Author Archives: Kelsey Donehower

The Milk and Cookie Disease

After receiving many children patients with healthy bodies but the same cold like symptoms at Nemours Children’s Hospital in Orlando, Florida, Dr. Julie Wei knew something was wrong. Children would come in to her office with cold-like symptoms like a runny and stuffy nose, cough, sore throat, fatigue, and constipation. She received many of these cases, so she decided to look further into each child’s health.

After interviewing the child and parent(s), Dr. Wei found that these children all had a large amount of dairy and sugar consumption daily, mainly before bed. This overabundance of dairy and sugar caused the children to have this sickness, so Dr. Wei decided to call it the “milk and cookie disease.”

Since this disease is just a nickname for the link between high dairy and sugar diets and cold-like symptoms, it was hard for Wei to diagnose at first. She would prescribe medication to the children in hopes that it would solve the problem. The method she used was sort of like the Texas Sharp Shooter problem in that she kept trying different medications until she realized the problem and the solution. According to a FAQ about this illness given by the University of Kansas Hospital, “Milk and Cookie disease causes symptoms that mimic other illnesses.” These illnesses include gastroesophageal reflux and laryngopharyngeal reflux. These ilnesses are caused by late night snacking and cause reflux. The reflux causes pain in the throat which is similar to Milk and Cookies disease.

Dr. Wei predicts that around 50 to 75 percent of children have this disease. A case study on a five year old named Jonathan was done to get a better look at this disease. Jonathan has difficulty sleeping because of his naturally enlarged tonsils, but when researchers found that he was late night snacking and eating foods that were easy on his throat that happened to be mostly dairy products, they concluded that the reflux that he was experiencing and the lack of sleep he was getting was probably more than just his inflamed tonsils. After seeing Dr. Wei, Jonathan’s parents limited his late night snacking and gave him more water, and within 3 weeks everyone noticed a difference.

This disease is very hard to find because the symptoms are similar to those of other sicknesses, but it is there and if it is not addressed, it can lead to unhealthy lifestyles that will lead to more sicknesses. Fox news provided a list of things to do if a parent thing his/her child has Milk and Cookie disease. They wrote, “keep a food journal, stop bedtime snacking, avoid or minimize dairy and sugar in the evening, offer healthy snacks, and treat constipation.” These things can help attack this disease and make you child even healthier. So watch out for those Christmas cookies!

Genetically Engineered Mosquitoes

Recently, many researchers have discovered a way to help prevent the spread of malaria.  Malaria is a disease caused by a parasite found in and spread by mosquitos that are transmitted to humans, causing severe illness and most likely death. Scientists have tried to find a cure for this disease that is mostly found in Africa, but malaria continues to infect millions of people. However, within the past two weeks researchers have come up with a way to prevent this disease and the quick spread of it.

According to an article NBC published on November 23rd, 2015, Californian scientists used gene editing in mosquitos to prevent mosquitos from receiving the parasite and it enhances the spread of the gene to offspring. They are using the technique CRISPR that assures the spread of this gene through generations. It first started with biologist Anthony James, who inserted a gene that allowed mice to have  strong immune response to malaria parasites into mosquitos. However, only about half of the mosquitos offspring were receiving this gene. Then, researcher Valentino Gantz of UCSD combined CRISPR and a mutation that goes in both genes to produce an “anti-malaria gene.” He then injected this gene that also gave the trait of red eyes into mosquitos and found that 99.5% of the offspring that these mosquitos produced contained the anti-malaria gene. The findings were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (therefore it doesn’t suffer from the file-drawer problem).

