SG5 Final Review

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  1. Transcription factor
    A protein that binds to specific DNA sequences, thereby controlling the flow (transcription) of genetic information from DNA to mRNA
  2. Inflammation
    • A response that defends the body against bacterial infection
    • In the long term, inflammation increases the risk of rapid cancer progression, heart disease, and neurodegeneration.
    • Obesity is also associated with chronic raised low-grade inflammatory state.
    • Adipose tissue produces pro-inflammatory hormones and cytokins.
  3. Gene regulation
    The process of turning genes "on" and "off" to ensure that the appropriate genes are expressed at the proper times and to help the organism respond to its environment
  4. Critical window
    The period of time during development that the brain is open to a particular type of experience to result in a particular talent, and after the window closes, this talent can no longer be learned
  5. Toxicity testing
    Conducted by pharmaceutical companies testing drugs or by contract animal testing facilities on behalf of a wide variety of customers, including the manufacturer of medicines and household products
  6. Endocrine disruptor (def. + ex.)
    • Exogenous chemicals that interfere with the normal functions of hormones
    • Example:
    • - In plastics: BPA, nonylphenol, phthalates
    • - In pesticides and herbicides: DDT, atrazine, agent orange
    • - In medicine and food: Dietheylstilbestrol (DES)
    • - In consumer goods and industrial waste: Polycholorinated biphenyls (PCBs)
    • - In food: genistein (soy)
  7. Endocrine disruptor hypothesis
    Endocrine disruptors alter gene expression during early development, resulting in desease and reproductive failures in adulthood
  8. Bisphenol-A
    • BPA; an endocrine disruptor; in vitro turns prefibroblasts into adipose cells
    • When fed to mice early in life, generated overweight mice that did not eat more or move less than unexposed leaner counterparts
    • Found in such things as can linings for tinned foods and soft drinks, baby toys and bottles, food storage containers, dental sealants, medical tubing, and flame retardant
  9. Phthalate
    An endocrine disruptor; a salt or ester of phthalic acid. The esters are commonly used as plasticizers in PVC and can cause kidney and liver damage when ingested
  10. Hormone
    Chemicals produced by glands in the body and circulated in the bloodstream that control the actions of certain cells or organs
  11. Obesogen
    An exogenous chemical that interacts with cellular signaling systems involved in determining cell fate, leading to abnormally high development of adipose tissue during development, and disrupting metabolic regulation in the developing organism
  12. Chronic (noncommunicable) diseases
    A disease of long duration such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes; often recurring
  13. Developmental Origins of Adult Health and Disease (DOHAD)
    • Negative environmental factors and maternal impacts on the fetus in utero contributes to the low birth weight of the infant, which has only immediate benefits that deal only the current, often temporary conditions of the environment that leads to greater later mortality rate in adulthood.
    • Reduced fetal growth is a phenotypic adaptive response to environmental cues. These changes may prove adaptive in the short-term (to get through gestation and early life) but deleterious in later life, particularly when the prediction of adversity is followed by an enriched childhood and adult environment.
  14. Evolutionary medicine
    Sometimes also called "Darwinian Medicine"; refers to the application of principles of evolution to medical research, practice, and theory and is a merger of long time scale (human evolution) with short time scale (disease in the present)
  15. Natural selection
    Based on the fact that populations are genetically varied, natural selection points out that environmental pressures favor some of these bodies or their behaviors (phenotype) over others, that phenotypes that confer reproductive advantage become more common, thus increasing the frequency of genetic factors underlying those phenotypes
  16. Paleolithic era
    The "stone age" where evidences of the first stone tools were discovered. The groups were too small to support communicable diseases, but slow infections such as intestinal worms and herpes virus still were present. Life expectancy in the Paleolithic era ranges from around 25 to 30 years of age.
  17. Paleolithic diet
    • Early agriculture, animal domestication, and sedentism (no longer nomadic) began and there was a decline in consumption of meat.
    • Human gut morphology, however, is designed to be more carnivorous than folivorous or frugivorous. Since concentrated packets of calories were rare in the wild, hunter-gatherers consumed a wide variety of foods such as meats, fruits, and vegetables. Humans also evolved a preference for high fat, high sugar, and salty foods (such as meat), which were hard to find in nature but is today readily available.
