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This group of 25 members is led by gwenllian

Begin again.


It has been two years and three months, more or less.


They say that the brain will take longer to heal depending on your state at the time of the injury. Broken. That was my state. Entirely broken.


"You're very fragile. Resilient, but fragile."


They say a lot of things, it turns out, only a small number of which serve any useful purpose. As if I am not aware that any bit of stress that finds its way into my head can destroy me entirely.


"You've simply got to ignore it, your brain can't handle the stress anymore. Nothing matters more than this - not him, not working again."


As though I don't know how useful it would be were I able to ignore all of it. Just forget all of the things that have plagued me (for better or worse) for all of my entire life. You mean the ones that have essentially filled and fuelled my existence in this universe until now? Those things? Wouldn't that be a trick? How different my life would be now.


Lately I am rediscovering this part of myself that had all but disappeared, smothered by headaches, doubt, fear. Endless fear. Years now without the swell of music in my ears like this, swallows you whole if you let it. And I love it, embrace it, drown in it. Gives me these words I haven't had. Years, it has been years. I let that sink in as I watch her lean against her companions shoulder. They are sweet, I guess, as far as anyone can tell. As far as I'll ever see. She is pensive and he is mouthing words to a song, taps it out with his foot and it's all in his head, this is all in our heads. They get off the bus and I see everyone else and the road and the snow and the cold. The cold. I just want the sun to warm my bones again.

Everything is different now. I used to spend hours lost in the sound, the words. I used to let it take me and I did not fight my way out. I would simply let it have its way with me until I found myself on the other side - peaceful and empty.

Everything is darker now. After a while, the music makes me angry. I feel it creep in slowly and I try to resist but I know. I lose the words, then, and everything seems uglier somehow. It seems less.

Who am I now? Not a nurse. Not a writer. Not a lot of things, really, but surely I am still inside here somewhere. I know I am because every now and then I feel myself gasping for air at the surface. I can get out of this. It's all that is left to do, then, isn't it?

Begin again.

Red spots on the whites of your eyes—the result of tiny broken blood vessels behind the transparent outer layer of the eyeball are subconjunctival hemorrhages. They look very dire, but unlike almost every dreadful-looking thing that can happen to the human body, they are usually painless and almost always completely harmless. Subconjunctival hemorrhage is commonly called 'red eye' (as opposed to 'pink eye,' which is the result of an infection and doesn't look like the hemorrhage at all).


Kettle brand, maker of fine potato chips, now bakes pretzel chips; they are discs, just a little smaller than a potato chip. Their "fully loaded" flavor is absolutely full of sesame seeds, poppy seeds, salt, and lots and lots of garlic. These tiny bites of garlic-and-salt heaven are also capable of becoming delicious little ninja throwing stars upon a bad bite. My molars shattered one chip and a jagged piece of pretzel shrapnel lodged sideways against my tonsil—not life-threatening, but painful as hell. What followed was an epic coughing fit. Even after I dislodged the little snack, I still coughed for a long time.

The next morning, at work, a coworker brought it to my attention, "What’s wrong with your eye?" She asked, concerned. I rushed to a mirror. There, adjacent to the colored part of my left eye, was a bloody red cloud, small, but very noticable. Hideous! ...and I’m self-conscious about my looks as it is!


Subconjunctival hemorrhages are the result of the rupture of tiny blood vessels. The conjunctiva and underlying sclera do not reabsorb the blood very quickly, so the resulting bloody patch may take two weeks or more to disappear.

Anything that raises the blood pressure in the head can cause the little blood vessels to break: coughing, sneezing, overexertion (one colleague used to lift weights, the little red spots are a common sight with the bodybuilding crowd), throwing up (another colleague told a rather awful story about a drunken party...), even straining in the bathroom may cause subconjunctival hemorrhages.

Some risk factors that might make this type of hemorrhaging more likely include: high blood pressure, diabetes, LASIK surgery, and extreme alcohol consumption. Injuries to the face can obviously cause these hemorrhages as well, so can touching the eyes or scratching at itchy eyes. I initially thought mine might have resulted from by my allergies causing me to rub my eyes.

Some rare causes may include extreme G-forces (not a common problem outside the world of pilots and astronauts, I suspect) or blood dyscrasia. Individuals using blood thinners are likewise very much at an increased risk for this condition. This includes dietary and herbal blood thinners such as ginger, ginseng, garlic, St. John's wort, and aspirin. Capsaicin, the active ingredient in most hot peppers, also thins the blood.


