Author Archives: Sydney Starr Moskowitz

Can Eating Yogurt Reduce the Chance of Developing Type 2 Diabetes?

Type 2 Diabetes:  One of the two major types of diabetes, the type in which the beta cells of the pancreas produce insulin but the body is unable to use it effectively because the cells of the body are resistant to the action of insulin.”

Screen Shot 2015-10-22 at 10.28.10 AMGrowing up, i’ve always been very educated about Diabetes. My mom and brother both have type 2. They have always told me to eat lots of yogurt because it helps prevent chances of developing type 2. I’ve always wondered why this is? What is in the yogurt that helps prevent type 2? 

What’s in Yogurt?  

Yogurt is very beneficial to the human body. Yogurt is known as a “good” bacteria for the body, it provides us with “calcium, vitamin D, protein, and, in some brands, probiotics.” A term that is used very often in relation to yogurt is ”probiotics.” Probiotic means, “for life” which “refers to living organisms that can result in a health benefit when eaten in adequate amounts.” Also, the fact that yogurt comes from milk, provides “yogurt eaters will also get a dose of animal protein (about 9 grams per 6-ounce serving), plus several other nutrients found in dairy foods, like calcium, vitamin B-2, B-12, potassium, and magnesium.” 


In the following experiment, researchers from Harvard School of Public Health, looked at the findings of three studies that tracked the “medical history and lifestyle habits of health professionals.” The total number of people that were qualified for this study was 194,519. After the participants filled out surveys about their medical history and health,  and then checked up on every two years. However, after looking at the surveys, researchers eliminated participants who “did not include information about their dairy consumption and diabetesthose with diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or cancer at the start of the survey.” 

With the remaining participants, researchers found “15,156 cases of type 2 diabetes developing during the follow-up period.” After examining the details, they found that ones total dairy intake does not correlate to type 2 diabetes risk. For further investigation, researchers examined “individual dairy products, including skim milk, cheese, and yogurt.” 

According to Medical News Today, “A meta-analysis was then carried out, comparing these findings with those from other studies that had examined the association between dairy products and type 2 diabetes up until March 2013. This analysis found that eating a 28 g serving of yogurt every day was associated with an 18% lower risk of type 2 diabetes developing.”

Null- Hypothesis: Yogurt does not help prevent type 2 diabetes. 

Alternative Hypothesis: Yogurt helps prevent type 2 diabetes. 

My Opinion

I feel this experiment is very well conducted. By rejecting the null hypothesis, it proves that in fact, yogurt has an affect on the risk of type 2 diabetes. In my opinion, the study did a great job of finding the information they needed. When they did not get the exact outcome they expected the first time, they went into greater detail to find the answer the second time around. However, this was just an observational experiment. If I was to conduct this experiment I would make it an experimental research. Instead of just filling out a survey, I would have participants come into an office and be tPrintested for their medical health by doctors, who would take their blood, blood pressure, heart rate, etc. Then, after gathering all the information about each patient, I would have them  be split up into two groups. One group would eat yogurt at least once each day. The other group would not eat yogurt at all. I would still check on them, however maybe every 6 months instead of every 2 years. After about 4 years have passed, I would have them come back into the office and have them get the same checkup at they did in the beginning of the experiment. After getting the results, I could compare the health of the participants who ate the yogurt with the participants who did not. 



Exercise Trains the Brain

In high school I played softball and field hockey. Softball was played in the spring and field hockey was played in the fall. I played all four years of high school. Over those four years I realized that my grades were much better when i was playing a sport, than when i wasn’t. My GPA was always higher in the spring and fall rather than the winter when i wasn’t playing a sport. I’ve always wondered if getting exercise correlates with the grades I am receiving?

In fact, it does. According to WebMD, “not only is exercise smart for your heart and weight, but it can make you smarter and better at what you do.” Exercise has affects on your mood, alertness, and sense of well being. This is very interesting to me. Why does exercising make you smarter?

