Author Archives: azb5768

Why you should NEVER cram for tests

Cramming_for_Test_HHave you ever found yourself pulling an all nighter trying to study every little detail that you’ve learned on a topic to then take a big exam? Almost all college students go through at least one night of cramming excessively for an exam and hated it during and after it happened. What are the actual results to this? Are our brains tricking us into thinking it is actually okay to do such a thing?

Nate Kornell, a student at the University of California, Los Angeles, found that “spacing out learning was more effective than cramming for 90% of the participants who took part in one of his experiments.” Even after realizing this , 72% still thought they benefited from cramming. Why is it that so many are in denial? This is because we have a worrying tendency to “on our familiarity with study items to guide our judgements of whether we know them”. Little do we know this isn’t actually true and reliable. Many people think that while cramming for exams and actively thinking throughout the night about what you’re learning will benefit you and can help yo remember everything. That idea is very wrong. Rather than reading it and trying to memorizing it, writing it down and going over the material is much more effective.

I think students should space out their time and even research ways or tips to help them study for exams and not cram it all in one night. A student at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown wrote several different tactics to an effective alternative to cramming. She says her method is space practiced, an integrated approach to learning, task-oriented study, build in repetition, and flexible and easily modified.

Starting next semester im going to try my best to get my time management right and not cram for any tests or finals at all. I now know the consequences and alternatives to a healthier way of getting enough sleep and still acing a test.

Can PTSD be cured with MDMA?

ecstacy-pills-600x400PTSD is very well known disorder that is seen in 8 million Americans. Out of those 8 million 81 percent of them are women. Other victims of this disorder are veterans or sexually abused people. People with PTSD usually experience flashbacks, bad dreams or frightening thoughts. This could lead them to losing weight, becoming emotionally numb, avoiding certain places, or being easily startled. It can take a normal human being and slowly turn them into a helpless troubled person.

In the 60s through 80s MDMA, also known as ecstasy or molly, had been used on patients going through therapy sessions. Then in the mid 80s it started to be seen in clubs or “raves” by adolescents. In recent studies MDMA, also known as ecstasy or molly, has been tested on people with PTSD. It’s been testing in four FDA- approved clinical studies in Boulder; Charleston, South Carolina; Vancouver, British Columbia; and Beer Yaakov, Israel. The study uses 98 participants, 54 of them being women, to take 75- 188 milligrams of MDMA. This was done throughout a 3-5 day period then continued with a 20 hour non-drug talk therapy. In the study the drug does not behave as a medication but rather a catalyst to psychotherapy. The drug is known to break down emotional barriers, improve communication skill and also focus. This video explains the effects of MDMA on the brain as a drug.

After just two sessions of this treatment, 83 percent of the people participating no longer had a PTSD diagnosis. If other studies like this become a high success like this one was, then MDMA may be approved as a prescribed treatment drug for PTSD. Hopefully the other trials that are taking place in other countries have the same positive results because this could cure one of the most common disorders in all of America. People have suffered enough with PTSD and they shouldnt continue their lives living in fear and stress.


The 4-7-8 sleeping method

womansleepingHave you ever laid in bed and not been able to fall asleep? There’s a new technique that surpasses the typical routine such as counting sheep to fall asleep. This method is called the 4-7-8 breathing technique. Dr. Andrew Weil, a Harvard trained physician, author, spokesperson, and “guru” for holistic health and integrative medicine, came up with this technique that acts as a tranquilizer which slows down breathing and heart rate that can eventually make you fall soundlessly asleep. He believes by just breathing in and out it can solve the problem of not being able to fall asleep at night.

He believes that “Breathing strongly influences physiology and thought processes, including moods. By simply focusing your attention on your breathing and without doing anything to change it, you can move in the direction of relaxation.” His website has 5 simple steps into approaching this method:

  1. Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.
  2. Close mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a count of four.
  3. Hold breath for a count of seven.
  4. Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.
  5. This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.

Dr. Michelle E. Gordon, the founder of Northern Westchester Surgical Associates General, tried this method but said it didnt work out for her. My roommate tried it last night and it took her a while and couple of tries but she doesn’t remember much because the next day she realized she had fallen sleep. Both Weil and Gordon believe that this may work for some people because this breathing exercise is the same as meditation. A good example is how Buddhist can reach a state of enlightenment and are able to withstand drastic climate changes whilst just wearing thing clothing.

I havent tried this method but if my roommate says it worked for her after a little bit of practice then i will try to practice a couple of times and see if i can reach that state of meditation to help me fall asleep faster.

Do we lose calories while we sleep?

Don’t have time to hit the gym? But find time to take naps throughout the day? Well studies have shown that we lose calories in our sleep. Burning calories in your sleep is essential to maintaining body temperature, pumping blood throughout the brain and body, and also repairing cells. The more the person weighs the more calories they burn per hour.

During REM sleep you burn the most calories because the brain is more active than it would be if you were awake. The body being active requires fuel which makes it smart to eat some food an hour or so prior to sleeping. Temperature also plays a role in losing calories while sleeping. If the body temperature is cooler while it sleep its will burn several extra hundred during the night to maintain the temperature at a steady level.

Some methods that can help you burn more calories while sleeping is having a strict sleeping pattern. Go to bed at the same time every night and get the same amount of sleep too. More calories are burned during REM sleep so by hitting the snooze button a bunch of times, it can disrupt the deepness of your sleep. Drinking alcohol can also disrupt REM sleep. Also, exercising right before bed can cause you to be more alert and awake. If you want to exercise before bed try choosing yoga or deep breathing instead.

