Author Archives: Yu-ting Chien

Does drinking milk make you grow taller?

When I was in the primary school, my parents always asked me to drink milk every morning. They insist that drinking milk can make us grow taller. Until now, I do not know whether it works for me. But, my parents still force my brother to drink milk every day. I did not see I am wondering whether it is true.


Studies in the United States and Denmark found that “children who drink three or more servings of milk per day between the ages of 2 and 4 years seem to grow taller than those who do not “. This study is observational and it is possible that the chance still exist in this study. Besides, the study limited the age of people to 2 to 4 years old. What I have noticed is that being taller when a person is young does not mean that he or she will be still tall in the future. But since this study did not provide too many details, I may not say whether it is reliable. I am bringing this study to show that this theory had become a common sense among people.


Therefore, I found another study. The data of this study was collected from 664 male and female middle school and high school students aged from 15 to 17 years Korean adolescents. The purpose of this study is to find out the correlation between consumption of milk or milk products and physical growth and bone mineral density. People are also divided into three groups according to the tertiles: Q1 group (lower intake group), Q2 group (middle intake group) and Q3 group (upper intake group).  “The daily calcium intakes of milk and milk products were 16.2 mg/day in the Q1 group, 99.7 mg/day in the Q2 group, and 284.0 mg/day in the Q3 group.” The results show that the average height was 170.5 cam in males and 159.8cm in females.

(You can see the methods and figures from the link).


This study is experimental and is more reliable than the first one. It proved that there is correlation between the consumption of milk and physical growth. It improves calcium intake and bone health afterwards. This experiment show that milk do have positive impact to the growth of teenagers. So, I believe that what my parents doing now is correct. It does not mean that drinking milk must make you grow taller! It still depends on different since third variable still exists.

Cat people vs. Dog people

My mom has kept a cat as her pet since I was six years old. When I was eight, my dad decided to have a dog. Their pets have brought me joys and frustrations. During the years I spent with my parents’ pets, I sometimes had a strange feeling that cats and dogs somehow represent their owners’ personalities. It is obvious to me that my mother is a completely different person to my father. Recently I started doing some researches about the differences between people like cats and people like dogs.

Dog and Cat above white banner looking at camera

Dog and Cat above white banner looking at camera

First thing that I found interesting from the research was that there are more people prefer dogs. Research show that “about six percent more US households own dogs than own cats”. A common similarity among them is that they are mostly out-going people. So is my father. He is very talkative, even to the strangers. This research have shown that dog people are more likely to be good at socializing than cat people. In comparison, my mother barely talks to strangers. She behaves as quietly as a cat does.

Although my father is better at socializing, which applies to the dog people, my mother definitely has better control of her emotions. Actually most of cat people control their emotions well! They don’t get angered by little issues easily and they can often figure out things in organized ways. Dog people are different. According to the research, they tend to show their emotions instantly after they feel them. For example, my father never hides his happiness or sorrow. We know what’s in his mind just by looking at him.

Next I found out that dog people are more dependent, which means they like to rely on others more than cat people do. Whenever my dad and I went out for dinner without my mother, she makes her own dinner. But when I have dinner with my mother and leave my father home, he would always go out to the restaurant and complain about eating alone. Cat people are more independent according to not only my experience but also to some surveys. Many researchers indicated that most cat people accept living without companies. They prefer quiet and private space.

This study is observational and it cannot prove that every dog people and cat people are sharing those personality. Besides, third variable still exist such as chance. One thing I have noticed is that this study does not rule out the possibility of reverse causation. In conclusion, it is still an interesting observation. Whether keeping dogs or cats as pets has a correlation to owners’ personalities still need to be examine in the future studies.



Wake up early and enjoy the breakfast!

Since I don’t have any morning classes, I sleep over the whole morning. People keep saying that eating breakfast is extremely important. Even during the summer vacation, I don’t have the habit of eating breakfast. Recently, I have been trying to get up early and have breakfast. I found that I get much more energetic after having breakfast.


Breakfast is the most important meal in a day. It provides the energy we need in the morning. There is a research shows that skipping breakfast results in weight gain. Because people who skip breakfast feel hungry before the next meal, they tend to eat more in the next meal. Or they will find something that contain a lot of calories to eat as sneak. There is also a theory claim that  eating breakfast can make you perform better during the day.


Despite of whether breakfast is important, health risk exist if we do not have breakfast. A study done by Harvard recorded nearly 27000 men for about 16 years. Men who skipped breakfast were 27% more likely to have heart attack or die because of coronary heart disease. And men who skipped breakfast are more likely to be single, smokers, employed full-time, drink more alcohol and younger. They are also less likely to have contact with people who have breakfast. So most of their friends do not eat breakfast as well.


