Biology Take Home Assignment Essay Research Paper

Biology Take Home Assignment Essay, Research Paper

For my take home assignment I took a look at the web sites of the Food and

Drug Administration ( and the National Institute of

Health ( The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is a

government agency whose job is to regulate food, drugs, medical devices

and vaccines. It also regulates Animal Feeds and Drugs, cosmetics and

things that emit radiation like cell phones, microwaves and lasers. The

NIH is not a government agency like the FDA, for it is part of the

Department of the Health and Human Services branch of the government.

While the FDA is mostly concerned with regulations of drugs and food the

NIH does research to help prevent, detect and treat diseases and

disabilities. It does research in its own laboratories and also sponsors

research in universities, medical schools, hospitals and other research

institutions across the country.

Overall I though the web sites were informative with their own

strengths and weakness. I found that the NIH web site was more organized

and easier to find desired information. It had a search feature which was

useful in finding information on the site. It also had clearly labeled

headings, making it even more easier to find needed information. The web

site however was presented a in very bland fashion and seemed to be

targeted at researchers and scientists who usually come for information.

The FDA’s site on the other hand was presented in a more colorful way and

seemed to be directed toward the general public. This maybe because the

FDA is in the news quite often and is more well known, while the NIH is

little known, except among people in the fields of science and medicine.

At the FDA’s site there seemed to be more news items and press releases

than scientific data. It did have good information about current drugs

and even included a small section devoted to kids.

The two sites offered various different types of research. Most of

the research date shown on the FDA’s site had to do with various types of

drugs, foods, treatments and medical devices. It also had consumer

affairs issues such as what brands of foods have been determined by the

FDA to be bad for human consumption and what drugs have potentially

harmful side effects to them. The NIH’s site had a more extensive

research section devoted to scientific research, rather than general

information like the FDA’s. It provided articles from scientific journals

data from laboratory tests and data on tests on laboratory animals and

microorganisms. It also as a specific section devoted to microbiology and

molecular biology.

The FDA’s site discussed more issues than the NIH. One the front

page of the FDA’s site it had articles devoted to recent issues that the

FDA was concerned about. Some of the issues that were being addressed on

the FDA’s site were effects on radiation emitted by cellular phones,

certain health risks associated with silicone breast implants, the

nationwide shortage of the flu vaccine and a more recent issue addressed

by the FDA was trying to remove a harmful ingredient found in many over-

the counter and prescription cold and cough medicines phenylpropanolamine

(PPA). The NIH deals with issues discovered in laboratory research. Some

of the items that I came across was a discovery that people with Common

Masculinizing Disorder also lack adrenaline. This can be useful in

treatment and prevention of such a disorder. Another key discovery that

the NIH made was the discovery that adolescent smoking led to anxiety

disorders in early adulthood. This information can be used in anti-

smoking campaigns.

Neither of the web sites had a specific section devoted to biology,

but both has science sections which contained some things related to

biology. In the FDA’s site most of the science information was contained

in the Science@FDA part of the web page. In that section I found some

interesting items related to human biology. One article said that FDA

researchers discovered that a protein known as CD26, which is present on

the surface of white blood cells influences the chemokines, which direct

the traffic of the immune cells. They found out that CD26 can disable or

activate chemokines. This can be useful in treating certain diseases

where chemokines are important. The NIH’s site covered far more topics

related to biology. It had data from tests on laboratory animals, data

from other lab tests and a section on molecular biology, which was

somewhat interesting. In the molecular biology section, I found that it

had some really neat things on proteins, such as a list of most proteins

found in the human body, complete with their molecular structures and

formulas. It also had information on how the protein is used and how it

effects the body. This could be useful if you were to do a research paper

on proteins.

Overall I liked the two web sites. I found them informative and

interesting. I learned several new things about biology, medicine and

other fields of science. The FDA’s web site had a lot more facts and news

items, while the NIH’s site had more data. I could use both of these site

for future research further into biology.


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