A Quick Introduction To Bioinformatics

Among all the education summits that I’ve been to, the 2017 Bioinformatics Conference is my favorite. From the title itself, you could tell that the primary topic was bioinformatics—one of the subject matters that I’d been studying for years.

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A lot of people in my circle already asked why I insisted on showing interest in such a complicated field. After all, any scientific area seems challenging for a higher number of folks, but bioinformatics belongs in the same category as quantum physics, organic chemistry, etc. In short, it looks extra tricky at first glance.

My only response to such comments is, “You have not given bioinformatics enough attention to know if it’s too much.” Although there is no question about its level of difficulty, the subject is also too interesting to set aside. Here are a few factors that may make you look at bioinformatics in the same way that I do.

What Is Cool About Bioinformatics?
The coolest thing about this scientific field is that it is a hybrid of sorts. You need to be excellent at mathematics, engineering, and computer science to be able to make anything out of the data that you will get.

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Why Is Bioinformatics Useful?
Bioinformatics is useful because it allows scientists to identify a person’s genetic traits and use the information to cure or prevent diseases. This is why a lot of pharmaceutical companies want to hire experts in this field of science. With the biological information in their hands, the professionals can figure out what makes someone prone to specific illnesses and how they can be avoided.

How To Prepare For Bioinformatics?
Bioinformatics requires you to learn about biological sequencing, genetics, statistics, and computer programming. These are merely the first topics that you need to go through before even getting an opportunity to analyze and interpret data.

In The End

It is safe to say that bioinformatics is not for the faint at heart. It calls for utter focus and dedication; you can’t let any precise detail get past you. However, if you genuinely want to know more about it, attending seminars is an excellent start.

The Chemistry Of Depression – A Therapist Knows

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What Is The Biochemical Basis Of Depression?

We all know that chemical imbalance in the brain causes depression and other types of mental health disorders in the brain, and the medications alter these abnormalities by maintaining the right balance of these substances. That’s what a therapist would say to discuss it biochemically. This is also a very scientific explanation, and some of us might get confused. So what does chemical imbalance in the brain have to do with depression?

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What Science Tells Us About Stress

Many people keep on saying that they are stressed out, exhausted, and anxious because of everything that is happening in their lives. However, not all of them can define what stress is. It is the conclusion that a group of psychologists made after conducting their study that tackles the impact of stress on many people. According to them, many individuals claim that they are under a lot of stress when in truth, and fact, they only feel uncomfortable. Is it proper to say that stress can be equated to lack of comfort?

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In today’s article, we are going to discuss the different concepts of stress under science. Our primary goal is to educate everyone about what stress means, as well as its signs and symptoms. We also want to share with everyone the ultimate causes of why people feel this negative emotion. Most importantly, at the end of this post, we aim to provide our readers with the top techniques that can help one eliminate the stressors in his life.


Stress can be defined as a state where the human body reacts to any change or circumstance that it encounters and one that requires a particular response, reaction, or adjustment. Stress can be affected by the physical, emotional, and mental responses that a person gives to every situation that he experiences. When a person is under a lot of pressure or is too anxious because of his environment or emotions, then the said individual may be under a lot of stress. When a person is stressed, the base of the brain releases hormones called cortisol and adrenaline. William R. Klemm, PhD, wrote, “Chronic high levels of cortisone change the neural circuitry that regulates its release.”


Signs And Symptoms

One of the common signs of stress is experiencing a racing heart. When a person suffers from too much stress, his heart will start to the race, which ultimately makes him paranoid or anxious about everything. Guy Winch, PhD, wrote, “Anxiety can make us feel so restless, uncomfortable, and incapable of concentrating.” Aside from this, there is also a high possibility that the said individual will be in a bad mood that can make it difficult for other people to deal with him. Experiencing too much stress can also lead to weight gain. It usually takes place because a stressed person will become inclined to eat more as he can look at food as a source of happiness.

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Another common symptom of stress is difficulty in sleeping. No matter what a person does, he will find it challenging to get a good night sleep even if he is too exhausted from the day’s work. It is one of the reasons why many individuals end up purchasing sleeping pills to help them rest during stressful days and nights. Having constant headaches or migraines can also be an indication that a particular person is under stress.

