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Answers to STEM Song
Study Questions

SongAnswers
29 Reasons(1) 50.

(2) Glycolysis, which is extremely limited at rest but can rise to very high rates during intense exercise.

(3) Answers will vary. For example, one can track improvements in a function such as the amount of weight lifted or the time taken to run a mile (although these changes may not be attributable solely to changes within the muscles). One can also notice histological changes such as increased mitochondrial density and increased capillary density resulting from endurance training. Finally, strength training may simply increase the size of muscles.
A is for ALANINE(1) Histidine has a pKa close to the normal pH of the cytosol and therefore is an effective intracellular buffer; the R group of isoleucine is hydrophobic; and many protein kinases add a phosphate at the -OH site of tyrosine.

(2) Aspartate and glutamate are technically the names of the deprotonated amino acids, so, having already lost their protons, neither is a "good proton source" any longer.
Adjusting the Lens of the Eye(1) The ciliary muscles circle around the outside of the lens. They are connected to the lens by suspensory ligaments.

(2) Nearsighted people see nearby objects well, but distant objects more poorly. Their ability to see nearby objects, which requires high focusing power, suggests that their lenses are plenty fat -- perhaps too fat for optimal distance vision.

(3) As we have seen, the ciliary muscle adjust the thickness of the lens. In contrast, the pupillary muscles adjust the diameter of the pupil, thus adjusting the amount of light that enters the eye.
Adrenal Cortex(1) Aldosterone promotes the retention of Na+ and the excretion of K+, while cortisol regulates fuel metabolism, especially promoting the release of gluose and amino acids into the blood.

(2) These hormones are "awfully low" in Addison's Disease (think A <=> A) and "crazy high" in Cushing's Syndrome (think C <=> C).

(3) No -- the adrenal medulla produces different hormones (epinephrine and norepinephrine).
Amino Acid Alphabet Song(1) Twenty.

(2) A naturally occurring amino acid. A = alanine, C = cysteine, D = aspartate, E = glutamate, F = phenylalanine, G = glycine, H = histidine, I = isoleucine, K = lysine, L = leucine, M = methionine, N = asparagine, P = proline, Q = glutamine, R = , S = serine, T = threonine, V = valine, W = tryptophan, Y = tyrosine.

(3) The 3-letter abbreviations. They are simply the first 3 letters of the full names, with a few exceptions (Asn, Gln, Ile, Trp).
Antibodies(1) Answers will vary; confirm your drawing with your instructor, your textbook, or a reputable website.

(2) B cells, which often differentiate into plasma cells, which are highly specialized for secreting antibodies.

(3) A single type.

(4) Invading pathogens such as viruses or bacteria, whose antigens are bound by antibodies.
Bones of the Human Limbs(1) There are 30 bones in each.

(2) Relative to the ulna, the radius is "thicker toward the wrist." Relative to the fibula, the tibia is larger. Other methods of distinction are possible too. For example, one can use the thumb to trace a circle in the air, and the concept of a circle may remind you of the geometry term radius, which is the bone that connects to the wrist on the side of the thumb.

(3) Strictly speaking, anatomists use the term "arm" only for the region from the shoulder to the elbow, and the term "leg" only for the region from the knee to the ankle. Thus a song that covers whole limbs (arms, forearms, and hands; thighs, legs, and feet) should refer to the limbs as such, and not as arms and legs.
Calcium Homeostasis(1) The words "high" and "low" are sung as high and low pitches, respectively, to emphasize the situations being sung about (high and low plasma calcium levels, respectively).

(2) Parathyroid hormone, which stimulates osteoclasts to break down existing bone tissue and release calcium into the blood.

(3) Calcitriol (not mentioned by name in this song).
(4) Reabsorption.

(5) Since the song says that calcitonin helps remove excess calcium from the blood, you might think that this hormone is important in building new bone tissue, as was previously thought to be the case. However, it now appears that physiological levels of calcitonin are not especially important for this process.
Cardiac Conduction Hoedown(1) SA = sinoatrial; AV = atrioventricular.

(2) The conduction delay allows the atria to pump blood into the ventricles without much resistance from the ventricles. If the atria and ventricles contracted simultaneously, the atria would not be able to pump blood through the closed AV valves.

(3) Gap junctions (which are part of intercalated discs).

(4) "Apex" means "point." The apex of the heart is the pointy part -- the most inferior part of the human heart.
Cardiac Output & Pulmonary Ventilation(1) “Volume of blood per minute” is cardiac output. “Volume moved per beat” is stroke volume. “Number of beats per minute” is heart rate. “Volume of air per minute” is pulmonary ventilation. “Volume moved per breath” is tidal volume. “Number of breaths per minute” is respiration rate.

(2) The respiratory equivalent of stroke volume is tidal volume. The respiratory equivalent of heart rate is respiration rate.

(3) All of these values (heart rate, stroke volume, cardiac output, respiration rate, tidal volume, and pulmonary ventilation) increase during aerobic exercise.
Cations(1) Electrons are negatively charged.

(2) The overall charge of an atom is equal to the number of protons minus the number of electrons.

(3) Anion.

(4) Cations (positively charged ions) are a subset of ions (all charged particles, whether positive or negative).

(5) Answers will vary. Biologically important cations include Ca2+, Mg2+, Na+, NH4+,K+, etc.
Cauda Equina(1) Since the spinal cord is a compact, neatly arranged bundle of fibers, whereas the cauda equina consists of looser, less tightly bundled fibers, the relationship between the two could be considered similar to that of a road branching into a less tidy trail (or set of trails).

(2) Cranial (toward the head) or rostral (toward the beak).
CDs and MHCs(1) Activate the T cells.

(2) T cells.

(3) Possible CDs are CD4 and CD8. Possible MHCs are MHCI and MHCII.
Cell Division(1) This is the equatorial plane in the middle of the cell.

(2) No. Cytokinesis is the division of cellular materials into two daughter cells, whereas mitosis is technically defined as the division of genetic material into two daughter nuclei. While mitosis is generally accompanied by cytokinesis, this does not have to be the case.

(3) Answers may vary. Interphase is indeed "calm" in the sense that the chromosomes don't condense or separate from each other; however, since organelles, proteins, and DNA are all synthesized during Interphase, it can be argued that Interphase is not calm at all!
Chemical Synapses(1) These ends, specialized for releasing neurotransmitter, are called axon terminals or synyptic boutons.

(2) "Synapse" is the term used to refer to the connection between the two cells. "Synaptic cleft" refers specifically to the gap between the cells that is traversed by neurotransmitter.

(3) Ionotropic receptors double as ion channels, i.e., they themselves let ions into or out of the cell. Metabotropic receptors are not ion channels, but they alter the levels of signaling molecules that cause ion channels to open or close.

