Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Episode 595 (9-20-21): Water and the Human Skeleton

CLICK HERE to listen to episode audio (4:40).

Sections below are the following:
Transcript of Audio
Audio Notes and Acknowledgments
Images
Extra Information
Sources
Related Water Radio Episodes
For Virginia Teachers (Relevant SOLs, etc.).

Unless otherwise noted, all Web addresses mentioned were functional as of 9-15-21.

TRANSCRIPT OF AUDIO

From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of September 20, 2021.  This revised episode from October 2015 is part of a series this fall of episodes on water connections to the human body and human biology.

MUSIC – 16 sec – Instrumental

That’s part of “Halloween,” by John McCutcheon on his 1998 album “Autumnsongs.”  In this first week of autumn, with Halloween merchandise already in stores and on some people’s minds, that organ music sets the stage for exploring a vital human organ system that’s also one of Halloween’s most familiar spectres.  Have a listen for about 15 second to some mystery sounds, and see if you can guess that organ system.  And here’s a hint: we couldn’t move at all, much less rattle around, without this remarkable framework.

SOUNDS  - 13 sec

If you guessed the skeleton or skeletal system, you’re right!  The rattling you heard was from a plastic Halloween skeleton, accompanied by some creepy laughter from a talking skull decoration.  Since ancient times, human skeletons have been used in art, literature, and culture as symbols of danger, death, and dryness. In fact, the word “skeleton” comes from Latin and Greek words meaning “dried up.”  But there’s nothing dead nor dry about a functioning human skeleton.  Our 206 bones contain active cells and tissues that continually take in and release calcium and phosphorus while producing new bone, blood, and fat cells.

Bone is about 25 to 30 percent water by weight, with the rest consisting of minerals plus connective protein fibers called collagen.  Water is the main component of cartilage, the relatively flexible tissue in our nose and ears and between bones, including in the disks between the vertebrae in our spine.  In those spinal disks, cartilage fibers enclose a watery core, and this water’s resistance to being compressed helps vertebrae move while not being pushed together.

Ligaments and tendons join bone and cartilage in the complex, multi-purpose skeletal system.  Aided by water, the skeleton supports the body; protects internal organs; produces cells; and provides levers, pivot points, and cushions to the forces acting on and within the body.  All that, and it’s also a classic Halloween image!

Thanks to John McCutcheon and Appalseed Productions for permission to use this week’s music, and we get the jump on the season of scary skeletons with about 25 more seconds of “Halloween.”

MUSIC – 28 sec – Lyrics: “For just one night, I’m allowed to fantasize.  Halloween, here we go.”

SHIP’S BELL

Virginia Water Radio is produced by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, part of Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment.  For more Virginia water sounds, music, or information, visit us online at virginiawaterradio.org, or call the Water Center at (540) 231-5624.  Thanks to Ben Cosgrove for his version of “Shenandoah” to open and close the show.  In Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.

AUDIO NOTES AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

This Virginia Water Radio episode revises and replaces Episode 287, 10-26-15.

“Halloween,” from the 1998 album “Four Seasons: Autumnsongs” on Rounder Records, is copyright by John McCutcheon/Appalsongs and Si Kahn/Joe Hill Music, used with permission of John McCutcheon.  More information about John McCutcheon is available online at http://www.folkmusic.com/.  Thanks to Eric Grace Deedy of Appalseed Productions for her help in acquiring permission to use this music.  More information about Appalseed Productions is available online at https://appalseed-productions-2.square.site/.

Click here if you’d like to hear the full version (2 min./22 sec.) of the “Shenandoah” arrangement/performance by Ben Cosgrove that opens and closes this episode.  More information about Mr. Cosgrove is available online at http://www.bencosgrove.com.

IMAGES

Structure of human long bones (bones that are longer than they are wide).  Illustration from National Institutes of Health/National Cancer Institute, SEER Training Module, “Skeletal System/Classification of Bones,” online at https://training.seer.cancer.gov/anatomy/skeletal/.

Skeleton-themed items, including those shown in the two photos above, were part of the Halloween merchandise for sale at a Blacksburg, Va., store on September 15, 2021.

EXTRA INFORMATION ABOUT THE HUMAN SKELETON

The following information is quoted from the National Institutes of Health/National Cancer Institute, SEER Training Module, “Skeletal System/Introduction” online at https://training.seer.cancer.gov/anatomy/skeletal/.