This study is observational so it is still hard to prove that people without having breakfast must  have health risk. It is very important to have breakfast. We cannot deny that it brings lots of  benefits to us, and it also has many bad effects on our body if we skip it. Also, having breakfast with friends is very interesting. We can see what we never see before, and the beautiful views in the morning. We should all wake up and have breakfast!

Let your plants listen to music!

People keep trying to figure out the ways to make their plants grow faster or stronger. We tried to provide enough sunshine and water for them. But last week, when I bought two plants from the farmers market, my friends told me that I should play music to plants. I thought they were just kidding but I still find some information about this online. It is true! I had been published before. Some people believe playing music to plants is one of the ways to makes plants grow stronger.


Dorothy Retallack is one of the people who lead the experiments. She did the experiments many times. She play varies kinds of music to find out which kind of music can affect plants to grow better. In every experiment, she prepared three chambers with the same conditions, and the only difference is the music that played in the chambers are different. She first found out the best way to play music is play it three hours per day. And then she tried rock music, soothing music, steel drum, North Indian classical music, Bach organ music, and so on. She found out that if plants like the music, they will grow toward the speaker and grow healthier and more beautiful. On the other hand, if the plants dislike the music, they will try to “run” away from the speaker, and they will grow smaller than average, and most likely have shorter lifespan.


Doing experiments several times might reduce the mistakes. I think this experiment is reliable, because she had most of the variables controlled, and there is not much lurking variable left. She eliminated the third variable by doing this experiment. In the description I found, there is not much details about variables other than the music, but if she is famous researcher, her chambers should be identical.


Besides, scientists have study whether there is communication among plants. It was a study placed in a remote school and they “played classical music for several months for tomato and potato plants until the day of harvest”. They compare these plants to those plants grow without music. The result shows that music can make the plants grow stronger.


This study seems to be reliable but the third variable might exist, which has an impact to the growth of the plants. But overall, from the studies above, there are correlation between playing the music to plants and the growth of the plants. As a good plant owner, it is not bad to treat your plants as a human. Play the music for your plants!


Why do twins understand each other?

There are many twins around me. They often talk at the same time and it really surprised me. It seems that they can understand each other’s minds. They seem to have some connections between them, which others can never understand.

Beautiful redheaded twin babies under blanket

Beautiful redheaded twin babies under blanket

People call that “twin language”. Sometimes in movies, there would be a type of language which belongs to a secret agency that only the agents understand the language. The same thing applies to twins babies. According to the research, as baby twins develop their ability of talking, they tend to put random words together to represent something that they would understand but others don’t. These words seem to be the tool, similar to codes, for twins to communicate with each other. Although they have their own language, only a small percentage of twins have trouble talking in real English with their parents or other people. Most of them have the ability to switch back and forth between their “twin language” and social language.


According to the research above, there are some correlation between twins and twin language. But correlation does not equal to causation. Being twins does not mean that all of them have twin language. This research is observational so that sometimes it might due to chance. It is also possible that two people stay together for a long time so that tacit understanding is cultivated. We can also see something like twin language between people who are not twins.


Overall, large placebo experiment might need to be done to understand the correlation between twins. It is still possible that twins have a “second language” between them.

Does hard water cause Hair loss?

Since I came to the United States, I lost a lot of hair every time I took a shower. It worried me for a long time. I thought there might be some correlation between the quality of the water and hair loss. The water we use to take a shower in the United States is hard water, and the water we use in my hometown is soft water. Hard water is “water that contains magnesium, calcium, or iron salts and therefore forms a soap lather with difficulty.” Soft water is “natural or treated water that does not contain a significant amount of dissolved minerals such as compounds of calcium or magnesium.” Some people, like me, believe that hard water directly cause hair loss. However, some other people, even some scientists consider that there are no evidence to prove that hard water can cause hair loss.

Portrait of a young woman brushing her hair, close up (studio)

Portrait of a young woman brushing her hair, close up (studio)

As mentioned above, hard water contains mineral contents. I have tried to find some research about whether hard water can actually cause hair loss. It seemed that people just believe hard water is harmful without valid evidence. The research indicated that “Because of its large mineral composition, hard water could make the hair appear dull and make the strands wear out. When the hair ruptures near the scalp, it may look like your hair is receding at an accelerated rate.” Because of the negative aspects of hard water, people tend to believe that hard water can cause hair loss. Other  hypothesis had been rejected before any research. Many experts had said that it is still uncertain.

