Monthly Archives: September 2013

Over Exercising Can Be Harmful

I noticed that when I exercise a lot my knees tend to hurt. This always confuses me because exercising is supposed to be good for you, but yet when I finish exercising my body tends to feel worse. It is known that exercising is good for people, but is it possible for it to have the opposite affect? 

 Exercising, in general, is healthy for people, but too much exercise is not a good thing. According to Kathleen Doheny, running marathons and triathlons can damage people’s cardio after years of running. Any over intense activity that people train for can also damage the heart’s chambers by stretching it. Training can really damage the right ventricle by not being able to pump as fast as usual. However, after training these things can go back to normal. This article goes to state that if the training is so intense sometimes it can leave permanent damage such as scarring, stiffening, or stretching of the heart. 
 A study was done which showed that the marathon runners had a higher risk of their heart scarring than those who did not run marathons. These runners were also more likely to have a heart attack or stroke than those who do not participate in over intense exercises. Another article states that exercise can ruin people’s joints and cause people to age. Many runners end up with tendonitis which is friction within the joints. Your body and organs can begin to fail from too much exercise which causes people to look older than they really are.
 Does this mean that you should not exercise? Of course not! Researchers proved that people who did not exercise have a higher risk of death compared to those who exercise in moderation. Moderation is key! runner.jpg

Feeling Sad? Eat.

            It isn’t until after you go away to college that you really can appreciate a home-cooked meal. This past weekend, I couldn’t wait to head back to my hometown to can for THON, and I certainly couldn’t have been more excited for my mom’s cooking. Despite the lack of sleep over the past two days, I found myself in an overall excellent mood. Interestingly enough, science claims that my consistent happiness could have been due to the delicious food I was eating non-stop all weekend.

Thanks to the work of neurobiologist Norman Salem, Jr., Ph.D., we know today that docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), a particular type of omega-3 fat, is prevalent in the brain. Miraculously, our brains do not produce DHA – we get it entirely from the foods we eat. Joe Hibbeln was shocked by this discovery and suggested that too much or too little intake of these fats can affect the way our brain operates – and he was right.

Low omega-3 levels can lead to a reduced amount of dopamine, therefore making it impossible for dopamine to fulfill the “”reward” chemical that the brain releases in response to pleasurable experiences.” Basically, straying away from foods that make us happy can lead to negative emotions, such as depression. Scientifically speaking, “serotonin is the neurotransmitter most linked to happiness, since you need it to regulate sleep and pain. It’s also a powerhouse at counteracting excitatory neurotransmitters.” These excitatory neurotransmitters stimulate our body and mind; the more neurotransmitters a food’s compounds can produce, the “happier” it makes us.

It seems too good to be true that a gourmet meal or dessert can turn a bad day around, and to be honest, it is. Food does make us happy, and a lot of the reasoning is behind comfort eating, which “work[s] at a molecular level to lift our mood” when we are feeling down. Comfort eating can also lead to serious problems like obesity; people become addicted the “high” feeling food gives them the same way that drug addicts are addicted to the “high” due to drug abuse.

I don’t think I’m addicted to food, but I do love to eat. I’ll admit it; being at home this past weekend may have lead to me comfort eat a little bit too much… However, I’ve never felt like I was eating in a way that was out of my control. To avoid the dangers of excessive comfort eating, everyone must understand the basic fact that food can be addictive. All in all, a good meal never fails to put me in a good mood, and I’m just glad to know that I’m not the only one – it’s scientifically proven! 


Is Honey Good for You?

Waking up with a sore throat is just about the worst thing ever. The only thing that soothes my sore throat is tea with a ton of honey. Honey always seemed to do the trick for me. I was once told honey was good for us, and if so then why is honey good for us? 

