Daily Archives: December 2, 2016

Yoga

Yoga and the science behind yoga have been studies this man kind first began. For years people have used yoga to get the full mind and body connection they look for. For year scientist have studied yoga and all it’s practices to try find how yoga can connect you to special parts of your brain.

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MRI’s have been the best way for scientist to learn how yoga and meditation correlate with your brains activity. Scientist through MRI’s have found that yoga and mediation actually do change the way your brain works. Some scientist have said it could possible change your brain overtime Is what’s called brain plasticity. Your brain will be more functional over time inducing the yoga and meditation activities more over time. Scientist say you will see a change in the bodies stress reacting system overtime. Other things like your immune system builds up and becomes stronger as well.

Yoga and meditation isn’t something people should do when they are stressed up. Yoga and meditation are practices that you should try to do on a more consistent basis. They have physical, mental, and physiological benefits that can help everyone. Scientific researchers find new benefits every day.

Nonbinary VS Trans-trenders

Hello all! Like many of us, I spend a lot of time on youtube, and recently I have found a new discourse: are nonbinary people real, or are there just two genders and nonbinary people are just pretending?

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(source)

First, let’s get some definitions out of the way, for those who aren’t quite up to date on current LGBT vocabulary. Cis is someone who identifies as the gender they were assigned as, while trans is not.  Nonbinary people are those who identify outside of male and female. Sex is what is your genitals/what you were called when you were born. Gender is what you identify as. Lastly, a trans-trender is someone who pretends to be trans for attention.

Now, psychology has proved that trans people are real, and that sex has nothing to do with your gender, which is stated in the link above along with the definitions. So, first I will present what being trans is, the possible motivation of trans-trenders, and then see if nonbinary people are real and is it a valid gender.

Trans people suffer from gender dysphoria, which is the feeling people often describe as feeling as though “you were born in the wrong body/gender”. Gender dysphoria is the very thing that causes people to identify as a different gender. Gender dysphoria is a mental illness, and the cure is transitioning. I have seen many people often ask why some trans people don’t get “the surgery”, and the answer is trans people do not transition for the public, but rather to alleviate their own self-hatred and mental illness. This is where trans-trenders differ.

Trans-trenders don’t transition at all, more often than not identify as nonbinary, and will often times argue that there is no need to have gender dysphoria, which is where my confusion sets in. I will admit that at one point, I agreed with this thought because I thought this was saying that the public cannot police how trans people exist, but see, if a person has no gender dysphoria, then why would they identify as another gender? Now, this could very well be to a misunderstanding, as gender dysphoria does not have to be physical. As I said, gender has nothing to do with one’s physical body, but rather how they feel and mentally identify, so their dysphoria could be mental. However, I do have a theory as to why people might feel the need to identify as trans when they are not.

There’s a website called tumblr, and while I’ve been on there for four+ years and enjoy my time on that platform, there is a very toxic area on the website that hates privileged people, and believe white, cis people are scum, and even though “down with cis” was a joke, too many took it seriously.  Now, I will say that I’m not cis gendered myself, but I can definitely see why they loud hatred of cis people can make someone want to hide from that label. Why else would someone willingly subject themselves to transphobia? Do these people just not realize how many trans people are attacked, harassed, and more likely to be killed? Now as to why most of these trans-trenders identify as nonbinary? I have a theory that it’s just easier to look androgynous than the opposite sex.

Now, my next question is, are nonbinary people real? I have yet to see the trans community hate nonbinary people, in fact the only youtubers I personally have seen have been cis men with commentary channels, and the trans community seems to overall accept this identity pretty much completely. But does science?

As I stated before, psychology supports that gender has nothing to do with psychology, which is stated on page as I stated above, which would open the doors to more than two genders. This article goes over the experience of being nonbinary, and discusses gender dysphoria and transition processes, which would make them trans by definition, as I discussed before.

The main argument that I see besides nonbinary people are trans-trenders is that many people just deny their existence or say it isn’t possible. Now, I find this unlikely, as there are older people who identify outside the gender binary, making it unlikely it is something teenagers with underdeveloped brains do, and the state of Oregon, one can legally identify as nonbinary.  Now, in order for a state to justify this gender, surely there must be some sense behind it? I don’t understand how many people can just deny it isn’t possible to identify as nonbinary, but it is legally in Oregon.

The way I see it is, nonbinary is a real and valid gender, and people can identify as it, but the gender has unfortunately been used by people who wish to be apart of the LGBT+ community either for attention or to avoid being harassed on the internet, only to be harassed more for identifying as trans.

Are Men More Productive Than Women In the Office?

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Another classic battle of the sexes! This time, it is whether or not men are the dominant gender when it comes to the productivity in an office setting such as a corporation, cubical, etc. A UC Berkley study released in 2006 by Trond Petersen, Vermund Snartland, and Eva M. Meyersson Milgrom says that men and women produce at relatively the same level (all things held equal). There was an interesting insertion in the findings about men taking more sick days than the women in the study by one percent or so, which I also thought was interesting. Assuming that two candidates (one male and one female) are doing the same job and all things are help equal (experience, education, work ethic, etc.), which will be more productive. That’s what this seeks to investigate.

Here, the independent variable is the work done (i.e. the occupation); and, the dependent variable is the self-identified sex of the person in the study. However, what is important to keep in mind is to make sure that the field or occupation is gender neutral, which means that the field cant be dominated by men or dominated by women. It needs to be equal opportunity for success from both to prevent bias from creeping into the equation. It’s easy to make an alternate hypothesis like this and say that women are less productive than men because of their time spent socializing and shopping online. I would argue that men waste time that they could using to be productive as well.  There is some correlation between gender and success in particular occupations due to the physical make up of a man or woman. For example, a woman is more equipped to be a midwife than a man is.

 

For just about every statistic that says a man is more productive, there seems to be an equally present on that says that a woman is either just as productive or more productive. If we want to get more into the deeper underlying causes of why men may be more productive than women, we can talk about the wage gap that has existed between men and women for decade, since the women’s suffrage era. Even today, women are paid cents to the dollar of a man, which can cause underlying bias about the work ethic of women and the value of having a woman versus a man in a particular role.  Just like real estate, one important thing that wasn’t mentioned much in the study was the role of location. In some places there are equal opportunities for men and women and equal pay.

To conclude, the study was conducted mostly outside the United States, but it is still quite relevant tot he working woman vs the working man. I will accept this hypothesis of the study because it is partially true.  In a way, women may be more productive than men because they are doing the same work at less the rate of pay. However, this hypothesis may not be true with the presence of a 3rd party variable – location.Those cases are few and far between though. The primary reason I will accept is because there is relatively no difference in productivity if all things are held equal in a scenario. Specific occupations, even if things held equal for both a man and a woman, may prove slightly advantageous to a particular gender.