“Humans are vertebrates, animals having a vertebral column or backbone.  They rely on a sturdy internal frame that is centered on a prominent spine.  The human skeletal system consists of bones, cartilage, ligaments and tendons and accounts for about 20 percent of the body weight.

“The living bones in our bodies use oxygen and give off waste products in metabolism.  They contain active tissues that consume nutrients, require a blood supply, and change shape or remodel in response to variations in mechanical stress.

“Bones provide a rigid framework, known as the skeleton, that supports and protects the soft organs of the body.

“The skeleton supports the body against the pull of gravity.  The large bones of the lower limbs support the trunk when standing.

“The skeleton also protects the soft body parts.  The fused bones of the cranium surround the brain to make it less vulnerable to injury.  Vertebrae surround and protect the spinal cord and bones of the rib cage help protect the heart and lungs of the thorax.

“Bones work together with muscles as simple mechanical lever systems to produce body movement.

“Bones contain more calcium than any other organ.  The intercellular matrix of bone contains large amounts of calcium salts, the most important being calcium phosphate.

“When blood calcium levels decrease below normal, calcium is released from the bones so that there will be an adequate supply for metabolic needs.  When blood calcium levels are increased, the excess calcium is stored in the bone matrix.  The dynamic process of releasing and storing calcium goes on almost continuously.

“Hematopoiesis, the formation of blood cells, mostly takes place in the red marrow of the bones.

“In infants, red marrow is found in the bone cavities.  With age, it is largely replaced by yellow marrow for fat storage.  In adults, red marrow is limited to the spongy bone in the skull, ribs, sternum, clavicles, vertebrae and pelvis.  Red marrow functions in the formation of red blood cells, white blood cells and blood platelets.

SOURCES

Used for Audio

Joseph Hammill and Kathleen M. Knutzen, Biomechanical Basis of Human Movement—Third Edition, Wolters Kluwer/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Baltimore, Md., and Philadelphia, Penn., 2009.

Harry N. Herkowitz et al., The Spine—Fourth Edition (Vol. I), W. B. Saunders Company, Philadelphia, Penn., 1999.

W. Henry Hollinshead and Cornelius Rosse, Textbook of Anatomy—Fourth Edition, Harper and Row Publishers, Inc., 1985.

Evelyn Kelly, The Skeletal System, Greenwood Press, Westport, Conn., 2004.

Lakeland Community College, “The Skull and Skeleton in Art: Folk Art to Pop Culture,” https://www.facebook.com/events/1633218576961435/.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary, “Skeleton,” online at https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/skeleton.

National Institutes of Health/National Cancer Institute, SEER Training Module, “Skeletal System,” online at https://training.seer.cancer.gov/anatomy/skeletal/.

Icy Sedgwick, “Skeleton Folklore,” published by Folklore Thursday, October 26, 2017, online at https://folklorethursday.com/halloween/i-can-feel-it-in-my-bones-skeletons-in-folklore/.

Walt Disney Animation Studies, “The Skeleton Dance,” 1929, online at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vOGhAV-84iI&t=27s.

For More Information about Water and the Human Body 

Mayo Clinic Health System, “Water: Essential to your body,” online at https://www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/speaking-of-health/water-essential-to-your-body.

U.S. Geological Survey, “The Water in You: Water and the Human Body,” https://www.usgs.gov/special-topic/water-science-school/science/water-you-water-and-human-body?qt-science_center_objects=0#qt-science_center_objects.

RELATED VIRGINIA WATER RADIO EPISODES

All Water Radio episodes are listed by category at the Index link above (http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/p/index.html).  See particularly the “Science” subject category.

Following are links to other episodes on connections of water to human biology.  Please note that some of these episodes are being redone in fall 2021; in those cases, the respective links below will have information on the updated episodes. 

Episode 195, 1-6-14 – Water thermodynamics.
Episode 393, 11-6-17
– Disease: Influenza.
Episode 466, 4-1-19
– Water intake and sports.
Episode 517, 3-23-20
and Episode 519, 4-6-20 – Disease: Water connections to COVID-19.
Episode 592, 8-30-21
– Overview of water’s roles in the body.
Episode 593, 9-6-21
– Circulatory system connections to water.
Episode 594, 9-13-21
– Neurological system connections to water.

