Greetings everybody! 

First things first... HAPPY NEW YEARS EVE! The year of 2015 is fast approaching the end and I would like to say for the millionth time but from the bottom of my heart- I am sooo sorry for the lack of posts featured on the blog. I would like to say thank you to those who passed the website onto other friends and family and sticking with it! Greatly appreciated! 

Not much of an excuse but it has been a crazy year both positively and negatively, but we will come back to the Crazy 2015 year (all the positives I promise). 

Before I get ahead of myself I have a few updates for you about the website, check them out!

  1.  This magnificent blog is no longer run by two people but by one. Me (Topaz) 
  2.  At the moment I am working full time Monday - Friday as well as part time on weekends as a Science Tutor!!! (the second is the exciting one not the first). HOWEVER, come February, my work schedule will become a lot more blog friendly (so more posts yay!). So just hang in until then guys. 
  3. Biobunch's profiles have been refurbished, this includes the, Google+ page, Youtube, Twitter and the actual blog!! Be sure to keep an eye on them. 
  4. As a graduate I no longer have access to my university library so you will see a little less primary literature until I can afford a renewal of my nature subscription. 

Well... those were the updates... onto the actual post. For today, I have decided to take a slightly different approach to the celebration of 2015 by sharing with you my crazy 2015 year. 

With all my ridiculous deadlines for assessments, lab practicals, my dissertation (super scary document) and serious revision for exam season, one thing rescued both me and my fellow housemates. Comfort food and drinks. Yes- there was a lot of comfort food whether it be a cheeky cocktail, a starbucks frappuccino or an XXL Papa Johns Pizza (for myself only- of course). Ofcourse one of the stresses was receiving UNWANTED house guests (top right). 

Next up is my amazing trip to Ecuador- thats right BIOBUNCH DID SOUTH AMERICA!!
I was lucky enough to go with two amazing people, and we took part on the safe and calm adventure activities... I lied. White water rafting, Bridge Jumping, Canyoning and an Amazon Rainforest Day Trip, where we ate local cuisine out of massive broadleaves and ate some lemon ants! Not ones to shy from a challenge we went to a bar known for being overrun by the cats in the area and asked for... the Bob Marley Shot (bottom picture) - and yes that is fire on top... and yes you drink it when it is lit! Oh and we saw a volcano plume whilst sipping a hot chocolate and eating the best cheese melt. 

Yeah... it was an amazing year and it is near to impossible to describe the emotional rollercoaster you feel in the final year of university, your both excited and devastated at the exact same time. Excitement for beginning your new life, or returning home and devastated at the thought of leaving arguably some of the best 3 years of your life in term of friendships formed and memories made. How best to finish of this small snapshot than with some pictures of my graduation from the amazing University of Lincoln. 

And similar to the year of 2015 we are fast approaching the end of this post. In the spirit of the New Year, one of my resolutions is to be consistent with the blog and its social platforms, and yours can be to keep visiting the site LOL. 

I thought I would leave you guys with a treat... it is almost an equivalent to be a spoiler trailer with some posts coming out for 2016: 

Biology Behind: The Walking Dead

Crash  Course in Global Warming Vs Climate Change (in light of our recent extreme weather)

Royal Institution Lecture Summaries Series. 

In the mean time enjoy our white water rafting video! Seriously I am on it (almost drowned twice!)

Over and Out

Greetings everybody, 

Hope you had an awesome, if not productive week or maybe you are a recent graduate or student and just soaked up some sun rays either or we have a treat for you today.

