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How are atoms combined with the body?

  1. Oct 29, 2014 #1
    EDIT: "In what fashion are atoms or molecules added to a body, then attached, how exactly do they get replaced?"

    http://imgur.com/pmR8RB9 (I realize atoms are much smaller)

    Sorry for the crudity of my drawing but I think you get the general idea. I can't picture what happens?

    I believe they stay together through some sort of ionic bonding where electrons are gained and traded, magnetic I suppose. Atoms, as I understand, bond into molecules.

    But what in the world happens for the atom or molecules to get to all these places in the body, what movements, a shifting?
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2014
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 29, 2014 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    atoms share electrons with other atoms to create molecules. biological systems construct very lengthy molecules like proteins and dna and rna strands that roll up into more compact structures that bond with others to create cells and tissue...
  4. Oct 29, 2014 #3
    WOW, that was a fast reply! I'm starting to understand this better, but I still don't understand how they come and go, like a layered shifting? Perhaps my thinking of it is incorrect. Blood carries nutrients as well as absorption I believe, but the latter confuses me.
  5. Oct 29, 2014 #4


    Staff: Mentor

    This might best be explained via video:

    of how a virus is absorbed into a cell and inserts itself into the cell mechanisms. think of cells are factories that make proteins that maintain the biological system and the virus coopts the factory ala hostile takeover and manufactures itself before the body can stop it.
  6. Oct 29, 2014 #5


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    The basic building block of a body is the cell. As you are well aware, there are many types of cells in the body, with general names such as skin, heart, brain, liver, bone, cartilage, red blood, white blood, hair, fat, nerve, as only part of the list. A cell, be it that of a single celled organism such as an ameoba, or of a multicellular organsim such as in animals or plants needs nutrients and use energy to survive. The cell can be considered to be of 3 parts - a nucleus which holds the DNA, the cytoplasm which uses the nutrients and energy, and the surrounding cell membrane through which nutrients enter and waste products exit. The blood carries the nutrients to the cells and removes the waste products,

    Cell will divide by cell division or mitosis, wherby one cell becomes two.
    In the picture of the skin which you showed, new epidermis cells are always dividing in the lower layers, pushing the older cells upwards to the surface, where the dead ones are being flaked off. In a sense, your epidermis is always being re-juvinated.
  7. Oct 29, 2014 #6
    Thanks for that clear and concise answer! That's exactly what I wanted to know. :p
  8. Oct 29, 2014 #7
    Great video, it's becoming much clearer to me how this works. Thankyou for your time.
  9. Oct 30, 2014 #8


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    Gold Member

    For the molecular-scale perspective, there are some great animations showing the inner workings of a cell at this site:
    The "inner life" animation is the highlight there. It includes depictions of molecular structures in the cell, protein assembly and folding, and more.

    This site:
    contains a plethora of in-depth explanations of various biological processes. The cell biology section contains good follow-ups to the Inner life video. For example, I saw the animation of a kinesin motor protein literally walking along a microtubule, and thought "you've got to be kidding me". Then I found a video on "cytoskeletal motor proteins" on the ibiology site that nicely explained how the walking is achieved through chemical processes.
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2014
  10. Oct 30, 2014 #9
    I remember that kinesin/mictotubule animation, and my reaction was the same.

    One should note on the movies that they are more schematic (in all their current detail) rather than faithful:
    - Molecular motors and engines are stochastic, since chemistry is, and they will tend to try to go backwards, hesitate, et cetera, often not shown since it would take time and blur the intent of the animations. It is among other things ratchet mechanisms that make these motors/engines unidirectional.

    - Cells are dense chemical compartments, where molecules bump into each other at high rates and that can both delay and speed reactions (so transport and motor functions) compared to dilute chemistry in comparatively large glass containers as people do in chemistry classes. That too would drag out and obscure animations, so is never shown to my knowledge. (Maybe they could use some animation technique where obscuring molecules are transparent, but current art hasn't advanced that far.)

    Both these deviations would also take computer resources and project time, so is a more fundamental problem as of yet. When computers get faster and larger (a constant plaint), then perhaps...
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