Hemoglobin A1C: Reason for the Test and the Science Behind It

Chemistry, Health
[caption id="attachment_28695" align="alignright" width="480"] Red blood cells or erythrocytes.[/caption]The term HbA1C and its more common abbreviation A1C, is a familiar term to the diabetic or pre-diabetic patient. A1C refers to blood hemoglobin that has bonded to sugar molecules. It is easy to detect, and since it is stable over time, the A1C blood test is an excellent indicator of "blood sugar" level. Article Contents We here present artwork and a brief text, coupled with a most helpful Khan Academy video, so that, hopefully, the pre-diabetic or diabetic patient, who has a measure of technical background, can understand what the A1C test is all about. Hemoglobin Image Our second image illustrates hemoglobin's 3-D branch structure using red for its two alpha (α) chains and blue for its two beta (β) chains.…
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Comparing Hemoglobin and Chlorophyll

Biology, Medicine
[caption id="attachment_7766" align="alignright" width="440"] Hemoglobin tetramer ribbon CC-by-SA3.0 Zephyris[/caption] Are there similarities between the plant and animal world, for instance, between hemoglobin and chlorophyll? In nature, one can expect many parallels. Many animals have four feet. There are apes, lions, camels, and tortoises. Are all these related? Not really. Again, nearly all animals have two eyes in their head. Is there significance beyond the fact that this enables stereoscopic vision along an excellent line-of-sight? And so we come to the two substances most closely associated with life processes: the chlorophyll of plant life and the hemoglobin of animal life. Chlorophyll produces the food plants need for survival. Hemoglobin carries nutrients and oxygen essential to animal life. Although animals and plants are different, there are interesting parallels to be seen in…
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Carbon Monoxide is More Dangerous than Carbon Dioxide

[caption id="attachment_5355" align="alignright" width="440"] Carboxyhemoglobin - CCA SA 3.0 Unported by Rifleman 82[/caption] Human and animal life requires an exchange of oxygen (O2) and carbon dioxide (CO2). If the atmosphere contains more than a minimum of carbon monoxide (CO), life is at risk. Why? Consider the properties that distinguish carbon dioxide from the monoxide. Carbon Dioxide Carbon dioxide contains two atoms of oxygen bonded to one atom of carbon. The structure is written O=C=O. The length of its double bonds is 116.3 picometers. Bonding is covalent, not ionic. Water solubility at 250C is 1.45 g/l. Carbon Monoxide Carbon monoxide is written simply C≡O. The triple bond is 112.8 picometers. It consists of two polar covalent bonds plus a coordinate covalent bond. Its dissociation energy is 1072 kilojoules per mole. Water…
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