It has been a couple of weeks since the election but cast your minds back to how the parties had a shared view on the state of the nations mental health. Then we got to talking to some fellow colleagues and we realised that our knowledge on what mental health is and the forms in which it manifests  was very shallow as was our colleagues. We reached the conclusion that we needed a crash course in mental health  and then we decided that we should share what we found with you guys!
Firstly, what has the government promised on the mental health front? Simply put, five defining aims: 
  1. Take mental health as seriously as physical health
  2. Legislation to ensure that mental and physical health condition are given equal priority
  3. Ensuring the presence of therapists in every part of the country to provide treatment. 
  4. Increased funding for mental health care, along with easier access and improved waiting time standards for people experiencing mental ill-health
  5. Ensure women have access to mental health support during and after the pregnancy. 
Thats all well and good but what is mental health, how do you begin to define a concept that you cannot see physically? Well we always say one of the best and sure fired ways of understanding something is being able to first define it. The World Health Organisation defines mental health as...

'The state of well-being in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.'- WHO

Pretty broad to be honest, and as such treating and identifying the symptoms of mental health is not easy. Many believe that mental health only refers to cases such as depression and OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder), very understandable as these are the conditions that are often recycled by the media. With that we continue to the next stage of our crash course: the types of mental health. 

Note: we have categorised mental health disorders in accordance to a source and their are other ways to categorise mental health issues. 

Mental health issues:

1. Anxiety disorders: anxiety is something that all of us experience at some time usually sourced from our daily routine. However, when the mechanisms for anxiety regulation break down it could lead to over-expression of anxiety. This disorder often exits when an individual feels an inability to control  surrounding circumstances. 

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD): this is commonly seen in TV programmes. Anxiety in such cases leads to the individual repeating words or phrases and/or carrying out ritualistic behaviour repeatedly. For more information on this disorder along with potential treatments click here.  

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: This occurs after traumatic events such as war, rape, child abuse, natural disasters or post hostage situations. Symptoms range with this disorder however flashbacks, depression and numbing of the emotions are common signs of PTSD. This disorder was tackled in a previous Biology Behind on our blog for more details click here. In addition to this to learn on how to seek medical advice visit the NHS page here.

Generalised anxiety disorder: characterised by an exaggerated fear of daily routines and activities. Such individuals can suffer from fatigue, trembling and nausea. 

2. Mood disorders: The majority of us understand the concept of moods and know that they fluctuate from day to day and are influenced by experiences. In the case of these disorders the fluctuations that individuals experience are way out of balance. 

Clinical depression: Depression is the big gun in the mental health world, as it is a common symptom in other mental health disorders. This disorder causes people to lose enjoyment from day to day life, if left unchecked or if it has managed to become serious enough it can lead to suicidal thoughts and death. Similar to cancer, and many other medical conditions depression shows no bias towards age, gender or pre-existing health conditions. Whats frustrating is that treatment for this condition is largely successful but people rarely seek medical treatment due to the stigma that depression carries with it. This idea that depression isn't serious, that it is a personal weakness or that you are just sad and lazy, is what makes depression a dangerous mental illness. For more information click here
Image sources for depression: Depressed brain Lonely man

Bipolar Disorder: Defined as an illness with one or multiple episodes of severe mania and depression. It often causes the person to experience extreme mood swings from over the top happiness to desperately low sadness and hopelessness. 

3. Schizophrenia disorders: These are serious brain disorders that causes significant disruptions in cognition and emotions. Thereby, affecting language, thought and the sense of ones 'self'. The symptoms of such disorders often include hearing internal voices. For more information click here.

Image Source

4. Dementias: Another well known condition, that is frequently seen on television and is characterised by memory loss and a reduction in intellectual and physical functioning. For more information on the Biology Behind dementia please click here, for information on how to support someone suffering from this click here 

Image sources for dementia: Dementias handprint Erasing the mind

5. Eating disorders: These are serious, and at times life threatening conditions that tend to be chronic. For more information about this disorder or on how to identify signs and support either a child or a friend please click here 

Image sources for eating disorders: Mirror image Bulimia Binge Eating:

Well, there you have it a crash course in mental health disorders, governmental policy and what mental health is defined as! 
Some of the mental health disorders  described above may have been familiar to you and some may be totally new to you. Now that you have had a crash course we encourage you to look into any that were of particular interest to you. 
Finally, these issues are not to be taken lightheartedly as you have seen many of these issues can become life threatening and some carry a the symptom of feeling alone in this big world. If you feel as though some of the symptoms described above apply to you or someone you know, don't be ashamed or scared and get seen. 
That was our Friday post and we will see you here next Friday!! have an awesome weekend. 

over and out

Greetings everybody, 

So Biobunch have decided that due to our very busy schedule (the fun and games do not stop after finishing university we assure you) that posts will occur for definite every FRIDAY! Thats right every friday there will be a new and epic post for you guys to sink your teeth into. 
Now these posts may be a 'Friday Facts' piece or it may be our favourite 'Biology Behind' posts either way we assure you there will be something on here so be sure to make it every week.

Okay, so we were watching the old 'world deadliest shows' the other day and were shocked at some of the creatures featured on the show. This got us to thinking about what animals have made the global shortlist for number of humans killed on average every year. With some epic internet searching we found the answer in a beautifully presented infographic so check it out. 

Have some of these numbers shocked you? Perhaps the number of people killed by mosquitos every year was a lot higher than you expected. Or, maybe the number of people killed annually by hippos is far higher than the number killed by great white sharks was the most shocking!  Because it shocked us!
Well until next week, have a super awesome weekend. 
over and out
Greetings everybody!!

It has been an awfully long time since we have graced all of you guys with a new post and we deeply apologise for that. Honestly the last couple of months have been super busy because we have now officially finished our degrees in Biology! We are now aiming to get back on track with our blog so be sure to keep up to date with our new posts, and with that message we give you FRIDAY FACTS!

Originally it was thought that fish such as the zebrafish acquired the chemicals needed for sunscreen synthesis through their diet or from microbes that may live either on or in the fish themselves. Now, we know that this amazing ability is a cause of their genes.  
(Nature: Vol. 512 No.7552)

Medical implants, such as artificial heart valves pose risks of blood clot formations. Theses are caused by blood cells and proteins sticking to the surfaces of the valves. Donald Ingber sought out a solution for these sticky surfaces, and found it in the form of carnivorous pitcher plants. Why Pitcher plants? Pitchers have a slick layer of water that causes insects to slide into the mouth of the plant. Using the pitcher they adapted a two layer coating for the valves, the first uses a perfluorocarbon that binds to smooth surfaces, whilst, the seconds is made of a liquid perfluorocarbon that acts as a slippery surface. Tubes coated with these layers had fewer clots. This technology could reduce the need for anti-clotting drugs.                    
(Nature: Vol 514 No. 7522).

Chimpanzees take a strong liking to ripened figs, however these are only available for a short period of time and they are in competition for this resource from other animals. Through the observation of wild female chimps, it was found that when ripe figs were available they would woke up early and departed earlier when fig trees were farther away. 
(Nature: Vol. 515 No. 7525)

It is a common argument by conservationists that the level of biodiversity supports ecosystem services such as crop pollination. A study investigated this by separating the effects of species richness (the number of different species) from species abundance (the number of individuals per species). The team counted thousands of individual bees from 56 different species. They found that pollination was dictated by a few common bee species. Losing rare species would not change pollination rates much, but if the numbers of common bees were to decline this would make a huge difference in pollination rates.
(Nature: Vol 512 No. 7552)

Infants have the power to heal bone fractures with no medical intervention, so really there is truth when people say that babies are built for first time parents. They achieve this by muscle contractions and tissue growth combining together to move the bone fragments back into place. Newborn mice that received fractures were imaged to see the process in full. They found a soft callus that contained cartilage. This forms at the fracture site were the growth of tissue on one side of the fracture provides the force to realign the bone fragments. The callus hardens, allowing the bone to heal.
(Nature: Vol. 515 No. 7525)

Well that has been Friday Facts ladies and gentlemen hope you enjoyed it and keep up to date on what is going on, on our blog and our twitter. 
Over and out. 
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