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Thread: Question about the molecular structure of serotonin and cortisol.

  1. #1 Question about the molecular structure of serotonin and cortisol. 
    Forum Freshman SquishyBarb's Avatar
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    Hi everyone. I have been looking and looking for some information on a question I have, and haven't been able to answer through basic Googling, nor do I know anyone who could help me out. So I figured someone on here might know...

    I have a tattoo (I hear the groaning now, I'm sorry...) of a cortisol and serotonin molecule on my shoulder. Unfortunately, my tattoo artist isn't so great with thin lines... as a result, the tattoo has blown out, (ink has bled into the surrounding areas of my skin.) The entire tattoo isn't very big, and to bold the lines may make the tattoo run together and look like a giant blob when fixed.

    I really want to keep and fix the tattoo, rather than cover it; it has a lot of meaning to me. I was thinking of coloring the molecules in, so that the bold lines won't distort the way it looks.. But then I thought about the structure of the molecules and if coloring them in would no longer classify them as what they are... Would they even be serotonin and cortisol if they were colored in? Is there some sort of general rule about what makes a molecule a molecule, by how it looks?

    I'm sorry if I'm not making much sense, I'm a criminal justice and psych major, I haven't dealt with chemistry since high school. Forgive me if I sound uneducated on the subject and I'll gladly try to explain myself better if need be.

    If anyone could help me with this I'd greatly appreciate it.

    Thanks!


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  3. #2  
    Moderator Moderator Cogito Ergo Sum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SquishyBarb View Post
    I really want to keep and fix the tattoo, rather than cover it; it has a lot of meaning to me. I was thinking of coloring the molecules in, so that the bold lines won't distort the way it looks.. But then I thought about the structure of the molecules and if coloring them in would no longer classify them as what they are... Would they even be serotonin and cortisol if they were colored in? Is there some sort of general rule about what makes a molecule a molecule, by how it looks?

    There are different ways to visualize molecules, e.g. space-filling, ball-and-stick, condensed, skeletal...
    If I were you, I would opt for the Lewis structures of these molecules:

    (L: cortison. R: serotonin. Pictures from PubChem)

    There is not (at least, I have never heard of it) a consensus about the colors of different chemical elements,
    but it is advisable to color oxygen red and nitrogen blue (and perhaps carbon black and hydrogen white).

    I hope this helps.


    "The only safe rule is to dispute only with those of your acquaintance of whom you know that they possess sufficient intelligence and self-respect not to advance absurdities; to appeal to reason and not to authority, and to listen to reason and yield to it; and, finally, to be willing to accept reason even from an opponent, and to be just enough to bear being proved to be in the wrong."

    ~ Arthur Schopenhauer, The Art of Being Right: 38 Ways to Win an Argument (1831), Stratagem XXXVIII.
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    Forum Freshman SquishyBarb's Avatar
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    Thank you so much for replying, I'm getting desperate for an answer! lol

    I have those exact structures on my collarbone... literally printed it from the internet and took it into the tattoo shop. lol. I've tried to add a picture but it keeps denying me because I'm new..

    Here's my delimma, though. The way the artist will have to fix it, is to make every line as "fat" as the biggest line that has blown out. Because of how fuzzy it is already, he will have to make the entire thing quite a bit more bold. And I am afraid that the lines will all run together (especially the ones on the inside), and it will end up really bad.

    So I was considereing coloring the entire thing black, and then putting red and blue where the oxygen and nitrogen should go. Will filling the entire thing in black, cause the molecules to no longer represent cortisol and serotonin?
    Last edited by SquishyBarb; July 21st, 2013 at 10:26 AM.
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  5. #4  
    Forum Freshman SquishyBarb's Avatar
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    Aha! Where there's a will, there's a way - my avatar.
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  6. #5  
    Moderator Moderator Cogito Ergo Sum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SquishyBarb View Post
    So I was considereing coloring the entire thing black, and then putting red and blue where the oxygen and nitrogen should go. Will filling the entire thing in black, cause the molecules to no longer represent cortisol and serotonin?

