Author Archives: Ryan Edward Schmidt

Do ADHD Medications Lead to Worse Grades?

In the United States over one in twenty children, spanning from ages four to seventeen, are diagnosed with medication for ADHD. This is a staggering 500% increase since 1990. As the number of people diagnosed with ADHD has increased, the enormous issue of ADHD drug abuse has grown into an epidemic. Ask any college student, whether they like it or not, it is scary how easy it is for someone to get their hands on drugs like Adderall or Ritalin. Many students do not use these drugs, and it is frustrating to students who do not use them because it appears to put them at a disadvantage. Society has created an incentive for students to use them just to keep up with the large amount of students who do. Although this is the case, these students may be wrong because ADHD prescription drugs may lead to worse grades.



Scientists gathered 579 children between ages 7 and 10 who were diagnosed with ADHD. The children were then divided into four groups with different forms of treatment. The first group received a double blind placebo trial, which looked to assess four different doses of Ritalin. Another group was given “community care” which involved receiving medication from their local health resources. On average these children were given a lower amount of medication than those in the first group. The “behavioral treatment” group that involved a program focusing on how the kids’ behavior was and also focused on different social skills. They were also given time DSC_0255_2to work with teachers and develop classroom learning/behavior traits. The final group, “combined treatment”, received both the behavioral treatment methods and the medication management. After fourteen months of evaluation, they were given a standardized test that they also received before the study. Children in each group showed momentous improvements. These results are not very surprising because the children are all diagnosed with ADHD and the medication they receive is supposed to help them with their learning disability.


ADHD medication on those without ADHD leads to different results. A double blind study controlled by a placebo was conducted in 2011. The participants were given both a placebo and Ritalin. When they believed that they were receiving Ritalin, the most commons result was that they felt a stronger focus for an extended period of time. When they did not believe they were taking the drug and believed it was a placebo, the participants had lower scores on tests they had to complete.


It is clear that for those who truly have ADHD, consumption of the medication is necessary and by no means an unfair advantage. For those who are not diagnosed I can either reject or fail to reject the hypothesis. I have concluded that the ‘advantage’ gained by taking these pills can physiological, but may lead to short-term success in the classroom because of the increased focus the pills provide. Taking these medications without a prescription is illegal can be very dangerous and addictive which would leave students worse off in the long run. There are a few alternatives that doctors suggest that for a person without ADHD will find effective. These include getting plenty of sleep, avoid consuming caffeine, eating a healthy diet, and doing stress-relieving activities such as yoga.


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Are eBooks the future of education?


enhanced-12155-1402327723-22As technology has advanced over the last fifteen years, reading books online has grown in popularity. This in part is due to its overall convenience of having thousands of books accessible in one tablet or other electronic device. In the long run it could save someone money by investing in a tablet to purchase readings through websites or apps instead of paying for hard copies of each book. On average, the price of a new book when it comes out is twenty-nine dollars, but for eBooks usually ranges from ten to thirteen dollars. This has led to rumors and the belief of the possibility that one day the education system will rely on tablets to have all textbooks on, but will this affect the education of the reader?


In a 2012 study, scientist let eighty undergraduate engineering students choose whether they want to read five articles from a computer screen or paper. Before the test each person had to guess how well he or she would perform on the test. For two of the articles they were put under no time restraint. For the other two they were only given seven minutes and for the last test they assumed they had no limit but were interrupted after seven minutes. When the students predicted how they would do, those who were reading online generally predicted that they would have a lower score than those who made predictions before the read the articles on paper. This is an immediate indicator that this could be a physiological issue rather than an actual one. If people believe they will do worse they generally will do so. Those who read the paper books did better on the tests with the time restricted and unrestricted time limits. The interrupted readings led to similar scores with both online and paper readings.


Another story conducted did not give the readers their personal choice, but instead they were assigned either a kindle or paperback to read. Fifty readers were told to read a short story by Elizabeth George, and then they were tested on different aspects of the short story. The area that showed the greatest significance in results was the questions asking readers to put events in critical order. This could be due to the fact that eBooks do not recreate an image in the same way that paperbacks do. When someone reads on a digital screen, is it more difficult to get an image in his or her head other than a screen? Paper is a boring sight, which could make it easier to think about and picture what the author is portraying. In comparison, an eBook screen is exciting. It lights up, and has many features and adjustments that can be made. made.

