What Happens After an Earthquake

Last week, the southern coast of Mexico experienced a magnitute-8.1 earthquake.  It was the strongest earthquake to hit Mexico in 100 years.

A magnitude of 8.0 or greater indicates “Major damage to buildings, structures likely to be destroyed. Will cause moderate to heavy damage to sturdy or earthquake-resistant buildings. Damaging in large areas. Felt in extremely large regions.” (Wikipedia)

What are the longer-term consequences to humans?

Stress cardiomyopathy (also known as “broken heart syndrome”) causes rapid and severe heart muscle weakness.   SCM can occur sporadically after a stressful event, but is more widespread after a natural disaster.

New Zealand scientists wanted to see if there is an underlying genetic predisposition to SCM.  They studied 28 women who suffered SCM after devastating earthquakes.  They found a markedly elevated rate of rare, heterogeneous copy number variants in genes related to cardiac functions.

Equipment used in the study included an Agilent Tapestation system, SurePrint oligo array, SureScan microarray scanner and Cytogenomics software.

The prenatal environment can affect physiological and psychological processes in animal offspring.  Chinese scientists investigated the key genes underlying the effects of both positive and negative environments.

Pregnant rats were exposed to environments that included a simulated earthquake.  The researchers found that prenatal earthquake simulation could retard fetal development of the nervous system.  They also found that Chinese herbal remedies given to the mothers after the “earthquake” could correct this retardation.

Equipment used in the study included an Agilent Bioanalyzer System, Microarray Scanner, RNA Labeling Kit, Gene Expression Hybridization Kit, Hybridization Oven, Feature Extraction software and GeneSpring software.

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