Author Archives: Nicholas Eric Pulos

Headphones and Ear Damage

Everyday, on the way to class, or while working out at the gym, I listen to music. I am not the only one that does that, as I believe most listen to some sort of music everyday. My most used method of listening involves headphones. They are easy to carry around and are very mobile. Nobody wants to be that guy who plays music out loud while walking on the sidewalk, so we all resort to headphones. Headphones, such as the common apple headphones, are an easy way to listen to your favorite songs on the go. Though they produce quality sound, they also are counterproductive for us. I never thought of this before, but these little buds that project music into our ears, can cause hearing loss.Headphone-Zone-BeatsbyDre2

According to the American Osteopathic Association, 1 in 5 teens today have some sort of hearing loss. This is a 30% increase from the 1980’s. One would expect this number to have gone down, with the improvements in technology and medication, but instead it has increased. Why is this? According to them, they accredit it to headphones. Dr. James E. Foy says that even a mild hearing loss due to headphones can create lifelong delays in speech development and hearing development ( This is not anything anyone wants to ever look forward to. Also, according to the World Health Organisation, the single biggest cause of preventable hearing loss is due to loud music (The Guardian). Though they do not state if it is due to headphones or not, one must assume, based off of Dr. James E Foy’s statements, that headphones greatly worsen the chances of hearing loss compared to music over a speaker.

So what is too loud? It is safe to assume that earphones are not always dangerous. If one is playing music at a soft volume, damage will not occur, but once you pass a certain threshold, the damage can become a real threat. The question is, what exactly is that threshold? According to David A. Schessel, the chief of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Division at the Stony Brook University College of Medicine, this threshold is at 85-decibels. Below it is considered safe, while above it can cause permanent damage. He states that to tell if the music is too loud, if one can hear the music from headphones, that is not wearing that pair of headphones, it is too loud (Stony Brook Medicine). This seems to be a simple concept, as the music is intended for you, not for everyone around you. But, it can be hard to tell if others can hear it, as most won’t speak up if they can hear it.

This controversy over headphones is not too much as a controversy at all. They can cause permanent damage to your ears, and that is known throughout the science world. But, it is that 85-decibel threshold that is important for us to keep in mind, as when we pass that limit, we are forever damaging our ears. There is a simple solution to this though, one that I will now pick up on in the future. I will now invest in “db Logic Earbud Headphones with SPL2 Technology”. This technology prevents you from turning up the volume above the 85-decibel threshold that causes permanent ear damage (Apartment Therapy). These will prevent that future ear damage that is now a very real possibility for all of us. In conclusion, yes these ear buds that we wear everyday can cause damage to our ears. Maybe it would be smarter for all of us to be that guy that plays music aloud while walking down the street, at least he won’t have permanent ear damage.


Works Cited


Stony Brook Surgery. “Headphones & Earphones Can Cause Permanent Hearing Loss.” Stony Brook School of Medicine. N.p., 23 Aug. 2013. Web. 4 Dec. 2015. <>.


Dillner, Luisa. “Will Headphones Damage My Hearing?” The Guardian. N.p., 26 Jan. 2014. Web. 4 Dec. 2015. <>.
“Hearing Loss and Headphones – Is Anyone Listening?” Hearing Loss and Headphones – Is Anyone Listening? N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Dec. 2015. <>.
Giorgi, Elizabeth. “Fear Hearing Loss? Five Headphones Designed to Protect Your Ears.” Apartment Therapy. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Dec. 2015. <>.
“Beats by Dr. Dre Headphones & Earphones.” Headphone Zone. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Dec. 2015. <>.

Cramming, Just How Effective Is It?

We all have been there, last second cramming for a test. For whatever reason it is, procrastination usually the leading the cause, it is a predicament we all have found ourselves in. For me, when this has happened in the past, I usually resort to last second cramming. This cramming, although it seems productive, does not always result in the best of test scores. So it got me thinking, how much can we really learn when we cram study for a test? With the immense amount of stress that it puts on oneself, it does not seem to be the best solution to the problem. So I decided to do my research on the topic.

The first thing that I came across that caught my eye was a Q&A with scientist Sean Kang on “Temporal Dynamics of Learning Center.” He was asked what the best form of studying is, and as expected he stated that studying spaced out over a prolonged period of time is the most efficient. But there was more to this that caught my eye, and that is his comments on cramming. He states “previous lab studies comparing cramming vs. spaced repetitions sometimes found a benefit of cramming on immediate tests.” This was very surprising to me. When I have crammed in the past, I believed that my immediate recall of the facts was good, but after a short amount of time, this recall would start to dwindle quickly. So I kept reading and saw, “these immediate tests were administered usually no more than 10 minutes after the study session” (Sean Kang). Now this made sense to me, as this is exactly what has happened to me in the past.

