I am only 13 but I have many pimples andI am afraid that after puberty nothing will change.. do you think there's still hope for me? (I am a girl)
Guess what? Between the ages of 11 and 30 (between 9 and 28 in females), 85% of people develop acne to the point where it causes stress in their lives. That’s not even counting people who develop it but somehow manage to not care.
It’s more common in women than in men, though the mechanism as for why is not really agreed upon (since it appears that, in animal models at least, testosterone supplementation causes more significant dermatological problems than estrogen and progesterone). My husband still has scars from it on his face, and still gets it on his back. Hell, I still get it when I’m stressed out.
[I don’t know how well it shows up, but this is from just a year and a half ago and i had little zits all over my cheeks and big ones on my chin here, after about a year of nothing whatsoever]
Try to use drugstore products as recommended - I’ve seen a lot of relatives and friends use them once and expect results, but that’s just not how skin works. If that doesn’t help at least to some degree after a fortnight, see a dermatologist. They really do help!
If nothing else, don’t pick at your skin, and don’t pop zits - chances are that you will probably not have to deal with it by the age of 17 or 18 if you are female and not on testosterone supplementation.
and hey! be glad you’re not living in the 1800s…acne scars used to frequently be a sign of lower-class living (as many vocational diseases caused dermatological diseases which had acneform presentation) or venereal disease. These days, it just means you’re a teenager.
But, uh, good luck with that whole “being a teenager” thing. Cause it isn’t exactly the most pleasant part of life to exist within. Trust me. I’ve been there recently.
Hello there ! Recently, I saw a video about heart transplant and you might have seen it too. And I've always wondered : How do they manage to get pass the ribs ? Do they cut/break it ? Sorry if my question is dumb, answer may be obvious but... I'm kinda lost.. (Sorry if my English's not correct... Not my primary language. Greetings from France though :) )
This is a costotome! It has two lever-action jaws: one jaw grasps the rib, while the other cuts it!
This is used to cut the cartilage between the ribs and sternum. This is often used in lung surgery.
For open-heart surgery, a sternal saw is more often used.
The sternum (breastbone) is split using this saw in order to access the full thoracic cavity, after which the lungs and ribs are retracted, and the surgery is performed. The sternum is then re-joined.
Do you know anything about decreasing the effects/symptoms of dermatographia except taking antihistamines?
Unfortunately, as it’s considered an allergic reaction of the skin (even though it’s triggered by serrated touch, friction, or emotional trauma rather than chemical or internal stimuli), antihistamines are generally the only treatment for people with this condition. Its exact mechanism is still unknown.
People with a chronic or acute deficiency of vitamin E or K often develop this condition, but as this is a minority of cases and vitaminosis is a serious and harmful condition (even in water-soluble vitamins), it’s inadvisable to self-treat, rather than seeing a dermatologist.
uuhm, doesnt your calling hemorrhoid sufferers "oversharers" just add to that "shame" that you seem to try to call out as "wrong" in the last paragraph of post 91112557701?
A. Dawg, I don’t want to know about your medical issues unless 1. you’re my CLOSE friend, or 2. it directly impacts my communication/interaction with you (i.e. migraine problems/ear infection/laryngitis etc). Hemorrhoids are the same as a cystic pimple or extra nipples or kyphosis to me. There’s nothing shameful about them. I just don’t care. Neither do most people.
B. I know what post you’re talking about cause I just put it up, but for anyone who uses post numbers in their questions instead of explaining what post they’re talking about is a lot less likely to be replied to.
C. I reply to non-anon criticism/questions far more often than anons - most of my inbox I reply to privately or keep around in order to remind myself that I want to cover a certain subject.
D. NO SERIOUSLY I DONT WANT TO DEAL WITH OR HEAR ABOUT YOUR HEMORRHOIDS.
E. I am so glad I am not a doctor. “HEY DOC, CHECK OUT THIS OOZING ABSCESS, WHAT’S WRONG WITH IT?!”
I'm 17 and have the same question as the last anon regarding "hot flashes" - buuut I don't have a vagina. Is that still common?