How Exercise Trains the Brain

Christin Anderson, MS, wellness and fitness coordinator of the University of San Francisco, explains that “exercise affects many sites within the nervous system and sets off pleasure chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine that make us feel calm, happy, and euphoric. When you exercise, you can think more clearly, perform better, and your morale is better.”


Researchers from Florida State University in Tallahassee and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign came up with an experiment to test this hypothesis. They wanted to find out if exercise has any affect on the brain, and wanted to hear the publics opinion. The researchers surveyed 171 people, asking half of them to “estimate how much a stretching and toning program performed three times a week might improve various measures of thinking, including memory and mental multitasking. The other half of the volunteers were asked the same questions, but about a regular walking program.”


Null-Hypothesis: Exercise cannot make one smarter and more aware 

Alternative Hypothesis: Exercise can make one smarter and more awake. 


In reality, the stretching and toning program will have little to no affect on ones brain. However, walking, will improve ones thinking ability greatly. Participants felt the opposite. They said that stretching and toning will benefit ones cognitive skills more than walking.

According to the study “the volunteers’ estimates of the likely cognitive improvements from gentle toning averaged about a three on a scale from one to six. The estimates of benefits from walking were lower.”

“The results from our study suggest that the benefits of aerobic exercise are not a placebo effect,” said Cary Stothart, a graduate student in cognitive psychology at Florida State University, who led the study.

If expectations had been driving the improvements in cognition seen in studies after exercise, Mr. Stothart said, then people should have expected walking to be more beneficial for thinking than stretching.“They didn’t, implying that the changes in the brain and thinking after exercise are physiologically genuine.” Still, the findings are strong enough to suggest that exercise really does change the brain and may, in the process, improve thinking, Mr. Stothart said.

My Opinion 

I feel that the scientists could go into more detail to improve this experiment. This was an observational experiment. By conducting surveys they did get very in-depth information, however it would have been an even greater study if it was experimental. They could have still split the group in half, having one group  go on a mile speed walk, and the other group sit in a room and watch TV. They could then see  if the group exercising before the test scored better, and if they were able to focus better. This would have been able to prove their studies better and give them more information to back up their findings.

Also, the scientists must consider third confounding variables. They must see what each person ate, for example a healthy meal or a fattening meal. Also, if a person is on any medications for illness, mental health, etc.


Truth to the “5 Second Rule”

The Five Second Rule: “The belief that if one picks up a dropped food item very quickly, it is safe to eat.” Everyone is familiar with the old wives tale, the “5 second rule.” Growing up, I’ve always believed that even if you drop your food on the ground, you have 5 seconds todccfd1477e13ffae2443a319ea7e5844.400x462x1 pick it up before it goes bad. However, I wondered who came up with this rule? Is it a myth? Is your food safe to eat? 

Jillian Clarke, an intern at the food and nutrition department at the University of Illinois, conducted a study. Clarke told WebMD, she “swabbed the floors around the University in the lab, hall, dormitory, and cafeteria to see how many organisms she could isolate. We examined the swabs, and there were very few microorganisms.” According to WebMD,
“to control the study, cookies and gummy bears were placed on both rough and smooth sterile tiles covered with measured amounts of E. coli. ‘We did see a transfer of germs before five seconds,’ Clarke tells WebMD. ‘We were dealing with a large number of cells.’”

Research show that “70% of women and 56% of men said they were familiar with the rule. Women were more likely to invoke it. Not surprisingly, people are inclined to eat dropped cookies and candy more often than dropped broccoli and cauliflower.” 

Null- Hypothesis: If you drop food on the ground for less than 5 seconds it will not have any bacteria on it and will be safe to eat. 

Alternative Hypothesis: If you drop food on the ground for less than 5 seconds it will have bacteria on it and will not be safe to eat. 

My Opinion 

I do agree with the findings of this experiment, however, I feel they could have conducted this experiment in more detail. By using foods with different textures, it could have helped prove their findings. For example, a sticky lollipop is more likely to catch more bacteria on it than a cracker. They also could have considered third variables, such as the dirtiness of the floor. 


