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Thread: Digestive system help

  1. #1 Digestive system help 
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    Hey all,

    I've been given an experiment to conduct to find out why a man was found dead with no wounds. I have taken a smaple of his blood and plasma and it identifies that he ate a large carbohydrate meal which would mean that glucose would be produced from the stomach/small intestine and realised into the blood stream.

    The sample was taken from the small intestine where we tested for glucose being realsed there was no sign. I have done the experiment using visking tubes and a heatin bath to conduct the heat of the process in the body. I used 3 different solutions to test for which could be the cause.
    These solutions are:
    - Glucose solution
    - Starch solution
    - Starch and Amylase solution

    After doing the experiment and reaching the 45 minutes needed to show the realse in the small intestine, we split all the 3 tests again to make six. 1 of each had Iodine, 6 drops, inside to confirm if Starch was present and 1 of each had Benedicts reagent, 6 drops, to test for Glucose.

    My results are as follows

    - Glucose solution - Starch not present, Glucose present
    - Starch solution - Starch present, Glucose not present
    - Starch and Amylse solution - Glucose and Starch present

    Since I am asked to confirm what killed the man I have only two options both of which I believe could be the answer but would like some help...

    1. The man was either diabetic which would have caused his stomach and small intestine to not be able to realse the glucose needed and this would of cause a lack of energy forcing his heart to slow.

    2. It could be that he aint too much carbohydrates and it was an overdose.

    Both these answers dont seem to be right to me

    Any suggestions please It would be greatful

    Thank you


    Amy.Atrocious
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  3. #2  
    Forum Ph.D. Leszek Luchowski's Avatar
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    Apparently, you used the 3 solutions only to test if your reagents correctly detect starch and glucose. It's good to know at least you have good reagents.

    But just because the man had had a big starchy meal and was digesting it when he died doesn't mean that that was what killed him. For all I know after reading your post, the man could have been poisoned with cyanide, arsenic or almost any other nasty stuff (in the meal or outside it), gassed, drowned, killed with a big dose of gamma radiation, suffocated with a pillow, or died of natural causes such as heart attack or stroke.

    Are you a professional forensic expert?


    Leszek. Pronounced [LEH-sheck]. The wondering Slav.
    History teaches us that we don't learn from history.
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  4. #3  
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    No I'm just a student that's why I'm confused and don't understand why the results and information I was given was supposed to be put to any use!

    The reason the test is being conducted is to find out why he didn't have glucose in his system and also my report has to confirm what is abnormal with the man's digestive system and also to just to say the fluid we tested was from the duodenum.

    It's confusing but I need to understand what how is digestive system was different to thoughs of a normal healthy body. That's why I decided it could be linked to diabetes or something along those lines.

    Than kyou though it does give me an insight into my results and little more understanding
    Amy.Atrocious
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  5. #4  
    Forum Ph.D. Leszek Luchowski's Avatar
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    I am confused - did he or did he not have a normal glucose level in his blood?
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  6. #5  
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    he had no glucose in his blood at all!

    So the results came back negative for glucose that's why i thought it could be diabetes because he might of needed incilin
    Amy.Atrocious
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  7. #6  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    If he had no glucose in his blood it doesn't really matter what he ate.

    Shouldn't there always be glucose in the blood?
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  8. #7  
    Moderator Moderator TheBiologista's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amy.Atrocious
    he had no glucose in his blood at all!

    So the results came back negative for glucose that's why i thought it could be diabetes because he might of needed incilin
    In diabetes, insulin is taken before food in order to control the resulting blood glucose level increase. In other words, taking insulin reduces blood glucose levels- it tells your cells to take up glucose and store it as glycogen rather than use it for metabolism. If your patient had no detectable blood glucose despite having ingested a large amount of carbohydrates, that could indicate all manner of problems. If it is anything to do with diabetes (and you'd have to have some good reason to think so) it would be due to an insulin overdose causing hypoglycaemia.

    But it could also be due to some enzyme deficiency- and I suspect that's what they're pushing you towards. The enzyme you use in this experiment- amylase- converts starch into glucose and other sugars. If a person is deficient in amylase, they cannot break down the starch in their food. Absent or malfunctioning amylase may be the result of pancreatitis or calcium deficiency.

    You can find much better info than this on Wikipedia, I strongly suggest you go read up on it all rather than relying on what I vaguely remember from my undergrad days.
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  9. #8  
    Forum Ph.D. Leszek Luchowski's Avatar
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    Your spelling is sometimes hard to read. I assume you meant "he may have needed insulin".

    Now a diabetic person needs insulin too keep their blood glucose level from going too high. If he needed insuline but didn't take any, his blood glucose level would become dangerously high, not low.

    An overdose of insulin is what can lower the glucose level to dangerously low values.
    Leszek. Pronounced [LEH-sheck]. The wondering Slav.
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  10. #9  
    Moderator Moderator TheBiologista's Avatar
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    I reckon it's pancreatitis. Assuming diabetes plus overdose fails Occam's razor unless it was specified the man had that condition.
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  11. #10  
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    Thank you that helps my understanding
    I don't know much about science and I did read up on them all but my tutor kept referring to incilin.
    He didn't go until detail about incilin and it's mainly us working from experiments and research without the tutor.
    I didn't do well at school and I have a crap keyboard.
    I want to learn and sometimes people like to ask others just to double check.
    But Thank you.
    Amy.Atrocious
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