Nervous System 101 Study Guide Notes: Structure, Function, Motor Unit, Somatosensation, and Muscle Stretch Reflex [MCAT, USMLE, Biology, Medicine]

In this lesson, we explore the nervous system and share notes as part of the study guide series. We will explore the awesome brain and nerves! Topics include structure of the nervous system, function, the motor unit, peripheral somatosensation, and muscle stretch reflex.

History of Tea and Modern Afghan Tea Culture

When the term tea culture comes up, people usually think of places like Japan, China, or England, though perhaps Afghanistan deserves to be in this lineup too. While not as well known as those already mentioned, Afghanistan’s tea culture is a venerable one that dates back centuries. As with many ancient cultural artifacts, tea came to Afghanistan by way of the Silk Road, likely via merchants going to or from China. This tradition continues to this day, as while the country does grow some of its own tea, the majority of Afghanistan’s tea consumption relies on imports from China and Pakistan.

Literary Analysis: An Examination of Free Will Through Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange

Fundamental conversations, on freedom and self-determination, greatly influenced Anthony Burgess’ choice of immoral characterization and dramatic plot development in his 1962 dystopian novel A Clockwork Orange, dealing with what it means to be able to make choices in a restrictive society and dabbling in themes of freedom and bondage. 

Modern-day democracies across the globe continue to thrive as world powers as a result of the choices made by its citizens. However, when governments suppress the voice of the people, as seen in A Clockwork Orange’s totalitarian government, growth is stunted and the government remains static. Similarly, philosophers have debated whether individuals have free will and the extent to which this self-sufficiency extends. Alvin Plantinga,  an analytic professor at the University of Notre Dame describes the ability to choose as, “Now, God can create free creatures, but he can’t cause or determine them to do only what is right. For if he does so, then they aren’t significantly free after all; they do not do what is right freely.” (Plantinga).  Plantinga’s attention towards the ability to make choices rather than rely on foreordained outcomes reveals the very hypocrisy Burgess aims to reveal through his novel, a hypocrisy centered on the notion that good can’t live without the choice to do otherwise. Alex, who is the antihero of the novel, questions the government which strives to dictate him, wondering, “ What does God want? Does God want goodness or the choice of goodness? Is a man who chooses the bad perhaps in some way better than a man who has the good imposed upon him?” (Burgess). Alex’s internal line of questioning and later entrapment by the restrictive government reveals the evident truth of decision making. Without choice, then there is no moral guideline to follow and, essentially, no discernment from right and wrong. To state that the ability to make a choice through self-autonomy is an act of hypocrisy in and of itself as the individual making such a  claim would be referring to their own volition. For example, Jans Jonas, a German philosopher reveals an anecdote about a group of physiologists such as Ernst Brucke and Emil du Bois-Reymond who promised early in their careers, “Brucke and I pledged a solemn oath to put into effect this truth: ‘that no other forces are at work in the organism except chemical-physical ones’” (Jones). Contrary to their statement, their eventual rise to fame is an indicator of the impact personal actions have on an individual. As Seifert, an Austrian philosopher explains,

The Magic of Music: History, Cognitive Boost, and Music in Medicine

There is some universal beauty in the harmonies and melodies that dance their way to an ear in weaving sound waves. Music has been an integral part of everyday life since the glorious sounds of 500 BCE Ancient Greece and Rome. In the last few decades, the industry has grown to encompass over a thousand different genres and continues to expand and evolve alongside the world. Many recognize music as a reflection of their mood: upbeat to go along with a night out with friends, mellow to accompany the endless waterworks, or maybe rock and roll to fit a certain rebellious phase of life. However, behind the curtain, music can work all forms of magic on the mind. In fact, listening to music can increase cognitive performance, stimulate pain reduction, and promote stress relief.

Mass Media vs Local Journalism: A Pillar of American Democracy

In recent years, the labels of “fake news” and “the enemy of the people” have been prevalent when talking about the media, especially from the White House. The hostile rhetoric from Washington has had a considerable impact on the public: Americans’ trust in mass media is at 41%, a significant 4% drop from the previous year. Additionally, partisanship has dramatically increased as many Americans opt to solely consume news media that perpetuate their beliefs, leading news companies to produce blatantly partisan content, and thus, further promoting partisanship among their readers. This cycle creates an echo chamber that results in a sharply divided and often misinformed population.