James Bond

Guns have been a hot topic the last few years. There are hundreds of types of guns you can buy, and each gun has its own way of working. Along with the different types of guns, you have all kinds of ways to customize your guns. You can buy lasers, sights, and much more, but I’m going to be talking about silencers. Whenever you think of silencers of guns James Bond pops into a lot of people’s minds. How can a silencer make a gun almost silent?

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The real name for the common word silencer is actual compressor. It is called that because it is impossible to make a gun that is silent. The sound of a gun comes from three main sources of the gun, the hammer, gun powder, and pressurized gas. The pressurized gas coming out of the powder is 3000 pounds per square inch, that’s how the bullet is push out the end of the barrel.

Compressor lower the sounds with the way the barrel is made. The barrels of compressors are longer and bigger than the barrels on the guns. Inside the compressors there are special groves and chambers that give all the compressed gas a place to expand. Normally without a compressor the gasses come out at 60 pounds per square inch, but with a compressor drop them to about 20 decibels. 20 decibels are about the sound of a whisper. That’s how a compressor works.

Steroids

Steroids  are one of the most popular and well known drugs in the world. When most people think of steroids they think of professional bodybuilders, or other sports athletes like A Rod, but were did steroids come from and how do they work?

Steroids started in 1939 in Germany. A Germany scientist named Adolf Butenandt, who won a Nobel Prices for his research on testosterone. From then on Germany was the Mecca for steroids and steroid research. Over the years Germany had leaps and bounds in the steroid world. German scientist found through countless hours of research that when a man works out that testosterone levels drop dramatically. Along with testosterone levels dropping, gluco-corticoid builds up in the body. Gluco-corticoid has an catabolic effect on the body, meaning that it breaks down the muscle tissue. Steroid stop the bodies testosterone levels from falling and blocks the gluco-corticoid. That means the muscles get bigger, stronger harder, faster.

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Is Religion Healthy?

One issue that has become increasingly popular on our campus is the attention we pay to mental health and those who suffer from mental health issues on our campuses. In fact, Penn State did a study and reported the findings about it in an online document that can be accessed easily. I think this is an absolutely fantastic idea, and it should continue to be an ongoing conversation because of the relevance it has in the live of over 46,000 undergraduate students and University Park. Our commonwealth campuses are focusing on it as well. Within the this wide range of data presented in the study and the findings, I am presenting the hypothesis that religion has a significant impact on the mental health of the students that use the resources. Significant in this case would mean more than 50% of the sample population.

After investigating the data presented, I cross referenced the graphs on page 28, more specifically the graphs about the religious preferences of the participants and to what extent (self identified) that the participants felt their religious or spiritual preferences play a role in their life (see below).Displaying image1.PNG

The question isn’t whether a differing religion will make the difference in mental health, but that may be interesting to explore at another point. Remember, the hypothesis we are looking at is “religion has a significant impact on the mental health of the students and Penn State”. The null hypothesis is that religion has no effect on the mental health of the students at Penn State. The dependent variable here is the presence of a religious affiliation; the independent variable here are the students that self identified in this data.

Most students that were surveyed self identified with some form of religion within the study. From the data, we can see that, as expected, most people identify as Christian. This seems to be the classic science vs religion argument because Psychology Today says that religion may have a negative affect on the health of people, including students. Interestingly enough, the data from the table shows us that most people said that they possessed a neutral stance (34.7%) on their religion’s importance in their life, followed closest by people saying that it plays an important (23.5%) role in their life in the Penn State study. With these two combined, we can see that majority of the people in this sample of Penn State students is either indifferent towards the role of religion in their health. However, Live Science says that religion can be good for health, especially mental health because of the stress reduction from increased levels of coping.

In conclusion, the highest percentage of student seemed to be indifferent to the role of spiritual activity/religion in their lives; this doesn’t support my hypothesis too much. Its like I should reject both my hypothesis and the null hypothesis because religion has a varying impact on the individual and can be the difference in health situation through coping with the stress. The null hypothesis says that there would be no link between mental health and religion at all, which isn’t entirely true from the aforementioned data and studies. Religion definitely can have a positive correlation with health, in some cases, but we all know that correlation doesn’t equal causation. What is the better suggestions is that there is another variable that can be more prominent for causing health to become better, like medicine or frequency of visits to the Health Center. Thus, an alternative hypothesis would likely be adopted to better explain the improvement in mental health of Penn State students.

Is telekinesis possible?

The topic of psychokinesis, or “telekinesis”, being used in science is a blurry one. While the null hypothesis states that it doesn’t exist and it’s impossible, with no other existent “magical” forms having been found yet, it’s impossible to say it most certainly doesn’t exist. However, I wouldn’t get your hopes up too high.

In an online survey conducted by psychologist Richard Wiseman which surveyed 400 magicians worldwide, the question “Do you believe that psychokinesis exists (i.e., that some people can, by paranormal means, apply a noticeable force to an object or alter its physical characteristics)?” was met with a mostly negative response. In fact, 83.5% of the magicians surveyed said NO, while only 9% said YES. The other 7.5% were UNCERTAIN. While this in itself is not evidence by any means, it gives a good sample of what those who practice the art of deception have to weigh in on the subject.

While many believe that because we supposedly only use 10% of our brains, meaning there’s nearly infinite possibilities for what we may be able to do if we were to access the other 90%, this is in fact a myth, as we have been shown to use 100% of our brains through the use of imaging (including PET scans). As a matter of fact, according to the same article, if our brain waves were able to have some sort of impact on the physical realm, it would be rendered useless, as the waves would only travel a few millimeters away from our heads.

On the contrary, a longitudinal study cited in this article highlights the potential of our mind’s power through the use of Random Event Generators (REG). While the results may have appeared promising, though subtle, we run into the same problem that we did with the studies on preemptive prayer. As such, with the lack of additional studies to back this work up, as well as the lack of a mechanical explanation for it, it’s very possible that this study suffers from a false positive.

The problem is, without a mechanic that can undeniably explain it, save for some more wild theories on quantum mechanics, it’s hard to make progress on the possibility. But at the same time, we run into the opposite end of the spectrum: The fact that it can’t be proven that a mechanic doesn’t exist out there. Until we have definitive evidence that things like quantum superposition exists beyond just theories, you probably shouldn’t expect to see any breakthroughs in telekinesis that aren’t surrounded by a LOT of superstition and caution.

Sources:
Research:
https://www.quora.com/Is-telekinesis-possible-for-everyone-How-exactly-are-objects-moved
http://www.spiritoday.com/telekinesis-psychokinesis/
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/long-fuse-big-bang/201509/telekinesis-making-things-move-your-mind-is-possible
Images:
http://dotelekinesis.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/How-to-Learn-Telekinesis-in-5-Minutes.jpg
http://cdn.bulbagarden.net/upload/thumb/c/cc/065Alakazam.png/250px-065Alakazam.png
http://a.dilcdn.com/bl/wp-content/uploads/sites/6/2015/06/Yodapush.png
http://i2.wp.com/www.spiritoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Psychokinesis_by_ladybird001.jpg?resize=300%2C199

Squats

The science behind squatting. Squatting like all exercises has different forms and variations like front squat, back squat, high bar, low bar, and many more, but what’s the science behind how to properly squat, and get full benefits from it without getting hurt?

