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The Sodium Jeer

by Greg Crowther


Na Na Na Na Na Na!
Sodium can't get in!


This jingle was originally written for Biology 220 at the University of Washington. Questions: (1) What is the chemical symbol for sodium? (2) At the cellular level, what can sodium not get into? Why not? (3) Is the sodium concentration higher outside cells or inside cells? Answers: (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.

If a course covers the so-called "funny current" that depolarizes cardiac pacemaker cells, the lyrics can be changed to "Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha! Sodium CAN get in!" In this case, "Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha" is a mnemonic device representing the funny current.

Other Files

MP3 (demo)

score (with melody play-back)