Loosing calories in your sleep doesnt mean you have to start skipping the gym and sleep a lot because sleeping too much can cause weight gain. Just set up a regular sleeping pattern and avoid any kind of spicy food or anything that contains fat because heart burn is likely.

Welcome to the dark side (of chocolate)

Dark chocolateEver since we were little we were told that candy is bad for you. It causes cavities and gives you a sugar rush. All of that is true but not all candy is bad for you. Dark chocolate has been known to be good for you heart. Although it is not as good as milk chocolate and people tend to like the flavor less, it is a much healthier choice than regular chocolate.

The cocoa is correlated with creating “anti-inflammatory compounds that improve blood vessel functions”, according to a post by Katherine Harmon Courage on Scientific American. A presentation at the American Chemical Society explained the benefits from the microbes in the gut absorbing the fiber and antioxidants from the cocoa. It was found that it can improve insulin sensitivity as well as vascular function. The daily consumption of dark chocolate can lower blood pressure by two to three times compared to those who don’t consume dark chocolate at all. But why is this dark chocolate better than milk chocolate? Dark chocolate has less sugar and therefore less fat.

As well as dark chocolate improving heart health it can also help with learning and memory. At Loma Linda University, a research was conducted by Lee Berk. The studies showed that cocoa flavonoids build up in the brain where learning and memory is associated which, “promote nerve cell growth, increase brain function and brain communication, improve blood flow and promote the formation of blood vessels in the brain and sensory systems.” After this study was done questions such as, is this correlated with dementia or age-related issue? Research is still being done to further answer them.

Harvard researchers have found that the consumption of dark chocolate lowered the bad type of cholesterol, LDL, and increased the good kind of cholesterol, HDL. Other foods such as fruits, tea, and vegetables also have the same impact on heart health but cocoa is different since it contains flavonoids.

Next time you’re at the grocery store or craving a chocolate bar think about getting dark chocolate instead. It can seriously make a difference in your health.

Turn down the Fetty Wap and Turn up the Mozart


Early in the semester I went through a rough patch and got really stressed out. I was walking downtown when I thought, hey maybe listening to some soothing music will help out my stress. I went on Spotify and choice a classical music playlist. It was weird at first but then it quickly grew on me. All of a sudden i felt soothed and calm again. I then thought since this distresses me then maybe it will do the same when im doing homework or studying. Ever since then I listen to classical music every time i do homework. I quickly started noticing how much more focus i had with this kind of music playing in the background. I then wondered what is it about this kind of music that makes me focus so much more? And what are the benefits to this?

A Finnish study tested the enhancement in gene activity after listening to classical music. The article explains how, “Researchers performed genome-wide transcriptional profiling from the peripheral blood of participants after they listened to classical music — and again without music exposure.” The study went on to having two groups of participants were asked to listen to Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 3 in G major for twenty minutes while the other group was required to not listen to anything or avoid listening to any type of music. The results of this showed that those who listened to classical music had higher levels of dopamine.

Another study that was done at a university in France showed that the increased levels of dopamine classical music can cause increased students’ emotional state which made them more receptive to information in a lecture compared to those who did not listen to any type of music at all. It was found that classical music can also lessen anxiety. Researches have made men going under biopsy listen to Bach and they reported that they experienced less pain.

If you want to improve your concentration and feel like you need to relax just sit back and listen to some classical music. It’s been proven to lower blood pressure, release stress levels, improve sleep quality, enhance memory and alertness, and help fight depression and pain.

Not Eating is NOT going to make you lose weight

Many people believe that if you skip meals or you start cutting back on the amount you eat without replacing them with healthy foods is going to help you lose weight. Well that isn’t quite true. In my psych class in high school, I learned that when a person keeps skipping meals and has a constant empty stomach the body starts storing up fat. It does this because whenever food was hard to get in prehistoric time, the body knew that it would go through periods without eating or getting energy. So whenever the body did receive food it would take the fat and store it so it can have it whenever food would be scarce again. Now, whenever food is not scarce and we decide to skip a meal the body is actually accumulating the fat that it’s getting from the food when we actually decide to eat.

In the article Diet Myth News Flash: Eating Less Does Not Cause Fat Loss, it states that the only thing the body is losing whenever no food is being consumed is muscle. The body is storing the fat which contains energy rather than the muscle. It wants less tissue which causes calories to be burned faster. The article says, “Studies show that up to 70% of the weight lost while eating less comes from burning muscle – not body fat!” Once the body starts consuming more food it still has all of that fat and gains new fat on top of that because it’s making sure it has some fat saved up for the next time the body is not fed.

The smartest thing to do if one is trying to lose weight is exercise and eat healthy portions. Don’t skip meals or go a day without eating because in the end all if will do is store fat and get rid of muscle.

Initial Blog Post

Hey everyone! My name is Anapaula Bazan but I just go by Ana. I come from a small town called Camp Hill right here in Pennsylvania that is right across the river from Harrisburg. I find my town to be boring but Hersheypark was close so that’s where I would spend my summer. I went on Skyrush for the first time this summer and it’s safe to say I enjoyed the ride a lot from this picture of me grabbing on for dear life.


I am a freshman in DUS. I have no idea what I want to major in but I’m not really stressing about it at the moment. I’m mostly exploring and trying many different types of classes to see what I feel most comfortable in and what I find most interesting. So far I dropped out of Bio 141 because I knew if I absolutely did not like it in high school I would most likely not like it in college. I do find biology interesting but I could never grasp any of the information. Anyways, I went to my advisor and she recommended I take this class. After i read the description for it I realized that it was perfect because I’ll still be learning about science but in a way that I’ll actually understand and find interesting.  I also became very interested in how the universe works after watching the movie Interstellar.