The Squat is an exercise that works the muscles in your legs. When most people think of squat they thing about their quads, but the squat is an exercise that is a full body exercise. The main muscles you work are the quads, but secondary muscles like you adductors, abductors, glutes, and many others are thrown in the mix too.

There are a few steps to start a squat. First you want you to walk up to the bar and have your feet a little more than shoulder width apart. You want to grab the bar and make sure your hands are even, and place the bar right above your traps. Once set lift the weight up keeping your core tight, squat down keeping your knees lined up with your toes and go down below parole.

There are two parts to a muscle contraction, you have your acentric and eccentric. Controlling the weight while going down in the squatting causes your muscle to have an eccentric contraction. The eccentric contraction will turn into an acentric contraction on your way top to the top of the squat. When developing muscles, the eccentric contraction is just as important as the acentric contraction, so go down controlled. That is the basic science behind a squat.

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How Pre Workouts Work

The last decade the supplement industry has taken over the fitness world. You have your bigger main stream supplement companies like BSN, ON, Cellucor, and dozens of others. It seems like a new pre workout supplement is coming out, but how do these companies make the supplements?

Looking at the back label of a pre workout supplement you might see up to twenty different ingredients. The scientist the supplement companies hire do experiments and studies to see what combination of supplements works the best. The basic overall goal of a pre workout is to give you more endurance, energy, and focus during a workout. One of the main ingredients in all pre workouts it caffeine. Caffenie is a stimulant that works with a chemical in your body called adenosine. Adenosine is a chemical in your body what when it builds up causes you to get sleepy, caffeine in the pre workouts lowers the adenosine activity in your body. Beta-alanine is an ingredient you will find in almost all pre workout supplements. Beta-alanine is an amino acid. The scientist put beta-alanine in pre workout because there’s histidine in your body. When you mix histidine and beta-alanine it makes up carnosine. Carnosine helps with lactic acid build up in your body increasing your overall performance. Citrulline malat is an ingredient that increases your bodies ATP production in our body. The ingredient citruline malat overall with combination of processes in your body helps you recover faster.

There are a lot of pre workout supplement companies out there. Each one will tell you their better than the others, but there supplements are all made with the same three basic ingridents that scientist have found to work best. Caffeine for energy, beta-alanine to hold off laic acid, and citrulline malat to help you recover faster between sets.

Artificial Intelligence and Healthcare

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As aforementioned in my previous blog, futuristic technology on the horizon is extremely interesting to me. In a world that is constantly adapting and changing based on globalization, better ways to analyze information and capitalize on it is constantly on the minds of most executives. Perhaps one of the most exciting advancements in technology recently is the spark of interest in artificial intelligence, and this is especially true in the Healthcare industry. In an article from Wired.comBahar Gholipour states that over 2.5 million scientific papers are published each year, and this massive stockpile of information is largely unavailable to most scientists simply due to the immensity of their search. Desperate to keep up to date on current medical information and findings, most scientists would welcome a technological assistant with perfectly acute memory and information. This is where a company named Iris comes in, creators of an artificial intelligence system designed for hospitals and other medical professions. 

Iris developed their artificial intelligence system in order to quickly analyze data and pull out the relevant information without having to individually search through each specific document to find what you are looking for. This is particularly useful for doctors as patients typically have a complex medical history that their doctor has to examine, and artificial intelligence would simply red flag any potential dangers or interactions. And Iris is not the only company to capitalize on artificial intelligence, with IBM using “Watson for oncology” to keep cancer doctors up to date on current treatments by sifting through patient information and medical journals. The vast amount of scientific data out on the web makes it very difficult to diagnose and treat a disease, with some doctors that specialize in a specific field still finding it difficult to stay current with all advancements in their specialization. Artificial intelligence mitigates this problem, increasing the accuracy of information almost instantaneously.

While discussing AI, it is very difficult not to consider the future of the technology and how artificial intelligence will continue to develop. Anita Schjøll Brede, the CEO of Iris, explained her version of what the future of AI looks like. Brede predicts that in just three years, Iris will release a new version of its current form, having the capability to remember the information you read Anita Schjøll Brede while offering new suggestions that might aid you. Even more surprising is Brede’s prediction that in ten years, the AI system will be so sophisticated that it will figure problems out itself based off of previous data and readings. According to medicalfuturist.com, Craig Venter, a leader of the Human genome Project, is utilizing artificial intelligence to analyze a individuals DNA in order to develop an algorithm that could allow scientists to hand select a patients physical features.

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In conclusion, if AI can be produced at an affordable rate for standard hospitals, the medical industry will become far more efficient and knowledgeable, able to draw upon millions of sources at once.  AI will also change the nature of producing pharmaceuticals that generally takes years and can cost millions of dollars, allowing researchers to find the correct medicine for a patient at a far quicker pace, potentially saving thousands of lives and saving massive appropriations of funding.

Sources:

Artificial Intelligence Could Dig Up Cures Buried Online

http://medicalfuturist.com/artificial-intelligence-will-redesign-healthcare/

Are Horoscopes True?

We all have likely seen the online horoscopes that seem to be describing us as if they know us. Could it be because the stars actually have aligned and people have interpreted what that means for the other people in their birth range? Does this stuff have any merit at all? How can we be sure that it’s not just a marketing gimmick and people playing with our psyche? This Clinical Psychology Journal study I found about horoscopes says that they are indeed true because they focus their efforts of acceptance of these astrological phenomena on specificity. It uses natal astrology (the part of astrology that’s about making judgments about someone’s personality) to pinpoint generally good things that most people can apply a particular experience in their life to or fits into what they already perceive of themselves.

Image result for horoscopePhoto Credit:

http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/horoscopes/ny-daily-news-2016-year-horoscope-report-article-1.2473741

For example, today’s horoscope for a Capricorn (just because my birthday is Dec. 25th) would be something along the lines of: “Many people are impressed with what you have accomplished, not only your friends and family but your bosses and supervisors as well. They are looking to see if you are ready to bump to the next level or promotion. You are confident in yourself and know that it would be well deserved of both their consideration and admiration. Once the you receive your promotion (soon), enjoy it and unwind a little. This is something you have earned and are deserving of.” This sis so basic and broad that it can apply to someone that isn’t a Capricorn; in fact, anyone with a decent work ethic and outlook on themselves/life could have this apply to them. This article takes a deeper look into the rationality behind horoscopes and their validity.