(4) EPSP = Excitatory Post-Synaptic Potential, i.e., depolarization of the membrane of the post-synaptic cell. IPSP = Inhibitory Post-Synaptic Potential, i.e., hyperpolarization of the post-synaptic cell.

(5) No. At electrical synapses, ions like Na+ simply diffuse from one cell into the next cell via gap junctions.
Circular Smooth Muscles(1) Chyme is the mixture of partially digested food that is in the stomach and then passes into the intestine.

(2) Yes. Although the word "fluid" usually makes us think of liquids, gases like air and semi-solid mixtures like can also be considered fluids. Most broadly, a fluid is anything that flows.

(3) No, smooth muscles are not under voluntary control.

(4) Many answers are possible here; examples include bronchodilators, which open up the bronchioles, and ACE (angiotensin converting enzyme) inhibitors, which dilate blood vessels.
Comparative Animal Physiology(1) The main function of the lungs is exchange of the gases oxygen and carbon dioxide, which happens by diffusion (hence "diffusive flux"). Since diffusion rate is directly proportional to surface area, the lungs' high surface area enable high diffusion rates.

(2) The concentration of solutes in freshwater is very, very low -- far below the solute concentration of any animal's body fluids. Thus, all freshwater dwellers except some degree of osmoregulation.

(3) The pancreas -- specifically the beta cells of the islets of Langerhans.
Countercurrent Flow(1) Two adjacent flows going in opposite directions.

(2) Concurrent flow (both flows go in the same direction).

(3) The gills of a fish transfer oxygen; the tongue of a whale transfers heat; and the nose of a camel transfers moisture (water). The loop of Henle of a mammal is less straightforward in that there is an osmolarity gradient maintained by the transfer of NaCl out of the ascending limb and the transfer of water out of the descending limb.
Cranial Nerve Functions(1) In the order mentioned in the song.... XII: moving your tongue. XI: your back and your neck. X: parasympathetic stuff. IX: saliva and taste (also covered by nerve VII -- hence the melody's quick dip to the 7th note of the 12 pitches). VIII: balance and hearing. V: facial senses and chewing. VII: adjusting your face. VI, IV, and III: steering your gaze. II: vision. I: smell.

(2) II (sensory), III (motor), IV (motor), and VI (motor).

(3) Mostly VII and IX, with a small contribution from X (not mentioned in the song).
Dizygotic Twins(1) Polyovulation is the release of more than one oocyte at the same time. If two simultaneously released oocytes are both fertilized, the result is dizygotic twins.

(2) With mothers. Some women are genetically predisposed to release more than one oocyte at a time (polyovulation), which makes dizygotic twins more likely.

(3) Speaking genetically, full siblings have the same mother and father; half siblings share one parent but not both. If a woman has dizygotic twins, that is usually because two oocytes were both fertilized with sperm from the same man. However, it is possible that each oocyte could be fertilized by sperm from a different source.

(4) Not really. In the context of reproduction, most people use the word "egg" interchangeably with "oocyte."
Don't Attack Yourself(1) The myelin sheath of neurons' axons is attacked and destroyed. Without this insulation, the axons cannot conduct electrical signals as well.

(2) In myasthenia gravis, antibodies bind to acetylcholine receptors on skeletal muscle cells, thus reducing acetylcholine's access to these receptors, thus limiting the ability of motor neurons to activate the muscle cells.

(3) In type 1 diabetes mellitus, the insulin-producing beta cells of the islets of Langerhans of the pancreas are destroyed, thus preventing the body from making insulin to regulate blood glucose levels.

(4) In Graves' disease, antibodies stimulate the thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) receptors in the thyroid gland, causing this gland to overproduce thyroid hormones triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4).
Do You Smell What I Smell?(1) MSUD is Maple Syrup Urine Disease. It is genetically inherited.

(2) BCAAs are branched-chain amino acids (isoleucine, leucine, and valine).

(3) In MSUD, there is a defect in an enzyme that breaks down the BCAAs, which build up to toxic levels. Reducing protein intake reduces the production of these amino acids via digestion.
Electrocardiogram Basics(1) Not exactly. They reflect electrical activity of cardiac muscle cells, but they represent a comparison of two surface electrodes rather than a comparison of intracellular and extracellular charge.

(2) Atrial repolarization is obscured by the depolarization of the ventricles (QRS complex), which are much bigger than the atria and thus generate much larger electrical signals.

(3) From the QRS complex to the T wave.
Endochondral Ossification(1) "Endo" means "inside," "chondr" means "cartilage," and "oss" means "bone." Therefore, endochondral ossification is the replacement of interior cartilage with bony (osseus) tissue.

(2) The clavicles are exceptions to this rule.

(3) At the end of puberty, when the epiphyseal plates close.
Erythropoietin(1) Epo is a peptide hormone, released from the kidney, that stimulates production of red blood cell (erythrocyte) precursors in the bone marrow.

(2) Red blood cells.

(3) Mostly oxygen (O2) and carbon dioxide (CO2).

(4) Oxygen binds to the iron (Fe) ion of the porphyrin ring of hemoglobin, the most abundant protein in erythrocytes. Some carbon dioxide binds to the N-terminal amino groups of hemoglobin subunits, and some dissolves in the cytoplasm.

(5) A low density of red blood cells (i.e., low hematocrit) leads to anemia, but an elevated density results in highly viscous, sludge-like blood, as experienced by certain cyclists in the early days of blood doping. Thus, as with many physiological variables, it is dangerous for erythrocyte density (and thus epo levels) to be either too high or too low.
Fick's Law of Diffusion(1) Pressure difference (delta P) refers to a difference in the partial pressures of a gas, and thus reflects a concentration gradient.

(2) “Constant” k depends on the temperature, the size of the molecule that is diffusing, the specific medium through which it is diffusing (water? air?), etc.

(3) Surface area is two-dimensional, so units should be something like mm2, cm2, or m2.
Follow the Sound!(1) The outer ear includes everything as far in as the tympanic membrane. The middle ear includes the auditory ossicles. The inner ear includes the cochlea (perilymph, endolymph, etc.)

(2) Sensorineural hearing loss is due to a problem with the hair cells in the cochlea or any structure downstream of the hair cells.

(3) The vestibulocochlear nerve.

(4) We have two of each of structure -- one on the left side of our brain and one set on the right side.

(5) At the superior olivary nucleus. Within this nucleus, the lateral superior olive (LSO) and medial superior olive (MSO) compare sounds from both ears to determine whether sounds are coming from the left or the right.

(6) The superior colliculus processes visual information, especially related to visual reflexes.
Gap Junctions(1) A connexin is an individual polypeptide; a connexon is a complex of connexin subunits.

