Monthly Archives: November 2013

What Exactly is Multi-Personality Disorder?

          The mind is the most complex and confusing thing to exist in this world. While some minds create greatness, others are lost in the world and some even suffer from issues that cannot fully be comprehended. Unfortunately, various people suffer from problems like down syndrome, schizophrenia, the list goes on… However, the disorder that has always made me wonder and feel unsettled about is the multi-personality disorder. I always heard about this problem where people can have a variety of personalities to a point where they have convinced themselves that they are an entirely different person. I was never sure if I believed that this misfortune could happen, until one of my close friends from middle school began to act like an entirely different person. She would always have these random outbursts and blame them on her “grumpy side-effects from [her] time of the month.” Recently, she was diagnosed with “Dissociative Identity Disorder“, which is the scientific name of multiple personality disorder. 

         People with the Dissociative Identity Disorder can experience issues like depression, psychotic-like symptoms, suicidal tendencies, blackouts, mood swings, eating disorders, compulsions, sleep disorders, etc. All of these possible side-effects are not positive or beneficial, so it makes me extremely concerned and upset that such a happy and upbeat person that I have known my entire life can be experiencing these things behind closed-doors. 
         There is a movie that I saw in my high school Human Development class, which you may have seen called Sybil. This movie was probably one of the most frightening movies that I have seen, because it is so realistic and it is hard to believe that people have dealt with issues similar to her. If you haven’t seen it, it is about “a young woman whose childhood was so harrowing that she developed at least thirteen different personalities.” Sure, this was an extreme and fictional case, but it still made me feel weary and heartbroken that these things can happen to anyone. She was not “born with” the disorder, but instead she was a victim of trauma. 
         Trauma is a huge factor to people developing multiple personalities. Emotional, physical, and sexual abuse can all trigger the mind to become traumatized and disoriented in some ways. People who have been in the war, in the holocaust, earthquakes, losing a loved one, or have been sexually assaulted can develop ‘DID’. PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, is proven to have been the cause for mental illnesses of 8% Americans. When so much stress is repeated emotionally and/or physically the brain can be extremely altered. “The Broca’s Area and parts of the right hemisphere of the brain is reported to be markedly suppressed.” The right hemisphere is shown to process visual images and experience emotions, and speech can be effected as well causing people to become conflicted and forming “more personalities”.
          A lot of research has been done of Dissociative Identity Disorder, and “studies show that in the general population 1 to 3 percent meet full criteria of ‘DID’ making it as common as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.” This disorder can be caused by trauma in childhood, in the war, from a loss of a loved one (specifically a parent), and extreme stress. Many believe that there is no cure for this disorder, and a lot of people also believe that treatment can lead to the disorder to become worse. However, there have been measures taken along the lines of psychotherapy,  cognitive therapy, medication (revolving around depression and anxiety), family therapy, and clinical hypnosis. 
         My friend did experience a loss of her father, so that could be a main factor into what triggered her recently diagnosed disorder. Although, this disorder makes me so nervous and concerned about her health because there is not a obvious cure to help her. I hope she doesn’t reach extremities like some people have, or what was demonstrated in the movie Sybil. The mind is the strangest and craziest thing that exists on this planet, and I hope people find ways to help the minds find their way back if lost. Has there ever been a moment where you have not felt like yourself, as if you were an entirely different person after being so stressed or tired, why do you think that happened?
Works Cited: 

       “Dissociative Identity Disorder.” AAMFT. 01 Dec. 2013. <>

       “Dispelling Myths about Dissociative Identity Disorder | Psych Central.” Psych Central. 29 Nov. 2013. <>

       “Dissociative Identity Disorder (Multiple Personality Disorder): Signs, Symptoms, Treatment.” WebMD. 29 Nov. 2013. <>

       “Human Diseases and Conditions.” Human Diseases and Conditions. 29 Nov. 2013. <>


        “What is Dissociate Disorder?” Sidran Institute. 3 Dec. 2013.   <>

Whatever You Do, Do NOT Bite Your Nails!

