Author Archives: Claire E Going

Myth or Fact: If You Swallow Gum, It Can Stay In Your Stomach For Seven Years

We’ve all heard the story as kids: “Don’t swallow your gum or it will stay in your stomach for seven years!” I’m not sure how this knowledge began, but it sure scared me enough to keep me from swallowing my gum, in fear that my body would not be able to digest it. So does it really take seven years for your body to digest gum?

According to pediatric gastroenterologist David Milov of the Nemours Children’s Clinic, this myth has very little scientific backing. “If the legend were true,” Milov says, “that would mean that every single person who ever swallowed gum within the last seven years would have evidence of the gum in the digestive tract,” but colonoscopies and capsule endoscopy procedures turn up no such evidence. “On occasion we’ll see a piece of swallowed gum,” he says, “but usually it’s not something that’s any more than a week old.”

Rodger Liddle, a gastroenterologist at the Duke University School of Medicine, says that nothing could survive in the digestive tract that long unless the object was trapped in the stomach or intestines because it was too large.

The sugars in the gum are broken down in the digestive tract, but the gum base is not digestible. The FDA says that gum contains natural or synthetic elastomers, or rubberlike materials, as well as plasticizing softeners, resins and preservative antioxidizing agents. Some of the rubber-like substances found in chewing gum are the same rubber made to make inner tubes, so even if the gum wouldn’t stay in your system for seven years or cause you any real harm, it’s not advised (and doesn’t sound very appealing) to swallow it often. Gum passes through your system slower than other food that is meant to be consumed but will eventually come out the other end…pretty much the same as when it went it. An accidental swallow on occasion will cause your body no real harm.

However, if a person were to swallow many pieces of gum daily, it could cause constipation. Duke gastroenterologist Nancy McGreal, MD, also debunked this commonly heard myth. Gum will stick to your shoe, but not your intestine walls. A 1998 article in the Journal Pediatrics reports the cases of two kids who had constipation that required medical intervention. “In each case, the child was found to have swallowed chewing gum several times per day over a long period of time.”

So the old wives’ tale has been disproven. But nonetheless, it is not a wise decision to swallow mass amounts of chewing gum every day, so just throw it away!

Why Do Some People Stress Eat?

I’m sure you’ve heard of people snacking more during finals week, and how some dining halls even stay open later during that week. Maybe this is because of midnight snacking from late night study sessions, but it could also be due to the stress that finals week causes. Personally, when there is a big event in the near future that is important for me to be physically fit for or look my best, (prom, 5k run, dance competition, etc.) or that is just stressful in general, like finals week, I find myself eating more, but also more of unhealthy foods. So what causes me to feel the need to binge eat junk food during the times when it matters most that I am healthy? Is this all psychological?

Scientists have found that we crave rich foods during times of high stress. It’s our bodies way of giving us a little break. If we’ve been working and studying hard, following a strict diet regimen and exercising, possibly for a big event that’s coming up, this eating pattern could subconsciously be a way for our body to allow us to cheat, and therefore, tricking you into thinking you’re relaxed. So when you’re put in a situation of high stress for long periods of time, comfort foods really do become just that- comfort. This article speaks about how when you’re intensely stressed out for long periods of time, your energy levels drop, and stress eating foods high in sugar and fat are an attempt to regain that form of energy that can be gained quickly by the sugar and carbs.

This Helpguide talks about the difference between emotional eating and physical hunger. It mentions that emotional hunger comes on suddenly, needs to be satisfied instantly, isn’t satisfied with a full stomach, and craves comfort foods such as greasy, fatty, and sugary foods. The article also talks about how to identify your triggers if you have this problem in order to try and fix it. Nervous energy can also be a cause of the problem. Anxiety, especially in social situations, can lead people to stuff their mouths more than they normally would. “Many people, out of nervousness or boredom, just munch on chips or drink soda to give their mouths something to do.”

A research team at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia, PA conducted a study to discover the molecular mechanisms behind stress eating. They found that there is a link between periods of high stress, hormone levels, and how much junk food people eat. The hormones known as glucocorticoids are activated during periods of high stress, which is the reason your taste buds crave sugary foods. “Just because the Monell researchers found that stress-induced sweet cravings may be initiated by hormones doesn’t mean that they can’t be controlled. If you find yourself craving sweets as a tactic for dealing with stress, try turning to healthy sugars, particularly those found in fresh fruits.”

Many people cope with stress differently. Now that scientists have ruled out that hormones and stress can cause some people to have cravings, we know that emotional eating is real. Some people eat during periods of negative stress, and others eat during eustress, or positive stress. Either way, if this is a concern to you, there are always ways to maintain stress and emotional eating, and the more aware of it you are, the better you are able to manage it.



The Science Of Attraction: What Makes Us Beautiful?

Sometimes when you see someone, you are automatically attracted to them, but you can’t quite put your finger on why. You can’t help when you are attracted to someone, and sometimes it’s their personality that draws you in, their intelligence, and even sometimes… their symmetrical face?

Studies show that symmetrical faces are preferred and more attractive to others than people who have asymmetrical faces. Similarly shaped eyes and eyebrows, sides of the nose mouth can all fall into the symmetrical category. So why does symmetry matter to attractiveness? Well, see for yourself. Which face below is more attractive to you?

You’re probably thinking the one on the left because you can easily see that it is more symmetrical. But sometimes, it is not that easy to tell and it is a lot more subconscious to why you do or do not find a person attractive. Early Studies broke it down to two hypothesis, “The Evolutionary Advantage view (which proposes that symmetric individuals are attractive because they are particularly healthy) and the Perceptual Bias view (which proposes that symmetric individuals are attractive because the human visual system can process symmetric stimuli of any kind more easily than it can process asymmetric stimuli).” Scientists have ruled out the Evolutionary Advantage and have settled on the Perceptual Bias view because it is easier for humans to process things that are equal and similar.

“Evolutionary biologist Randy Thornhill of the University of New Mexico has been studying symmetry for two decades by using scans to digitize faces and bodies” ( Thornhill performed a study where he showed both men and women pictures of people of the opposite sex and asked to choose which picture they thought to be more attractive, usually without any obvious features that would make one picture significantly less attractive than the other, so it was all fair game. Men and women both overwhelmingly chose the most symmetric face. This test was an observational study, so it was only as clear and truthful as the participants of the study were. There wouldn’t really be a way to make this sort of study an experimental test, so as far as attraction goes, studies must rely on the opinions of the participants. However, the majority of the participants chose the most symmetrical faces as the most attractive ones, so it is easily said that it is true, symmetry equals attractiveness.

Good symmetry shows that an individual has the genetic goods to survive development is healthy, and is a good and fertile choice for mating,” Thornhill told LiveScience in 2006: “It makes sense to use symmetry variation in mate choice,” he said. “If you choose a perfectly symmetrical partner and reproduce with them, your offspring will have a better chance of being symmetric, because you both have good, symmetrical genes.” Also, researcher Daniel Cohen-Or told LiveScience in 2008, “Beauty can be quantified by mathematical measurements and ratios. It can be defined as average distances between features, which a majority of people agree are the most beautiful.”

