Daily Archives: October 11, 2016

Is breakfast the most important meal of the day?

Ever since I was a child, when I would willingly wake up at 7 o’clock in the morning, my mother always told me to “eat my breakfast, it’s the most important meal of the day.” I never really questioned her, I mean I was a child. But this idea of breakfast being the most important meal of the day was blasted everywhere. I saw it in school, on television, and especially around caring parents. But now I finally question it, for why would this meal be more important than any other meal? Aren’t they all just sources of calories needed for everyday energy?

So, what is the evidence that breakfast is most important?


Picture Source

We must first establish what we mean when we refer to “importance”. When talking about food, we look to the digestive system. Food gives us energy to take on the day, but overconsumption can lead to weight gain and under-consumption can lead to weight loss. When we look at the response variable of weight within the changes in the digestive system, what is happening with our metabolisms is what causes such changes.

There is popular belief that eating breakfast, rather than not eating, boosts and regulates your metabolism. Metabolism is the process of turning food into energy and waste. By boosting your metabolism, you are able to convert more calories into energy, in a way thought to assist you in losing weight, if that is your goal. However, in a recent study completed by the University of Bath in London, they have concluded otherwise. 33 volunteer participants were randomized in the study, to compare Body Mass and cardiovascular indexes between the two groups of “breakfast eaters” and “breakfast skippers”. Based on the results, neither group showed significant findings, as there was not a great enough change in body mass to affect resting metabolism. Although, eating breakfast did cause more activity of thermogenesis within the body. However, we can only conclude based on this study, that people in London have no change in body mass depended on whether or not they eat breakfast. We also cannot conclude that losing weight is any healthier than gaining weight.

Another belief is that breakfast prevents one from over eating later on in the day. This belief is countered, because it has been found that it is what is in the breakfast that will prevent one from overeating later on. In another study completed by The Obesity Society, 57 participants were randomized and split into 3 groups, either eating a high protein breakfast, relatively normal protein breakfast, or no breakfast at all. This test was completed over 12 weeks. To examine hunger, they assessed future intake and ending body weight. The high protein diet prevented the participants from gaining fat mass and reduced consumption (in calories) daily.


Picture Source

This goes to show that breakfast is just a time to eat. Our weight is dependent on total calorie intake versus expenditure. Eating vs. not eating breakfast does not mean you will consume less later, and it is now recommended to eat when you are hungry, but in moderation, as three-core meals now make one feel obligated to get all the calories in at once. Rather, we should place importance on the content of our food. High protein diets show a decrease in overall consumption, benefitting those that want to consume less every day. If one tends to eat more calorie filled carbohydrates and fatty foods instead of protein and nutrient rich food, not only will they tend to eat more, but their body indexes will take a turn for the worse.

As a college student, I now do not feel obligated to eat breakfast, especially since I am not really hungry in the morning. I would rather eat when I am hungry, or when there is a need for energy, instead of forcing food down my throat because of popular belief. We can conclude that breakfast is not the most important meal of the day, as no meals really are. All meals are the same, simply times to take in calories. When we go to the commons for food, we should eat for the nutrition, not for the timing. Otherwise, I’ll be forcing senseless carbs of donuts, muffins, and French toast sticks in my stomach.






Dangers at the Gym

During my run at the gym today, I couldn’t help but notice the poor sanitation system our school acquired for cleaning the machines at the gym. I watched as students quickly walked over to the cleaning station, squirted the spray bottle once onto an already sweat-soaked rag, and quickly and carelessly wiped down their machine. After seeing that, I couldn’t help but wonder what germs were left on my machine – and if any had been actually killed at all.

I know we learned from class that germs like to live in damp, dark places, so I knew that the damp navy blue towels had to be crawling with germs. But what kind of germs? And does the disinfecting spray that we use actually kill all the germs found on the machines?


An image of Staph bacteria

Time to do some research.

Although our gym doesn’t list what is in the spray bottles, I’m assuming that it contains some sort of ammonia mixture or some other common disinfectant (by the smell of it, I knew it couldn’t be bleach, and it smells like regular household cleaner). So, since I couldn’t find any information on what our gyms actually use, for the sake of argument, I’m going to write this blog as if the cleaner contains some amount of ammonia, like most do.