Somewhat less so, but not uncommon.
Without ovaries or a uterus the cause is generally a low level of testosterone relative to the baseline level of estrogen present in all humans. This is sometimes caused by damage to the testicles or pituitary gland, and sometimes is simply a product of the fluctuating hormones of being an adolescent.
However, if it continues beyond puberty, it’s more concerning than in people with ovaries, because it could indicate an estrogen-producing tumor in the mammary tissue or testicular structures.
As always, I’m not a doctor, and growing up is confusing. Your family care doc or pediatrician can always give you better advice than me, but from what I know, the wild hormones of the teen years can give hot flashes to any gender.
I have a random question for you. Sometimes at night, usually around the same time, I get super hot and uncomfortable. I'm only 16 so it's not menopause. Any ideas?
This is not uncommon. During puberty, fluctuating levels of estrogen (and the body getting used to the new levels) can cause “confusion” in the hypothalamus, which controls the body’s perception of heat.
This, in turn, makes you feel wicked overheated and start sweating, and even if it’s only for a couple minutes, it can be super uncomfortable. As hormone levels fluctuate throughout the day and month, having the same symptom at the same time of day (assuming you keep a relatively regular schedule) is not unexpected.
While these teenage hot flashes almost always go away within several months to a year or two, some people continue to experience similar symptoms prior to ovulation or menstruation for most of their lives.
Related: Hot flashes do not make you the Human Torch OR The Flash, no matter what my older friends might try to tell you. This does not work in real life.
Hey you're the only person I can think of to ask this so here goes: When my mother was a kid she saw something on a nature show about a Wildebeest with a brain parasite that caused it to walk in circles. I am unable to find anything on this via google so I was wondering if you had come across such a thing
Ah, you’re probably thinking of Parelaphostrongylus tenuis, aka Brain Worm! I suspect the wildebeest was in a zoo or at least somewhere in North America, as that’s it’s natural range. The natural hosts for brain worm are white-tailed deer, but most ungulates are susceptible to the parasite. In many parts of the US, the overlapping moose and white-tail populations mean that moose contract the parasite, as well.
In deer, the parasite is often found on the brain surface, and within the meninges, but not deep in the brain.
In moose (brain sample with P. tenuis pictured) and other non-adapted ungulates, the parasite can burrow deep into the brain and cause extreme neurological effects.
While deer can contract brainworm and not have severe neurological effects (due to highly adapted immunological responses, thanks to being the primary host), moose are very susceptible, and sheep, goats, llamas, and alpaca are also noted to be vulnerable to the attacks on brain and spinal tissue. As the wildebeest is an ungulate which has an unadapted immune system when it comes to fighting off this brain-eater, I would have to assume that a captive wildebeest picked it up from a wild deer, and subsequently succumbed to the infection.
By the way, the name for infection by this parasite is called parelaphostrongylosis, after its genus name.
Not a question but on your Reynauds post -- amputation of digits is still extremely common, especially when Reynauds occurs with scleroderma. My mom has had to have 5 fingers amputated to varying degrees and is now having issues with her feet. It's a serious condition that still has very few treatment options. Neat fact -- Viagra was originally being developed as a treatment for ray aids and heart conditions
I have to assume your last “ray aids” mention was meant to be Raynauds and technology “corrected” it…
And I should have mentioned that! Aside from Viagra/warfarin/other blood thinners, there are very few universally effective treatments for Raynaud’s…when it’s combined with or causes the development of scleroderma (frequent in females), which further constricts the blood vessels in extremities, it can cause the loss of fingers, toes, and noses.
Incidentally, the mechanism by which the blood vessels are constricted and the dry gangrene that occurs creates the same amputation frequency pattern to the bubonic plague - the most often-amputated parts are the fingers, toes, peripheral genitalia (labia and penis), and nose.
