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Health and Disease : Brought to you by
          Admittedly, a fine line seperates the two. Disease-the name itself implies an unsettled set of interacting variables. Any organism, functioning at ease, is void of any "uneasy" occurrances resulting in upsetting the delicate balance within.So, in starting our discussion of disease, we must first have some understanding  of the basic building block of all life-the cell.
          Every living organism is composed of cells. The larger the organism, the greater number of cells. The cell is an amazingly complex entity. Within each cell, there are countless number of biochemical reactions. These reactions consume and release energy. That energy is used to promote the functionality of the cell. As energy is released in the cell, it is stored in a complex molecule known as ATP. Adenosine Triphosphate is later metabolized by the cell to release the stored energy for various functions. The cell, using this energy, can then synthesize carbohydrates , proteins, and lipids to grow or to reproduce itself. At the same time, these organic molecules can be used for energy through exothermic reactions that release energy stored within the atomic bonds. The cell, as a living entity, works against the natural tendency toward randomness, known as enthropy. Enthalpy, the opposite of entropy, is then acheived.
          Each cell contains sub-cellular structures such as the nucleus, and mitochondria. There are many more structures like these within the cell. But, I chose to mention these because of their significance. The nucleus of the cell contains the genetic information known as the DNA. DNA is the blueprint for proper cell function. The mitochondria are the powerhouse structures of the cell. This is where ATP is produced through biochemical reactions. Also, let us not forget the cell wall. The cell wall is a semi-permeable membrane that selectively allows nutrients to pass into the cell, and waste products to be removed. Water is the dissolving agent for all of these molecular  precursors of internal reactions and their by products.
          Now, let us imagine a large number of cells functioning in a similar way. Like, for example, brain cells. These brain cells form tissues, and those different tissues can then form an organ like the brain. Different organs working together form organ systems., which eventually form an organism. Of course, primitive organisms , which are one cell creatures, do not have any tissues, organs, or organ systems. The cell itself is the functioning organism.
          All is well, so far. If the various tissues, organs and organ systems are functioning properly-then the organism is existing in a state  of biological "ease".  I use the word loosely , as to differentiate between itself and "disease"- the state of biological stress. The functioning of each cell and eventually the organism is influenced by heredity and the environment. The hereditary information, stored in the genetic makeup of DNA , controls all of the cell functions. It might therefore be assumed that the distruption of genetic information being properly "read" by the cell , can lead to disease. 
          Whatever is encoded in the DNA helix, becomes the blueprint for biological "ease" or "disease", depending on the imformation trasmitted to RNA.  Some human diseases have been shown to be related to encoded genetic information. The DNA code does not always result in biological "ease". The expression of certain encoded genes can result in disease.
          According to Chinese pathology, disease is caused by three factors:
External, emotions, and irregularities in lifestyle are the contributors to disease. Irregularities are defined as excesses or deficiencies in your life. If we concentrate on the external factors, we must discuss the role of  bacteria and viruses. 

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                                                               BACTERIA AND VIRUSES

          Bacteria, affect the organism at the cellular level. Any cell that has a different genetic blueprint is recognized by the organism as a foreign entity. The immune system sends antibodies to attack the invader. The bacteria releases toxins and enzymes known as aggressins, into the internal environment. The enzymes create localized effects. The exotoxins which come from the cell wall of the bacteria, can combine with antibodies to form polysaccharide complexes that can cause organ failure and even death. Even our own immune system can create toxins in response to a severe infection , causing more damage.
          Viruses, which are not free living organisms, must reproduce within other living cells. The viral DNA is entered into the cell nucleus, distrupting normal DNA function of the cell. The reproductive  process causes disease at the cellular level. Uncontrolled cell growth can also occur resulting in different forms of cancer. 
          Each type of virus or bacteria functions in a different manner. The invasion of a healthy organism can result in disease, if the immune system is compromised. 
          The introduction of dietary nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants can help confront the invasion with a healthy immune response. As the battle rages within, where do we draw the line between health and disease ?

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                                  ; Chinese Pathology , 2008
                                  ; The Cell , November 2008

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                                                         Copyright 2008 Robert Ligenza

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