2007-2008 Supercomputing Challenge New Mexico Supercomputing Challenge


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    Team Number: 039

    School Name: Shiprock High School

    Area of Science: Biochemistry

    Project Title: Effect of changes in hormone levels as a function of age

Final Report

Hormones are considered one of the ''body's great communication network'' and is involved in almost about every biological process such as the following: immune function, reproduction, growth, and even controlling other hormones.

A hormone, a molecule that is released by one of about a dozen glands, travels through the blood until it reaches a cell with a receptor that it fits. Then the molecule attaches itself to the receptor and sends a signal inside the cell. The signal may then tell the cell to either produce a certain protein or multiply.

Two main hormones are testosterone and estrogen. Testosterone is a male sex hormone and is produced in the male gonad, or testes. It regulates change to the male body during puberty, influences sexual behavior, and plays a role in growth. Estrogen is the female hormone and is secreted in the ovaries, regulates menstruation and stimulates lactation in human and other mammals.

The beginning stage of the hormonal change begins with puberty. It usually occurs between the ages of 8 to 18 years of age. The body begins growing and changing from head to toe, and are completely natural as the body responds to the increasing hormones. In females, the main hormone is called the estrogen. In males, the main hormone is testosterone.

''Puberty is the bridge between being a kid and becoming an adult.'' This simply means that the body is transitioning from childhood to adulthood. The puberty change differs from person to person. For girls, it is usually from the ages of 8 to 17. For boys, it is usually from the ages 10 to 18.

Both the male and females gain weight, grow taller, grow more body hair, speak with deeper, stronger voices, develop acne, develop secondary sex characteristics on the body, experience sexual curiosity and attraction in other people, usually become more emotional, concerned about ''fitting in'', and trying to gain independence from parents.

The testosterone in men has been linked to increase muscle strength and sex drive. It is hypothesized to contribute to libido in females as well. Indeed, male aggression, competitiveness, and belligerence have also been linked to the testosterone hormones.

The dangers of testosterone are numerous: it may worsen cholesterol levels, cause liver damage, thicken blood, and induce acne, breast development, and accelerate the growth of existing prostate tumors.

Therefore, both the estrogen and testosterone play a big role in the development of young individuals as well as in adolescence. The behavior of the hormones allows the body to experience magnitudes. We will further investigate the effects of the hormones and will build a model that will predict the changes in behavior as a function of age.

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