Calculus: Infinite Limits vs Limits at Infinity with Explanations, Practice Questions, and Answers [AP Calculus, Calculus 101, Math]

In this article, Infinite limits are limits that evaluate to infinity. You can, however, have limits that are evaluated at infinity or have an evaluated value of infinity. While infinity is a strange concept, we can use it to determine the behavior of functions. This leads us to the discussion of infinite limits and limits at infinity.

Calculus: Limits vs Continuity with Explanations, Practice Questions, and Answers [AP Calculus, Calculus 101, Math]

In the last two articles, we talked about limits and their application in determining the continuity of a function. Here, we will apply those skills to few practice questions. Attempt the problems on your own at first; however, if you get stuck, the solution to each problem is just below it. These problems vaguely range from easy to hard. Enjoy!

Calculus: Limits with Explanations, Practice Questions, and Answers [AP Calculus, Calculus 101, Math]

In this chapter, we will introduce the first big idea in AP Calculus: Limits and Continuity. This a topic that is included in both the AB and BC Calculus courses. Even if your course hasn’t started yet, a good way to prepare yourself for it is to study limits, as they are generally easy to grasp. This will give you a head start on (most likely) the first topic you will learn in your AP calculus course, and can inhibit you from falling behind.

Psychology 101: The Stanford Prison Experiment

What happens when you put good people in an evil place? Does humanity win over evil, or does evil triumph? Philip Zimbardo, a psychologist and a professor at Stanford University posed the same exact question in 1971, thereby leading to what is known as The Stanford Prison Experiment (SPE). The experiment was originally created to uncover the truth about human nature, a more in-depth look on what our true ambitions were, what really drove us. Zimbardo began by choosing 24 volunteers, making 12 of them “guards” and the other 12 “prisoners”.  They were taken to a prison simulation, a fabricated illusion to make the volunteers feel as if they were actually in prison. He began by  giving the guards ultimate power and left the prisoners vulnerable. This evidently led to a distinction of power between the two groups. 45 years later, people still ponder the  question that drove the experiment to its end. Was this study ethically right?  The Stanford Prison Experiment was not ethically right, it stripped volunteers of emotion temporarily, forcing them to turn against each other and was physically harmful to the majority of the participants. 

Immunology 101: Stages of B-cell Development [Biology, MCAT, USMLE Medicine]

B-Cell Development Stages. stem cell –> early pro-B cell –> late pro-B cell –> large pre-B cell –> [1st checkpoint – selects for functional heavy chains] –> small pre-B cell –> [2nd checkpoint – select for functional light chains] –> Immature B cell (has surface IgM, no surface IgD). Somatic recombination is the process in which different individual gene segments of the H (heavy) chain combine with rearranged gene segments of the L (light) chain. The enzymes responsible for somatic recombination are the recombinase enzymes (RAG-1 and RAG-2) that recognize specific sequences (RSS) or recombination signal sequences. RAG-1 and RAG-2 are only expressed in B or T lymphocytes. These specific sequences recognized by the RAG-1 or RAG-2 enzymes are either a 1) heptamer or 2) nonamer. The heptamer literally contains 7 nucleotides, and the nonamer literally contains 9 nucleotides. There are typically 12 or 23 nucleotides in between the heptamer and nonamer to separate them.

Top 15 Activities to do During Quarantine

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have been forced to quarantine themselves in their homes. Although countries are starting to open and people are exiting quarantine, social distancing is still common  and previously planned summer activities such as trips, internships and summer jobs have been postponed or cancelled. With summer having arrived, students will no longer be distracted by their classes. This raises the question, what can we do over a quarantined summer?

Gastrointestinal System 101: Pathophysiology of Diseases and Cancers, LFTs, Types of Hepatitis, PSC vs PBC, Cholecystitis vs Cholangitis, Crohn’s Disease vs Ulcerative Colitis [Biology, MCAT, USMLE, Medicine]

In this quick and easy guide, learn about Gastrointestinal System: Pathophysiology of Diseases and Cancers [Biology, MCAT, USMLE]. Topics include hepatobiliary disease, understanding liver functions and cirrhosis, liver function tests, causes of liver injury, alcoholic hepatitis, NAFLD, NASH, viral hepatitis, autoimmune hepatitis, drug-induced liver injury, hereditary hemochromatosis, Wilson’s disease, Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency, PSC, PBC, cholelithiasis, cholecystitis, cholangitis, hepatocellular carcinoma, Crohn’s disease vs Ulcerative Colitis, and more.