FOR VIRGINIA TEACHERS – RELATED STANDARDS OF LEARNING (SOLs) AND OTHER INFORMATION 

Following are some Virginia Standards of Learning (SOLs) that may be supported by this episode’s audio/transcript, sources, or other information included in this post.

2020 Music SOLs 

SOLs at various grade levels that call for “examining the relationship of music to the other fine arts and other fields of knowledge.”

2018 Science SOLs 

Grades K-3 plus 5: Matter
K.4 – Water is important in our daily lives and has properties.

Grades K-4: Living Systems and Processes
1.5 – Animals, including humans, have basic life needs that allow them to survive.

Grade 6
6.6 – Water has unique physical properties and has a role in the natural and human-made environment.

Life Science
LS.3 – There are levels of structural organization in living things.
LS.7 – Adaptations support an organism’s survival in an ecosystem.

Physical Science
PS.8 – Work, force, and motion are related.

Biology
BIO.2 – Chemical and biochemical processes are essential for life.
BIO.3 – Cells have structure and function.

Virginia’s SOLs are available from the Virginia Department of Education, online at http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/.

Following are links to Water Radio episodes (various topics) designed especially for certain K-12 grade levels.

Episode 250, 1-26-15 – on boiling, for kindergarten through 3rd grade.
Episode 255, 3-2-15
– on density, for 5th and 6th grade.

Episode 282, 9-21-15
– on living vs. non-living, for kindergarten.
Episode 309, 3-28-16
– on temperature regulation in animals, for kindergarten through 12th grade.
Episode 333, 9-12-16
– on dissolved gases, especially dissolved oxygen in aquatic habitats, for 5th grade.
Episode 403, 1-15-18
– on freezing and ice, for kindergarten through 3rd grade.
Episode 404, 1-22-18
– on ice on ponds and lakes, for 4th through 8th grade.
Episode 406, 2-5-18
– on ice on rivers, for middle school.
Episode 407, 2-12-18
– on snow chemistry and physics, for high school.
Episode 483, 7-29-19
– on buoyancy and drag, for middle school and high school.
Episode 524, 5-11-20
– on sounds by water-related animals, for elementary school through high school.
Episode 531, 6-29-20
– on various ways that animals get water, for 3rd and 4th grade.
Episode 539, 8-24-20 – on basic numbers and facts about Virginia’s water resources, for 4th and 6th grade.

Friday, September 10, 2021

Episode 594 (9-13-21): Neurons, Ions, and Water

CLICK HERE to listen to episode audio (4:18).

Sections below are the following:
Transcript of Audio
Audio Notes and Acknowledgments
Image
Extra Information
Sources
Related Water Radio Episodes
For Virginia Teachers (Relevant SOLs, etc.).

Unless otherwise noted, all Web addresses mentioned were functional as of 9-10-21.

TRANSCRIPT OF AUDIO

From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of September 13, 2021.  This revised episode from December 2018 is part of a series this fall of episodes on water connections to the human body and human biology.

MUSIC – ~ 15 sec – Lyrics:  “Well you’re nothing but a pack of neurons, in a shapely bag of goo.  All your thoughts and dreams, your hopes and schemes, are electrochemical, too.”

This week, that music sets the stage for describing some biochemical and electro-chemical aspects of the water-based environment inside of us.  Have a listen for about 45 more seconds.

MUSIC – ~47 sec – Lyrics: “Well the first time I ever saw your face, dear, my ions began to diffuse.  Your eyes aglow made the sodium flow through those membrane avenues.  When our fingers unite, more than synapses excite, and those lips I can’t refuse.  I know we’re more than just a chemical reaction, ‘cause I’m in love with you-oo-oo, I’m in love with you.  Well you’re nothing but a pack of neurons, controlling a bag of goo.  All your thoughts and dreams, your hopes and schemes, are electrochemical, too.  You are what you eat, ‘cept for what you excrete, so watch out what you chew.  You’re nothing but a pack of neurons, and I’m in love with you-oo-oo, I’m in love with you.  This is the part where the sodium and potassium ions do a little soft-shoe.”