The books say that a subconjunctival hemorrhage should go away on its own in about two weeks. They say it will not hurt, except for maybe a tiny bit of irritation. A friend who is an optometrist told me that warm compresses can speed the healing (although cold compresses are more appropriate for the first 48 hours or so). Amazingly, everyone was spot-on this time!

My ugly red spot made me very self-conscious for about three days. Slowly, it left my thoughts and I only considered it when I put a warm washcloth over my eye for ten minutes or so. Now and then, it would itch a bit, but, as an allergy sufferer, I'm no stranger to itchy eyes.

In about a week, the spot was fading, its garish red turning to a sort of light orange color. By about day ten, it was nearly gone. Per the suggestions in books and websites, I used some eyedrops on the rare occasions when it bothered me.


Despite their innocuousness, subconjunctival hemorrhages may sometimes indicate bad things, especially in babies (although newborns sometimes have them from the birth process). A baby with this condition may be deficient in vitamin C, thus experiencing scurvy. It may also be a sign of traumatic asphyxia syndrome or physical abuse.

Please Note: If a condition which appears to be a mere subconjunctival hemorrhage hurts, continues to spread, or (especially) has a marked effect on vision ... get thyself to a doctor. Also, anyone with a blood-clotting disorder should take these little spots very seriously. Likewise, ones which recur frequently should be cause for a talk with the medical professional.


So, the little spot has faded into a memory. I've even gone back to eating those delicious pretzel chips—but very carefully.


References:
Special thanks to Dr. A. Rasmussen for her input on this article
Wikipedia
Mayo Clinic online: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/subconjunctival-hemorrhage/DS00867
Taber's Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary, 19th edition (FA Davis, Philadelphia, 1997).

Dr. Percival "Perry" Cox is a character on the TV comedy Scrubs. He's one of the staff doctors at Sacred Heart hospital on the show. He's rude, sarcastic in the extreme, and loves to rant in a hilarious yet withering way. He's played by actor John C. McGinley who's been in a variety of films.

I realize not all of this will make a lot of sense unless you've seen a good extensive part of the show, since it's been over 6 years and we learn a bit more about each character, drop by drop. Spoilers:

Dr. Cox apparently was very much like J.D. when he was younger, according to his ex-wife Jordan; optimistic and friendly and caring. Somehow, fast-forward many years later and he's bitter and cynical and turned into a workaholic who both loves and hates his work but can't bring himself to give it up.

Everyone who's seen the show knows that Dr. Cox always says at least one zinger in every episode, often two or three. He's the best source of the hilarious put-downs, as well as the mentor for the others, so we get good heartfelt stuff as well as amusingly mean. Everyone has a favorite quote of his, and after six seasons there are pages and pages of quotes online. Heck, I hope they make a desk calendar of them one day, I sure would buy it. Fans like to compare him to Dr. House, and they even had an episode satirizing him. Dr Kelso said, "Oh Perry, you are so edgy and cantankerous; like House without the limp."

When he rants, he shows a strong hatred for Hugh Jackman, among other things.


Dr. Cox has an interesting relationship with everyone else on the staff:

J.D., aka any girl's name you can think of Outwardly, Dr. Cox loathes him, finds him incredibly annoying, weak, girly, naïve, and just a pain. He calls J.D. a girl's name in every episode, and tries to vary it up. In one episode, we are treated to his inner monologue, where we find he's really trying hard to come up with new put-downs, but sometimes repeats them, and tries to pass it off as being effortless. He puts J.D. down at every moment, every compliment is back-handed, but in reality he kinda likes him, supports him when he needs it, and thinks J.D. is growing. He tries to push J.D. out of his life, but J.D. seems to regard him as a mentor and father figure, causing him to inject himself into Dr. Cox's affairs like his son's baptism and try to sneak into Dr. Cox's parties at his lavish apartment. Of course it didn't help matters when J.D. slept with Jordan before he knew who she was in relation to the hospital and his friend, but Dr. Cox seemed to forgive him later, though he got sweet revenge through the fact that he was J.D.'s boss and was dating Jordan's sister without knowing it. Over time, the show hints that he is secretly proud of J.D. and thinks he has the potential to become a great doctor. The only girls names Dr. Cox has used more than once are Lily, Ginger, Gidget, Marcia, Gloria, Janice, Betsy, Carol and Nancy. Dr. Cox's trademark of calling J.D. by girl's names is what McGinley does in real life (jokingly) to his good friend and neighbor John Cusack.