Inversely, these same horoscopes that seem to have great words of wisdom from the stars above about the alignment in your life and all these affirmation of who you are can actually be just for entertainment. The Zodiac and Entertainment gives us a glimpse into this. With all these different sources of horoscopes for daily, weekly, and monthly zodiac signs, one can only wonder if there is actually a way for all these sources to say different things on the same day (and all prove accurate). The question the arises of which source has a more accurate depiction of what the horoscope should actually be in accordance with the starts and zodiac signs.

A critique of this is that horoscopes are much too broad and vague. The horoscopes seem to operate under the premise that a vague application can then be applied to a multitude of people based on their personal conceptualizations and experiences. In order for the hypothesis that “horoscopes are true” to be true, there is a strong reliance on the dependent variable – self conceptualization. If someone doesn’t have a positive view of themselves, they are likely not to identify with horoscope. The unchanging independent variable is the horoscope itself. After digging around a little more, another student that took this class in Fall of 2013 came to similar conclusions that I did.

In conclusion, the truth behind horoscopes are dependent upon the self-conceptualization of the person reading the horoscope. The best scenario is that someone has a positive view of themselves and the world for the horoscope to likely apply to them. They also need to have lived experiences that relates somewhat to the broad statements within horoscopes. Some see them as valid, and others see them as just entertainment. Either way, horoscopes are given as much attention and weight as we individually choose to bestow upon them.

An Artificial Hippocampus?

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(Westworld Logo. N.d. HBO, n.p. http://tmn-media-http.edgesuite.net/hbo/prod/minisite_landing/main_feature/465_1024x411.jpg)

I have always enjoyed the potential futuristic possibilities that come along with the advancement of technology. In the Netflix original series Black Mirror and HBO’s Westworld, both titles have capitalized on the exploration of the capabilities new technology will bring and the possible negative affects applied science could have on the human race. In a Wired article written by Cynthia McKelvey, she compares a new biotech implant developed by Theodore Berger, a biomedical engineer at the University of Southern California, to a device featured in Black Mirror where one can perfectly recall their memories with an implant behind the ears. Berger’s device is small silicon chip considered somewhat of an artificial hippocampus that is implanted in the brain. Too someone unfamiliar with what the hippocampus is; it is essentially the center of emotion, memory, and the autonomic nervous system. 

The device works by mimicking the hippocampus’ function of converting short term memory into long term ones by utilizing mathematical code that represents an entire memory. In order for this to happen, Berger first had to develop a controlled experiment in which a standardized memory task was administered to rats to complete, namely pressing a specific lever after being distracted by a light to prove the artificial hippocampus was in fact providing memories. Berger has had success when working on rats and monkeys, enabling them to gain better memory. If this device could be applied to humans, and trials have already begun, the future for people with neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s could forever be altered by electrically stimulating memories.

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(Hippocampus Implant. 17 July 2014. Http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/186444-us-scientists-push-ahead-with-memory-boosting-brain-implants-but-we-still-have-to-crack-the-brains-code-first, n.p.)

Artificially improving ones memory with an implantation is uncharted waters in terms of regulation from a governmental standpoint, and finicking with the elaborate and complex brain requires absolute certainty that the device will not permanently impair a patient or consumers cognitive function. With millions of neurons and  Additionally, one has to worry about the possibility of someone hacking an internal system actually present in your body, which could have potentially devastating effects. On the other hand, Berger points to the recent advancements in neuroprosthetics that have benefitted people greatly, even giving the ability to electrically stimulate a paralyzed persons arms with electrodes and the restoring of the retinas for blind people.

Berger, being recently hired as Chief Science Officer for a new startup dubbed Kernal, together both aim to bring the implant to market as a medical device, with their eyes set upon modifying the technological hippocampus further and possibly improving integral aspects of human intelligence like creativity and focus. While not positive what direction he plans on taking the implant, the exciting possibilities for bioengineering and the challenge of improving core aspects of ones personality will certainly be an interesting and slightly intimidating show. Careful monitoring of the devices construction and implementation are absolutely necessary, along with other safeguards to protect oneself from body implants. However, the exciting possibilities of being able to improve ones overall intelligence, in my opinion, outweighs the potential dangers associated with this new technology.

Sources:

The Neuroscientist Who’s Building a Better Memory for Humans

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/513681/memory-implants/

 

 

How safe is it to hold frogs and toads?

There are all kinds of myths and urban legends surrounding the harms of human contact with frogs, toads, and the likes of such. These supposed “harms” range from the possible health effects to humans, as well as to the amphibians themselves. But how many of them are actually true, and for the ones that don’t quite make the cut, where the hell did those ideas come from in the first place? Is there any truth to them?

For starters, the most common fear about amphibians, toads specifically, is that they give you warts. The means of which they’re transferred to us have been described as anywhere from touching a toad, to outright kissing a frog! Well, according to dermatologist Jerry Litt, frogs and toads do not carry the wart virus, because rather, it is exclusively a human virus. Specifically, Jeff Benson, M.D. says that warts are actually cased by what’s known as human papillomavirus (HPV), which is a skin cell infection. He also says that the only known carriers of HPV are us humans. However, Litt warns that the wart-like bumps we see on toads, specifically behind the ears, aren’t completely safe, and can cause harms in many other ways, as these glands are meant for infecting and irritating the mouths of predators with poison. The assumption that these wart-like glands were actually warts, combined with the fear that touching warts will transmit the virus (only true in some cases) is what lead people to believe that touching a warty toad would make them warty. Additionally, frogs can also transfer bacteria and diseases to humans that could be fatal if you were not to use a strong antibacterial soap after making contact with them. So while you may not get warts from touching amphibians, you should always make sure your hands are clean afterwards, because they can be harmful.

A common fear of holding amphibians, for the sake of the creatures themselves, is that by holding them, you’ll harm them… In some way. As a matter of fact, there are all kinds of myths that circulate about how you can kill a frog just by holding it, but some of these myths are combinations of assumptions with actual dangers for the creature. While you may not cause a frog psychological damage that’ll make it commit suicide after being held, you could cause it to dislocate a leg, making it helpless and sentenced to death upon release. When you hold a frog too tight, aside from the obvious effects of squeezing it until it literally bursts, it may start kicking in order to escape. This vigorous kicking is what tends to cause dislocations and other injuries for the frog. Of course, many people simply believe that something you do by picking them up causes them so much stress that they stop moving for whatever reason and are left to die, but this is not the case. However, the danger is still there for those inexperienced in handling amphibians! Just maybe not for the reason you think.

Finally, avoid any form of oral contact with amphibians. Contrary to the belief that kissing a frog will turn him into a prince, it won’t, and it might even give you salmonella. The myth obviously comes from popular fairy tales and children’s books, but believe it or not, that doesn’t add any truth to it. All in all, do not try this at home. Or anywhere, really.
So if you’re confident in your ability to hold an amphibian without breaking its legs or failing to fight the temptation to get intimate, you shouldn’t worry about holding most common (and nonpoisonous, of course) frogs, as long as you keep your hands clean!