There are many different diseases you can get from eating food that wassalmonella on the ground.             One example I will expand on today is salmonella. Salmonella is “a bacterial disease of the intestinal tract. Salmonella is a group of bacteria that cause typhoid fever, food poisoning, gastroenteritis, enteric fever and other illnesses. People become infected mostly through contaminated foods.” 

What Causes Salmonella?

The most common way that Salmonella is spread is lack of hygiene. WebMD says it’s spread from, “kitchen surfaces that are not kept clean, lack of hand washing procedures during food preparation, and lack of hand washing after going to the toilet or changing a baby’s diapers, are common routes for contamination and infection. A person with contaminated hands can pass the infection on to other people by touching them, or touching surfaces which others then touch.” 

Symptoms of Salmonella

  • Stomach cramps
  • Bloody stools
  • Chills
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle pains
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Take Away Message

Even if something was dropped on the floor for one second, do not eat it. Immediately after the food hits contact with he floor, it attracts bacteria. This bacteria will make you very sick. So, the next time you hear someone say, “oh you can eat it, its the 5 second rule,” stop them and inform them of the dangers it can have to your body. 


The Science Behind Dreams and Sleep

Dreams, “a succession of images, thoughts, or emotions passing through the mind during sleep,”  says Everyones had those crazy dreams, whether it be scary, funny, or just weird. I’ve always wondered how one has a dream and why?
According to PsychCentral, there are 5 stages of sleep. “Sleep does not progress through all of these stages in sequence, however. Sleep begins in Stage One and progresses into stages 2, 3, and 4. Then, after Stage Four sleep, Stages Three, then Two are repeated before going into REM sleep. Once REM is over, we usually return to Stage Two sleep. Sleep cycles through these stages approximately 4 or 5 times throughout the night.

Stage 1 

Stage one is the mid point between being awake and asleep. In this stage the muscles are still voluntary and eyes will become heavy and even roll back. During this stage, your Screen Shot 2015-10-20 at 1.58.43 PMheart rate and breathing tends to slow down. One usually does not dream during this stage, but will often make, “sudden twitches or jerks that are the last gasps of waking control before sleep takes over.”  This sleep stage lasts about 10 minute long.

Stage 2

According to American Sleep Association, during stage two, any and all eye moments stop and our “brain waves (fluctuations of electrical activity that can be measured by electrodes) become slower, with occasional bursts of rapid waves called sleep spindles.” Stage 2 is still a light sleep, but prepares you to enter into a deep sleep.

Stage 3 & 4 

Stages 3  and 4 are very similar. So, scientist just grouped them together as one. Stage 3 and 4 are considered deep sleep stages. PsychCentral says, that stage 3 consists of ,“deep, slow brain waves known as Delta Waves begin to emerge during this stage. It is a transitional period between light sleep and a very deep sleep.” They also explain that stage 4, “sometimes referred to as Delta Sleep because of the delta waves that occur during this time. Stage 4 is a deep sleep that lasts for about 30 minutes. Sleepwalking and bed-wetting typically happen at the end of Stage 4 sleep.”

Stage 5: REM 

nrem_rem_brain_activityREM, also known as Rapid Eye Movement, is where most dreams occur. According to WedMD, “usually, REM sleep happens 90 minutes after you fall asleep. The first period of REM typically lasts 10 minutes. Each of your later REM stages gets longer, and the final one may last up to an hour. Your heart rate and breathing quickens.” REM sleep is also “referred to as paradoxical sleep because, while the brain and other body systems become more active, your muscles become more relaxed, or paralyzed.”

Can you control your dreams? 

Well, according to Scientific America, we can control our dreams. Gary Schwartz, a professor of psychology and neurology at the University of Arizona told CNN, “A lucid dreamer is a person who is aware that he or she is dreaming and is able to manipulate the plot and outcome of the dream, like a video game. It is not uncommon, and in children it can happen frequently, even as an expression of creativity.”