Another group of researchers in London tried a technique where they inserted a gene into mosquitos that caused most of their offspring to be male. Andrea Crisanti, one of the researchers, stated that “you have a short-term benefit because males don’t bite humans [and transmit malaria], but in the long run you will eventually eradicate or substantially reduce mosquitoes. This could make a substantial contribution to eradicating malaria.” With the reduction of females, less humans will be bitten and receive malaria and there will be less mosquitos who will carry malaria if females aren’t there to reproduce with. In order to reduce the chance of these mosquitoes offspring being female, scientists injected them with I-PpoI, an endonuclease that attached itself to the X chromosome of the male and destroyed its DNA. These offspring then mated with other mosquitoes and passed on this gene.

Anthony James , a researcher at University of California Irvine told NBC “the mosquitoes we created are not the final brand, but we know this technology allows us to efficiently create large populations.” Now that scientists have discovered this new technique of preventing malaria, they will be able to clean it up and perfect it so that it can efficiently and safely work in the environment to create a cure.

Who Will Survive: Summer Babies or Winter Babies?

I consider myself a happy person. I am optimistic, outgoing, and always in the mood to brighten someone’s day. Is it because that is what I was taught as a child or is it because I was born in the summer? Research has shown that the month you were born can affect your overall behavior and health.

An article published on Daily Mail talks about how research has been done that proves that the season of birth affects the way the body functions. Professor Douglas McMahon used mice to prove this hypothesis. McMahon took mice and exposed them to various amount of light. He expose some to 16 hours, which represents the summer, and 8 hours, which represents winter. He studied how this exposure to light affected the function of the mouse by exposing all of the mice to pure darkness. He found that the mice exposed to “summer” light were able to function normally and keep a routine in complete darkness, but the mice exposed to “winter” light had a hard time adjusting and coping to the change. McMahon said that these reactions by the winter mice were similar to those with seasonal affective disorder which is a form of depression that occurs due to the lack of life around fall and winter. This study proposes the possibility that the amount of light a newborn is exposed to could affect their mood as they age. There are also many theories behind the timing of birth. One says that those born in the winter have more allergies because they do not have the extra exposure to Vitamin D, which helps a human’s immune system. Vitamin D also helps with bone growth, and researchers found that children who had higher amounts of vitamin D in their blood were taller on average than those born in winter months.  Another theory is summer babies are more at risk for nearsightedness, because the extra exposure to sun at a young age can cause issues with the development of the eye. Some say that summer (or spring) babies that have extra exposure to sunlight and are exposed to more longer, summer days are more likely to stay up later than the winter babies who have only experienced shorter, darker winter days. An anonymous study found that summer babies also are less clever because they are exposed to more pesticides than winter babies which affect the development of the brain. Although these theories seem realistic, they are not scientifically backed up so they cannot be proven true. Many scientists have put in time in effort in studying how birth month affects personality. Most of the explanations are explained using zodiac signs. Every horoscope is different, and the personality traits are dependent on the four elements (water, fire, earth and air) that your zodiac contains.

A study done by Swedish researchers looks at a wintertime heart disease and who it affects. They came to the conclusion that babies born in summer months (April-September) are at greater risk of death of this disease because of their lack of exposure to winter days and temperatures at an early age.

The month in which you were born does not affect your destiny, but there are some advantages/disadvantages that babies born in winter and summer experience. One should not plan the season of birth for their child based off of these findings, but they should be aware of and prepared for the possible risks that they may encounter.


You’re Never too Old to Color

Coloring is an activity used in everyday life. Most of us had to be able to color inside the lines in order to pass second grade. While coloring is an enjoyable activity for kids, it can also be helpful (and enjoyable) in adults lives too.

One of the main benefits that coloring has on adults is its ability to de-stress the human mind. In the early 20th century, psychologist Carl Jung used coloring as a relaxation tool for his patients. It de-stresses the human mind because it changes our focus from our problems to the specifics of the coloring such as colors being used, design, and other details. While coloring, the amygdala is relaxed which allows the brain to rest, and the frontal lobe that controls problem solving is opened up, which allows colorers to focus more. It also reminds patients of their childhood, which was most likely less stressful so it causes the patient to enter a less stressed mode. Connecting with your inner child allows you to reminisce on happy events and feel a calmer life when bills, jobs, stress, tests, and social pressure were not things that you had to worry about. Coloring also improves fine motor skills and vision. Since both hemispheres have to communicate because coloring is both logical and creative, the area of the cerebral cortex involved in fine motor skills and vision are used.