            I see people all the time with dirt under their nails and men/women with long nails. I see several people on a daily basis biting their nails which is a gross habit. I see those who bite their nails even with dirt under them too. Every time I see this I want to gag. What is living under those nails that you just put in your mouth? 

           First off keratin is a protein that makes our nails flat and hard. This substance also creates our hair and “the top layer of our skin”. Even in the womb we have finger nails/toenails. Our nails actually begin in what’s known as the nail root. This is located under our skin behind the cuticle. The cuticle is where the nail touches the skin and the lunula is the “pale half circle just above the cuticle”. Our nails continue to grow because new nail cells grow under our skin and force the old nail out. Under our nail is called the nail bed; it’s made up of blood vessels that keep our nail healthy and that give it a pink tint. Our fingernails grow 2.5 millimeters per month and this is why it will take three to six months to replace a whole nail once you lose it. To keep our nails healthy it’s recommended that we cut our fingernails and toenails straight across and to regularly put lotion on our nails and cuticles to add moisture. (“Your”).


Dr. Anthony Hilton, a microbiologist from Aston University, held a study of nail clippings from fifty-five women and forty-five men. He had found enterobacteriaceae under 24% of men and 15% from women. Enterobacteriaceae causes vomiting, diarrhea, and gastroenteritis and is usually found “in the guts of animals or humans” (“Quarter”). Another study done by Dr. David Katz from Yale University swabbed several students with different fingernails lengths. He let the bacteria grow for three days in which he concluded the short, painted nails had the least bacteria under them. Unlike those with long unpainted nails, who had the most bacteria. Nails that are shorter are able to be cleaned easier and nail polish has a few chemicals that includes the chemical formaldehyde, which actually decreases bacteria growth (“Biting”). In another study it was found that “infectious outbreaks in neonatal intensive care units were linked to long nails”. Eighteen health-care workers were tested and the study concluded that longer nails contained bacteria compared to 18% of the health-care workers who had shorter nails. Klebsiella, a bacteria that causes pneumonia, urinary tract infections, and a yeast that can cause blood stream infections were found under several of these nails. This is very scary especially when the workers help those who are already ill and vulnerable (“Study”).


Onychophagia also known as nail biting occurs in about 45% of teenagers. Nail biting could be caused by stress, anxiety, OCD, or just a habit. When biting your nails you put all the bacteria under the nails into your mouth and gums, let alone possibly creating infection in your fingers by breaking the skin when biting. Nail biting can also damage your teeth by weakening and wearing down the enamel on the teeth (“Mouth”).

            Many of these studies need more people to be involved in the tests to have stronger results. Also many third variables can play a role like the jobs of students and the environment they live in at home that can affect the bacteria under their nails. As you have read biting nails are not healthy so here are some tips on how to stop.

Works Cited:

“Biting Your Nails Part 2.” Huffpost Healthy Living. 30 Nov. 2013   <>.

“Mouth Health: The Dish on Biting Your Nails.” Huffpost Healthy Living. 30 Nov.  2013 <>.

“Quarter of Men Have Germs Lurking Under Fingernails.” Mail Online. 30 Nov. 2013 <>.

“Study Links Long Fingernails and  Bacteria.” ABC News. 30 Nov 2013     <>.

“Your Nails.” KidsHealth. 30 Nov. 2013 <>.

Photo of dirty nails:


Photo of woman biting nails:


Rats Helping Find Cure To Gambling Addiction

Little rats sitting around slot machines in a cage. That is the premise of this study

“In the 16-month study, a cohort of 32 laboratory rats responded to a series of three flashing lights before choosing between two levers. One combination of lights (all lights illuminated) signaled a win and seven combinations (zero, one or two lights) signaled a loss. A “cash-out” lever rewarded the rat with 10 sugar pellets on winning trials, but gave a 10-second “time out” penalty on losing trails. The “roll again” lever allowed the rats to begin a new trial without penalty, but provided no sugar pellets.”

