Do multivitamins actually work?

I would like to consider myself a healthy individual with good eating & exercise habits. A habit I also include in my daily routine is taking a multivitamin. Since I was in elementary school, I heard how important it is to “take your vitamins”. In 2010, over 110 million Americans spent over 28 billion dollars on supplements & multivitamins. However, is taking a multivitamin as beneficial as we think it is? 

Many people believe that taking a multivitamin will make up for the nutrition they miss out on due to their eating habits. Also, people are will to pay top dollar for these multivitamins.An article published in the Huffington Post talks about the issue & has answers. according to The U.S. Preventive Services task force, taking a multivitamin is neither advised or not recommended in order to prevent cancer. Also, that taking the top of the line multivitamin is unnecessary, and that the average, basic brand will work the same. 
I’m sure there are plenty of questions still to be answered about the exact effects of a daily multivitamin. It makes you wonder though, “What exactly am I putting into my body when I take these things?”

Is coffee drinking regularly good or bad?

It is a habit that millions of Americans are committed to every day. In fact, some people claim that they need coffee to function on a daily basis. I even quote one of my friends on social network saying “don’t consider me useful to society until I have coffee.” Personally, I do not find myself needing coffee to function daily. However, there are people who drink up to 6 or more cups of coffee today. That makes you ask, “Is drinking coffee good or bad for your health?”

Coffee is actually a very unique drink, that consist of hundreds of different compounds. With so many compounds, it is difficult to say if it is good or bad for you. Some of these compounds can be beneficial to your health, while others can be not so beneficial. Some research over the year has shown that coffee drinking is beneficial. Some of the benefits may include protection against diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, & liver disease. However, in order to be confirmed, these results will need to be studies further. If coffee is affecting your sleeping patterns or emotions, chances are you are consuming too much of it. Also, the article states that research is typically based on a typical 8-ounce cup of with little or no milk or sugar. If you are loading your coffee with a lot of sugar & cream, that could add to your daily calorie intake, which could eventually lead to gaining weight. 
Good news for coffee drinkers, a study conducted by Harvard found that there was no relationship between coffee drinking and increased death risk.
Therefore, coffee can definitely have its pros & cons like anything else we put in our body. It is my no means urgent to stop, or start, coffee consumption immediately in order to be healthy.

Is cramming for a test actually affective?

“I will just study the night before and i’ll be fine.” Being a busy college student, I am 100 percent guilty of cramming for an exam. Sitting at my laptop from night time up until the time of the exam the next day. At times it has worked for me, and other times, not so well. It made me wonder, is there a science behind whether or not cramming for an exam is actually affective. A new research conducted at UCLA sums up to answer in a few words, “don’t bother.”

Yes, you may think that you are being extremely productive studying all those consecutive hours. However, when all is said and done, you are actually being counterproductive. When a student sacrifices valuable sleep time in order to binge study, they are more likely to be like productive academically the next day. Andrew J. Fuligni, the senior author of the study, states that a proper amount of sleep is equally important for academic success. The most efficient way to study is to abide a schedule. 
Although it sounds extremely difficult considering we all live busy lives, it is important that we make room for adequate sleep and study time. Will I ever pull an all-nighter cramming for an exam again? I would be lying to you if I said “no”. However, it is very eye opening on how counterproductive cramming for exams can be.

Is exercising too much unhealthy?

I am by no means a gym rat. I do try to make it a point of emphasis to make it to the gym 5 to 6 times a week. However, if I have something more important to take care of, I am willing to sacrifice my fitness time. Many people believe that spending countless hours in the gym is the key to being healthy. Is that actually as healthy as people think it is? New studies reviled that too much time in the gym can be just as unhealthy as not working out at all. 

The research suggested that teens who over do it in the fitness centers are as vulnerable to low self-esteem and stress as those who do not make exercising a priority at all. This is not suggestion that regular exercise is not a good thing. In fact, regular exercise has many positive traits. These include positive impacts on mental & physical health. The research, which was published in the British Medical journal, examines more thank 1,2000 16 to 20 year-olds. They found that teens who exercised 14 hours a week had the greatest physical & mental health benefits (14 hours a week is twice the recommended). It was the teens who did 17.5 and above hours of exercise a week who saw the negative affects. The study found that only 5 percent of the teens examined fell under this category. 
Therefore, it is important for you to get regular exercise. However, don’t over work yourself. Us college students have enough stuff to stress about on a daily basis. The last think we need is something as enjoyable as a good workout to stress us out!

