Author Archives: Chelsea Jaye Silbiger

Bad Bracelet??

According to Anoop T. Balachandran, who is a certified professional trainer with a Master’s in Exercise Physiology and Human Performance, Power Balance bracelets do not work. For those of you who are not familiar with Power Balance Bracelets, they are said to be balance improving, performance technology sports wristbands. The bracelet, which is manufactured in China, is made of rubber and holograms. So how can it improve ones balance?

power-balance

According to the Power Balance company website, “the holograms in the bracelet are designed based on Eastern philosophies, which contain ideas related to energy. These are commonly referenced as Chi or Chakras.” Supposedly, the band interacts with your body frequency” and is able to improve ones balance. So the questions remains does it work?

The website, powerbalance.com, “makes no claims” as to weather or not the bracelet works, they “let the consumer decide … we offer a 30-day no-questions-asked, money back guarantee”.

Kobe Bryant

LA Laker, Kobe Bryant, wears bracelet on right wrist during NBA basketball game

There are multiple reasons why one may consider joining the trend and purchasing a bracelet, such as the money back guarantee, the affordable price ($29.99) and the many celebrities who promote the product. According to the www.powerbalance.com professional athletes such as Drew Brees, Clay Mathews, Darren Sproles, Rudy Gay, Matt Kemp, Mardy Fish, Stacy Lewis, Kobe Bryant and Keegan Bradley, all wear the bracelets. Even actors and musicians have started following the trend.

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Zac Efron (actor) wearing bracket on right wrist

Considering the fact that the website warns customers that the bracelets do not always work for everyone, then why do some people beg to differ?

Anoop T. Balachandran explains three main reasons why people are often fooled into believing that the bands can and do improve balance:

  1. The Placebo Effect
  2. A flexibility test
  3. A strength test

According to Balanchandram, there have been no scientific studies that show that the power bracelets work and that “there is no earthly science even remotely saying that we can capture frequencies and bottle it in a hologram”. Despite the lack of scientific evidence about the bracelet people continue to remain intrigued by the product. According to the Placebo Effect, which states, “if you believe or expect a procedure or a pill to improve your health or behavior, it will.” In other words it is possible that there is no correlation between wearing the bracelet and improving ones balance. It is possible that people are mentally convinced that the bracelet works so they believe it.

Another explanation for the bracelets popularity is the flexibility and strength tests that the manufacturing company encourages consumers to do. The company encourages clients to try and stretch in order to reach as far as you can, once without the bracelet on and another time with it on. People always do better the second time, regardless of the bracelet, because the person now has a goal to go beyond.

When demonstrating the additional strength that the bracelets can give those who wear them, sales people asked clients to stand on one leg and place their arm to their side. The sales person then pushed down on the clients arm and on average the person looses their balance. They then ask the client to repeat the strength test, but this time wearing a Power Balance bracelet. Unlike the first test when the sales person pushed down and out on the clients arm which threw them off balance, the second time around they push down and into the persons body, which does not effect their ability to stay balance. As a viewer of the subject of the strength test it appears that the bracelet improved your strength, when in reality the sales men played a trick on you.

power_balance_strength_test

After reading about the material that the bracelet is made of, lack of scientific evidence, and the “tests” used to demonstrate the Power Balance bracelets effects, it is clear to see that it is a hoax. There is however; one logical correlation between the bracelet and an improvement in balance, the placebo effect. Considering the lack of scientific testing that have been done on the bracelets, people are unable to make concrete accusations about whether or not they work. Perhaps the bracelets “works” because it tricks people into convincing themselves that when they wear the bracelet, they will have better balance.

 

Sources:

http://www.exercisebiology.com/index.php/site/articles/do_power_balance_bracelets_or_bands_work/

http://www.powerbalance.com/faq

 

 

“HOW CAN A 10 GO FOR A 5 ?”

Fout of my leagueor those of you who are not familiar with the movie, She’s out of My League, staring Jay Bruchel and Alice Eve, it follows the life of an average man as he sets out to win the love of a gorgeous girl named Molly. Kirk, played by Jay Bruchel, struggles with a lack of confidence. Despite the fact that Kirk and Molly, played by Alice Eve, appear to share a mutual attraction for each other, he struggles with his “number”. The movie revolves around Kirks inability to see himself as the right person for Molly, considering his inferior looks. When discussing his relationship with Molly, Kirks friend, Stainer, explains to him that as a “five”, Kirk cannot have a relationship with Molly, “this Molly is a hard ten. And that five point disparity, that’s a chasm. Chasm? Chasm. You can’t jump more than two point”.

