Dr Chris Emdin + GZA + The Bronx + Science + Hip Hop = Geek Out Science Genius

GZA

Hello All,

It’s Friday Geek Out time. I am so excited to introduce to you Dr Chris Emdin’s work as I have been slowly but surely developing the same concept here in London and cannot wait for one of my best friends who is a MC to finish a Science of Rap book project we have been working on (hint-hint). Dr Chris Emdin is a Professor of Math, Science and Technology and works for the Colombia Teachers College teaching at New York inner city schools. Christopher is the author of “Urban Science Education for the Hip-hop Generation”. Dr Emdin’s work has been featured on Good Day NY, ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, in The Associated Press, The Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine and others AND if that was not enough to wow you, he is also very handsome and extremely dapper *swoon*.

DrChris1

Currently, one of my clients is a inner city London science specialist school and the biggest challenge is engaging the young boys and girls with Science. I cannot tell you how much it hurts my heart to hear them say “Science is boring Miss”. Much like Dr Chris Emdin, my first point of call is to find out what they do find interesting, which is more often than not music and/or football and use that as a bridge to engage them actively with the science topic at hand. It always works a treat, despite my mediocre “rapping” technique, although thankfully my knowledge of football is good enough to pass ( I was called a G by the “leader” of my year 10 troublesome Science group last week, I told him I wasn’t his G and to refer to me as Dr E but secretly inside I was jumping for joy).

Hip-Hopeducation1

Click play on the video’s below and be inspired by the amazing work Dr Chris Emdin is doing in the Bronx and watch the young boys faces in part two when GZA from the Wu Tang Clang walks into the classroom. It is absolutely priceless.

Part one introduces Dr Chris Emdin and the program

Part two introduces GZA to the program

Also, I found this short comic relief skit with Catherine Tate & David Tennant to give you an understanding of how hard it can be for teachers to do the job at hand their when even one student is not engaged and disinterested in the subject.

Unfortunately, I have been into many science classes where this is the case. Please share this post with your teacher friends, your family and extended family. Let us start using creative ways to keep our young people in-line as GZA would say and use some of the things they enjoy and find interesting to engage them fully with Science or any other subject for that matter.

Hope you enjoyed the read, have a blessed weekend and remember genius is never impossible and always possible especially when we all work together like Dr Chris Emdin and GZA have just shown us. Peace.

GZA_DrChrisEyman

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Chinese Doctors Build A New Nose…On A Man’s Forehead! Science, B*$€#.

BreakingBad

Hello Geeks and Happy Friday,

This week, two stand out events occurred that I wanted to share with you. The first being that the last episode of Breaking Bad was aired (sad times). I wanted to take this opportunity to reach out to all the BB fans, I feel you. I thoroughly enjoyed watching this series and I am not a big TV person. If you have not been following it, especially if you are a science geek like myself, I urge you to watch it. I promise you will not be disappointed, the show is very well written, the development of the characters and scripting is outstanding and the filming is amazing. Top notch telly.

The second event was the sensationalised media storm that occurred around the man with the nose grown on his forehead. Usually, I try to stay away from sensationalised science journalism but I was asked about this enough times by both my adult friends and the kids at School to want to address it. The story goes that a surgeon in China says he has constructed an extra nose out of a man’s rib cartilage and implanted it under the skin of his forehead to prepare for a transplant in probably the first operation of its kind. Surgeon Guo Zhihui at Fujian Medical University Union Hospital in China’s south-eastern province of Fujian spent nine months cultivating the graft for a 22-year-old man whose nose was damaged (please note that when Doctors progress to Consultant Surgeons, they drop the Dr title and are referred to as Mr or Miss/Mrs again).

The striking images of the implant with the nostril section facing diagonally upward on the left side of the man’s forehead drew widespread publicity after they began to circulate in Chinese media last week. Guo plans to cut the nose from the forehead while leaving a section of skin still connected, and then rotate and graft it into position in a later operation. Although this seems like a new “Frankenstein” development in science, specifically plastic surgery, this type of operation is not completely new. Surgeons have previously used cartilage to help rebuild noses in their proper position and have been experimenting with growing new ones from stem cells on other parts of the body, such as a forearm (this technique is much “newer”). A nose graft grown from stem cells would also be prepared on another body part first, but this operation is using existing cartilage.

Nose_Forehead

The reason this story has been sensationalised lays with the fact that this is the first known case of building a nose on a forehead and the visual pictures, as seen above, are very striking to say the least. Guo is quoted as saying “We were just interested in helping the man and did not expect it would stir up this much attention,”. This I can believe as the Chinese are well known to push the frontiers of science and medicine. China has one of the worlds biggest scientific research communities and some of the biggest functioning research facilities in the world. They are more than capable. Alexander Seifalian, a professor of nanotechnology and regenerative medicine at University College London who has worked on transplants using stem cells, said implanting the nose graft in the forehead makes sense because the skin there has the same “structure and texture” as that of a nose. The rest of the scientific community is yet to see medical reports and data therefore they can only comment according to what has been said in the media.