  According to Benefits of Honey  honey contains many vitamins such as B6, thiamin, amino acids, riboflavin, and many more. Honey also contains calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, and potassium which all is very good for you. Not only does it contain these vitamins and minerals, but even the sugar in honey is not bad for you. The sugars help with digestion since they go in through the blood stream. I also found from research that honey helps cure the sick. Honey can get rid of the harmful chemicals that could possibly even result in cancer according to this website. Many people all over use honey to cure others. Honey is used also to help the skin with aging and dryness. It is used in different lotions and even hair care products to hydrate dry hair. Another website states that honey is now being used more commonly for treatment.  Honey is even used to help wounds heal.  Researchers looked at 18 different studies on honey that was used as treatment in the past 60 years and found that is helped people’s wounds heal even the ones that were infected.  Is 18 studies enough to prove that using honey can be very beneficial?  This might not have convinced me but as i read on i found that honey was even shown to help people who were burned.  This article says, “Researchers in India found that when burn victims’ wounds were treated with honey, they experienced less pain and scarring than those treated with more conventional medications.”  All of this had me convinced that honey was good for us, but is this really the case? 
  According to Authority Nutritionhoney may be better than sugar, but it is still not good for you. Studies have been done that prove that honey is not good for people who are diabetic because their blood glucose levels raised, but did help as far as cholesterol goes. Also, the amount of fructose in honey is very high. However, a study was done on rats showing that the rats who were fed honey were less likely to gain weight, less stressed, and had lower triglycerides than those that were fed real sugar and fructose. For the rats, honey seemed to not be so bad. 

 With this being said, then is honey good for you or bad for you? The answer would be honey in small moderations is not bad for you. Honey is a good substitute for sugar because it is healthier, but too much of it is never a good thing especially for diabetic and over weight people.  As far as using honey to substitute for certain medicines, I say why not.  Research proves that it can help your skin, help with wounds, and burns.  Are you willing to try using honey?  


Effects of Agent Orange

I’m sure all of you have learned about the use of agent orange in the Vietnam War. To remind you, agent orange was an herbicide used by the U.S. military from 1962-1975 in an attempt to destroy the forests in Vietnam and Cambodia, which were used as cover for the Viet Cong, as well as the crops grown for the peasants in these countries. This forced the peasants to flee to cities that were being controlled by the U.S. military and as a result, the Viet Cong had a significantly decreased amount of food supply.

My father was drafted to serve in the U.S. Army in Vietnam between 1967-1969, which means he had high exposure to agent orange. I have an older sister who was born with Spina Bifida, which is a birth defect known to be caused by dioxin/agent orange. Veterans who were exposed to this herbicide have an increased chance of getting these diseases: Al Amyloidosis, chronic B-cell Leukemia, Chloracne, Diabetes Type II, Hodgkin’s Disease, Ischemic Heart Disease, Multiple Myeloma, Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, Parkinson’s Disease, Peripheral Neuropathy (early onset), Porphyria Cutanea Tarda, prostate cancer, respiratory cancers, and soft tissue sarcomas, and many more. There is also a long list of birth defects associated with children and grandchildren of Vietnam Veterans. This list includes, but is not limited to Spina Bifida, Achondroplasia, cleft lip, cleft palate, congenital heart disease, congenital talipses equinovarus (clubfoot), esophageal and intestinal atresia, Hallerman-Streiff Syndrome, hip dysplasia, Hischprung’s Disease, hydrocephalus due to aqueductal stenosis, hypospadias, imperforate anus, neural tube defects, Poland Syndrome (webbed fingers), Pyloric Stenosis, Syndactyly, Tracheosophageal Fistula, undescended testicles, and Williams Syndrome (thyroid defects).

So the question that remains is why did Agent Orange cause so many defects. Agent Orange is made from two herbicides: 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T, which was contagent orange.jpgaminated with a dioxin.

A dioxin is a highly toxic compound. This combination caused multiple gene mutations and chromosomal abberations (found in several experiments). Unfortunately, millions of people in both the United States of America and Vietnam are still dealing with the devastating effects of Agent Orange today. For more information, take a look at some of the links below.