After having watched and adored the movie, it leaves me wondering, “Can you jump more than two points”? Do points really exist or matter?

According to Jean Lawrence, a journalist for WebMD, there are 6 elements of attraction:

  1. Physical attractiveness

    Hugh-and-Crystal-1-2-13-630x491

    Hugh Hefner (age 88) and his wife, Crystal Harris (age 28)

  2. Money
  3. Desire for children
  4. Religion
  5. Class
  6. Education

Considering the many factors that can affect relationships it is hard to pinpoint the sole reason behind why someone may date individuals who are “out of their league”.

A recent survey, commissioned by Medicis Aesthetics, gathered over 1,000 men and women. Researchers questioned the participants about the role that physical attraction plays in their long- term relationships. According to Huffington Post journalist, and Psychologist, Vivian Diller, people were asked the following questions:

  • “How satisfied are you with your partner’s physical appearance?”
  • “How satisfied do you think your partner is with yours?”
  • “Would you be happier if their partners paid more attention to their physical appearance, and if so, which features mattered to them most?”

The researchers examined the differences between couples that have been married or living together for 1-7 years, 8-14 years and 15-20 years. According to the data collected by the researchers, 78% of the men and women involved in the study felt that physical attraction mattered. The scientists found that looks matter the most “in the first seven years of a relationship”. After seven years as a couple, researchers found that “physical attraction may be increasingly influenced by other emotional factors—like goof communication and shared interests—which probably help sustain attraction even if looks change”. The study also found that men are more likely than women to focus on physical attraction. If fact, 62% of men say a women’s face is very important, while 53% say the same for her body. Despite the fact that the study may have been conducted correctly it is possible that chance affected the researchers findings. It is important to remember that only 1,000 people where involved in the study and perhaps a larger number of subjects could have altered the findings. Considering the many factors that can explain the reason behind why people form relationships scientist struggle with the Texas sharp shooter problem. A large amount of relationship factors are often studied at once and given all of the overlapping data, pinpointing a single factor, such as appearance, can be difficult.

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Hugh Jackman (age 46) and his wife, Deborra-Lee Furness (age 58)

Good news for people like Kirk, looks may only be important during the first 7 years of a relationship. So the next time you and your friends begin calculating your “number”, remember that looks only last so long!

 

 

 

 

Sources:

http://www.webmd.com/sex-relationships/features/do-opposites-attract

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/vivian-diller-phd/physical-attraction-is-love-blind_b_1302550.html

Cuddle Buddy

Having a bad day, get a hug, or better yet find a cuddle buddy. Turns out a simple hug can improve your health.

According to Lindsay Holmes, a journalist for the Huffington Post, there are several benefits to hugging and cuddling. When people embrace oxytocin is released. Oxytocin is often refereed to as the “cuddle hormone”. Oxytocin has been said to promote feelings of “devotion, trust and bonding” (Lindsay Holmes). There is also believed to be a direct correlation between hugging and a decrease in ones blood pressure. According to NPR “when someone touches you, the sensation on your skin activates pressure receptors called Pacinian corpuscles, which then send signals to the vagus nerve, an area of the brain that is responsible for lowering blood pressure”.

freehug

After learning about the positive effects that hugging can have on peoples overall health, Juan Mann started a “free hug” campaign. Mann encouraged people to “reach out and hug a stranger to brighten up their day”. Soon Mann’s campaign took off. Merchandise depicting the saying “free hugs” began flying off the shelves. As Mann’s campaign grew so did his follower. Samantha Hess, a 30-year-old euntrapanoir, was inspired by the “free hug” phenomenon. In May 2013, Hess launched a “one-on-one cuddle time without the complications of a relationship” business known as, “Cuddle Up to Me”.

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As a professional cuddler, Hess charges $60 an hour for her services, which consist of holding hands while cuddling on a couch, listening to soft music and spooning with her clients in their beds. When asked about her clients Hess told Business Insider journalist, Maggie Zhang, that about 90% of her clients are men aging anywhere from 20-75. When asked about the potential possibility that her practice could become something other than platonic, Hess told Business Insider that if her clients are “looking for a replacement for sex, they’re not going to be happy with my service”. According to Hess, even her boyfriends understand carrier, saying “he knows what I do is a form of therapy and that it really makes a difference to people”.