Dr. Cox: {to J.D.} Oh, gosh, Shannon, thank you so much for clarifying my point by repeating it word for word. And now, in a reciprocal gesture, can I be included in the planning of your coming-out party?
J.D.: Is that a gay joke?
Dr. Cox: No, it's a cotillion joke. My God, Newbie, it's been two furiously frustrating years - how is it possible that you still don't get me? I would never compare you to the gays. I like the gays - I like their music, I like their sense of style, I especially like what they've done with Halloween - but our thing is that you are a little girl. That's who you are. But that's really not fair...

Carla, who he doesn't really have a nickname for. He's got a crush on her, probably because she's not afraid of him and is a pretty strong woman. He thinks she married the wrong guy. Carla denies his love, saying he doesn't love her, he idlozes her. He thinks she's the only one who "gets him."

Turk, aka "Gandhi." Cox thinks he's "a tool" and not just because he's a surgeon, who doctors dislike on the show. They compete over Carla.

Elliot, aka "Barbie." Dr. Cox really seems to hate her, think's she's an awful doctor or at least shallow and annoying and while he'll be a mentor to the others, he never really lets up or apologizes in her case. He also dislikes her for going into private practice, but Dr. Cox looks down on it because he feels they treat less patients for more money.

Elliot: Oh, Dr. Cox, does this lipstick make me look like a clown?
Dr. Cox: No, Barbie, no... it makes you look like a prostitute who caters exclusively *to* clowns.
Elliot: I'm sorry, that was my mistake, I keep forgetting that you're a horrible, horrible person.
Dr. Cox: Ooh, Backbone Barbie.

Dr. Kelso, aka "Bobbo", is the chief of medicine, and they do not get along. Perhaps it's because Dr. Kelso runs the hospital like a heartless business and Dr. Cox actually cares for patients, or that Dr. Cox wants to be chief one day and fix the problems, or because Dr. Kelso just tries to spite him or interfere in his patient care. Either way, they're at each other's throats without much open hostility. Plenty of sarcasm though. However, in a rare gesture of goodness, he punched Dr. Kelso out cold in the face when he was trying to berate Elliot to purposely humiliate her and make her cry in front of the patients. They're rivals, but cooperated in the rare occasion, like trying to break an optimist Doctor Molly's spirits.

Dr. Kelso: Dr. Cox, did you get my memo stating residents should wear their lab coats at all times?
Dr. Cox: Yes, I did. At first I just threw it away, but then I thought, that's not grand enough a gesture, so I made a model of you out of straw, put my lab coat on it --with your memo in the pocket-- and invited the neighborhood kids to set fire to it and beat it with sticks.

The Janitor. Oddly enough, they seem to get along relatively well, though there was rivalry in the beginning. They would ruin the ending of films or sports games for each other, or bet on winning each other's car. It's like they're drinking buddies. Their careers kinda separate them, and the Janitor sometimes pretends he doesn't know him, to keep his Janitor cred, but otherwise they seem to connect, though they haven't gone after J.D.. Yet.

Jordan. "She's the devil, Newbie. Don't look in her eyes, she might steal your soul." Apparently he keeps going back to her, even leaving girlfriends to be with either her or Carla, but Carla always turns him down. Although he divorced his wife, they turned out to be just too compatible and meant for each other, their personalities and snide comments and cheer-crushing sarcasm were just too right for each other. They were miserable when married, yet mutually happy when divorced. Oddly enough, he cares for Jordan but doesn't ever want to show it, and she wants to raise a family with him, which they are in the process of doing.

Of course, Dr. Cox wants to keep those plans at arm's length, because he had a lousy childhood due to an abusive father. He's still coping with it quietly. He has a sister, Paige, who is a born-again Christian but make no mistake, just as bitingly sarcastic as he. He dislikes seeing his sister because of the mutual memories of abuse it brings up. He fathered a son with Jordan, and they're raising him together, with Dr. Cox concerned he's going to screw up his kid. His son Jack's first full sentence was "daddy drinks a lot."

Dr. Cox: Don't look her in the eyes, newbie; {covers his own eyes} she'll steal your soul. {to Jordan} So, how are things going down in the underworld?
Jordan: Good. And you? Still have a rollicking social life?
Dr. Cox: Since I cut you loose, it's been one big party!
Jordan: In the next five seconds, name someplace other than the hospital or your apartment you've been in the last month...Five...Four...Three...Two....
Dr. Cox: My car! On the way to the...big party.
Jordan: Ooh. That must have hurt.