How much sleep is too much sleep?

Once the weekend hits, there is absolutely nothing better than sleeping your days away after a busy week. It can’t be that bad right? I’m sure we have all been told that sleep is very important for our health and well being. According to the article on , the average human being sleep 33% of their life. The question that arises now, “exactly how much sleep is too much sleep?”

The verdict that has been reached is that too much sleep can be bad for your health. Many factors go into how much sleep an individual needs. Your current age, health & level of activity throughout the day contribute to how much sleep you actually need. There is times in our lives when our body needs more than the average 7 to 9 hours of recommended sleep. For example, if someone is recovering from being sick, their body may require more rest time. However, oversleeping has been associated with some serious health issues. These health issues include kidney & liver disease, depression & dementia. 
Moral of the story, like anything else, sleep is good, but can also be bad if over done. Just because you can stay up really late & also sleep in really late, doesn’t make it is a good thing to regularly do. Think about this next time you are thinking about hitting that snooze button for a couple of extra hours on the weekend.

Sweet & simple – walking.

As college students, we find ourselves busy with trying to get school work done & keep up with our social lives, all while trying to maintain a healthy sleep & exercise routine. Sounds impossible, right? Sometimes you will find yourself picking & choosing which to do on a daily basis. However, there is a simple thing you could be doing daily that has substantial health benefits – walking. Yes, walking is one of the most effective exercises. 

Walking is very simple, yet very good for your heart & lungs. Dr Craig Williams believes that “It is good for bones & improves the body’s cardiovascular system”. Also, because walking is a low intensity cardiovascular exercise, it does not present a high risk for injury. Believe it or not, walking is better for the spinal discs than running, since it puts less pressure on it. Of course you also need to maintain a healthy diet & other exercise routines in order for the benefits of walking to be 100% affective.  
It’s hard to believe that something as simple as walking can have so many benefits. It is said that we are recommended to get 30 minutes of exercise daily. If you walk regularly, you should have no problem meeting the minimum requirement. Just think about how much us Penn Staters walk every day. Next time you can’t make it to the gym due to school work or whatever else, just remember that walking can be a healthy & beneficial alternative.

Mom, why didn’t you get me the iPad for Christmas?


Today as I was walking back class I overheard a conversation between a girl and her mother on the phone. The girl was whining that her mother had decided to buy her a new computer for school, instead of an iPad for Christmas. This led me to realize what many Americans have already realized: we’ve really lost the true meaning of Christmas.


The original reason Christians celebrated Christmas was because of the birth of Jesus Christ, whom they believe to be the savior. After Jesus’s birth the wise men brought gifts to the manger where Jesus was born. You’re probably wondering a fat, jolly man in a red suit came into the equation? Well, the legend of Saint Nicholas states that Saint Nicholas was a very rich and giving man who knew of a poor family with three daughters who could not afford to get married, so Saint Nicholas secretly dropped a bag of gold down their chimney. Then there is also the story that some countries in Europe and Scandivia originally celebrated Christmas around the time of the winter solstice (darkest point of the year) to bring some light into the darkness. These are three really different explanations for celebrating Christmas neither of which anyone really seems to remember anymore. Somehow the magic of Jesus’s birth, the kindness of Saint Nicholas, and the light on the darkest day of the year have morphed into a holiday that revolves around arguments over how nice the gift you get is. Christmas has truly become entirely about materialism.


Some people might say why is materialism around Christmas really relevant, the sad part is that the materialism displayed at Christmas seems to be perpetuating all aspects of our society. Today people put more value on the money they make and not enjoying their job, what you wear is more important than what you think, and money can buy anything or anyone. I suspect gained our greediness and materialism right around the time we fogged up the meaning of Christmas. While stopping the materialism around Christmas may not stop the materialism we see all over society, Christmas definitely contributes to the materialism we see everywhere today.

You’re Never Too Old for Teddy

Most people believe that stuffed animals are only for children but I completely disagree to be honest. Luckily for me, thanks to 35% of British adults, I’m not alone. Studies show that 35% of adults in Britain still sleep with a teddy bear for the purposes for de-stressing while they sleep! In their efforts to re-unite past customers with their lost teddy bears, a hotel chain, Travelodge, noticed that many of the teddy bears they were returning belonged to adults and not small children! After making this funny observation, they surveyed about 6,000 adults to find out what their reasons were behind still using a stuffed animal. Their findings were also just as funny.

