Author Archives: Lunan Qiu

Why “Hello” is so popular

During Thanksgiving break, I saw this video. It is a really interesting video which shows the “power” of adele’s “Hello” in an exaggerate  way. But it can also reflect the popularity of this song. Incredibly,  “Hello,” was played more than one million times per hour in the two days following its release. Someone has said we cannot escape this song! I can’t help think why people are so interested in this song? And people may not only interested in “Hello” , but also the sad songs. It seems paradoxical, how do people feel when they listen to sad songs?

A recent study done by  researchers at the Freie Universitat Berlin in Germany shows that sadness is not the most frequent emotion evoked by sad songs. Nostalgia is. Sad songs will make people retrieving memories of valued past events.  Someone may think all kinds of music can make it, I was wondering this problem at first. So in this study, researchers also consider different kinds of music and investigate how different music evokes people’s emotion. The result here means that comparing to happy music  sad songs are more possible to take people back to that moment.

What’s more, the music-evoked sadness will have positive effects. Firstly, it affects emotional regulation. In this study, some people like to listen to sad music when being in a positive mood or emotional state, so sad music can help them to control their mood.But happy music is more powerful in this part.Secondly, sad music make them feel more empathy about other people.The stories you heard in songs help you understand other’s feeling better and makes you become more peaceful and tender. Happy music can not evoke empathy as much as sad songs do according to study’s result. So this reward of music-evoked sadness is important. Another important reward is that “sad music lets listeners experience sadness without the “real-life” implications”. Nobody really want to experience sad things, but this implication can let them release the real life pressure and relaxed in this “music world” for a little while. in the study this feeling is much more stronger when you listen to sad music than happy music. The forth reward is imagination. It is almost the same as you listen to happy music.

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The study involved more than 700 people, including western and eastern. It also considered age and gender to make sure the subject is random and large. And the study not only focused on how people feel when they listen to sad music but also compare to happy music. It makes the study more critically. Without comparison, we can hardly say that the impact is because of music or only sad music. But the data is based on an online survey which was completely voluntary and anonymous. No financial compensation was provided. It makes this more objective.

 

Eating too fast? Slow down!

I have a habit: eating too fast. I never notice that how long it takes to eat my meal but I am always the first one to finish my meal. It is common that my stomach feel so heavy because of eating too fast. And sometimes I eat so fast that I even feel a little headache and unable to think. I know it must be a bad habit which will must do harm to my health in a long run. So today I want to learn more about the harm of eating too fast and how to change it.

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First, I found a study which presents eating more quickly may be a factor in the development of Type 2 diabetes.The study is held in 2012 in Florence, Italy. Lithuanian researchers, including Lina Radzeviciene, MD, PhD, an endocrinologist asked subjects to fill out a questionnaire about how quickly they ate compared with those around them (their choices were faster, the same and slower). And what they discovered is that “participants who said that they ate “faster” were 2.5 times as likely to have type 2 diabetes as those who said that they ate “slower.”” There are 234 adults with diabetes and 468 without.

It is an observational study which shows the correlation between eating too fast and diabetes.But in this study, we may not rule out the third variables since the study is neither large enough nor randomly, the data did not consider gender, age. The subjects are all only picked in a European country and the conclusion is rely on their own answer which lacks scientific mechanism for measuring eating speed. Reverse causation seems to be impossible, but “it could be that some underlying trait, such as some hormonal effect, leads independently to both a ravenous appetite and diabetes.”

Although this study might have a lot of limitations, I found a mechanism may explain how eating too fast causes diabetes. After meals, blood sugar levels go up. If it is too high that may injure blood vessels and nerves, which will cause diabetes. And people need enough insulin to manage the carbohydrates they eat, so that it can make blood sugar in a normal level. The fast you eat,the faster sugars will get into your blood because body’s insulin do not have enough time to catch up. And it will become a negative feedback loop, which finally may cause the type2 diabetes. But as mentioned in class, mechanism is not always crucial to know and the insulin produced may be influenced by the third variables but not only the speed you eat.

