Being a Soprano and Surgery on the Rectus abdominis. #soprano #surgery #music #muscle

What does a being a Soprano and surgery on the Rectus abdominus have anything to do with each other?

A lot actually.

Your 6 or 8 pack :)
Your 6 or 8 pack 🙂

The beautiful soprano singing the Domine Deus from Poulenc’s Gloria requires her abdominal muscles to maintain breath support for not only the sustained high notes, but phonation for all pitches; it is not all about just training the vocal folds. Singing at a professional level requires discipline in breathing, and muscle control. Muscle control you say? Yes, the abdominal muscles are needed to precisely control the negative pressure created by the diaphragm to control breathing. Inspiration and exhalation have a whole new meaning in this context 🙂

What happens if surgery is done on the rectus abdominis, or any other muscle associated with breathing?

After a muscle is surgically cut, it is instantly weaker due to the need for healing. During the healing process, an incised muscle cannot immediately be used with the same force as it had been used prior to surgery. It must first heal, and then gradually recover its strength, and coordination capabilities. These effects inevitably will be imposed on the singer’s ability to produce phonation at the same caliber as they had before. This is not to say, that the singer will be forever unable to perform, but just as all people who undergo surgery, the singer will require a recovery period, time for strengthening and a relearning of proper use and coordination of both the inspiratory and exhalatory muscles needed for singing. Sadly, it is clear to see that in this time of healing and recovery, given that there are no surgical complications, the singer will be greatly affected.

However, if you sing like I do at Karaoke, nothing will save you, but for a professional singer, it is important to work with the surgeons to minimize recovery time and even something as simple as intubation during surgery has to be carefully looked into because of possible damage to the vocal chords. Research by surgeons into better minimally invasive techniques using the latest tools and technology available ensures that there is nothing to sing about when it comes to a bad recovery.

Sing I say, sing away 🙂

Satsriyakal

Note: Special thanks to Nereida García for help with editing and use of her youtube video, be sure to check her channel out.

New superheroes – Science, Math and Botany #researchsaves

Gravity (2013), Interstellar (2014) and The Martian (2015), movies whose stories all take place in zero gravity, dusty martian surfaces and interstellar environments are trying to send us a very subliminal message inadvertently of course.

An artist's rendering of a monster black hole at the center of a galaxy. Yes, we have one also in the center of our beautiful galaxy.
An artist’s rendering of a monster black hole at the center of a galaxy. Yes, we have one also in the center of our beautiful galaxy.

Is the message coming to us from beings that have understood the string theory and managed to treat time like the edge of a table they sit on everyday?

337742_the_martian
The Martian,now a major motion movie playing everywhere brings a whole new kind of player to the superhero game- science, math and the botanist.

If these beings had a message they were trying to impart to us, I would take a gander and say that they are trying to say, ” Wake up everyone, its time to science the shit out of all our problems and save humanity.” Anyone who has seen the Martian know this line which Matt Damon’s character jokingly says with an underlying truth i.e. the problem is real, it is a life or death situation but we can do it by using science.

“Gravity Poster” by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia.

The movies all stand witness to the problem solving nature of the human brain and what we are truly capable of in order to survive. For 200,000 years, since the human brain of our species Homo sapiens diverged from the common human ancestor, we have been solving problems to help our species survive.

This is what I want to see when I open the paper tomorrow, headlines that read:

                                                                            “Scientists cure cancer.”

                                                                                “Scientists cure HIV.”

                                     “Scientists find a way to create a renewable energy source.”

Plants grown in space last year by NASA
Plants grown in space in 2014 by NASA

“Scientists grow plants in space.” Well this actually happened last year as NASA              scientists figured it out.

But, what do I get instead?

(Photo composite: Yahoo News, photos: Riccardo De Luca/AP, Brendan McDermid/Reuters)
(Photo composite: Yahoo News, photos: Riccardo De Luca/AP, Brendan McDermid/Reuters)

It really is time to wake up, use the power that has been given to each and everyone of us in the space between our heads, instead of wasting our intelligence.