            In an effort to scientifically determine whether or not cuddling is truly a form of therapy, researchers at Emory University conducted a study intended to explore the correlation, if any, between touch and stress relief. The study involved experimenting with rats. Scientists observed the developmental impact that a well-coddled rat had over a non-coddled rat. After observing the rats behavior over a long period of time, researchers concluded that there is a connection between having been touched at a young age and a decrease in ones overall stress level as an adult. Researchers compared the brain chemistry of the two groups of rats. They found that the hormones released when under stress where more present in adult rats that had not been cuddled as infants, where as cuddled rates had significantly reduced levels of hormones. Paul Plotsky, of Emory University, concluded that “high-quality maternal-infant interaction — lots of time spent grooming, licking, nursing in the rats — correlated with animals that were quite capable of dealing with stress as adults.” According to Plotsky, the “offspring … of mothers who spent less time in maternal behavior toward them were hyper-reactive to stress.”

Considering the Emory University rat study, perhaps Hess’s unusual career may serve to be useful. Despite the conclusion formulated by the Emory researchers, stating that touch effects stress levels, it is possible that chance or human error could have resulted in a false positive. When observing the rats it is possible that the reason behind one rat having more stress hormones than another rat may have to do with the rates biological makeup and may have nothing to do with the rat being coddled by its mother. It is also possible that human error, such as mixing up the rats who where coddled from those who were not, effected the experiments findings. If in fact researchers conducted the experiment accurately then one can conclude that there is a direct correlation between touch and stress reduction.

I can confidently assume that most people would find Hess’s career strange or at the least surprising. Given the information gathered by Emory University researchers, perhaps one day soon people will no longer question Hess’s practice; instead they will question individuals who do not see a professional cuddler.

SOURCES:

http://www.freehugscampaign.org

http://www.businessinsider.com/professional-cuddler-2014-7

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/27/health-benefits-of-huggin_n_5008616.html

http://www.cnn.com/HEALTH/9709/11/nfm.touch.stress/

 

 

Keep Calm and Let the Beat Drop

As Madonna once cleverly said, “Hey Mr. DJ put a record on I wanna dance with my baby. And when the music starts I never wanna stop, it’s gonna drive me crazy”. What is it about music that drives us crazy? As college students we are all familiar with the “beat drop”. The tension in the room builds during the absence of the bass and then once the heaviest sound returns to the song, the crowd goes wild.that-moment-when-48hkqn

Canadian research scientists developed a study that aims to target the reason behind the base drop phenomenon. Researchers from the McMaster Institute for Music and Mind set out to investigate the brains reactions to high and low pitched tones. Dr. Laurel Trainor, a neuroscientists and the head researcher involved in the study, assembled 35 random people to participate. Trainor and her team played a variety of high and low pitched piano notes for the participants. They then asked the 35 men and women to tap their fingers to the rhythm. As the participants taped the researchers monitored the electrical activity in the subject’s brains. According to the study researchers found that “people were more likely to modify their tapping to fall in sync with the low-pitched tone”. (Sara Gates)o-MCMASTER-BASS-570

After examining all of the data compiled during the study, Dr. Laurel Trainor concluded that “virtually all people will respond more to the beat when it is carried by lower-pitched instruments.”

If something went wrong during the study it is possible that the low and high pitch tones have no correlation between a persons ability to respond to the beat, which if true would mean that the researchers findings were a false positive. Assuming the study was done correctly then confounding variables could not explain the researchers findings and in this particular study reverse causality is not likely. Therefor if the study was executed correctly it shows that there is a direct correlation between low- pitched tones and the human brains ability to detect the beat.

Sources:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/02/deep-bass-sounds-music-rhythm_n_5548301.html

Help He Has Hiccups!

There is nothing more aggravating than a bad case of the hiccups.  I am sure most if not all of you can attest to having experienced hiccups at some point in your life. Despite the fact that they are often annoying it is interesting to consider the science behind why we hiccup.

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According to scientists there are multiple reasons why people may get the hiccups. Researchers currently believe that hiccups, also known as singultus, occur because people eat or drink too quickly. They are also believed to be a result of a disease or irritation to the thorax, phrenic nerve, or the diaphragm. Additionally, hiccups may also be the result of neurological lesions, or because of expansion of the stomach and movement of acid into the esophagus. Regardless of the many reasons that hiccups may be triggered in the body, it is interesting to consider whether or not hiccups do anything beneficial for the body or if they are simply an involuntary action with no useful purpose.