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Except the potential correlation between eating too fast and diabetes, there are other negative effect of eating too fast. For instance, you might eat too much because your brain need time to recognize that you had enough food. Overeat causes obesity, which has long been recognized as one of the main causes of the illnesses.  So, it is time to change your eating habit, if you always found you are the first one finish meals on the table like me, maybe you should think about slowing down. Enjoy your time having delicious food and the time spent with your friends and families.

If you want to learn more about why you shouldn’t eat too fast:

 

Do taller people more likely to get cancer?

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When I was young, I do admire those who are really tall.Because they can easily get something which is too high for me in a supermarket. And those tall basketball players used to be my idols. But recently, a Swedish study shows that taller people are more likely to get cancer.

It is an observational study.“ The study analysis data on 5.5 million people in Sweden born between 1938 and 1991, with heights ranging from 100cm (3ft 3in) to 225cm (7ft 6in).They found the increased risk was highest in skin cancer, rising 30% for every 10cm in height.” At the same time, they also admit that height is not the greatest risk.

The result shows a correlation between heights and cancer. And it could arise because :

  1. taller height causes cancer
  2. cancer causes taller height
  3. taller height and cancer are not causal related, but something else affects them both.

We can not tell which hypothesis is correct through this study. Since the observational subject are only “Sweden people” which can  not represent all the people, may not typical of population as a whole. The data they use is only properly replicated observations, without the third variables measured. For instance, obesity, smoking and other possible risks. This kind of data does not have very strong inference.What’s more, this study has not been published in any scientific journal yet which can also prove the result from this study are not considered seriously.

But there is another previous research conducted by scientists from the Karolinska Institute and University of Stockholm explores the correlation between heights and cancer. It is an meta-analysis which collect information on a world scale in 14 countries and especially focused on female and ovarian cancer. This meta-analysis also considered both published and unpublished studies which can avoid file drawer problem. And the specific research object :women can also avoid Texas sharp shooter problem. These are two big issues about meta-analysis. After “individual data on 25157 women with ovarian cancer and 81311 women without ovarian cancer from 47 epidemiological studies”, scientists concluded that “ovarian cancer risk increased significantly with height and with body mass index, except in studies using hospital controls”. The possible mechanism is the hormone increased and infect both the height and cancer. This conclusion is very important because “the increasing height can be considered as a risk factor for ovarian cancer”. As it known to us, the disease is found early, the best results will be seen. In other words, this found may save people’s life.

So, do taller people more likely to get cancer? We can not simply say yes or no. First, more studies in this topic are needed especially experimental studies. Secondly, answers may be different depending on the situation, we need to analysis case by case. And at the end, if you really want to reduce risk of cancer, the most important things to do may be start a healthy diet and lifestyle from now on.

A nightmare in 2003: SARS

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     After talking about vaccine in the class, I memorized the horrible year, 2003. It was 12 years ago, a virus called “SARS” spread around the world, nearly 10 thousand people were infected. More than 30 countries suffered from this outbreak. In China, the virus originated place, all the schools are closed for students’ safety. People took temperature everyday before they start work.Person who once found have a slight fever will be isolated immediately. A lot of medical works even sacrificed their lives. Through my personal experience, I know how tough it was for everyone to struggle against the virus and the fear for virus. SARS may be the eternal pain in many people’s heart.

      So, what is SARS? Why it is so powerful? “SARS is severe acute respiratory syndrome, a viral respiratory disease of zoonotic origin caused by the SARS coronavirus.” It is so special that scientists never found it before, which cause a great panic not only among patients but also doctors. No one knows what it is and what to do at first. But at the same time the virus spread in an alarming rate. It can be transmitted close person-to-person contact via droplets or skin touch. The initial symptoms of infection are similar to cold and fever, including shortness of breath and chills, sore throat and body aches. And then lead to more serious illness like disseminated intravascular coagulation, pneumonia. In a very short time, 60% of patients who infected by SARS virus will face death.

