Monday, August 26, 2013

My Favorite Organic Molecule

Cortisone is my favorite organic molecule. While there are many organic molecules that I hold near and dear to my heart, cortisone is one that is special simply because I have seen it in action multiple times at my job as a veterinary assistant and I think the fact that a steroid hormone that is produced naturally by the body has been studied extensively and developed synthetically to treat a variety of conditions is truly amazing. Cortisone was discovered in the 1930s, but it took a considerable amount of time to identify exactly what this hormone did and to adjust it so it could be used successfully in medication. Dr. Kendall and Hench were awarded the Nobel Prize and recognized for cortisone's discovery and usage as a successful arthritis treatment in 1950, Dr. Reichstein was also recognized for discovering cortisone and shared the prize. This 21 Carbon molecule is naturally made in the adrenal cortex and functions as a steroid hormone. Research of this incredible organic chemical has led to further medical developments and medications with minimal side effects. Cortisone is used to treat a variety of ailments but I have seen firsthand the nearly immediate relief it provides animals suffering from skin conditions and other inflammatory reactions. Medications have been created that target a response by the adrenal cortex such as an increase in the production of this hormone or the decrease in its production. The structure of this molecule could be described as complex with 3 double bonds and several rings, which is another aspect of the molecule that I find interesting. I would love to learn more about this organic molecule on the molecular level and be able to understand more about how it works.

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  1. That technology sounds so advanced, replicating hormone function with lab brewed hormones. Things that our brain makes naturally. I don't know what's crazier- the fact that our brains naturally develop these complex chemical compounds, or the fact that we've learned to duplicate them bond angle by bond angle in the lab. Anyways, job sounds sweet and its good to now know what exactly cortisone does.

  2. This was really informative, in Physiology we learned that cortisol has anti inflammatory properties, like say a zebra gets attacked by a lion cortisol will be released into her blood stream to minimize inflammation until she is able to run away from the zone of danger. Since the two are related it would make sense that scientists would want to harness those properties and make use of them in daily life. What's also interesting is that the body does produce it on its own, it's almost as if we are internally equipped with what we need to get by. Unless of course the lion catches up :P

  3. It is really amazing how nature synthesizes such wonderful molecules and how scientists modify its use to lessen the suffering of animals and human beings. I love what the molecule can do!