(2) A connexon is a "hemi-channel" in the membrane of one cell; two connexons from adjacent cells come together to form a gap junction.

(3) Gap junctions have larger pores that can accommodate larger species such as amino acids.

(4) At electrical synapses, ions move directly from one neuron to the next, immediately altering the membrane potential of the postsynaptic neuron. At chemical synapses, these changes in postsynaptic membrane potential are achieved more indirectly: neurotransmitters bind to receptors on the postsynaptic cell, which then leads to the opening or closing of ion channels.
Gas Exchange Medley(1) Central chemoreceptors are located in the medulla; peripheral chemoreceptors are located in the carotid bodies of the common carotid arteries and the aortic body of the aorta.

(2) PCO2.

(3) The curve of hemoglobin saturation (on the Y axis) versus PO2 (on the X axis) is S-shaped.

(4) To the right.

(5) Exercise by the muscles increases temperature, increases PCO2, and decreases pH, resulting in a modest right shift of the hemoglobin saturation curve. The curve is such that this shift does not greatly change hemoglobin saturation at arterial PO2's but DOES reduce hemoglobin saturation at capillary PO2's, enabling more unloading of oxygen at the capillaries.
Genotype Versus Phenotype(1) Mutations generally arise from incorrect copying or repair of DNA bases, such that the usual complementarity (A goes with T, and C goes with G) is violated. Mutations can happen spontaneously, but their frequency can be increased by radiation, chemicals, pieces of mobile DNA (viral or otherwise) that jump around the genome, mutations in DNA-checking enzymes, etc.

(2) Single-nucleotide polymorphisms often have no effect on phenotype, as they usually change only one amino acid in the protein or none at all. Frameshift mutations, in which bases are added or deleted, usually lead to premature stop codons and truncated proteins with altered functions, and thus altered phenotypes.
Glucose, Glucose(1) GLUT4 is a glucose transporter in muscle cells (among others) that increases glucose uptake by these cells in response to insulin secretion by the beta cells of the pancreas.

(2) Glyogen is a glucose polymer -- the storage form of glucose.

(3) Glucose, a sugar, tastes sweet; its breakdown product lactic acid, being an acid, taste sour.

(4) When carbohydrate reserves are depleted, the body must switch to using fat as its primary fuel.
Glucose Homeostasis(1) These phrases refer to increasing and decreasing the concentration of glucose in the blood, respectively.

(2) Plasma is the fraction of the blood that doesn't contain cells. Since glucose levels are measured in the plasma, "plasma glucose" is a more precise term than "blood glucose."

(3) There are no strict cutoffs on normal glucose levels. Plasma glucose after an overnight fast is often 70-80 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL), which is definitely low enough to trigger a glucagon response. Plasma glucose after a meal often reaches twice that concentration, which sends insulin levels soaring.
The Goldman-Hodgkin-Katz Equation(1) There are many differences. For example, the Nernst equation calculates the equilibrium potential for a single ion, while the GHK equation calculates a cell's membrane potential according to the contributions of multiple ions; the Nernst equation does not account for ion permeances, but the GHK equation does. Among the similarites are that both equations (in their full, unsimplified forms) incorporate ion charges and concentrations as well as absolute temperature.

(2) At rest, PK+ is much higher than PNa+, so the cell's mebrane potential is much closer to EK+ than ENa+.

(3) During the rising phase, PNa+ is much higher than PK+, so the membrane potential moves toward ENa+.
Good Bacteria(1) Microbes are microscopic organisms, such as bacteria and other single-celled organisms like protozoa. Some people define the group to include microscopic multicellular organisms as well.

(2) Among the many bacteria that can live in our guts, some lead to diarrhea. There is evidence that Lactobacillus may reduce colonization of the gut by these other diarrhea-promoting bacteria.

(3) These are additional benefits that bacteria bestow upon humans: promoting tolerance of normal bacteria by the immune system, digesting otherwise indigestible materials such as dietary fiber, and outcompeting pathogens for niches on and within humans.
Have Yourself a Healthy Little Kidney(1) Patients with kidney failure must receive dialysis, in which their blood is filtered by machines. Receiving a new, healthy kidney allows them to stop dialysis.

(2) GFR stands for glomerular filtration rate. 90,000 milliliters per day is equivalent to 62.5 milliliters per minute.

(3) The old kidneys are often left in place, so the new kidney is inserted lower down in the abdomen. The renal artery and vein will the connected to the external iliac artery and vein, respectively.

(4) Glucocorticoids such as prednisone.
Heart Valves(1) The pulmonary valve and the aortic valve.

(2) The bicuspid valve.

(3) No -- "toward the moon" applies only to bipeds (who walk upright on two feet).

(4) The line "Blood flows up toward the moon" is sung as ascending melody (the notes go higher and higher). The line "blood flowing down" is sung as a descending melody (the notes go lower and lower).
Hemostasis(1) The injured blood vessel vasoconstricts.

(2) Fibrin is created from its inactive form, fibrinogen, by the action of the protease thrombin (which itself is activated by another protease).

(3) The edges of the wounded blood vessel are brought closer together, and the serum is squeezed out of the clot.

(4) "Thromb" means "clot" and "lysis" means "splitting," so thrombolysis is the dissolving of the clot, which involves the degradation of fibrin by plasmin.

(5) People with hemophilia generally have a genetic mutation that disrupts the pathway that activates fibrin, so clots form slowly or not at all.
Henle's Water Music(1) Water can only diffuse out of the collecting duct if water channels -- aquaporins -- are present in the membranes of the cells lining the collecting duct.

(2) These numbers are osmolarities given in units of milliosmolar (mOsm). 100/300 represents the relatively small osmolarity gradient that can be generated between the nephron lumen (e.g., 100 mOsm) and the interstitium (e.g., 300 mOsm). 300/1200 represents the much larger osmolarity gradient between the "top" of the interstitium (in the cortex; 300 mOsm) and the "bottom" of the interstitium (deep in the medulla; 1200 mOsm).

(3) ADH is antidiuretic hormone.

(4) The loop of Henle sets up and maintains the osmolarity gradient that ultimately pulls water out of the collecting duct so that it is not lost in the urine. However, water's exit from the collecting duct depends on aquaporins, as noted above, which are made and inserted into the cell membrane in response to ADH.
Hey, Urethra!(1) The sperm's path starts at the seminiferous tubules; the urine's path starts at the glomeruli.

(2) Urine.
How Do You Heal a Wound?(1) Mast cells.

(2) Fibrinogen, which gets converted to fibrin.

(3)Epithial cells, phagocytes, and fibroblasts.

(4) Fibroblasts.

