• Question: what causes diseases and how do people grow tall or short

    Asked by nishilgamer1213 to Zena, Jared, Isabel, Ian, Frank on 10 Mar 2015.
    • Photo: Zena Hadjivasiliou

      Zena Hadjivasiliou answered on 10 Mar 2015:

      There are many different causes of diseases.

      One common way of getting ill is a bacterial infection. Bacteria are tiny organisms made of a single cell. Our body is full of bacteria that can be good for us. Sometimes however bacteria that are bad for us gain access to our bodies and multiply which makes us feel ill.

      Another cause of diseases is viral infections. Viruses can enter our cells and do things that don’t let our cells function normally.

      Changes in our DNA can also cause problems to our health and many diseases are linked with them.

      So unfortunately the cause for diseases can be very diverse and the ways in which we try to understand them and cure them are also very different!

    • Photo: Isabel Pires

      Isabel Pires answered on 10 Mar 2015:

      As Zena mentioned, diseases can be caused by many factors, such as:
      – infection with other organisms (such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, etc), for diseases such as measles, pneumonia, etc.
      – changes to our DNA by both internal and external factors, leading to diseases such as cancer
      – our immune system attacking our own body, for diseases such as eczema, lupus etc
      – Some diseases can even be caused by excess production of certain proteins, that accumulate in certain tissues and cause damage to them, such is the case in some Alzheimer’s disease patients (however the causes of Alzheimer’s are still mainly unknown).

      Regarding how do people grow tall or short, I agree with Zena. However, what determines whether we grow tall or short can be due, in one hand, to what kind of genetic material we have, i.e., whether our parents passed on to us “gene sets for tall” or “gene sets for short”, or in the other hand, to external factors, such as how good our diet is.