However, Raynaud’s causes tissue death via blood loss from constriction, whereas the plague causes blood loss from extreme congestion of lymphatic ducts pushing against capillaries.
What exactly is your job? Also how did you get there? The things I see you do and talk about on your blog sounds amazing and I am so intrigued. I feel like you get to learn new things everyday and help other people to understand as well and that sounds amazing!
This is my job!
I mean, writing about science is my job, specifically for my YouTube show, which is produced by the fine people at PBS Digital Studios. You guys do know that I make a YouTube show which is essentially the video version of this blog, right? I hope so, because I feel like I practically beg you to watch it (I do). If you didn’t know that, I feel like we really need to improve our communication or I just don’t know where this relationship is going.
I got here by getting a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry, getting rejected from half a dozen grad schools right out of college, doing cancer research for a couple years, then doing pharmaceutical research for a year, then spending 7 almost years chained to the lab bench so I could get my Ph.D. in biology, during which I decided that I wasn’t going to be satisfied with a life as a researcher in a lab, although that was precisely what I was being trained to do (although I did/do enjoy teaching), so I started this blog, furiously (and flailingly) honing my writing to the level of “neglected steak knife”. The week after I finished my PhD I started a super-intense science journalism fellowship that further honed my writing skill to “cheese slicer that you need to be extra-careful with”, ultimately landing a job that lets me make creative, educational videos for all of you, and share the in between stuff with you here, and make enough money to live, which is really all any of us is after, right? I am pretty sure my writing has graduated to “those nice orange-handled scissors” in the meantime.
So that’s how I got here, to the position of Purveyor of Knowledge and Chief Science Dude at It’s Okay To Be Smart. It is amazing. Learning things and sharing excitement is not a job. But for some reason people pay me for it.
I would not recommend retracing this path. If you want to be a writer, you should probably just skip to the writing part.
Hello! I have a question that I hope you will be able to help me with! (if not thats ok!) People are always on my case about cracking my knuckles. They say that it will damage my hands, give me arthritis etc. but It calms my nerves and my hands get itchy and uncomfortable if I don't do it, so i generally just do. In my research, I have never found any studies that show definitive proof that knuckle cracking is bad. Do you know of any adverse effects of this habbit? Thanks for any help!
There have been several long-term, well-designed cohort studies performed on this, and none of them show a statistically significant increase or decrease in any negative physiological processes or diseases. Joints crack naturally, and cracking them on your own does not make a difference in their structure.
This myth probably arose due to the high incidence of osteoarthritis (“normal” arthritis - that which is not from rheumatism or infection) among the elderly, many of whom either had/have a habit of knuckle cracking at some point in their life. It’s a common habit that many people have at some point or another, even if it’s not a lifelong thing.
A humorous paper that took this question to the extreme was the winner of a 2009 Ig Nobel prize: Donald Unger was chided by his mother, mother-in-law, and teachers for cracking his knuckles, so for 50 years he only cracked the knuckles on one hand and not the other, and found that he developed no arthritis on either side, and his flexibility was roughly the same on both sides.
Of course, a single-patient experiment is necessarily unblinded and biased, but it does follow the same line as the results of prior experiments.
I will say you don’t want to crack Knuckles, though. That mofo is crazy as is.
Kayla-bird asked what a surgeon would do to ensure infection... my question is, why would that be a benefit to the surgeon? (Assuming they don't get caught for malpractice.)
Rational mindset: Personal vendetta, I have to assume. Some people just like to see others suffer.
Conspiracy theory mindset: He wants to push a “bold new treatment” that’s intended for surgical site infections (SSIs), but through many layers of puppet corporations and agreements with big medical companies, he’s the one who has the patent/dividends whenever it’s used, and wants to profit off of the pain of others.
Crazy mindset: WHO DOESN’T WANNA POP A SQUAT ON SOMEONE’S CHEST DURING OPEN HEART SURGERY?!?!?!? AMIRITE?!?!?
writing research question: if an unscrupulous surgeon wanted to make absolutely sure a wound became infected, what might he put in it?