Treatment And Other Techniques

Fortunately, there are several ways on how one can battle stress. If you believe that you are under constant stress, we highly recommend that you familiarize the items listed below:

  1. Keep Your Cool – Do not get mad when things do not happen the way you want them to be. Keep in mind that everything is temporary, which means that you can still do something about every situation. Try to control the way you react to certain circumstances that come your way. Ryan M. Niemiec, PsyD, wrote, “Use your strengths of critical thinking and hope to look at any negative situation in a fresh way.” Be smart enough to know how to handle your emotions.
  1. Exercise Regularly – Make time for physical activity, no matter how busy you are at work. Take note that exercising can do a lot of wonders for your body. It will not only increase your energy to continue all the activities you want to complete for the day. At the same time, it can also put you in a good mood, thereby limiting your stress.
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  1. Have A Balanced Diet – Not everyone knows this, but the truth is that your food intake can affect your mental health. Because of this, it is best if you will try to be in a healthy lifestyle. Be wary of what you eat so that you can help yourself achieve a state of excellent mental wellness. Keep your meal plans full of choices that are rich in fiber and nutrients.


  1. Meditate – Look for a serene place where you can chill and relax. This place must enable you to quiet your mind and go deeper to your soul. The beautiful thing about meditation is that it only requires at least ten minutes a day. What is essential is to achieve a state of mindfulness, and you are good to go.

Stress is a mental health issue that you need to handle well. Be smart enough to eliminate all the stressors in your life.

Dealing With Stress And Anxiety 101

Have you noticed that stress and anxiety are now part of your day-to-day life? Do you always find yourself feeling exhausted even if you have gotten the right amount of rest? Are you constantly afraid of the future or how things will unfold in your life? If you answered yes to all these, then it is time for you to learn the different ways on how you can deal with the stressors in your life. At the same time, you need to master the various techniques on how to handle anxiety or panic attacks in case you have one.

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Below are the top strategies to remember:

Think Of A Happy Memory

The moment you start to feel a little down, the best thing that you can do is to remind yourself of a happy memory. Think of someone or an experience that can surely make you smile. For example, a parent who is tired at his work in the office can feel instantly happier the moment she starts to remember her child who is left at home. The mere thought of her beloved kid can already cheer her up. All you have to know is to be aware of the thoughts that make you happy and keep on visualizing them so that you can manifest the happy thoughts.

 Learn When To Stop

Are you aware that you are the only one who can control how things will unfold in your life? Andy Tix, PhD, wrote, “In order to respond effectively to life stressors, we must realize we have at least some control—if nothing else, over our attitudes.” If you feel that everything has become overwhelming, it is best if you will choose to quit. Give yourself a chance to be happy and try something new. An excellent example of this is getting stuck in a job that you do not like. The moment you realize that your profession is no longer in line with your life’s goals and principles, then the best option that you have to choose is to hand in a resignation letter. Do not be afraid to click the stop button and start anew.

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Take A Break If Necessary

Keep in mind that there are days when all you need is a breather. Just because you are already stressed or anxious about your work or business does not necessarily mean that quitting is the best choice. Sometimes, all it takes is to choose to avail of a break from your usual routine and invest your time in relaxation. Do not be afraid to travel to a new place if it means regaining your self-confidence and love for what you do. Aside from this, you can also stay at home and sleep the entire day if it is what will make you feel relaxed. Do whatever it takes to unwind. Margarita Tartakovsky, MS, wrote, “Daily habits are vital in staving off stress, and coping with it.”

Make Exercise A Part Of Your Day

No matter how hectic or busy you are with work or with a business, it is ideal if you will spend a part of your time in engaging in physical activities. Susan Biali Haas, MD, wrote, “Physical exercise is an excellent way to reduce stress.” As much as possible, make an effort to live a healthy lifestyle. Take note that everything you do at this aspect in your life can have tons of advantages in the future. A study shows that exercise can help the body to release dopamine or a substance that is often called as happy hormones. This is why you can notice an improvement in your mood and mental health whenever you engage in physical activities or exercises.

Let It All Out

Make it a habit to talk to other people about what you feel and think. Remember that you have to let all your emotions out so that it will not consume all of you. If you are comfortable with opening up to a close friend, all you have to do is to call your best friend and discuss everything. On the other hand, if you feel awkward in addressing your issues to friends, the best option available for you is to seek professional help. Look for the best therapist in your area so that you can have someone to talk to regarding your feelings and thoughts. Take note that your cooperation is highly essential to make this arrangement work.