The media reports that the patient lost part of his nose in an accident in August 2012 and did not immediately have any reconstruction surgery because he couldn’t afford it, Guo said. An infection later ate away much of his nose cartilage. Guo said his team examined what remained of the nose and concluded there would be little chance of viably grafting cartilage there, instead building the nose on the forehead. When the new nose is rotated into position and grafted, it will at first have its own blood supply from links to the forehead, before developing new blood vessels. Later surgery will smooth out all of the skin.The team first expanded skin on the man’s forehead for more than three months before using rib cartilage to build the nose bridge. Lastly, Guo’s team built the nostrils. “We sculpted the nose three-dimensionally, like carpenters,” he said.

BB_ScinceB%$£@

Click play on the video below and see the “carpenters” work, it is some kind of wonderful. Science rocks, they are about to give this man a new nose when all hope seemed lost post infection. Unbelievable.

Until next time, have a great weekend. Peace and blessings.

Eyman

Geek out with Rosalind Franklin, DNA, The Brain, and Queens.

Rosalind Frankin

Hello Geeks,

Hope you have all had a great week. As you know I made a commitment to make sure I wrote a post every Friday and today I must say I almost missed it but for good reason; it is my younger brothers birthday today and we spent most of the day playing Aunty and Uncle at the London Aquarium with our niece. Much fun was had and here I am at 9.42pm on a Friday evening, working on this post making sure I fulfil my commitment to you all.

I can’t help but geek out over and share with you one of my personal female role models in the world of genetics, and I am not alone; you may have noticed the google doodle tribute below on your home-screen yesterday. This is becasue it is the 60th Anniversary of Rosalind Franklin’s discovery at our very own Kings College London of the structure of DNA through X-ray images, the famous Photo 51. Yes, I said famous, and it is deserving of the word and you are about to learn why.

Rosalin_Franklin_94thThe images above and below denote one of the 20th century’s biggest scientific breakthroughs, and Rosalind Franklin is being celebrated for this contribution this weekend. Franklin’s Photo 51 below was one of the biggest contributing factors to helping us unlock the secret of DNA, even though she famously failed to share the Nobel Prize awarded to Francis Crick and James Watson for the work they admitted was built on her investigations. In-fact, it was “rumoured” that Franklin’s supervisor shared several of her images, including “Photo 51”, with James Watson without her knowledge or consent. Up until the time when they saw this particular image, Watson and Crick, had wrongly postulated that the DNA “backbone” was on the inside of the molecule. Her image pointed out their error in logic and they quickly revised their hypothesis and published it, which then led to them being awarded the Nobel Prize a few years later.

Photo 51

She got side-lined but this weekend she is being celebrated and recognised for her good work and efforts. Hard work always pays off in the end. The Guardian wrote up a brilliant article about her devotion to science research and her inspirational and pioneering career. She was finally recognised by the 1962 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine four years after her tragic death from ovarian cancer.

Tomorrow, Kings College is providing a free family open day at the University’s Cultural Institute at the East Wing of Somerset house. Visitors will be invited to watch real human brains being examined by anatomists, and learn about the wiring of the brain (not for the squeamish and an advisory age of 12 has been given). You will get the opportunity to meet with neuroscientists and learn about the structure of DNA upfront and close. The Institute is open from 11am-5pm.

It is also the last chance to visit the photographic exhibition of picture cells which of-course includes Franklin’s Photo 51. Schools are out, so this is a great opportunity for the family as a whole, aspiring medics and scientists, as well as everyday people geeks to get inspired.

I was trying to think of a fitting song tribute for this lady and as she is literally the Queen of Genetics, I finally settled on this ‘Queen’ by Janelle Monae feat Erykah Badu. I love this song and video for many reasons, too many to re-count here so click play below and enjoy!

Have a great weekend all.

E

Beauty By The Geeks

BeutyByGeeks1Hey Geeks,

The weather is beautiful in London today, it is hot and sunny, I kid you not. I am very excited about that. I Hope it is just as glorious everywhere else in the world. If you read my last blog post you will know what I have been up to lately and I remember mentioning to you that I wanted to introduce you to some of the amazing people I have been blessed to meet. This is the first of those introductions.

I geeked out when I came across Brigitte West and Rose Brown at the STEMettes event last month. Not only are they both lovely ladies, but they are also brilliant entrepreneurs who had an idea that they confidently nurtured creating a business that helps people understand the science behind beauty products. This in itself is inspiring but the amazing thing is, they achieved all of this while studying full time medical science degrees at university.  They are 21 and 20 years old respectively. Brilliant young ladies. And, they named the buisness Beauty By The Geeks. Whaaaat. Total geek out.