According to this website, ammonia works by taking a proton from water (H2o), and leaving the hydroxyl ion in water so only OH- is left. Since they each have a positive and negative charge, they attract each other, creating a base that can react with oils and fats. This base then can remove the oils and fats when used as a cleaning agent with a towel. Thus, since I know our sweat consists of generous amounts of oil, it’s successful in cleaning most of it up.

Ammonia you could buy in the store

Ammonia you could buy in the store

So, now that we know how ammonia works, I wanted to see what it actually is working to kill. I found a source that lists the most common germs found at the gym, including staphylococcus, E. coli, yeast, and fungi.

I think most of us are familiar with staphylococcus, commonly known as a “Staph infection.” Since most of us are familiar with this form of bacteria, I researched it in greater depth. According to the University of Chicago Medical Center, the Staph bacteria is carried in 25-30% of healthy people (just the harmless bacteria, before it causes an infection), and it is      one of the most prevalent skin infections we can have. Staph can be attained by using mats that have been used by other people, using showers without shower shoes, or by touching your nose, eyes, or mouth after touching an unclean piece of equipment.

Out of the sources we have looked at so far, it is recommend that using bleach is the best way to kill the staph infection, and using sanitizers (such as the one we have at our gym), only will reduce the number of germs, not get rid of them entirely.

However, I wouldn’t fret too much. Although the towel method is inefficient (since we are basically wiping a machine with a dirty rag), you can still prevent getting sick. Staph Infections usually only occur if you have an open wound, or if you are constantly touching your eyes and nose while you’re working out.

Gotta catch 'em all (the germs)

Gotta catch ’em all (the germs)

My recommendations for you, so you don’t obtain Staph or other germs found in our gym, is to take a shower as soon as you are done working out, limit the amount of time you are touching your face, and, in order for the sanitizer to be most effective, try cleaning your machine before you work out and make sure you allow it to completely air dry before you begin your workout.


Is it the Cause?


Recently, I have dealt with tragedy in my life with a close friend committing suicide. Now, this is not a blog about my friend’s story, but it is merely the topic that lead to my thought process. It is insane to think that a middle school student could have suicidal thoughts and go through with committing suicide without even giving a reason. This unexplained death left a lot of questions whirling through my mind. One major question I came up with was:

Is Bullying Really the Reason for Youth Suicide?

After my friend’s suicide, there was talk that she had been being bullied, but what kind of abuse was she taking from others? Was the bullying verbal or physical? Was the person making her feel bad all day everyday? How did she hide this pain behind a smile on a daily basis?

I think it would be interesting to examine people who have dealt with suicidal thoughts or with families and friends of loved ones that committed suicide to find out if any type of bullying lead their loved one to take his or her own life. This could be done as an observational study to really get a behind the scenes look at people with this bullying problem. I think it would be effective to do the study by keeping the people being observed blinded to the experiment. This would be beneficial because they would be less likely to make up reasons as to why issues were occurring for the sake of people not knowing what was actually going on in their personal lives. However, lying or getting people that are very good at hiding things could be confounders in the study as well as background information like someone’s home life. For example, someone may be getting bullied which seems to be the reason they are suicidal, but in reality they are also being affected by a negative atmosphere at home. Another example of a confounding variable is, if someone was bullied but also had a terminal illness, their cause of suicide could have more so been from the illness than the actual bullying itself.

Questioning people and finding correlation data could help come up with an answer as to whether bullying causes young adults to commit suicide more so than other factors. When doing a study like this though, it is essential to consider each subject as an individual to eliminate other common suicide factors to ensure that you are receiving consistent data. It may be hard to do this study because it could be difficult to get participants that would be open about private matters. However, it is a study to consider.

After some research, I found that according to a nationwide survey from the CDC, it was recorded that 4,400 deaths yearly by suicide had been because of bullying with groups ranging from age 10-24. So, if bullying is said to be causing suicide, why doesn’t everyone who is bullied commit suicide then? There are people who have been bullied that have been able to stand up for themselves and not turn to suicide. This made me wonder if some people are born with suicidal thoughts from a young age which also made me believe that it may not just be the bullying, but rather they are born with something in their head making them weaker than others. After all, it takes a lot of courage to take ones own life because a non suicidal person would most likely never actually be able to pull the trigger on themselves even on their worst days.