Veteran’s Diseases Associated with Agent Orange:

Information about Agent Orange:

Children of Vietnam Vet’s Exposed to Agent Orange:


cRaZy SKinNy

Woman all over the country are constantly trying to lose weight or remain skinny. People have this idea or image in their minds that woman need to look a certain way to look “good”. Overweight woman are looked down upon and sometimes men won’t even look at them. I find it interesting that in other countries being overweight is beautiful. According to the World of Psychology “80 percent of women in the U.S. are dissatisfied with their appetence”. In the 1800’s woman’s bodies were supposed to be big and strong but as later generations have come and gone now women see thin as the new in. Women who are overweight are viewed negatively because they may “lack self-control”. In recent years we have all witnessed women go through crazy eating habits and changes. Many women will go to extremes to stay thin or become skinny. 

 Many women believe they should be skinny because of what society has created for us. Women all over the country watch TV shows, movies, read magazines and are influenced by what the media perceives as “beautiful”. Before women would look up to women who were normal size, now they look up to celebrities who of course have a strict diet and personal trainers all of the time. Lots of young girls are faced with the issue of watching their weight. This way of thinking leads to eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia. I have had many friends and family members struggle with this. Even when I was in the 7th grade I would only eat Honey Bunches of Oats cereal, and lost 8 pounds. No young girl should be thinking about that. “According to the National Eating Disorders Association, 42 percent of first- to third-grade girls want to lose weight, and 81 percent of 10-year-olds are afraid of being fat.” 

 Women also worry that men will only find them attractive if they meet the quota for being thin. Honestly, most men prefer average size women. They do not like women to be too thin. It’s just unattractive. I personally always watch the foods I eat because I want to stay fit. However, I do also eat what I want and simply work out. I would give this advice to any girl out there. Eat what you want, work out, and you’ll feel great!


Pseudocyesis: False Pregnancy

Imagine showing up at the hospital, all signs of pregnancy, thinking you’re about to give birth. You’re rushed into a room by a doctor to find out you’re not really pregnant. Pseudocyesis or false pregnancy is the appearance of physiological signs of pregnancy without conception. One to six for every 22,000 births is a case of this false pregnancy. It is even possible for patients with this disorder to test positive on pregnancy tests. All pregnancy symptoms can be prevalent  except you will not hear heart tones from the fetus, you will not see the fetus in an ultrasound, and there is clearly no delivery of a baby. 
There are plenty of psychological theories about this condition, although much is just speculation at the moment. Dating back to Sigmund Freud, his most famous patient, Anna O thought she was indeed pregnant with the baby or her previous psychoanalyst. Freud linked it to transference which the the strong attachment of patients to their psychoanalysts. Other psychiatrists, in more recent years, believe that women who desperately want to become pregnant or have a strong attachment to a family member’s pregnancy are the ones who develop this issue. 
Opposed to the psychological view, there is also the biological explanation. Many patients have increases levels of hormones such as estrogen and prolactin which are hormones that cause physical symptoms of abnormal swelling and milk excretion. There can also form the psychological symptoms such as just wanting to bond with the baby. 
Putting the psychological and biological views together causes a feedback loop where an initial emotional state causes hormone secretion which causes the affects. There is no positive answer to why pseudocyesis happens due to the complete lack of test subjects, but Dr. Paul Paulman of the University of Nebraska Medical Center hopes to study man individual cases to get a better insight into how the phenomena occurs. No large-scale studies have ever been conducted either and there is a low possibility of that ever happening. It is difficult with such a rare occurrence to document much at all, but I feel it is very probable that this combination of the psychological and biological are very reasonable. As we all know, women are the emotional type and once they have their heart set, convincing their body may not be as hard as we all would have thought. It can really be a very disappointing experience for the women and couples put through this pseudocyesis as they may truly believe in their pregnancy. It can be a scarring event.

Day After Tomorrow, 30 Years from Now…

Many people have either seen or heard of the movie, Day After Tomorrow. I guess, in a way, it raised somewhat of a short-lived concern among the general public regarding climate change. I say somewhat short-lived because it was drastically exaggerated. I mean, how realistic is the formation of three ice age-like super-storms in a matter of a couple of days across the globe?


Scientists have been studying super-storms lately, and after the horrors of Hurricane Katrina and Tropical Storm Sandy, I don’t see why they shouldn’t. Concerns about climate change have been growing, and not necessarily because of Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth, or Hollywood’s Day After Tomorrow. Schools and news stations have talked extensively about global heat rises. I don’t even take that many science classes, but anytime it’s a hot day, I’ll inevitably hear a student talk about how the weather of today is related to the long-term climate of the future.