During a hiccup the muscles located in the diaphragm, chest wall, and neck contract. Hiccups are seen in a wide variety of animals and are very common in the fetus. Scientists are researching distant human relatives in hopes that they will reveal answers. Researchers have been focusing their attention on tadpoles due to their “similar physiological behavior” (John B. Snow) to humans.  Unlike humans, tadpoles have gills; however, the two share a common organ: lungs.

Scientists speculate that at one point in human history when humans first “stepped onto dry land”, the hiccup was useful. In fact, researchers in France suggested that hiccups “may be linked to evolution and a time when our ancestors lived in the sea and had gills to help them breathe.” (John B. Snow) A group of scientists at Pitie-Saltpertriere Hospital found many similarities between hiccuping and gill ventilation in tadpoles. According to the Scientists, tadpoles “push water across their gills by squeezing their mouth cavity while closing the glottis to stop water from getting into their lungs.”(Gillian Mayman)

hiccup-causes

To this day scientists are not completely sure why humans continue to get the hiccups, however; they continue to study hiccups in hopes of developing cures and one day understanding their purpose (if they still have one that is). According to www.mindthesciencegap.org scientists experimented with different strategies that have been said to stop hiccups. After gathering a group of individuals and observing the effects of various techniques, scientists found that “eating a spoonful of sugar”, “drinking with plugged ears”, “eating a lemon wedge”, and “gagging yourself” were the top five solutions to stopping hiccups. Considering the fact that scientists have yet to discover the reason behind why we hiccup there is no way to accurately prescribe a method for getting rid of them. Scientists must continue to research the biological stimuli that trigger hiccups.

Sources:

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/what-causes-hiccups/

http://www.livescience.com/33688-hiccup-purpose.html

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/2730251.stm

http://www.mindthesciencegap.org/2012/11/05/the-best-way-to-stop-hiccups-is-there-any-evidence-at-all/

http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/onlinestuff/snot/~/media/8E47C1F0517449728C4E28A51919FCB8.ashx?w=250&h=339&as=1

http://www.buzzle.com/images/health/hiccup-causes.jpg

The Fish with a Foot Fetish

When you are having a bad day, need time to relax, about to go on vacation or simply have a great new pair of sandals to flaunt, there is nothing more satisfying and necessary than a trip to the nail salon. A good pedicure has the power to brighten up your day and your toes. Most individual can attest to having received a pedicure or accompanying someone who has. The average pedicure consists of the client soaking their feet in worm soapy water, a pedicurist trimming, filling and painting the client’s cuticles and nails, as well as scrubbing dead skin off of their feet using a pumice stone. Regardless of which nail salon you went to, in the US, the pedicure process was practically the same, until 2008.

fish-pedicure-1

In 2008 a fish treatment pedicure spa was opened up in Alexandria Virginia. Unlike other traditional pedicures in the States, the spa in Virginia replaced the use of a pumice stone or file with living fish. The garra rufa fish, commonly refereed to as doctor fish, feeds off of dead skin allowing them to take the place of traditional, hands on, dead skin removal techniques. The fish, which are native to Turkey, Syria, Iran and Iraq, naturally live in hot springs. Unlike most plant life, the fish thrive in worm water, which leaves them with a limited food supply. In the wild the fish “suck the dead scaled off other living fish” to survive, which is why they make the perfect pedicurist.

The fish pedicure treatment, which coasts around $45, usually last between 15 and 30 minuets. Unlike the process associated with non-fish related pedicures, the treatment begins with a pedicurist examining the client’s feet, to insure that there are no open cuts. Next the client is assigned an individual foot bath, containing sanitized filter water and around 150 fish. Once the clients feet are in the water the fish immediately begin migrate towards the clients feet and start feasting on there dead skin. Luckily the fish do not have teeth, which leaves many individuals describing the treatment as “very ticklish” or a “tingly, pins and needles massage”.

