The world of science, from the perspective of a twenty-something bioinformatics student. I am a BSc Biology (Honours) graduate and am currently studying for an MSc in Bioinformatics and Theoretical Systems Biology.

Pain killers: worth the pain?

An article published in The Guardian highlights an on-going debate: are pain killers really worth the pain?


We are all aware that everything we consume has side-effects, though, this is dependent on the frequency and dose of consumption.

I am a strong believer in using diet and lifestyle to control one’s health. Perhaps if people stop eating McDonald’s every other day, they won’t get that random pain in their body and won’t need to take medicinal drugs.

Medicinal drugs should be a last resort, but, for most people, they are the first resort. This is where the problem lies.

The hidden reality of benzene poisoning

Follow this link and watch the video for an eye-opening and heart-breaking short documentary on the reality of benzene poisoning in China.


The chinese government and electronics industry turn a blind eye to save a few dollars. The only way to cause change is to spread the word and demand attention to the problem.

It is truly sickening to see how many peoples lives are ruined by this. Something needs to be done.

Quick Guide to Vitamins and Minerals


helps: immune system, vision, bone growth, reproduction

find in: liver, carrots, broccoli


helps: bone health

find in: sunlight, oily fish, milk


helps: against free-radicals, immune function, DNA repair

find in: nuts, sunflower oil, spinach


helps: tissue/bone growth and repair, skin health

find in: red pepper, broccoli, kiwi


helps: carbohydrate metabolism; functioning of the heart, muscles and nervous system

find in: bread, cereal, pasta


helps: body growth and red blood cell production

find in: meat, eggs, nuts


helps: digestive system, nervous system, skin

find in: dairy products, chicken, fish


helps: nervous and immune system; blood oxygen levels

find in: cereals, potatoes, bananas


helps: formation of red blood cells and genetic material

find in: spinach, asparagus, lima beans


helps: nervous system, red blood cells, genetic material

find in: red meat, cereals, fish


helps: cell growth, metabolism, transfer of CO2

find in: cheese, cauliflower, chicken


helps: metabolism of food

find in: whole grains, eggs


helps; bone and teeth structure

find in: dairy products


helps: essential to every cell in the body

find in: dairy products


helps: transport of oxygen around the body

find in: liver, red meat, oysters


helps: muscle and nerve function; heart pace; immune system, bone health

find in: halibut, nuts, spinach


helps: growth, development, immune system, brain function, reproduction

find in: oysters, red meat, poultry


helps: thyroid function

find in: salt, fish, bread

Quick Revision: Amino Acids

Amino acids with electrically-charged side-chains:


– Arginine, R

– Histidine, H

– Lysine, K


– Aspartic acid, D

– Glutamic acid, E

Amino acids with polar, uncharged side-chains:

– Serine, S

– Threonine, T

– Aspargine, N

– Glutamine, Q

Special cases:

– Cysteine, C

– Selenocysteine, U

– Glycine, G

– Proline, P

Amino acids with hydrophobic side-chains:

– Phenylalanine, P

– Alanine, A

– Valine, V

– Isoleucine, I

– Leucine, L

– Methionine, M

– Tyrosine, Y

– Tryptophan, W

What is Bioinformatics/Computational Biology?

The combined use of mathematics, statistics and computation in biological research.

Applications include the following, which can loosely be listed in order:

– Processing, analysis and organisation of large amounts of experimental or raw (for example, DNA sequences) data.

– Predictions based on these data.

Ab initio research using simulation by sophisticated software based on these data to produce novel ideas which then need to be experimentally verified.

– Systems and Network Biology: The organisation of these data and predictions to form networks perhaps leading to discovery of potential relationships between entities that may have otherwise been unknown.

Follow me on Twitter @JaanOmics!

Follow me on Twitter @JaanOmics!


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