Ardenne High shows faith in physically challenged student

first_imgFacebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppKingston, Jamaica, December 25, 2016 – On realizing that physically disabled student at Ardenne High School in Kingston, Faith Grant, would be unable to attend a class held only on one of the institution’s upper floors, the school’s administration promptly moved to solve the challenge.Electronic Document Preparation and Management (EDPM), a Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) subject designed to equip students with clerical and administrative skills, was one of the eight subjects Faith selected when she started fourth form.  But being the school’s sole wheelchair mobile student placed her at a disadvantage as she was unable to attend classes in the designated rooms.However, innovative thinking by the staff, headed by Principal, Nadine Molloy, has resulted in Faith now being able to participate with the other students via the video-conferencing technology platform, Skype, which she accesses from the school’s library.  “A member of the team suggested that we do it by Skype; and we explored it and now we are happy that we did,” Ms. Molloy said.Recounting her decision to accept Faith as a student at Ardenne, Ms. Molloy says while acknowledging the anticipated challenges in doing so, the school was, nonetheless, willing to make the necessary adjustments to accommodate her.  “Some persons wondered if we were doing the right thing. But I am always up for a challenge and I indicated to the staff that I was going to try, which meant we were all going to try,” she states.The Principal indicates that she researched cerebral palsy and had the staff consult with trained personnel on how best to relate to and teach students with the condition.  Consequent on this, Ms. Molloy says Faith’s presence at the school has helped students and staff to be more embracing of and sensitive to persons with disabilities.   “It teaches acceptance and it shows that some things that we are afraid of, we don’t need to be. It also shows that it is important for us to make the sacrifice and go the extra mile to ensure that each person, no matter their capacity, can self-actualize,” she adds.The Principal is confident that Faith will evolve into a productive member of society because she has been given the opportunity to pursue her education.  When Faith was diagnosed with cerebral palsy as a young child, her mother, Susan Henry, purposed to provide her with as fulfilling a life as is possible.Ms. Henry says she acknowledged that this would mean doing everything possible to provide her with the best educational opportunities.  She says it was on the advice of a therapist that she decided to have Faith enrolled in the mainstream school system, instead of a special needs institution.Ms. Henry said that she is happy with the decision taken and is very grateful for and appreciative of Ardenne’s kind gesture in going the extra mile over the years to accommodate Faith.  She says the teachers and students have been particularly helpful, adding that the administration has endeavored to accommodate classes on the ground floor and install ramps for Faith’s benefit.“Schools should really give physically disabled children a chance, as long as they are able to function…on par with other children. We need to accept that persons with disabilities are humans (too) and they should not be discriminated against,” Ms. Henry contends.  She adds that, in so doing, “it also teaches the younger generation values of kindness and of being helpful, and sensitises them to the needs of the disabled community.”Cerebral palsy is a disorder that affects muscle tone, movement, and motor skills.   As the condition affects coordination, functions such as standing, breathing, bladder control, eating and talking can be affected. Photo credit: JIS Related Items:center_img Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApplast_img read more

Modernday metabolism could have originated in 4billionyearold oceans

first_img Metabolism may have started in our early oceans before the origin of life In a new study, researchers have found that some of the metabolic processes (glycolysis and the pentose phosphate pathway) that convert sugars into energy and molecular building blocks share many similarities with the chemical reactions that could have occurred in non-living four-billion-year-old Archean oceanic sediments. The results suggest that the metabolic reactions in our modern-day cells could, in principle, have originated from chemical reactions in an environment that preceded life.The researchers, Markus A. Keller and Markus Ralser from the University of Cambridge and coauthors, have published their paper on the ancient metabolism-like reactions in a recent issue of Science Advances.The work builds on a paper published by some of the same authors in 2014, in which they recreated environments similar to Earth’s ancient oceans in the lab and observed chemical reactions that formed glucose, pyruvate (a product of glycolysis), and precursors of modern-day nucleic acids and amino acids, in a similar way that living organisms do today. One of the most striking things about the results from that paper was that the ancient sediments enabled the reactions without containing enzymes, since enzymes came into existence during the evolution of modern organisms. Enzymes are proteins that speed up metabolic reactions, and living things greatly depend on them to catalyze their metabolism. Without enzymes, metabolic reactions would occur too slowly for life as we know it to exist.Although these ancient sediments lacked enzymes, they did contain large amounts of iron, and the researchers showed in the 2014 study that iron can act as a catalyst in place of enzymes. It’s widely thought that iron existed in much higher concentrations in the ancient oceans than in modern oceans because the ancient oceans did not contain any oxygen, and this condition enabled large quantities of iron to dissolve. In the new paper, the researchers have shown that these 4-billion-year-old iron-catalyzed reactions can not only produce some of the essential chemicals of metabolism, but like metabolism, they also have the ability to switch biochemical pathways on and off. This ability enables modern cells to react to changes in the environment. By performing more than 4000 highly sensitive mass spectrometry and nuclear magnetic resonance experiments, the researchers found, for example, that neutral-pH conditions favor glycolysis, while alkaline-pH conditions favor the pentose phosphate pathway. This finding suggests that relatively moderate changes in the environment could have led to changes in metabolism. In addition, the researchers observed that the presence of iron accelerates the reaction rates over most of the pH range, with some reactions exhibiting a 100-fold rate increase. These examples of conditional reactivity provide a method of regulating the reactions, which is an essential feature of metabolism.Overall, the similarities demonstrate that modern-day metabolism could have originated from pre-enzymatic iron-catalyzed chemistry—but whether it actually did or not remains an open question. Explore further (—A gigantic number of chemical reactions take place inside our bodies every second, all synchronizing with each other to produce the energy and chemical compounds that we need to survive. Together these reactions make up our metabolism, which is one of the defining features of life. However, scientists continue to debate the origins of metabolism: Did this complex arrangement of reactions evolve over time in living things due to survival advantages, or was it acquired, in a basic form, from the non-living environment? Scientists constructed this metabolism-like chemical network from non-enzymatic reactions that could have occurred in Earth’s 4-billion-year-old oceans. The network shows that the reaction types depend on pH and the reaction rates depend on iron concentration (arrow thickness and red color intensity indicate the relative acceleration). Credit: Keller, et al. Science Advances More information: Markus A. Keller, et al. “Conditional iron and pH-dependent activity of a non-enzymatic glycolysis and pentose phosphate pathway.” Science Advances. DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1501235last_img read more