Coloring is also used as a tool for expressing feelings during art therapy. A study done in 2006 compares stress levels of two groups of cancer patients. One group went through art therapy and the other did not. It was found that the group that went through this art therapy had lower levels of stress than those that didn’t. This shows that coloring, which is a form of art therapy, can help de-stress a human and can improve the quality of life. Art therapy also helps people with behavior and mood disorders. In the United Kingdom, there is a program called The Art Room program. Art Rooms provide an environment where children can freely express themselves and find ways to boost their self-confidence which will help them improve social skills and gain confidence. Researchers from Oxford University questioned teachers and students and found that teachers saw improvement amongst student who attended Art Rooms and students who attended them had fewer depression symptoms. Dementia, a form of Alzheimers that affects memory mostly in adults, can be treated with art therapy. Coloring can cause the brain to work and focus. A study that followed over 2,500 adults who attended brain-training sessions showed that the more sessions they attended, the higher their improvements in memory. Working the brain may not cure Alzheimers but it challenges their mind which decreases the gradual decline of memory and thinking patterns that Alzheimers patients experience.

For those of you who thought coloring days were over once you left elementary school, you’re wrong. Adult coloring books are sold everywhere and can greatly improve health. Of course, the pictures in the adult coloring book are far more complex and detailed than the children’s coloring books, but those pictures focus our brain  which allows us to relax and concentrate on our coloring. So, if you’re stressed during finals week or you just want to take a small brain vacation, I recommend bringing out your inner child and color!

This video interviews a mother and a businesswoman who turns to coloring when she feels stressed.

Should I Chew Gum?

Chewing gum is a very common thing to do around the entire world. Whether it is chewed  to freshen up before a date or meeting or just for fun, gum is everywhere. Chewing gum comes in many flavors, including mint, fruit, and menthol. It is made up of resin, which is what we chew, wax, which helps soften the gum, and elastomer, which makes the gum more flexible and allows us to stretch it and blow bubbles. Chewing gum has many benefits on the human body. According to CNN, it can help precent tooth decay, increase academic performance, help humans consume less food daily and lose weight, reduce acid reflux, and increase blood flow to brain.

A study done at the Baylor College of Medicine studied the relationship between chewing gum and academic performance. A large group of 8th grade math students in Houston were split up into two groups. One group did not chew gum, and the other chewed gum while doing math related homework and taking tests. The results showed that the group who chewed gum had a 3% higher increase in their test scores and had higher final grades than the non-chewers. Another study done by researchers at St. Lawrence University divided a group of undergraduates into 3 groups. One group chewed gum before and during a test, one chewed gum for 5 minutes before testing, and the third group did not chew anything. The results found that chewing gum a little before taking the test did have an impact on test performance, but only for a short time period, and that chewing gum the whole time did not because brain energy that could have been put to test taking was put to the task of chewing gum. It was found that the test performance was high between 15 and 20 minutes after chewing the gum, but after that it went back to normal. Although these results can help prove that chewing gum does help test performance, it also can prove that it improves memory. So, maybe it is the memory that helps with test performance and not the gum itself. The increase in memory and academic performance from gum may be caused by the “warming up” of your brain, meaning that chewing gum increases mastication-induced arousal, which turns on the brain and increases blood flow to the brain, making the brain work more efficiently.

Besides improving memory and possibly test performance, chewing gum also benefits the health of the human body. According to the American Dental Association, “chewing gum for 20 minutes after meals can help prevent tooth decay.”The saliva that is produced when chewing gum an protect teeth by washing away bacteria that can cause tooth decay. Chewing gum also reduced acid reflux because saliva produced creates a flow that can produce an antacid-like result in the stomach.

