Student Expectations
How Will I Meet This Expectation?
How Did I Meet This Expectation?
Demonstrate ability to evaluate sources of biology information on the internet
I will make sure all souces are reliable by asking a peer, Ms. Baker, or another qualified profesional if unsure. I will also stay away from unprofesional web pages and sites like "Wikipedia". I will also check the information from another source before deciding if said source is credible.
-I have found credible sources like primary college studies from Baylor College of Medicine, and Science Daily.
-I sucsessfully critiqued 4 sources for my fellow classmate's sources, as can be seen on the history page.
Demonstrate an ability to read and understand current biology news
I will read the article and try to answer critical questions about the article, and try to have a discussion (which can help me understand the subject).

Demonstrate proper use of online resources
I will use hyperlinks to cite my work, and make sure to give credit to fellow scientists.
-I correctly hyperlinked throughout my page, by following these instructions.
-I made sure to use a creative commons picture off of Flikr, to make sure the photographer approved my usage of his/her image.
Publish work that is available for peer-review
I will use the blog/wiki page to publish and edit my work, as well compare with fellow scientists.

Discuss published work with a practicing biologist in that particular field
I will e-mail biologists with questions and comment to their post as well as my in-progress work.

Provide constructive peer-review to classmates
I will make sure all critisisms are beneficial to my peers, and not hurtful. I will also check their information and mine before responding to a post.
-I disregarded multiple credible sources, making sure my fellow classmates are aware not to use the site.
-I commented on Anna's draft.
Discuss in-class assignments
I will make sure my post is relevant to biology topics that intrest me.

Apply creativity to work
I will use my love for animals, arts, and technology to better my work.
-I wound up differing from my original plan, and decided to write my blog post about Parkinson's disease (something my Grandpa's had since he was 50), in relation to nicotine use.
-I also interviewed my Grandpa about his experience with Parkinson's, memory loss, and nicotine (seen below)
Here is an interview with Amador Roman, Parkinson's patient (my questions are in bold, and his answers are in italic):

How long have you had Parkinson’s?
About 25 years. The doctor diagnosed me at 50, which he said is very young.
Do you suffer from memory loss? If so, how severe?

No, not yet.
Have you ever smoked?

When I was much younger.
Were you ever addicted to nicotine, the addictive element in cigarettes and other tobacco projects?

No. I was a very casual smoker, never addicted. When the time came for me to stop, I dropped; it no problem.

Here's an award winning anti-smoking commercial:

And a pro-smoking advertisment:
external image 359323892_3dc4b7122f.jpg?v=0
A cigarette up close:

Nicotine in Relation to Memory

According to experts at
BCM, nicotine fools the brain into creating memory associations. Eventually, when nicotine becomes addicting to the abuser; the brain is programmed into thinking that smoking is a positive action. Cigarettes can also be associated with certain events. For example: driving home from work, lunch with friends, or drinking alcohol. In more drastic occasions, the memory of you smoking while doing negative actions (such as substance abuse) makes the negative action seem more normal. So because you connected the everyday task of smoking with drug use, you start to become dependent on said drugs.

To test this theory, mice roamed through an apparatus; in two separate compartments. In one, the mice received nicotine; while the other compartment of mice had a benign saline solution. Researchers recorded the amount of time the mice spent in the compartment and
brain activity within the hippocampus (an are of the brain that creates new memories). Compared to the saline injection, nicotine strengthened neural connections up to 200 percent! The nicotine induced neural strengthening underlies new memory formation.

I asked Graciela Gutierrez of Baylor College of Medicine what it is about nicotine that strengthens
neural connections , but haven't received and answer yet.

Essentially, creating a connection between smoking and a memory strengthens the memory. Nicotine strengthens neuronal connections. This theory can be helpful when referring to memory loss diseases. People suffering with
Alzheimer's and (depending on their condition) Parkinson's, could possibly regian memory or create stronger ones with cigarettes.

Even though nicotine is unhealthy, it could be a possible solution for over 6.2 million Americans. Unfortunatly, the mice eventually learned to spend more time in the compartment with the nicotine over the compartment with the saline. So later in the study, the mice responded more to a "reward" over the nicotine/saline comparison. As shown by that detail, a solution is still far off, but has the potential to be life changing for people with dopamine signaling disorders.

1. What are the average amount of nicotine users for medical reasons in the US?
2. What are the arguments for nicotine use in the US?

Anna's Peer-Review:
Great topic Alex. There are legitimate links within the paragraphs, which is a good thing. They also lead to credible sources. I would add 2-3 non-opinion based questions, but other than that you are set. You might want to add a picture or video to the blog to make it more effective on readers. Good Job!

Your topic is really cool! I never had any idea that nicotine could be helpful to diseased patients. Maybe you could give an example of someone with Alzheimers or Parkinsons who is using nicotine to retain memories. Also, try to add something in your post about the practicing scientist you contacted to find information. Your post is very informative and it is relevant to science news today. All your hyperlinks go to the right places and I loved the video. The only thing about that is that I almost missed the video and pictures so maybe putting them with your post would be a good idea.

Hi, my name's Alexandra and I love music and animals. I also play tennis and the violin, and have a yorkie named Sagi. I also love to hang out with my friends and family.