Biochemistry outside of the lab

Similarly to when I explored the meaning of biochemistry, when researching diseases in biochemistry I came across a very wide range of disease types that belonged in a variety of fields. It is truly fascinating that a disease that we normally attribute to neuroscience, such as alcohol addiction, involves so many complex biochemical reactions. Another disease that one thinks of the neuroscience field once mentioned, is major depression. There are, however, so many processes in the brain that are regulated by enzymatic reactions.

It is less of a surprise that biochemistry is involved in the development and the metastasis of cancers like Leukemia, but it is extremely interesting to be able to explore and learn about the specific enzymes and reactions involved, and better understand how pharmaceutical companies go about designing drugs and treatments for this common type of cancer.

Alcohol is consumed by the majority of the adult population in most countries. This consumption is mainly recreational, but when done in excess, can lead to troubling health consequences. Since alcohol metabolism takes place in the liver, the organ responsible for many biochemical precursors, it is a starting point to begin looking at the effects of alcohol dependency on the body by looking at how alcohol metabolism in the liver affects its function. From looking at the literature, I found out that alcohol dehydrogenase breaks down alcohol into acetaldehyde. This metabolite is a known toxic chemical and may be responsible for some of the health problems that arise from excess alcohol consumption. It would be interesting to learn more about the other metabolites of alcohol and how they many or may not lead to the permanent damage to the liver.

Major depression disorder is a widely prevalent illness in people with different ages and backgrounds. Different causes have led to the development of different methods of treatment. As psychotherapy began to decrease in popularity, antidepressant medications started circulating the markets. Most antidepressants work by targeting and inhibiting serotonin re-uptake, but what they don’t affect other cell functions that may be disrupted by the illness. One study explored the oxidative stress that increases due to depression, and shows that antidepressants fail to affect it. It would be extremely interesting to read more studies about health problems caused by depression, and what we can do to target those problems, as well as the neurological ones.



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