What I’m more concerned about is the long-term effect. What does this mean for various structures? We know full well that the levees didn’t hold up against Hurricane Katrina down on the Gulf Coast. I’m pretty sure New Orleans still doesn’t know how to rebuild completely. Now THIS ARTICLE doesn’t particularly mention any correlation with past disasters to climate change, or any future connection either. It just states that severe weather is coming and hot air promotes air movement and rainy days.

All in all, I’m growing worried about current infrastructures life-span, as well as coastal dependence on commerce worldwide. After seeing Sandy desecrate parts of New Jersey and New York, I’m a little worried about the economical impact alongside the environmental. I mean, I guess we have until 2040 to see the real effects, according to Dr. Diffenbaugh, at least.


 Picture Source: (

Extreme Binge Drinking Common Among Teens

Binge Drinking: the consumption of an excessive amount of alcohol in a short period of time; ten or more alcoholic beverages in a single sitting. One drink is defined as a 12-ounce can or bottle of beer, a four-ounce glass of wine,  12-ounce bottle or can of wine cooler, a mixed drink, or shot glass of the equivalent amount. 

Binge drinking has become very common, especially in recent years, among high school teens. For high school seniors, it is reported that one in ten have recently engaged in extreme binge drinking. Specifically young men, students from rural areas, individuals of the white race, and teens from the Midwest are more reported for extreme binge drinking according to the Monitoring the Future Study done by the U-M Institute for Social Research
Extreme binge drinking can put many teens at risk. For one, once teens engage in this enough, they can become accustomed to the amount of alcohol. This can lead to teens needing more to drink to feel the same effects others do at lower consumption of alcohol. It can also cause reckless driving, car accidents, and alcohol poisoning. This binge drinking can explain why hospitalizations for alcohol overdose among teens and young adults are at a high. Besides from the life threatening affects, it can also cause increased rate of blacking out, making choices one would not make when sober or even drinking less, and passing out. 
A survey done in 2012 by this same group reported that one in four people ages nineteen to thirty had consumed ten drinks or more in a row. One in ten people had at least fifteen drinks in a row. Even earlier, in the 1980s, before 21 was the drinking age, more than 40% of high school seniors drank more than five drinks in a row. Binge drinking has been a problem for years and clearly in a large age range, but mainly most common in high school seniors. This is most likely due to the ignorance of teens on the dangerous affects of alcohol. Many do not realize the simple things to prevent this, such as eating before you drink, spacing drinking out, and drinking water between drinks. Binge drinking can be extremely dangerous, especially when done on a regular basis. 
In my opinion, I feel binge drinking can be dangerous in all walks of life, even in college. Those high school students that come to college and have never drank before tend to take it to a whole new level, not knowing limits. Especially at a college like Penn State; we have the most hospital trips due to drugs and alcohol in the country. It makes complete sense that teens would be the individuals with the most issues with this problem, but as people become sad or angry and drink too much, it could truly happen at any age. Everyone should keep track of how much they drink and always be safe, no matter how old they are. 


I’m sure many of you have seen people or know of someone with pink, scabby looking stuff on their elbows or legs. So what is this stuff? It’s called Psoriasis.

“Scientists believe that at least 10% of the general population inherits one or more of the genes that create a predisposition to psoriasis [and] only 2%-3% of the population develops the disease [on their own].” Scientists have also found that a person has twenty-five genetic variants that makes them able to develop psoriasis diseases. This means that these people inherited psoriasis from the genes their parent(s) carried. Researcher Anne Bowcock and her colleagues from Washington University School of Medicine of St. Louis found a rare mutation in the gene called CARD14 that triggers due to a negative environmental circumstance to the body that results in plaque psoriasis. -(“Psoriasis”) Environmental circumstances like stress, injury to skin or even medications provoke this disease. Stress causes psoriasis because just like a cut, the immune system sends chemicals that would heal a wound that causes inflammation. The same concept applies when a person is dealing with a lot of stress, the immune system sends chemicals that cause inflammation to the skin (“Stress”). Due to the mutation of CARD14, the protein NF-kappaB develops inflammatory cells faster and sends them to the top layer of the skin. This causes skin cells to quickly mature and create thick, itchy, pink/white patches on the skins surface (“First”).