There also have been multiple studies that show chewing gum improves weight loss. Mayo Clinic did a study and it proved that calories were burned through the working of the jaw while chewing gum. The University of Rhode Island did an experiment where they found that chewing gum results in people consuming less calories at meals. The people that chewed gum before eating ate 68 fewer calories than those that did not chew gum, and they burned approximately 5% more calories than the non-chewers. Louisiana State University did a study that showed participants that chewed gum had a decrease in the amount of calories consumed.

However, there has been research done that disproves the hypothesis that chewing gum reduces food intake. The University of Buffalo published a study that proved that hypothesis false. They conducted two experiments that involved chewing gum before meals. In Experiment 1, some participants chewed mint gum. Those that chewed mint gum were less likely to eat fruit, and had a higher craving for junk food. One explanation with this is that mint and fruit do not really go well together, so people avoid that awful aftertaste and do not choose fruit. This shows that chewing gum does not really have an influence on food. In Experiment 2, participants consumed more food energy in meals but ate fewer meals. The experiments can show the lack of affect that gum has on dieting and food choice.

Even though there can be benefits to chewing gum, an article in the magazine Prevention provides side effects of chewing gum. One is triggering TMJ, which is temporomandibular joint disorder, which occurs when any muscle or joint is overused. Chewing gum too often can lead to these jaw muscle pains. Developing GI problems is also a side effect of chewing gum. Chewing gum can result in air being swallowed which produces abdominal pain and bloating. If one has fillings and chews gum, they run the risk of releasing the mercury that is found in fillings into the mouth. Mercury can cause brain issues, mental disorders, and other illnesses.

Should we chew gum? Well, it is hard to decide since there are both positive and negatives, but if you keep the chewing to a mild rate and are cautious and aware of the negatives, chewing gum is okay.

What’s more important: our lives or the coral reefs?

On a hot sunny day in the summer, humans want to lather up with sunscreen and lay in the sun. Once we get hot, we go into the water to cool off. All of our sunscreen usually rubs off in the water, so once we get out we need to reapply. All of this sunscreen that rubs off in the ocean, and the sunscreen that washes off our body in the shower actually end up killing the coral reefs in the ocean and eventually killing off the wildlife.

Most sunscreens contain a chemical UV filter called oxybenzone. It protects the skin from the rays of the un and prevents sunburn. However, this chemical also bleaches coral reefs, making them not functionable for the dependent organisms, but it can also harm the organisms themselves. This theory was supported by a recent study where scientists monitored the effect that oxybenzone had on the life of planula. Planula were collected from the wild and placed in artificial sea water. There were 4 different time periods that these planula were placed in the sea water, along with different concentrations of oxybenzone. They were exposed for 8 hours in light, 8 in dark, one full day, and 24 hours in the dark. It was found that after all time periods, there had been negative changes in the planulae. The figure below shows the changes that occurred during the different time periods and at different concentrations of oxybenzone. Figure A is the control planula. It has a cucumber-like shape, and although it is not visible, it has cilia that keeps it in constant motion. This planula was exposed for 8 hours in light. Figure B shows a planula also exposed for 8 hours in light, but also to 22.8 parts per billion of oxybenzone. Already it is noticeable that the oxybenzone transformed the planula from a long shaped figure to a round, circle shaped figure. It was also observed that this planula started to experience bleaching of the epidermis and reduced cilia movement. Bleaching is the loss of structure of the planula as well as the loss of pigments used in photosynthesis. Figure C and D were also exposed for 8 hours in the light, except C was in 228 parts per billion oxybenzone, while D was 2.28 parts per million. In C, the amount of brown spots decreased from B, which shows that the epidermis is continuing to be bleached by the oxybenzone. The brown spots are significant for the occurrence of photosynthesis. The shape also changed to a thumbprint shape. D shows even more bleaching and white/transparent color, along with decreased brown spots and more of a circle shape. At this point, there is very low cilia movement and a very transparent color of the planula. Figure E shows planula exposed for 8 hours in the light in 28.8 parts per million. This final trial shows an almost complete loss of brown spots on the specimen, which gives the planula a very strong transparent and opaque look, making it almost invisible. The shape of the planula has also gone from a ciliated, cucumber shaped specimen to a very round, and bare figure. These results show that oxybenzone has a deteriorating effect on planula and other organisms as well.
The toxic effects that oxybenzone has on the planula as shown in the study represents the overall effect it has on organisms and their development. When the oxybenzone reaches the coral reefs, it has the same effect as it has on the planula. Oxybenzone toxicity damages the endocrine system in the organism, causes death to occur in the coral, and harms the DNA of the organisms dependent on the reefs. It bleaches the reef white, making it non accessible to the organisms that depend on it, and the oxybenzone also deprives the reefs of their essential nutrients. This eventually not only kills the coral reefs, but also the ocean wildlife as well. According to the U.S National Park Service, “somewhere between 4,000 and 6,000 tons of sunscreen enters coral reefs around the world each year.” This statistic shows how detrimental sunscreen is on the wildlife in the ocean. Craig Downs, one of the authors from the study above, stated that because of this increase in sunscreen entering the water, about 80% of coral reefs have been lost.