This study from Sean Kang was very enlightening to my current position on cramming, as it is the exact situation I always seem to find myself in. Although this was good evidence to support my view, one study was not enough. I ventured over to BBC and found a piece written by Tom Stafford. Tom brought up a study that was taken by Nate Kornell at indexthe University of California Los Angeles. In this study Nate found that long, spaced out studying, was more effective for 90% of test participants, compared to cramming. This was not surprising to me, but what was was that 72% of those who took the test believed cramming was the more productive way of studying for them. Tom goes on to state that this was due to familiarity. Since the facts and topics were fresh in the participant’s heads, they believed they knew them very well. Once they get to the tests though, this familiarity no longer helps, as the participants are not able to recall them. Tom states a short but simple explanation for this, “being able to recognize something isn’t the same as being able to recall it” (Tom Stafford). This statement is very to the point, and is very accurate in my mind. We trick ourselves to believe we have the facts memorized, as we want to do well, and because of this continue to cram, as we believed we had the information down. Unfortunately, in the long run, all of this disappears from our minds, as we are no longer familiar with the information.

After conducting my research, my stance on the subject has not changed. Cramming, although it is the only option at times, is not the path to take. From these studies, I have found out that from the cramming, the result is familiarity and not memorization, which we all hoped it was. So in the future, I am now going to avoid cramming at all costs. Unfortunately, this most likely will not mean I won’t cram again, but now I have a greater understanding of how I am affecting my grades when I do have to resort to cramming.


Works Cited


Kang, Sean. “Which Is the Best Way to Study? How Often? Does Cramming Work?” Temporal Dynamics of Learning Center. UC San Diego, n.d. Web. 3 Dec. 2015. <>.


Stafford, Tom. “Memory: Why Cramming for Tests Often Fails.” BBC. N.p., 18 Nov. 2014. Web. 3 Dec. 2015. <>.


“Dealing with HSC Stress.” The Northern Beaches Tutor. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 Dec. 2015. <>.

Gum and Memory?

Throughout high school, memorization was key for academics. From the facts you would have to memorize in history, to the procedures for math, memorization was key. Before every test, I would try to improve on these skills. In my psychology class we would learn techniques to improve these skills, such as studying certain topics in different rooms so that one could correlate the two with each other. Another tactic we learned was to come up with acronyms for long sayings. Unfortunately for me, the thought of chewing gum and improving memory never once crossed my mind. I mean why would it? There is no logical reason to believe they correlate. I wish I had thought deeper about the two before, because I’ve been missing out.

According to Psychologist World, the correlation is quite simple. Out at the University of Northumbria in Newcastle, England, they performed an experiment. This experimented was performed on 75 participants, and they were each given a memory test. 1/3 of the group was to chew gum, 1/3 was to do a chewing motion with no gum, while the final 1/3 was to not chew anything. Their findings showed that approximately 35% of the participants who chewed gum had improved recall from when they weren’t chewing gum (Psychologist World). These results definitely show a correlation between the two, but it does not supply reasoning for the correlation. According to Andrew Scholey of the University of Northumbria, this can have several explanations. The first is that in March 2000, Japanese researchers found out a break between these two activities. They found that brain activity in the hippocampus, which is located in the medial temporal lobe, is increased when one performs a chewing action. Though the reasoning for this increase is unknown, it still is happening. The other possible explanation is that chewing increases one’s heartbeat. When your heartbeat increases, your blood is flowing faster. Because of this, blood is now flowing faster to the brain then it once was, thus brain activity is also increasing (New Scientist).5gum

Though this shows a correlation between the two, it does not prove it. Because of this, I sought out to find more studies done on the topic. I stumbled upon a 2011 experiment conducted by Serge Onyper. Serge, like those of the University of Northumbria, had the participants partake in cognitive tests, to test the effects of the gum. From his findings, he too found a correlation between memory and chewing gum. Though his findings were similar, his explanation was quite different. Serge stated that these findings were based off of a simple concept. This was that chewing gum helps wake you up. Because of this, one is now more alert after chewing gum for quite some time, and thus their average test scores will go up (Serge Onyper).