Here are two experts discussing their opinions about hair loss. They both insist that there are no evidence prove that hard water can cause hair loss or hair breakage. However, they think that the minerals in hard water make our hair feel different. It is probably that what we feel different makes us believe that hair loss is due to hard water.

Hard water might or might not cause hair loss. It is still a problem that need to be study in the future. We cannot control the water quality we use when we wash hair. It would be better to go to the doctor and ask the real reasons of hair loss.


Is it good or bad to have plants in the bedrooms?

Many people love to have plants at home. People might place them on the balcony, in the living room or even in the bedroom. Placing plants in the house always provide a suitable and relaxing environment to people. However, recently, some information  indicate that where the plants are placed is actually important and some people also believe that it is bad to place plants in the bedroom. Is that true?




Whether to put plants in the bedroom is actually still a controversial issue. Dr. Mao suggested people to remove the plants from the bedroom when people are sleeping. He said that there is no light at night and cannot enable plants to process photosynthesis. Instead, most plants “reverse the process of photosynthesis and breathe”. It means that plants consume carbohydrates and oxygen and produce carbon dioxide and water. He pointed out that it would be better to remove the plants to the living and working place, such as kitchen.


When we were in the middle school, teachers taught us that plants are processing in photosynthesis, which produces oxygen, and respiration, which produces carbon dioxide. The process of photosynthesis can only process under the sunlight, which mean that photosynthesis stops at night. Therefore, plants stop producing oxygen and instead, they consume oxygen to process respiration. Due to this statement, many  people considered that plants will consume the oxygen in the bedroom if we put them there and thus believe that it is better to remove the plants in the bedroom. However, according to Danit Brown, he argued that plants, which consumed such a little amount of oxygen, is not a big deal to the people who sleep in the bedroom. Besides, Mr. Matthew Green also claimed that placing plants in the bedroom consumed far less oxygen which may not have huge impact to human beings.


So, there are still no directly evidence to prove that putting plants in the bedroom can cause negative impacts to people. People still have different views about it. Hopefully, in the future, there will be some solid evidence to prove that whether it is harmful to put plants in the bedroom.



How does singing affect our body function?

Recently, I saw a lot of information online which claim that singing can help people lose weight. It seemed to be unbelievable. However, singing, as a leisure activity, actually has some impacts to our health, not only to the weight, but also to the body function.

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Whether singing can help lose weight is still a controversial issue. There was a  research indicated that singing cannot burn as much calories as running or gym workout, but “singing standing up will burn a number of calories comparable to walking, yoga or light housework.” It also showed that how much calories burned depends the weight of each individual and the intensity of the movement. However, another small studies indicated that although singing can bring cardiovascular benefits, it is unlikely to lose weight. Besides, there was a study even claimed that singing may incline to weight gain.


On the other hand, singing do affects people’s body function. A study of four singers, which was done in 2006, concentrated on how the specific muscle groups and body zones reacted in operatic singing after training for three semesters. It “measured lung volume and rib cage and abdominal expansion”. The results showed that “respiratory system is highly responsive to vocal training over even a short period”. Moreover, there was a study, which is done by the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, indicated that singers’ heartbeats synchronize as they harmonize and made the entire room of musicians relaxed finally. This result showed that singing can not only affect the heartbeats of the singers, but also affect the people around the singers. According to these studies, we can see that there is a correlation between singing and our body function.


No matter whether singing can help people lose weight, singing is still one of the ways for people to release stress. From the studies above, singing might help people burn calories. Besides, it also affects our respiratory system and other body function. Start singing now!





Skim Milk versus Whole Milk

Nowadays, women pay much more attention to their body shapes and they always try to control their weight. As a girl, I care about my weight as well and I always try to find some information about the ways to lose weight. One of the information I have noticed was about the type of milk we drink. There are a lot of information suggest that people, who wants to lose weight, should drink skim milk instead of whole milk. However, my aunt told me not to buy skim milk because it is not good for health. I started to think whether it is true since a lot of the information online suggest us to consume skim milk.


We can always hear that drinking skim milk can let us obtain the nutrition without ingesting so many calories, when compared with drinking whole milk. Girls always believe this statement because the word “skim” makes people believe that without doubting. However, according to Dr. Mario Kratz, “In terms of obesity, we found no support for the notion that low-fat dairy is healthier”. In the studies, 18 out of 25 showed that full-fat dairy consumers had lower body weights, less weight gain, or a lower risk for obesity. As reported, we can see that consuming full-fat milk does not directly make our weights gain. Besides, Dr. Mario Kratz also claimed that even “the other seven studies are inconclusive, none of the research showed low-fat dairy is better”.