In general, suicide of any cause is a serious problem. The smallest thing said or done to someone could seriously alter their state of being. It is never okay to judge someone in a negative way because you truly never know what they could be facing on a day to day basis. Logically, even if bullying was not the major cause of suicide in youth, it still should be prevented and stopped by the average person because it could save one or two young lives. Statistics show overwhelming numbers when it comes to death by suicide.

Other questions that came to mind after viewing the statistics were:

  1. Why is bullying increasing or decreasing in certain areas?
  2. Is technology making bullying a bigger issue?
  3. Does the area someone lives in increase their chance of being bullied?
  4. Does the type of suicidal method someone uses tell something about why they committed suicide?


No matter what the cause may be everyone should be aware that people are suffering on the inside and may need help before it is too late. Reverse causality of suicide causing these other factors to happen is not likely. These factors are leading to suicide. People need to recognize these issues and help prevent them in order to save lives.



Suicide Statistics





Are Exams the Best Form of Assessment?

I am not a good test taker. When it comes to exams, no matter how much I study or pay attention in class, nerves always seem to get the best of me and I freeze up, forgetting all the material. After several hours and hundreds of dollars spent on the best tutoring programs for SAT’s and ACT’s I still felt my scores did not accurately depict the type of student I am. I’m sure many other high school and college kids feel this way and would agree with me that other forms of assessment such as projects, presentations, and papers are better ways to test the understanding of the material.

Image result for studying memes

Image found here.

A test, by definition, is intended to measure and assess student’s knowledge on a specific subject. They are simply taken by students regurgitating facts they spent hours memorizing but not actually absorbing any of the concepts or understanding what they actually mean. Not only that, but exams don’t allow for any creativity or profound responses. Many times questions are looking for a single correct answer rather than a different outlook or idea on a certain concept. This causes students to only focus on specific exam questions rather than the topic as whole. Studies have found that in today’s society, students believe that good grades are more important than a firm understanding of the material. They have begun to study solely the information that will be tested and disregard any other information as unimportant (Brain Connection). How does this make for better learning? Memorization is not knowledge and if students cannot apply the material learned, what good it it? Simply put, exams are not true indicators of one’s intelligence and often times, limit students ability to actually comprehend the material rather than to just memorize it (Telegraph).

Image result for fish monkey trying to climb a tree


Along with not fully grasping subject concepts, tests cause unnecessary stress in students that could hinder their learning. Many times students react to stress by not sleeping, not eating, and failing to concentrate which could mean they are not paying full attention in classes. Not only is their pressure from themselves to perform well, but teachers as well who are comparing them to their peers. To many teachers, a student’s success is only relevant if it is greater than that of it’s peers. Personally, I have experienced that while an “A-” on a test may be an outstanding grade for myself, it will not be the grade recognized by my teacher if it is not the best in the class. This causes me to put additional stress on myself to do better rather than focus on my own personal achievement (Brain Connection).

A final aspect to testing, is the fact that an exam assesses the student’s knowledge on that particular day, not taking into account external factors that may play a part in the student’s performance. Such factors could include sickness, injury, or family problems. Other forms of assessment such as projects, or presentations are done over a period of time rather than on a particular day in a specific time period giving the student more flexibility for other things to arise. Additionally, exams are evaluating a student’s individual attempt rather than their growth throughout the course as a whole. I believe that improvement is something to be accounted for rather than just a grade based on a single performance (Columbia University).

Various others forms of assessment to consider that could potentially replace testing, are sampling, stealth assessments and social and emotional skills surveys. Sampling is a way of evaluating students but less frequently. Instead of standardized tests for everybody, the district could administer tests to a “statistically representative” group of students rather than to every student annually. Hence the name, “sampling’. Stealth assessments diminish the time and anxiety of regular tests. They assess the students’ knowledge over a larger amount of time such as a semester or entire year rather than a single moment. Stealth assessments are administered online through a program which allows students to continuously practice math and english. Social and emotional skills surveys measures levels of hope, engagement, and well being which are good indicators of how well a student will perform on an assessment. This is to predict future scores and G.P.A.’s through the survey results (nprED).

Is it fair to say that for some students exams may not be the best form of assessment? Based on the information above I would say yes. Testing has shown to hinder creativity and original thinking, create stress among students and teachers, and fails to consider the growth/ improvement of the student as a whole. Overall, there are several other forms of assessments that could potentially be better suited to wider range of students that should be considered.





