Experiment: Investigating the integumentary system.
Scientifically, the integumentary system consists of the skin and its appendages. It functions primarily as an outer protection for internal organs from bacteria. Superficially, the skin serves as a buffer to trauma. Its integrity decreases incidences of invasion by harmful organisms even when breakage occurs. (Martini 2009).
Beside these basic functions, the integumentary system is also responsible for insulation by assisting in regulating body temperature; production of hair; excretion of waste through pores and a sensory station for the transmission of impulses when touched. Sensory receptors present within the subcutaneous layers are also pain transmitters. (Watson 2011)
Background to aims
However, even though appendages such as hair follicles, sebaceous glands and pores help the integument maintain its major function as the body’s first line of defense, dysfunctions are inevitable. (Kolarsick, Kolarsick & Goodwin 2011).They present as homeostatic imbalances. One such abnormality is alopecia commonly known as balding. This is the absence of hair on the scalp, which is expected to be covered entirely, evenly with growths or it. (Petukhova, Duvic, &. Hordinsky 2010).
Understanding previous research
Studies have revealed that alopecia areata is now considered a skin disease affecting both men and women alike. The pathophysiology relates to an auto immune response whereby the system malfunctions reacting adversely to hair follicles hindering production. (Petukhova, Duvic & Hordinsky 2010), Even though this has been identified as etiological evidence, the underlying factors predisposing to this mutation are still unknown. (Drealos 2011)
Further research has shown where there are distinct patterns in the development of this condition. The most popular sequence shows loss occurring directly from falling hair, which has already grown. This occurs in spots or patches on the scalp. Then there is diffused hair loss over the entire scalp and generalized about the body including beard; under the arms and pubic area as well. (Drealos 2011).
Clarifying of Aims
As such, it is imperative that studies investigating the growth of hair beyond abnormality be continuously undertaken to appreciate the significance of hair growth as being a function of the integument. Experiments conducted on the integumentary system have proven its reality as a sensory mechanism by evaluating the interplay of chemical interactions between the brain and nerve endings embedded in the dermis and epidermis. (Danby 2005).
It has also been proven through experiments that blood supply distribution to various parts in the system influences hair/ nail growth; degree of insulation; stimulation and excretion. (Charkoudian 2003). As such, the aim of this experiment was to investigate the integumentary system in its capacity of hair production, distribution and growth in sampled parts of the body.
Clarifying scope of report
Precisely, the rate of growth along with its density correlation was assessed. Sampled areas were the head, pubis, face, arms and legs. The actual experiments, equipments used to conduct this research; methods employed; results retrieved and a profound discussion of findings will be presented in the following pages of this report.
The overall expectation of this researcher is that the body knowledge obtained from this investigation be considered pertinent as well as unique in terms of the information already retrieved from similar studies. It is hoped that its exclusivity be perceived from a level of professionalism to inform further research on issues which need clarification.
Method- Experiment 1
The distribution of hair varies among head, arm and pubic areas.
One magnifying glass
Assemble all equipment in the same place then stand before large mirror. Angle magnifying glass over head/arm/pubic area. Allow reflection to enter mirror. Take picture/ draw. Document findings
Access the services of a family member to hold magnifying glass. After taking picture of pubic area ask for assistance to investigate head and arm. Draw or take picture with camera. Document findings
Limitations of procedure
It could be extremely frustrating trying to hold a magnifying glass, take a picture and write at the same time. As such, this compromises accuracy of the entire process. Some degree of mis- judgments in angling the glass, taking the picture and attempting to write is inevitable. The difficulty increased since it was my pubic area and standing to accomplish the procedure was rather complicating.
Thus, when recruiting the services of a relative to assist with the arm and head, the process was comparatively easier. I was able to take the picture while someone else was holding the glass without shifting focus of the demonstration. Consequently, the color, texture, density were more accurately assessed.
In this area it was extremely difficult to see any skin since it is profusely covered with hair.
Hair density is very high being about 6 inches in length
The natural color is black.
The texture tightly curly.
The skin is highly visible.
Signs of hair growth very difficult to detect even with a magnifying glass.
Pours can be seen on skin surface.
There is very low density on both sides of arms
Texture and color could not be identified.
Average density of hair growth observed being about one inches in length.
The color is natural black
The texture is tightly curly
Table 1- Showing hair distribution over head, arm and pubis
High-6 inches length
Arm( back and Front)
No color observed
No texture detected
No length measured
Average- 1 inch length
These results reveal that there was more hair to be viewed on the pubic area and head than both sides of the arm. The texture of hair on my mons- pubis seemed the very similar to the head. Alternatively, almost no hair was visible on either sides of my arm.
Method- Experiment 11
The rate at which hair grows on the skin varies in different parts of body.
Container to collect shaved hair.
Six inch tape or ruler
Assemble all equipment in the same place. Using a sharp razor shave hair off of pubic area. Now dispose of waste in a receptacle. Repeat process by shaving hair off the upper left thigh. Record date and time of the intervention. On day 7 measure length of hair growth on both sites. Now record measurement. On day 14 measure length of hair at both sites. Again, record measurement.