After the first fish pedicure treatment salon opened up in the U.S people across the country began wanting to experience “doctor” fish for themselves. As news and popularity spread government employed scientists began investigating the treatment and any possible safety hazards. After studying the foreign fish scientists found that the fish could carry bacteria responsible for skin infections. Following their findings the U.S health officials warned people with open cuts or compromised immune systems to stay away from the fish pedicures. Shortly after the American scientists findings British scientists began investigating a bacteria outbreak in April 2011. They found that around 6,000 Garra Rufa fish, originally from Indonesia, were infected with Streptococcus agalactia, “bacteria that can cause pneumonia and serious infections of the bones joints and blood in people of all ages and life- threatening infections in newborns”. The concerns surrounding the fish lead many British officials to ban the use of the fish in some areas as well as worn the public of the potential danger.

Along with the potential diseases that the fish may carry the cleanliness of the fish tank salons are also under attack. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention the fish pedicure tanks cannot be sanitized when the fish are present. Removing the fish and cleaning the tanks thoroughly after every client is incredibly time consuming and officials worry about sanitation issues could occur. More than 10 states banned the practice due to “the inability to sufficiently clean fish pedicure tanks between clients, the impossibility of disinfecting or sanitizing live fish and regulation that specify fish in a salon must be kept in an aquarium”.

The cleanliness of both the fish and the tanks is concerning. Scientists must consider the correlation between the fish and people getting sick and the tanks effecting peoples health. In order for scientists to declare if the fish or the tanks are the cause of people’s ailments they would need to conduct a study in which the fish are cleaned. Unfortunately cleaning live fish is not possible so scientists would need to invent a solution to coat the fish with, that is fish friendly. Once the fish are coated scientists can examine the effects that the clean fish have on people when they are placed in a clean tank versus dirty one. Hypothetically speaking, if the scientists placed the coated fish in clean tanks with people and found that people were not getting infections, scientists would be able to conclude that there is no correlation between the fish and people getting sick, and that there is a correlation between the tanks cleanliness and people getting bacterial infections. After conducting several experiments using the coated fish scientists can then conduct experiments using none coated fish and clean water in order to discover if the fish are the problem or the water.

If scientists are able to create a solution capable of sterilizing the fish and if salons are able to implement a system that insures the cleanliness of the tanks than fish pedicures could return to many parts of the U.S. When considering the adjustments that could be made in order to account for cleanliness there would be no reason to ban the fish pedicure practice from the states, unless of course there is a question of humanity.

Many animal rights activist have raised questions concerning the crammed environment that the fish must live in. Not only do the fish lack tanks with adequate space for them but they are also underfed so that when customers arrive they are quick to begin feasting. Considering the difficult task ahead of scientists to develop a fish friendly coating to protect people, salons need to maintain sanitary tanks and the possible humanity concern, fish pedicures may never again return to the States.

 

http://lifestyle.howstuffworks.com/style/makeup/body/fish-pedicure.htm

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/WellnessNews/fish-pedicure-infections/story?id=16348565

 

Do cats always land on their feet?

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Many people have heard the saying “cats always land on their feet”, however that statement is not always accurate. Frame-by-frame photographs have allowed scientists to examine the ways in which a cat falls. According to Animal Planet, more often than not cats will land on their feet.  Scientists have found that cats are able to manipulate their body in ways that allow them to land safely on the ground, because of their flexible backbone, 30 vertebrae and vestibular system.

cats-always-land-on-their-feet

When falling cats are able to “correct its course” so that they land safely, however cats do not always survive a fall. “The height of a cat’s fall determines how well, or how poorly, his legs can absorb the shock of the landing”. It is interesting to note that cats who fall from greater heights often sustain less injuries than those that fall from a second story building, because “the longer drop gives the cats’ body more time to right themselves”.

Cats rely on their eyes in order to locate up from down. After rotating their head in a way that allows them to evaluate the direction in which they need to be facing cats arch their back. Cats are also able to rely on their inner ear, “which houses the vestibular system” to tell them where they are in relation to the ground. According to WedMD, “the vestibular system is stimulated by gravity and rotational movements. It plays an important role in balance and orienting the body in space”. Both the cats eyes and specially designed inner ear allow them to land safely.

cat-landing

According to Animal Planet, “next cats spine so they can arch their back; then the front feet, followed by the hind legs, get positioned under the animal, with the cats front paws placed close to its face it is able to spare its face from the ground’s impact. As the cat lands, the cat’s leg joints bear the impact of his weight”. Even though factors such as age and the height of a cats fall, can affect the animal’s ability to survive, it is interesting to learn that the old saying is somewhat accurate. Cats always land on their feet (for the most part).