It would be interesting to have this study performed on people judging pictures of their same sex and see the results. I would imagine that they would be similar to the opposite sex study results.


Does The Myers-Briggs Test Actually Work?

My family likes to discuss our results of the Myers-Briggs test and finds the whole concept interesting, especially when we the siblings can see if we inherited personality traits from our parents. If the Myers-Briggs test doesn’t sound familiar, it is based on Carl Jung’s and Isabel Briggs Myers’ typological approach to personality. Upon completion of the 64 part questionnaire, you get a 4-letter result according to the Myers-Briggs typology, along with your strengths, weaknesses, and personality type. Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) can divide you into 16 distinct types, combinations of introverts, extroverts, thinkers, feelers, the judging or perceptive. The results also give you careers that are best suited for you personality type. The test supposedly helps you find out more about yourself and can help you find the way you learn best. Sometimes, depending on which site you use, the results will show you which famous people share your personality type. The results can also help you to assess your compatibility with your long-term romantic partner. This area of science has a lot to do with psychology, but is this psychological test scientifically sound? Is this personality test actually true to who you are? Can a computer-generated test know your personality type simply by asking a few questions?

This is just an anecdotal example of the testing system, but I tend to get a different result every time I take the test with only a few months passing. Did my inherent personality change that much or is the test a hoax? My result after taking the test today was ESFJ, which stands for extrovert, sensing, feeling, and judging. Every time I take it, the letters change for the most part. E and J always stay the same, but sometimes the results tell me I’m an ESTJ personality type, sometimes I’m even an ENFJ. So how do I know for sure what I am or if the test works if I am always answering the questions honestly and my results always change?

This comic jokes that the Jung Typology (aka Myers-Briggs) test isn’t scientifically valid and is largely ignored by the field of psychology, but is there some truth behind this test?

The test is used by a lot of corporations to hire people. Before getting the job, the business may ask you to take the personality test to see if you are fitting for the job. The only thing is- if you know who and what they want, the test is easily manipulatable to get the result of say, an extroverted people-person who loves deadlines. So how can a test, that isn’t necessarily backed by scientific research or psychology use get so popular and frequently taken? People argue that it can help you to get to know yourself a little bit better, to know your strengths and weaknesses. The argues, “The trouble is, the more you look into the specifics of the MBTI, the more questionable the way it’s widespread use appears to be. There are numerous comprehensive critiques about it online, but the most obvious flaw is that the MBTI seems to rely exclusively on binary choices.” The fact that the test was created by non-scientists is also questionable. The main argument that people have against the Jung Typology test is that people aren’t set in stone in their ways, and they also aren’t completely black and white with their personalities. One will never be 100% an extrovert or 100% an introvert. Some argue that it is oversimplified and that the test tries to fit a person into a character while real people aren’t characters. For example, these characters from a book can be fit into the exact descriptions of a Jung Typology Test, but not real people. This also goes along with stereotyping.

So if the test isn’t backed by science, should businesses hiring us be able to make up take the test along with our application to be able to say we must be -insert four-letter result here- to be a teacher, counselor, administrator, Supervisor? That is up to the corporation that is hiring. Jung himself argued the test isn’t all black and white, and that it gives you a percentage of each characteristic of yourself in order to see how strongly you hold that characteristic. The human personality is fluctuating, and people tend to change with age. It is a complex area to try and label with only 64 questions. “Dr Dean Burnett, of the Institute of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neuroscience at Cardiff university, recently outlined a list of criticisms, including: the test’s reliance on binary choices, poor scientific foundations and the suspicion that it is a self-fulfilling phenomenon – the more people take it, the more others feel they have an obligation to do so too. ‘The big problem,” Burnett says: “Is that Myers-Briggs gives people a false impression of how psychology works. A false sense of expertise.'”

This test can benefit people, as long as the people don’t get too fixed on their results and don’t start to live according to them (for example, by the career suggestions). They can help you get to know yourself in certain social situations, and “scientific validity is necessary if you’re trying to diagnose a disorder of some sort, but in the everyday workplace for team building and the like? This is what MBTI is used for most, so why go on some major nerd-rant about how unscientific it is when it doesn’t really matter?” Some people believe in the test religiously, and live by the results of the test, only partaking in things that fit their assigned “personality type,” and will reject any scientific questioning of the test, to the point of cognitive dissonance. Sometimes, when I have taken the test before, I won’t even know how to answer a question honestly. For example, the test asks, “You tend to rely on your experience rather than on theoretical alternatives,” or, “You easily understand new theoretical principles.” And I am just not 100% sure of my answers to those questions, so I could be putting down answers that are not correct to what I truly do or who I truly am, giving me skewed results.

My suggestion after research is to take the test honestly and see what you get. Take the results with a grain of salt but it can be helpful to get to know yourself a little bit better. Do not live by the results and interact with others a certain way because of them. I believe one is neither a “thinker” OR a “feeler.” You can be a little bit of both. You can take the test and see for yourself here.

Is It Possible To Have Too Many Vitamins?

Each day, I eat two vitamin VitaFusion Gummies, which is the recommended amount to get the full effect of the vitamins, which is stated on the Nutritional Facts. They are multivitamin gummies that contain Vitamins A, C, D, E, B-6, B-12, folic acid, biotin, and Niacin, to make sure I’m getting all the necessary vitamins to stay healthy, especially in college when sometimes my diet isn’t suburb. But they are so good. They taste like candy. Sometimes I find myself wondering, “Did I eat two vitamin gummies today or did I only eat one? Who cares, I’ll have one now.” We all know that vitamins are good for us and are necessary, and bad things like deficiencies happen if we don’t get enough vitamins, but can I have too many? What happens if I eat too many of these gummy vitamins?

If you eat too many gummy vitamins, it can cause permanent damages, according to Dr. Ken Spaeth, director of occupational and environmental medicine at the North Shore-Long Island Health System. Eating the recommended amount is safe, but if you were to eat them as a snack and have a whole bottle, then it can pose some serious health issues. I was told by my sister, a pediatrician, that if you eat too many vitamins, your body gets rid of them by “peeing them out.” She is only partially correct. The body is able to get rid of excess fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamins A, D, and E. But a buildup of other kinds of vitamins can cause damages to organs including the brain. I don’t think she was talking about eating a whole bottle of these bad boys. I think she was talking more along the lines of consuming double the recommended daily dosage.

“It is worth noting that minerals, such as zinc, magnesium, manganese, etc. are also commonly included in multivitamins and would likely be at toxic levels as a result of consuming an entire bottle,” Dr. Spaeth said. Of course, it is different for grown adults versus children. A child consuming an inappropriate amount of vitamins is more dangerous than an adult consuming a large amount because the adult has a larger body mass and can handle the overdosage of vitamins slightly better. Dr. Spaeth also mentions, “Regardless of age, though, eating a bottle of gummy vitamins should be avoided because of the very real danger. The poison control hotline or an Emergency Department should be consulted if someone you know disregards this advice.” Spaeth notes that every multivitamin brand has a different list of vitamins, so it’s difficult to talk about all possible brands as the types and amounts of vitamins they contain differ from brand to brand.