The Mirror Experiment 

The Mirror Experiment has you, “combine the ability of an dream object to function independently with your unconscious expectations about what you look like in a dream.”

This is how you perform the experiment: “The next time you become lucid, increase your level of awareness as much as you can then seek out a mirror and look into it.”

The Mirror ExperimentRebecca Turner, gives us an example of what she found when she did this experiment. “I turn to face a mirror by the front door to see what I look like. It looks like me, but older, with messy hair and scary eyes. As if she reads my mind, the reflection starts to age rapidly and I get older and older. It’s like the scene from the original Time Machine movie, a sort of stop-motion effect. My skin wrinkles and my hair goes gray and I am haggard. I am an old lady, with my mouth wide open. Then my teeth crumble and fall out and I become a corpse! I have just sped through my life. Man that was ugly!”

Turner says she feels that the, “results, you’ll find, can sometimes be scary and alarming.”



Benefits of Playing Competitive Sports

Ever since I was a child I have always played sports. I’ve played lacrosse, field hockey, softball, and basketball. In high school I was on the field hockey team and softball team. My days revolved around sports practices and games. I loved being on a team. I really enjoyed having a group of girls that will always cheer me on. Being so involved in sports really had me think about how important it is for someone to be a a part of a competitive sports team. After extensively researching this topic, I found that sports benefit the human body in so many ways. From psychological to social to physical, sports have a beneficial affect on all of them. So, you must be wondering, how does being on a competitive sports team help the human body in all these different ways? Well, let me tell you.

Psychological Benefits

Participating in sports has a very large affect on one mental and emotion health. Jasper Smits, director of the Anxiety Research and Treatment Program at Southern Methodist University, and Michael Otto, psychology professor at Boston University, researched many experiment that study the affect of exercise on mental health. Smits and Otto found thabraint, “exercise can help reduce depression and anxiety, and can be especially beneficial to people who lack access to traditional treatments, such as drugs or counseling.” In another study, Smits found that, “After just 25 minutes, your mood improves, you are less stressed, you have more energy.”

Also, in a study done by Canadian scientists, they found that, “sixth grade students boys and girls who were more physically active had considerably higher levels of self-esteem.” They also found that “adolescents who participated in sports clubs had greater well-being, including being better socially adjusted, feeling less anxious, and generally being happier about their lives.”

Physical Benefits

Participating in sports also has a big affect on ones physical health. Wkids-playing-soccerhile participating in sports you engaging in exercise which, “controls weight by burning calories, improves the functioning of the cardiovascular system, placing a lower strain on the heart, and increases an athlete’s energy level while improving the quality of sleep.”

Also, it helps you “reduce  the risk of diseases like cardiovascular disease and diabetes, reduces the level of body fat, improves the cholesterol makeup of the athlete’s bloodstream and makes the bones and muscles stronger.” By practicing and participating in sports, one will become better with their skills in the specific sport.

Benefits of Team Sports

Being part of a sports team has a big impact on your mental health. Being part of this group that is so welcoming, allows you to meet so many new people that have common inteteamworkrests. Team sports teach athletes how to be a team player. Sportsmanship is a very good quality to have. Being on a team will teach you sportsmanship and will teach you that it is okay to lose. On a sports team a child can learn how to work hard at something they really want. They can learn that practice and hard work will make them better and get them closer to achieving their goal.

Effect on School Grades/ Test Scores

Being active in sports has a big effect on how you do in school. Exercise is proven too improve concentration in the classroom.  A man named Howell Wechsler, director of the School Health for the Centers for Disease Control,proved this accurate. He “reviewed 50 studies that examined the effect of school-based physical activity on academic performance and discovered that half of the studies showed positive assoback-to-school-537x402ciations and virtually none of the research demonstrated any negative impact.”

Another experiment found that a  “20 minute session of walking boosted children’s performance on tests of reading, spelling, and arithmetic”  (Hillman et al 2009a).

