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Dr. Ralph Turner visits with SNCS students

by awyatt on Jan.28, 2010, under Uncategorized

Dr. Ralph TurnerDr. Ralph Turner, McMurry Board of Trustee member and alumnus from the class of 1974, spent some time with students interested in the biomedical sciences today.  The first stop was 30 minutes with the PREP class, a class to prepare students interested in pursuing pre-professional programs.  Dr. Turner discussed the importance of good preparation, both academic and work-related.  He stressed the importance of each student finding and working in the right field.  Experiencing deep satisfaction and fascination with one’s work is critical to excelling and providing dignity and service to those in need.

After a brief question and answer session, students and SNCS faculty re-convened in the Mabee Room of the Garrison Campus Center.  A lunch buffet was provided, and after some struggle with the projector, Dr. Turner presented information on the importance of estrogen and the consequences of extended periods of estrogen deprivation in both women and men.

He discussed the estrogenic milieus of life, historical uses of hormone replacement therapy, recent research concerning estrogen administration and the timing hypothesis, as well as the differences in progestins and estrogens in cancer and disease.  Estrogen receptors are located in all parts of the body, and long periods of low or extremely low estrogen result in higher levels of coronary atherosclerosis, less protection of nerve cells, less degradation of the amyloid  plaques that form with Alzheimer’s, an increase in the atrophy of striated muscle tissue in the pelvic floor muscles (leading to incontinence), and thin and easily damaged skin.  Due to longer lifespans and the estrogen suppression drug regimens prescribed for women who are diagnosed with breast cancer, there are many, many women who will be living decades with low estrogen levels.

Dr. Turner emphasized the role of basic science–molecular biology and biochemistry–in the search for solutions for these problems.

Dr. Heidi DiFrancesca moderated the question and answer period at the close of the presentation.

Approximately 70 people attended the lecture.  The audience included students, faculty, and guests.

The School of Natural and Computational Sciences thanks Dr. Turner for his contributions to McMurry and willingness to share his time and experience with the students, faculty members, and guests.

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