Not only can long-term damage occur from taking too many vitamins supplements, but also too much vitamin C or zinc could cause nausea, diarrhea, and stomach cramps, and too much selenium could lead to hair loss, gastrointestinal upset, fatigue, and mild nerve damage. There’s no benefit from taking too many vitamins- it won’t help your body because it will only take what it needs. Taking over the recommended amount of vitamins can only have negative effects. There are some signs that you have vitamin overload in your body. Difficulty sleeping or concentrating, nerve problems such as numbness or tingling, or feeling more irritable can be signs that you’re eating too many of those delicious peach gummies.

So far, we have been talking about supplements. You can absolutely take enough vitamins in from your daily meals with no need for supplements. I take supplements when I feel as though I didn’t get enough nutrients from the day from what I ate. Dr. Johanna Dwyer, a senior research scientist with the National Institutes of Health’s Office of Dietary Supplements, says it is difficult to OD on vitamins from food sources alone, and that when it happens it’s commonly from a person overdosing on supplements.

Pros and cons of taking supplements:


A study on vitamin supplements shows that they can help reduce high blood pressure, If vitamin D is added into the supplement.

-Calcium and Vitamin D are commonly added into supplements and are effective at keeping bones strong and healthy to ward off osteoporosis in old age if you take the supplements at a younger age.

-There are prenatal vitamin supplements, which contain folic acid, pertinent for a growing fetus and helps to decrease birth defects.

-The study also shows that omega-3 fatty acids help with heart disease.


-they might not even benefit you that much, depending on how many vitamins you’re getting from your diet/how much your body absorbs it, so you’d just be spending an extra amount of money on gummies.

-Vitamin supplements are not counted as drugs, and they are obviously over-the-counter. But they can possibly harmfully react with drugs if they are taken simultaneously. “According to NIH, Vitamin K can reduce the ability of the blood thinner Coumadin to prevent blood from clotting. St. John’s wort can speed the breakdown of many drugs, including antidepressants and birth control pills, and thereby reduce these drugs’ effectiveness. Antioxidant supplements, like vitamins C and E, might reduce the effectiveness of some types of cancer chemotherapy.” Always discuss with your doctor.

It’s up to you to decide if it’s right for you to take vitamin supplements. I do because they help me to ward off cold and keep me generally healthier. I think these studies and conclusions are correct and backed by doctors. Vitamins are good for your health, as long as you do not take too many. Taking too many vitamins can be very harmful to your health, so don’t get carried away on the gummies, kids, and take one or two when you feel under the weather. Always talk to your doctor about supplements and always read the recommended amount!


Does A Glass of Wine A Day Keep the Doctor Away?

After a long day of work, my mother would always sit down with a glass of wine to wind down from the day. She said it relaxed and soothed her from any stress she carried home from work. She claims red wine, in moderation, actually has health benefits, contrary to the knowledge that alcohol is bad for your body. So what health benefits does wine really have, if any? Why do I only hear that red wine specifically has health benefits, but not white or rosé? Does a glass of red wine a day keep the doctor away?

Red wine contains something called resveratrol that is heart-healthy and protects against blood clots. Red wine also contains antioxidants that help in preventing heart disease. Red wine can help protect against build up in arteries by containing “good” cholesterol, or high-density lipoprotein (HDL). Polyphenol, which is a type of antioxidant, can help protect the blood vessels in the heart.

A source at the Mayo Clinic argues, “Red wine seems to have even more heart-healthy benefits than do other types of alcohol, but it’s possible that red wine isn’t any better than beer, white wine or liquor for heart health. There’s still no clear evidence that red wine is better than other forms of alcohol when it comes to possible heart-healthy benefits.” Although, we do not know how truly reliable this source is due to the fact that there is no author, just “The Mayo Clinic Staff.” However, a study was conducted by the writers of this article, which help to prove the alternative hypothesis, which is that red wine in moderation has health benefits while the null hypothesis is that drinking red wine in moderation does not have health benefits, and has no effect.

The study was conducted mostly on animals, not humans. When resveratrol, which is found in red wine, was tested on mice, it showed that the mice were more protected against obesity and diabetes. When the study was performed on pigs, the pigs showed improvement in heart function. For a human to obtain the same amount of resveratrol that was injected into these animals, they would need to drink more than 1,000 liters of wine a day, which would cause more health problems than helping the heart problems. This is an experimental study performed on the animals, which gives more factual evidence than a correlational study. The study was well conducted because there were proper controls. The control groups were the mice and pigs who were not injected with resveratrol. I believe this study makes a correct conclusion that resveratrol, which one can obtain from drinking red wine, has health benefits. This is either a correct conclusion or a false positive. The problem is that a person would need large amounts of resveratrol for it to make a lasting difference in heart health, and drinking wine in large quantities is unhealthy.

Medical News Today claims that red wine in moderation can actually help you live a longer life, protect against certain cancers such as colon cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, and lung cancer, and improve mental health as well as heart health. Red wine can also act as an anti-depression. Scientists found that both men and women who drank seven glasses of red wine per week were less likely to be diagnosed with depression. Looks like these are all good cases for having a glass of wine!

Of course, too much of anything is bad, and doctors are wary of telling anyone to drink more alcohol, despite these health benefits. One glass of wine is considered 1.5 ounces or 44 mL. People under the age of 25 should really drink in moderation, considering the brain is not fully developed until around the age of 25, so consuming too much alcohol can me detrimental to proper brain development. People who drink red wine in moderation seem to have a lower risk of heart disease. If you go overboard on the alcohol, worse things than heart disease can happen, like liver disease and high blood pressure, and drinking red wine should not be one’s only way of attempting to prevent heart disease. Exercise and a healthy diet always come first.

But what about white wine? Why is white wine, or rosé for that matter, never mentioned? Well, resveratrol is found in the skin of grapes, which is used to make the wine. Red wine is fermented for a longer time than white wine is, hence the lesser amount of resveratrol, and also the lesser health benefits. Also, white wine tends to contain more sugar than red wine does, which is not as healthy, when focusing on the health benefits of wine.

So what can you do to get the health benefits of resveratrol without drinking the alcohol? Eating grapes has shown to provide the health benefits of resveratrol without having to drink the alcohol along with it, especially if you’re underage or not a fan or red wine. Heart disease is more prominent in older folks anyways, the people who are able to drink red wine on the daily.

Is Running Slowly Damaging My Body?

I love running. I was a sprinter in high school, but I also love to run long distances a few times a week. Running is something I could never give up, and it is my favorite type of exercise. Not only do I like the easy weight loss benefits that running gives (after all, running is the quickest and most efficient type of cardio for losing weight) but I also love the confidence, muscle tone, and mental/emotional benefits that running gives. So when I started to have knee and hip problems from running at the early age of 19, you could understand my dismay. So as much as running is beneficial to your health, is running also bad for your joints and heart? 

Studying the pros and cons of running can vary from person to person because sprinters are a lot different than people who run very high mileage for a very long time every day. From this study, it shows that avid marathon runners “may be associated with coronary artery calcification, diastolic dysfunction, and large-artery wall stiffening,” wrote lead study author Dr. Peter Schnohr of Copenhagen’s Frederiksberg Hospital. Missouri Medicine says that marathon runners have increased artery plaque, which can cause a heart attack or stroke. You wouldn’t expect this from such fit people, and more from people who lead sedentary lives, but there is a deposit of plaque that increases with strenuous exercise and excessive endurance training over time. The researchers studied around 1,000 avid marathon runners and around 4,000 non-runners for 12 years. They found that joggers as a whole live longer than non-joggers, however, if someone runs faster than 7 miles per hour for more than four hours per week, has a mortality rate that is “not statistically different from that of the sedentary group,” says the researchers at the Copenhagen Heart Study.