Cell Biology 101 – Function and Biogenesis of Cellular Membranes: The Endoplasmic Reticulum [Biology, MCAT, USMLE]

In this quick and easy lesson guide, learn about cell biology – the function and biogenesis of cellular membranes. Explain the metabolic and protein biosynthetic functions of the endoplasmic reticulum. Define key metabolic functions of the endoplasmic reticulum.

  • Illustrate the function of the endoplasmic reticulum in the cotranslational translocation of proteins made on membrane bound polysomes and their co- and post-translational modifications. Explain the function of the endoplasmic reticulum in protein folding and discuss the fate of misfolded proteins.
  • Biology 101: Gel Electrophoresis

    In this educational lesson, we learn about the purpose of gel electrophoresis and how gel electrophoresis works. Gel electrophoresis in a method of separating DNA. It can be used to separate the size of DNA, RNA, and protein. You first start with a variety of different fragments of DNA all mixed together. The gel is a porous matrix like a sponge and separates the DNA based on two main things: 1) size and 2) charge. The charge on DNA is what makes it move through the gel. DNA is a negatively charged molecule, so it will move towards a positive charge.

    Chemistry 101: At Home Awesome Chemistry Experiments

    Chemical reactions happen around us all the time. These reactions occur when we cook or bake and even in our bodies, like when we breathe. Everyday objects are able to react and cause incredible reactions. Here are some easy science experiments you can create using things you can find around the house. Make sure you act safely during the experiment and have fun!

    John Muir’s My First Summer In the Sierra Book Analysis and Review

    Throughout John Muir’s book, “My First Summer In the Sierra ”, he describes, as the title suggests, the time he spent in the High Sierra in the years prior to his strong conservation efforts. During this time he worked as a supervisor for a sheep dive. This book serves as Muir’s personal journal, detailing everything he saw and did during his time. Recording descriptions of flora and fauna as well as collection data in order to display the importance and beauty of the world around us.

    Calculus: Two Important Theorems – The Squeeze Theorem and Intermediate Value Theorem

    Learn about two very cool theorems in calculus using limits and graphing! The squeeze theorem is a useful tool for analyzing the limit of a function at a certain point, often when other methods (such as factoring or multiplying by the conjugate) do not work. This theorem also has other names like the Sandwich Theorem or the Pinch Theorem, but it is most commonly called the Squeeze Theorem. The Intermediate Value Theorem, often abbreviated as IVT, deals with a single function unlike the Squeeze Theorem.

    History 101: What Are The 4 Causes of World War 1?

    An international conflict during the 1910’s, World War 1, was contributed by not one factor but numerous factors that led to its extensive atrocity. The aggressive rise and continuation of nationalism throughout countries greatly contributed to the start and four-year length of the war. In addition, the heightened race of militarism and its advanced trench warfare also contributed to the massive scale of the war, including the appalling losses of men as well as the elongated duration. Therefore, both the rise of nationalism, the patriotic feelings of countries’ people to fight, and the pursuit of militarism, advancements of armies, weaponry, and warfare style, played key roles in the contribution of the international conflict World War 1.

    Digoxin: How does Digoxin treat heart failure? Mechanism of Action and Side Effects [USMLE, Biology, MCAT, Medicine]

    Digoxin is a drug that treats heart arrhythmias, left ventricular systolic dysfunction, and heart failure. In this succinct educational lesson, we learn about how digoxin works in treating heart arrhythmias and heart failure, digoxin toxicity and common side effects, and treatment for digoxin toxicity. We also have a mini quiz at the end, so you can test your knowledge on the pharmacology of digoxin.

    Working out …for your brain? – The Neuroscience and Benefits of Playing An Instrument

    Whether it’s a violin or a harmonica, learning to play an instrument takes time and effort to “perfect.” Musicians put hours and hours of hard work to perform in concerts, participate in competitions, or even just practice for fun at home. It can be frustrating to play the same piece hundreds and hundreds of times, especially if you still can’t get one section down. However, all of these hours of practicing actually do more than just putting on a perfect performance or impressing your family; playing an instrument can help your physical and mental state. 

    Immunology: Treatments for Rheumatoid Arthritis – NSAIDs vs DMARDs vs Glucocorticoids [Biology, Medicine, MCAT, USMLE]

    Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease characterized by chronic inflammation in the joints of hands, feet, knees, etc. In this quick and easy lesson, we explain the standard medical treatment for patients with rheumatoid arthritis at the USMLE immunology level, including DMARDS (synthetics and biologics), NSAIDS, and glucocorticoids.