Laverne Roberts. Although he put her down a bit, he never really messed with her too much, since nurses hold power over doctors. She was one of the few who could stand up to him, and Dr. Cox mourned her loss.

Laverne:Dr. Cox, would you like to try some of my world-famous brownies?
Dr. Cox: No thank you, Laverne, I've already had diarrhea.

http://drcox.ytmnd.com

Part 1 of How to Receive a Professional Massage
Part 2 Part 3

Touch is more than the physical sense of reaching with your hand and coming into contact with an object or person. Touch is also communication. Touch is association. Touch is the sense of belonging or connectedness within a society.—Denny Johnson, from Touch Starvation

About eight years ago, I injured my lower back. I was unable to stand up straight without a great deal of pain and walking was only accomplished with a cane. At 35 years old, I felt like a broken-down old man. After he was certain that the discs in my spine were intact, my physician recommended stretching and massage therapy. Two intensive deep tissue massage sessions later, the pain was nearly gone and my back seemed to work better than it had before the accident.


Getting a massage can be an astonishing experience. Even to the person who has enjoyed hundreds of them, there is a certain "wow" factor as your body remembers just how amazing a good massage feels.

The benefits of receiving massage are not only physiological but also psychological and emotional as well. Massage therapy loosens tight muscles, improves circulation, removes stress, eliminates kinks and trigger points in muscles and increases overall range of motion and flexibility. It also improves mood, relaxes and calms the individual and as a result may attenuate such conditions as depression, grief, anxiety and the like.

The general advantages of having stress levels lowered and the muscles tuned up are pretty easy to see. After a massage, you will feel better, and thus walk with better posture, sit more comfortably and have fewer generalized aches and pains. These effects may last for several weeks! Massage therapy can be very beneficial for persons who suffer from chronic conditions which cause muscular discomfort, including fibromyalgia, writer's cramp, tennis elbow, plantar fasciitis, and osteoarthritis. Additionally, massage reduces fluid buildup in tissues (such as puffy ankles or the swelling associated with exercise) and can improve blood flow to (and from) various areas. There is some evidence that massage on the abdomen may aid digestion and elimination and overall massage may help remove toxins (such as the metabolic byproducts of hormones, salts, and creatinine) from tissues, speeding them back into the blood stream for elimination from the body.

There is a substantial body of evidence to support the claim that massage is very effective at stimulating the immune system. As a result, many care givers are recommending massage for patients with depressed immune systems, either from prolonged illness or from stress, lack of sleep, inadequate nutrition or immune-compromising sicknesses.

Massage excels at changing the client's mood for the better. Massage therapy is frequently recommended by physicians, psychologists and therapists for patients who have are suffering from affective disorders such as SAD and postpartum depression. Massage can be soothing or invigorating, and as such it can also be very effective for anyone who is feeling stressed, lacking in energy or feeling 'down in the dumps. A number of clinical studies have also shown that massage can be very useful in combating insomnia, ADD and ADHD, as well as PMS.

Massage works its magic in a number of ways. The action of stroking and kneading muscle tissue and surrounding connective tissue unbinds tight spots, works out immobile portions and enhances circulation of blood and lymph in the area. Simply rubbing an area can have a demonstrable analgesic effect (which is likely why one might rub an elbow after smacking it on a table, for example).

Also, it is hard to overstate the importance of touch. Simply touching another person, and being touched by them, can have a soothing and calming effect on our emotional and mental states. These factors add up to a very pleasant and healthy experience.

The prospective massage client should beware: there are a few (very few, fortunately) irresponsible (or grossly misinformed) massage therapists who will make unsupported claims about the efficacy of massage therapy. Among other things, some may claim that massage therapy may reduce the likelihood of cancer, reverse the effects of leukemia or of autoimmune disorders (such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus), cure asthma or many other (equally improbable) things. Such claims have not been substantiated by research. The best defense against such claims is education. Massage magazine (to name only one) has a terrific on-line library of medical research related to massage and touch therapy. Remember: if it sounds too good to be true, it very likely is!


Since my accident, I have gone on to make a career of massage therapy—trying to give back as good as I got or some noble sounding thing like that. I have heard dozens of testimonials like my own: people whose constant headaches made life miserable, a woman who swears massage therapy saved her from surgery, a 75-year old man who credits his light gait and excellent posture to massage therapy, and many others.