“Further studies are needed to better evaluate this controversial issue,” wrote the authors of the editorial. “Ideally, these studies will be well-controlled interventions because we certainly agree that the goal is not to unnecessarily frighten people who wish to participate in more strenuous exercise.” Three days a week running at an average pace for 1 to 2 hours is the ideal goal for weight loss and to not be too strenuous on your body, this study concludes. I agree with this statement. I think that one is able to control their weight and also lose weight if this schedule is followed with a proper diet.

The baton is passed between runners for Wheatland High School during the girls 3A 4 X 800 meter relay finals of the 2012 Wyoming Track and Field Championships at Harry Geldien Stadium in Casper Saturday afternoon. Michael Smith/Wyoming Tribune Eagle

The baton is passed between runners for Wheatland High School during the girls 3A 4 X 800 meter relay finals of the 2012 Wyoming Track and Field Championships at Harry Geldien Stadium in Casper Saturday afternoon. Michael Smith/Wyoming Tribune Eagle

So excessive endurance training causes an excess of plaque in marathon runner’s arteries over a long period of time. Is running bad for my joints, and am I guaranteed knee replacements later on in life if I continue to run now? Well, as we learned how to do with sugary drinks in class, you would have to weigh the risk and negative side effects to how much you love the thing that’s causing the damage. For me, I love running so much, that the negative effects will have to be pretty strong and convincing for me to stop my daily runs and move onto another type of exercise. 5 Experts answer: Is running bad for my knees? on “The knees take lots of pressure. The knees can take nice, happy cartilage and start to break it down,” says Dr. Stephen G. Rice, Director of Sports Medicine at Jersey Shore University Medical Center. Once the cartilage wears down (from running) it can’t absorb the shock, which causes pain. The fact that I am also an Irish dancer, which takes an extreme toll on your knees and hips, means that my cartilage in my knees will most likely wear down earlier than normal. Also, the wearing down and strength of cartilage can be genetic, and my mother has severe knee and hip problems also. So the future of my joints doesn’t look so good for me. Dr. Jon Schriner, faculty member at Michigan State University says, “It’s well known that heavier people are at higher risk for arthritis. For every pound of weight a person carries – whether it’s in their body or they put it on in a pack – they have four pounds on the knee when running. In other words, if you weigh 100 pounds, there are 400 pounds of force on the knee with each foot strike.” This is something I have never heard before but is a good argument against running and is very convincing. Knees really take a beating when it comes to running and staying in shape, and it is an individual’s personal decision for their body if they want to participate in it or not. My opinion is that 1. I am not an avid marathon runner, only recreational runner at this point in my life, so I shouldn’t have heart problems later on in life from running or overextending myself. 2. Knee, hip, and ankle problems ~run~ in my family, so as I get older, I will continue to run, but I will continue to lessen and lessen the intensity of the running as I age, much like my mother does.

There are many different factors that go into how much damage a person causes their body when running, and it differs for each person. Weight, body structure, shoe selection, and running form all come into play.



Do We Really Need Eight Hours Of Sleep Each Night?

“I have a love/ hate relationship with sleep,” I think as I write this blog post late on a Wednesday night. Somedays, I can sleep from 3:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m., only getting five hours of sleep which is three whole hours less than the recommended, and feel great the next day, full of energy and happiness. Somedays (usually the weekends), I can sleep a total of ten hours, and feel sluggish and unproductive for the rest of the day. And then other days, the complete opposite will happen to me, where the more sleep I get the better I feel. So what is the recommended amount of sleep for our age group? Do I need that much sleep? What will happen if I don’t get that specific amount of hours of sleep? Is it the same for everyone? Why can I feel okay on less sleep and sluggish with more sleep?

According to the National Sleep Foundation, young adults and also adults until the age of 65 should get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night. Of course, these numbers change for children, who should get around 9 to 11 hours of sleep per night, and elderly people, who only need around 7 or 8 hours per night. Under the “may be appropriate” column (aka, depending on the specific person’s need for sleep, it says that 10 to 11 hours of sleep may be appropriate for 18 and 19-year-olds. Under the “not recommended” column, it says less than 6 hours and more than 11 hours are not recommended, which is usually about where I fall because I guess I like to hit both extremes sometimes. I will occasionally hit that perfect 7 hours of sleep mark and feel great the next day, but unfortunately, I only get between five and six hours of sleep per night. What happens to my mental state and my body when I do not get these magic 7-9 hours of sleep? And why is it bad if I get more than 11 hours of sleep? I thought sleep was good for you!

So it depends on the person if they decide they feel the healthiest on 7 hours of sleep, that is scientifically okay. If one needs more sleep than that, 11 hours is perfectly okay too. So when I fall out of this recommended zone, what happens to my body? Mentally, sleep loss over time also known as sleep deprivation causes serious problems. Sleep deprivation can cause depression, forgetfulness, loss of proper judgement, and lack of alertness. Because sleep solidifies knowledge learned during the day and stores it away to memory while you are asleep, sleep is extremely important when it comes to memory, cognitive function, and test taking the for the next day. As far as physical health goes, sleep deprivation can cause some serious damage. Heart disease, Heart attacks, heart failure, high blood pressure, strokes, diabetes, early ageing of the skin, and weight gain are some of the negative effects to not getting the proper amount of sleep each night. This is enough to convince me to make sleep a priority! So what happens to my body when I oversleep? And is it harmful?

Sleeping too much can also cause depression. It can also lead to heart disorders, back pain, diabetes, feeling tired, unrefreshed and demotivated, decline in cognitive function, and earlier death! So the effects of oversleeping are very similar to not getting enough sleep, so it is important to hit that target 7-9 hours, depending on your preference. Harvard Health says that both too little and too much sleep affects memory. “Our findings suggest that getting an ‘average’ amount of sleep, seven hours per day, may help maintain memory in later life and that clinical interventions based on sleep therapy should be examined for the prevention of [mental] impairment,” said study leader Elizabeth Devore, an instructor in medicine at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

I agree with what these sources say because I learned about sleep cycles in my psychology class last year, and that the reason you can sometimes feel refreshed after only a few hours of sleep is due to sleep cycles.  If you wake up naturally during a period of your sleep cycle where you are in a light sleep (Not REM), you may feel awake and happy only after five hours of sleep. If you are violently awoken by your alarm while your are in a period of deep REM sleep, you may feel sluggish after even 11 hours of sleep. There are technically five levels or stages of sleep. Sleepiness, light sleep, deep sleep (3&4), and Rapid Eye Movement sleep, which is the deepest level of sleep. The best is to be naturally woken during a light sleep period. There is an amazing App  that will take a 30 minute period of when you want to wake up, monitor your motions during the night by laying the phone on your bed, and then ring an alarm when you are in your lightest cycle of sleep so you ultimately feel more refreshed every day.