You’ve been listening to part of “Pack of Neurons,” by Bob Gramann of Fredericksburg, Va., on his 2008 album, “Mostly Live.”  According to Mr. Gramann, the title “Pack of Neurons” was inspired by the use of that phrase in The Astonishing Hypothesis, a 1994 book by Francis Crick on human consciousness.   Dr. Crick shared the 1962 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with James Watson and Maurice Wilkins for their discoveries of the structure of the DNA molecule.

Mr. Gramann’s song is a light-hearted look at the fundamental role of neurons, of nerve cells, in transmitting the electrical impulses that control humans’ mental and physical processes.  Those nerve impulses are transmitted along neurons by changes in the concentration of electrically-charged atoms of sodium and potassium. [Note, not in audio: Neurons are the type of nerve cell that transmits impulses.  The nervous system also has other supporting cells.]  Water is vital as the solvent for those charged atoms, known as ions.  And not just in neurons, but in all biological cells, a water-based solution is the medium in which biochemical substances exist and react.  Regarding water-based solutions, chemist Linus Pauling in 1970 wrote, “One of the most striking properties of water is its ability to dissolve many substances”—including, we might add, ions transmitting the nerve impulses that right now are allowing you to hear or read these words.

Thanks to Bob Gramann for permission to use this week’s music, and we close with about 20 more seconds of “Pack of Neurons.”

MUSIC – ~21 sec - Instrumental

SHIP’S BELL 

Virginia Water Radio is produced by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, part of Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment.  For more Virginia water sounds, music, or information, visit us online at virginiawaterradio.org, or call the Water Center at (540) 231-5624.  Thanks to Stewart Scales for his banjo version of Cripple Creek to open and close this show.  In Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.

AUDIO NOTES AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

This Virginia Water Radio episode revises and replaces Episode 450, 12-10-18, and Episode 93, 12-19-11.

“Pack of Neurons,” from the 2008 album “Mostly Live,” is copyright by Bob Gramann, used with permission.  Bob Gramann’s Web site is http://www.bobgramann.com/.

Click here if you’d like to hear the full version (1 min./11 sec.) of the “Cripple Creek” arrangement/performance by Stewart Scales that opens and closes this episode.  More information about Mr. Scales and the group New Standard, with which Mr. Scales plays, is available online at http://newstandardbluegrass.com.

IMAGE

Diagram of a neuron.  Image from the National Institutes of Health/National Cancer Institute, “SEER Training Modules: Introduction to the Nervous System—Nerve Tissue,” online at https://training.seer.cancer.gov/anatomy/nervous/; the specific URL for the diagram was https://training.seer.cancer.gov/anatomy/nervous/tissue.html, as of 9-8-21.

EXTRA INFORMATION ABOUT THE HUMAN NERVOUS SYSTEM

The following information is quoted from National Institutes of Health/National Cancer Institute, “SEER Training Modules: Review: Introduction to the Nervous System,” online at https://training.seer.cancer.gov/anatomy/nervous/review.html, accessed 9/10/21.

*The nervous system is the major controlling, regulatory, and communicating system in the body. It is the center of all mental activity including thought, learning, and memory.

*The various activities of the nervous system can be grouped together as three general, overlapping functions: sensory, integrative, and motor.

*Neurons are the nerve cells that transmit impulses.  Supporting cells are neuroglia.

*The three components of a neuron are a cell body or soma, one or more afferent processes called dendrites, and a single efferent process called an axon.

*The central nervous system consists of the brain and spinal cord.  Cranial nerves, spinal nerves, and ganglia make up the peripheral nervous system.

*The afferent division of the peripheral nervous system carries impulses to the CNS; the efferent division carries impulses away from the CNS.

*There are three layers of meninges around the brain and spinal cord.  The outer layer is dura mater, the middle layer is arachnoid, and the innermost layer is pia mater.

*The spinal cord functions as a conduction pathway and as a reflex center.  Sensory impulses travel to the brain on ascending tracts in the cord. Motor impulses travel on descending tracts.

SOURCES

Used for Audio

Stewart W. Holmes, “You are Nothing but a Pack of Neurons,” ETC: A Review of General Semantics, Vol. 51, No. 4 (Winter 1994-95), pages 406-412, accessed online at https://www.jstor.org/stable/42577594?seq=1#metadata_info_tab_contents (subscription may be needed for access).

Nobel Media AB, “The discovery of the molecular structure of DNA—the double helix,” Sept. 30, 2003, online at http://educationalgames.nobelprize.org/educational/medicine/dna_double_helix/readmore.html. 

