Author Archives: Erin K Beatty

Does Birth Control Affect Your Fertility?

Birth control is a very common thing for women under the age of 30. In the U.S, about three in four sexually active women under the age of 30 use some type of birth control. One thing that has always scared me about birth control is whether it can negativity affect fertility in the years after taking the Pill is stopped. I decided to research if it does have negative effects, or if that shouldn’t be a concern.

A European study on oral contraceptives involved over 2,000 women who were on the Pill and stopped taking it to try to conceive. The women were followed for a minimum of two years after they stopped taking it to see how long it took for them to pregnant. One year after the stopping of the contraceptives, 79.4% of the women were pregnant. These numbers were almost identical to those who had not used the Pill. This study supports the claim that prior use of the Pill makes no difference for future conception. There is always the idea that the results could be due to chance or third variables, but the study seems to be reputable in its results.

Not only does the Pill seem to not have negative effects on fertility, but it also has the ability to protect against diseases such as ovarian and uterine cancer, which can eventually lead to infertility. Researchers have also found that the Pill improves the symptoms of endometriosis, which is a condition that causes abnormal menstrual bleeding which leads to infertility.

While the Pill may not negatively affect infertility, there are many side effects that are quite often seen by users. Some of these include nausea, weight gain, mood changes, headaches, missed periods, and visual changes with contact lenses. Birth control pills have also been associated with blood pressure increase, liver tumors, and an increase in the risk of developing cervical cancer.

Taking the Pill is obviously a personal choice, and it is one that should be made knowing all the pros and cons. For me, knowing it does not affect fertility pleasantly surprises me. I had heard from others that it may end up being harmful to fertility, but the research and studies show that it most likely does not. When deciding to take the Pill or not, make sure you are aware of the positives of it, but also the possible symptoms and effects.


Do Energy Drinks Really Boost a Person’s Energy?

It is no secret that energy drinks have become very popular among all people. The caffeine in them plays a huge role in giving bursts of energy. The most popular way of supplementing caffeine has been through energy drinks. What I wanted to know was how much it really does help.

A recent study in Spain used two doses of an energy drink containing caffeine and then tested its effects on the muscles using a series of tests. The results showed that a 1 mg dose of caffeine did not show any significant effects on muscle performance, but a 3 mg dose increased the performance. Although this increase could be due to chance or third variables, it seems quite likely that this increase in caffeine affected the results.

The downside of energy drinks is that although they provide a boost of energy, it is short-lived. The growing popularity of energy drinks has some people concerned about the amount of caffeine within them. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that young adults should get no more than 100 mg of caffeine per day. They warn that too much caffeine can have many negative side effects including rapid heart rate and increased blood pressure.

Matthew Ganio, a researcher at the Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, wrote, “Caffeine is widely studied and well-known for making you feel more alert. But its effects come from being a stimulant, meaning it makes you feel energetic by offsetting the mental and physical fatigue that occurs throughout the day, especially during exercise.”

Energy drinks can be very beneficial, but people should be sure that they have a good tolerance for them and be sure that they are healthy enough to drink them. I myself have had energy drinks before and although they can be helpful, there always comes a point where its effects wear off. I try not to have them too often, but every once in awhile will not do any harm. In the long run, it may be more beneficial to get your energy through old-fashioned ways like jumping jacks.


Is Diet Soda Worse than Regular?

Which is better for you, diet or regular soda? This is an argument that has been debated quite often. Personally, I am not a huge fan of soda so this topic doesn’t really apply to me. However, it does interest me because I have heard both sides of the argument. I wanted to do some research to see which in fact was the better, healthier option.
It is a known fact that both regular and diet soda are bad for your health. However, I was interested in seeing which one was worse. The truth is, they are both unhealthy in different ways. Soda has many different effects on people. It affects teeth, risk of heart attacks and strokes, weight gain, and much more.

One argument used in favor of diet soda is that it doesn’t create cavities because it uses artificial sweeteners instead of natural sugar. Even though it may not have sugar in it, it still contains acid that can, over time, leave the teeth more vulnerable to cavities. Another common misconception is that diet soda won’t make you gain weight because it is calorie-free. However, some research suggests that the artificial sugar makes people more hungry, causing them to eat more and thus gain weight.

James Hill conducted a study to determine which helped lose more weight, water or diet soda. The researchers found that over a 12 week study, people who drank diet soda instead of water lost on average 4.5 pounds more than those who drank water. Although there could have been errors or third variables in this study, it has eased the minds of many diet soda drinkers.

The main question when trying to see if diet soda is better than regular is whether or not sugar substitutes are healthier than sugar. Recent studies show that artificial sweeteners alter human metabolism and has links to diabetes. There could be third variables or other things that are affecting the outcome of this survey. However, there is no certain proof that diet soda is healthier. Therefore, you may want to think twice about going for the diet soda thinking it will be healthier than regular.


Are Dogs Colorblind?

I have heard the idea that dogs are colorblind quite a few times. However, I never really thought that much into it. I decided to do some research to see if this common thought has some truth to it or if it is false.

Despite the common belief that dogs only see black and white, they can see colors. However, it is not in the same way as humans. This is due to the fact that dogs only have two color-detecting cells in their retinas, as opposed to the three that humans have.

