Week 7: Disorders And The Age Of The Internet
Welcome back to another week of my Senior Project! This week was very unique and eye-opening for me. On Monday and Wednesday, the college class focused on topics called cybersecurity and penetration testing, which were taught by a guest speaker. I learned about various ways that hackers can attack a system and ways to defend the system from hackers. Some ways to protect a system are through firewalls, encryption of data, and user training (to prevent them from using unknown USB sticks or links). Then, the class was given various real-life scenarios of hackers taking over systems (such as the Ukrainian power grid and U.S. drones), and we were attempting to find ways that we would infiltrate and protect a database. These real-life scenarios surprised me because I never thought that the electrical grid and factories operated through the use of information technology. I always thought that the electrical grid was set in stone and ran power directly from factories to homes, but I now understand operators determine the amount of electricity in a grid. Similarly, I had always assumed that machinery in a factory functioned by itself, but it actually requires the machines to be programmed by a network. These lectures were vital in teaching me about how expansive the internet and programming has become in our day-to-day life.
I also continued to work in the lab. Last week, some cell cultures had been contaminated, so I worked on determining whether each cell culture had been contaminated or not. I used an electron microscope to find the contamination, which required me to use the same skills from biology classes. Under the microscope, these contaminants were usually fungus that looked like giant dirt particles with hundreds of bushy tentacles that prevented the specimen from being clearly seen. This allowed me to determine the amount of usable cell cultures for future experiments. Afterward, I fed the cells by removing the old medium and replacing it with a new medium. (The medium contains many essential nutrients and the living environment, such as the proper pH, for a cell to survive.) In particular, I used a serological pipette that was able to dispense and gather specific amounts of liquid. The serological pipette was very difficult to use and manipulate to gather the old nutrients without damaging the cells on the surface of the petri dish. Afterwards, I attended a lecture about electrical activity in the neuron and various ways to measure it. This allowed me to connect with concepts that I learned from biology and chemistry, like molarity and osmosis. This information was vital to learning more about what the lab was testing for.
For my research project, I focused on finishing the disorder section (Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and Bipolar Disorder). I spent the first part of the week on Bipolar Disorder. Bipolar Disorder is controlled by neurotransmitters in the limbic (behavioral and emotional system of the brain), striata (part of the brain that obtains information on behavior and social actions), and front-cortical region (voluntary movement, higher level function, and language) (Manji et al, 2003). In particular, Bipolar Disorder is caused by the following neurotransmitters: acetylcholine, serotonin, and catecholamines (dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine) (Manji et al, 2003). I continued to study the effects of Generalized Anxiety Disorder. In particular, I learned that the amygdala has heightened activity in GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder) (Patriquin & Mathew, 2017). In addition, GABA (a type of inhibitory neurotransmitter) also has a role in Generalized Anxiety Disorder by controlling chloride conductance and neuron sensitivity (Nuss, 2015). I have now shifted to Autism Spectrum Disorder and will start next week by focusing on the effect of different drugs, such as SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors), Benzodiazepines, and Alcohol.
I have also continued to work on my cane project by modifying the angle and height to get the most accurate results.
Manji, H. K., Quiroz, J. A., Payne, J. L., Singh, J., Lopes, B. P., Viegas, J. S., & Zarate, C. A. (2003). The underlying neurobiology of bipolar disorder. World psychiatry: official journal of the World Psychiatric Association (WPA), 2(3), 136–146.
Patriquin, M. A., & Mathew, S. J. (2017, June 8). The Neurobiological Mechanisms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Chronic Stress. SAGE Journals. Retrieved December 15, 2022, from https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/2470547017703993
Nuss P. (2015). Anxiety disorders and GABA neurotransmission: a disturbance of modulation. Neuropsychiatric disease and treatment, 11, 165–175. https://doi.org/10.2147/NDT.S58841