Linus Pauling, General Chemistry, Dover Publications, New York, N.Y, 1970).  The quotation used in this episode’s audio is found on page 447.

Scott K. Powers and Edward T. Howley, Exercise Physiology: Theory and Application to Fitness and Performance, 8th Edition, McGraw-Hill, New York, N.Y., 2012.  See particularly pages 142-148, “Organization of the Nervous System.”

Publishers Weekly, “Review of The Astonishing Hypothesis: The Scientific Search for the Soul, by Francis Crick,” Jan. 3, 1994, online at https://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-684-19431-8.

University of Bristol (England), School of Medical Sciences, “Brain Basics: The Fundamentals of Neuroscience,” online at http://www.bris.ac.uk/synaptic/basics/basics-0.html.

For More Information about the Human Nervous System

Eric Cudler, “Neuroscience for Kids,” online at https://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/neurok.html.

National Institutes of Health/National Cancer Institute, “SEER Training Modules: Introduction to the Nervous System,” online at https://training.seer.cancer.gov/anatomy/nervous/.

RELATED VIRGINIA WATER RADIO EPISODES

All Water Radio episodes are listed by category at the Index link above (http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/p/index.html).  See particularly the “Science” subject category.

Following are links to other episodes on connections of water to human biology.  Please note that some of these episodes are being redone in fall 2021; in those cases, the respective links below will have information on the updated episodes. 

Episode 195, 1-6-14 – Water thermodynamics.
Episode 287, 10-26-15
– Skeleton system connections to water.
Episode 393, 11-6-17
– Disease: Influenza.
Episode 450, 12-10-18
– Neurological system connections to water.
Episode 466, 4-1-19
– Water intake and sports.
Episode 517, 3-23-20
and Episode 519, 4-6-20 – Disease: Water connections to COVID-19.
Episode 592, 8-30-21
– Overview of water’s roles in the body.
Episode 593, 9-6-21
– Circulatory system connections to water.

FOR VIRGINIA TEACHERS – RELATED STANDARDS OF LEARNING (SOLs) AND OTHER INFORMATION

Following are some Virginia Standards of Learning (SOLs) that may be supported by this episode’s audio/transcript, sources, or other information included in this post.

2020 Music SOLs

SOLs at various grade levels that call for “examining the relationship of music to the other fine arts and other fields of knowledge.”

2018 Science SOLs

Grades K-3 plus 5: Matter
3.3 – Materials interact with water.
5.7 – Matter has properties and interactions. 

Grade 6
6.6 – Water has unique physical properties and has a role in the natural and human-made environment.

Life Science
LS.2 – All living things are composed of one or more cells that support life processes, as described by the cell theory.

Biology
BIO.2 – Chemical and biochemical processes are essential for life.
BIO.3 – Cells have structure and function. 

Chemistry
CH.5 – Solutions behave in predictable and quantifiable ways.

Virginia’s SOLs are available from the Virginia Department of Education, online at http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/.

Following are links to Water Radio episodes (various topics) designed especially for certain K-12 grade levels.

Episode 250, 1-26-15 – on boiling, for kindergarten through 3rd grade.
Episode 255, 3-2-15 – on density, for 5th and 6th grade.
Episode 282, 9-21-15
– on living vs. non-living, for kindergarten.
Episode 309, 3-28-16
– on temperature regulation in animals, for kindergarten through 12th grade.
Episode 333, 9-12-16
– on dissolved gases, especially dissolved oxygen in aquatic habitats, for 5th grade.
Episode 403, 1-15-18
– on freezing and ice, for kindergarten through 3rd grade.
Episode 404, 1-22-18
– on ice on ponds and lakes, for 4th through 8th grade.
Episode 406, 2-5-18
– on ice on rivers, for middle school.
Episode 407, 2-12-18
– on snow chemistry and physics, for high school.
Episode 483, 7-29-19
– on buoyancy and drag, for middle school and high school.
Episode 524, 5-11-20
– on sounds by water-related animals, for elementary school through high school.
Episode 531, 6-29-20 – on various ways that animals get water, for 3rd and 4th grade.
Episode 539, 8-24-20
– on basic numbers and facts about Virginia’s water resources, for 4th and 6th grade.