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Do not let anxiety and stress beat you down. Instead, find a way to turn it into something positive. follow the strategies enumerated above the best experience.

Gene Therapy For Deficiency Treatment

We all have different genes, and it makes us who we are. It creates a distinction of our appearance in all aspect. That’s the reason why we differ in height, we have different eye colors, and we have unique skin types, and so on. Our genes hold the answers to our differences. But what if a part of our gene went missing? What if it gets defective? Or what if it mutates and changes into something we don’t know? It can inevitably cause a disease such as cancer and cystic fibrosis. Also, according to Traci Stein Ph.D., MPH, “This post may be of most significant interest to those who have been diagnosed with one of the mental health issues linked to having an MTHFR mutation, such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or autism.” With that, we need to understand what gene therapy is and how it works.

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Physiognomy: Real Or Pseudoscience?

Have you ever encountered a stranger and thought, “That guy must be from a wealthy family”? What made you assume that? Something in their outward appearance must have given you that idea. Was it their clothes? The way they carried themselves? Their unusual social manners? Or was it their facial features?

You might think it’s silly to check a person’s character based solely on their physical appearance. But scientists have been studying this practice for some time now. It even has a name to it—physiognomy.

“The first impressions we form about other people based on their facial appearance influence important social outcomes. They influence who we choose as friends and lovers, who we choose to hire and fire, and even who we vote for,” Benedict Jones Ph.D. points out.

What Is Physiognomy?

Physiognomy is the act of determining temperament and character from outward appearance. In the physiognomic process, one studies other people’s physical features. With the gathered data, one identifies that person’s personality traits.

The practice of physiognomy has existed since ancient times. Pythagoras picked his students based on how skilled they appeared. Even Aristotle’s works made physiognomic assertions. “Most people today find these ideas fanciful. Yet, research suggests that people do subscribe to a naïve physiognomy,” Alexander Todorov, Ph.D.

A few examples are as follows: People with large heads were mean. Those with broad faces were stupid. Those with round faces were courageous.

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Later in history, people wrote entire books on the subject. Cesare Lombroso, an Italian criminologist, and physician, wrote L’uomo Delinquente (“Criminal Man”) in 1876. It contained the author’s beliefs and theories about criminology. To him, criminals are born, and their deviant behavior stems from inherited characteristics. Studying certain parts of a person’s anatomy helped detect these tendencies.

Another book is Aristotle’s Masterpiece by the Pseudo-Aristotle. The author wrote it in 1986. “Displaying the Secrets of Nature, Relating to Physiognomy” was the label of the third part of the book. It delves into the different parts of the body and how they help in determining a person’s character. It documented twelve different types of noses and what it revealed about one’s personality.

According to Gwen Sharp, PhD, “These pseudosciences were taken quite seriously at the time, with “experts” showing that Africans and African Americans, for instance, had facial features that proved them to be less civilized and intelligent than those of European descent and that Jews were inherently deceitful.” The literature on the topic has been scarce since the nineteenth century. Scientists tend to dismiss physiognomy as pseudoscience due to its lack of scientific bases. To them, there is no legitimacy to its methods. 

However, it has recently been the focus of a research paper. The paper does not only talk about the uses of physiognomy. It puts it to the test.

A Study From 2016

Xiaolin Wu and Xi Zhang published “Automated Inference on Criminality using Face Images” in November of 2016. It talks of a machine’s ability to differentiate between a criminal and a non-criminal.

The researchers fed photos of criminals and non-criminals to the machine and waited to see if it sorted them correctly. It would follow four different methods. The results showed that the accuracy of all four methods in distinguishing between criminals and non-criminals was relatively high. The most accurate one acquired a rate of 89.51 percent.

Based on the gathered data, the researchers were able to pinpoint three critical areas for determining criminality. These three areas were the eyes, the mouth, and the philtrum.

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After they made the conclusions, the researchers stated that they wished to dissuade people from depending on physiognomy. The results of the test are highly accurate. However, one cannot make such a huge generalization based on a single experiment.

Many problems arise from this experiment. Critics of Wu and Zhang argued that the machine’s algorithms could not be wholly objective. After all, it was humans who created it and its processes. It’s entirely possible for it to carry the same biases as its creator.

Additionally, the sample photos used for the experiment were all Chinese. It would be unwise to make a sweeping statement based on such a limited sample size.

Real Or Pseudoscience?