Although it may seem minor, this problem is very severe because eventually it affects humans. A damage to the coral reefs and wildlife that depend on it cause a decrease in the amount of rescues (food) available for humans. Even though we cannot prevent humans from wearing sunscreen or going in the ocean, we can help limit the amount that goes into the water. We can promote the usage of sunscreens that do not contain this toxic chemical, such as Badger Sunscreen, Tru Kid Sunny Days, Soleo Organics, UV Natural, California Baby, and many more. Sunscreens like Coppertone, Haiwan Tropic, Neutrogena, Aveeno, Banana Boat, and No-Ad contain oxybenzone therefore when used will have a harming effect on the ocean wildlife. There are other ways, such as enforcing people to wipe off their sunscreen before they enter the water or before they shower to reduce the amount that gets into the water, but this can cause harm to the human themselves, making them more prone to get sunburnt. So the question of whether our lives or the coral reefs are more important.

It is hard to completely prevent sunscreen from entering the water, but there are ways that humans can take caution when it comes to how much sunscreen damages the coral reefs. Eventually, the damaging of the coral reefs will affect us as humans, so taking action now would help humans and ocean wildlife survive from this toxic chemical.

Hot or Cold Shower?

Do you ever wonder how some people can take freezing cold showers but other people can take steaming hot shower? Is one better than the other? Most sources focus more on the benefits of cold showers rather than hot showers.

In her article “7 Reasons Why Taking Cool Showers Is Good For Your Health,” Lizette Borreli talks about the benefits that cold showers have on the human body. She first said that cold showers increases one’s alertness. The cold water on the body may be uncomfortable and painful, which alerts the body to wake up. Borelli cited Jessica Krant who is a board-certified dermatologist that stated cold water is better for the skin. She said that hot water may strip important nutrients off of the outermost skin layer, so using cold water would help prevent that. Borelli also addresses the face that cold water closes the pores of your skin, which would stop dirt from clogging them. Although there have been studies done to see if hot or cold showers affect a person’s health, in particular muscle soreness relief, it cannot be proven that cold showers are definitely more helpful. However most scientists believe that cold water is better. According to Borelli, cold water stimulate weight loss. She references the Joslin Diabetes Center, who stated that brown fat, which is the fat that releases energy in the form of heat to keep our bodies warm, burns faster than white fat (belly, neck, leg fat). This is because brown fat is activated in the cold, so exposure to cold water triggers the fat to burn. A group of researchers at the Turku PET Center in Finland did a study that involved athletes soaking their bodies in cold water and recording their muscle soreness. It was found that their muscles were less sore days after exercising after soaking them in cold water than if they were to take a hot shower after exercising. Borelli cites a study that was done Werner Seims about the affect that the temperature of water has on one’s uric acid level. It was found that exposure to a cold stimulus (ex. cold water) decreased the levels of uric acid in the body. Borelli’s final benefit of cold showers that she lists is that cold water helps treat depression and reduce stress. A study found on PubMed researches the affect that cold water has on the brain. According to this study, exposure to the cold sends a large amount of electrical impulses from nerves to the brain, which can cause an anti-depressive mood. There are many studies and observations done by researchers that support cold showers being healthier for the human body because of its ability to reduce negativity in the body, such as fat and stress, and improves the wellness of a human body.

