AP Biology class blog for discussing current research in Biology

Tag: heart attack

They Have It ALL WRONG.

As a AP Biology student we are required to learn about genes, but because we are just in high school we don’t go too much in depth about each specific gene that makes us who we are. One major topic that we have been studying is sex-linked genes. Sex-linked genes are genes that are usually recessive on the X chromosome and are mostly seen in males. As you may already know males have XY and females have XX (making us more superior of course). So why am I re-teaching what we have already learned?

Well a recent study was published in the The Lancet, a medical journal, claiming that males are at greater risk for heart disease. They found that 2 out of every 3 heart disease patients are male. This is not an outstanding ratio but it definitely  rose questions in the medical field. The funny thing is they are now speculating that this disease is linked to the y chromosome. A chromosome that rarely ever shows up in a woman’s DNA, but if that were true then wouldn’t heart disease be unseen in women. Dr. Tomaszewski found that there are two different types of y chromosomes and men with one type were more likely to have heart

disease.On the other hand “Dr. Daniel J. Rader, a heart disease researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, said it was also possible that simply having a Y chromosome instead of two X chromosomes, as women have, increased heart disease risk. The extra X could be protective.” While the whole New York Times Article speaks about the recent research, the article continuously claims that “A lot more work needs to be done.” I have to agree with this

statement. I think that there are too many other factors that play into heart disease. Is it possible that they are looking too far into this? Maybe it is just a normal recessive sex-linked trait on the X chromosome and because women have 2 X chromosomes they are less likely to have it. What do you think?


SALT: Hate it or love it? Either way you can blame your parents.

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As a salt hater myself, I find it hard to understand why my grandmother pours salt over salads, soups, even “bland” sandwiches. Why she seasons all her food so that it tastes like salt water was always a mystery to me.

So why DO some people like salt while others hate it?

The answer may lie in what parents feed their children between the ages of two months and six months- sometimes unknowingly giving their children food with lots of salt.
According to the study, infants who ate only baby food and other natural foods like fruits and vegetables (all of which contain little or no salt) during their first six months disliked or were indifferent to salty foods by preschool age. On the other hand, the children who had consumed salty foods in infancy preferred salty foods over food without salt. Unfortunately, these children tended to adore unhealthy, salty foods like potato chips, French fries, hot dogs and pretzels.

The good thing about consuming salt is that it is necessary for humans to function properly.
For example, humans need salt to make the digestive acid, hydrochloric acid. Also, oftentimes it is mixed with iodine – another element necessary for human life. In the late 900’s, salt was worth its weight in gold in many African kingdoms simply because it is so vital.

So how much salt is too much?

On average, a person needs to consume about 500 mg
day. However, most americans consume ten times that amount.

We Americans have trouble consuming too much salt. Too much salt can lead to hypertension and heart attacks. Normally, the kidney filters the blood so that excess salt will be released in the urine. However, when people eat huge amounts of salt, some of the excess remains in the bloodstream. For some people, the increased salinity in the blood causes blood pressure to rise to unsafe levels. Unsafe because, as we learned in class, hypertension can lead to heart attacks and strokes.

So, for most babies it is better when the parents stick to low sodium foods, especially since the infants showed no preference for salt at two months, meaning that my grandmother, and other “salt lovers” probably aren’t born with their love of salty foods. Salt “loving” seem to be a behavior that, once moulded between the ages of 2 and 6 months, has lasting effects on that person’s preferences.


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