Similarly, “a recent randomized study of more than 220 school children found that kids assigned to engage in 60 minutes of daily, after-school aerobic activities performed better on tests of focus and cognitive flexibility” (Hillman et al 2014).

My Opinion

I definitely agree with the findings in these experiments. From personal experience I can say that after coming home from practice, I was always able to concentrate better and do my homework. Also, looking back at my report cards from high school, it clearly shows that during Spring and Fall I received better grades than in the winter. I played field hockey in the spring and softball in the fall. I did not play a sport in the winter. This backs up the findings that being involved in sports will be beneficial for your academic career.

Null-Hypotheis: Playing a competitive sport doesn’t benefits ones health 

Alternative Hypothesis: Playing a competitive sport benefits ones heath. 


Is it Possible to Outgrow an Allergy?

Ever since I was a little kid I was allergic to peanuts. This allergy was not anaphylactic, but I would get very intense stomach pains. Up until last year I avoided eating anything with peanuts in it. However, I went to the allergist for a check up, and they retested me for my peanut allergy. The test came back negative. It turns out that I grew out of my peanut allergy. This has got me wondering, how does one grow out of an allergy?

What causes an allergy? According to Michael Dhar, LiveScience Contributor, an allergy is “your immune system overreacting to a harmless substance. The immune system mistakenly targets pollen, pet dander or certain foods, for example, sending allergiesmolecules called immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies to orchestrate a ‘defense.’”

Doctors propose that the disappearing of allergies could be due to ones body growing used to substance.

In a recent study, scientists observed children who have peanut allergies. The research team found that “children are most likely to outgrow their peanut allergy by age six. After age 10, the chance of spontaneous resolution is much lower.” The study was conducted between 1998 and 2011 by  Dr. Anne Des Roches. She observed “202 children with peanut allergies from early childhood (18 months  or younger) to adolescence.” She regularly tested the children with “prick tests and blood tests which measured the amount of peanut IgE in their blood. IgE is the antibody that triggers the symptoms of a food allergy.”

Children at age five, whose blood tests displayed a approximately “low level of peanut IgE” were given the chance to participate in food challenges.  Ultimately, when the study was over, Des Roches concluded that “51 of the original 202 participants had outgrown their allergy, and 80 percent of the children in this group were allergy-free before age eight.” Children who outgrew their allergy were proven to have lower levels of peanut IgE in their blood. However, on the other hand, “in children who remained allergic, the amount of peanut IgE in the blallergies 1ood increased over the years.”

Personally, I feel that this experiment is very accurate. From my experiences growing out of an allergy is based on time.  You must wait it out. In the study it clearly states that as a child grows older and as time passes is it possible for them to outgrow their allergy.

However, I feel that this study could have taken the experiment a step farther. I think they should have slightly exposed the children to peanuts. This way they could become accustomed to the substance. As I said before, doctors have found that the disappearing of allergies could be due to ones body growing used to the substance. If they were exposed to peanuts, they could have tested this hypothesis.

Null-Hypothesis: One cannot outgrow an allergy. 

Alternative Hypothesis: One can outgrow an allergy.

One study I found that supports this hypothesis is a study that discovered that “70 percent of children and young adults with egg allergies could tolerate baked eggs.” To test this theory, researchers “asked these subjects to eat baked eggs every day. After about three and a half years, 64% of the subjects could eat regular eggs. Researchers say this is because the kids’ immune systems gradually adapted to the eggs.”

Also, supporting this “exposure theory” is Jonathan Spergel, chief of the Allergy Section at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. If you asked Spergel ten years ago, he would have suggested to stay away from any foods that you could possibly be allergic to. Now, after extensive research, Spergel and his colleagues have found that early exposure to suallergies 3bstances such as milk or peanuts will make your child less likely to develop an allergy to them. In a study recently published by Gideon Lack and his colleagues, they found that, “when peanuts are introduced in the first 8 months of life, children are much less likely to develop peanut allergies.”