Resources: 

http://pets.webmd.com/cats/vestibular-disorders-cats

http://petmerightmeow.com/wp-content/uploads/cats-always-land-on-their-feet.jpg

http://thehigherlearning.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/cat-landing.jpg

http://www.animalplanet.com/pets/why-do-cats-land-on-their-feet.htm

 

 

Pigs: the perfect pet?

When you think about service animals the most common species that comes to mind are dogs. How about if I told you that monkeys, parrots, ferrets, cats, rabbits, miniature horses and even pot bellied pigs are also service animals? Well they are!

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According to veterinarian, Lianne McLeod, “pigs are intelligent, readily trained, affectionate, curious, playful, clean, generally quiet, odor free, and usually non-allergenic”.  When asked about pigs intellectual level, McLeod reveals that most pot bellied pigs are easily trained, however sometimes their brains can become an issue. McLeod stresses the fact that like all smart animals they enjoy exploring and learning new things. Despite the fact that most people would be pleased to have an intelligent pet, pigs can become a handful when they begin to over explore. Pigs will often times learn how to open bedroom, refrigerator and pantry doors. Despite the fact that their intelligence can sometimes become difficult to handle, they make incredible servos animals.

Not only are pot bellied pigs incredibly smart they are also able to outlive the average dog. Unlike large dogs that live between 12-15 years of age, an average pot bellied pig lives 12-18 years. Handicapped individuals may choose to have a pig over a dog because despite popular belief, they are clean animals, able to be potty trained, do not get flees and shed only two times a year.

According to Suzanne Held of the University of Bristol, “pigs are among the quickest of animals to learn a new routine”.  For individuals in need of a service animal pigs make the perfect pet and personal assistant.

charlotteswebResources:

http://www.slantmagazine.com/assets/film/charlottesweb.jpg

http://www.help-your-self.org/animals.php

http://exoticpets.about.com/cs/potbelliedpigs/a/pbpexpect.htm

http://www.vetstreet.com/our-pet-experts/potbellied-pigs-the-new-therapy-animals

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/10/science/10angier.html?_r=0

 

Swallowing gum = seven years of bad luck?

As a young child I tried never to swallow my gum, for fear that I would have seven years of bad luck, according to my wise six-year-old friends.  Unlike when I was in first grade, I no longer think twice about swallowing my gum. In situations where I have to get ride of my gum I simply swallow it. Thinking back on the many times my friends warned me never to swallow gum, I find myself wondering “are there any non luck related consequences that result form swallowing gum” ?

According to Dr. Michael F. Picco, “chewing gum is designed to be chewed and not swallowed, but it generally isn’t harmful if swallowed”. Unlike what I was taught in first grade, gum does not stay in your stomach for seven years. Even though gum does not stay in your body for years, the body is not able to digest it. According to gastroenterologist, Dr. Robynne Chutakan, “we don’t have the enzymes to break gum down. But eventually gum does get through the intestine and into the colon, where it is mixed with stool and then excreted”.

Contrary to popular belief, gum can take one, two or even three days, to exit the body. When asked about the time lapse between swallowing gum and it exiting the body Dr. Chutakan says, “it’s always within days, not weeks and certainly not years”.

More often then not swallowing gum will not harm you, however there are incredibly rare occasions when “large amounts of swallowed gum combined with constipation have blocked intestines in children”.  The most dangerous consequence that can result from gum chewing is the potential possibility for children to choke.

According to kidshealth.org, children should not begin chewing gum until around age five. Most pediatricians fear that before five years of age children are unable to understand the difference between candy and gum.

Despite the fact that gum will not stay in your system for seven years, denouncing the “seven years of bad luck” belief, it is best to avoid swallowing your gum. When dealing with young children you must be aware of the fact that gum can be a choking hazard. So the next time you take a piece of your favorite chewing gum remember that if you accidentally swallow it your luck will be no better off then it was before.

 

GumVar

 

Resources:

http://www.impressionsinflight.com/images/GumVar.jpg

http://www.webmd.com/children/features/swallowing-gum

http://kidshealth.org/kid/talk/yucky/swallowed_gum.html

http://www.mayoclinic.org/digestive-system/expert-answers/faq-20058446

bye-bye birdie?

          Rosie DeLeon, played by movie stare, Ann-Margret once sang, “Bye-bye, Birdie. I’m gonna miss you so. Bye-bye, birdie. Why’d you have to go”. Despite the fact that she sang her song more than 50 years ago, Rosie Deleon’s question may finally be answered.  