Much like humans, the rats showed excitement when they won and were upset when they lost. When rats had a near miss, they treated it almost like a win. 
Scientists used a D4 dopamine blocking medication on the rats, making the rats much less likely to “cash-out”. Dopamine receptor has been linked to behavioral disorders for a long time. When rats were given the medication they showed reduced signs of problem gambling.
Not all rat studies can be linked directly back to humans because their species are still quite different, but the study is promising because it eliminated many variables by just leaving the rats in the cage to do that. But, will rats keep gambling just because they are bored and have nothing else to do? It could be a similar effect like that of the rats in the Rat Morphine experiment. So maybe humans continue to feel compelled to gamble when they are bored or feel trapped.
My friend’s grandmother had a gambling problem for a long time. She was there so often that the bouncers and dealers knew her and would put her at the best tables. Eventually, she made herself stop cold-turkey for good and hasn’t turned back since.
I found this study to be quite interesting because it could lead to a medication for problem gamblers as well as other behavioral diseases, but it needs much more looking into. How could scientists design a study with humans to test this?

How Long After the Morning After?

Okay, okay- we already know the morning after pill is controversial- not to mention  kind of confusing. So, where else to start but with the facts?:

         Emergency contraceptives (let’s call them ECs for short) are a form of birth control used to “prevent pregnancy after sex by preventing or delaying ovulation, interfering with fertilization of an egg, or preventing implantation of a fertilized egg in the uterus by altering its lining,” (WebMD).  

         Side effects may include nausea, abdominal pain, fatigue, menstrual cramps, dizziness, vomiting.

         The active ingredient for most ECs is levonorgestrel.

         The sooner, the better.

o   If taken within 72 hours after unprotected sex, the pill can reduce pregnancy by up to 89% and 95% if taken within 24.


However, time may not be the only thing that plays a factor in the effectiveness of an emergency contraceptive. In Europe, HRA Pharma, a manufacturer of the emergency contraceptive Norvelo, is now putting new labels on the bottle, warning that weight may have a very major impact on the drug’s effectiveness. See full story here

So the question is- does it really? And if it does, why aren’t identical American ECs such as Plan B One-Step required to use similar labels?

In 2010, a study was conducted by Anna Glasier of the University of Edinburgh consisting of 3,445 women in order to identify factors associated with EC failure. The women were separated into two randomized control groups- one which took the EC 72 hours after unprotected intercourse and one which took EC 120 hours after unprotected sex. They recorded a number of things, including age, BMI, weight, ovulation times, and time from unprotected intercourse to treatment.

The results found that the most significant variable affecting the risk of pregnancy was BMI. The risk of pregnancy was 3 times higher for obese women and 1.5 times higher for overweight women. The hypothesis?: overweight women need a higher level of levonorgestrel.

This study was effective because took in to account third variables, from ovulation times to age. However, it didn’t state how many obese or overweight women participated in the study. They also attempted to look at too many factors- they wanted to see which factors affected EC failure. Rather, the next study needs to focus primarily on the issue of weight in order to discover at which weight women should begin to take additional precaution.

Personally, I don’t feel there is enough evidence for overweight women to not take oral contraception. It remains a good option; however, we know that weight has an effect on oral contraception, so additional precautions such as talking to a doctor should be considered. However, evidence is strong enough for HRA Pharma to begin issuing warning labels- and it’s something American manufacturers should strongly consider.  

Wake Up Early and Be More Productive

I love mornings. I love the peacefulness, the time to myself and the prospect of having the whole day at my fingertips.  I also love how much more productive I am when I get up early and apparently, I’m not the only one who reaps the early morning productivity benefits. 

In an article on The Huffington Post titled, “The One Thing Crazy Successful People Do Every Morning,” it names numerous famously successful people such as Barack Obama, Anna Wintour and Maragaret Thatcher who have used the early morning hours to sneak in a little extra work or a workout.  The article also discusses how early risers have been linked to being happier, more proactive, getting better grades, and even sleeping better. What’s not to like about that? theorizes that morning people are more productive and more successful because society is structured around a 8-5 schedule, with more emphasis being placed on the morning hours.  These early risers took advantage of the morning hours to do something that they loved, which automatically started their day off on the right note. 

That’s not to say that night owls don’t reap certain benefits themselves. states that night owls are typically more creative, more outgoing, and have a better sense of humor, yet they are consistently out of the loop with the normal corporate schedule. 