Scientists in the movie The Martian (2015) unite from every corner of the globe regardless of nationality, color, creed, race or any other categorical definition that can separate us and solves the problem. Considering that the world was witness to the U.N General Assembly drama, a week before the movie was released serves as a stark reminder that the ideal situation of global co-operation in the movie is a far cry from our woeful reality. The movie also serves a stark reminder to our government, that without the kind of money that needs to be put BACK into research, we stand a chance of grievously falling behind. #POTUS, please increase the NIH funding :),  it will be the greatest executive order you could fulfill before you leave office.

One can only hope, that future generations will get to read the headlines I posted in this article #researchsaves, and my personal message to #KimDavis, please leave the Pope alone.

خداحافظی                                              

CRISPR gets crispier :) #research #genes #researchsaves #Jurrasicworld #CRISPR

The dream of bringing the T. rex as shown in so many movies, the most recent one being Jurassic World captures everyone’s imagination. The movie Jurassic World along with its predecessors, many zombie and vampire movies all talk about gene splicing and adding a trait from one species to another. You can imagine what many molecular cell biologists, geneticists and many other individuals involved in research using cutting edge technologies groan when they see the term used liberally. It lulls the avid movie fan who may not have exposure to the difficulties and advancements in gene splicing technologies into a false impression that mixing DNA between species and getting a fully functional organism is easy.

King Kong (2005)
King Kong (2005)

In the world of gene splicing, the term that is driving all the researchers wild just as the new Halo 5 due to be released in November 2015 is going to drive all the gamers wild, is CRISPR-CAS9. Researchers are now able to actually edit DNA and insert with some restrictions pieces of DNA that gives them the trait or molecular effect they are looking for in a cell. Needless to say that, despite technical restrictions like the size of the gene insert and type of cell line used, it has given researchers a more precise cutting tool than PCR which for its time was the major advancement.

CRISPR_logo from Nature

Well, in a nature news update today, CRISPR has just got crispier if I might use the term. Scientists have found a smaller size version of the CAS9 enzyme which makes it easier to insert bigger pieces of DNA into a plasmid.

Check out what Zhang and his team at the BROAD institute have found in this latest Nature update.

Happy Gene cutting everyone.

再见 (Goodbye:))

Viruses, maybe they live!! Also President Obama, Putin and Zarif shakes hands. #Virus #news #Putin #POTUS

Anyone who has studied any level of Biology has been fed the dogma of the definition of the word “alive” or “life”. A virus by definition is not technically “alive” because it can only “come alive” or become active in a specific environment that activate it i.e the inside of a nice cozy nutrition rich cell or body fluids. They are host specific but can be manipulated to infect new hosts if gene re assortment occurs, they can only duplicate using host machinery but till today, they were for all intents and purposes not technically “alive”. Consider this news article that talks about reanimating a 30,000 year old huge Viral particle found underneath the Siberian ice to see how it behaves.( Am I the only one who sees the beginning of yet another zombie movie script with B-actors and even worse cinematography about to happen 🙂 ? )

30,000 year old virus unearthed under the Siberian ice
30,000 year old virus unearthed under the Siberian ice

However a new paper published recently using phylogenmics is forcing scientists to revisit that question along with how, and why viruses have originated. The paper published in Science Advances talks about the evolutionary ancestry of viruses and how they may have come from ancient cell progenitors which harbor segmented RNA.

So, well, that begs the question, what the viral progenitor and the ancient cell progenitor share in common and who belonged to who and when did the break up happen if indeed that is what happened?

Are we finally going to have to change our “life” paradigm about viruses?

Then again, yesterday, President Obama and Prime minister Putin shook hands, President Obama and Iranian Foreign minister Zarif shook hands. The United Nations General Assembly, yesterday was witness to new alliances forming, old ones breaking and political paradigms being tested severely because of certain viruses like ISIS and the unending Syrian conflict putting everybody to the test.

So maybe, change is in the air, in what direction, that is yet to be determined, however as science progresses forward, the most important thing to remember is to never stop asking and questioning.

Auf Widerhesen