose is not a nutrient for humans, it is an important part of a healthful diet. Most fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are rich in cellulose. On food packages, “insoluble fiber” refers mainly to cellulose.

Some microbes can digest cellulose, breaking it down to glucose monomers. A cow harbors cellulose–digesting bacteria in the rumen, the first compartment in its stomach.

The bacteria hydrolyse the cellulose of hay and grass and convert the glucose to other nutrients that nourish the cow. Similarly, a termite, which is unable to digest cellulose by itself, has microbes living in its gut that can make a meal of wood. Some fungi can also digest cellulose, thereby helping recycle chemical elements within Earth’s ecosystems.

Another important structural polysaccharide is chitin , the carbohydrate used by arthropods (insects, spiders, crustaceans, and related animals) to build their exoskeletons.
An exoskeleton is a hard case that surrounds the soft parts of an animal. Pure chitin is leathery, but it becomes hardened when encrusted with calcium carbonate, a salt. Chitin is also found in many fungi, which use this polysaccharide rather than cellulose as the building material for their cell walls. Chitin is similar to cellulose, except that the glucose monomer of chitin has a nitrogen–containing appendage.

Mar 23, 2011

Learning from Mistakes

One of the best ways to relieve stress is to learn from your mistakes. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to find the balance between seeing too many things as someone else’s fault and seeing too many things as your fault. And in both cases, rumination can take root and cause too much stress. But how can you learn from your mistakes if you don’t realise when you’ve made one?

There’s no easy answer on how to learn from your mistakes that will work every time, though chapters have been written about it in classic books like The Road Less Travelled, and opportunities to address the topic have been missed in others, like The Four Agreements. However, there are some strategies you can use to learn from your mistakes that will work in various situations most of the time. When you’re trying to learn from your mistakes, consider the following:

Reframe Your Mistakes
First, use reframing to stop thinking of your mistakes as failures. They can be more accurately described as opportunities for learning—people generally learn more from mistakes than they learn from successes. With each mistake, you can learn valuable information that can be used for future success.

Be Forgiving
Next, maintain perspective and don’t take mistakes too seriously. Blaming others for our mistakes can be a defense mechanism for those who are harsh with ourselves when we mess up—we stay in denial because we can’t take our own harsh self-condemnation. Be forgiving. Just changing your outlook on this can make it less threatening to recognise when you’re responsible or partially responsible for things going other than you’d planned. And that makes you more able to learn from your mistakes.

See What You Can Change
Rather than thinking of who is more responsible for a situation—you or another person—look at the situation as a whole in terms of what you can change. If you view taking responsibility through the lens of personal control—what can you change next time, what do you have control over?—makes it an empowering experience to learn from your mistakes.

Look Beyond
Look at other sides of the same situation. How do different people in the situation feel. How might things have gone differently if you’d made different choices? Look at the situation in different ways. Play with it. And see what you can learn for next time.

Ask Questions
Ask for impartial opinions. Have a few trusted friends who will tell you the truth, and who can see things from both sides, and ask them what they see. Sometimes we’re too close to a situation to make sense of it at first, but an observer who isn’t so emotionally attached, and who can deliver their opinion with love and tact, is what we need to help us learn from our mistakes.

Pat Yourself On The Back
Congratulate yourself for whatever growth you’ve gained from dealing with each difficult situation you encounter and each mistake you make. Remember that these things add value to life as much as the more pleasant experiences we all value. And be glad that you always have the opportunity to learn from your mistakes in one way or another.

Mar 14, 2011

Radioactive Effects on Human

Radioactive pollution can be defined as the emission of high energy particles or radioactive substance into air, water or land due to human activities in the form of radioactive waste. Radioactive waste is usually the product of a nuclear process such as nuclear fission, which is extensively used in nuclear reactors, nuclear weapons and other nuclear fuel-cycles.

The radioactivity of nuclear waste diminishes with time. That means the waste needs to be isolated from the reach of living beings until it no longer pose a threat to living beings. This time period may take from days to months and to years depending upon the radioactive nature of the waste.

Radioactive pollution that is spread through the earth’s atmosphere is called “Fallout”. The atmospheric nuclear pollution become prominent during the World War 2 period when United States, Britain and Soviet Union started conducting nuclear tests in the atmosphere. The best example of fallout is the nuclear bomb attack on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan in 1945 by United States of America during World War 2.

As a result of nuclear bomb attack, nearly 2,250,000 people had died as a result of long-term exposure to radiation from the bomb blast within 5 years of attack due to radiation effect and cancer.

In land and water, the major source of radioactive pollution remains with the nuclear fuel cycle. The nuclear fuel cycle is used in nuclear power plants, extraction and refinement of materials from nuclear substance to be used in nuclear reactors and nuclear weapons, where the contaminants are left behind after the useful material (Nuclear Isotope) is extracted.

The effects of radioactive pollution or exposure to nuclear radiations were first reported in early 20th century when people working in uranium mines suffered from skin burn and cancer. The effects vary from organism to organism and from level of radioactivity of nuclear isotopes. The radiations destroy the cells in human body and causes cancer.

Radioactive particles forms ions when it reacts with biological molecules. These ions then form free radicals which slowly and steadily start destroying proteins, membranes, and nucleic acids. A longer exposure to radioactive radiations can damage the DNA cells that results in cancer, genetic defects for the generations to come and even death.

Long Term Effects on Humans
Long after the acute effects of radiation have subsided, radiation damage continues to produce a wide range of physical problems. These effects- including leukemia, cancer, and many others- appear two, three, even ten years later.

Blood Disorders
According to Japanese data, there was an increase in anaemia among persons exposed to the bomb. In some cases, the decrease in white and red blood cells lasted for up to ten years after the bombing.

