Biochemistry is one of the single most important parts of human history. It’s not often brought up as such, but in a sense that stands as evidence for how important it really is. Advancements in biochemistry have brought about a stability in the human condition which wouldn’t have been feasible to our ancestors.
It’s almost hard to imagine life without the advancements brought by biochemistry. One does have to spend some time properly narrowing down the definition in order to do so. But for the sake of ease of discussion, one can best state it as any science relating to biological systems. This encompasses a wealth of different technologies. Everything from antibiotics to interfaces between man and machine.
How biochemistry saves lives
Biochemistry is able to save lives in large part because it deals directly with life itself. The process of living involves the interplay of biological reactions. This might not be readily apparent at first. But one simply needs to look at any organ within the body.
The heart beats thanks to electrochemical reactions. The brain’s neurons work with a complex dance of neurotransmitters and electrical signals pushed through synaptic branches. Even the skin itself works due to the fact that it’s made up of living cells and their own biological processes. A human being is obviously more than the sum of his or her parts. But all of those parts do function according to biochemical foundations. And biochemistry is able to help ensure those functions work properly even when damaged by outside forces.
Who are the people moving things forward
Today there’s a number of different organizations working on biochemically related projects. Some, such as Hera Biolabs, put a heavy focus on creating something known as proper animal models.
These are what people usually talk about when animal testing comes up. But the actual details of how and why they’re used doesn’t come up very often. And that’s rather unfortunate because animals are an important part of biochemistry.
How animals help and what that means in the long-term
Animal models typically work by breeding in specific differences from their standard member. For example, in humans, some people are born with phenylketonuria. In order to study it one might create lab mice with similar conditions. The reason is quite simple. It wouldn’t be ethical to decide on the diet, amount of exercise or living conditions of people suffering from various medical issues, but one can do so with rodents. In fact, often giving them better living conditions than they’d find in the wild.
Researchers can look into finding ways to better treat their conditions while mice are in their care. It’s worked remarkably well for a great number of reasons. But among the biggest is the simple fact that all mammals have a lot in common. And even more so for social animals like mice and social people like humans.
Looking into the future
Right now the larger investigations are going on at a cellular level. Many of the largest issues that people face right now aren’t very easy to really investigate. This is one of the things which makes animal models so important. We’re not just trying to find out how to treat disorders. But we’re also investigating what these conditions even entail. Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of senile dementia are among the larger examples.
And again, this shows how animal models can be extremely helpful. Investigating these conditions in humans might well entail waiting out the entire human lifespan. There are obvious issues involved with waiting for a hundred years or so to get answers about whether treatments might work or not. But mice bred to have symptoms similar to Alzheimer’s can provide those answers within a handful of years. And this is providing some impressive answers. Mice are now pointing to a viral link to Alzheimer’s. And they’re proving a pivotal resource in using biochemistry to create new treatments for it as well.
Creation of a new experimental procedure
Many of the future procedures which come from these discoveries are hard to predict. But one of the biggest takeaways is that biochemistry isn’t just producing new discoveries, it’s also producing new tools.
The methods used to create many of the animal models have only come into existence due to initial research. For example, genetic alterations to create some animal models are done using prior discoveries. And the future depends on this constant discovery of new tools which enable new discoveries.