                                     bye-bye-birdie-ann-margret-1963-everett

          The National Audubon Society predicts that “by 2050, 30 species of birds, will no longer be able to live and breed in more than 90 percent of their current territory”, as a result of climate change. According to the four scientists responsible for the prediction, “about half of the approximately 650 species will be driven to smaller spaces or forced to find new places to live”. Scientist also fear that if some bird species neglect to relocate “they could become extinct”.

          Bird species are struggling to survive. Climate change can result in droughts which then effects food supply. Often times droughts are responsible for the deaths of millions of insects, leaving birds without food. On the other hand, the bugs that are able to service the drought may become over populated because they no longer have any predators. With out birds regulating the bug population, insects will overpopulate causing them to consume more food which can have lasting effects on other species. According to biologist, Terry Root “there are going to be winners if you move a species out of a region, and these winners might be mosquitoes and spiders”. 

          When asked about the possibility of birds relocating, Mr. Yarnold, of the Audubon Society said, “We just don’t know whether they’ll be able to find the food sources and habitat and cope with a new range of predators. Maybe they’ll all be incredibly hardy and find ways to survive.” When considering the non-environmental effects that could result from birds relocating, the National Audubon Society suggests that “the Baltimore oriole will probably no longer live in Maryland”. 

birdland  2 birds

          As as Maryland resident and proud supporter of the Baltimore Orioles and Ravens, I can not imagine my state without the mascots that I have grown to know and love. Weather you are a bird person or not it is important to remember that without our feathered friends the world would be a drastically different place.  

                                      Screen Shot 2014-09-18 at 12.17.32 AM

Resources:

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-wDmTDxZhIng/UT6mUnqVtVI/AAAAAAAAAK0/iAUIXbbrhp0/s1600/Birdland_final.jpg

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I’m Shrinking?!?

“Go to bed”, three small words that most individuals, at some point in there adolescent years, can attest to having heard. Parents across the glob encourage their children to get a good night sleep, but why? Do parents stress the importance of sleep because they have been taught that sleep improves their child’s mood and overall health, or are they simply trying to obtain a moment of child free peace? Regardless of the many reasons why some parents want their children to “go to bed” recent studies indicate that an inadequate amount of sleep can cause “a more rapid decline in brain volume”.

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In a recent scientific study, European researchers found that individuals who lack an adequate amount of sleep “had a more rapid decline in brain volume or size”.  According to CNN journalist, Val Willingham, “researchers looked at 174 adults between the ages of 20 and 84”. After completing a questionnaire, pertaining to the participants sleep patterns, brain scans were taken of the individuals involved in the study. After 3.5 years, scientists conducted a second round of MRI scans, in order to evaluate weather or not a change in brain volume took place.

After studying the MRI scans, researchers found that “those who slept poorly had a more rapid decline in brain volume” and that “individuals over 60 showed a more drastic decline in brain size, when compared to younger people”.

When asked about the studies results, neurologist, Dr. Neal Maru, justifies the scientists findings, saying “studies have shown poor sleep can cause protein buildup in the brain that attacks brain cells. So we’re still trying to put the puzzle together”. According to Dr. Maru brain atrophy could very well be linked to an individuals lack of adequate rest. While the relation between sleep and brain size may be related, Dr. Maru raises the question “it is a sleep problem that causes the atrophy, or is it the atrophy that causes the sleep problem?”. As of right now scientists are still searching for an answer to Dr. Maru’s thought provoking question.

REFERENCES:  

Willingham, Val. “Lack of Sleep May Shrink Your Brain.” CNN. Cable News Network, 04 Sept. 2014. Web. 08 Sept. 2014. <http://www.cnn.com/2014/09/04/health/no-sleep-brain-size/index.html?hpt=he_c2>.

 

First Blog Post

(i) While I enjoyed science classes in high school, I thought they contained useless information for people such as myself, who have no intention of becoming a scientist. Even though I have no desire to pursue a career in the scientific field, I want to learn information that will help me better understand the world. I look forward to learning interesting things that will pertain to me.

(ii) I am not interested in becoming a scientist, not because I find the career boring, I just do not have the patience and dedication required to excel in the field. As of right now I am interested, equally, in advertising, physiology and law. Considering my wide range of interests my career is not set in stone, but I do not think that research science will be a path I want to explore.

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