So how do you become a morning person? says you should start by setting a bed time so you can get enough sleep to get up early; so long are the days of trying to burn the candle at both ends.  Sleep is still vital to your mental and physical health so you should never skimp on that just to get up early. You should also start by making a short list of what you would like to accomplish to ease yourself into a new routine before it eventually becomes habitual.

For me, the morning provides those undisturbed hours to relax before the day needs to begin or sneak in some work without the pressure to be somewhere or feeling as though I am missing out on something else.  While I know I am not the norm, being a morning person college, I know it is a habit I’ll be happy to have upon entering the real world, oh so soon. 


Eating Nuts Leads to Longer Duration of Life

Almonds, cashews, peanuts, you name it. Either way, these nuts may lead to a longer life. A recent study shows that men and women who eat nuts daily are 20% less likely to die(during a 30 year period) than those who never eat nuts.

During a 30 year study by Harvard, 119,000 men and women had to fill out surveys on food and lifestyle habits every two to four years, including how often they ate 1 ounce of nuts.

This study was observational, but they did at least take into account many other variables, having the participants record them in the survey. Exercise, smoking, and weight were just a few that were recorded. When the variables were taken into account, the nuts still proved to reduce risk of death. For example, most smokers who ate nuts lived longer than smokers who didn’t.
The problem with this study is that people have to recall how often they ate nuts in a two or even four year span and that is very difficult to estimate. They could have bettered this study by making them record what they ate eat day and how much, so they could accurately account for the amount of nuts that they ate.
I like eating nuts, but I do not have them often at all. My mom is a vegetarian, so she always eats nuts and is still in very good health, so maybe I should take a lesson from her. Benefits of Eating Nuts
Now just because they ate nuts more often and some variables were accounted for, this does not rule out third variables. Maybe constantly choosing nuts as a snack as opposed to candy over 30 years really helps maintain good health. How do you feel about this study? And what other third variables may not have been accounted for?

Shopping: An Activity or an Addiction?

       With all of this Black Friday hype and Christmas shopping coming up for the next month, I find that my shopping has become a problem… Can I actually get addicted to shopping? My roommate can tell you that every time I have free time you can find me at the mall or online shopping. The thing is I usually don’t even buy anything; it relieves my stress, kind of like a therapy session. Is it possible to be addicted to shopping?


       I needed to research this, and it turns out there is actually a term for compulsive shopping… It is called “Oniomania” or one can be considered a “Shopoholic“. The data holds that “only about 6% of the U.S. population is thought to have a shopping addiction.” As well, it can be close to any disorder like anxiety, eating, impulse, or personality disorders. Like most disorders, a main symptom of being a Shopoholic is hiding the problem or denial . Other symptoms are spending over your budget even if you cannot afford it, compulsive buying, impairing your relationships, or thinking about it for almost all hours of the day. This has been considered an addiction “since the 19th century” and continues to be an issue. 

       In a recent study, researchers discovered that people who have ADHD are more prone to becoming obsessed with shopping. Impulse is a main reason to why one feels the need to shop at all times, especially those with ADHD. “Impulsivity makes it difficult for those with ADHD to think through the consequences of their actions and instead react only to what they are feeling at the present time.” This makes them buy and spend more money without thinking about what can happen if they overspend. As well, another reason why people can become addicted to shopping and more for those with ADHD can be because of depression or anxiety, it can be used to “get away” and to make them feel happy. It is similar to a “natural high”, or “like taking a happy pill”, and chemicals are triggered in the brain almost as if a drug was taken. “The “fight or flight” hormone adrenaline, phenylethylamine and endorphins” are created to make us feel good and relax. These hormones are released when doing something to make us feel good. My old track coach would always announce that after running for a long period of time he would eventually feel this “natural high” that made him feel like he could run forever; he likes to exercise and run so doing something he liked repetitively created this good feeling which people believe shopping can do the same.


       So how can you cure this “addiction”? The first typical step is admitting that you have a problem. Therapy sessions are advised, as well as finding new hobbies and ways to spend time doing other activities, it is also strongly urged that people get rid of their checkbooks and credit cards. My stepmom went through a huge spending splurge and made my dad actually take all of her credit cards so she couldn’t spend anymore money. Now, at least my issue isn’t THAT badly where I needed other people to help me… YET AT LEAST.