There was an increase in cataract rate of the survivors at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, who were partly shielded and suffered partial hair loss.

Malignant Tumors
All ionising radiation is carcinogenic, but some tumour types are more readily generated than others. A prevalent type is leukaemia. The cancer incidence among survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is significantly larger than that of the general population, and a significant correlation between exposure level and degree of incidence has been reported for thyroid cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer, and cancer of the salivary gland. Often a decade or more passes before radiation-caused malignancies appear.


Beginning in early 1946, scar tissue covering apparently healed burns began to swell and grow abnormally. Mounds of raised and twisted flesh, called keloids, were found in 50 to 60 percent of those burned by direct exposure to the heat rays within 1.2 miles of the hypocenter. Keloids are believed to be related to the effects of radiation.

Mar 10, 2011

The Skeletal System

Mar 7, 2011

Newborn and Jaundice (Demam Kuning)

A common condition in newborns, jaundice refers to the yellow colour of the skin and whites of the eyes caused by excess bilirubin in the blood. Bilirubin is produced by the normal breakdown of red blood cells.

Normally, bilirubin passes through the liver and is excreted as bile through the intestines. Jaundice occurs when bilirubin builds up faster than a newborn's liver can break it down and pass it from the body. Reasons for this include:
  • Newborns make more bilirubin than adults do since they have more turnover of red blood cells.
  • A newborn baby's still-developing liver may not yet be able to remove adequate bilirubin from the blood.
  • Too large an amount of bilirubin is reabsorbed from the intestines before the baby gets rid of it in the stool.
High levels of bilirubin — usually above 25 mg — can cause deafness, cerebral palsy, or other forms of brain damage in some babies. In less common cases, jaundice may indicate the presence of another condition, such as an infection or a thyroid problem. It is recommended that all infants should be examined for jaundice within a few days of birth.

Types of Jaundice
The most common types of jaundice are:

  • Physiological (normal) jaundice: occurring in most newborns, this mild jaundice is due to the immaturity of the baby's liver, which leads to a slow processing of bilirubin. It generally appears at 2 to 4 days of age and disappears by 1 to 2 weeks of age.
  • Jaundice of prematurity: occurs frequently in premature babies since they are even less ready to excrete bilirubin effectively. Jaundice in premature babies needs to be treated at a lower bilirubin level than in full term babies in order to avoid complications.
  • Breastfeeding jaundice: jaundice can occur when a breastfeeding baby is not getting enough breast milk because of difficulty with breastfeeding or because the mother's milk isn’t in yet. This is not caused by a problem with the breast milk itself, but by the baby not getting enough to drink.
  • Breast milk jaundice: in 1% to 2% of breastfed babies, jaundice may be caused by substances produced in their mother's breast milk that can cause the bilirubin level to rise. These can prevent the excretion of bilirubin through the intestines. It starts after the first 3 to 5 days and slowly improves over 3 to 12 weeks.
  • Blood group incompatibility (Rh or ABO problems): if a baby has a different blood type than the mother, the mother might produce antibodies that destroy the infant's red blood cells. This creates a sudden buildup of bilirubin in the baby's blood. Incompatibility jaundice can begin as early as the first day of life. Rh problems once caused the most severe form of jaundice, but now can be prevented with an injection of Rh immune globulin to the mother within 72 hours after delivery, which prevents her from forming antibodies that might endanger any subsequent babies.
Symptoms and Diagnosis
Jaundice usually appears around the second or third day of life. It begins at the head and progresses downward. A jaundiced baby's skin will usually appear yellow first on the face, followed by the chest and stomach, and finally, the legs. It can also cause the whites of an infant's eyes to appear yellow.

Since many babies are now released from the hospital at 1 or 2 days of life, it is best for the baby to be seen by a doctor within 1 to 2 days of leaving the hospital to check for jaundice. Parents should also keep an eye on their infants to detect jaundice.

If you notice your baby’s skin or eyes looking yellow you should contact your child's doctor to see if significant jaundice is present.

At the doctor's office, a small sample of your infant's blood can be tested to measure the bilirubin level. Some offices use a light meter to get an approximate measurement, and then if it is high, check a blood sample. The seriousness of the jaundice will vary based on how many hours old your child is and the presence of other medical conditions.

When to Call the Doctor
Your doctor should be called immediately if:
  • jaundice is noted during the first 24 hours of life
  • the jaundice is spreading or getting more intense
  • your baby develops a fever over 100° Fahrenheit (37.8° Celsius) rectally
  • if your child starts to look or act sick
Also call the doctor right away if the colour deepens, your baby is not feeding well, or if you feel your baby is sleepier than usual. It is difficult to tell how significant jaundice is just by looking at a baby, so any baby who has yellow eyes or skin should be checked by the doctor.

In mild or moderate levels of jaundice, by 1 to 2 weeks of age the baby will take care of the excess bilirubin on its own. For high levels of jaundice, phototherapy — treatment with a special light that helps rid the body of the bilirubin by altering it or making it easier for your baby's liver to get rid of it — may be used.

More frequent feedings of breast milk or supplementing with formula to help infants pass the bilirubin in their stools may also be recommended. In rare cases, a blood exchange may be required to give a baby fresh blood and remove the bilirubin.

If your baby develops jaundice that seems to be from breast milk, your doctor may ask you to temporarily stop breastfeeding. During this time, you can pump your breasts so you can keep producing breast milk and you can start nursing again once the condition has cleared.

If the amount of bilirubin is high, your baby may be readmitted to the hospital for treatment. Once the bilirubin level drops and the treatment is stopped, it is unlikely that treatment for jaundice will need to be restarted.