It appears as though from educational standpoint, the only true advantage of eBooks is convenience and long-term price. In a survey conducted asking people whether they concentrate better with eBooks or paper books, 92% said they concentrate better with paper books. Obviously surveys can be full of bias but those results are pretty staggering that over 9/10 people surveyed believe they can concentrate better on paper books. books. Humans can easily get distracted by minor things such as a pop ups or having access to the Internet and apps with jus one click or swipe.

Based off these studies I fail to reject the hypothesis that paper books are the better option for learning. This is due to human response on different tests and the indications made clear by the studies.

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Do Your Outfits Affect Your Grades?


7When I wake up in the morning before class or before I head to an exam, I usually do not think twice before I throw on a pair of sweat pants and sweat shirt. But could what I wear affect how I perform in the classroom? Does dressing more comfortable affect how I preform, or could it be wearing an outfit that is nicer can do so?

In a unique study I came across the scientists conducted an experiment putting this to the test through lab coats. Within in this single study two different experiments were conducted. First, fifty-eight undergraduate students (19 male, 41 female) were randomly assigned to two groups, one group wore a lab coat and one that wore there own clothing. To create blindness, the subjects wearing lab coats were told all prior subjects wore them as well. Both groups then completed a test that measured the time it took to indicate whether the letters on the screen or red or blue and their accuracy in doing so. The time did not vary between the two groups, but the group that wore lab coats had nearly half the amount of errors as the other group.


The second test divided seventy-four new undergraduate students into two groups. This time both groups were given lab coats. One group was told that the coat they were given was a doctor’s coat and the other group was told the lab coat was a painter’s coat. The people were then surveyed on what they thought of the coat. By doing so, they were able to make a third group based off the people who thought it was a lab coat described as a doctor’s coat. In this test each subject was shown two sets of two pictures. When each set was shown, two of the same pictures were shown on the screen, but each had four minor differences, and they were all instructed to write down the differences they found as quickly as possible. Then, it was measured the time it took and number of differences that were found. The results showed on average, those wearing “a doctor’s coat” found more differences than those who wore the “painter’s coat” and those who saw it as a lab coat not a painter’s coat. The time it took the three groups was relatively similar. This study can lead one to conclude that by wearing the doctor’s coat, one may become more attentive than if they were wearing a regular lab coat or a painter’s coat.


Multiple studies have shown that a person who is wearing formal attire will have an increased “abstract cognitive processing.” ttp:// These studies show that in a way, formal clothes make us feel powerful, giving a person an increased level of confidence they did not have before. Based off the two studies I have concluded to fail to reject the hypothesis that the clothing you wearing can affect how a student performs in the classroom. The studies show that some clothing more than others can make a student more likely to pay closer attention to detail.

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Weight Lifting or Calisthenics

For men my age, one of the more common forms of exercising is weight lifting. There are numerous forms of exercising, but one of the biggest debates is whether calisthenics or weight lifting is better for your body. Both weight lifting and calisthenics have pros and cons that the other does not have, but which of the two exercises is the best?

Weight lifting is exactly what its name says it is, lifting weights or using resistance equipment. It is mainly done to build muscle or mass, but following the right workout routine, can be used to lose weight. Calisthenics has become increasingly popular over the past twenty years. It involves exercises that do not require extra weight to be added, therefore can be considered as body
weight training. Well known calisthenics exercises include push-ups and pull-ups.

A test was conducted to see the results of weightlifting on elderly men and the subjects were fourteen 60-70 years old. None of the subjects has any prior experience in weight lifting. The study was conducted by performing exercises to train elbow flexers on one arm. This lowers thearnold-blueprint-mass-training-3-graphicsoverall need of a control group because they’re other arm acts as this. Different exercises were performed three days a week over the course of twelve weeks. After the twelve weeks were over, the maximum repetitions able to be completed increased in all the subjects. The twitch torque was recorded at elbow joint angles, and it increased considerably in the arm that experienced training, but did not increase at all in the arm that did not experience the weight lifting training.