Limitations of procedures
A major limitation of the procedure employed in this method is that the researcher is limited in generalizing to adjacent populations. There is no scientific scope in determining the validity of these results since there were no controls to alternate variables among subjects tested.
In this experiment one individual was sampled, but various parts of the body. Therefore, when conclusions are drawn they would be discreetly confined to one person instead of a subset of subjects from whom more comprehensive analysis could have been derived. (Bettleniem & Ladesberg 2010).
Table 11- Showing hair growth
Upper left leg
Graphical representation of hair growth on pubis and upper left thigh
The foregoing experiments were intended to prove that (1) the distribution of hair varies among the head, arm and pubic areas. Also, (2) the rate at which hair grows on the skin varies in different parts of body. They were closely linked to previous studies which investigated the integumentary system in its capacity of hair production, distribution and growth in sampled parts of the body. ( Chu 2008))
It is understood that the integumentary system does not function on its own, but is closely related to the nervous and excretory systems being the largest organ in the human body. Therefore, it can be deducted that production and distribution of hair among various centers in the body impinge on the functioning of many supportive organ systems. ( Kandel, Schwartz & Jessell 2007).
Results derived form these experiments suggest that the distribution of hair varies among the head, arm and pubic areas. Also, that the rate at which hair grows on the skin varies in different parts of body. Precise results show that when hair growth was measured on day 7, hairs on the upper legs grows 1/16 in relation to ¼ on the pubic area significantly 4 times faster. By day 14 the growth seems to escalate to rate of approximately 6 times being 1/8 to 1/8.
Supportively, more hair was viewed on the pubic area and head than both sides of the arm. The texture of hair on my mons- pubis seemed the very similar to the head. Almost no hair was visible on either sides of my arm. This researcher seeks to discuss these results as they relate to studies conducted by scientist over time before making any profound conclusions on the findings.
According to scientific research normal hair growth occurs within cycles; mainly anagen, catagen; telogen and exogen. Importantly, anagen is the longest cycle of re-growth lasting some 2-4 weeks, hair follicles surviving 2-6 years with growth occurring at 1centimeter every 28 days. (Pathol 2003)
Catagen is the major destruction phase of hair growth whereby regeneration occurs once the anagen cycle ends. During this phase no hair growth occurs. The telogen phase signals resting of the scalp or dermis whereby club hair is formed which can be easily removed when washing the skin/ integument. This phase lasts 2-4 months. Exogen signals the final stage of this cycle called the shedding phase when some 50-100 strands of hair is naturally falls from the skin. (Hair Information)
Despite these magnificent discoveries related to cycles of hair growth scientists still cannot understand with distinct clarity where production begins or ends. Research is continuously being conducted with very little advancement in this body of knowledge. Hence, the importance of experiments such as these to add to this diminished school of thought. Conclusions are that they vary with the individual. ( Hadshiew, Foitzik & Arck 2004),
Supportively, dermatologists Drs. Nathalie Mandt, Agneta Troilus and Michael Drosner (2005) confirmed through separate studies that the duration of each phase of growth and distribution varies significantly with the body sites. More importantly, they have concluded as well that the time within the cycle when hair is removed determines the rate of re-growth. Precisely, only hairs removed during the anagen phase reacts to such physical absurdity. (Mandit, Troilius, & Drosner 2005).
In the final analysis it could be posited that reasons for differences in growth rate as well as distributions were a direct result of hair growth cycles. Even though the aim of this research was not to point out any reasons for occurrences, but merely identify the function, it is well worth recognizing the influence of this cyclic phenomenon.
Based on the results of this investigation and supporting studies it is highly likely that the areas where hair growth was remarkably diminished were not targeted by the cycle for such production and vise versa. The rate differences in re-growths between the upper left thigh and pubis is also influenced by cyclic physiology of hair growth and distribution.
The aim was ultimately achieved through confirmation by supportive studies and results providing evidence that the intugumentary system plays a major role in hair growth and distribution throughout the body. Hypotheses have also been proven true. Even though aims have been achieved and hypotheses validated this is based on experiments conducted on one person and not a variety of subjects.
As such, the researcher encourages more objective studies involving much more clients and sophisticated instruments that can measure findings more accurately. Definitely, there could be improvements in the method implemented by utilizing a high power microscope which would have measured more accurately density from a scientific perspective. The use of tape measurements rulers, camera and an ordinary magnifying glass could have made the experiments less professional. (Freshwater, Sherwood & Drury 2006)
Conclusively, it is hoped that similar studies be conducted with scientifically tested instruments. More importantly, it is advocated that the limitations of this study in terms of data pertaining to cyclic phases and appropriate activities be further investigated for clarity.
With increasing concerns posed by both men and women regarding balding or excessive hair growths in certain parts of the body this is the time dermatologists ought to aggressively confront these issues facing the public in the twenty first century.
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