So how can you help you mind and body by getting the perfect amount of sleep for you each night? Harvard Health has a few tips to help out. Establish a regular bedtime so your body is used to falling asleep at the same time every night, so you can fall asleep faster, therefore maximizing your sleeping time. Avoid doing homework in bed- make your bed for sleeping purposes only. Get some exercise during the day so you release energy and stress, which helps you fall asleep faster. Complete stressful tasks in the beginning of the day and leave the easier tasks to complete for later in the afternoon. Don’t drink caffeine after 2:00 p.m. And finally, make sure your room is pitch-black so you can get a good night’s rest, because we learned in class that dim lighting (from a television or cell phone), may lead to depression and a lower quality of sleep, so it is worth shutting it all down.

Is Intelligence Inherited or Learned?

I have always wondered whether intelligence level is inherent, meaning you are born with a certain natural learning capability, or learned, meaning if you work hard enough and want to have a certain level of intelligence, you can attain it.

We know that intelligence is a complex trait, so it is “influenced by many different genetic and environmental factors.” And we also know that we do get a certain amount of our intelligence from our parents. But is an individual limited to what they’re given by their parents, or does everyone have a clean slate when they are born, able to shape their own experiences and level of intelligence?

The first bit of research I looked into in an attempt to get a clear answer to this question was a study involving identical twins and if they share the same amount of intelligence. Identical twins have 100 percent shared DNA, so their intelligence levels are very similar. A study shows that even when raised in separate households, the identical twins still have extremely similar IQ levels, which means we can gather that genetics holds more weight on the intelligence scale than where one was raised, but environment is still a key factor. (Fraternal twins are different. Fraternal twins are just like regular siblings, and siblings can have different IQ levels.)

Genetics can largely come into play with brain size, but there is no proof that brain size is linked to intelligence. Molecular biologist Robert Plomin says that heritability of intelligence is around 50 percent and rises to 75 percent by late adolescence because “family influences on cognition are deemed to diminish throughout development” (Plomin). Yet there is no proof of causation here. The Flynn Effect states that cognitive development is flexible (some intelligence being fluid while some aspects being set in stone, determined by IQ tests). Members of the American Psychological Association task force underscored in their 1995 report that “heritable traits can depend on learning and they may be subject to other environmental effects as well. The value of heritability can change if the distribution of environments (or genes) in the population is substantially altered.” So environmental aspects, such as how many years of schooling someone has, plays a large part in their intelligence level, as well as genetics does. There is still a lack of evidence for scientists that attempt to prove that it is one hundred percent genetic. There are many studies that prove, genetics aside, that environment plays a major impact in a person’s intelligence, such as the study with Genie, a girl who was isolated in her room for the entire beginning of her life until the age of 13.

So we ruled out that intelligence is, in fact, inherent, and you’re born with it genetically from a combination of your parents because of the identical twins study. Intelligence can also be passed down from earlier ancestors than just your parents, and that’s how some children, when they become adults, can outsmart their parents’ intelligence. But environmental situations play a huge role in someone’s intelligence, such as factors like they way the child was raised, attention from parents, schooling, wealth, and many other factors. So it’s not necessarily one or the other, but a combination of both factors that makes up our intelligence level and our intelligence capabilities. But I believe there should be a study conducted where both parents take an IQ test and so does their child. Would the child have an average of the parents two IQ levels, or would the child be more influenced by environmental factors than just the average of the parents intelligence levels? This would also prove that intelligence can be passed down genetically from previous ancestors.

I also have an anecdote from my own life experience. My Dad is very good with numbers and math and my Mother is not. She is “people smart.” She knows people very well and has what is called emotional intelligence (EQ). She’s intelligent, just in a different way. I’ve never met someone who can read people as well as she can. My sister’s very much come from my father’s side; they got the science/math brain while I…unfortunately did not. I am more from my mother’s side. Does that mean my older sisters got more intelligence than I did?

Not necessarily. They are more talented in the area of mathematics and reasoning while my strength lies in journalism, public speaking, reading comprehension. If one is born with a certain capacity for “book smart” intelligence, is one born with emotional intelligence just the same or is that learned? Does this social fluency have more of a weight on experiences and environmental circumstances? I would guess that emotional intelligence can be learned better than intelligence can be learned, but it does not come naturally to everyone. For some people, person-to-person interactions can be more challenging than calculus. The question of emotional intelligence being learned or genetic is a more difficult question to answer, and not as many studies have been performed on this topic. Many people argue that someone who lacks emotional intelligence can understand and develop the skill, while people don’t tend to argue that point for “book smart” intelligence. Stephan King argues that while you cannot turn a bad writer into a good writer, you can turn a competent writer into a good writer (Stephen King: On Writing). Writing airs on the side of emotional intelligence and being able to communicate with people, and he believes that it is not learned so much as inherited. This article expresses that the EQ level you are born with is firm, but not rigid. It is influenced by early childhood experiences and genetics, the article claims. Some people who lack this type of personable intelligence are also just better at learning EQ than others.

So now, my final question after coming to the conclusion that intelligence is mostly inherited, but also has to do with childhood development and environment- is there no hope for people who are born with an average or slightly below average IQ level? After doing this research, no. Anyone can, if they dedicate their time and work hard enough, can achieve what they set out to achieve, it may just come more difficult to them than someone who was born with a higher level of intelligence. This is seen a lot on college campuses; students can all succeed, some may just need to work a little harder at it, is all.

The Five-Second Rule: Myth or Fact?

As a kid, I remember if I dropped a piece of food on the floor, I would quickly pick it up and deem it safe to eat because of the “five-second rule.” My friends and I always followed this so-called “rule,” and sometimes, even our parents would enforce it. But is it true that dirt and germs aren’t able to get onto the food item that quickly?

Jillian Clarke, a scientist in new product development who earned a Nobel Prize for her work, found that very little bacteria and very few microorganisms were able to attach onto the dropped food. Clarke conducted the study by placing gummy bears onto sterilized tile floors and floors ridden with bacteria such as E.coli. Although it wasn’t smothered in the bacteria, scientists warn us to be cautious nonetheless. “At least, wash it first,” says Ruth Frechman, MA, RD, the spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. “Bacteria are all over the place, and 10 types, including E. coli, cause foodborne illnesses, such as fever, diarrhea, and flulike symptoms.” Washing food is important, whether or not it has touched the floor. Bacteria are everywhere, including our hands. Be careful to not cross-contaminate food while working with meats and other foods, and always wash utensils with soap and warm water. Food that is wet has more of a stickiness factor to it, which could attract more bacteria. Dry food won’t pick up the bacteria quite as easily. Meredith Agle, a doctoral candidate, claims that bacteria on the ground transfers onto food in less than five seconds, making this myth is an old wive’s tale that has no real truth behind it.

'Stan, you can still pick up that food! Due to the economy, the five second rule had been modified to eight seconds.'

