Thursday, April 28, 2011

Don't Be Soooo Negative!!

What does an air conditioner have to do with a negative feedback loop you ask? Actually, more than you would think! Generally, an air conditioner has a thermostat that you set to a specific temperature. Throughout the day and especially during the summer, your home heats up to the point where it gets warmer than the temperature set on your air conditioner thermostat. As the temperature gets to hot, the air conditioner kicks on and cools the house to the set temperature. When it reaches that set temperature, the air conditioner turns off and the process continues again. This system ensures that your home is never too hot or too cold!





A negative feedback loop in our bodies occurs much like an air conditioner. One definition states that a negative feedback loop is the process of shutting bodily systems off once a set level is achieved, exactly like an air conditioner!! In the body, a negative feedback loop occurs in response to a physiological change which triggers a hormone release. The hormone rise triggers the endocrine system to STOP producing the hormone once it reaches a certain level. This negative feedback prevents the overproduction of hormones which could ultimately lead to disease if the hormone levels stay high for an extended period of time.




An example of a negative feedback loop in our bodies is after you eat a HUGE piece of birthday cake. After eating the high amount of sugar, our blood sugar rises. After it rises, the endocrine system signals the pancreas to release insulin. The insulin is release from the pancreas which travels through the bloodstream to cells. This insulin helps the body cells to take in glucose which helps to lower the amount of sugar in the bloodstream. After the blood sugar lowers and the glucose levels fall, the insulin release is inhibited. Now you can see how an air conditioner and our bodies are similar! Who would have thought...






















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