One of the best comparisons I've heard is this: having a massage is a lot like getting a good night of sleep; you may not realize that you needed it, but once you get it, the difference is amazing.

References:
The information in this article comes first-hand from my own professional experience (and that of many colleagues).
Scientific and medical information has been gathered from literally hundreds of research synopses, mostly published in the magazine Massage. Additionally, I referred to many testamonials from my clients and my own massage school notes.
Massage therapy is not a substitute for the care of a physician, psychologist or therapist.
Thanks to momomom for the advice on titling this writeup!


Protein folding refers to the process by which a protein assembles itself into its correct native structure by arranging its chains of amino acids into structural motifs and orientating them relative to one another. Although some of you may be thinking along the lines of a kind of glorified origami this field of biochemical research is more complicated than its name might suggest (although it is a valid metaphor, just bear in mind that instead of hands this kind of folding occurs via molecular interractions involving various kinetic factors).

Proteins are synthesised as linear chains of amino acids which are only of biological use once they have folded into a stable specific 3-dimensional conformation. For example, a digestive enzyme such as pepsin would be of little use as a loose chain of amino acids flapping around as they please in the stomach but must instead fold to the correct shape in order to bind to its substrates and break them down. This folding must be precise in order for the protein to be functional.

Protein folding is a spontanteous, ordered and reversible process.

Protein folding has long known to be spontaneous in vitro (Anfinsen 1973) with no other factors required for correct folding in solution. Therefore ultimately all the information required for correct folding exists within the protein itself, in its primary structure (the linear sequence of amino acids that make up the protein, encoded for by DNA). Specifically folding refers to the formation of secondary and tertiary structure. Secondary structure refers to structural motifs such as alpha helices and beta sheets, which can form repeated structural patterns within a protein. Tertiary structure relates to the arrangement of these motifs and overall arrangement of the protein in space, its overall shape often referred to as its fold. The observation that primary structure determines a protein's fold and contains all the information necessarry for the protein to fold correctly has wide ranging implications as it suggests that at some point in the future we may be able to predict a protein's fold from its amino acid sequence, and because we can determine amino acid sequence from gene sequences potentially we may be capable of determining a proteins structure from a gene sequence (see below).

Is folding fast or slow?

Well actually its both. The Levinthal Paradox gives us one perspective on this question. This calculation assumes that in a protein of n amino acids each amino acid has two rotatable bonds (admittedly a gross underestimate considering the long side chains of some amino acid residues) and that each bond has three stable conformations (another underestimate). Therefore there are 32n possible conformations in a protein. Now assume that bonds in a protein can reorientate at the same rate as a single bond to find around about 1013 conformations a second (almost certainly an overestimate). The time taken for a protein to search all the conformations available to it can thus be expressed as t = 32n/1013.

Try this for a small protein of 100 amino acids. Can't be bothered? Well lucky I'm here - the answer is around about 2.7 x 1082 seconds. To put things in perspective that's longer than the universe is thought to be old. Thus even while applying assumptions grossly innaccurate in favour of quicker than actual folding, a small 100 residue protein would need to be older than the universe to guarantee finding its native conformational state by random folding. In the more complicated reality of protein dynamics folding in this manner by exhaustive random re-orientation of bonds would take even longer. Thus it has been concluded that folding is not a random process but a folding pathway must exist to guide folding.

Protein folding actually takes seconds. However, although the early protein-folding scientists questioned how protein folding could be so fast later studies showing that folding of isolated secondary structure such as alpha helices could take place in nanoseconds questioned why folding of whole proteins was so slow in comparison. The reason for this is that an energy barrier exists in the folding pathway as proteins must acheive an energitically unfavourable transition state on their way to their final conformation. The transition state only lasts for around about a picosecond but the difference in stability between the transition state and unfolded states (i.e. the difference in free energy) represents a barrier that must be overcome in order for folding to proceed.

Protein folding pathways

Since the 1980s there have been two main contrasting proposals for the protein folding pathway:

The framework model - secondary structures are proposed to form first and dock with each other to influence the folding of other parts of the proteins into the native state.

The hydrophobic collapse model - the protein collapses into a compacted state due to the hydrophobic effect and thus limits the conformational search for the native state.

However, experimental evidence does not suggest the presence of either tightly compacted structures without secondary structure or expanded molecules with highly ordered secondary structure. In addition a tightly compacted collapsed state would limit the reorganisation of structure and thus not favour folding while evidence suggests that secondary structure present in unfolded states still requires hydrophobic interractions for stability.