    • The "contemporary" Paleolithic diet consists mainly of lean meat, fish, vegetables, fruits, and nuts and excludes grains, legumes, dairy products, salt, refined sugar, and processed oils.
  18. Buffering
    Fat deposition serves as a buffer for when there is a shortage of food. For example, the human's large brain size requires buffering to provide a constant supply of glucose.
  19. Lactase persistence
    Capacity to digest lactose even into adulthood when our bodies don't produce lactase any longer
  20. Physical activity level
    Physical activity level (PAL) is a way to express a person's daily physical activity as a number and is used to estimate a person's total energy expenditure from physical exertion to sedentary labor.
  21. Energy density (of food)
    Our human bodies are built in the same way as those of our ancestors in the Paleolithic era and are not accustomed to the "concentrated packets of calories" (see 17. Paleolithic diet), also called the energy dense foods, that today's industrialized environment offers and therefore transform the excess energy into fat.
  22. Polygenic
    • Two or more genes in interaction, and with the environment
    • Diabetes and obesity are polygenic.
  23. Genome wide association study
    GWAS; A case-control study in which genetic variation, often measured as SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphism: a variation at a single position in a DNA sequence among individuals) that form haplotypes across the entire genome, is compared between people with particular condition and unaffected individuals
  24. Genotype
    An individual's allelic variation; genetic makeup of an organism that describes an organism's complete set of genes.
  25. Phenotype
    • Observable physical properties of an organism, including appearance, development, and behavior; determined by the organism's genotype and by environmental influences upon these genes
    • All aspects of a living thing other than its genetic constitution
  26. Thrifty phenotype hypothesis
    Reduced fetal growth is strongly associated with a number of chronic conditions later in life.
  27. Barker hypothesis
    • Link between low birth weight and adult CVD and diabetes
    • In poor nutritional conditions, a pregnant woman can modify the development of her unborn child such that it will be prepared for survival in an environment in which resources are likely to be short, resulting in a thrifty phenotype.
  28. Predictive adaptive response
    Changed developmental strategy with delayed but no obvious immediate benefit (i.e. in mammals, thicker coats if born in the fall/winter and thinner coats if born in the spring/summer)
  29. Intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR)
    Growth restriction from maternal infection, smoking, air pollution, malnutrition or nutritional imbalance, high calorie but low micronutrient diet, or maternal stress
  30. Birth weight
    • A proxy for intrauterine conditions
    • Smaller birth size in humans and animals predict higher blood pressure, insulin resistance and diabetes, abnormal cholesterol profiles, and abdominal fat deposition.
  31. Obesity
    Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or higher
  32. Metabolic syndrome
    • A group of risk factors that occur together and increase the risk for coronary artery disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.
    • Symptoms: High waist circumference (extra weight around the waist)/BMI, insulin resistance, high blood pressure, dyslipidemia (high triglycerides, low HDL), high fasting glucose
  33. Diabetes
    • Type 1 diabetes: juvenile onset (has nothing to do with obesity) when the pancreas fails to produce insulin
    • Type 2 diabetes: "adult" onset when the cells become resistant to the effects of insulin; 90% of the cases worldwide of diabetes are considered type 2
    • Gestational diabetes: acquired during pregnancy from the high blood glucose level during gestation; has major but nonfatal effects for the fetus
  34. Insulin
    A hormone made by the pancreas that targets cells with insulin receptors and acts on liver, muscle, and fat cells, causing them to take up glucose from the blood. Without insulin, the cells would starve even if the body was ingesting food.
  35. Blood glucose
    A simple sugar that is the main source of energy for cells (particularly neurons) that can be stored in muscle or liver cells as glycogen. Hyper- or hypo-glycaemia refers to too much or too little glucose in the blood.
  36. BMI
    Body Mass Index. A measure of an adult's weight in relation to his or her height, specifically the adult's weight in kilograms divided by the square of his or her height in meters.
  37. Adipose tissue
    Fat tissues; fat is now considered a hormone-producing organ in its own right.
  38. Interleukin
    • Inflammatory cytokine-signaling molecule
    • A molecule (i.e. neurotransmitter) that helps regulate (i.e. enhance) immune response (i.e. inflammatory response)
  39. In/commensurability
    • Two scientific theories are commensurable if they can be put side-by-side and compared for accuracy or strength of proof.