Calisthenics research was conducted on a group of Army ROTC cadets. Each cadet received multiple baseline tests on their current physical state including height, weight, overall fitness level, cardiovascular response to exercises, and Army physical fitness test. The 2work-out6 cadets completed calisthenic training three days a week for four weeks. Following the four weeks of calisthenics training there was not enough evidence to fail to reject the hypothesis that calisthenics improves overall fitness levels. There are many factors that may have affected this. One being that ROTC cadets already face intense military training, and the calisthenics may not have been as intense as the training they already receive. Also there was no way to prevent a bias. The cadets may have not taken it seriously and may have not worked as hard as their bodies would allow them too. With the great deal of variables that were not accounted for in this study, it is difficult to use this as an accurate representation of the benefits of calist

Another study analyzed the affects of calisthenics on obese children. They performed six different calisthenics exercises three times a week and this study showed that over the course of six months the average child dropped from 45% overweight to 25% overweight.

Both calisthenics and weight lifting can be used as a form of strength training, increased stamina, and improve bone health, but he most common benefit of calisthenics over weight lifting is flexibility. Calisthenics use different movements unlike weight lifting, which are essentially isolated weighted movements that are like a robot because they the exercises are almost always done in the exact same way. Weight lifting has shown to be a faster way to gain muscle mass.

Based of the tests and research, both provide positive effects on the health and fitness of a person., but whether one is better than the other is dependent on the goal of that person. The first test showed that even in an elderly person weightlifting can increase strength and muscle stamina. Although the second test showed no change, one can conclude that the calisthenics training was nearly up to par with military training because there was no decline in their overall fitness levels. The third study shows that calisthenics can be very effective in weight loss, and has led me to believe that it is the better option to increase one’s overall health, but not strength.


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The Turkey Affect

Every year the debate arises just prior to thanksgiving, does turkey actually make you tired? There is belief that the tryptophan inside of turkey causes people to become exhausted. Tryptophan is an amino acid that is necessary in all human diets because one’s body cannot produce it. Along with turkey, it may be found in other meats, cheese, fish, and cheese. Its purpose is to help in producing a B vitamin known as niacin, which is used for digestion, and in forming serotonin. Serotonin plays a role in forming melatonin, which is a hormone that affects sleep and wake cycles. The tryptophan does play affect sleep, but is it enough to make people feel tired and drowsy after their thanksgiving feasts?


Scientists at the Cleveland Health clinic put this theory to the test. Their study had the hypothesis that an increase in turkey intake will proportionally increase one’s tiredness. They had 16 infants divided into two groups, giving one group baby formula that contained tryptophan and the other received a placebo formula. The same test was also conducted on a group of young adults. The infants who consumed the formula with tryptophan had better regulated sleep compared to the group that consumed the placebo. The young adults tested received different samples with different doses of tryptophan. The group who received the smaller dosage had better sleep than those who received a larger dosage. This could suggest the possibility that maybe tryptophan works like a dosage and a certain dosage affects one’s sleep the most.



What-is-tryptophan-why-supplementation-provides-a-better-sleep1Based off the information in this study, the average amount of turkey a person consumes at thanksgiving is not enough to cause drowsiness. Turkey contains less tryptophan than chicken. If tryptophan affected a person’s energy levels, chicken too would consequently make one tired. It may just be coincidence, but after a summer barbeque full of chicken, I cannot recall feeling drowsy or seen other people feel this way.


So if turkey may not be doing the trick, what is it that makes many people including myself fall asleep following the thanksgiving feast? Along with turkey other popular foods at thanksgiving include potatoes, stuffing, and pumpkin pie. If turkey does not cause
people to get tired what is the cause? According to Kim Sasso a nutritionist at Loyola also agrees it is not the turkey that causes the exhaustion, but instead it is the carbohydrates. Even if the tryptophan causes some drowsiness, there would be almost no affect after thanksgiving because of all the other transport and breakdowns going on throughout the body because of all the other foods consumed.


In conclusion to my research and the articles/studies I rejected the hypothesis that turkey, due to tryptophan, causes people to feel drowsy after their thanksgiving feasts. In order to prevent the post drowsiness feeling, cut down on the carbohydrates.


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Gluten Intolerance: Myth or Actual Disorder?