Benefits of Yoga

I have been a big advocate of yoga for awhile now.  There are many different types such as vinyasa, hatha, or even fitness yoga for a better workout. I was never a very athletic person but always found yoga to be a great workout. It was not too strenuous of a workout but for some reason I always left feeling refreshed and better than I did before. Harvard University Medical School decided to look into the benefits of yoga and published a series of articles discussing the positive effects of yoga on the mind as well as the body. The first article describes how yoga can improve body image. I can agree with this because practicing yoga, even for a short period of time, helps me feel more in touch with both my mind and my body. Besides helping feeling a connection to the body, helps with body image because yoga promotes mindfulness in everyday life which transfers over to eating habits. People become aware of what they are putting in their bodies, and this results to healthier eating and weight loss. Although yoga did not change my eating habits I agree with the idea given by the article. In yoga we are taught to be good to our body and eating junk food is not recommended. Yoga did, however, make me more aware of how I was overeating. The second article  by Harvard Medical School goes more into depth about the health benefits. It describes how practicing yoga can decrease chances of heart disease, improve cardiovascular health, and lower blood pressure. One of the main components of yoga is meditation and relaxation. This helps to lower of blood pressure as well as cholesterol which can lead to a lessened chance of cardiovascular diseases. This is proven by a study done by the author of the second article. After participating in yoga classes on average it was found people lower cholesterol by 12 points and blood pressure by 5 points (Harvard Medical School). In an article from the Huffington Post, it was found that just 20 minutes of yoga can improve memory and strengthen the brain. This was shown in a study done by the University of Illinois. Thirty female students participated in a yoga class and were tested, then took a aerobic workout class and were tested again. The students were found to do better on the test after yoga, with better focus and a higher accuracy rate.

Yoga is not just a form of stretching. Yoga is a workout for both the mind and the body. It helps you feel relaxed and calm in everyday life. This calmness results in the lowering of stress and blood pressure. Instead of taking various medications and going to doctors, yoga has the same or even better effect. It turns into a workout I actually look forward to. Related to how we learned about prayer healing people, many are skeptical about the benefits of yoga. But it has helped me and many others have a more positive view of ourselves and the world around us.





More than a stretch: Yoga’s benefits may extend to the heart



Throughout everyone’s life we all reach high and low points of being overwhelmed. Whether its from school work, family life, expectations, or employment, we have all been there. At times it can be hard to handle and can make us want to stop whatever we are doing, but other times it can push us to our limit to get done what is causing the stress. When I am stressed it makes me want to either sleep, workout, or just struggle through whatever it is that may be making me stressed. As I looked into stress for this blog I discovered that there are multiple forms of stress not just one overwhelming feeling we wish would go away.

Most of the time, we consider stress to be a negative thing brought about to us, but in certain situations it can come from positive occurrences. According to the psychologist’s in this article there are three major types of stress: acute stress, episodic stress, and chronic stress.

Acute stress is one of the most common forms because it is caused by what goes on in daily life. It is considered “acute” because it usually only occurs for a short period of time. It can bring excitement and jitters inside because it usually comes when we are worried about something that is considered exciting. The example the article used is riding a roller coaster because you are scared about the risks but at the same time are extremely thrilled to be riding it. Short period feelings of anger or anxiety can be considered acute stress. The physical follow-up problems along with this can be something as little as a headache and can range to dizziness or heart palpitations. Episodic stress is basically a continuous version of acute stress. This usually occurs if you are the type of person that likes to please everyone and everything so you put a lot on your plate until its unattainable. This type of stress comes along with longer periods of anxiety or worries than acute stress and can lead to more serious problems such as heart diseases. Chronic stress is very much different than acute stress and can be a lot riskier. This comes about from much larger conflicts rather than lots of homework, it is more like worries about bills, marriage, extreme illnesses, or politics. This type of stress does not necessarily go away and it can be health damaging and can sometimes result in self harm, PTSD, stroke, or heart attack. Some symptoms of chronic stress are pounding heart, stomache/ headaches, tension, difficulty it attention span and sleep.

At times, it seems as if your stressors are impossible to beat but it is important to know what is causing your brain the stress in the first place. It is difficult to stop acute stress because it is so commonly brought about and goes away so quickly. The best way to stop episodic stress is to learn how to say no to certain tasks and know your limits. And for chronic stress try to fix the situation when it is small and obtainable before it becomes life threatening.