There is no guarantee that you will definitely outgrow an allergy. However, concluding from these experiment, it seems to me that the best way to outgrow an allergy is early exposure to  the substance.



Does Caffeine Make You More Tired?

Waking upScreen Shot 2015-09-16 at 5.53.48 PM in the morning, tired and cranky, I have the urge for a cup of coffee. Every morning I wake up and drink a cup of coffee to energize me and get me started for the day. However, throughout the day, I start to feel less energized and more tired. At the end of the day I am exhausted. Could drinking coffee be making me more tired?

According to Stephen Cherniske in his book, Caffeine Blues, just one caffeinated drink will put your body on a “caffeine rollercoaster.” By this he means that when you consume caffeine, the “drug begins its effects by initiating uncontrolled neuron firing in your brain. This excess neuron activity triggers your pituitary gland to secrete a hormone that tells your adrenal glands to produce adrenalin.” Screen Shot 2015-09-16 at 5.52.00 PM

Coffee not only wakes you up, but has you craving for more. As soon as you start to feel a little drowse, you crave another cup of coffee. This is the addictive part of caffeine.

“In other words, caffeine affects your body just like any drug. You start taking it slowly, but as your body develops a tolerance to it, you need more and more to feel the same effects. Eventually, your body reaches a point where it can’t be without it; otherwise, you will start to experience withdrawal symptoms.”

This all ties back to the caffeine rollercoaster. Your body is tired in the morning but once you have a cup of coffee you are energized. Then, you start to feel the caffeine wearing off so you drink more. This tired and non tired state of mind is a rollercoaster and ultimately makes your exhausted by the end of the day.

So, next time you are tired and feel the need for coffee. Instead, try a piece of fruit to wake you up. NOT caffeine.


Can Weather Affect Your Mood?

As I wake up this morning I look out my window. It is gloomy and raining. Getting out of my warm bed and getting ready for class is a struggle. I don’t feel like doing anything but sleeping and relaxing. On the other hand, yesterday when I woke up it was sunny and warm. I had no problem waking up and getting ready for class because I knew it was going to be a nice day outside. Is this theory true that weather can affect your mood?

One of the most known ways weather can affect your mood is called Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. “SAD is a mood disorder associated with depression and related to seasonal variations of light.  SAD affects half a million people every winter between September and April, peaking in December, January, and February.  The “Winter Blues,” a milder form of SAD, may affect even more people.”

One reason someone might develop SAD is due to the amount of sunlight they are receiving. “When we stand outside in the sun we tend to absorb light through the thin parts of our skulls and this helps to dictate our circadian rhythms.”

Screen Shot 2015-09-16 at 1.13.19 PM
Light causes many chemical reactions in the body. One chemical reaction is the termination of melatonin produced in the body. Melatonin is a “hormone made my the pineal gland, a small gland in the brain. Melatonin helps control your sleep and wake cycles.” Due to the fact that the light halts the production of melatonin, it make us more aware and energetic.

Another chemical reaction is the production of serotonin. Serotonin is “a neurotransmitter that is involved in the transmission of nerve impulses. Serotonin can trigger the release of substances in the blood vessels of the brain. Serotonin is also key to mood regulation; pain perception; gastrointestinal function, including perception of hunger and satiety; and other physical functions.” Since light helps produce more serotonin, it causes you to feel healthy and pleasurable.

This conclusion shows that its not the temperature that affects ones mood, rather its the amount of light. So, even on a very cold but sunny day, a persons mood will be better than on a hot but cloudy day.


Are Humans Addicted to Their Cell Phones?

Addiction: the uncontrolled use of a habit-forming drug or uncontrolled and unhealthy behavior (such as video-game playing or phone texting). It results from an illness
triggered by brain changes that occur after using some drugs or after engaging in some iphoneextremely pleasurable activities.”