Nucleation condensation - a unifying mechanism for protein folding.

As with many directly opposing scientific theories the answer appears to lie somewhere inbetween the two extremes. The nucleation condensation theory arose in the 1990s and has been developed recently as proteins such as chymostrypsin inhibitor 2 were found to fold without folding intermediates (described as having two-state kinetics) while phi-value analysis of the transition state (an unstable conformation that lasts for a picosecond) showed that secondary and tertiary structure forms in parallel as the protein undergoes a general collapse. Molecular dynamic simulations of unfolding have provided furthur atomic resolution to support this experimental work which is also in agreement with general kinetic models. In brief this model suggests that patches of residual structure in the unfolded state such as hydrophobic clusters and short alpha helices interract with each other through long range contacts (in terms of sequence) to form a nucleus of native-like structure in the transition state. Nucleus formation is the rate-determining step of folding representing the energy barrier discussed previously. Secondary structure and tertiary structures formed in the nucleus aids the formation of furthur native structure through furthur long range contacts, via side-chain interractions for example, referred to as contact-assisted structure formation. Multi-domain proteins can use this mechanism to fold each domain separately in a localised manner. Although the sequence of nuclei are not conserved from protein to protein their secondary structural motifs do appear to be conserved. Because secondary structure can be predicted from amino acid sequence by methods of varying accuraccy there is potential for identification of the structure of folding nuclei from which overall structure prediction may eventually be possible.

A Helping Hand

Chaperones such as the Hsp70 family, are protein molecules required for efficient folding in vivo. They have no influence on how a protein folds but are important in allowing folding to occur in the intracellular environment. They bind to highly hydrophobic sequences and thus recognise unfolded proteins which would otherwise have such sequences buried in the core of the protein. Because proteins are synthesised as a chain of amino acids emerging from a ribosome it is important that a chaperone binds to the emerging chain to prevent premature folding before all the "information" (i.e. the complete amino acid sequence) is present. In addition the cell is a highly crowded environment (~300g/l protein and other macromolecules) which increases the possibility of unfolded protein structures associating through hydrophobic interractions and forming aggregates. It is the role of chaperones to sequester proteins and prevent this type of "clumping". Chaperones bind and stabilise proteins in unstable states and through regulated binding and release facilitate their correct folding.

So why is this all important?

Well you've read this far (or skipped right to the end), I guess you might want to know what implications this has in the "real world". As mentioned previously, proteins need to fold properly to be functional. So unsurprisingly diseases exist due to misfolding of proteins. As proteins aggregate due to misfolding these aggrergates adsorb other important macromolecules which damages and kills cells. Protein aggregates released from dead cells can in extreme cases damage tissues such as the brain, which is particularly vulnerable due to its highly organised network of nerve cells necessarry for function. Thus misfolding diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, Huntingdon's disease and prion diseases (such as Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease) manifest themselves in neurodegeneration and dementia. Possible treatment of these diseases could exploit detailed knowledge of protein folding and the prevention of abnormal folding.

The potential of prediction of protein structure from DNA/amino acid sequence as mentioned before will rely on a detailed and complex understanding of how proteins fold. Prediction of protein fold and thus protein structure would mean that in conjunction with the Human Genome Project (or the sequence of any other organism's genome for that matter) the structure of proteins encoded for by genes of unknown function could have a structure determined without actually having to isolate the protein itself. Such determined structures are likely to suggest the function (or at least a class of function) of the protein encoded and perhaps lead to the identification of the roles and modes of action of genes for which there is currently little information.

Despite its simplistic name, protein folding is a very complex and wide-reaching field of study providing many exciting prospects for the future of biology, biochemistry and molecular biology.


References:

Daggett V and Fersht A R, Is there a unifying mechanism for protein folding?, Trends in Biochemical Sciences, Vol.28 No.1 January 2003: pp 18-25,

Agashe V R and Hartl F-U, Roles of molecular chaperones in cytoplasmic protein folding, Seminars in Cell & Developmental Biology, Vol 11, 2000: pp. 15-25

Anfinsen CB, Principles that govern the folding of protein chains, Science 181:223-230 1973

Alberts et al., Molecular Biology of the Cell (4th edition), Garland Sciences, USA, (2002)

Voet D and Voet J G, Biochemistry (2nd edition), John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1995.

Lectures from Dr S E Radford at the University of Leeds