Working with Music

screen-shot-2016-10-11-at-4-55-28-pm Image Found Here!

Class Test 2. We all saw the results during class on October 11. The grades were not all that impressive. Maybe you’re wondering how you can improve your grade for next time. Reflect: were you listening to music while you took the test?

Class Test 1. I took this test in complete silence in the library. I scored a decent grade, but I know I could’ve done better.

Class Test 2. I took this in my dorm room.

I live in a supplemental dorm with six other roommates. At times, I love it. At other times, I get a little frustrated. I love my roommates, but it was as if they conspired against me while I took this test. All of them were in the room at the same time, which is actually pretty rare. One was FaceTiming her friend and hysterically laughing. Another was watching a movie on her laptop without headphones in. A set of two were having a conversation and painting their nails on the floor. One was doing laundry and chores and talking on the phone simultaneously, and the last was heating up food, and the microwave was beeping and I heard crunching and chewing and shuffling. I hardly ever listen to music while I study or do work, but that was what I had to resort to so I could block out the sound; so I wouldn’t have to leave my room (I was feeling a bit lazy, okay?).

I ended up scoring an amazing score on Class Test 2! I was shocked. With all of these distractions masked by another distraction, my super loud music, I actually scored better on the test. I was mind blown!

Is listening to music beneficial to your studies?

My hypothesis is that my improved score was due to confounding variables or that my better score was due to chance. I normal cannot focus when I have music on.

A study I came across on Wiley Online Library, summarized also by Sheela Doraiswamy, suggests that my notion was correct. Music and background noise are actually distractions and do not improve test grades.

In this experiment, students were given tests where there were various background-noise circumstances. They took the tests in silence, a place in which there was a repeated word over and over and over again in the background, one where there was normal conversation occurring in the background, one where music the student liked was played in the background, and one where music the student disliked was played in the background.

The worst scores came from the place in which there was regular background conversation or with music (both music they liked and music they didn’t). So, assuming the results of the study imply causation, I guess I wasn’t really helping myself out when I switched from the distraction of my roommates to the distraction of my own music.

The students received the highest scores when one word was repeated over and over in the background, or when they were in complete science.

Perhaps the reason that I did better on Class Test 2 was because of confounding variables or chance after all, based on this study. I am certain that I spent much more time and was a bit more meticulous when answering questions on Class Test 2, attempting to improve from Class Test 1. For some reason, the music wasn’t damaging to my grade. I am certain the music was distracting me, though: once in a while, I caught myself zoning out and singing along to myself. If a song I didn’t like came on, I would skip through my music until I found a song I wanted to hear, and then it would take me a few minutes to re-focus on the test.

So based on the correlations of these studies and ignoring the strangeness of the incidence here where I did better on Class Test 2, you might want to try to take the next test in silence! Putting in more effort and taking the test where there are no distractions will probably get you a higher grade.

I Hate the Sound of Chewing. Am I a Creative Genius?

Ever since I can remember, I have absolutely hated the sound of chewing. Even as a child, I would throw temper tantrums if I heard my parents chewing. Most of the fights in my household sparked around dinner time when I was forced to sit near the sound. In addition to chewing, I also cannot focus during class if I hear coughing. I can’t even focus if I hear nose-blowing. When I take tests in lecture halls, I wear earplugs.

Am I an oversensitive brat? Maybe. Am I a creative genius? Also, maybe.

I was absolutely shocked when I saw an article claiming that having Misophonia, the hatred of sound, could mean you are also some kind of inventive prodigy. Before I looked through the article, I tried to think of how this could possibly make any sense. How could hating the sound of chewing imply that I am creative?

What could this mean? Hatred of chewing causes heightened creativity? Hatred of chewing is positively correlated with creativity?

I could think of absolutely no mechanisms, no third variables, and simply no direct explanations for why my hatred of subtle sounds is in any way connected to creativity.

After researching, I have a clearer understanding of how this could be possible.

While it may not be my actual hatred for chewing that connects to creativity, it is the fact that I even notice the sound in the first place that indicates a difference in my brain. The heightened sensitivity may indicate that I am physically unable to block out extra sounds, indicating something about my brain’s filter of information.

All of this connects to an in-depth study called Neuropsychologia conducted by Northwestern University. The study focuses on sensory gating, a process in our brain that blocks out unnecessary stimuli from the environment. The study encompasses 97 participants between the ages of 18 and 30. Participants were tested to check for any brain issues, injuries, smoking, or drinking history.