Sources:
Research:
http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/explore/nature/animal-myths-busted/#myths-toad.jpg
Jeff Benson, M.D.
http://bowdoinorient.com/article/1588
http://blogaboutfrogs.blogspot.com/2011/02/handling-frogs.html
https://www.quora.com/Is-it-okay-to-gently-pick-up-wild-frogs-toads-and-turtles-pet-them-and-put-them-back-or-do-we-deeply-traumatize-them
http://www.burkemuseum.org/blog/frog-myths
Images:
http://www.und.edu/org/ndwild/pics/toad3.GIF
https://s3.amazonaws.com/EarthwatchMedia/GalleryImages/7-mahony-australias-vanishing-frogs-c-ross-knowles-h-6_1178_onwebsite_5058.jpg
https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/9e/ad/04/9ead04ba3b6b3e81e136e5593f8c191a.jpg

Pregnancy SLAY!

Congratulations! You’re pregnant! Is one of the most exciting phrases a woman can hear second to, “Will You Marry Me”. Other than the early pregnancy symptoms, swollen feet and the huge round object that took place of where your tummy used to be; pregnancy sounds like the best time of woman’s life. Although, modern society has conformed sex for personal pleasure instead of its sole purpose of reproduction, I would like to spread the love of pregnancy and help women embrace the blessing of reproduction. (This is not an anti abortion post, as for what you decide to do with your body is not my prerogative, just spreading good vibes.)

Embracement, is important for a healthy pregnancy. Embracement should be practiced during prenatal care; positive reinforcement in social settings and humane values help in a holistic way. Stress can interfere with conceiving a child. Stress affects the way the hypothalamus (brain gland that controls emotions, appetite and hormones). During early child development if the mother is stress she is at a high risk for miscarriage (a loss of pregnancy). Miscarriage symptoms consist of bleeding or spotting and abdominal pain. Although straying away from stress is important for a healthy life period, during pregnancy the body is more sensitive because of increased hormones. Therefore the first step to a healthy pregnancy is embracemenet.

HAVE fun

Although your pregnant it doesn’t mean your social life is over nor’ you can’t have fun. To help celebrate your little bundle of joy there are a couple activities women can do.

1.Dinner reservations: In the first tri-mester eating may be a little difficult because the female senses are sensitive. Certain smells and foods may not be appealing to you anymore. But when that stage passes get ready to take your taste buds on a roller coaster ride of food heaven and embrace the pregnancy cravings. Don’t think of these cravings as weird, instead it helps broaden your pallet and hey you never know, bacon and ice cream may be the next great combination meal.

2.Shopping. I don’t know about you girls but shopping is my go to “pick me up” when having a down day. I mean, who doesn’t want to spoil themselves and look stylish while doing it. That “itsy bitsy teenie weenie yellow polka dot bikini” is not going to fit you the same once you pack on the extra pounds of a little one in your pouch. No need to get depressed, you’ll snap back, although you may feel like a swollen stress ball doesn’t mean you have to look like it. Going out with your girls or mate for a shopping spree is totally worth it. No way, can we have Kim Kardashian and Chrissy Teigen take on the roll of being a milf without chiming in.

slay

3.Baby Genius. You don’t have to wait 9 months to play with your little one. Buy some headphones and have a jam session with your baby. Studies prove that babies who are exposed to classical sounds when younger have a greater faster cognitive brain development. You can also read, to him or her.  I’m sure the baby won’t be able to identify the plot, setting and the stories main characters. But hearing the vibrations of his/her mother’s tone is always pleasing.

I’m sure when girls have their first pregnancy scare, this is not what they want to hear but this post was created to put the “scare” to ease. Having a baby is not the end of the world. Modern day society has created the birth of a child to feel like a burden. Yes, unlike other mammals, having a baby can be expensive and a burden if not prepared for. But when life gives you lemons create lemonade, meaning don’t be a upset, everything happens for a reason. It’s the way you react that determines the outcome.

Does playing violent video games make people violent?

video-game-violence

Since around the age of three I’ve always enjoyed playing video games and I definitely still enjoy them today. Something I find interesting is that around the same time I began playing video games, the American media first started reporting a potential correlation between kids playing violent video games and subsequently displaying overtly violent behavior. As time has gone on the link between violence in games and violence in the real world has only become a more prominent topic in the United States… and it’s something I have never quite understood. Yes, I do recognize that there have been a few instances in the past where individuals who committed violent acts also happened to frequent the use of violent games (most notably the school shooters from 1999’s Columbine High School massacre). With this being said, I’ve always felt like violent video games and real life violence were related by pure chance more than anything else. Why do I feel this way? From my experience playing video games, I’ve noticed that the violent, “shooter” style games are simply the most popular and well-liked games regardless of a player’s age or interests. Frankly, almost everyone enjoys playing games of this genre. I’ve personally been immersed in video games that involve guns, shooting, weapons, and violence for probably 15 years, yet I’ve never once acted with aggression because of the influence of a game, nor have I ever felt compelled to commit an act of violence. In my opinion, the sheer amount of people playing these games is the reason for their perceived connection to violence; when millions of people are playing a violent game, or doing any activity for that matter, there are bound to be one or two “bad seeds”. For every one person that commits an act of violence as a result of exposer to a violent game, there are thousands of people who don’t act violently. It’s for these reasons that my null hypothesis supports violent video games having no relation to violent behavior, while the alternative hypothesis would be that playing violent video games does make people act violently.

In a study conducted by researchers from Texas A&M University and the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, participants were given the choice to play either a violent or non-violent video game. Neither the male nor female participant’s exposer to video game violence prompted any sort of aggressive or violent behavior. In a second study conducted by the same researchers, the team examined possible links between aggression, family violence, video game violence, and criminal acts. The results of this second study suggested that both trait aggression and family violence have a higher likelihood of prompting criminal acts than expose to video game violence does. I feel that the results of these two studies provide enough information to support the idea that other factors (family violence, trait aggression) play a more influential role in prompting violent behavior than exposure to violent video games does.

As further support for more my null hypothesis, I’d like to reference this article from nbcnews.com. The article proposes that perhaps some people lack certain cognitive abilities needed to keep their aggression and emotions in check. Should an individual with this lack of mental fortitude react aggressively when exposed to virtual violence, it’s increasingly unlikely that they’d be able to calm themselves, rather, they would continue to act with aggression. Like the other traits mentioned in the paragraph above, I believe that a lack of brain function is significantly more likely to prompt violent behavior than the exposer to video game violence would.

Based on the research studies and news article discussed above in addition to the knowledge and experience I’ve gained through playing video games for many years, I believe that factors other than violence in video games are the source of aggression and violent behavior in individuals perceived to be acting violently because of the video games they play. It is for these reasons that I confidently support my null hypothesis and would be hard pressed to believe that the alternative hypothesis could be correct.