Gluten is a protein found in food products that most people consume on a daily basis such as products containing wheat and rye. I have three friends who are ‘unable’ to eat gluten because of the side effects it has on them when being digested including: stomach pain, fatigue, diarrhea, and bloating. Nearly 18 million people have been diagnosed with gluten intolerance. After coming across a few articles, I was uncertain whether this idea was logical, and whether or not it was merely a myth.

According to a recent poll 30% of adults say they would like to lower the amount of gluten they consume. A recent study shows that they may be wasting their time by doing so. A group of gastroenterologists from the University of Spedali Civili of Brescia in Italy gathered 35 people who have been diagnosed gluten-breakdown-300x279 a gluten intolerance and who had volunteered to be in the study. One of the pre-requisites of the volunteers was that they were on a gluten free diet for at least six months before hand. The volunteers were given bags of flour labeled A and B, one containing gluten and one that was gluten free, thus making it a double blind experiment. The researchers had them sprinkle one type of flour over pasta or soup once a day for ten straight days. They then had 14 days of their normal diet of not consuming gluten, and then repeated the process with the other flour they were given. They had to record how they felt through out the whole process and whether or not they experienced any symptoms from the flour by rating their symptoms from a scale of 1(no symptoms)-7(severe symptoms). The volunteers then had to guess which of the bags contained the flour with gluten. If they guessed correctly, they were diagnosed with having gluten intolerance. Based off of the results only 12 of the 35 people actually diagnosed as having intolerance to gluten. The 17 other subjects either guessed the wrong flour or had no symptoms at all. The man rating of effects from the gluten was a three, indicating that very few experienced extreme symptoms.


The issue with the study above is the use of volunteers. With any experiment or observation that uses volunteers there will always be a response bias. For example someone may be more likely to volunteer for a study they feel strongly about than one they do not care much about. The sample needed to be randomized along with the double blind in order to fail to reject the hypothesis. It was not specified the male to female ratio, but this may have affected the results. Also using a study of this size makes it extremely hard to acquire evidence strong enough to affect the outlook on this controversial topic.


Based off of the study I have concluded that there are people who do actually have gluten intolerance and it is not a myth because it is clear certain people experience similar symptoms after ingesting gluten. They study also suggests that there are up to two-thirds of the population who may be falsely diagnosed.



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Caffeine Addiction Worse than Alcohol?

The+Caffeine+Poster+1.0e.graffle-2Every morning I get out of bed and quickly make myself a cup of coffee. If you told me I could not have a cup of coffee for a year I am not sure how I would react or more importantly how my body would react. It has become such a regular routine that it is becoming just natural for me to get my daily dose of caffeine. If you told me I could not consume alcohol for a year I could get by with no problem. This led me to the hypothesis, is caffeine more addictive than alcohol?

Caffeine is made from various plants or can now be found in a man made form. One can argue it is the most abused drug in America because Americans consume so many products that contain caffeine such as soda, coffee, energy drinks, weight loss pills, and many more. On average Americans consume three cups of coffee per day. One 8oz cup of coffee can contain nearly 200 mg of caffeine, and if you add up two more cups that equals a staggering 600 mg. When caffeine enters the body dopamine is released in the brain causing the body/mind. This makes the body want to do it again and again, making addiction a realistic possibility. The American Medical Association has come out and said that consumicaffeinepercupng moderate amounts of caffeine is not harmful, but a great deal of Americans consume way more than the recommended amount.

I have often heard many people joke that coffee is the only thing getting them through the day, but thousands of people are dependent on the drink leading to negative side effects. One of the biggest is withdraw and a study has shown that caffeine withdraw occurs with 10 possible symptoms: headache, fatigue, decreased energy/activeness, decreased alertness, drowsiness, decreased contentedness, depressed mood, difficulty concentrating, irritability, and foggy/not clearheaded.   “The negative effects of caffeine are often not recognized as such because it is a socially acceptable and widely consumed drug that is well integrated into our customs and routines.” Of adult 18 and older 7% (16.6 million) of them suffer from alcoholism. Millions of people struggle to deal with it every day, but it is believed every three of four caffeine regular caffeine users are addicted to the drug. 68 million people drink three cups of coffee a day, leading to the conclusion that of these people 51 million of them are actually addicted.