On the other hand, Livestrong provides an article that thats the benefits of hot showers. One benefit that Deborah Dunham, that author of the article, states is hot water improves circulation in the body and helps loosen muscles which relieves pain. In the case of exercising, taking a hot shower before a workout can loosen the muscles and prevent muscle soreness post exercising. Dunham also states that hot showers can help reduce sickness. Being in a steamy environment clears up the nasal passageway and rids mucus in the lungs, which prevents having trouble breathing or a cough. Her final benefit of a hot shower is it helps with sleep. She states that “If you are stressed or have trouble sleeping, taking a hot shower for 10 minutes calms your body, mind and nerves.” The fact that the steam and hot water relieves muscle tension, provide warmth and comfort, and reduces sickness altogether results in a calm body.

Even though hot showers and cold showers share similar benefits, it is hard to say for sure which one if more beneficial. Depending on the condition of the body, one shower might be better than the other. So, if you’re feeling sick or having trouble sleeping take a hot shower. If you need to wake yourself up and want to burn some fat, take a cold shower.

Does iced tea cause kidney stones?

Iced tea in the summer is one of the most relaxing and refreshing drinks. However, the fact that iced tea can lead to kidney stones makes it a slightly less enjoyable drink. Doctors have found that a chemical in oxalate that is found in iced tea is a key chemical that helps form kidney stones.

John Milner, an urologist at Loyola University Medical Center, said that people who drink a lot of iced tea are more in danger of developing kidney stones. However, being dehydrated also causes them. Men the age of 40 or older are four times more likely to develop kidney stones than women. A study was done on a 56 year old man who experienced kidney failure. After doctor’s found oxalate minerals, they found out the man was drinking about 16 glasses of iced tea per day. Although the doctor’s could not find the causation between the two, they know that they are correlated. As the amount of iced tea consumed increases, the higher the chance of developing kidney stones. Doctor’s tend to put kidney stone patients on diets with low-oxalate consumption. In her article on Health Day, Kathleen Doheny states, “the recommended intake of oxalate per day is 40-50 milligrams, yet Americans tend to intake 50-100 milligrams.” Americans that are in more danger of kidney stones should drink less iced tea and consume less oxalate.

Even though hot tea contains oxalate as well, it does not cause stones as quickly as regular iced tea. However, it is still smart to only drink a little bit each day. Iced tea may be a refreshing drink, but humans should be careful because all the oxalate consumed builds up and causes a very painful situation.

Does being messy affect our sleep?

Sometimes we have those nights where we just don’t feel like putting our laundry away, vacuuming our floor, or putting our books away. The next day we wake up feeling lie we got no sleep at all. Why is this? Researchers have found that messy rooms lead to lack of sleep, increase in stress, and better chance of a mental illness.

