The Human Biological Machine


Collage of several of Gray's muscle pictures, ...

Collage of several of Gray’s muscle pictures, by Mikael Häggström (User:Mikael Häggström) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We are human beings. Great thinkers! The only animal to shape their environment and build technologies. We have evolved a lot since the first mammals took foot but we are biological machines. Our cells are independent of each other but communicate with each other. The body gives a place to build organs, muscle and brain that helps provide each cell what they need to do their job. They have many signals as inputs (some are epigenetic signals). They must decide to accept or reject inputs based on their environment. Muscles cells will always build more muscle cells (the same is true of each different type of cell in our bodies). Over 10 trillion of these tiny thinking machines make us human. Other animals have nearly the same DNA as we do, similar brain structures. Their cells do similar things but they did not evolve into humans. Our epigenetic signals is what makes us human! Like a computer with a common Intel chip set, we can have simple programs or unbelievably smart ones. The difference is the software (how the Intel chip set is “played”). Our DNA is like the chip set and it is “played” by epigenetic signals.

What are these signals? They are hormone, nutrients from the food we eat, signals from our brain based on how we think, etc. Is your epigentic signals playing Chopin or chopsticks?


Our Environment Signal Siezures in Our Brains?

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this is what i imagine an epileptic seizure to...

this is what i imagine an epileptic seizure to look like... (Photo credit: candyls)

A recent scientific paper discusses the cause of seizures in humans. We now know that the neurons in our brain do increase. Seizures are a sudden electrical discharge of electricity from what appeared to be a normal neural network. This makes finding the area causing a seizure difficult unless you are looking as a seizure occurs. What causes this sudden discharge? It may be caused by genetic changes, trauma in birth, or now from environmental changes (epigenetics). Little is known about which environmental changes cause a seizure. This paper suggests that seizures may interfere with normal hippocampus functionality and causes cognitive impairments.

Our Epigenome Learns


Recreated :File:Neuron-no labels2.png in Inksc...

Image via Wikipedia

As epigenetics change which genes are turned ON/OFF, it learns from previous decisions. Epigenetics can be controlled or influenced by the environment but it is also a part of who we are. Each type of cell in our bodies has the same DNA but their epigenetics is different. This allows different cells to do different tasks for the good of the body. If we look at a brain neuron, it starts life-like all cells as a Stem Cell. Epigenetics turns ON/OFF switches that tell the Stem Cell to become a nervous system cell. Now it is specialized and can become one of many parts of our nervous system. Let’s say that more epigenetic switches are thrown that causes this generic nervous system cell to become a spinal cord cell (more
specialization). Now switches are turned OFF to prevent the formation of Glial Cells, sometimes called neuroglia or simply glia. Glia cells cannot become neuron cells.  Later more switches are thrown that turn the spinal cord cell into a neuron cell. Neurons are highly specific and sophisticated cells in our brains. Now epigenetics throws more switches ON/OFF to cause the neuron cell to grow an axon. Axons are arms that can connect one neuron to others. Finally switches are thrown that tell the axon to connect to another axon. The University of Utah depicts this example on their website.