Researchers at Aston University’s School of Life and Health Sciences found that, “Food retrieved just a few seconds after being dropped is less likely to contain bacteria than if it is left for longer periods of time. It also depends on what time of food was dropped and what time of floor it was dropped on. Bacteria are less likely to transfer from a carpeted flooring than a smooth wood or tile floor. Wet foods that were left for longer than 30 seconds on the floor had up to 10 times more bacteria than food picked up after only 3 seconds. So maybe the five-second rule should just change to the three-second rule and we will all be safe?

Not quite. No matter the time the food was in contact of the floor, or the floors texture, some bacteria will still find its way onto that food item, but sometimes it might not be more than the bacteria that’s on your hand after touching things all day. “Even if something spends a mere millisecond on the floor, it attracts bacteria. How dirty it gets depends on the food’s moisture, surface geometry, and floor condition – not time.” These are only a few of the third-variable examples that are possibilities. The worst case scenario would be if you dropped your food onto a wet public bathroom floor or a dirty train station floor. This would obviously attract more germs and a variety of harmful bacteria as opposed to your private bedroom. The Mythbusters busted this myth for us. They say the transfer of bacteria is not based on time at all, but on other, more important factors. So the next time you drop your food, take the time to consider the floor and type of food you dropped- not how quick your reflexes are.

There are many opinions from many different scientists on this matter, and until further studies are conducted, there is no way to tell if it will ever be 100% safe to eat food that has fallen on the floor just after a short five seconds, especially because each floor varies and people’s immune systems vary. More studies need to be conducted to determine when and where this rule could be safe. Of course, people with weak immune systems such as the elderly, young children, and people who are already sick should not live by the five-second rule. The way I see it is- the five-second rule is circumstantial, and depends on third variables, such as: If the food I dropped is dry pretzel on my own clean kitchen floor, I might quickly grab it and give it a little wipe-down, knowing I won’t come down with E.coli. If the food is wet, like a pineapple chunk, and it’s on a restaurant floor, I’ll toss it. If it’s a $20 steak, I’ll be more inclined to take the risk. Be careful, everyone. Don’t make yourself more susceptible to illnesses like Staph or salmonella, and always wash the food that has fallen!


Does Cursing Relieve Stress?

I try very hard to keep my language clean because when I hear someone using a lot of foul language, I subconsciously assume that they have a lower intelligence level. But we have all used a curse word or two when we are physically hurt, frustrated, or caught off guard. But when we swear to express our negative feelings, does it actually make us feel better?

According to researchers at Keele University, enraged yelling (and swearing) raises your heart rate, which triggers a fight-or-flight response. They conducted a study in which men held their hands in ice water- first using profanity and then not using profanity. “When they used strong language, they were able to keep their hands in longer.” In this study, swearing in a time of pain was more effective for people who didn’t normally use profanity than for people who used it on a daily basis, which means that people who use profanity often become desensitized to its effects. So if you’re looking for a way to raise your pain tolerance in a time of need, don’t swear daily. Save it for certain circumstances where it is necessary and appropriate.

Images from

Images from

Not only can cursing relieve and help you cope with pain, but it can also be good for you, according to Scientific American. Psychologist Richard Stevens says, “I would advise people, if they hurt themselves, to swear.” The brain links obscenities with emotion. When you are able to express your emotions, you are able to cope with them better. This video suggests that cursing can lead to a feeling of camaraderie and a closer connection to other people, which also relieves stress, especially in the workplace. Think about it- when a professor uses a swear word during a lecture, that can sometimes lead to a feeling that the professor is down-to-earth and humanizes them when they can often feel separated from the class because of their position. I agree with the statement that using a curse word or two and make people feel slightly more comfortable around each other and can create an aura of a relaxed environment. Being someone who does not curse often, I also agree with the theory that cursing once in awhile when necessary helps with pain tolerance and stress. So the text time you stub your toe, try a curse word or two if it’s appropriate and see if it helps you deal with the pain. Sometimes, a deep breath can work just as well.


So we’ve ruled out that cursing relieves you from a stressful situation, whether that be mildly injuring yourself or finding out that you have a paper due the next day that you didn’t start. If cursing relieves stress, then it must be good for your health. The x- variable in this hypothesis is the swearing and the y-variable for this hypothesis is the pain and how much results from the swearing. Possible z- variables include how much the person swears on a day to day basis, the intensity of the pain, the type of stress on the person, and if they are ashamed of swearing in that situation or not. As far as studies for this theory goes, all of the sources that I have looked into for my research all refer to the same hand-submerging-in-ice water study, so this theory needs to be further tested before any real conclusions can be drawn. But as far as personal experience goes, I believe that a curse word here and there when I am under intense stress does relieve a certain amount of stress that helps me to cope with the situation for the time being. Cursing has no long-term effect on health, only short term.

Does Cutting Your Hair Make It Grow Faster?

Fashion magazines have always said that if you want your hair to grow faster, get regular trims at the salon. I have always wanted long hair, so I get my hair cut frequently. But now I wonder as I go to get another inch of my hair cut off, is this theory actually true? I asked all of my female friends and they say the same thing- cutting your hair makes it grow back faster than just letting it grow out without touching it. Many of them argue that it works the same way with shaving- the more you shave, the faster it will come back. Elizabeth Cunnane Phillips, a trichologist at the Philip Kingsley Clinic in New York City who has been studying hair and scalp health for over 22 years, concludes that this theory is false. “Cutting the hair will have no influence on its rate of growth,” says Cunnane Phillips, “that is something that is predetermined genetically.” Your hair follicles do not respond to your hair being cut, and it all has to do with genetics, diet, and overall health. If you’re getting necessary nutrients and vitamins such as Iron, Zinc, Vitamin D, Protein, Omega-3 Fatty Acids, and biotin, your hair will grow on average a half an inch per month. (article)

So that hypothesis is all to do with how your scalp reacts to frequent hair trims, which we found out is a null hypothesis, because frequent hair trims do not make your hair grow faster. But what about other body hair that involves shaving? Hair and body hair grow differently for every person, and everyone has different types of hair. I could have sworn that the more I shave my legs the faster it grows back, or the longer I wait the longer I am able to wait in between shaves. But maybe this is all in my ~head~…


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According to Amy McMichael, chair of the Department of Dermatology at Wake Forest Baptist Health, says there is no science behind hair growing back thicker. Hair usually gets thinner towards the ends, so when it is shaven, it can appear coarser, thicker, and darker than before it was cut because the hair now has a straight edge to it unlike before it was cut. After a study was performed with men shaving their beards, “The study authors collected the short hairs and compared 100 of them after each measuring, arriving at their chief conclusion: There is no evidence that shaving accelerates the rate of beard growth.” So that answers my question about shaving- but what about waxing? I think that waxing, like plucking your eyebrows, take the hair from the root, so it must have a greater effect on the growth of the hair than shaving. “Excessive waxing, which tears a hair from its root, can eventually reduce growth from certain hair follicles due to the repeated trauma.” (article)

After this research, I will stop falling for beauty myths regurgitated in glamor magazines. So I was wrong about getting regular haircuts, but my premonition about waxing was correct. I will still continue to get regular trims to keep my hair looking healthy without dead ends, but I will not expect inches more of my hair to dramatically appear after getting regular hair cuts like I used to. The next time my hairdresser tells me this is fact- I’ll be able to tell her it’s a myth!

Is Nail Polish Harmful To Your Health?