Moreover, people usually drink milk to obtain some nutrition. According to the research, it is unavoidable to remove some substances, such as Vitamins A and D, when removing the fat in the skim milk. However, it does not mean that there are no nutrition contained in the skim milk. Whether to choose skim milk or whole milk actually depends on the individuals since people have different tastes. But it is still interesting to notice that skim milk cannot help people to lose weight. Instead, it contains fewer nutrition than the whole milk.




Do you feel sleepy when you sleep too much?

How long do you sleep every day? Do you feel sleepy when you stay up late to review for your exam and get up early the next day? Sure, of course. But, do you have this kind of experience that you feel sleepy and groggy when you sleep too much? I do. We all know that we feel drowsy if we do not have enough sleep time. But is it possible for us to feel drowsy if we sleep too much?


A study suggested that seven and a half to nine hours of sleep every night is required for most of the healthy adults to function at their best. Therefore, what if people spend more than 10 hours sleeping? Are they refreshing after sleep for more than 10 hours? The answer is no. Here is my personal experience, during the summer vocation, I slept 11 hours every day. Each time I woke up, I felt drowsy and even headache. This actually happens. Dr. Lisa Shives, medical director at Northshore Sleep Medicine in Evanston, Illinois, indicated that when an individual hovers within sleep and wakefulness, it is called sleep drunkenness. It makes people feel groggy after sleep too much time. Feeling groggy makes people lazy and feel sleepy. That is why we always feel sleepy when oversleeping.


Besides, researchers said that oversleeping has impact to the certain neurotransmitters in the brain, including serotonin. Therefore, people might have headache when they wake up after they sleep too much.


To sum up, it is important to notice that having too little time sleeping makes people feel slouching while having too much time sleeping also causes sleepy, drowsy and groggy. It has physical side effects to our health, such as causing obesity and back pain. Sleeping is one of the factors that affect our health. What we should do is to control the time we sleep so that we can make our body function works better.


Does the rate of ingestion affect your health?

Have you ever felt uncomfortably full after finishing your meals? Have you ever realized that you eat too much after eating all the food on the plates? To be honest, I have. My parents always tell me that it is unacceptable to waste food. Therefore, finishing all the food on my plate had become one of my habits today. However, during recent years, I have found that I always felt too full after the meals, no matter in a fast food restaurant or a fine dining restaurant. It seems that it always take some time for me to realize that I am already full.


Eating healthier has become one of the most important things that people pay attention to. However, it is also necessary to realize that our rate of ingestion can affect our health as well. The research indicated that as the stomach fills with food or water, the stretch receptors in the stomach will be activated and send signals though the vagus nerve, which connects gut and brainstem, to the brain. “Hormonal signals are released as partially digested food enters the small intestine. ” Besides, this research also claimed that this hormonal cross-talk system takes time to work, and as people eat too fast, this system may not have eat time to work. It means that people may not realize that they are already full when the eat too quickly. Therefore, people always feel uncomfortable after eating too quickly.


How fast we eat can actually cause obesity and thus affect our health. Nowadays, there are still a lot of people ignore doing exercise although they want to be healthier. Everyone says they are too busy to do exercise. Since they are too busy, they often try to minimize the time they spend on eating and having meals, thus, eat quickly. According to a previous Japanese research, wolfing down meals can actually double the possibility of being obese. One of the health problems that Americans are facing now is obesity. Eating too fast affects the way our stomachs work, and impose burdens to our stomach. This may bring further health problems in the future. According to the research, women aged between 40 and 50 who eat fastest had higher possibility to become obese than those who eat slowly. We cannot say that eating too fast is the only reason that causes obesity, but there are correlation between them.


Overall, it is really important to notice this problem, since it actually affect our health. It does not mean that eat slower can help us lose weight, however, eat too fast actually has a negative impact to our health.


Initial Blog Post

Hi everyone! My name is Jocelyn Chien and I am from Taiwan. It is not my first time to live in a country which is far away from my hometown, but I enjoy the life at Penn State.


I am a freshman and I am major in Hospitality management. I am interested in hospitality management because I really want to train myself to talk more and to know more people. Besides, I would like to learn skills about managing. The reason for me to take SC 200 was because my advisor recommended for me and this course fulfilled my general education requirement. To be honest, I am not good at science classes and that is why I am not planning to be a science major. However, I still hope that taking this course can let me explore the knowledge I had never learned.


Besides, I would like to show some pictures of Taiwan. The food and fruits there are amazing.  The picture below shows  the most famous building in Taiwan called Taipei 101 and if you want to know more about this building, you can click Here. It is also fantastic to see the views from Taipei 101. Hope you can visit there in the future.