    • Incommensurability arises due to:
    • - Standards for setting the parameters of experiments and the interpretation of data
    • - Vocabulary of problem-solving methods (different words and different concepts)
    • - Proponents of different approaches see the world differently and have different prior assuptions due to different training
  40. Moral panic
    As defined by Cohen in 1972, "[a] condition, episode, person or group of persons emerges to become defined as a threat to societal values and interests"
  41. Social Frame/Framing
    • Assumption; the selection and emphasis of "some aspects of a perceived reality... in such a way as to promote a particular problem definition" (Entman 1993:52)
    • Captures some reality but not the others
    • i.e. obesity as a medical frame
  42. Stigma
    A distinguishing mark of social disgrace, such as the stigma that being obese is the fault of self
  43. Thrifty gene/genotype hypothesis
    • Ancient genetic adaptation to cycles of feast (abundance) and famine required genes to be "thrifty."
    • Genes for a "thrifty metabolism" is efficient at storing fat when plasma glucose levels are highest during times of adundance.
    • Transition of our ancestors' lifestyle from a hunting-gathering early agricultured to a more settled and nutritionally assured exitence causes these thrifty genes, which were once useful, to often become a burden on our health nowadays.
    • Assumptions of TGH:
    • - Hunter-gatherers experienced a feast/famine cycle
    • - Genetic differences is the primary cause of disease susceptibility
    • - Particular peoples have been recently pressured by events such as slavery or particular geographic experience to manifest particular genetic propensity to disease
    • - There has been enough evolutionary time for this selection for diabetes propensity genes to manifest either in all humans or particularty in some
  44. Geneticization
    The ways in which the science of genetics influences society at large; for example, using genetics to try to explain why a group of people (i.e. the indigenous), is prone to obesity (i.e. through the thrifty gene hypothesis)
  45. Soda tax
    Literally a tax on soda, but refers generally to tax on junk foods to discourage the consumption of unhealthy foods
  46. Epigenetic trait
    A stably inherited phenotype resulting from changes in a chromosome without alterations in the DNA sequence
  47. Epigenetics
    A field of study of the molecular signal that regulate gene expression
  48. Methylation
    Changing certain genes at birth through introduction of the methyl group
  49. Correlation
    The mutual relation of two or more things; i.e. lower SES consistently correlates with higher morbidity and mortality
  50. Causation
    The relation of cause to effect; i.e. change from correlation to causation refers to finding out that one is the cause of the other while used to think that they are only related
  51. Epidemiology
    Study of the incidence and prevalence (causes, distribution, and control) of disease in large populations and with detection of the source and cause of epidemics of infectious disease
  52. Whitehall Study
    The cohort study conducted over 10 years for 17,530 British male civil servants between the ages of 20 and 64 that investigated social determinants of health, specifically the cardiorespiratory disease prevalence and mortality rates among them. The study showed that mortality rates varied continuously and precisely with the men's civil service grade; the higher the classification, the lower the rates of deah, regardless of cause, and the mortality rates for men in the lowest civil service class were three times higher than those of men in the highest grade.
  53. Socioeconomic Status (SES) [3 components]
    • Income
    • Education
    • Relative status (in work and community)
    • Lower SES consistently correlates with higher morbidity and mortality
  54. Neighbourhood SES
    Not individual; measures median household income, median housing value, percentage households receiving investment/rental income, percentage adults who hace completed college, percentage adults in managerial, professional, or executive jobs, and percentage families not headed by single female
  55. Social disparities in health
    • The difference in health in difference social classes due to factors such as structural violence and SES.
    • Poor and minority children are more likely to be in poor health at birth, partly because their mothers are less likely to be able to provide a healthy fetal environment.
  56. Stress
    One of the environmental factors that might be one of the "bad signals" or miscues
  57. Mortality
    Mortality rate: number of people dying during a given time interval in a given population
  58. Morbidity
    Morbidity rate: rate of incidence or prevalence of condition in a given population
  59. Built environment
    • The human-made surroundings that provide the setting for humnan activity, ranging in scale from personal shelter and buildings to neighborhoods and cities that often include supporting infrastructure.
    • Measured by: noise, real and perceived safety, litter, interpersonal trust, green space (places to play or exercise), food landscape (grocery stores, fast food), proximity to industrial effluent, and houseing maintenance
  60. Social environment
    • The social environment of an individual is the culture that he was educated or lives in, and the people and institutions with whom the person interacts.