Psychologist Sherrie Carter explains in her article “Why Mess Causes Stress” why clutter in our life affects our mood. She talks about how messes makes the human brain distracted, which prevents it from doing its important tasks. She talks about how the brain gets cluttered with excessive stimuli that it does not need, which prevents it from focusing on the important things. A study was done where people were asked about their sleep patterns and their messiness. About 30% of the group were considered at risk for developing a hoarding disorder. This 30% also had more trouble sleeping at night, which led the researchers to the finding that the messiness of a room leads to affected sleeping patterns. Carter also argues that clutter affects stress. The lack of sleep that the mess leads to can cause it, but other things can cause stress too. Worrying about when there will be time to clean the mess, how long it will take, and just the fact that the mess has to be cleaned up can cause stress. Also not being able to find something that you need in the mess causes us to get frustrated and panic. The lack of sleep from clutter can lead to stress, or the stress from clutter can lead to lack of sleep. This buildup of stress can lead to mental illness as well, because the brain is not functioning properly and the human is constantly stressed and worried and tired. The Neuroscience Institute at Princeton University studied how clutter restricts the brains ability to perform tasks. Researchers presented participants with cluttered and uncluttered stimuli and studied the brain’s ability to perform tasks using an fMRI. They found that neatness allows the brain to focus more and be able to proficiently perform the tasks it needs to do.

Unfortunately, being messy affects human’s lives in many ways. Sleeping, being able to be relaxed, and our brains function is all important to human’s, so in order to be well, we need to clean.

Does technology affect our memory?

The answer is yes. Technology affects humans everyday in multiple ways. It shapes our memory, our social life, our perception of things, our intelligence, and our mood.

Even though our brain can hold almost an infinite amount of information, technology can still affect how much information we can hold and retain. Researchers compare this lack of memory to a full glass of water. Tony Schwartz, CEO of The Energy Project, explain this water phenomenon. He compares the brain to a full glass of water. When you pour more water in the glass, or add new information, the water just fills in, yet the water that was previously there pours out. He is showing that the information that we are retaining from technology replaces our old information and that information jut leaves our brain. Another argument that Carolyn Gregoire makes in her article about how technology affects memory is that the fact that the internet has so much information that is easily accessible, we as humans tend to not remember as much information. Humans feel the need to not remember information that an be found on Google, which decreases the amount of information/memory the brain can hold. Gregoire also argues that being distracted makes it harder to form new memories. Zaldy S. Tan, director of the Memory Disorders Clinic at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, says that not paying attention causes the memories we make to be “messy,” which makes it hard remembering that memory.

Even though technology may not affect the actual information that we receive, it does affect how we perceive it and store it on our memory. Technology decreases the strength of the memory and how well we will be able to retain that information from our brain. So yes, technology strongly affects our memory.


Do growing pains make you taller?

Waking up at 3 a.m. because your legs feel like they are quickly lengthening is one of the worst feelings ever. There is not much you can do to make the pain go away. Maybe taking an ibuprofen or massaging your legs may help temporarily, but the weirdest thing is the pains are gone by the time you wake up. And they don’t occur very often. These pains are often known as growing pains. They tend to occur in the calves, knees, and thighs, and occur in both legs at the same time. Mostly children get these pains, but they can also occur in teenagers and young adults. Dr. Larry Vogler from Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta explains that the stretching of the bones covering causes the pain.

Lisa Duchene from Penn State News wrote an article about growing pains and why they may happen. She stated that there was studies done that connected growing pains with shin splints, or overused muscles. According to parents, growing pains occurred more often on nights following active days. Studies have been that also prove that children who experience growing pains also have a lower pain tolerance. One study that was done measured 90 children. 44 of them experienced growing pains, and 46 of them did not. Their pain tolerance was measured using a dolorimeter, which applied pressure to places where growing pains are experienced. It was found that children with growing pains had more tender points and experienced more pain than the control children. There was another study done that looked at other possible contributing factors to growing pains. This article, located on The National Center for Biotechnology Information website discusses the possible effect that anatomy, fatigue, and psychological state may have on growing pains. According to Angela Evans, the author, the possibility that growing pains may be affected by anatomy was first brought up in the 1950s. It first tried to connect rheumatoid fever with growing pains, but that theory was rejected. The connection between growing pains and foot posture was looked at, but according to research done by Evans, it was found that leg pain and foot posture where unrelated. The topic of fatigue affecting growing pains is still discussed, and thought of the accumulation of waste products in the leg muscles affecting the pain is still talked about. It was found by most parents that the pain occurred more often after an active day, which connects the two. The psychological approach was first introduced in 1951, and is also still looked at today. The topic of girls being more prone to growing pains has been brought up because of emotional reasons, but that theory has been opposed because there is no scientific proof. Professor Frank Oberklaid from the Royal Children’s hospital studied children with growing pains and found that the parents of these children said that the child’s mood was more negative. These theories do not explain the cause of the pain but they bring up valid points that may contribute.