It is nearly impossible to make the argument that one addiction is stronger than the other because that is a personal thing with too much bias to determine. Based off the numbers one can conclude that there are more people addicted to caffeine than alcohol in America. After my research there is not enough evidence to fail to reject the hypothesis that caffeine is more addictive than alcohol. Although there may be more people addicted to caffeine, there are many outlying factors that play a role in causing this such as if someone was exposed to the drug at a young age or how much sleep one may get.

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Is the Ocean the Solution to Carbon Emissions Problems?

Every year the U.S. government Flat-Oceanspends billions of dollars on space research and exploration. NASA has made unbelievable discoveries that have dramatically improved the way in which we live, but many people have begun a push to direct more funds towards the NOAA and ocean research/ exploration. 95% of the ocean’s waters remain unexplored; could these unexplored waters hold the answers to some of the biggest problems we face as a society or as a planet as a whole?

Whether you want to believe it or not, the science community believes global warming is real, and with over 97% of the active publishing climate scientists agreeing, it is hard to reject the hypothesis. Carbon Dioxide is believed to play a major role in the development of the global warming issues we face. With all the Carbon Dioxide being produced, where can we safely put it without disturbing the environment? New scientific studies believe the ocean could be the answer. Carbon sequestration carbon-dioxide-in-the-oceans-5-1024has become an idea considered by many scientist as a possibility to solving the issue of dealing with emissions. Carbon sequestration is the idea of injecting carbon emissions below a depth of nearly 1000m in the ocean. At certain depths the carbon dioxide becomes denser than the water, causing it to sink and form a lake
of carbon dioxide in the deep waters. There are plans where Hawaii will test this off the coast. They will do so by injecting 40-60 metric tons of C02 of liquid C02 to 2500 feet. The scientists will play close attention to the acidity to determine what effect it may have on the ecosystem. . Along with injecting into to the deep ocean depths is the idea of using marine phytoplankton to solve the C02 issue. Phytoplankton absorb carbon, and when they die they sink to the bottom of the ocean. The growth of phytoplankton is very dependent on the amount of iron in the water. The theory is that if they found a way to produce more iron in the ocean, more plankton would grow, and this would lead to the carbon sinking to the ocean floors. The problem with this is that when they decompose the carbon gets released back into the water, and if the amount of plankton is not closely observed the plankton could begin to die off.

Although some people feel it is a viable option many people have criticized the idea. The idea is not horrible, but it is not a permanent solution. There is no telling what kind of reaction would occur from adding such high amounts of C02 to our water. Eco groups argued that this idea is not done in the name of science, but instead to allow for the security of large fossil fuel corporations to have a place to put their waste products. These groups have protested nearly every effort made to test the injection in the waters, thus making it extremely difficult to pull off.

The logic behind oceanic carbon sequestration is strong but with current technology, it is not feasible. In order for this to become even the slightest possibility the NOAA would need increased funds to pay for the great deal of research needed. We need a permanent solution to the global issues we face. With the current technology and knowledge that is known, it is unclear whether it would be safe to do; therefore, it should not be considered as the present solution to reducing C02 emissions.

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Twin Telepathy: Myth or Possibility?

As a twin, I constantly get jokingly asked if my sister and I had twin telepathy. I never thought of it is a being a feasible theory, but we are also fraternal (Dizygotic) twins. There were times that we would both say something at the same time, but that could very easily be do t2000px-Identical-fraternal-sperm-egg.svgo chance. Its not like I would get punched in the arm and she would feel my pain. Could it be possible for identical (monozygotic) twins to have such a power? Identical twins form in the womb when an embryo collapses, thus causing the progenitor cell to split forming two separate babies. Their DNA is extremely similar, and even more similar than fraternal twins.


Telepathy is considered the communication between minds. While there is no scientific proof suggesting that twin telepathy is real, there are numerous accounts that suggest otherwise. One mother recollected on an event that occurred when her identical twin daughters were four. One of her twins was in thtwin-telepathye classroom while the other was in the gymnasium. The twin in the classroom suggested her twin sister had gotten run over by a scooter, and it turned out she was correct. They were no where near each other when it happened. Could this be pure luck or chance? Like all scientific observations, this could 100% be due to chance.