(5) The dermis may not be as well vascularized or as well innervated as it was before.
How Muscles Contract(1) Tropomyosin rolls away from myosin's binding site on actin so that myosin may bind there.

(2) SR is the sarcoplasmic reticulum.

(3) Sodium moves into the cell.

(4) ACh is the neurotransmitter acetylcholine.
Hypersensitivity(1) Hypersensitivity and immune deficiency are sort of opposites. Hypersensitivity may be thought of as an overly robust immune response, whereas immune deficiency involves an inadequate immune response.

(2) Type II hypersensitivity is NOT the only antibody-related type of hypersensitivity. Type I hypersensivity involves IgE, which is an antibody. (Ig is short for immunoglobulin, a synonym for antibody.) Type III hypersensitivity involves immune complexes, which consist of antibodies bound to soluble antigens.

(3) Autoimmune problems can cause hypersensitivity of types II, III, and IV. Rheumatic heart disease is an example of type II; systemic lupus erythematosus is an example of type III; multiple sclerosis is an example of type IV. (Graves' disease and myasthenia gravis are usually considered type II but sometimes are put in their own category: type V.)
Hyperthermic(1) Yes. The symptoms (elevated body temperature and metabolism, high heart rate, etc.) all point to hyperthyroidism, as if the patient has a tumor of the thyroid gland.

(2) The neck is bulging because the thyroid gland is enlarged.

(3) High levels of thyroid hormone exert negative feedback on TSH release, so TSH levels are low.
Hypohypothalamus(1) "Hypo" means "under," so just as the hypothalamus is located underneath the thalamus, the pituitary is located underneath the hypothalamus and thus could be dubbed the "hypohypothalamus."

(2) The anterior pituitary.

(3) The adrenal gland secretes mineralocorticoids like aldosterone and glucocorticoids like cortisol, and androgens like dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA). The thyroid gland secretes the thyroid hormones triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). The gonads secrete estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and inhibin.

(4) Antidiuretic hormone (ADH), growth hormone (GH), melanocyte stimulating hormone (MSH), oxytocin (OXT), and prolactin (PRL).
I'm Clotting Factor VIII, I Am(1) Protein.

(2) The song is most likely referring to Factor IX, a fellow protein. Calcium ions and the phospholipid membranes of platelets are also involved.

(3) The intrinsic and extrinsic pathways, both of which lead to the activation of factor X.

(4) An enzyme that cleaves another protein.

(5) Answers will vary.
Iliac Crest(1) The ilium is the bone with an iliac crest.

(2) The lips are the inner and outer edges of the crest.

(3) Answers will vary. Examples include the abdominal external oblique, abdominal internal oblique, iliacus, iliocostalis (part of the erector spinae), latissimus dorsi, quadratus lumborum, tensor fascia latae, and transverse abdominal muscles.

(4) For bone grafts and bone marrow transplants, the iliac crest is often used as a source.

(5) L4 is the 4th lumbar vertebra. Its level corresponds approximately to the top of the iliac crest. Thus, the iliac crest can be used to help identify a place to do a lumbar puncture (which is usually done between L3 and L4 or between L4 and L5.
In-Lever, Out-Lever(1) MA is unitless; the units of the numerator and denominator cancel.

(2) In theory, mechanical advantage can be anywhere from just above 0 to far above 1.

(3) MA is also equal to Fo divided by Fi and to Vi divided by Vo.

(4) The fulcrum is at the ankle joint.

(5) Yes they do! (6) A high MA favors a high Vo/Vi (needed by the cat), whereas a low MA favors a high Fo/Fi (needed by the armadillo). The closer the muscle insertion is to the joint, the lower that Li, Li/Lo, and MA will be. Thus the cat has a low Li relative to the armadillo.
Insecty Things(1) Spiracles are like the human airway and lungs in allowing air into the animal. The trachea are like the human circulatory system in delivering oxygen to the various tissues that need it.

(2) Plants have stomata that let gases pass in and out when open, and that conserve water when shut, so stomata are similar to spiracles in these ways.
Ion Channels(1) Voltage-gated channels are the ones that generate action potentials. However, ligand-gated channels in the dendrites and soma contribute to action potentials indirectly by generating graded depolarizations that bring voltage-gated channels to their threshold.

(2) In a typical neuron, voltage-gated channels are pre-synaptic (in the axon) and ligand-gated channels are post-synaptic (in the dendrites and soma).
It's All Connective!(1) Connective tissue, epithelial tissue, muscle tissue, and nervous tissue.

(2) Mesenchyme tissue is immature connective tissue that differentiates into the other connective tissue types listed in the song.

(3) Epithelial cells, which coat the exterior and interior surfaces of the body and are shed as they wear out.

(4) Connective tissue proper: adipose, areolar, ligaments, reticular, tendons. Fluid connective tissue: blood, lymph. Supporting connective tissue: bone, cartilage.
Keratin and Melanin(1) Keratin.

(2) Keratin.

(3) Keratin.

(4) Melanin.
Kidney Wonderland(1) Creatinine is a small (molecular weight 113), nitrogen-containing organic molecule. It is a breakdown product of the creatine phosphate found in muscles. It is humans' second-most-abundant organic waste product for nitrogen excretion, behind urea but ahead of uric acid.

(2) An elevated serum creatinine often indicates a reduced glomerular filtration rate (GFR), which may reflect kidney disease. However, such elevations can also be caused by muscle damage from intense exercise, excessive intake of meat or other creatine-containing products, drugs that inhibit creatinine secretion by renal tubules (e.g., trimethoprim), etc.

(3) In principle, a Wearable Artificial Kidney (WAK) should free patients from the need to spend many hours (e.g., four hours per day, three times per week) in hospitals where dialysis is traditionally performed, potentially improving both quality of life and compliance. However, since WAKs are a new technology, they may malfunction more frequently than traditional dialysis machines, and those malfunctions may not be noticed and corrected as quickly or as easily as if the patient was receiving traditional hospital dialysis.

(4) Answers will vary. A person's ability to get a K award may predict future success in obtaining research funding, which is important in many academic positions. However, the addition of new faculty who currently have their own funding raises questions about departments' and universities' long-term commitment to these people. What will happen to them if their funding eventually dries up?
Lactose Bends the Protein(1) Jacques Monod and Francois Jacob.

(2) The "energetic landscape" refers to a graph of the energetic stability of all of the possible 3D structures that a protein could theoretically adopt. A protein settles into the 3D shape that is most energetically stable. This most stable shape will be different in the presence of a ligand such as lactose than in the absence of it.

(3) The operator.

