Diabetes, What is it?

By: Ava Bleifuss

Diabetes is a long lasting health condition that affects how your body turns food into energy. How does your body turn food into energy? The food that you eat is broken down into glucose/sugar and released into your bloodstream for your body to use. When your blood sugar gets too high, there is a signal that goes to your pancreas to release insulin. Insulin is a lot like a key and in this case it lets the blood sugar into the body’s cells to use as energy. When someone has diabetes, this process does not work.

There are two types of diabetes that a person can have; the first kind is type 1 diabetes. Studies have shown that type 1 diabetes occurs by an autoimmune reaction, which is when the body attacks itself by mistake. That autoimmune reaction stops your pancreas from producing insulin. Without insulin blood sugar is not able to get into cells and it can cause many buildups in the bloodstream.

Type 1 diabetes can also be passed on from parents. If a parent has diabetes then it is possible the child also has the gene, and is more likely to develop it. Type 1 diabetes is less common than type 2 and is often diagnosed in the younger years of a person’s life. 

The second type of diabetes is type 2 diabetes. Type 2 and type 1 diabetes often get mixed up because type 2 is just where your body doesn’t use insulin properly. People with type 2 diabetes, their bodies can not control the blood sugar enough to keep it at a normal level. This long term condition causes too much sugar circulating in a person’s bloodstream, and the cells do not respond normally to insulin.

Most people who have diabetes have type 2, and it develops over many years. Normally, it is diagnosed during adulthood, but children and teens are able to get type 2 diabetes. There is no said cure for this type, but it can be managed and controlled by losing weight, eating well, exercising, and drinking plenty of water. 

Managing diabetes can be difficult. People with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes have to take insulin shots or can use an insulin pump to manage their blood sugar levels. They have to check their blood sugar regularly to make sure it is in the appropriate range. If it is too low, people with diabetes will have to take in more glucose, and if it is too high, they will have to take in more insulin. Having a lot of stress can cause managing diabetes to be more challenging, but doing regular physical activity, getting enough sleep, and having relaxation exercises can help. 

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The James Webb Space Telescope: A time machine

By: Reed Morris

Image taken from: JWST
Adriana Manrique Gutierrez, NASA Animator

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), is the flagship observatory for NASA’s next generation of space telescopes. The project has been in progress for years and has cost around 10 billion dollars to complete. Many people refer to it as “The new Hubble”; while this is partially true, Hubble and the JWST have very different missions, and operational capabilities.

The two most important differences between the two observatories are their mirror sizes, and the imaging equipment on board. The size of the mirrors are very important as the image quality and range capabilities of telescopes directly rely on the size of their mirrors. Hubble is equipped with a mirror 2.4 meters or 7.8’ in diameter, whereas the JWST has a mirror diameter of 6.5 meters or 21.3’, a massive leap forward for space telescope capabilities.

Image taken from: JWST
NASA https://www.jwst.nasa.gov/index.html

The other main difference between the two is their individual operation capabilities. Hubble has cameras that focus mostly on the visible light range with minimal ultraviolet and infrared capabilities. The JWST however has extreme infrared capabilities. This is where the time machine nickname comes from. Infrared imaging in space exploration is extremely important because of the way that the expansion of the universe affects light. The farther away an object is from an observer, the greater the expansion and stretching of the universe affect the wavelength of light. As space stretches, so does the wavelength of light, redshifting the waves from visible light onto the infrared spectrum. Having high infrared capabilities is necessary to image events that took place an incomprehensible amount of time in the past, over similarly incomprehensible distances.

The above image compares the light detecting capabilities of the two telescopes, with their respective nanometer values.
Image taken from: JWST

The James Webb Space Telescope is a monumental step forward in astronomy. It will let us peer billions of years into the past to witness the formation of the first galaxies. It will also be used to search for exoplanets that could harbor life, and get beautiful images of the vast expanses of space. The galaxy formations that the JWST will be observing are events that took place possibly only 100 million years after the creation of the universe, the Big Bang. While Hubble was, and still is a hugely important tool for space exploration, the JWST ushers in a new era of deep space imaging, and is a launching pad for humanity’s better understanding of the creation of galaxies and the universe as a whole.