This is not all that they found. They found that the improving test scores is caused by a phenomenon called the “mastication-induced arousal.” This is when arousal happens right before a test, and thus allows for more blood to flow to the brain, right before the test taking begins. This is a result of the chewing gum. Though one would think that if it helps to chew it before, it would help to chew during, this is not the case according to Onyper. His findings show that chewing gum during the cognitive tests showed zero change in average score (Live Science). So, grab that pack of gum and start chewing before your next exam, but once the teacher allows you to begin, spit it out because you are no longer benefiting yourself by chewing it.

Now, looking back, this concept seems quite practical. The correlation between the two no longer seems absurd rather it is very logical. Of course you are going to score better when you chew gum it wakes you up! Now I know that when I am studying for my next test, and when I right before I take it, I will always have a pack of gum on me.


Works Cited


“Memory and Chewing Gum.” – Memory Psychology. N.p., 17 Jan. 2008. Web. 02 Dec. 2015. <>.


“Chewing Gum Improves Memory.” New Scientist. N.p., 13 Mar. 2002. Web. 02 Dec. 2015. <>.


Welsh, By Jennifer. “Gum-Chewing Improves Test Performance, Study Suggests.” LiveScience. TechMedia Network, 16 Dec. 2011. Web. 02 Dec. 2015. <>.


“5 Gum | Publish with Glogster!” Glogster. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Dec. 2015. <>.

Creatine; Is It Worth It?

Going to the gym is one of the best ways to stay in shape. You can lift, run, and even take classes. But to see the best results, many take supplements. I myself have been lifting for a few years now, and I too have endeavored into supplements around this time last year. For me the decision was simple; I wasn’t seeing the results I wanted, while my friends who were using supplements were. I’m not talking about anything crazy, rather just the normal BCAAs, creatine, pre-workouts etc. Though there was no way for me to see the true effects of the supplements, I noticed my lifting go to a new level after a few months using the supplements.Creatine

There is one supplement though that has always been regarded as a risky one to take; one that many stay away from for a variety of reasons, creatine. Creatine is “a nonprotein substance synthesized in the body from three amino acids: arginine, glycine (aminoacetic acid), and methionine. Creatine readily combines with phosphate to form phosphocreatine, or creatine phosphate, which is present in muscle, where it serves as the storage form of high-energy phosphate necessary for muscle contraction” (Free Though this sounds all well, there are many downsides to creatine that many do not like. These include, dehydration, and possible tampering with organ functioning and possible nausea. To me, these thoughts of harmful side effects never really have caught my attention too much, as I always have drank plenty of water in a dosing period, but for many, this is not the case.

Now I started to rethink what I have been doing the past year. Was the creatine I’ve been putting in my body harming me? Have I been wasting my money on the product? All these were rushing through my head, so I decided to do my research. In 2001, the US National Library of Medicine and National Institute of Health decided to do a case study on the topic of creatine and muscle growth. They found that, through their study, they had strong information to suggest that creatine supplementation “may promote gains in strength and FFM in patients with MG (myasthenia gravis)” (U.S. National Library of Medicine). A After stumbling across this, I felt good about the purchases I have been making. There is a strong indication that it truly does help with muscle growth, which is exactly why I bought the product. Quinnipiac University also did a case study of their own on the supplement. Kevin was a senior on the baseball team there, and fell diagnosed with MG. After diagnoses, Kevin could not come close to his normal lifting ways, and after dosing of 5 grams of creatine per day, Kevin was back to his old ways, and even better, after a 15 week regime (Quinnipiac University). Both of these case studies reiterated what I had already thought to be true, that creatine truly does help in building muscle. But, unfortunately, there are still the side effects that catch many gym-goers attention.

Whenever I bring up the idea of using creatine to those who do not regularly take the supplement, I usually get one of 2 reactions. These are either “Make sure you drink a ton of water” or “Why do you take that?” Though the water is a legitimate fact with the use of creatine, according to the US National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health, the other health hazards are yet to be proven. Much of this is given off by broad conclusions drawn by the media, which in turn we as consumers believe. According to the library of medicine, the biggest connection they can make between creatine and health hazards is occasional cramping, and even that is anecdotal. All the other connections given off by the media are yet to be proven (U.S. National Library of Medicine). The University of Maryland also collected information on the supplement, and they too drew mostly positive results. They state “creatine has also been reported to help lower levels of homocysteine. Homocysteine is associated with heart disease, including heart attack and stroke” (University of Maryland). So even with all of the worries many have with creatine’s side effects, there are many benefits, including the decrease of homocysteine correlated with its use.