For my 12th birthday I got a cell phone. I was so excited to now be able to text all my friends! I was instantly obsessed. I would never put it down or leave anywhere without it. Lately, cell phones have been causing more problems, such as texting and driving. This has made me wonder, are humans actually addicted to their phones?

After extensively researching this topic, there was one fact that really stuck in my mind. This fact is that “the average college student uses a smartphone for about nine hours each day.” This blew my mind. This nine hours could be used to study, exercise, or socialize with friends. Why are we waisting these hours burying our heads in our phones scanning social media.

According to David Greenfield, a West Hartford, Connecticut psychologist, cell phones are “psychoactive.” Psychoactive means that they, “alter mood and often trigger enjoyable feelings.” People are wanting this boost in their mood, so they are beginning to become addicted to their phones. cell phone

This cell phone addiction is very bad for ones health. Cell phones not only distract you, but th
ey give off radiation. Radiation can cause many health problems such as cancer.

This article has open my eyes. Now, I will be conscious as to how often I am on my phone.


Are We Alone?

Something that has always crossed my mind is, if there were aliens? Could there be another species just like humans living on another planet? What would they look like?

There is no evidence found yet that directly proves life on other planets, however, scientists are finding bits and pieces of evidence that is making it seem very likely. 

blog post pic 1According to Matt Mountain, a scientist at the Space Telescope Science Institute, ”what we didn’t know five years ago is that perhaps 10 to 20 percent of stars around us have Earth-size planets in the habitable zone.”

The habitable zone is defined as, “the orbital region around a star in which an Earth-like planet can possess liquid water on its surface and possibly support life.” This means that there are a lot of planets that have the ability to support life. Scientists are researching various planets to try and find any sort of evidence. 

There are many habitable zones. For example, “oceans of liquid water slosh beneath the icy shells of the Jupiter moons Europa and Ganymede, as well as that of the Saturn satellite Enceladus.”

blog post pic 2Sources: this data, I believe that the discovery of extraterrestrial life is in the near future.


The Health Benefits of Having a Pet

Dogs are known to be a mans best friend. But I can easily argue that they can be a girls best friend too. I have grown up with a dog my whole life and everyone around me had a dog. Whenever I get home from a long day, I can always count on my dog to run up to me and give me love. Something that has always crossed my mind is if there are health benefit to having a pet? Does having a pet increase your happiness?

According to research, “Over 71 million American households (62%) have a pet, and most people think of their pets as members of the family.  Some research studies have found that people who have a pet have healthier hearts, stay home sick less often, make fewer visits to the doctor, get more exercise, and are less depressed.  Pets may also have a significant impact on allergies, asthma, social support, and social interactions with other people.”
Screen Shot 2015-09-09 at 4.13.51 PM

Also,  a big idea they have found is that pets reduce anxiety, especially in children. For example, “one study measured blood pressure, heart rate, and behavioral distress in healthy children aged 3 to 6 at two different doctor visits for routine physicals.  At one visit a dog (unrelated to the child) was present in the room and at the other visit the dog was absent.  When the dog was present, children had lower blood pressure measures, lower heart rates, and less behavioral distress.”

This shows the correlation that an animals presence has with the anxiety of a child. The study revealed that when animals are present it can calm a child down and make them feel less overwhelmed.

Finally, pets increase social interaction. For example walking your dog, gives you the opportunity to socialize with others and not isolate yourself in your house.

So, after reviewing this research, I would like to conclude that pets do have a positive affect on a humans happiness and can increase a persons health.


Hi everyone! My name is Sydney Moskowitz and I am a freshman from Potomac, MD. I am currently enrolled in DUS but I plan on majoring in Human Development and Family Studies. I really love playing sports! In high school I was on the field hockey and softball team. Penn State has been so much fun and I’ve only been here for a week! I cant wait to get involved on campus, especially with Thon!

Science is not my strong subject so I am taking this course because it is for non-science majors and because it fulfills my Gen Ed requirement. However, I am very interested in many of the topics we will discuss over the course of the semester.

This is a picture of my dog.