Psoriasis has five different types that a person can develop. Plaque is the most common form. This is the typical red/white patch of Psoriasis found on the back, legs, elbows and scalp. This picture below represents a person with Plaque Psoriasis.

what_is_psoriasis_large.jpgThe second most common form is Guttate Psoriasis that begins during childhood. These are smaller red patches that almost remind one of Chicken Pox. Inverse Psoriasis is found mostly in genitals or body folds like an armpit. It’s red without the white scaly part because of the moist environment and usually it’s sweat that irritates the psoriasis. Pustular Psoriasis is when blisters evolve from the psoriasis, most commonly found on feet and hands but can cover the body as well. The blisters are full of pus that contains white blood cells. The last type of psoriasis is Erythrodermic, which covers the body and is life-threatening by the body losing protein and fluid. -(“Types”)

Other health problems can occur due to psoriasis like Psoriatic Arthritis where people feel pain and swelling in their joints, Depression, and Type 2 Diabetes. Cardiovascular Disease has been linked to lab mice who have a similar disease close to psoriasis where “chronic inflammation over large areas of the body led to inflammation in major arteries” but it is still unsure for humans even though the correlation of many patients who have psoriasis are overweight (“National”). Psoriasis can be treated but for most it doesn’t go away. Treatments like the use of prescription medications that go through the whole body, topical medications are used mainly for those patients who have mild psoriasis, and UVB light has been found to slow the growth of the cells. -(“Topical”)

With all the environmental triggers why aren’t there more people who do have psoriasis? How can we stop the immune system from overreacting and causing inflammation?


Works Cited:

“First Gene linked to common form of psoriasis identified.” Washington University in St. Louis. 28 Sept. 2013 <>.

“Health Conditions Associated with Psoriasis.” National Psoriasis Foundation. 28 Sept 2013 <>.

“National Psoriasis Foundations-Funded Study Discovers How Psoriasis and Cardiovascular Disease Are Connected Shows Treatment Reduces Risk.” National Psoriasis Foundation. 28 Sept. 2013 <>.

“Psoriasis Causes and Known Triggers.” National Psoriasis Foundation. 28 Sept. 2013 <>.

“Stress.” National Psoriasis Foundation. 28 Sept. 2013 <>.

“Topical Treatments.” National Psoriasis Foundation. 28 Sept 2013 <>.

“Types of Psoriasis.” National Psoriasis Foundation. 28 Sept. 2013 <>.

Photo of Psoriasis:


Flesh-Eating Drug in the U.S

        There is a new illegal street drug that has recently arrived in the United States. This drug is called crocodile or “krokodil” and it chemically similar to heroin and morphine. The drug got is name from the way it affects addicts. Two things usually happen, which are they get dark, scaly lesions on there skin and the drug starts to eat the addicts alive, like a crocodile.

        In the United States there have been two cases where people have been addicted in Arizona. These are the only cases that the Banner Good Samaritan Poison and Drug Information Center know as of now. However, this is still very worrying because the drug is known to be highly addictive and to spread like wildfire.
        The drug was first found in Russia a few years ago. It became popular because it was a lot cheaper than heroin, and it could be made in a kitchen. The drug was made by combining codeine with oil, gasoline, paint thinner, or alcohol. 
        Krokodil is injected with a needle but what is freighting is that necrosis, the death and decaying of skin, can happen very quickly after injecting it. The effect of krokodil is about ten times greater than morphine, but also three times as toxic. Addicts that do not quit the drug commonly have gangrene and amputations, and often die after two or three years. Those who do manage to quit are still severely disfigured for life with severe scarring, amputated limbs, bone damage, speech impediments, varying degrees of brain damage, and poor motor skills.
The picture shown is a very minor reaction to the drug. I did not put in worse reactions because some cannot handle the images. If you do want to check out worse reactions click here.