Works Cited:

Text:

–           http://www.healthline.com/health-news/violent-video-games-create-aggression-but-they-do-cause-kids-to-commit-081415#2

–           http://www.nbcnews.com/health/mental-health/do-violent-movies-cause-aggression-answer-may-depend-n205556

–           http://cjb.sagepub.com/content/35/3/311.short

Picture:

–           https://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/s–N0l3hSzT–/18bqez53rifd9jpg.jpg

Are we Alone in the Universe?

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The question of whether we inhabit this universe ourselves has since been long debated, and there is certainly no clear answer to the mystery of the existence of extraterrestrials. According to physics.org, there is an estimated 100 billion galaxies in the universe. In an article from the Huffington Post written by Sara Gates, a panel of various experts from NASA made the claim that it is highly probable that we share this universe with some other form of sentiment beings, mainly under the basis of that this unimaginable 100 billion galaxy would be entirely void of life. So, without any visible or audible signal received from another being, is it safe to assume we are a biological anomaly who happened to survive evolution? Or are we alone on our solitary planet and the technology to reach other forms of life is just non existent?

Unfortunately, NASA’s claims cannot be backed with a causal link or direct evidence, making their assessment virtually baseless especially in terms of scientific evidence or hypothesis testing. Matt Mountain, director of the Space Telescope Science Institute, in the same Huffington Post article, hypothesized that the advances in different forms of space exploration and telescope ability would need to be improved upon greatly to support such a vast search. Fortunately, NASA currently has an innovative telescope dubbed “The James Web Space Telescope,” scheduled to launch in 2018, equipped with many innovations that will allow NASA to explore the deepest ranges of space. This will allow researchers to examine far away planets with infrared light, greater increasing our chances on stumbling upon other forms of life.

Amy Lavelle, a writer for history.com, claims human fascination in extraterrestrials extends long into our history, with particularly interesting interpretations of alien life being represented in various forms. Perhaps the most odd and famous painting depicting aliens is, “The Madonna with Saint Giovannio,” completed by Domenico Ghirlandaio in the 15th century. The artwork clearly depicts a strange floating object resembling a UFO in which a dog and mysterious figure are watching intently. Interestingly enough, similar images of UFO like objects and pictures depicting alien life can be found all over the world, from the bible to cave paintings.

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(http://coolinterestingstuff.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/madonna_ufo.jpg)Ghirlandaio, Domenico. The Madonna with Giovannio. N.d. Palazzo Vecchio., n.p.

So, if there’s no legitimate or confirmed sighting of alien life on Earth except depictions through paintings, why is NASA so confident that we are not alone in this Universe? Essentially, an astronomer and scientist named Frank Drake devised an mathematical formula in which he examined planets that could potentially harbor sentient life, and the statistical results revealed that there a number of planets similar to Earth that could support human life. Although many accept Drake’s theory as a simple representation and thought provoking equation, criticism arises from various sources due to the guess work involved in the equation itself, alongside the fact there is no definitive answer to the equation due to a lack of technological advancement.

For now, there is no definitive answers as to whether we are alone in this universe. The circumstances and variables involved in the evolution of our species is undoubtedly an anomaly and not something that is going to be found easily. Additionally, the only evidence in favor of alien life is supported by baseless paintings and colorful human imagination. Despite odd claims from several astronauts and even President Bill Clinton, until there is a reliable source that presents non-refutable evidence of alien life, my conclusion will remain that the vast distance between galaxies and planets is simply impossible to conquer technologically, and that if a life-form was capable of traversing such distances, they would most likely be uninterested or a threat to our technologically primitive world. But with unsolved UFO sightings and claims, anything is in the realm of possibility in our vast universe.

 

Sources:

http://www.history.co.uk/shows/ancient-aliens/articles/do-aliens-exist-most-compelling-evidence-of-alien-existence

http://jwst.nasa.gov/index.html

http://www.seti.org/drakeequation

Pictures have link below.

 

 

How smart are Dolphins Actually?

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(http://www.funny-animalpictures.com/funny-dolphins-0003)

People have been fascinated with dolphins for a long period of time now, probably due to their unique looks and temperament compared to other animals. If you have heard or seen a dolphin before, you have probably heard of their superior intelligence when compared with other mammals. There are not many great means of measuring an animals intelligence, but Dolphins exhibit behavior that is almost completely unique to the animal kingdom.

Humans once thought we were alone in the capability to relay information to other members of our species, but scientists have recently learned that dolphins not only have the ability to learn, but they also possess the ability to relay new information to other dolphins. This is an entirely unprecedented behavior in the animal kingdom, and dolphins exhibit actions considered far beyond the reach of a typical aquatic animal like mimicking human behavior to acquire food or their tendency to have complex social hierarchies.

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=05PpTqtGhGU)

In this enlightening video produced by popular scientist Lori Marino, he illuminates what truly makes dolphins unique. The first factor that distinguishes dolphins’ intelligence from other mammals is their brain size, where they are only second to human beings in terms of body mass and brain size ratio. This hypothesis tests whether brain size has a direct correlation on intelligence, and dolphins display such complex behavior that astounds and intrigues humans in the form of echolocation, in-depth social circles, navigation, and communication.

While all of these facts about dolphins are fairly interesting and seem to poise the dolphin as completely unique animal similar to humans, one first must compare similar behaviors exhibited by other animals. According to the Boston Globe, even chickens have the ability to remember social groups, communicate with one another, and a form of learning. Justin Gregg, in his new book, “Are Dolphins Really Smart? The Mammal Behind the Myth.” The psychologist Gregg argues that while their unique clicking to identify themselves or their intentions is impressive. He also refutes the popular opinion that brain size is linked to intelligence, and despite the fact the dolphins’ brain is larger than a humans, this does not automatically link them to advanced intelligence.

There also remains the misconception that dolphins are inherently peaceful creatures, which bolsters the myth debunked by current science as they display aggressive behavior similar to that of other large complex mammals. Overall, while dolphins do exhibit various behaviors considered unique and intelligent, they are simple mammals that replicate the same actions some other mammals act. Additionally, dolphins are not the majestic aquatic sea creature people believe they know, but are complex mammals that act aggressive and defensive when necessary.

Sources:

https://www.bostonglobe.com/ideas/2014/02/02/sorry-dolphins-aren-uniquely-intelligent/woQ8CE0S7XJKYjC6kDQh5J/story.html

http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702304866904579266183573854204

http://us.whales.org/whales-and-dolphins/brain-power

 

Is creatine supplementation safe?

is-creatine-safe

Speaking based on personal experience as well as my observation of my peers, it’s very common for young men to develop an interest in healthy and fitness as he enters his teenage years. With the competitiveness of sports as well as the emphasis placed on being in strong physical shape drastically increasing by the time boys reach high school, these teenagers enter the gym for a workout with progressive, sometimes lofty goals in mind. Because of this, the boys that become dedicated to improving their level of fitness are constantly looking for ways to grow physically and mentally, improve their strength while avoiding a plateau, and remain one step ahead of the competition. Of all the nutritional and dietary supplements on the market specifically designed to accelerate mussel growth, perhaps the most common is a supplement called creatine.