All in all, creatine seems to be doing just fine for me. Not once have I complained about it, outside of the occasional cramping, and neither have my friends. These case studies show to me the true benefits of creatine, while downgrading the risks. For me, this will not end my use of creatine, which I was afraid of before this research. Rather it just showed me that I have been making smart purchases the past year, and will continue to do so.

Works Cited


“Creatine.” University of Maryland Medical Center. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Dec. 2015. <>


“Creatine.” N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Dec. 2015. <>.


“Quinnipiac University Chemistry in Sports and Fitness: A Case Study Collection – Creatine Case Study.” Quinnipiac University Chemistry in Sports and Fitness: A Case Study Collection – Creatine Case Study. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Dec. 2015. <>.


Poortsman, JR. “Result Filters.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine, Sept. 2000. Web. 02 Dec. 2015. <>.


Stout, JR. “Result Filters.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine, June 2001. Web. 02 Dec. 2015. <>.


“Creatine – MusclePharm®.” MusclePharm. N.p., 17 Sept. 2013. Web. 02 Dec. 2015. <>.

Innie vs. Outie; How Does It Effect Our Health?

Bellybuttons are one of the weirdest parts of our bodies. As a child, no one really knew the use of it, and entering college, I was under the impression that the purpose was just to collect lint. Ends up that there is a biological point for the bellybutton to exist. According to, the belly button’s biological purpose is to provide nutrients to the child of a new born baby. Through the umbilical cord in the mother’s stomach, it connects to the fetus’ bellybutton, and through this is provided with all the nutrients it needs to survive. 188bx8epz0gj2jpg

This isn’t where the talk about bellybuttons ends, unfortunately. The age old debate is not over its purpose, rather it is over the purpose of an innie or an outie. Is there a difference in our health between the two? How does one get an innie compared to an outie? We can start with the easiest question, how one obtains an innie or an outie. According to Daniel McGee, M.D. of DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids, an outie belly button is not caused by the common belief of a difference in how the umbilical cord was cut. Rather it deals with scar tissue. The outie is caused by the overlaying of extra scar tissue. This will either disappear quickly with time, or it will stay there for life (Parenting).

Having an outie is as rare as one may think too. According to a study done by North Carolina State University, out of the 500 participants in their study, only about 4% of them had outie belly buttons (Amy Capetta). This is just as most would expect, as to many, an innie always seemed to be the “normal”.

But when it comes down to it, does an innie or an outie make a difference for our health? Well, to start, there is no true affect on our health based off of our belly button. No matter what shape, or size, the belly button won’t cause too many complications in one’s life. But there is a difference in the hygienic state between an innie and an outie. Based off the nature of the shape of an innie, it is more prone to collect dirt and lint within it. North Carolina State University performed a study in which they collected lint from 60 belly buttons. Within these 60 belly buttons, they found over 2,300 forms of bacteria; 1,458 of which may be new forms to the science world (Shannon Fischer). That is a lot of dirt. Though this may seem like this is a problem spot to clean in the shower, that is not the case. All that you have to do clean it is just take a shower, and it should do the trick!

After all this research we can now say one thing for certain, innies, based off the nature of their shape, are worse for your hygiene, as they collect much more dirt and lint then an outie. Though this does not seem to be the healthiest of scenarios, there isn’t much to worry about, as your belly button as a whole has virtually zero effect on one’s health. But there is an upside to an innie! If you are lucky enough to have a “small, vertical, T-shaped navel with a little flap of overlying skin”, you posses the most attractive belly button out there (Capetta)!

Works Cited

Capetta, Amy. “How Normal Is Your Navel? Belly Button Facts and Figures You Probably Didn’t Know.” N.p., 21 Apr. 2011. Web. 02 Dec. 2015. <>.


“The Cause of “Outie” Belly Buttons.” Parenting. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Dec. 2015. <>.


Fischer, Shannon. “What Lives in Your Belly Button? Study Finds “Rain Forest” of Species.” National Geographic. National Geographic Society, 14 Nov. 2012. Web. 02 Dec. 2015. <>.


Binns, Corey. “Why Do We Have Belly Buttons?” LiveScience. TechMedia Network, 07 Feb. 2013. Web. 02 Dec. 2015. <>.


Morrissey, Tracie. “Do You Know What’s Living in Your Belly Button?” Jezebel. N.p., 14 Dec. 2012. Web. 02 Dec. 2015. <>.


What is better for your arm, pitching in baseball, or pitching in softball?