The study even went as far as to clarify that all participants were right-handed Caucasians. I don’t really know why. I just find it was interesting that they shared this with the public when most studies wouldn’t care to mention subtle things that are most likely unrelated to the situation at hand. While this may be seen as a bad selection of participants considering it is not completely random, the study does not have to do with race or dominant hands. Although, one could argue that different races or lefties are more creative than the test group through studies. However, in this case, doesn’t that help the study’s control? This could be one possible flaw in the study, but I don’t see anything detrimentally wrong with it.

Participants were given a three-part divergent thinking test and a Creative Achievement Questionnaire. The tests together show results of both laboratory divergent thinking, and real world creativity.

After these assessments, participants were tested on their sensory gating. They were placed in a soundproof chamber while wearing a headset (in fancy words, an EEG cap). They then were played a series of clicking sounds. The clicks were often played in pairs, one right after the other. This is because the average person’s neural response to the second click is expected to be less psychologically stimulating due to the fact that it sounds the exact same as the first click.

The results:

The study found that people with higher real world creativity were not able to gate, or block out, as many sounds as the average person who is less creative. On the other hand, the divergent thinking test showed otherwise—people who had higher scores on the divergent thinking test typically had higher sensory gating than others. The study was trying to prove the opposite of this. The leaders note that this could be due to the untitledinstructions for the divergent thinking test, in which participants had a limited amount of time to come up with their answers. People who are quick to answer questions could be those with high sensory gating, and therefore not necessarily the creative geniuses that the test was designed to discover.


My final thoughts:

I believe that there is some sort of correlation between creative thinking and the inability to reduce intake of sensory information from the environment. They stated that this concept may be the mechanism for why the participants with a wider focus on a wide range of stimuli are able to connect distantly related ideas. I also think this study does a very good job at avoiding the Texas sharpshooter problem and the file drawer problem by releasing the results to both creativity tests and hypothesizing why the results may have been different. Their inclusion of all results helps boost credibility and show that the study was professionally conducted without bias. Although this is only one study with 97 people, I think they proved as far as they could by themselves that there is a correlation. Yes, their study group could have been larger and more randomized. But, other than that, their procedures were very precisely measured from beginning to end, as you can see here. Now it is up to other scientists to keep testing this hypothesis to rule out false positives and reduce the possibility that these results could be due to chance.

As for me, I will try to be less frustrated with my sensitivity to chewing. Maybe it’s not a bad thing after all!


IFL Science

Psychology Today

Science Direct (Primary Source)

Both Graphs Found Here

Does Screen Time Affect Kids’ Health?

My 15-year old sister was just telling me about how her freshman class was issued Chromebooks for the academic year.  My 11-year old brother knows more about computers and research than how to master Type-2-Learn.  Even my 7-year old brother now has access to i-Pads in his classroom.  For those of you that don’t have younger siblings, just take a second to think that through.  This trend isn’t unheard of in schools today, but the use of technology such as tablets and laptops is becoming increasingly more popular in the K-12 setting today.

It’s funny how the term ‘screen time’ only referred to time watching the television when we were kids.  How times have changed.  Since the days of Clifford the Big Red Dog, technology has developed at an exponential rate.  Laptops, tablets, and smartphones have emerged as seemingly essential household items to the average American family.  I actually have to stop and think about how many of each of these items exists in my home.  With increased accessibility to these technologies, don’t we have to step back and question ourselves?  If 10-year-olds tImage result for child with tabletoday are carrying around phones of their own, what is it going to look like when our generation has 10-year-old kids?  Doesn’t this dramatic change in technology use seem like it could take a dangerous turn?  Or has it already?

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the average time an American child spends looking at a screen each day has risen from five hours to seven and a half hours over the span of only 17 years.  This increase is tremendous, and a study was conducted to understand what implications these numbers have on the youth of today.  Research has shown that some of the negative impacts of technology on children include depression, anxiety, or aggression.

In this study, researchers recruited 615 parents to learn more about the technology habits of their children and the potentially negative implications.  The children studied ranged in age from 3 years to 17 years and were split up evenly into three groups: young childhood (3-7 years), middle childhood (8-12 years), and adolescents (13-17 years).  After responding to a set of questions about their technology-related parenting strategies, parents were also asked about how much screen time they allowed their children.  Finally, parents were asked about the internal and external problems of their children.  Over the course of this study, researchers discovered that internalizing and externalizing behaviors positively correlated with the about of screen time they were allowed by their parents.  The results differed slightly between the three age groups, but overall the study found that the more time spent on screened devices, the more behavioral problems arose.