(4) When the repressor dissociates from the operator, RNA polymerase becomes able to bind to the promoter and to transcribe the DNA to RNA.
Lateral Inhibition(1) The first "Low/High" line simply illustrates in the absence of lateral inhibition; there is simply a spatial transition from cells receiving low-intensity stimuli (represented by the low notes, each sung as the word "low") to cells receiving high-intensity stimuli (represented by the high notes, each sung as the word "high"). The second "Low/High" line shows how this edge between "low" and "high" is exaggerated by lateral inhibition; the "low" note closest to the high ones is made even lower, and the "high" note closest to the low ones is made even higher.

(2) The phrase "branching wires" is used metaphorically. Cells, especially neurons, conduct electrical signals in ways that resemble physical wires. For lateral inhibition to occur, the raw sensory information must be sent out via branches to adjacent cells.
Leaving for the Membrane(1) SRP is the Signal Recognition Particle, which mediates cotranslational transport of proteins into the endoplasmic reticulum (ER).

(2) Residues are individual amino acids making up the protein.

(3) These blood types reflect difference in oligosaccharide groups attached to membrane proteins, and differences in their recognition by antibodies.

(4) Based on the line that "the cell surface is my home," this protein seems ultimately destined for the plasma membrane (cell membrane).
The Length Constant(1) Rm is the resistance to the flow of electrical charge across the cell membrane. Ri is the internal resistance to flow (sometimes abbreviated Ra for axial resistance).

(2) Myelin increases Rm; as axon diameter increases, Ri decreases.

(3) The length constant has units of length, such as millimeters (mm) or centimeters (cm). This is potentially confusing because the ratio Rm/Ri would seem to be unitless; however, the units for the two are different. For example, Rm could be in units of ohms*cm3 while Ri could be in units of ohms*cm.
Leptin Versus Ghrelin(1) The main source of ghrelin is the cells in the wall of the stomach.

(2)NPY stands for Neuropeptide Y; POMC stands for pro-opiomelanocortin. Both are neurotransmitters that are released by neurons in the hypothalamus and that impact neurons in other parts of the hypothalamus, such as the lateral hypothalamus area (LHA) and paraventricular nucleus (PVN).

(3) NPY release make you feel hungrier, while POMC release suppresses appetite.

(4) Ghrelin stimulates NPY release; leptin suppresses NPY release and stimulates POMC release.
LH Surge(1) A large increase in the levels of Luteinizing Hormone (LH) circulating in the blood, causing ovulation.

(2) GnRH is not released continuously, but rather in pulses. These pulses can be frequent or less frequent; the latter is described here as a "slow, slow dirge."

(3) Progesterone in birth control pills slows the frequency of GnRH pulses, thus keeping LH release low and avoiding ovulation.
Malfunctioning Sphincter Blues(1) Esophageal, pyloric, ileocecal, anal. (This order is the opposite of the order in which they are mentioned.)

(2) The upper esophageal sphincter and the external anal sphincter -- the sphincters at the two ends of the alimentary canal. Also, the external urethral sphincter, and the orbicularis oris and orbicularis oculi.

(3) The sphincters we voluntarily control are made of skeletal muscle; the others are made of smooth muscle.
Mama Glia [poem](1) Glial cells exchange metabolites (nutrients and wastes) with neurons, provide myelin sheaths for axons, provide scaffolding for developing neurons to follow, secrete growth factors, engulf damaged cells and pathogens, etc.

(2) Astrocytes, ependymal cells, microglia, and oligodendrocytes.

(3) The word "glue" implies that glial cells simply maintain the structural integrity of the nervous system. However, as shown the answer to question #1, glial cells do much more than this.
Maximum Jump(1) The length-tension curve and the power-velocity curve.

(2) Vmax is the maximum shortening velocity, a theoretical value that would occur if the load were 0.

(3) Muscles convert the chemical energy of ATP into mechanical force, so in this sense they are machines.
Medulla Oblongata(1) The spinal cord.

(2) The hindbrain includes the pons and the medulla. The brainstem includes the hindbrain plus the midbrain.
Medulla's in the Middle(1) The medulla oblongata.

(2) Answers may vary. The adrenal gland is an important example because its cortex secretes different hormones than its medulla.

(3) The words "medulla's in the middle" are on a single note in the middle of the scale ("mi"); the words about the cortex bounce up and down above and below the medulla's note, thus "wrapping around" the medulla melodically.
Meet My Threshold(1) EK represents the equilibrium potential of potassium.

(2) PSPs are (excitatory or inhibitory) Post-Synaptic Potentials.

(3) When some voltage-gated sodium channels open, sodium enters the neuron, further depolarizing the membrane and causing even more voltage-gated sodium channels to open, thus ensuring that the neuron goes through a full action potential.
Membrane Permeability(1) Substances that are hydrophobic, or lipophilic, can generally diffuse freely across membranes. Substances that are hydrophilic, or lipophobic, cannot.

(2) Simple diffusion across membranes does not require any sort of protein, whereas facilitated diffusion involves a protein channel (pore).

(3) Some membrane proteins, such as ion channels, are simple pores; they merely provide an opening in the membrane through which a substance can pass. Other proteins -- usually called carriers, pumps, or transporters -- bind to a substance on one side of the membrane, then change configuration and release it to the other side of the membrane.

(4) Free fatty acids: simple diffusion. Na+ ions: simple diffusion, primary active transport, and cotransport (secondary active transport). Glucose: facilitated diffusion and cotransport (secondary active transport). Full-length proteins: endocytosis and exocytosis.
Microvilli, Cilia, Flagella(1) Sense surrounding fluid: cilia and microvilli (the hair cells in the cochlea, confusingly, have projections called stereocilia but more like microvilli than cilia). Move surrounding fluid: cilia. Move cells through surrounding fluid: flagella. Take things from surrounding fluid: microvilli.

(2) The cytoskeleton of microvilli is based on actin filaments, while the cytoskeletons of cilia and flagella are based on microtubules made of tubulin.

(3) Sperm are the only human cells with flagella; thus, only human males have cells with all three types of cellular projections.

Mitosis(1) The chromosomes condense into a more compact form so that they may be more easily seen.

(2) The "sphere" is the about-to-divide cell (which is often roughly spherical in shape, but not always).

(3) The process is NOT random; one copy of each chromosome is distributed to each daughter nucleus, such that both daughter nuclei wind up with the same genetic material.

Muscles of the Face(1) The first muscle performs the first function and the second muscle performs the second function. An "exception" is that "close your mouth and shut you up" is really only one function and is true of both the masseter and temporalis.

(2) "Oris" means "mouth" (think of the word "oral"). "Oculi" means "eye" (think of the word "ocular").
Myofibrils(1) Muscle fiber.

(2) Motor neurons.

(3) Calcium ions bind to troponin, whose change of shape causes tropomyosin (an adjacent protein) to roll out of the way of myosin's binding site on actin, so that myosin can now bind to actin, leading to contraction.

