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Star Trek: Voyager

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Bianca Chiarenza

on 5 February 2015

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Transcript of Star Trek: Voyager

About the Episode
crew members are experiencing different effects from hyper stimulated DNA
after analyzing, the doctor finds barcodes on the DNA
aliens have been conducting medical research on the crew members
in an attempt to rid the ship of the aliens, they fly into the pulsar
in the end, they survive and the aliens leave
Neurotransmitter emitted from the brain in which controls:
pleasurable reward
behavior and cognition
Star Trek character Seven of Nine/ Real Life Technologies in Biological Implants
Star Trek: Voyager
Scientific Method

Pleasure and Reward
mediates pleasure
released during pleasurable moments.
enables us not only to want rewards, but also gives us the drive to seek them out
Drugs such as cocaine create an addiction due to the increased in dopamine levels
this drug is a dopamine transport blocker which completely inhibits the reuptake of dopamine. This increases the amount of dopamine in the synapse.
This creates an overwhelming amount of dopamine stuck in the synapse much larger than what we are use to.
responses such as restlessness, Impulsive behavior, Increased energy and euphoria can be present when the drug is taken.
Impulsive behavior & Compulsion
increased dopamine levels in the brain have been linked to impulsive and compulsive behavior with the need for instant gratification.
Visual/Ocular implants used to increase levels and acuity of vision identifying aliens among crew
Auditory/ Cochlear implants used to communicate with directly with the Doctor over Radio
Binary Pulsars
a pulsar is a rotating neutron star that produces periodic signals
has a strong gravitational pull
when charged particles are in close range, they are pulled to either the North or South pole of the star
periodic signals = charged particle striking the surface
happens on Earth in the form of the Northern Lights
difference between pulsar and binary pulsar?
a binary pulsar occurs when two pulsars spiral inward towards eachother
Escape Velocity
minimum velocity required to escape the gravitational pull of a massive object
G = gravitational constant
M = mass of the pulsar
R = radius of the pulsar
outcome will give the velocity in which the Voyager needs to be travelling to survive
Science Literacy
Pulsars added a whole new component to astronomy
before pulsars were examined, it was believed that rapid fluctuations in radio intensity were messages from aliens
since we know that pulsing = neutron stars, we are able to locate new neutron stars in the universe
this type of information could be useful in the future (maybe experiments?)
Works Cited
Mattson, B. (n.d.). Neutron Stars and Pulsars.
. Retrieved September 26, 2014, from http://imagine.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/science
According to KCI.org, an excess of dopamine can lead to uncontrollable and subconscious movements and thoughts like repetitive tapping or hair-pulling
Dopamine receptors
are known as the stimulatory receptors
When dopamine activates them, the cell they are attached to becomes stimulated.
If however the cell is an inhibitor cell to others down the line, the net effect can still be inhibition
are known as Inhibitory cells
however if the cell is also an inhibitory cell, than it stops the inhibitory function.
This may stop the inhibition of other cells down the line which results in stimulation
Different receptors found at different parts of the body
2 types of receptors
inhibitory and stimulatory
Pleasure center of the brain is known as the
Nucleus Accumbens
believed to be very concerned with the concepts of reward and pleasure stimuli
When we get something that is rewarding, dopamine is released into this area of the brain
works with the
ventral tegmental area (VTA)
and the
prefrontal cortex
witch also play a roll in reward.
The neurons of the VTA synthesis with dopamine and than are sent to the Nucleus Accumbens
The Prefrontal cortex works with planning and Motivating
it is thought that changes in dopamine levels in the Nucleus Accumbens are linked to addiction
dopamine replacement treatment in Parkinson disease patients
"Impulsive and compulsive behaviors, including pathologic gambling, hypersexuality, compulsive shopping, compulsive eating, excessive engagement in hobbies, punding, and Dopamine Dysregulation Syndrome (DDS), are increasingly reported serious side-effects of dopaminergic medication"(Raja M)
a hormone called norepinephrine is involved in the release of melatonin in the pinial gland. this is done by norepinephrine binding to its own receptors.
When dopamine interacts with these receptors, it inhibits the norepinephrine which in turn stops the production of melatonin
Normally the dopamine only appears in the pinial gland at the end of the night to wake us up.
In the episode, Commander Chakotay begins to rapidly show signs of aging prematurely, including bone decalcification, tissue necrosis, decreased visual acuity, hair loss, and wrinkled skin.
Dopamine may increase as a compensatory response to sleep deprivation in order to negate the effects of increased sleep drive in the brain
The Doctor theorizes that the condition is similar to progeria, seen in children
when dopamine levels are increased artificially, the response can be similar
In reality...
Progeria is a genetic disorder also known as Hutchinson-Gilford syndrome. Progeria causes young children to age rapidly
Just like in the episode, progeria can cause:
spotty, wrinkled skin
visible veins
stiff joints
Broader effects
The Doctor clearly references the disease specifically in the episode, without making a clear distinction between Chakotay's condition and Progeria.
However, the real science behind the disease differs from what is described by the Doctor.
Therefore, making reference to a disease in a science-fiction show could confuse viewers about fact and fiction.
Society for Neuroscience. "One Sleepless Night Increases Dopamine In The Human Brain." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 August 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080819213033.htm>.
Raja, Michele, and Anna Rita Bentivoglio. "Impulsive and Compulsive Behaviors During Dopamine Replacement Treatment in Parkinson’s Disease and Other Disorders." Current Drug Safety 7.1 (2012): 63-75. Web
Public Library of Science. "The role of dopamine in sleep regulation." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 June 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120619225725.htm>.
"THE BRAIN FROM TOP TO BOTTOM." THE BRAIN FROM TOP TO BOTTOM. Trans. Ai Daigen. Canadian Institutes of Health Research, n.d. Web. 30 Sept. 2014.
"Back to Basics 4: Dopamine!" Neurotic Physiology. N.p., 26 Aug. 2010. Web. 30 Sept. 2014. <http://scientopia.org/blogs/scicurious/2010/08/26/back-to-basics-4-dopamine/>.
Izadi, Anela, M.D. "What Are the Effects of Too Much Dopamine?" LIVESTRONG.COM. LIVESTRONG.COM, 16 Aug. 2013. Web. 30 Sept. 2014. <http://www.livestrong.com/article/408170-what-are-the-effects-of-too-much-dopamine/>.
Cochlear Implants
Implants that improve auditory ability
Implanted for person's with hearing-loss or deafness