Some people feel that the closeness they have is what causes them to experience telepathy. Another account of possible telepathy is called the “Jim Twins.” This set of twins had never met each other in their life and did not even know they had a brother. The brothers ended up marrying women with identical names, named their dogs and children the same names, and they both even built a white bench to put around a tree. Once again many will argue chance, but it is hard to believe all of that is due to chance. The brothers were shocked when they found out about each other and the many similarities. Scientists say that if they were raised together it would barely affect their personalities.

One theory behind how twin telepathy could occur is that similar brainwaves will cause twins to act similar. When twins are young they often understand what each other is saying even though they are too young too speak words. If they can understand what the other is getting across maybe this can point to the theory of telepathy. telepathy.

There is no evidence that points to the idea that twins can read each others minds, but it is possible that twins do sense what the other twin may be feeling at times. There are a multitude of personnel accounts that point to this theory being true, but there is not enough evidence to fail to reject the hypothesis due to the chance factor in most personnel accounts and stories.


12004718_10153745945450815_5863372532999571352_n My fraternal twin sister and I (Our telepathy is not the strongest)

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Do Organic Foods Affect Life Expectancy?



Every day we face the question that most people have asked at some point, “should I buy regular food or organic food?” What are organic foods? The USDA defines it as, “Organic food is produced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations. Organic meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones. Organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides.” Many people believe organic food is allowing them to live an overall healthier lifestyle, and 76% of people who buy organic food say they do so because they believe it is healthier to consume. This may be the case but after a life of eating organic food instead of foods containing pesticides, will it affect one’s life expectancy? Organic foods have been produced for thousands of years, but it was not until recent years that the idea became popular because hundreds of years ago nearly all food was made organically.2

One of the biggest concerns with organic food is the price of the product. The reasons for this vary, but are impart because they do not receive pesticides and are not made in the cheap bulk form similar to processed or pesticide contaminated foods. A large number of people favor the 1organic food because the lack of pesticides. How common are pesticides are on our non-organic food? In 2008 the PDP conducted an observational study and tested 11,683 samples from all regions across the country. Of the sample, only 23.1% of the sample had tested negative for all pesticides  tested. Some people have suggested that pesticide removal from food can be as simple as washing the food off with water, unfortunately this is not the case. Some pesticides can stick to a waxy layer on the food while others can be absorbed inside the food. A test observing the total pesticides absorbed showed that 74% of lettuce and 70% of broccoli contained these pesticides inside the food rather than on the outer layer.

There have not been a great deal of studies regarding humans in taking conventional or organic foods. One famous observational study is the “PARSIFAL” study. In this study 14,000 children from five European countries. The study showed that the children who consumed biodynamic and organic food had a statistically significant lower body wait and had less allergies than that of those who consumed non organic food products. products.

In order to come up enough evidence to fail to reject the null hypothecs one would need to conduct an extensive experiment. It is almost unrealistic to do because the experiment would be as long as the life of each person. If a random sample of 10,000 people a double blind study would have to be conducted. 5000 of the people would receive a placebo (conventionally produced food) while the other 5000 would receive organic food. Because it is a random sample the randomization would act as a control for outlying factors such as exercise, drug use, and other things that could affect life expectancy.

We can not conclude that organic food will add to life expectancy, but after my research I failed to reject the hypothesis that organic foods are less likely to be contaminated by pesticides than conventional foods.

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Lion Fish

We live in an ecosystem that is extraordinarily fragile, and the slightest thing may throw it off causing devastating effects. Over the course of the past decade, the lionfish, a species not originally native to the western Atlantic and the Caribbean waters, has caused tremendous concern regarding the ecosystem in those areas. The lionfish was originally spotted of the Bahamas in 2004, but since then has multiplied extremely rapidly . There is no definitive proof, but it is believed that lionfish ended up inn these waters because of humans. Scientists believe over the course of a 25-year period, people were dumping unwanted fish from their aquariums into the ocean, causing the reproduction of the species. Since the lionfish are not native to these waters, they have very few predators, making it
nearly impossible to kill off the species.