(4) The calcium pumps that put calcium back into the sarcoplasmic reticulum.
The Nernst Equation(1) No -- this "constant" varies with temperature. At an internal body temperature of 37 degrees Celsius, the value is 61 mV.

(2) Ion valence is the charge carried by an ion, such as -1 or +2.

(3) E, an electrical potential, generally is reported in units of millivolts.

(4) E is the equilibrium potential -- the electrical gradient across the membrane needed to perfectly counterbalance any concentration gradient, such that there is no net driving force driving the given ion from one side of the membrane to the other.
Neural Modulation of Skeletal Muscle Force(1) A motor unit is a motor neuron and all of the muscle cells that it controls.

(2) Firing frequency refers to the frequency with which the motor neurons fire action potentials, which dictates the frequency with which the muscle cells depolarize.

(3) This arrangement (weak before strong) means that a given change in force (as additional motor units are added or dropped) will be proportional to the total "baseline level" of force. In other words, when you are working at low forces, you can modulate the level of force more precisely than when you are working at high forces.

(4) Tetanus is a muscle's state of maximal force production. To achieve it, each muscle cell in the muscle must be recruited and stimulated at a firing frequency that maximizes that cell's force (i.e., that does not permit relaxation in between stimuli).
The Nirenberg Concerto(1) This phrase refers to the process of translation, in which sequences of RNA bases (A, C, G, and U) are converted into sequences of amino acids.

(2) Nirenberg pioneered cell-free protein synthesis. He could add a specific mRNA molecule to his expression system and see what protein came out of it.

(3) Nirenberg's first step toward cracking the genetic code was to determine that an mRNA molecule whose only base was uracil (UUUUUU...) was translated into a protein whose only amino acid was phenylalanine. It eventually became clear that each UUU codon coded for one phenylalanine.
Obstructive and Restrictive Lung Disease(1) FVC stands for Forced Vital Capacity or Functional Vital Capacity. It is the maximum volume of air that you can exhale if starting from maximally inflated lungs.

(2) FEV1 is the Forced Expiratory Volume in 1 second, i.e., the maximal volume of air that you can exhale in 1 second when starting from maximally inflated lungs.

(3) People with restrictive lung disease have low FVCs; that is, they can't inflate their lungs fully. Consequently, the FEV1 may also be low simply because they don't have a lot of air available for exhalation. A low FEV1 secondary to a low FVC may be revealed by calculating the FEV1/FVC ratio; this ratio should be normal for patients with purely restrictive diseases.

(4) The pulmonary system consists of a trachea branching into two bronchi, which branch further into smaller bronchi and then bronchioles. Thus, the system has the branching structure of a tree.
Okazaki Fragments(1) Thymidine (one of the four nucleotide building blocks of DNA) that has been radioactively labeled with "heavy hydrogen" (tritium or H-3).

(2) "Semidiscontinous" means half discontinuous. One of the two new DNA strands is synthesized continuously; the other new strand is synthesized discontinuously.

(3) If all DNA replication was continuous, Okazaki would have found that all just-made pieces of DNA were long. However, he found that some pieces were short, presumably as a result of discontinuous replication.
Orbital Groove(1) "Orbital" refers to the eye socket -- the indentation in the skull where the eye resides.

(2) A foramen is a hole, whereas a fissure is a longer slit or groove.

(3) Since "superior" means "above" and "inferior" means "below," the superior orbital fissure is above the inferior orbital fissure.

(4) Since "supra" means "above" and "infra" means "below," the supraorbital foramen is above the eye and the infraorbital foramen is below the eye.
Oxidative Phosphorylation(1) Mitochondria.

(2) Oxygen is a substrate that accepts electrons passed along the electron transport chain, forming water. Carbon dioxide is a product of Krebs cycle reactions in the mitochondrial matrix.

(3) Adenosine diphosphate (ADP) and inorganic phosphate (Pi.

(4) As electrons are passed along the electron transport chain, some of the energy lost by those electrons is redirected into pumping protons against their gradient out of the mitochondrial matrix.
Pennate or Parallel?(1) Pennate.

(2) a. Some people classify the biceps brachii as parallel because the fibers are indeed parallel. Others put this muscle in a separate (not necessarity mutually exclusive) category: convergent (muscle fibers taper down to a much narrower tendon) and/or fusiform (the belly of the muscle is much thicker than the tendons). b. Parallel or convergent (see part a above). c. Neither (it is circular). d. Parallel. e. Pennate. f. Parallel.
Photosynthesis Calypso(1) Carbon fixation is the process of converting carbon atoms from an inorganic form (CO2) into organic forms (in which the carbon atoms are generally bound to other carbon and/or nitrogen atoms).

(2) The Calvin cycle.

(3) Six is the number of carbon atoms in glucose (C6H12O6), the product of photosynthesis.

(4) Starch is many glucose molecules linked together, collectively called a polysaccharide. Sucrose is one glucose molecule linked to one fructose molecule (a similar sugar), collectively called a disaccharide.
Phototransduction(1) The sodium gates are open.

(2) Rhodopsin is a complex consisting of a small organic molecule (retinal) and a protein (opsin).

(3) Rhodopsin activates the G protein (which is trimeric, i.e., it has 3 subunits).

(4) Phosphodiesterase.

(5) This PDE converts cGMP to 5'-GMP.

(6) The inward sodium current that takes place when it is dark.

(7) Light leads to hyperpolarization of the membrane because the depletion of cGMP closes the cGMP-dependent sodium channels, and less sodium entry means less depolarization of the membrane.
The Place Principle(1) The basilar membrane of the cochlea.

(2) The apex of the cochlea is most sensitive to low pitches, so the word "apex" is sung as a low note. Conversely, the base is most sensitive to high pitches, so the word "base" is sung as a high note.
Poiseuille's Law of Laminar Flow(1) Resistance to flow (often abbreviated with a capital R) is proportional to radius to the 4th power.

(2) Here delta P refers to a difference in hydrostatic pressure over the length of the vessel. It is not the same as the delta P in Fick’s Law of Diffusion.

(3) The equation can be rewritten as: Flow = (pi*r4*(delta-P))/(8*length*viscosity).
Polymerase (1) The lines "I saw a DNA strand growing in size/Polly was there, adding nucleotides" suggests that Polly is synthesizing DNA and therefore is a DNA polymerase.

(2) No. There are three stop codons; in terms of RNA sequence, they are UAA, UAG, and UGA. The UAA codon corresponds to ATT on the template DNA strand; UAG corresponds to ATC, and UGA corresponds to ACT. Since all of the DNA triplets have an A in them, which was the incorrect base ("it's got an A where a C belongs"), the stop codon could be any of the three.