        I suppose that I am not considered a “shopaholic”, I just enjoy looking at the “shiny things I can’t have” pretty much. Sales always get me though, many girls can agree when they see the TOBI 50% off the entire site your attention is instantly caught. Deals and sales increase people’s interest in shopping by a lot. Only 6% of people admit to “almost always” buying items when their on sale, while 60% admitted to occasionally doing so. So while shopping can be an addiction it does not tend to be an extremely likely and common disorder. Just be careful with anything that can cause you to have an obsession, it is possible to become addicted to almost anything if you have any signs of addictive behavior. What would you do if you felt like you were developing an obsession or “natural high” with something you like that could potentially end badly, would you completely stop even if it made you feel better, would you find an alternative “high”, what if it was not as easy to stop as you think? 


Works Cited: 

“What Is Shopping Addiction?” Addictions. 30 Nov. 2013.


             “Shopping Spree, or Addiction?” WebMD. 30 Nov. 2013.


             “” Shopping Addiction. 30 Nov. 2013


             “Survey: Shopping Addiction Statistics.” CreditDonkey. 30 Nov. 2013.  



             “ADHD and Shopping Addiction.” Health Central. 3 Dec 2013. 


Habits: What Are They?

Do you ever wonder why you do what you do? I am a product of routine and have certain habits that I don’t really notice are out of the ordinary, until I take the time to really think why I am doing them.  Like how on Tuesday’s, I always get coffee from Starbucks before class.  Or how when I go for a run, I always sprint the last minute no matter what.  Or how every night before I go to bed, I have to wash my face and brush my teeth.  Simple things that to others might go unnoticed, yet slowly but surely they’ve found a way into my daily life.

So how do habits form? breaks it down, stating that every habit starts with a three prong habit loop.  First, there’s a cue that tells your brain to let an action happen.  Second, there is the routine which is the actual behavior.  Third, is the reward which is something that the brain likes to allow you to remember your habit loop. 

According to, “Neuroscientists have traced our habit-making behaviors to a part of the brain called the basal ganglia, which also plays a key role in the development of emotions, memories and pattern recognition. Decisions, meanwhile, are made in a different part of the brain called the prefrontal cortex. But as soon as a behavior becomes automatic, the decision-making part of your brain goes into a sleep mode of sorts.”

This is actually beneficial because you use less brain activity once a habit is formed, allowing your brain more time to think about something else. In an article from, MIT professor Anne Graybiel discusses habits and how they can from from repetition and emotion.  Much of her research focuses on how we create good and bad habits and the loops which connect sensory signals to habits.  This research could help us to understand what goes on when bad habits and even addiction behaviors are formed. (

Habits make everyone unique and allow us to have our very own little quirks.


Happy Birthday!

Thumbnail image for horoscope_2.gif

If you look in a newspaper you can find the Horoscope page telling you how your day is going to be and now that the weather is changing you will probably hear a statement, such as, “I’m a Summer baby I hate the cold”. These statements about a person’s birth are so common that nobody really gives any serious thought to it, but it would be very interesting to learn if one’s time of birth really has a significant effect on a person. If there is an effect is it physical, mental, emotional, a combination of two, or all. I’m an Aquarius, and when I reviewed it’s characteristics I agreed with a majority of them, however, I am also a winter baby who hates the cold. I predict that through my research I will find evidence that a people’s birthdays do have a considerable effect on them. As infants we are not fully developed, thus making us very sensitive to the environment around us.

The Los Angeles Times  discovered several studies on this matter. A British scientist named David Phillips analyzed the weight of 1,750 British senior citizens and discovered that 13.8% of men born from January to March qualified as obese but only 9.4% those born from October to December qualified. He says “that exposure to low temperatures in early life might promote development of fatty tissue and predispose winter-borns to obesity in adulthood”. This is intriguing but the percentages are too low to be persuasive.