Based on the outcomes of small-scale experiments that were conducted, concern has arisen regarding the structure of marine ecosystems in the Atlantic. The tests compared the biomass of fish with other years, and they did so while fish were nesting so there would be a randomized variable. The scientist calculated percent change from 2008-2010 for each test site, and then they calculated the mean system change in population. This process was replicated 500 times in order to replicate a more accurate representation of what is going on in a larger scale in the ocean. The study found reef fish in the 567 lionfish that were captured and euthanized to discover what they had consumed.The results have shown that with the increase in lionfish population, the population of native reef species has declined rapidly. There are outlying factors that may also contribute to the decline in reef fish population such as:, “recruitment failure, increased predation by native species, or disease”. These outlying factors cannot be overlooked although many theories point to the lionfish for being the cause of the decline.

With no predators except humans, experts lionfishbelieve this single species alone can wipe out 90% of a reef. Graham Maddocks, president and founder of Ocean Support Foundation said, “The lionfish invasion is probably the worst environmental disaster the Atlantic will ever face”. It is too early to call it the biggest epidemic the Atlantic will ever face, but if things do not improve it will certainty become increasingly likely. They can produce 30-40 thousand eggs every few days. At those rates it will become a problem that humans cannot fix, but instead one only we can maintain.







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Can Energy Drinks Kill?


Caffeinated drinks are consumed by millions of Americans every day, but what many do not realize are the effects some of them may have on the body. Caffeine works very similar to many drugs because of its addictive traits including the usage of the same brain pathway as heroin, amphetamines, and cocaine. 90% of Americans consume a caffeinated drink on a daily basis. One of the most popular caffeinated drinks amongst the teenage generation because of its high spike in energy and cool reputation is energy drinks. They are consumed by nearly 31% of percent of 12-17 year olds and 34% of all 18-24 years olds(3). Soft drinks such as Pepsi and coke have caffeine limitations set by the FDA set at 71 mg, but there are energy drinks on the market that have caffeine as high as 357mg, over five times the limit set on soda. (1)

The journal of pediatrics study on caffeine overdose led to the following statement, “Energy drinks have no therapeutic benefit, and many ingredients are understudied and not regulated. The known and unknown pharmacology of agents included in such drinks, combined with reports of toxicity, raises concern for potentially serious adverse effects in association with energy drink use.” The consumption of energy drinks has shown to increase risk of cardiac issues especially amongst teens (2). Many feel that educating teens is the best way to prevent the heart issues, but some feel there should be legal action taken because just one drink can have negative effect on a teen, but especially if they are young children. A relatively common occurrence today of high school and college students is mixing alcohol with energy drinks. By doing so the depressant side effect of alcohol consumption is magnified. Studies have shown that those who consume energy drinks while drinking alcohol are three times more likely to binge drink than those who do not.  It also has shown to double the like hood of being taken advantage of sexually. In 2010 the popular drink Four Loko’s were forced to change the contents of the drink. Before the change, the 23.5 ounce drink contained 12 percent alcohol content and as much caffeine as a cup of coffee. Doctors believe the caffeine in the drink intensifies the alcohol effect making them unsafe to consume. (4)

It would not be safe to a conduct double blind test of giving users to alcohol and energy drinks because of its possible unsafe side affects when mixed. The only way to observe whether this is the case is through statistics, but due to the tremendous amounts of variability (amount of alcohol and energy drink consumed, weight, and other outside variables), it would be extremely difficult to have an accurate experiment. If one could determine safe levels to conduct a double blind experiment, each group would need to be random to take out the variables listed above, and each person would need to receive the same amount of energy drink and alcohol.

Without the completion of this experiment it would be difficult to fail to reject the null hypothesis that energy drinks kill people and not chance. (Image 1)





Can Cell Phones Cause Cancer?

The twenty first century has been an era full of innovation and the growth in popularity of the cell phone. Cell phones are used nearly everyday by 90% of American Adults, and of those, 65% use smartphones(source 3). We live in a culture where it is nearly inevitable to walk down the street without noticing someone on their smartphone. Many people, including myself, never leave their smart phone more than a few feet away, even at night. Having something so close to us so often developed the theory of possible repercussions. The idea that cell phones can cause cancer seems extremely plausible to many people because cell phones release radio waves, which may be absorbed by tissue nearest to the cell phone.

cell-phone-radiation-users(source 6)