Honestly, almost anything. Dirt from outside, fecal matter, or even just spitting in it…surgical wounds are incredibly easy to infect. In fact, improper preparation prior to surgery can lead to infection by your own native flora that is just endemic to your skin and mucous membranes. This is why you always see people being swabbed down prior to incision.
Anyway, most surgeries have prophylactic antibiotics administered before/after, and I’m assuming your unscrupulous surgeon isn’t on a team of scumbags and would want to be discrete. Bacteria could make sure a wound would become infected, but it’s usually killed off if proper procedure is followed by other hospital personnel - if it’s not antibiotic-resistant, at least. Viral and fungal infections of wounds are more difficult, and lead to long-term disability and possible death, and it would be quite difficult to introduce a lethal virus into a patient without also contracting it.
Is this doctor intending to kill, or simply maim/disable? If they have access to specific pathogens (and aren’t looking to just shit in someone’s abdomen…or “accidentally” nick the patient’s colon while doing intra-abdominal surgery), Carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriacae (specifically carbapenem-resistent Klebsiella pneumoniae - commonly shortened to CRKp) are actually present in many places throughout hospitals, but if one wanted to make sure it was introduced, a hospital growing an agar culture from another patient who already had it would be an easy source.
Another bacteria that is common enough to find in a culture lab is MRSA - methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus. This one has a much higher rate of death when it’s contracted from a hospital (nosocomial infection) than from a source in the community. These days, there’s also vancomycin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (VRSA) which is resistant to the primary antibiotic used to treat MRSA, as well as methicillin. That’s thankfully not as common - yet.
And, of course, there’s always Clostridium difficile.Not so much deadly as it is debilitating, at least among the non-infant/elderly/immunologically-impaired sector.
does internet radiation make you get stretch marks or rashes
if you have internet rashes
…in all seriousness, the wavelength that WiFi creates is not able to enter our bodies. If you’re ACTIVELY getting stretch marks while online, you either are going through puberty, are pregnant, or are gaining weight for one reason or another.
do broom rape and rapeseed come from the same root word?
A better etymologist would probably know more than me, but I don’t believe so.
Rapeseed comes from the Latin Rapa/rapum, which means “turnip”. The family that rapeseed belongs to is the Brassicaceae, or turnip family, and the top of the plant (though not the root) resembles the turnip, so the name makes sense. It’s been known as “rapeseed” or “oilseed rape” in English since at least the 14th/15th century.
By the way, its oil is also known as canola oil in most English-speaking countries, since people don’t like seeing “rape” in a name…
Broom rape, on the other hand, has a scientific name that means “strangling vetch”. The Broom family of plants was once known as “vetch”.
Given that the original definition of rape (from the Anglo-Frenchrapir) was “to take by force, to abduct, to seize”, “Strangling vetch” can be reasonably transcribed to “broom rape”.
As such, I assume that “broom rape” really does mean a sort of terrible thing, even if that terrible thing is happening to a plant and doesn’t involve an actual broom, per se.
Hi, just wanted to say a big thanks for giving Compound Interest the nicest shout-out I've read yet! It's great that the graphics are making chemistry interesting for people, since that's pretty much the goal - being a chemistry teacher, I'm pretty biased, so it's good to hear that it's working for people who previously didn't like chemistry as well :) Also, great posts here on your site too - I've enjoyed reading through them!
*squee* Being liked by CI is right up there with being liked by The Brain Scoop/Emily Graslie :D
Seriously though, I like your posts on the basics of chem, but I’m loving the “chemistry in real life” stuff lately - scents are so closely tied to our memories (what with literally having receptors just a nanosecond from the brain) and the way we perceive the world, and I’ve never looked at it from the chemistry side before.
The compounds that create these scents are unique and fascinating and now I want to learn even more about how they bind with our puny number of olfactory receptors to cause all of these weird and varied smells in the world!