As it turns out, about 25% of the male respondents will take their teddy bears with them while they’re away on business (or vacation like this guy). It’s comforting for them, even reminds them of home and plus, ” …a cuddle helps them to nod off.” Fifty- one percent of British adults still have a teddy bear from their childhood and the study also found that the average teddy bear is 27 years old! One in ten single men admitted to hiding their stuffed animals when their girlfriends come over and about 14% of married men hide theirs when friends and family come over!

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Among other pro- adult teddy bear loving responses that responsdents gave, it’s easy to see that in Great Britain at least, adults having teddy bears is quite acceptable! It’s quite refreshing that this study was able to test Britons’ level of tolerance towards adults with teddies. However, to take the study even further, it would have been awesome to see them expand on their statement that people use their bears to de-stress while they sleep. Testing stress levels of adults of varying ages who still sleep with stuffed animals and comparing them to the stress levels of adults of the same age would be an interesting start to finding out if there really is a true benefit to hanging on to your stuffed animal later in your life. Or is it all just imagined and a stuffed animal doesn’t really do much else but provide something soft for us share our bed with? Also, it would be interesting to compare Britons’ level of tolerance towards adults with stuffed animals to that of Americans’! I get the feeling that in America, the number of men who carry their stuffed animals away on vacation or business would be much lower than 25%. How much of a difference can be expected when we compare stuffed animal tolerance across cultures?


Brain Games and Luminosity. Is it a scam?

Many of you have most likely seen Luminosity commercials or heard about it’s efficacy. It claims to train your brain using the power of neuroscience and neuroplasticity! How scientific sounding is that?! But are they just using buzzwords or is this legit?

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Still sounds pretty convincing. Start their training and they’ll give you an insight into how they will train your brain to be better and smarter.

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Graph with a picture of a brain. Can’t go wrong there. Science!

The real question is, does it really work? Go to and look at their portion of the science behind it. They claim to have published many papers and given many talks on the project. But that’s from the website itself, of course they’re not going to say it’s a scam. Well a third party study was done on these brain games and Dr. Shelli Kessler has led a study at Stanford to try and prove whether or not these do work.

Her experimental group played the Luminosity game four times a week for 12 weeks. The results before and after the 12 weeks showed they improved on “word finding, executive functioning, and processing speed” over a control group.  However this study had flaws, as it depended on self-report for a few measures.

Two more studies gave conflicting results. Professor Susan Jaeggi led a study that showed positive results of brain training game, while a Georgia tech study found no such effect on it’s participants. There is new research coming out that says that playing video games in one area can improve cognition in that area. But for how long? Do you have to constantly play these games to maintain that level of cognition? And are the Luminosity games the best ones for your brain? These questions are still being debated by scientists right now.

I did the free trial myself and this is what Luminosity claimed it could do for me:

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But what do those numbers MEAN?! I’ll be 92% better at spotting birds and remembering tiles (two games the trails had me do)? Or will I score better on my completely unrelated biology test? I don’t know about other people that see these ads but it really does seem like a sensationalist scam.

Why are my Chips Stale?

            I do not think there is one person in this class that has not eaten a stale chip. I know I will look in the cabinet, reach in for a snack, grab a chip bag down, and when I bite in the chip has a stale taste I’m wicked disappointed. The word stale has been in my vocabulary for as long as I can remember; I have just accepted it, but truly I have no idea why chips go stale in the air and not in the bag that they are in. There is air in the bag isn’t there?


            Well the answer is: Nitrogen. The article I said pointed out that if you think of feeling a chip bag, you think of it feeling inflated, similarly to a balloon. This is because chip bags are actually not filled with air but nitrogen gas! The nitrogen gas is actually what keeps the chips from going stale. Oxygen cannot do the trick because it is very reactive and when it is combined with other molecules it can cause chemical reactions. Nitrogen is the opposite being very stable and unreactive. When a food reacts with oxygen it is said to oxidize quickly and these nitrogen atmospheres can prevent that from happening. Something that should be mentioned though is that air is not just oxygen but actually 78% nitrogen gas! So don’t worry opening those chips, nitrogen gas is all around us.