    • Measured by: discrimination, number of social connections, violence (crime index), perception as important as empirical measures of these variables, connecting different forms of data together (census, health records, individual surveys)
  61. Public understanding of science (3 components)
    • Knowing a lot of science, such as how the digestive system works, what an atom is
    • Knowing how science works, such as research methods, how science operates day to day
    • Knowing how science really works, as in the sociological knowledge of how the scientific community operates, how research efforts secure funding, how theories come into vogue, are judged, accepted, or rejected
  62. Deficit model
    Assumption that the lay public is ignorant, irrational, and uneducated when it comes to science and that if only lay public knew more about science, they would approve of it more (i.e. GM foods)
  63. Lay public
    The general public
  64. Lay expertise
    The "lay" knowledge of science
  65. Qualitative/quantitative research
    • Quantitative: recorded, transcribed, analyzed (numbers and statistics)
    • Qualitative: information on the experience or behavior of a subject
  66. Survey
    A formal or official examination of the particulars of something, made in order to ascertain condition, character, etc.
  67. Focus group
    A representative group of people questioned together about their opinions on political issues, consumer products, etc.
  68. Reflexivity
    Individuals reflect on the social forces acting on them or their places in a social structure, a recognition which affects their actions on or within that social structure. That is, people do not blindly "accept" or "reject" scientific knowledge; they negotiate it reflexively.
  69. Public accountability
    The obligation of the public to be answerable for fiscal and social responsibilities, to whose who have assigned such responsibilities to them.
  70. Stress-diathesis
    The stress-diathesis model explains behavior as a result of both biological and genetic vulnerability and stress from life experiences. For example, if one has both diathesis-stress and stress, one is more one is more susceptible to disorders and diseases.
  71. Intermediate phenotype
    Some trait that is less complex and less observable that is closely related to genes, such as an illness.
  72. Genetic susceptibility to the environment
    Genes may increase susceptibility to negative and positive environments. For example, a child will thrive under conditions of environmental enrichment and positivity.
  73. Symptom/syndrome
    • Symptom: a phenomenon that arises from and accompanies a particular disease or disorder and serves as an indication of it
    • Syndrome: a constellation of symptoms
  74. ADHD
    Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder; a childhood neurobehaviotal disorder characterized by developmentally inappropriate levels of inattention, hyperactivity, or impulsivity that impair academic, family, and social settings; caused by genetic and environmental factors such as high heritability of genes, low birth weight, prenatal exposure to teratogens from maternal smoking and alcohol use during pregnancy, maltreatment (i.e. abuse), and poor parental nurturing/parenting
  75. What is the relationship between "interleukin," "inflammation," and "obesity" or "mortality"?
    Obesity is closely linked to the insulin resistance syndrome (IRS), type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, the primary cause of morbidity and mortality in these patients. Elevated levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) and interleukin-6 (IL-6), indicating chronic subclinical inflammation, have been associated with features of the IRS and incident cardiovascular disease.
  76. Fundamental components: Thrifty genotype hypothesis
  77. Fundamental components: Thrifty phenotype hypothesis
  78. Fundamental components: SES and health disparities
  79. Give at least 5 causal explanations for rising rates of obesity in the United States over the last twenty years.
    • 1. Accessibility to food (Are there more healthy or junk food readily available and which is cheaper?)
    • 2. Income (SES; Do we have the money to buy the healthy foods?)
    • 3. Appetite vs. hunger (Do we need or want the food?)
    • 4. In the past, it is more favorable to store fat in case of times of famine.
    • 5. Sedentary lifestyle (Lazy, no exercise)
    • 6. High levels of adipose tissue (Excess amounts of adipose tissue inherited from the parents that we can't really do anything about)
    • 7. Possibility that obesity is caused by a virus? (If so, then there could be a vaccine and the "epidemic" would be solved.)
  80. Ways in which society and culture "get under the skin" or how social and cultural factors are "transduced" into biological form.
  81. Explain how something such as "stress" or government regulation of pesticides can directly impact biology and health.
    The government can make laws that control the pesticide use and/or how, when, and where it can be used, under what circumstances, etc. This, like the implementation of EZ-Passes, will reduce pollution and the residues in the environment for those who live around those areas, thus improving their health.
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SG5 Final Review
society and genetics 5 final at UCLA
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