I have played baseball all my life. From travel baseball at the age of 8, to my senior year of high school, baseball was always the sport I loved to play. Though it is a non-contact sport, it does not mean there aren’t your fair shares of injuries. From spraining my ankle for the first time at age 10, to breaking my foot my junior year, injuries were just part of the game. Though those were less common of injuries, there was one that I would deal with every year, arm soreness. According to UPMC (University of Pittsburgh Medical Center) this was the result of over stressing the rotator cuff and elbow. From the hundreds of throws you would make a day, this does not seem that unreasonable of an injury.

Though I never was a pitcher my whole career, this is where most of the injuries would occur. From throwing fastballs as fast as you can, and as accurate as you can, mixing it up with off-speed pitches, the stress on the rotator cuff is absurd. According to an ESPN article by Sam Miller, “When we throw overhand, it puts what’s called valgus stress on the arm, which is a fancy way of saying the elbow is trying to bend in an unnatural direction. And when somebody throws 95 mph, it creates so much valgus stress that the forearm essentially wants to detach from the body; if it could, it would simply fly into space.” And According to Sports Illustrated, this stress will cause pitchers to not be able to throw a ball past their high school days for many, as the frequency of Tommy John surgery grows as the years go on.

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 24: Starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg #37 of the Washington Nationals throws a pitch during a game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Nationals Park on April 24, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC – APRIL 24: Starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg #37 of the Washington Nationals throws a pitch during a game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Nationals Park on April 24, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

What has always been interesting to me though is how you never hear about softball players, or pitchers in particular, come down with the soreness and injuries that baseball players do. Why is this? According to Midwest Orthopedics at Rush, the pressure from pitching a softball is not on a ligament like a baseball pitcher’s is. This does not mean that there is no pain for softball players though. Yes they are able to throw more pitches, and for a longer duration with their windmill style of pitching, they too experience shoulder pain. Also, Dr. Nikhil Verma observed that the pitchers he has come across have complained of anterior shoulder pain, after a weekend’s worth of tournaments. Nikhil was able to prove how this soreness was connected to the bicep tendon. In conclusion, Nikhil proved that softball pitchers, though they do not feel the same soreness a baseball pitcher does, do experience pain throughout their bicep.

As a baseball player, this is not the best news to come across. When we throw, as Sam Miller stated, the ligaments in our arms take the brunt of the damage. In softball, it is your bicep. This makes a big difference as softball players can work their biceps out to get them stronger and prevent future injuries, while you can’t do much for your ligaments except rest and ice.

In conclusion, yes pitching a baseball is a lot more harmful on your body then pitching a softball. Though it may seem like softball players can pitch for days on end, they too experience soreness, just not to the same extent, and same location. So next time you’re playing wiffle-ball in the backyard and you have shoulder soreness, you now know which technique is best suited to protect your arm.

Works Cited

Dodson, Christopher. “Examining the Rise of Tommy John Surgery in Youth Baseball.” Sports Illustrated, 30 July 2015. Web. 01 Dec. 2015. <>.
Miller, Sam. “Why Pitchers Always Have Tommy John Surgery.” ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures, 20 May 2015. Web. 01 Dec. 2015. <>.
“Analysis of Windmill Pitching Shows Risk of Injury to Biceps in Softball Players – Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush.” Analysis of Windmill Pitching Shows Risk of Injury to Biceps in Softball Players – Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Dec. 2015. <>.
“Arm Soreness: What Does It Mean and What Should I Do?” Arm Soreness: What Does It Mean and What Should I Do? UPMC, n.d. Web. 01 Dec. 2015. <>.
Horwedel, Chris. “Stephen Strasburg Ready for Rehab Start.” Deep(ish) Thoughts. N.p., 27 July 2015. Web. 1 Dec. 2015. <>.

Initial Blog Post

Hi I’m Nick Pulos. I attended Strath Haven High School which is in Delaware County in a town called Wallingford. I am a freshman here at PSU, and I am currently in DUS but I intend to study accounting during my time here in PSU.

When I was choosing classes, I unfortunately had to fulfill some science credits when I was here. So I took this course. Why? My adviser told me that it is a fun and interesting class that does not involve too much science. And so far, it seems that she is correct. The reason I am not planning to major in science is that I personally have never been to interested in it. I have always gotten good grades in my science courses, but to me there are more interesting topics that I enjoy more so than science. That is why I am taking this course.

Here is a picture that I found on Google of my hometown Wallingford. Wallingford-About-Wallingford-Leiper-House

Here is a video I found on Youtube that was one of my favorite Penn State games i have ever been at