According to an article from Menshealth.com, creatine increases the body’s rate at which it can produced energy. Because the body is given more energy than typical, those who supplement with creatine can train harder and more often, thus producing faster results. There’s no question that creatine is a supplement that really works, with the potential to yield a dedicated gym-goer rapid results. However, the question many weightlifters (of all ages) have about creatine is, is supplementing with creatine safe? The null hypothesis for my proposed question would be that creatine is totally safe for frequent usage and does not pose any health risks, whereas the alternative hypothesis would be that creatine supplementation puts users at risk and can have dangerous side effects.

In a six-month study analyzing the long-term effects of creatine supplementation, researchers frequently measured the blood and urinary markers (as well as other markers) of 98 Division 1A college football players (half of whom supplemented with creatine for the entire six months, and half of whom did not take creatine) in order to assess their health status. At the close of the six month study, the researchers determined no clear differences in the markers from the athletes who did supplement with creatine compared to those who did not. As a result of their findings, the researchers determined that supplementing with creatine for up to 21 months has no adverse effect on the health of athletes.

In a separate study focusing on creatine supplementation’s effect on the kidneys, researchers measured levels of creatinine, plasma albumin, and urea in the bodies of individuals from both a control group and a group who supplemented with creatine. At the study’s conclusion, researchers were unable to determine any differences in levels tested between the creatine-group and the control group. As a result, the research team ruled out the possibility that creatine supplementation (of any amount of time) can have detrimental effects on a user’s kidneys.

As a result of a multitude of studies ruling out creatine supplementation as a hazardous or potentially harmful practice, and because creatine has become so widely used without any documented adverse health problems, I’ve determined that my null hypothesis is correct. Because I feel that creatine is completely safe for frequent usage and does not pose any health risks, either in the near future or the long term, I’m confident that any alternative hypothesis to creatine being safe is incorrect.

Works Cited:

Text:

Why do we cry

You ever wondered what happens in our bodies when we are about to cry; and why is it that we cry. I like to think about things and try to see if I can figure them out I find this to be pretty cool. Not all the time do I figure things out.

So lets get right into this, there are many reasons why we cry. Tears aren’t always a bad thing. Believe it or not tears actually help our eyes, they are a way to keep our eyes nice and healthy. According to livescience.com there are even different kinds of tears. There are tears called basal tears that help clean and lubricate the eyes.

There is another type of tears called reflex tears that happen without us even knowing. Their job is to help clear the eyes from irritations from dust or the gas that comes from cutting onions. There are also emotional tears called the psychic tears that can be used as nonverbal communication.

Overall there is a lot going on in the eye when we cry. The tears in our eyes actually help our eyes and keep them healthy.

Sources:

http://www.livescience.com/32476-why-do-we-cry.html

http://thestudyoftears.projectvolume.org/tearduct_diagram678.jpg

 

Insomnia

insomnia

Artist

After not sleeping for two days in a row, and having in the past struggled with getting even five hours of sleep at the most, this topic seemed inspiring. I wish to explore the effects of insomnia. Does not sleeping have any positive effects?

According to WebMd, insomnia is extremely likely to cause the sleepless person to develop depression and anxiety. Though in my mind, it makes much more sense for it to be the reverse, with depressive or anxious thoughts keeping someone up. Either way, sleeplessness is a very common to be paired up with depression and anxiety, so these two do go hand-in-hand. If your sleeplessness starts as all-nighters for exams and completely screws up your sleeping schedule, you are likely to develop anxiety and depression, and likewise if you have anxiety or depression, sleep may become increasingly difficult.

Some other effects WebMd covers is forgetfulness, weight gain, and that without sleep, you are more likely to die sooner. In fact, any positives I was able to find are not scientific what so ever, but this list I found was fun to say the least. I can definitely relate that some of my best work (particularly art pieces) came from sleepless nights.

Sleep is fairly important, so I should probably stop falling asleep at 4 AM.

Sex Drive

We live in a generation full of double standards, but thankfully the women in my generation refuse to conform to societies “status quo” of how a woman should act on her sexual desires. The words hoe, thot, slut, smut were conducted by men to control women in the patriarchal society/world. A wise man Dr. Umar Johnson, human rights activist, once made a statement something along the lines of, you must first destroy the image before you destroy the person. Meaning if you can convince the world that  people will be better off without “sexual” women, then when the physical dissemination occurs, no one will care. Women were always taught that their worth depends on their sexual “purity”.  Therefore, as I search for answers on the female arousal, it correlates to perception factors like gender role expectations and sexual motivation. Restricting the hormone levels of women sexual thoughts. Which makes it difficult for any research to be conducted properly in regards to what women really want because if women express how they feel they tend to be categorized as promiscuous. Stephen Hamann proved that women have higher sexual arousal than men, but it does not trigger senses in the amygdala.

Hormones that influence sexual motivation are testosterone, estrogen and progesterone. In males testosterone is the key factor for sexual motivation as for estrogen and progesterone is in women. You would think because we have double the hormones we would crave sexual interaction just as much as men, right?  But I guess that research suffered the file-drawer problem along with everything else containing women sexual desires.  Studies show that age play a major component in women sexual desire. Healthy younger women has more circulating hormones in their bodies, in contrary to the 40 year old woman. Which probably is why researchers are now finding out women have similar sexual desires as men, they are studying the wrong age.

This year research was conducted proving that women desired sex just as much as men do but don’t act on it because they’re afraid of social judgment.  For years studies have been supporting men having a higher sex drive than women. That has been proved to be a myth, women and men are very similar in sexual desire. Either women desires suffered the “file-drawer problem” or women were never fully experimented. If you’re ready to cope with the reality of a females  libido, then you’re at the right blog post.

sex

Journalist Daniel Bergner finally illustrated a book acknowledging women sexual wants, named What Do Women Want? Adventures in the Science of Female Desire. After examining animal and humans footage subjects, Daniel concludes that all women want is sex just as much as men. He ends the stereotype of the female sex drive being derived from emotional intimacy. He advised that women might be less monogamous than men. Like, hello; Daniel Bergner may be up to something here. Putting an end to the theory that women only want sex in order to get an emotional connection/ relationship out of the man.

The next time you want to judge a female because of her sexual desire, don’t. Remember that she is too a human who has needs. Do not allow society to influence a woman’s natural desire.

Are ADHD drugs as safe as we think?

