Monday, 30 December 2013

The structure of an epithelial cell from the small intestine as seen with an optical microscope.

Epithelial cells make up a lot of tissue in the human body- including that of the small intestine. They are eukaryotic cells (nucleus and a variety of organelles) which specialise in absorption and secretion.

With a light (optical) microscope the following can be seen:

Analyse and interpret data associated with specific risk factors and the incidence of disease • recognise correlations and causal relationships.

The graph below compares the incidence (number of cases) of lung cancer to the risk factor of smoking.
The age at which smoking was stopped has a direct correlation to the incidence.

This would appear to show that smoking causes cancer; but there could be other factors linking the two data which are actually the cause. To understand this imagine that people smoke because they are stressed and that stress is the cause of cancer- this would mean that as stress went up so did smoking and cancer (so there was a correlation), but that smoking was not the cause of cancer.

A casual relationship is the term for a direct link that shows one thing has caused another. In this case scientists analysed the affect of tar on cells and found that it altered the DNA causing cancerous mutations: they found a casual relationship between smoking and cancer.

Lifestyle can affect human health. Specific risk factors are associated with cancer and coronary heart disease. Changes in lifestyle may also be associated with a reduced risk of contracting these conditions.

Risk can be described as a probability of getting a disease due to an action. For example smoking is a risk factor associated with getting lung cancer because you are 15 times more likely to develop lung cancer if you smoke.

Risk factors of cancer:
  • Smoking
  • Bad diet/obesity
  • Lack of exercise
  • Exposure to UV rays
Risk factors of coronary heart disease:

  • Smoking
  • Bad diet/obesity
  • High blood pressure (e.g. from stress)
  • Blood cholesterol

By changing your lifestyle so that you are not doing the things that put you at risk of the disease, the risk of getting the disease is lowered. However, diseases cannot be eliminated by changing lifestyle because factors like age and genes can increase the risk.

Pathogens include bacteria, viruses and fungi. Disease can result from pathogenic microorganisms penetrating any of an organism’s interfaces with the environment. These interfaces include the digestive and gas-exchange systems. Pathogens cause disease by damaging the cells of the host and by producing toxins.

Micro-organisms are ones so small they cannot be seen without a microscope. Harmful micro-organisms are called pathogens and bacteria, fungi and viruses are all examples.

These organisms can infect the body by penetrating it interfaces with the environment- this means entering the body by a surface that links the inside with the outside, for example the digestive system and the gas exchange system.

When inside the body pathogens causes disease in two ways:

  • They damage cells of the host (body) so they can't function properly
  • They produce toxins which can alter the workings of the infected organism.