(3) The DNA replication rate quoted in the song is 50 bases per second. A genome of 3,000,0000,000 base pairs -- 6,000,000,000 bases -- would thus take 120,000,000 seconds to copy if a single DNA polymerase molecule had to do the entire job. To speed this up, many copies of the polymerase are active simultaneously.
Polymers and Monomers(1) A polymer is a structure (not necessarily a biological one) made up up repeating subunits (i.e., monomers) that are linked together.

(2) Polysaccharides (e.g., starch) are polymers made up of monosaccharides (e.g., glucose); proteins are polymers made up of amino acids.
Positive and Negative Feedback(1) A setpoint is the default or "ideal" level of the regulated variable; a detector (or sensor or receptor) senses the current level of the regulated variable; an integrator compares the variable's current level (as indicated by the detector) with the setpoint to determine whether there is a discrepancy between the two; and the effector moves the regulated variable back toward the setpoint.

(2) Answers will vary. Examples include the opening of voltage-gated sodium channels along the axon of neurons, the increasingly strong contractions of the uterus during labor, the promotion of the "LH surge" by estrogen, and the formation of platelet plugs in response to bleeding.

(3) Answers will vary. Variables regulated by negative feedback include many properties of blood, including blood pressure, calcium level, glucose level, osmolarity, oxygen level, pH, and temperature.

(4) The line about positive feedback starts on a low pitch and then rockets higher and higher above its starting point. In contrast, the negative feedback melody is "regulated" to stay close to the starting point.
Positive- and Negative-Pressure Ventilation(1) Frogs.

(2) Negative-pressure ventilation.

(3) Positive-pressure ventilation can be said to PUSH air into the lungs; negative-pressure ventilation can be said to PULL air into the lungs.
Protease Cascades(1) The inactive precursor form of a protein often has a prefix like "pro" or a suffix like "ogen." When a piece of the protein is cut off, it becomes shorter (i.e., it now has fewer amino acids), and, likewise, its name becomes shorter too (e.g., prothrombin is converted to thrombin).

(2) Fibrinogen/fibrin is not a protease, but rather a structural protein that ties blood components together into a clot.

(3) These proteases (and others) help digest each other; their amino acids are absorbed from the small intestine into the blood.
Quads and Hamstrings(1) The physical action of kicking is the extension of the knee, perhaps accompanied by flexion of the hip and dorsiflexion of the ankle.

(2) The four quadriceps muscles (vastus lateralis, vastus intermedius, vastus medialis,and rectus femoris) all contribute to knee extension, and the rectus femoris is also responsible for hip flexion. (The hamstrings, as antagonists of the quadriceps, re-flex the knee following a kick.)
Right Heart, Left Heart(1) Yes -- the left ventricle has a thicker wall, reflecting its need to pump more strongly.

(2) High pulmonary blood pressure would lead to excessive filtration out of the pulmonary capillaries, pulmonary edema, and impaired gas exchange at the lungs.
RNA Clover(1) Translation is the conversion of a sequence of the bases in mRNA into a sequence of amino acids that form a protein.

(2) tRNA carries amino acids to the ribosomes.

(3) Each mRNA codon matches a tRNA anticodon, ensuring that the correct amino acid gets incorporated into the chain.

(4) The tRNA molecule folds back on itself at various points to maximize intra-stand base-pairing.
The Secondary Immune Response(1) The secondary immune response is the immune response to a previously encountered pathogen. This response is quicker and stronger than the original (primary) response because the memory B cells and memory T cells "remember" this pathogen.

(2) T-helper (Th) cells.

(3) B cells, once they differentiate into plasma cells, produce and secrete huge quantities of a single type of antibody; thus they may be considered "antibody factories."
Shine a Light on a Lumen(1) Lysosomes are organelles specialized for breakdown (lysis) of molecules into smaller molecules.

(2) In physics, a lumen is a unit of light intensity. The title of this song is a reference to that alternative meaning.

(3) Yes!
Shoulders Versus Hips(1) Both are ball-and-socket joints.

(2) The lines about the shoulder use a wide-ranging melody, whereas the lines about the hip use a more restricted melody, illustrating the relative ranges of motion of these two ball-and-socket joints.

(3) The more ligaments there are around a joint, and the stronger these ligaments are, the more stability the joint will have, but the less flexibility it will have.
Smooth or Striated?(1) Striated.

(2) Striated.

(3) Smooth.
The Sodium Jeer(1) Na (hence the "Na Na Na Na Na" jeer).

(2) Sodium normally cannot get into cells because it is charged and thus cannot pass through the cell membrane unaided, and the ion channels through which it can pass are closed in a normal "resting" cell.

(3) Sodium is much more concentrated outside cells.
Squeeze Me Tight ... or Squeeze Me Gently(1) Yes -- the left ventricle has a thicker wall, reflecting its need to pump more strongly.

(2) High pulmonary blood pressure would lead to excessive filtration out of the pulmonary capillaries, pulmonary edema, and impaired gas exchange at the lungs.
Strata of the Epidermis(1) The stratum basale is closest to capillaries. This makes sense because the epithelial stem cells in that layer are growing and dividing rapidly, and thus have a great need for the nutrients provided by the capillaries.

(2) The stratum basale, though extensions of their cytoplasm reach into more superficial layers.

(3) Keratin.

(4) The stratum lucidum.
Surface Area-to-Volume Ratio(1) Oxygen and heat are the usual answers. Other possibilities include carbon dioxide, nitrogenous waste products like urea, water, etc.

(2) Yes. The surface area of a sphere equals 4*pi*r2, where r is the radius. The volume of a sphere equals (4/3)*pi*r3. The surface area-to-volume ratio is 3/r, which decreases as r increases. Thus this ratio decreases with increasing size, regardless of whether the object is cube-shaped or spherical.
Surface Area, Eh?(1) Fick's law is for diffusion rate; Fourier's law is for the transfer of heat via conduction.

(2) Elephant ears and a distended scrotum give off heat quickly. Microvilli increase the rate of absorption of nutrients from the small intestine, and the rate of reabsorption of nutrients from the proximal tubule of nephrons in the kidney. Lung alveoli and gill lamellae increase gas exchange (the transfer of oxygen and carbon dioxide) at the lungs and gills, respectively.

(3) Structures with a high surface area are often thin and therefore delicate and easily damaged. Also, a high surface area can increase the transfer of substance that you don't want to gain or lose. For example, the high surface area of the lungs is great for gas exchange, but also causes animals to lose more water vapor to the environment than they would otherwise.

(4) Microvilli are found on cells of the small intestine and proximal tubule, and on white blood cells.
Synovial Joints(1) These are prefixes to be combined with the root "axial": triaxial, biaxial, monoaxial, or nonaxial, reflecting the number of axes the joint has. (Monoaxial joints are also referred to as uniaxial.)