I became interested in this topic of ADHD medications because my boyfriend has ADHD and takes the prescription drug Vyvanse. He takes this drug out of necessity, and it helps him get through his day, but he isn’t exactly a proponent of it. He says that his medication has side effects such as memory loss, and I’ve noticed it. I never realized ADHD medications come with a lot of controversy.

unknown-4However, if you do have ADHD and take medication, please do not freak out. There are also many consequences of leaving ADHD untreated, such as higher rates of depression, and anxiety, and substance dependence, according to Huffington Post. I chose to look into this because it seems to affect someone I love, but I know that Vyvanse and other prescription drugs used to treat ADHD are widely used, and that has to count for something. And as we all know too well from commercials about prescription drugs, they all come with side effects. You have to as Andrew said, examine the risk. The Huffington Post article is really interesting, however, it is Canadian, and mentions things that only pertain to Canada, as far as their drug regulating system.

Side note: ADHD medications are stimulants. They work by increasing dopamine levels in the brain. This helps to increase focus. The best treatment for ADHD suggests a combination of medication and therapy, and is known as the “multi-modal”. The therapy is nothing wild. Patients will simply learn skills to better adjust to day-to-day life.

I found a very interesting FoxNews article with a flashy headline. It notes several studies, and says that they were funded by pharaceutical companies, which has a clear conflict of interest.

The best thing you can do if you have ADHD is to know the side effects to your medication so that you are aware of what is normal per se and what is not. If something occurs that is not listed, consult your doctor. My boyfriend started to ween himself to a lower dose (with his doctor’s approval). Consult with your doctor and ask if you can switch. I am going to end before I start sounding like a prescription drug commercial. Thank you.

Sources:

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/dr-kenny-handelman/adhd_b_1925852.html

ADHD medication for kids: Is it safe? Does it help?

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/848240

http://www.foxnews.com/health/2014/05/05/long-term-safety-adhd-medicine-still-question-study-says.html

 

What causes a migraine?

For my last blog of SC200, I thought I would write about something personal to me, as well as get a little more research out of the way for myself. I have chronic migraines and have had this diagnosis since the 5th grade.Every day when I wake up I get an intense pounding on the sides of my head, behind my eyes, and under my neck. Throughout all the years I’ve known about my condition and through all the doctors I’ve seen, nobody has been able to tell me what causes the terrible pain I have everyday. Hopefully, the research I do for this blog will teach me something new.

According to the Migraine Research Foundation, a chronic migraine is categorized by a person having 15 of the month taken over by migraines, which can last from hours to a few days. Believe me, I’ve had it all. I see a neurologist at the Children’s National Hospital, and she said the main reason I get migraines was probably stress, but I’m perfectly unstressed right now.

Some main triggers for migraines as mentioned on the Children’s National website are the weather, bright lights and loud noises, food (especially chocolate). I personally experience all of these and they all really lead to worse migraines existing. A lot of times, women can experience menstrual migraines, which as they sound, are migraines that flare up at the time of a woman’s period, the Migraine Research Foundation says.

So what causes migraines? It is a lot of neurological symptoms that lead to throbbing and extensive pain, and personally attack all over my head.

Can Laughter Improve a Persons day?

I personally find it very healthy to laugh when possible, which is why I surround my self with friends that are capable of this, as it triggers emotions such as joy. One good joke could change my day right around. Ive always heard the saying you should laugh, think and cry once a day who was first said by the late Jim Valvano.

My Null hypothesis is that laughter can improve a persons day. While my reverse hypothesis is that laughter creates no change in a persons mood.

The Mayo Clinic has said that laughing at anything during your day will help relief stress, anything from TV to newspapers that you would find funny. Its said to make the load on your mental state decrease, while this may only be short term. Your body is also affected with laughter, boost in endorphins that are released to your brain. This is one that affects me personally the most noticeably when I laugh, it almost feels as if I am on a drug for a few minutes. Your muscles, and heart also are shown to be stimulated. You might be wondering how does laughing affect my heart, well it can increase blood pressure and heart rate. This leads to a more relaxed state, and may feel good. As for your muscles, laughing releases tension build up, by simulating circulation. These are all short term affects.

the-power-of-laughter

As for some long term affects of laughter, a persons immune system can be affected. Being in a bad state of mind can affect your body, which weakens you immune system due to the added stress. Laughter can also act as a painkiller, it may not work as well as a prescription depending on your pain level but has been found to help in lower level pain situations. This last one has affected me many times, your mood can change. Its been found to help with anxiety and depression. Laughter is the best gift you could give someone without even knowing it. Many people go through their ups and downs and you could make someones day just a little better.

A study was done called Laughter prescription, by Dr.William B. Strean in 2009 which cited a few other studies to back its claims. In his study he claims that laughter could be linked to improve natural killer cell activity, which is common in people with cancer or HIV. Laughter has been encompassed into cancer recovery showing positive results. Studies have shown that at least 50% of cancer patients used humor therapy. More research has to be done on why and how laughter can affect our bodies so greatly. But laughing could one day be recommended or prescribed by your doctor, as it has proven to show an increase in many areas of the body and mind.

While some studies do refute some of these claims such as reported studies on the physiologic effects of laughter having no affect. However many refute these claims, and I think that we just need to do more testing on the subject. As of today laughter is still widely considered a coping mechanism. We may not have all the answers to how laughter helps certain health problems yet, but doing so is in no way going to hurt your body so why not laugh.

Knowing all this new information I would defiantly love to go to events like live comedy shows. If its going to enhance ones health, while they have a good time, why would you not. For me I am so busy most of the day I forget how taking time aside to laugh or laughing with someone can change their day around. I have come to the conclusion that the Null hypothesis is correct. But further studies may show further benefits.

Sources
Mayo Clinic
Laughter prescription StudyImage

Does Reading Make You Smarter?

Reading has been a part of all of our lives for years, ever since we have been in school of course. There’s no doubt that reading has shaped us into the intelligent individuals that we are today, given the fact that it stimulates our brain and allows us to continually span our knowledge. However, my question is, “Does reading VOLUNTARILY and on a regular basis outside of school assignments improve your mental abilities.”

brain

image found here

To look into this topic, I started searching for sources that discussed reading and how it affects the body. The study that I found explores a correlation between cognitive aspects of literacy. The article points out the fact that this was more of an observational study as opposed to experimental simply because almost every has some level of reading experience, therefor trial groups didn’t need to be clearly set up and defined. Large sample sizes are easy to obtain for the same reason as well. However, a study done by Schribner and Cole (1981) produced data stated that literacy was a repressive force. Because of this, research on the topic has come to a stalemate as no one has initiated many new successful studies that dive further into this question.

The conclusion? There is absolutely no evidence that reading HURTS you, so instead of watching TV or taking a nap with your free time, why not to something a little more stimulating that has the chances (although not specifically proven) of increasing the level of your cognitive development? Happy Reading!

source