A 2004 psychological questionnaire of 448 men and women ages twenty to forty-five born during the cold months (October to March) revealed that are more likely to be novelty seekers. The opposite resulted for participants over forty-five, which, to me showed a generational difference rather than genetic one, but upon further reading I learned that this behavior was vice versa for summer-borns, which suggests that people born in Winter are very adventurous in their younger years thus settling down faster because they experienced more excitement in a shorter amount time. According to  Lars-G�ran Nilsson, a psychologist at Stockholm University in Sweden “Season of birth does influence temperament; we just don’t know exactly why”. He predicts that it is caused by the levels of serotonin and dopamine which are key brain chemicals involved in formation of personality. This makes sense but the effects of our brain chemicals are a factor in everyone’s personality, so this prediction doesn’t explain how the month and/or season have  a role. 


Business Insider states that a person’s month of birth is an indicator of potential health problems someone will have. For example, people born in February (my birth month) are prone to sleep disorder narcolepsy. This is due to the fact that they prefer evening hours as a result of lack of sunlight exposure to sunlight in utero and in their first months of life.   


I didn’t find any significant evidence that proves my hypothesis correct, however, there is a lot of highly considerable information. The studies mentioned in this blog are just a few articles on this subject, so it is definitely an important question. I believe that the effect that a person month and season of has is similar to how cigarettes cause lung cancer. No one knows the specific reason for causation but it certainly is a factor.


Sports Related Concussions

Concussions. They seem to be the hot topic circling around the sports industry and throughout the media.  As more players come out with serious lasting side effects from concussion injuries, it puts sports and its physicality into the spotlight.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention defines concussions as, “a type of traumatic brain injury, or TBI, caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head that can change the way your brain normally works. Concussions can also occur from a fall or a blow to the body that causes the head and brain to move quickly back and forth.”    (Center for Disease Control ) 

So what makes concussions so serious and harmful? Well, to sum it up quite simply they are injuries to your brain.  The brain maintains a delicate balance of chemicals and is surrounded in the skull by fluid.  When it is hit, the brain is bounced around and may hit the skull, which also causes the chemicals to become out of whack.  Even more deadly is when people don’t allow their concussions to fully heal and then get hit a second time.  This is called Second Impact Syndrome and the effects are even deadlier. (Concussion Info)

According to a CNN article, the CDC reports almost 4 million concussions caused by sports related injuries each year, with many occurring at the high school level.  There are very little regulations at school on how to control, prevent and how to also identify these serious injuries, making concussions a real issue in society.  Since many of the symptoms are relatively common such as nausea, dizziness, and headaches, parents and coaches are unprepared on how to recognize and treat this type of injury.  Thus, athletes return to play much sooner and risk even more serious brain injuries and lifelong effects. ( CNN Concussion Article)

Max Conradt, was a high school quarterback, who collapsed after a football game one night after receiving a devastating hit.  It was nothing he wasn’t used to but doctors concluded that over the course of two weeks, he had numerous head injuries that went undiagnosed which caused significant and devastating brain injuries.  Three brain surgeries later, Conradt survived his brain injuries but with the mental capacity of a 9 year old.  As of 2010, he was living in an assisted living home, struggling with forming basic motor skills and dealing with depression.  Once a high school football star, his life was changed forever by the game he loved. (

This devastating story, while it may be extreme, shows just how serious concussions are.  Many schools have began establishing baseline tests that athletes are required to take at the beginning of a season, so doctors, trainers and coaches can gauge head injuries and try to diagnose concussions before it is too late.  These types of injuries are seen at all levels, even the professional.  Just as of a week ago, former NHL players filed a lawsuit claiming that the NHL did little to protect players from concussions.   The NFL also recently paid $765 million in claims to thousands of former players suffering from dementia and other concussion related injuries.  (

Needless to say, concussions are no joke and are slowly but surely becoming the silent killers of athletes and their careers.  Whether new equipment, new rules or new testing needs to be developed something needs to be changed.  Coming from a sports dominated household and as a former athlete myself, I know how important sports can be to one’s life.  However, when they start negatively impacting your lifelong health, something needs to be changed.  Nothing is that important and until people start realizing that, these injuries like Max’s will keep on occurring and changing people’s lives forever.