    In my opinion, you have asked the wrong question.
    You should have asked: "Does filling in the entire thing represent the molecules from my point of view?"
    Considering the fact that those molecules mean something to you, it is (from my point of view) a reason to personalize it, instead of placing a blueprint into your skin.

    I presume that your avatar displays the final result?
    At first sight, it seems pretty.
    "The only safe rule is to dispute only with those of your acquaintance of whom you know that they possess sufficient intelligence and self-respect not to advance absurdities; to appeal to reason and not to authority, and to listen to reason and yield to it; and, finally, to be willing to accept reason even from an opponent, and to be just enough to bear being proved to be in the wrong."

    ~ Arthur Schopenhauer, The Art of Being Right: 38 Ways to Win an Argument (1831), Stratagem XXXVIII.
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  7. #6  
    Forum Freshman SquishyBarb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cogito Ergo Sum View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by SquishyBarb View Post
    So I was considereing coloring the entire thing black, and then putting red and blue where the oxygen and nitrogen should go. Will filling the entire thing in black, cause the molecules to no longer represent cortisol and serotonin?

    In my opinion, you have asked the wrong question.
    You should have asked: "Does filling in the entire thing represent the molecules from my point of view?"
    Considering the fact that those molecules mean something to you, it is (from my point of view) a reason to personalize it, instead of placing a blueprint into your skin.

    I presume that your avatar displays the final result?
    At first sight, it seems pretty.
    I've never thought of it that way.. I guess you're right. And thank you.. the size of the picture helps it look not so blown out.. lol

    Thanks for the help!
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  8. #7  
    KJW
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    I have to ask: Why do you have a tattoo of serotonin and cortisol on your shoulder? In particular, why those two molecules?
    There are no paradoxes in relativity, just people's misunderstandings of it.
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  9. #8  
    Forum Freshman SquishyBarb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KJW View Post
    I have to ask: Why do you have a tattoo of serotonin and cortisol on your shoulder? In particular, why those two molecules?

    I have struggled with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, since I was in high school. At a point it was so bad that I couldn't live life normally. I couldn't sit through a class, I couldn't ride in a car, go to the dentist; I couldn't go anywhere if I felt that I couldn't leave whenever I wanted. Even if I was in a huge building or outside, if I felt like I "had" to be there, or wasn't in control of the situation, that fight or flight mechanism kicked in for no reason, and I would panic. I couldn't go one day without panicking, and I would panic about things I had no control over and didn't need to control, but I felt like I had to anyway. My days relied solely on mentally talking myself out of panic attacks... trying to do "normal" activities was exhausting and sometimes I just wouldn't go anywhere because it was easier to stay home than fight my anxiety all day..

    Years later, I've gotten it under control, with no medication. I'm a full-time college student, I work, and I have healthy, happy relationships with my family and fiance. I wanted a long term resolution and I knew the only way I'll be able to do that was changing how I think and how I deal with my anxiety, because once it's there, it will always be there... But I want to remember to never take advantage of the simple things I struggled to get through.

    So I got serotonin (directly linked with anxiety) and cortisol (stress hormone) tattooed on me...

    Mental problems are often hidden, at least in the US, because of the nasty stigma associated with it... And I want people to ask me about my tattoo so I can show them that mental health can affect anyone, even the little blonde girl who's always positive and happy, and would never seem like she is sometimes freaking out inside.. Most people who see me wouldn't think that I have my own "invisible" struggle.. I'm not crazy and I won't feel ashamed for it. I'm a better person today, with my anxiety, than I was without it.


    I will step off my soapbox now.
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  10. #9  
    KJW
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    Quote Originally Posted by SquishyBarb View Post
    I want people to ask me about my tattoo
    I'm glad I could be of service.


    Thanks for sharing your story. I wish you all the best.
    There are no paradoxes in relativity, just people's misunderstandings of it.
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  11. #10  
    Forum Freshman SquishyBarb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KJW View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by SquishyBarb View Post
    I want people to ask me about my tattoo
    I'm glad I could be of service.


    Thanks for sharing your story. I wish you all the best.


    Thanks
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