Toucan Play That Game

A blog about life...literally

This Mental Illness Treatment is Shocking!

Depression is a serious mental illness experienced by 1 in 15 adults in the United States each year. Many medications researched over the past few decades have been the main working tools in fighting this terrible disorder. Unfortunately for many, these medications prove to be insufficient, so scientists have been working to find new and improved ways to help patients suffering from depression.

The practice was first introduced in 1938, and has since then undergone many procedural adaptations, mirroring new advancements in medicine and technology. The severity of the treatments has led to a stigma among the public, yet it is important to understand that the treatments are safe and have been proven to be effective.

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Written by Caleb J.| Tagged | Leave a Comment

Winged Wednesday – Great Gynandromorphs

You may have seen an odd bird flying around your neighborhood or a strange butterfly sitting on a flower. The animal might have been two different colors split right down the middle. One half of the animal perhaps was bigger than the other. It may have just not looked like the other animals. This could be because it is a gynandromorph. As we learned earlier in the year a gynandromorph is an animal that is half male and half female. The animal is split right down the middle. Every cell on each side of the animal is either wholly female or wholly male. Not to be confused with a hermaphrodite. A hermaphrodite is an animal that has both sets of genitalia, but the gender crossing ends there.

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Written by Jackson R.| Tagged , | Leave a Comment

Genes Compete Too

f I were to take a guess, the most memorable phrase you have from a biology class (besides “the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell”, which is both grammatically incorrect and really only useful for memes) is probably “survival of the fittest,” and this is well-founded—both the concept of “survival” and the concept of “fitness” are central to the theory of evolution, which is a central topic in biology. The question of focus of this theory is what happens when a diverse population of replicating units must compete for something in order to replicate, and why it happens. What evolutionary biologists have found is that each individual replicating unit in a population can be assigned a level of fitness based on how adapted to the environment it is, and the units with higher levels of fitness will tend to survive to replication more often than the units with lower levels of fitness, thus resulting in the “survival of the fittest” units and death of the least fit units. This process is known as natural selection, and is responsible for the take-over of increasingly complex units produced through mutations.

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Written by Alex G.| Tagged | Leave a Comment

Does the Environment of East African Runners Affect Their Dominance?

East Africa has had a long standing tradition of producing world class long distance runners that dominate the biggest profile races in the world. If we take the results of the annual London Marathon alone, an East African runner, specifically from Ethiopia or Kenya, has won the London Marathon a whopping 18 consecutive times. The last non-East African runner to win the London Marathon was in 2002, where Morrocan-American runner Khlaid Khannouci took home the gold medal with a finishing time of 2:05:38 and became the world marathon record holder at the time. The dominance of the East African runners is most likely due to a variety of factors, including genetics, diet, and environment. All of these factors, however, boil down to the biological level.

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Written by Rex G.| Tagged | Leave a Comment

Bacteria With Clocks

Biological clocks or circadian rhythms are exquisite internal timing mechanisms that are widespread across nature enabling living organisms to cope with the major changes that occur from day to night, even across seasons. Humans, Animals and plants all have them. Now research reveals that bacteria too have internal clocks that align with the 24-hour cycle of life on Earth.

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Nanoparticles as Drug Carriers to Combat Cancer

Nanoparticles are a field of science that has provoked global interest due to their wide variability and applications. Novel interactions with the immune system show promise for suppression and triggering of this system. Their small size and variable nature can allow them to bypass the immune system as a whole, making them promising drug carrier candidates. Nanoparticles are defined as an aggregate of atoms, molecules, or ions with a diameter between 1 and a few 100 nanometers that have properties different from those atoms in bulk. Their unique size range allows for a broader range of properties, including variable surface charge, variable size, and variable shape. This is a direct effect of the surface to volume ratio increasing in nanoparticles compared to bulk materials. That ratio serves to allow nanoparticles to confine their electrons and have such a wide range of variability. This allows them to serve a wide range of functions, especially in the medical field.

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Written by Omar M.| Tagged | Leave a Comment

This Beta Work – Curing Type 1 Diabetes with Beta Cell Regeneration

If you could cure anything in the world right now, what would it be? Coronavirus, perhaps? Cancer? The answer I would give is diabetes. You might be thinking, “Are you serious? But can’t diabetics just get better by exercising and eating healthy?” Well, not exactly. And maybe you aren’t thinking that, but you’re silently judging me, whether intentionally or not, because of all the things I could cure… diabetes? Yep. Now I may be a bit biased on my decision, seeing that I am a diabetic myself, and perhaps this makes me a little bit selfish. But here’s the reality: over 32 million Americans are plagued with this disease. Only about 5% of these cases, however, are type 1 diabetes, my own included.

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Written by Cydney W.| Tagged | Leave a Comment

Frog Friday – Torrential

Read more about the Black-spotted Rock Frog here.


Written by Mr. Mohn| Tagged | Leave a Comment

Winged Wednesday – Keep Calm and Carrion

Did you know?

In May 2013, a 52-year old woman was hiking in France when she fell off a cliff to her death. Her body was eaten by Griffon Vultures before rescue workers were able to recover it. This was the first documented case of a human being eaten by Griffon Vultures, and the story brought worldwide attention to the Griffon Vulture problems in Southern Europe.


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Mammal Monday – Take It To the Bank

Did you know?

The bank vole lives in woodland areas in Europe and Asia. Predators such as owls, foxes, and weasels take their toll on bank vole populations throughout the year. This may be because they are not easily frightened and can be readily seen climbing through the undergrowth during the day. You might say that, when it comes to their predators, the bank vole is generous to a vault.


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