Jay Neitz, a color vision scientist at the University of Washington, conducted some experiments with canines. He found that the perception of color that dogs have is very similar to the way that red-green colorblind people see. They are similar because people with red-green colorblindness only have two types of cones to detect color, just as dogs do. Neitz’s research shows that dogs, just like colorblind people, use cues to distinguish among colors.

Along with this information, I was curious what colors dogs did see. Because dogs only have two types of cones, they see green and orange as the color yellow. They also see blue-green as white, and red as brownish-black.

For a dog, there isn’t much value in seeing every color that humans do. The American Veterinary Medical Association writes “Restrictions in color vision are probably of limited consequence in dogs, as it is likely that dogs react only to colors of biological importance to them.”

Unlike humans, it isn’t necessary or of that much importance that dogs be able to see all the colors that we do. So, it isn’t necessary to feel bad that your dog can only see black and white. The colors that they can see work to their advantage.


Does Exercise Affect the Brain?

Everyone has heard before that getting a good night sleep, eating a good breakfast, and studying can help improve your grade on an exam. Recently, I heard an interesting theory saying that a small amount of exercise before an exam can drastically improve your scores. I had never heard this before, and wanted to know more about it.

Before researching whether or not exercise before an exam helps improve scores, I first wanted to know the general effect of exercise on the brain. One study supporting this idea showed that after performing M.R.I’s on a group of children, the fit children had much larger basal ganglia. This is the part of the brain that helps maintain attention and improves the ability to coordinate thoughts and actions. In this study, since the groups of children all had similar BMI’s, socioeconomic backgrounds, and other variables, the researchers concluded that being fit made the portions of their brain larger.

Although the study showed how exercise can make the brain larger, I was not convinced exercise before an exam could help because students tend to use memorization for exams. There also could have been third variables or chance that made the results come out the way that they did. Researchers at the University of Illinois conducted a similar survey that categorized children by their fitness levels. However, these researchers completed different tests focusing on complex memory. Complex memory goes along with activity in the hippocampus, a structure in the medial temporal lobes of the brain. The M.R.I’s revealed that fit children had thicker hippocampi, which is thought to have helped their memory. Again, this could have been due to third variables. The researchers also found that physical activity improves the microstructures of white matter in the brain. This white matter leads to faster conduction between brain regions and cognitive performance.

Another study in the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research found that “a single 30-minute session of moderate-intensity exercise could improve memory, planning, and reasoning, and shorten the amount of time needed to complete cognitive tests.” So, before your next big test, you might want to consider a quick workout to improve your scores.


Does Deodorant Cause Breast Cancer?

Growing up, my mom was always very particular about the kind of deodorant she used and the kind she bought for my sister and me. She always told me she had heard that certain chemicals in deodorants may contribute to breast cancer. Because of her influence, I always find myself buying deodorant that is aluminum free. This topic has always interested me, so I decided to do some research to see if this theory is correct.

The National Cancer Institute’s research suggests that when aluminum-based compounds that are in deodorant are applied to skin near the breast, the skin absorbs this and it could lead to estrogen-like, or hormonal, effects. Many scientists have suggested that the aluminum-based compounds could lead to the development of breast cancer because estrogen has the ability to contribute to the growth of breast cancer cells. This is due to the fact that there is a clear link between breast cancer and hormones. Researchers believe that the more exposed a woman is to estrogen, the more susceptible she is to breast cancer.

Dr. Philippa Darbre, an oncologist at the University of Reading in the U.K., did much research  on this topic and published over 30 research papers on the chemicals found in deodorant. Much of her research has shown parabens, chemicals that act as a preservative in some deodorants, in women’s breast tissue. However, it is unknown how these parabens got there and what happens when they are in the breast tissue. “In Darbre’s experiments, combining different paragons with human cells creates activity that may contribute to the development of cancer.” When attempting to find these links in humans, not petri dishes, there have been very inconsistent results. This could be due to the fact that results come out differently when it is used on humans.

Although there are many different claims from scientists relating certain ingredients in deodorants to breast cancer, there really is no conclusive evidence that links the two. The National Cancer Institute, as well as the U.S Food and Drug Administration, also do not have sufficient research data that ingredients in deodorants cause cancer. Until more research is done on this topic, I would think it’s safe to buy deodorant containing aluminum.



Initial Blog Post

Hi everyone! My name is Erin and I’m from Collegeville, PA which is about 30 minutes outside of Philly. I went to a pretty small high school, so coming to Penn State was a really big change for me. So far, it hasn’t been as hard to adjust as I thought it would be. I am currently in the Smeal College of Business. I decided to come to Penn State the night before we had to decide, and I’m so happy that I chose it! I’m not sure what exactly I want to major in, but I’m thinking about Supply Chain Management or Finance. I really hope to get involved in many different things on campus and make the most of the four years I have here. One thing that I’m super excited for is the football games.

When I was picking classes, I needed general education classes and most of them were full. I told my advisor that I was not a science person at all, and so she told me that SC200 would be perfect. She told me that this class was a very popular one, so I decided to try it out. So far, I am really enjoying it and I’m so excited for the rest of the semester!


This is a picture of golden retriever puppies because I have a golden retriever at home, and I love puppies!