Fig. 1

There are a number of other factors or confounding variables that could play into the results of this study.  Some of these include the views of the parents on technology use, the amount the parents use technology themselves, and several other demographic factors.  The study took many of these demographic factors into account including marital status, parental age, parental education, household income, and demographic information regarding the child being studied.

I don’t believe that technology is a bad thing, rather I believe that any good thing used out of moderation can easily become bad.  Laptops, tablets, and other forms of modern technology can absolutely promote learning, especially in children.  However, when a third-grader spends more hours in a day staring at a bright screen rather than playing outside, I think a line can be drawn and a conclusion can be made that technology can only be beneficial to a certain degree.


Sanders, W. (2016, May/June). Parental perceptions of technology and technology-focused parenting: Associations with youth screen time. Journal of Applied Developmental Technologies, 44, 28-38. Retrieved from ScienceDirect.

Photo 1 Link

Photo 2 Link

Which Genre Of Music Is The Most Conducive To Studying?

After summer, I’ve had to refocus my brain and “remember” how to study again. I know I’m not the only one who struggles in the first month to become focussed again and finds it hard to do homework. In addition to digging up my old studying tricks such as coffee and secluded place, I like to listen to music. However, sometimes music can help me to focus and other times it distracts me from my work. Sometimes mainstream pop music gets my ideas flowing and other times country does the trick. This idea got me thinking; which genre of music is the most conducive to studying and why?


As I started to search the internet, I came across this article which I found rather helpful. It describes a study that was conducted by Wake Forest that studied a small sample of 21 students. They had them listen to five songs, all from very diverse genres, and looked at their brain under a MRI scanner. When looking at the MRI, they looked for the person’s feelings towards the song which in turn would tell something about the default mode network, or DMNThe DMN is the part of the brain responsible for going back and forth between inner and outer thoughts. When this is active, you’re more focussed on internal feelings such as memories and imagination rather than the world around us. That being said, the findings concluded that people listening to preferred songs were more likely to zone out on internal thoughts and connections rather than when listening to unfamiliar music.

This result was unexpected to say the least because of the common “Mozart Effect.” The Mozart Effect is the idea that listening to Mozart will help strengthen your mind. However, it is more of a saying because if you love Rihanna, it could just be the “Rihanna Effect.” That being said, as I did more research on this study, it was concluded that the results were not only unexpected, but inconsistent. A lot of the information in that article was confusing to me because of the terms however, the conclusion set the record straight. 


So, referring back to my original question…

I understand I didn’t identify the best genre of music for studying however, this is because there is not. If you prefer classical, then classical probably will not be conducive and you should listen to country. If you prefer country, then that will not be of help and maybe you should try classical. The takeaway is that you should try a new song or genre when studying because odds are you’ll be more focussed… it worked for me while writing this blog!

Cotton Swabs and Our Ears – A Match Made in Heaven?

Back in high school, a teacher of mine took a leave of absence over the course of a few days, and when he returned, came back with a full vengeance and preached about the dangerous use of cotton swabs in our ears. He had to get a surgery as a result of using cotton swabs for decades, which caused a damaging build up of gunk and wax within his ear that needed to be removed. Although this happened many years ago, I still use cotton swabs today in order to clean out my ears, and the idea of going a period of time without giving them a good cleaning turns me squeamish. So the questions I am proposing today is whether or not cotton swabs actually cause ear damage, and whether or not I should continue my use of them in the pursuit of a healthier life? First though, lets take a closer look in our ears, shall we?

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“Blue Skidoo, We Can Too!” Sources: http://fridaysunset.net/Pics/Ear.png & http://25.media.tumblr.com/d126eb6a4d30c235ce82d4a3ce20e720/tumblr_mf6rfxxZH61qg9mlno1_500.gif

Earwax, according to the American Academy of Otolaryngology, is a healthy substance that accumulates within the ear with the purpose of… cleaning and protecting our ears. So if our bodies already create a cleaning solution for my ears, why heck am I spending my hard earned money on cotton swabs?! I could have treated my ears to something nice, like a sweet pair of Ear Buddies! However, according to the AAoO, a build up of wax can actually lead to a number of bad things, such as earaches, hearing loss, and tinnitus, so cleaning them is actually useful if there is a build up of too much ear wax.