Recently I noticed that when I take off my nail polish, my tails are tinted a slightly orange color, which is terrifying. I was hoping it wasn’t some type of fungal nail infection, which I ruled out because each of my nails were completely coated in the orange tint which looked like a result of overwear of the polish for extended periods of time, discoloring my fingernails. I thought it could possibly the type of nail polish remover I was using, but as much as I scrubbed at my nails, the orange tint would not go away. It was embedded into the fibers of my nails. I know that going to certain nail salons can expose you to the possibility of catching a fungal nail infection, so I always do my own nails. So why the discoloration? 028


“The nails are made from epidermis cells that make up the skin, only more tightly packed” (Just This means that nails have pores just like our skin does, so harsh chemicals from nail polish are able to seep through the nail and enter into our bodies, which can be harmful. “Nails require oxygen to remain healthy. The keratin in your nails also allows water to pass through to hydrate the area. If your nail begins to dry out, crack, break or peel this can be a sign that something is wrong with your nails or your overall health. Nail polishes are one of the most common offenders, causing nail discoloration and other symptoms of poor nail health” (Just As my nails became more brittle, I began to worry more. I was wearing my nail polish for long periods of time, not allowing my nails to “breath” much like skin does. This leads to the discoloration because the nail polish can actually stain deep into your nails the longer you wear it. I wanted to let my nails “breath” and have some time to regain their health, but I didn’t want to walk around with nasty, unhealthy looking hands, so I want to find out if there is any way I can help the discoloration of the nail without having to wait for the nail to grow out and heal itself. resize


I came across the various chemicals found in nail polish on Just

  • A film-forming agent- This is often nitrocellulose, an ingredient that is also frequently used in auto paint.
  • A solvent- This is the volatile part of the nail polish.
  • Dilutents- Most polishes use dilutents like ethyl acetate. These are used to stabilize the product and viscosity of the polish. This will also help to keep ingredients like nitrocellulose from separating from the mixture.
  • Resins and plasticizers- Ingredients like castor oil or dibutyl phyalate are added to polish to help give the product a bit of “give” when it dries, helping to prevent chipping.
  • Pigments- This is what gives nail polish its color. Some colors also contain reflective pigments.
  • Others- Other chemicals are added to nail polish to adjust the viscosity, make the product easier to apply or to quicken the drying time. Some also contain ultraviolet stabilizers to help prevent the color from being altered by UV exposure.

These ingredients don’t necessarily seem to be toxic to our health, and are all certified by the FDA. “But the United States does not restrict the chemicals used in beauty products.” This is the part I found alarming. Ingredients such as alcohol, various fragrances, Toluene, which is made from petroleum or coal tar, Formaldehyde, a skin, eye, and respiratory irritant, and a known carcinogen (formaldehyde exposure has been associated with leukemia specifically), and many other chemicals can be found in different brands of nail polish, so be sure to check the label before purchasing! Of course some companies claim to have no toxic chemicals in their products, but “10 of 12 nail polishes that claimed to be free of toluene contained the substance, and 5 of 7 nail polishes that claimed to be free of all three chemicals actually contained one or more at elevated levels” (Dr. Mercola). Never overuse or overwear nail polish, and the effects of wearing it should not harm your health. Non-Toxic_Nail_Polishes


As far as my nail discoloration goes, it only takes a few weeks for the yellow color to fade, which isn’t a result in too terrible of health risks, just the polish penetrating the layers of keratin in the nail. I would recommend giving your nails time to rejuvenate for a month after wearing nail polish for an extended period of time because it is not healthy for your nails to have chemicals such as Formaldehyde and Toluene constantly soaking into your body. Check the brand you are using!

Can You Shorten The Length of Your Illness or Does It Need To Run Its Course?

I have been sick for the past two weeks and cannot seem to shake this horrific spell of constant coughing, sneezing, and headaches. Granted, I have not taken the necessary steps in order to get rid of my illness, such as getting to bed before 2 a.m. (all of this course work isn’t going to do itself!) This is my first time being sick away from home, and I’m not exactly sure which type of medicine to take. Getting enough sleep, drinking water, taking vitamins, washing your hands, and not over-stressing are good ways to attempt to keep yourself healthy. But for being in tight quarters with a lot of people for the first time, it is almost inevitable to get sick at least once this fall. So can I cut my recovery time in half by doing certain things, or do I need to wait until this illness takes its course? Many illnesses such as the “24 hour stomach bug” you can’t really do much for, and you need to let your body get rid of it itself. But how about the common cold (Symptoms including sore throat, coughing, sneezing, headaches and body aches)? I read that there is still no cure for the common cold, but can I reduce the time it takes me to feel well again? 27305088


There are always ways to calm the symptoms of the common cold, such as taking anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen and aspirin, other decongestant medicines like NyQuil and Mucinex, (some people swear by chicken noodle soup), and hot liquids like tea. But can you physically shorten the length of a common cold? Science Based Medicine argues, “The common cold remains a difficult syndrome to treat effectively. In most cases it is best to just let the cold run its course.” I have had many different types of common colds in my lifetime. Some colds last three days while others can last ten days up to two weeks. I need to know how to make a ten-day cold turn into a three-day one. As I continue my research, I only happen upon health articles claiming that the cold needs to run its course, and a list of over-the-counter medications one can take to relieve symptoms. Many of these medications are able to suppress fevers, if that is the type of cold you are dealing with. WebMD claims, “Sports drinks that contain electrolytes are also an option. For most people, plain water is usually best or a broth type of soup. It’s likely you won’t feel like doing much activity, so staying in bed and getting rest is fine.” There is are disputes about whether or not mild physical activity is beneficial or hurtful for someone who is under the weather. There is way of telling if your type of cold is a cold that won’t get worse if you go to the gym. Edward R. Laskowski, M.D. argues the “above the neck/ below the neck” approach to telling if you have the type of common cold that will allow you to “sweat it out” without getting any worse. i-hate-to-waste-sick-days-being-sick-funny-poster

After conducting this research, I found that Vitamin C does not actually cure a common cold. “After reviewing 60 years of clinical research, they found that when taken after a cold starts, vitamin C supplements do not make a cold shorter or less severe. When taken daily, vitamin C very slightly shorted cold duration — by 8% in adults and by 14% in children” (David T. Derrer, MD). So I haven’t been getting the appropriate amount of Vitamin C in my diet the past couple of months. This is something I’ll take note of and start doing daily, but won’t help my situation as of now. Donald W. Novey, MD claims there are five ways to shorten a cold duration by “revving up your own immune system.” The number one way to shorten a cold duration instead of passively letting it take its course is rest. The rest of the advice involves working out, eating right, de-stressing, and trying Zinc tablets. I have yet to try Zinc- tablets, so that will be my next attempt to shorten this cold.

Can Working With Too Many Men “Hurt Your Brain” (As A Woman)?