BeautyByGeeks2

Click on this link and find out how to make your own beauty products at home using ingredients from your kitchen. Also, see if you can catch them at the British Science Festival and if you work in a school or are a member of your parental governing body at your children’s school, suggest some of the educational courses they offer in and around England and help them make science more engaging (school girls love make-up whether parents like it or not, it is the the truth of our times so let us use it to our advantage and educate).

Keeping with the theme and because I miss Brazil and because it is perfect for this sunny day, click play and enjoy the sunshine with Pharrell and Snoop in Brazil.

Until next time, enjoy the sunshine and have a great weekend.

E

Fasting makes you younger

Hello Geeks,

As it is Ramadan again, I thought it would be a good idea to re-post this blog post to help keep us fasting people motivated lol. It is the third day in and this year I can honestly say I am struggling. Summer Ramadan’s are not the one, the day is so long and come 9.20pm I am not the most pleasant person to be around but at least I know I will look younger. Please re-blog, re-tweet and like the post.

Ramadan Kareem everyone, Love, Light and blessings to all.

Eyman

Hey All,

Hope you have all been well. Some of you may know that it is the holy month of Ramadan in the Islamic calender. This special month means that from sunrise to sunset, people of the Muslim faith abstain from eating and drinking (yes, not even water!!!). Ramadan is my favorite month, but I have to admit, this year it has been tough as the days are super long and I am definitely feeling it.

A friend of mine sent me this link to the third horizon episode called Eat, Fast and Live Longer presented by Michael Mosley.  I wanted to write a post on the scientific health benefits of fasting towards the beginning of the month but it is so much and can get very complicated. This episode is the perfect introduction into the world of health metabolics and you can see Mr Mosley take him-self through all the different types of fasts and the huge mental and physical health benefits he personally gained from actually doing the fasts. Clink on this link and watch it on bbc iplayer before it’s gone.

In-case you do not have the time to watch the whole episode. I am going to do my best to summarise the power of fasting here.

Mosley goes through different phases of food restrictions before delving into fasting. Calorie restriction, eating well but not much, is one of the few things that has been shown to extend life expectancy, at least in animals. We’ve known since the 1930s that mice put on a low-calorie, nutrient-rich diet live far longer. This is also true in monkeys, the mammal of choice for testing a theory before human trials.

The world record for extending life expectancy in a mammal is held by a new type of mouse which can expect to live an extra 40%, equivalent to a human living to 120 or even longer. 120 years of life, i’m not sure I want to live to 120 but some of you may 🙂

Why I hear you ask does this mouse have such a healthy and long life? the answer is it has been genetically engineered so its body produces very low levels of a growth hormone called IGF-1, high levels of which seem to lead to accelerated ageing and age-related diseases, while low levels are protective. Tah Dah!

A similar, but natural, genetic mutation has been found in humans with Laron syndrome, a rare condition that affects fewer than 350 people worldwide. The very low levels of IGF-1 their bodies produce means they are short, but this also seems to protect them against heart disease, strokes, cancer and diabetes, all age-related diseases.

The IGF-1 hormone (insulin-like growth factor) is one of the drivers which keep our bodies in go-go mode, with cells driven to reproduce. This is fine when you are growing, but not so good later in life, it makes us get old :-/.

How does all this relate to fasting? I’m getting there, evidence suggests that IGF-1 levels can be lowered by what you eat. The reason seems to be that when our bodies no longer have access to food they switch from “growth mode” to “repair mode”. As levels of the IGF-1 hormone drop, a number of repair genes appear to get switched on according to ongoing research by Professor Valter Longo of the University of Southern California.

Mosley had a go fasting for 3 days and saw his levels of IGF-1 drop by over half, dramatically reducing his chances of age associated diseases and diabetes, to 1 in a billion! His face on hearing this information is priceless. Finding three continuous days of fasting difficult he researches fasting diets further and goes for the Alternate Day fasting (ADF). This diet involving eating what you want one day, then a very restricted diet (fewer than 600 calories) the next, and most surprisingly, it does not seem to matter that much what you eat on non-fast days says Dr Krista Varady of the University of Illinois at Chicago who carried a range of clinical trials.

Mosley decided, he couldn’t manage ADF, it was just too impractical. Fair enough, he was being honest with himself. Instead he did an easier version, the so-called 5:2 diet. As the name implies you eat normally 5 days a week, then two days a week you eat 500 calories if you are a woman, or 600 calories, if you are a man. It worked for him but it is important to note that there are no firm rules because so far there have been few proper human trials.

The final conclusion, fasting can be good for you both physically, mentally and spiritually. Why not try it? If you want to read some of the hard-core science click on this link.

Hope you enjoyed the read, now I’m going to enjoy my fasting experience just that little bit more knowing that it’s giving my aging processes a run for it’s money. I’m working on being forever young again like Ghost. Click on the video below for Napolean Dynamites reinterpretation of Forever Young.

Until next time, happy fasting.

Eyman