(2) Here, "a ton" means 3.

(3) Answers will vary. Here are some possibilities.... Ball-and-socket: shoulder, hip. Condylar: metacarpophalangeal joints (for metacarpals II through V). Gliding: acromioclavicular, claviculosternal, intercarpal, intertarsal, sacroiliac, vertebrocostal. Hinge: ankle, elbow, interphalangeal, knee. Pivot: atlantoaxial (top two cervical vertebrae), proximal radioulnar. Saddle: first carpometacarpal (trapezium to metacarpal I).
Take Me to the Liver(1) A lipid such as a triglyceride or cholesterol is singing to its lipoprotein carrier (which sings the words in italics). There are various hints of this, such as the main vocalist's request to "keep me out of water," meaning that it is a hydrophobic ("water-fearing") molecule, and its mention of endocytosis, which is a major uptake mechanism for lipids but not protein or carbohydrate.
The Three Planes (Coronal, Sagittal, Transverse)(1) The frontal plane.

(2) The transverse plane.

(3) A coronal or frontal slice.

(4) A parasagittal plane is a sagittal plane that splits the body into two unequal halves.
Tiny Cells (RBCs/Tiny Sperm)(1) Mature RBCs do not retain any membrane-bound organelles, but mature sperm have nuclei and mitochondria.

(2) The bloodstream and semen, respectively.

(3) Oocytes.

(4) Enzymes released from the acrosome of the sperm digest the corona radiata and zona pellucida surrounding the oocyte.
Total Lung Capacity(1) RV = Residual Volume; ERV = Expiratory Reserve Volume; VT = Tidal Volume; IRV = Inspiratory Reserve Volume; TLC = Total Lung Capacity.

(2) FVC = TLC - RV, or FVC = ERV + VT + IRV.
Touch Me!(1) Yes -- for example, thermoreceptors and nociceptors (pain receptors).

(2) Other mechanoreceptors include the hair cells of the inner ear and the baroreceptors of the carotid artery and aorta, which likewise sense distortion of the plasma membrane.
Unnatural Blues(1) 42 degrees Celsius is 107.6 degrees Fahrenheit.

(2) Evaporative heat loss (e.g., sweating); relocation to cooler areas; and expression of heat shock proteins (HSPs), which help prevent other proteins from denaturing under warm conditions.
The Uterus(1) The myometrium ("myo" means "muscle").

(2) The outermost layer -- the perimetrium or serosa.
Vasoconstriction(1) The autonomic nervous system includes the sympathetic nervous system, the branch responsible for "fight-or-flight" responses. In this way, the autonomic nervous system really is "sympathetic to your plight."

(2) Noradrenaline, produced by the adrenal gland.

(3) Catecholamines are a group of compounds including epinephrine (adrenaline) and norepinephrine (noradrenaline). Alpha-one adrenergic receptors bind to these compounds, but bind more strongly to norephinephrine than to epinephrine.

(4) Calcium causes phosphorylation of smooth muscle's myosin, which allows this myosin to bind to actin.

(5) "Vaso" means "vessel." "Myo" means "muscle." "Baro" means "pressure."

(6) If blood pressure falls, you will faint (i.e., "fall down down down"). Vasoconstriction helps maintain blood pressure so that you don't faint.
Veins(1) From the heart, blood travels first through the arteries, then smaller arterioles, then still-smaller capillaries, and then venules before reaching the veins.

(2) Words that sound the same as "vein" are vain -- the phrase "in vain" means "failing to achieve the desired outcome" -- and vane, as in a weather vane that moves in the breeze.

(3) The two main components of blood are cells and plasma. They are commonly separated by centrifugation.
Visual Pathway Branchpoints(1) The optic nerve is cranial nerve II.

(2) The optic nerve is the name given to the nerve leading away from the retina of the eye. The intersection of the left and right optic nerves is called the optic chiasm. The nerves leading away from the optic chiasm toward the brain are called the optic tracts.

(3) The inferior colliculus processes auditory (sound) information.

(4) The lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN).
Voltage-Gated Sodium Channel(1) This presumably refers to neurotransmitters reaching the post-synaptic neuron and binding to receptors there after swimming across the "ocean" of the synaptic cleft.

(2) PSP = Post-Synaptic Potential.

(3) When the channel opens, ions enter the cell (rather than exiting), which is consistent with the channel being for sodium (rather than, say, for potassium). Likewise, the spreading of the charge along the axon sounds like the action of sodium channels.
The Waltz of the Ribosomes(1) DNA to RNA = transcription; RNA to protein = translation.

(2) No, there is no stop codon here. The six RNA codons code for threonine, glutamate, proline, tyrosine, tryptophan, and serine, respectively.

(3) Genetic sequences are generally written 5' to 3'. If the DNA sequence and RNA sequence were both enumerated in this way, their complementarity would not be as obvious.

(4) The poem is written in a triplet or "waltz" rhythm because the genetic code is based on triplets. That is each set of three bases encodes one amino acid.
When The Milk Comes In(1) The anterior pituitary (adenohypophysis) secretes prolactin, while the posterior pituitary (neurohypophysis) secretes oxytocin. In addition, it appears that in many animals, oxytocin is sent from the hypothalamus to the anterior pituitary as a prolactin-releasing factor (PRF).

(2) In general, an acinus is a cluster of epithelial cells. The mammary glands have many acini consisting of cuboidal epithelial cells that secrete milk into the "cul-de-sacs" of the acini.
Where Are Your Fontanelles, Philip Crowther?(1) Fontanelles allow the cranium to compress as it goes through the birth canal during delivery, and to expand as the brain grows in early childhood.

(2) By age 2 the fontanelles are generally gone.
Where Is That Sound?(1) LSO = Lateral Superior Olive; MSO = Medial Superior Olive.

(2) Binaural = from both ears.

(3) Spikes = action potentials.
You've Got Edema!(1) Hydrostatic pressure is essentially the "weight" of the fluid; hydrostatic pressure within blood vessels is called blood pressure. Osmotic pressure is the force by which water is attracted from solutions of lower osmolarity to solutions of higher osmolarity.

(2) The interstitial space is the area outside of a blood vessel and between the cells of a tissue through which the blood vessel passes.

(3) The lymphatic ducts eventually return the fluid to the circulatory system. (Specifically, the thoracic duct empties into the left subclavian vein, and the right lymphatic duct empties into the right subclavian vein.)

(4) FEMA is the Federal Emergency Management Agency, an office of the United States government; it responds to natural disasters such as floods. FEMA is mentioned here not only because it rhymes with edema, but because edema is a flood of sorts, i.e., an unwanted accumulation of water.