Physiognomy is tricky. The line between legitimate findings and discrimination based on sex and race is thin. How does a researcher know when he or she has crossed the line?

Because physiognomy is so challenging to study, scientists tend to veer away from it. Its notoriety as a supposed pseudoscience makes it even more undesirable as a topic of research. Besides, no one wants to receive accusation of racism, sexism, or any discrimination when they put out the results of their experiments.

Whether this field of study is a legitimate science is an unanswered question. Its methods follow the scientific method, but the claims that it puts forward seem exaggerated. The evidence of its legitimacy hinges on flimsy arguments.

Until scientists discover a direct link between physical characteristics and mental character, many will see physiognomy as pseudoscientific.

Regardless of its infamy, physiognomy is still a field worthy of study. Humans will always have the urge to understand themselves. To do this, we categorize ourselves based on color, sex, and personality type. Physiognomy offers another form of classification.

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We should study physiognomy. By doing so, we can find out if it is a process that holds merit or if it indeed is a pseudoscience that ought to be cast aside and forgotten.

Computational Psychiatry: An Avenue Towards Understanding Mental Health Issues

Psychological health problems such as bipolar disorder, depression, and anxiety have been prevalent since the late 2000s. It was then recognized by society as a significant cost of change in the biological sciences. As a result, it gave way for the development of computational psychiatry in the medical field.

What Is Computational Psychiatry?

Along with the progression of biological technologies, biologist and researchers were able to study more about a person’s mental health by calculating terms related to the psychological symptoms and neurobiology of a brain. Computational psychiatry helps in the prevention and prediction of the consequences of various symptoms in the person’s overall mental state.  Rogers Silva, PhD says, “to make more accurate inferences about diseases, causes, and what features would be good for a diagnostic.”

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Dr Rick A Adams and collaborators explain, “Computational Psychiatry aims to describe the relationship between the brain’s neurobiology, its environment and mental symptoms in computational terms.” As a process of formulating mathematical patterns and prototypes, it facilitates the determination of the relationship between the human brain, overall cognition, and the environment. It is also an instrument used to detect what causes the manifestation of mental health disorders in a person. Models were built for the modification of concentrates and cells that aids in the exploration of solutions for mental disorders like depression and anxieties.

How Does Computational Psychiatry Help?

For medical practitioners, most mental health problems are challenging to cure. Some patients undergoing traditional drug medications and treatments still experience a number of unwanted effects. That’s why scientists have concluded that these treatments are still in the process of uncovering more reliable explanations for the said mental disorders.

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According to Martin P. Paulus, M.D. and co-authors, “Computational psychiatry has already led to many new insights into the neurobehavioral mechanisms that underlie several psychiatric disorders, but its usefulness from a clinical standpoint is only now starting to be considered.” In this case, computational psychiatry serves as the bridge towards understanding mental health issues and finally finding the best treatment option for patients. So, how does computational psychiatry help the medical field?

  1. Computational Psychiatry Provides Approaches

Data-driven approach and theory-driven approach are the two approaches you can adapt from computational psychiatry. The data-driven approach evaluates the mental disorder with the aid of machine-learning mechanism. It involves the high definition of extensive information to foresee what treatment is appropriate. Meanwhile, the theory-driven approach uses patterns to represent previous learning to analyze the mental disorder.

  1. Computational Psychiatry Predicts Pharmaceutical Response In Depression

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Computational psychiatry does not only provide a mechanism for identifying the appropriate treatment for mental health disorders. It also anticipates the response of the treatment to the patient. This helps doctors to calculate the number of trials that patients will undergo. For example, most patients only require a single trial for antidepressant medicine, but others may need numerous tests before finally reacting to the treatment.

  1. Computational Psychiatry Understands The Relation Among The Symptoms

Aside from providing a framework in monitoring the symptoms of mental disorder, computational psychiatry also aids in the understanding of the symptoms relationship. They do it by analyzing the interaction of the results and diagnosis from the patient. It is the key to visualizing the network of effects in the patient’s recovery from the mental disorder.

Indeed, a lot of innovative treatments have arisen throughout the past years, and one of these is the computational psychiatry. This mechanism of treatment is the result of more extensive studies conducted towards understanding the mental health issues experienced by the most individual. The field of biological and medical science has a long way to go in supporting patients with mental health disorders. If you would like to know more about computational psychiatry, do not hesitate to browse more of our page or ask any clinician experts nearby you.