Tic Tac Toe

#1, #2, #3 - Bryan Nguyen, 7th

#1 - The Role of Bacteria in the World

A War We Need

How do Bacteria fight off Viruses?

Signals from beneficial bacteria are essential for optimal immune system responses to viral infections. Our immune systems have evolved to allow bacteria to send signals in order to defend our bodies from viral infections.


What is the Importance of the War?

This war between bacteria and viruses is important as without the very nature of it, none of us would be currently existing today. It is happening on such a large-scale, that you can even view blooms of bacteria in the oceans from outer space. Trillions of ocean-dwelling bacteria are being infected by viruses everyday, though they have the ability to be successful in the competitive environment with viruses because they can manage to grow constantly by converting carbon molecules into carbon dioxide, which plays a major factor in Earth's carbon cycle.

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Cyanobacteria

Ecosystem

Cyanobacteria can be found almost anywhere on land and sea. For example, oceans, freshwater, damp soil, moistened rocks in the desert, bare rock and soil and even Antarctic rocks. They are found in almost every endolithic ecoysystem and can be endosymbiotic with lichens, plants, protists, or sponges, which provide them with energy. Some can even live in sloth fur, which acts as camouflage.


Importance

Half of the primary production (production of chemical energy in organic compounds by living organisms) on Earth is done in the ocean and half of that is done by bacteria. These cyanobacteria take carbon dioxide from the air and turn it into organic parts of their own cells and release oxygen similar to plants. They make oxygen available to other organisms through their process of photosynthesis.

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Bacteria as Decomposers

Ecosystem

Bacteria are very widely distributed across the Earth. For example, a gram of soil typically contains 40 million bacterial cells and they form a biomass that is larger than all living plants and animals.


Importance

Bacteria are important as decomposers as they can break down about any type of organic matter. This is vital in the recycling of nutrients, especially in the soil, for example, which allows nutrients to be available to other organisms. In an ocean ecosystem, bacterial decomposition is important for the existence of rare elements like iron. They can even act as food sources for other organisms.

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#2 - HIV/AIDs

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How it Began and Spread

HIV was first identified in 1983 and scientists were required to examine the virus's evolution in order to understand how it began and spread, which was quite daunting task. Even though scientists are still not quite sure of the virus's origins, they do generally believe that HIV-1 came from Cameroon chimps (infected with SIV, which was very similar to HIV) to humans sometime before 1931. The estimated year of origin of 1931 was due to the testing of the oldest known HIV sample, which was taken in 1959. Scientists believe that the trade of bush-meat successively allowed the HIV-1 virus and even the HIV-2 virus to enter human's bloodstreams. Bush-meat hunters would often kill and butcher chimps and monkeys (Cameroon chimps and Sooty mangabeys). These chimps and monkeys were exposed regularly to animal blood with swarming with SIVs, which was how the hunters would've possibly first caught the virus. The virus continues to evolve and mutate, therefore making it even more difficult for scientists to know the true history of the virus.
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Impact

The effects of the impact that HIV/AIDs has had on our world is very great. AIDs will continue to infect millions of people and the infection rate will expedite due to the absence of a cure. This obviously greatly increases the demand for better care of those infected with AIDs and can even go so far as to affect a country's economy by pouring large amounts of money into cure research and healthcare for infected, though this is most likely a futile attempt as the virus will continue mutating and changing its DNA as it gets passed down through generations of humans.
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Treatment

Treatment
  • Antiretroviral drugs - used to hinder the virus
- Prevents the virus's ability to replicate and slows down immune system damage

- Unfortunately, these drugs are very expensive and there is no guarantee of benefits to the user and not to mention, potential side effects


  • Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART) - kills HIV in the bloodstream, but cannot completely eliminate the virus from the body as some will be able to survive
- HAART patients often suffer from severe mental impairment as antiretrovirals cannot cross the blood-brain barrier very well



  • Radioimmunotherapy - use of radioimmunotherapy on HIV-infected cells that have received prior antiretroviral treatment was successful
- Radioisotope-charged antibodies from radioimmunotherapy were able to destroy the virus in the brain without damaging the blood-brain barrier, unlike HAART
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#3 - Killer Protists

Trichomonas vaginalis

Description

  • Causes an infection known as Trichomoniasis



Transmission
  • Person to person (sexual contact)


Symptoms

  • ~70% of infected do not show any symptoms
  • symptoms sometimes can appear within 5-28 days after infection and may come and go
  • can range from mild irritation to severe inflammation
  • Male - itching, irritation, burning sensation
  • Female - itching, burning, redness, soreness, discomfort

Giardia lamblia

Description

  • Causes a diarrheal illness known as Giardiasis


Transmission
  • found on surfaces (soil, food, water contaminated with feces from infected organisms)
  • contaminated water is the most common method of transmission


Symptoms

  • 66% of infected do not show any symptoms
  • symptoms usually appear 1-2 weeks after infection and may come and go cyclically
  • untreated symptoms may last for 6+ weeks
  • loss of appetite
  • diarrhea
  • hematuria (blood in urine)
  • loose/watery stool
  • stomach cramps
  • upset stomach
  • projectile vomiting (not common)
  • bloating
  • excessive gas
  • usually sulfurous burping

Plasmodium falciparum

Description

  • Causes the most dangerous form of the parasitic disease, malaria (malignant/faliciparum malaria)


Transmission
  • transmitted through the bite of an infected female Anopheles mosquito


Symptoms

  • symptoms usually appear 10-15 after the infectious mosquito bite
  • First symptoms - fever, headache, chills, vomiting
  • After 24 hours without treatment, the malaria can progress to sever illness often leading to death
  • Severe malaria symptoms in children - severe anaemia, respiratory distress, or cerebral malaria

Trypanosoma brucei

Description

  • Causes African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness) in humans and Animal trypanosomiasis (nagana) in animals


Transmission
  • transmitted through the bite of an infected tsetse fly


Symptoms

  • symptoms begin 1-3 weeks after the bite
  • First stage (haemolymphatic phase) - fever, headache, itchiness, joint pain
  • Second stage (neurological phase) - parasite invades the central nervous system by passing through the blood-brain barrier and causes confusion, poor coordination, numbness, and especially sleep disruption