Radio waves are a form of electromagnetic energy, which is broken down into two categories. These categories are ionizing and non-ionizing. Ionizing radiation can be harmful because they can cause mutilation to DNA inside cells and consists of things such as x-rays and cosmic rays. Non-ionizing radiation is usually from radio waves or low frequency radiation. Cell phones use radio frequency waves to send/receive signals to and from nearby cell towers. The radio frequency waves used by cell phones are non-ionizing, and the total radiation exposes is depended on how often the user uses his or her phone. The main concern of cancer is directed towards the brain because it is most often used there for calling people. (source 4)

Scientist have worked to determine whether this is a feasible idea, but it has become extremely difficult to fail to reject the hypothesis because of all the outlying factors that we may not know lead to cancer. Could a food we eat cause cancer? There are to many unknowns that make it very challenging to pin point the issue of the problems. Lab studies have shown that the radio frequency waves of cell phones are not strong enough to omit waves that may alter DNA. Although this idea is accepted by most scientists, a recently study conducted tested the effect of holding a cell phone next to their ear for fifty minutes. The test showed that the brain used more glucose than tissue of the other side of the brain. The side affects of this spike in glucose use are unknown; making it unclear if the end results could be a tumor or cancer (source 2).

Overall, studios conducted on humans who suffered from cancer do not suggest high cell phone usage corresponded to the cancer. There are a great deal of theories about the matter, but it may be a studio that will require time and a whole generation of heavy cell phone users to see its possible negative affects.

84144666(source 5)






Breakfast: More Than an Average Meal


The United States is one of the unhealthiest countries in the world leading to staggering obesity rates. Over 35% of American men and women are considered obese in part to the horrendous eating habits or lack of exercise (JamenNetwork). Although this is the case, one of the largest causes of obesity is the due to what they are not eating, breakfast. Growing up I often heard my mother reiterate the phrase, “make sure you eat a good breakfast, it’s the most important meal of the day.” Being a kid, I never took it literally, and often skipped out on it, and would eat my first meal in school at eleven.

For those trying to lose weight, skipping breakfast is one of the worst things that can be done. By doing this, your brain is tricked into thinking you want foods with higher calories. A study was conducted of twenty non-obese Americans who skipped breakfast. Doctors observed their blood flow increase affected by brain activity when they put a high calorie meal in front of them, then a healthy low calorie meal in front of them. The blood flow increased dramatically when the high calorie meal was displayed. Then they retested the people after they ate breakfast and the blood flow was the same for both healthy and unhealthy foods (WebMD)

Not only does skipping breakfast cause obesity, but may also lead to heart disease. Harvard recently conducted a study examining 27,000 men ranging from forty-five to eighty-two years old. Of these men, the men who skipped breakfast were 27% more likely to die due to cardiac arrest. This is not due to one specific side effect of skipping breakfast, but rather multiple that build up to be a deadly combination. Fasting leads to increased blood pressure, higher cholesterol, and blood concentrations of insulin. The prolonged period of fasting from the time we go to bed till lunch increases stress levels, leading to these serious issues (Forbes).

The key to reducing the obesity level involves the consumption of a hearty breakfast. Take a few extra minutes to wake up earlier allowing time for breakfast, and it could make a huge difference in one’s health physically and mentally.



(All Sources used are hyperlinked below with in text citations)…1.1.64.img..0.17.1039.mbPGhytzxCw#imgrc=eR6L9cMi4obSTM%3A



Hello Everyone,

My name is Ryan Schmidt. I am very excited to be starting my freshman year at Penn State. I am currently enrolled in DUS, but I plan on majoring in supply chain management or Finance. I was very involved in my high school’s mini-THON, and am very interested in becoming involved in Penn States THON. Penn State has always been my dream school. Coming from a small high school, I could no believe that amount of students walking to class on the first day. The transition from my small high  school to Penn State’s massive campus has been interesting, but very enjoyable.

In middle school I was highly considering working to become a doctor. After a few years of high school science, i found that was not my calling. I am fascinated with the unknown aspects of life and controversial science topics in our world. I heard about this class through this  Onward State Article about interesting gen eds. Based off of the article’s review and my brother’s input of the class, I decided it would fit my interests. I am highly anticipating getting to know many of you, and am looking forward to the critical thinking that lies ahead in SC 200.


Ryan Schmidt