In my A&P course, we spend a lot of time on cell biology before "jumping in" to the systems.
That's because they're often a bit weak in this area coming in—and even more often don't have up-to-date information.Although this provides a firm foundation for nearly everything that follows in the course, my students often wonder . . . do we really need to know all this stuff?
It's sure hard to see why knowing about all the ins and outs of mitochondria, for example, are important to understanding people.A recent feature article in Science News does a great job of bringing home why its important to know this. The article talks about the mitochondrial aging theory and new information linking mitochondrial dysfunction to disease and aging.
[NOTE: The mitochondrial theory of aging is discussed, and illustrated, in Chapter 33 of my textbook Anatomy & Physiology]
Some key facts revealed in the article include:
- scientists think that millions of us may suffer from mitochondrial problems
- mitochondrial dysfunction may be a mechanism of Alzheimer disease, Parkinson disease, diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease, cancer, obesity, and more
- mitochondrial mechanisms are now thought to be so central to understanding disease processes, the NIH is now encouraging additional mitochondrial research
- the reason low-calorie diets may prolong life is because it keeps the mitochrondria from producing an excess of free radicals that contribute to aging
- physical and mental activity produce similar anti-aging effects
- researchers are investigating treatments that take advantage of knowledge of mitochondrial function
This is a great article to give students to chew on. Or to simply point to as a good reason why it's important to know about mitochondria . . .and other cellular structures and mechanisms.
Here's the article, along with some additional resources on the topic . . .
Mitochondria as Chi
Douglas C. Wallace
Genetics. Vol. 179, 727-735. June 2008.
[Extensive FREE full-text article with an interest twist: a link to ancient Asian medicine. Includes FREE PowerPoint slide you can use in your course.]
Mitochondrial Medicine for Aging and Neurodegenerative DiseasesMitochondrial biology and oxidative stress in Parkinson disease pathogenesis
P. Hemachandra Reddy
Neuromolecular Medicine, 2008. DOI 10.1007/s12017-008-8044-z
[FREE abstract and preview.]
Henchcliffe, C., and M.F. Beal.
Nature Clinical Practice 2008. 4(November):600-609. doi:10.1038/ncpneuro0924
[Connect mitochondrial dysfunction to PD. Several FREE PowerPoint slides you can use in your course.]
Medication-induced mitochondrial damage and diseaseThe mitochondrial theory of aging and its relationship to reactive oxygen species damage and somatic mtDNA mutations
Neustadt, J., and S.R. Pieczenik
Molecular Nutrition & Food Research 2008. 52:780–788. DOI 10.1002/mnfr.200700075
[FREE abstract of research report.]
Loeb, L. et al. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciense U S A. 2005 December 27; 102(52): 18769–18770.
[Article summarizes the mitochondrial theory of aging. Includes FREE image.]
Here's a video on mitochondrial disease:
[The video player embedded here may not appear in your news feed or emailed newsletter. Go to The A&P Professor blog to access the video viewer. Go to The A&P Professor website to learn how to embed the video in your PowerPoint or webpage . . . or simply link to it from your own email or webpage.]