Contains a neural stimulator that reconstructs the ability to hear when there is damage to the auditory nerve
The implant collects sounds and speech through a external microphone
Internal stimulator actives the auditory cortex to send messages to the brain for person to "Hear"
Cochlear implants also improve oral communication and sign language
Cochlear Implants are expensive
Aprox. $40,000 for adults and $60,00 for children
Based on health care systems around the world, not everyone has equal access to these devices
Rehabilitation and daily training is required post surgery
Gates, G. A., M.D., & Miyamoto, R. T., M.D. (2003). Cochlear implants. The New England Journal of Medicine, 349(5), 421-3. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.lib.ryerson.ca/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/223930061?accountid=13631
Ocular Implants
Contact Lenses
Worn by people who prefer not to wear eye glasses for corrected vision
Originally developed in the late 19th century as glass shells
Later in the 1970's new technologies such as Polymeric-based material was developed into the first rigid (hard) lenses
Today materials such as Hexafluoroisopropyl Methacrylate (HFIM) and Hydrogels are used to create more elastic, flexible, wet and comfortable (soft) lenses

Colour contacts change the physical properties of the eye.
Orbital Implants/
Artificial Eye
Surgery to implant a prosthetic eye in the cavity where a person has lost their biological eye
Necessary removal of unhealthy eye

Artificial eye restores appearance and natural ocular structure
This implant does not restore vision
Implants For
The Blind
New technologies to advance the ability for the blind to gain sight
Lasers power the retina neurons within the eye, producing light reflections
As a result, this surgery constructs the ability for the blind person to perceive light

This technology shows future promise for inventions in restoring sight to the blind population
Lloyd, A. W., Faragher, R. G. A., & Denyer, S. P. (2001). Ocular biomaterials and implants. Biomaterials, 22(8), 769-785. doi:10.1016/S0142-9612(00)00237-4
Other Implants: Bionics
Bionic biological technology now offer the ability to restore movement and motor skills to quadriplegics
Machinery replaces paralyzed or absent limbs
Bionic limbs (prosthetic) operate via a computer chip implant that sends electrodes through a wire coil and myoelectric sensor to the biological muscle
Converts these electrodes into signals to perform desired movement
What Does This All Mean?
Hogan, D. (1997). Bionic bodies. Current Science, 83(7), 4-6. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.lib.ryerson.ca/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/195940787?accountid=13631
Today's technology has not fully reached the same level of advanced technology shown in Star Trek

Seven of Nine communicates through an cochlear implant; acts as a radio- In reality we have this type of technology being used today

Ocular technology in reality is not as advanced. Real technology has advanced measurably with contacts, artificial implants and light enhancing lasers for the blind. However, the ability to adjust sight, levels of visual capacity and thermal imagery with the human eye has not been developed

Human prosthetic/ bionics are changing and advancing at a continued rate. However, this machinery is not yet being released into human robots
Binary Pulsars
Biologial Implants
Star Trek episode concludes that aliens are the reason behind the crew becoming ill
The crew becomes ill with a variety of symptoms including high levels of Dopamine and Progeria
Seven of Nine (Borge) uses her biological implants to identify that aliens are experimenting with the crew
The captain directs the ship into the binary pulsar to fight the aliens. As a result the aliens depart the ship, and the crew regains their health
In the episode, the Doctor states that there has been hyper-stimulation of the segments of Chakotay's DNA that regulate metabolism.
In reality, progeria is caused by a mutation in the gene
LMNA. LMNA produces a protein called Lamin A.
Lamin A is necessary for holding the nucleus of a cell together.
Therefore, with defective Lamin A the cell becomes unstable, leading to premature aging.
Mayo Clinic
. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 3 May 2014. Web. 30 Sept. 2014.
"The Science Behind Progeria."
Progeria Reseach Foundation
. Progeria Research Foundation, n.d. Web. 30 Sept. 2014.
Nave, R. (n.d.). Binary Pulsars as a Test of General Relativity.
. Retrieved September 26, 2014, from http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/astro/pulsrel.html
Richmond, M. (n.d.). Black Holes.
. Retrieved September 26, 2014, from http://spiff.rit.edu/classes/phys301/lectures/black_hole/black_hole.html
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