AP Biology class blog for discussing current research in Biology

Author: jackinthebocks

Weird ways a child can get hurt

When I was over at my cousins’ house I noticed how protective my uncle and aunt were. Everything seemed to be childproof. Nicole, my two year old cousin, is surrounded by gates and rubber corners. I was under the impression that no matter what a parent does there is always something that can hurt their kids. So when I found “Weird ways Kids can get Hurt” I had to write about it.


By J.Smith


 Bouncy Castles. These tend to be at every little kids party and they seems pretty harmless, but A 2012 report in the journal Pediatrics estimated that nearly 65,000 children were treated in U.S. emergency rooms for Bouncy Castle injuries.

Circular Lithium Batteries. These batteries are being used in everything from children toys to tv remotes. These batteries are the perfect size to get lodged in your kids throat where they can burn through ones esophagus in less then 2 hours. 84% of battery related injuries come from kids  who swallowed them.

Car Seats. Many parents get these for their children as they should, but most parents don’t know that these car seats, when exposed to bear skin can cause a rash from the nylon foam in the seats.

Laundry-detergent pods. These detergents are contained in see-through bags with bright colors and can easily be mistaken for candy. Nearly half of reported injuries from detergent come from children under 5.

Shopping Cart Injuries. Over 23,000 visits to the emergency room, the result of kids playing with or on shopping carts. These carts weren’t designed to hold kids…

These are only a few of many things that tend to hurt children.

No More Ticks?

Going to an outdoors summer camp, I had a lot of experience with ticks, these pesky, mosquito like bugs, bites you and stick to your skin. I wish the camp had a way to control their tick infestation, so this article was very intriguing. Ticks, or those pesky bugs that attach to your skin when hiking or walking outdoors, may soon be controlled by fungus.

An important term to know for this article is biological control, which is an attempt to reduce pest population by using “natural enemies” or living organisms (like fungus.)

Biosfork, an agricultural and environmental research firm in Norway, is looking into to the tick infestation problem. Ticks seem like such small harmless bugs, but the tick is a lethal predator for many animals. In sheep, a tick bite can lead to the disease TBF, or Tick Borne Fever. This disease causes high fever and severally compromises their immune systems. As a result many animals die from something as small as a tick bite.

According to their research Biosfork has found that Metarhizium, a pathogenic fungus, can systematically kill ticks. Metarhizium is present in most soils, but scientist at Biosfork feel that releasing this fungus in large quantities in tick invested area will stop the horrible pesky ticks. Biosfork has released this fungus into controlled environments and has found that Metarhizium is a brutal, yet effective way to eliminate these pesky ticks.

This can have many practical applications. By eliminating ticks this fungus could save many sheep pastures by eliminating this pesky predator. Reducing tick populations can make that hike more enjoyable by limiting the pesky tick bites that make the outdoors a nightmare.

File:Ixodus ricinus 5x.jpg

Is Caffeine a health risk in adolescence





That short burst of energy that one gets from caffeine may result in slower brain developments. SNSF, or the Swiss National Science Foundation, has conducted studies on rats, and have found that in pubescent rats the intake of caffeine has prevented deep sleep and delayed brain development compared to other rats that had no caffeine. This study is very prominent in our lives because adolescent intake of caffeine has increased more then 70% in the last 30 years. In this study the rats that were given caffeine were found to be more cautious and timid, while the rats that were given water were found to be more curious and active. Rats typically get more active as they grow older, but caffeine seemed to change this natural behavior. Rats’ brains are very different from humans so this study is by no means conclusive, but the brain development between rats and humans have some parallels. This study suggest that in adolescence the consumption of caffeine may have negative side effects on the brains development. Caffeine directly affected the sleep patterns of Rat’s, and many scientists believe that the brain develops during these episodes of deep sleep. Scientist believe that by limiting the Rats’s ability to enter this “deep sleep” caffeine is slowing down brain development. Huber, one of the main researchers during this experiment, said, “there is still need for research before one can make any conclusions.” That quick burst of energy that one gets from caffeine in the morning may not be worth the negative side effects that it has on one’s sleep and one’s brain development.



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