Friday, March 13, 2009

Caffeine and Touro

Well, I submitted my second deposit to Touro-CA for $1,000 today. I am really horrible with fax machines and phones - I don't know how to transfer calls for one, and I am so used to my cell phone I forgot that all other appliances require a "1" before an out of area phone number, so I wasted 5 pages thinking that the machine on the other end was busy (the option is busy/no response). I am getting more and more used to the idea of living at home again - I almost look forward to it. It'll be my last chance to really be a part of the family again, before I'm a truly independent adult and starting a family bud (only scientists can think of yeast while talking about starting their own family). Also, the prospect of saving an estimated 17k per year is very exciting - nearly 80k cut off my loans. The commute would be great also - 35 minutes each way, no traffic. Whether I stay at home more than a semester hinges on how well it works out for me, and for Kit (my boyfriend). Being long-distance and not having my own place will be difficult. We've worked out a contingency plan though, so we're prepared.

On an unrelated note, my cognitive science textbook has some very interesting tidbits thrown in, most recently on caffeine. It is a cool mechanism - as we are awake, adenosine accumulates in the brain and is thought to induce sleepiness. Caffeine acts as an adenosine antagonist, so it competes with adenosine for binding spots on adenosine receptors, but does not produce drowsiness when bound to the receptor. As more adenosine receptors are tied up with caffeine and not adenosine, the accumulated adenosine has a weaker effect. This explains why using caffeine too late has no effect, and why you "crash" after ingesting a lot of caffeine. First, if caffeine is administered after adenosine molecules have bound to a significant number of receptors, then you will be too sleepy for the caffeine to reduce the effect much. Second, if you have caffeine in the receptors, adenosine accumulates in the space near the receptors, so when the caffeine dissociates from the receptors you get a rush of adenosine binding and the subsequent drowsiness.

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