Over the summer I worked as a server at a restaurant that was male dominated. I was the only female working at the restaurant. The kitchen were all men, the wait staff were all men, and my manager was also a male. Women who work for larger male dominated businesses deserve a lot of credit for achieving the position they earned, because it can be very difficult as a woman to break into a field that is male dominated. “A new study finds that women who work with mostly men suffer negative effects in their brain chemistry.” -Megan Friedman.  This theory is called Tokenism. url Tokenism is when someone is recruited to work for a company because they are a part of an underrepresented group or a group that is unrepresented entirely. “This is in order to give the appearance of sexual equality in a workforce. The token doesn’t have to work hard to be noticed, but she does have to work hard to have her achievements noticed. When a field has less than 15 percent female workers, it can negatively affect the female workers and the work that they are doing.”- According to the American Sociological Association. “A female working with mostly men can have fluctuating hormonal issues, such as fluctuating cortisol.” -American Sociological Association. “Women who are considered ‘tokens’ at work have less healthy patterns of cortisol throughout the day” (Friedman). There are a few other factors that can also play into this study. Women who don’t have other female companions to rely on or relate to in the workplace can add to feelings of loneliness and isolation, which equates to not being as productive in the workplace. A woman working with all men can feel slightly out of place and inherently lesser or less confident than the men she’s working with, solely because men can naturally be more dominant, authoritative, and respected in the workplace. In some cases, people subconsciously doubt that women can keep up with the men. Sexual harassment in the workplace has always been a problem for women, but can be increased when the employees are mostly male and there is only one woman. “All that stress leads to a cortisol imbalance in your brain, which can make you vulnerable to disease.” -Researchers at Indiana University.BN-ID685_partne_G_20150429094319 “The discrimination that token women workers face is the kind that first comes to mind when we consider sexism on the job: difficulties getting hired, earning promotions, and getting respect from supervisors and colleagues. These obstacles come from within the job itself, either from its basic organizational structure or from the people in it” (Newman and Smith). From personal experience, I understand the difference in atmosphere in a workplace when it is completely male dominated as opposed to an equal representation of the sexes. I don’t believe that the difference caused me stress, but I do believe that in some cases, women can have a difficult time working in such environments because of the stress that it can cause.

Will Participation Trophies Make Your Kids Lazy?

image589I was watching Good Morning America the other morning and was intrigued by a feature on participation trophies in kids sports. I remember when I played soccer in elementary school, our whole team would receive participation trophies at the conclusion of the season. Not many of us have kids yet, so we can think about this subject in relation to ourselves. How did receiving participation trophies (no matter how much or how little you actually participated) affect our athletic mindsets? Some parents on the side of participation trophies argue that they “get kids motivated”, “makes them feel like they’re worth something”, “participation trophies are harmless”, and they “give them a sense of accomplishment.” Some parents against

sldfparticipation trophies argue that “they are unnecessary and pointless,” they encourage complacency and “dissuade greatness,” “the trophies make kids entitled,” and “it’s like mocking the kids who don’t win.” Many of these opinions are of parents who haven’t done the research of how participation trophies actually affect their children, but some are still valid. This website has the best quotes from parents arguing for and against participation trophies. Pittsburg Steeler’s Linebacker James Harrison says, “I’m not about to raise two boys to be men by making them believe they are entitled to something just because they tried their best,” Their shelves should stay bare, he said, “until they earn a real trophy.” ef18a8e73f657b535fcb68a492551449


Many scientists say that it is a good thing to reward young children for their effort. Many argue that “participation trophies” are not so much for accomplishment but for effort. “And let’s be honest. Participation trophies aren’t fooling anybody, including the children who receive them.” Kids are smart enough to know when they didn’t earn a trophy. When I was young, I knew when I accomplished something amazing and got a reward for it, versus when I was lazy, didn’t positively add to the team, and got a participation trophy. nHHAhwQ

Some say we shouldn’t get all worked up over participation trophies, because they don’t actually affect a child’s work ethic later on in life.

So where is the proof and science behind all of these theories?  No study has been done to prove whether or not participation trophies are beneficial or hurtful, so it is up to the parents and coaches to decided whether it is appropriate for their child to receive a paDBoBNdarticipation trophy or not, and also to teach them about deserving things, work ethic, and the positive outcome of hard work. The cure to some children’s laziness won’t come by simply taking a plastic trophy away. Just because some kids get participation trophies doesn’t mean those kids also expect everything in life to be handed to them. participation-award

Does Color Affect How You Feel?

When I was planning out how to decorate my first dorm room before I moved into college, I considered every color combination on the planet. I heard that the color blue has calming effects, so naturally I decked out my side of the room in all shades of blue. My roommate followed my lead and matched her side of the room with the supposedly calming color also.

Photo on 9-3-15 at 10.39 AM Photo on 9-3-15 at 10.39 AM #2


Photo on 9-3-15 at 10.40 AMPhoto on 9-3-15 at 10.40 AM #2

Now as I sit in my dorm stressed about the amount of work I have to do, I wonder if this theory is true. After doing a little research, I found that there is an area of science known as Color Psychology. Not only can color affect how you feel, but can also affect your behavior as well. The colors with emotional reactions attached to them include:

  • Blue: Causes opposite reaction of red. It is peaceful and tranquil. causes body to produce calming chemicals. increases productivity. relaxation.
  • Red: emotionally intense color. stimulates faster heartbeat and faster breathing. Can be a romantic color. Pink is more tranquilizing than red. can symbolize alarm.
  • Green: relates to nature. Dark green is masculine, conservative, and implies wealth. Light green is refreshing.
  • White: doctors and nurses wear white to imply sterility, but as far as moods go, white is also calming.
  • Yellow: cheerful and sunny. can brighten up a room and therefore brighten up your feelings. Joyous.
  • Purple: The color of royalty, purple connotes luxury, wealth, and sophistication. It is also feminine and romantic. However, because it is rare in nature, purple can appear artificial.
  • Brown: Earthy. Light brown implies genuineness and dark brown can bring sadness.
  • and Black: Symbolizes authority and power. Just like the color, it can darken up someone’s mood. Villains always wear black so it can have a learned affect of evil and negative feelings. Aggressive.

But will covering my room in one of these colors change the way I feel when I’m in the room? Many color psychologists will argue yes.

But there is a difference between learned and innate associations with color.

“You also have learned certain associations with color, such as red making your heart race since it’s linked with fire trucks and ambulances (in other words, alarm) or yellow having positive association simply because it was the color of your beloved grandmother’s kitchen. ‘As you get older, you become much more conscious of those learned reactions than the innate ones,’ adds Harrington.” -Huffington Post

I personally feel as though color itself doesn’t affect my mood as much as the brightness of a room. A dark room will make me feel more depressed, while a well-lit, sunny room filled with natural light and bright colors will make me feel revitalized. I don’t feel any difference when I’m in a blue room opposed to a pink one, but perhaps this method of room design works for some people.

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Hi everyone! My name is Claire Going and I am a broadcast journalism major from Allentown, PA. I am taking this course because when I was creating my schedule with my advisor, they highly recommended this course to me because of the instructor and interesting curriculum. I can already tell after the first class that I am going to enjoy this course. I am also very interested in science. In high school, my science classes came very naturally to me. I don’t plan on pursuing science as a career because my passion is writing about and investigating world news. Maybe I’ll cover some science- related stories. I hope to meet as many of you as I can! Here is a photo of me reporting with my local news anchor from WFMZDSCN1010

and here is a link to my Instagram Claire’s Instagram 🙂