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Although some fortunate people survive from this disaster, their lives never be the same as before. Most of them who suffered from a double blow (mentally and physically) are found had kind of Sequelae of SARS. The most typical three dieases are depression, ONFH(Osteonecrosis of the Femeral Head) and lung cancer. These sequelaes are triggered by hormone drugs which were used to save lives. But too much hormone drugs brings more problems after patients are cured. Because nobody know how to treat SARS, hormone drugs are not used in a scientific way although the purpose is to save people’s lives. It is a soft end point , but we can still see how scientific method matters. Maybe after 12 years, doctors and scientists can find a better and more scientific way to cure people which would not bring such serious consequence

Some diseases like Smallpox and Polio we talked in the class can be cured and stopped by vaccine. No vaccine is found available for SARS virus according to World Health Organization. This webpage is updated in 2013 which means even after 10 years, the vaccine can not be found. And WHO encouraged every country to take an active part in the development and evaluation of SARS vaccines. It is very important to avoid such terrible disaster happen again.

 

If you want to learn more about SARS:

Does sleeping strengthen our memory ?

         We may all have this experience:When we do our homework at night, we could not solve a difficult math problem, But when we wake up the next morning, our mind become clearer which help us to solve the problem. What happened during the time when we fall asleep? The same thing also happened on me. I have a little procrastination. I used to putting off things which I reluctant  to do but always found it was done much better than I expected after several days. For instance, I had to write an extend definition to explain a concept I learnt not very well, and I did not want to finish it until the night before deadline.During these days I did not learn anything about this concept, but when I wrote my essay, I seemed to master this concept well, at least much better than several days ago when I first learn it. Why would it happen even though I did not learn it at all? Did my memory and understanding strength during sleeping time?

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To answer the question we have to learn how our brains work during sleep.People usually have 5 stages of sleep. As National Institutes of Health conveys, during stage 1-3 you are in Non-REM sleep, after you have gone through all three stages, you are into a deep sleep and begin the REM sleep. Actually brains work more active in this period which is called REM, rapid eye movement sleep,which you may have a intense dream.There are two stages in REM sleep,the later one will be much longer and memory will have a great improvement especially in this stage, which usually happens 90 minutes after you fell in sleep.

Ullrich Wagner, Steffen Gais, and Jan Born have done a research to discuss the relationship between REM sleep and memory enhancement in German. A part of this study  is a meta-analysis, which draws conculusion from previous study. They found that it confirmed that sleep in general can strengthen the memories compare to wakefulness. More than six studies are consistent with this conclusion. There are plenty evidences to reject the null hypothesis: REM sleep does not affect memories.

So how can it help to enhance our memories?

Aserinsky and Kleitman do an experiment in 1953. And they found that the images during REM sleep recorded by machine have a lot similarities with awake images. It means brains are not stop working in this period. On the contrary, brains works just like in daytime although we are unconscious. So during this REM period, brain automatically works and strengthen the memories of the knowledge we learn before. Some research also shows brain will select information and “delete“  un-needed one during REM sleep.

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So, do not think sleep is just a waste of time. It do help us to study better by strengthen memories. As for me, I have to sleep at least more than 8 hours to study more effectively next day. After learning about how my brain works during sleep, I find it more important to have such ample sleep every day. Trust me, sleeping is really important to your health, and also, to your grade maybe.

Initial Blog

Hello everyone! My name is Lunan Qiu.I am a transfer student from China and now study in College of Communication.I am interested in journalism and hope I can become an editor one day.My favorite magazine is <the bund>.It introduce what is happening aroud the world,all about life and a little politic.

 

I choose SC200 because I think this course may be the one that I can survive among all the science courses.I really did bad in physics,chemistry and biology when I was in high school.I studied these courses in China and these were so difficult for me that I even lost my interest and confidence in science.So I want to learn science from the begining.I believe that science is not as boring as what I have learned from high school classes.Science is not just those concepts or formulas.Science is life itself.If I want to know more about life and write something to tell people how to live better,I have to learn more about science at first.And I also want to explore more about this world.Only once I go abroad,it is this summer.I came to America alone.And I found it is really different from the country I lived for 20 years.I know there are many more amazing places to experience,not only the country.But I can  go to different countries but I may not experience the world of animals and microbes. So science is a tool to help me know more about these unaccessible worlds.

 

I hope I can allways keep curious about life,every single detail.And I believe science is in these details.

Here I attached my favriote magzine~

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