Scientists and doctors do not know the real reason why growing pains exist, but they do know that they affect most children. Growing pains are a thing, however unfortunately one does not grow after experiencing them.

Is going vegan actually healthy?

There are many different diets in this world that people may or man not choose to go on. There are vegetarian diets, vegan diets, paleo diets, lactose free diets, gluten free diets, and many more. Some of these diets people choose to go on, and some of them people are forced to go on because of health reasons. Even though some of these diets have positive benefits for some people, there has been research done that shows that going vegan is actually not healthier.

According to Kris Gunnars from Authority Nutrition, there are many reasons why going vegan is not healthy for a human being. Since humans are omnivores, we need to eat both plants and animals in order to obtain our vitamins. Vitamin B-12 that is is crucial to brain functioning and blood creation cannot be found in plants. People who are vegan do not get enough of this vitamin which can be unhealthy and dangerous. Other nutrients that people who go vegan do not obtain are animal proteins, creatine, carnosine and DHA. Gunnars also talks about how there aren’t studies to prove that vegan diets are healthier. A study done by Stanford University compared two diets and recorded the differences in health. They compared a low-fat and high-carb diet to a vegan diet. In the end, it turned out that the low-fat and high-carb diet was healthier and lost more weight than the vegan diet. Even though there are some experiments that study vegan diets and their healthiness, these studies are only observational in nature and do not prove that vegan diets are healthy.

On the other hand, there are many studies that show that veganism is healthy and benefits humans. The European Prospective Investigation of Cancer (EPIC) at Oxford University has done many studies on the effect of veganism on heart disease. Their most recent 2013 compared the health results of people who were vegan to those who were not. After 16 years of  experimenting being vegan or not being vegan, it was found that the people who were vegan had 30% less of a risk of heart disease than non-vegans.

A study led by Dr. Michael Orlich and Dr. Gary Fraser at a university in southern California experimented the relationship between distend deaths in a population of Adventist men and women. The participants were similar in their current health but had different diet patterns. Almost half of the population were non-vegetarian or non-vegan, and the rest had dietary restrictions. After a period of 6 years, there was count of 2,570 deaths, and most of these deaths were non-vegetarians. At the end of this experiment, it was found that some vegan diets can reduce death and illness rates.

Some say the lack of nutrients is unhealthy for the body, but others say the lack of some foods is good for the body. Since there is research supporting both positive and negative effects of veganism on health, it is hard to say whether it is actually healthy.




Hi everyone! My name is Kelsey Donehower and I am a freshman here at Penn State studying Rehabilitation and Human Services. I am from West Chester, PA which is about 45 minutes outside of Philadelphia. I played field hockey and lacrosse and high school and hope to join the dancer relations committee for THON and become a Lion Scout. Even though I am mostly taking this class for the course requirement, I am really interested in the topics we will discuss. Also, I am very bad at any other type of science, so I’m glad this one is more broad. I am not a science major because I do not like it as much as I like other courses and I am very bad at it. However, I hope this class will give me a better understanding of science around us!

I am so excited for Penn State football this year!!

This picture includes two of my favorite things: Christmas and Disney World!!

This picture includes two of my favorite things: Christmas and Disney World!!