“Ears for my ears, the future is now people!” Source: https://shechive.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/a-odd-products-17.jpg?quality=100&strip=info&w=500

So, cleaning our ears is really important under the right circumstances, and besides, millions of people have been, and still are, using cotton swabs to clean their ears, ever since the early 1900s, which is why my questions remain to be answered – do cotton swabs cause ear damage and should I ever use cotton swabs again to clean my ears?

First, we must lay out four causalities which we can observe. Either:

Direct Cause: Using cotton swabs causes ear damage.

Reverse Cause: The ear damage is causing the use of cotton swabs.

Third Variable Cause: Another force or object is causing the ear damage, as opposed to just the interaction of the cotton swabs.

Chance: Anything is susceptible to chance, and thus it cannot be ruled out.

We can already rule out the Reverse Causation, since last time I had any kind of ear damage, my first instinct was not to run for a cotton swab and just start prodding and poking around within my ear. Plus, it is not like my ear can communicate directly with the cotton swabs themselves to come and assist it right away. That would be pretty neat though if my ear had that kind of power.

“When the Cotton Swab Enters Juuuuuust Right.” Source: http://betterhealthkare.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/ear-cleaning.jpg

First, we will tackle the Direct Cause which is that cotton swabs themselves cause ear damage. According to a 2011 study published and funded by the Henry Ford Hospital, cases of ruptured eardrums (or ear damage) and the number of patients who use cotton swabs regularly for cleaning, correlate quite well with one another. When stretched too far into the ear itself, cotton swabs have been found to cause damage within the ears of patients. This study also found that this damage tends to heal quickly over the course of a few weeks at most, and required little to no medical procedures to help repair the ear. The American Academy of Otolaryngology also discuss methods of removing earwax, and mention that cotton swabs should not be used because, in most cases, the wax is just shoved further into the ear. Instead of clearing up the blockage, the blockage is actually being reinforced by our efforts to swab it out, which helped to cause ear damage! So, claiming that a Direct Cause exists between cotton swab usage and ear damage is not far off by any means and cannot be ruled out.

“Produced Cars on a Mass Scale AND Created the First Smoke-Free Hospitals, truly an American looking out for American interests. Henry Ford for President, 2016.” Source: https://centerofthewest.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/PW095_Henry_ford_1919_wikipedia.jpg

What about a Third Variable Cause, such as pressure to use these cotton swabs by other sources, such as doctors, advertisements, etc. Well, according to a survey taken by the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 171 of the 325 patients, or 51% of patients, visiting an ear, nose, and throat specialist reported using cotton swabs. When the patients who used cotton swabs were asked why they did, shockingly enough, a majority of patients responded simply by stating that it seemed like a good idea, or that they use them because loved ones use them – but offer no more context than that. Use of the cotton swabs themselves were not due to an official recommendation from a doctor or nurse, but rather just because it felt right, and that is it. As a result, the scientists behind the study called for better warnings on cotton swab packages to better inform consumers of the dangers behind incorrect use.

Reason No. (%)
Advertising 3 (2)
Advised by a doctor 5 (3)
Advised by a nurse 3 (2)
Family and friends use them 42 (25)
Because it seems like a good idea 89 (52)
Not sure 20 (12)
No reply 9 (5)

Source: NCBI

Individuals may also have a more difficult time affording other variations of treatment for a build up of ear wax as well if they are strapped for cash, leading them to follow the lifelong tradition of the generations before them and just settle for the all purpose cotton swabs to get the job done.  According to CostHelper Inc., the average medical treatment without insurance can cost someone $100 or more. Not everybody has proper medical coverage in America, and as a result, the difference between spending a few bucks and a few seconds every morning cleaning your ears for a few months at a clip begins to seem like a much better alternative to taking a half, or even full, day off of work and spending upwards of a few hundred dollars in expenses that could have gone towards food or other necessary bills. These results lead to the fact that Third Variables could be playing a part in ear damage as well.

There is a Chance that all of this is just wrong, and that cotton swabs either do not cause damage or actually prevent damage to the ear itself through prolonged use. However, this Chance seems rather slim, if not virtually non-existent, in my opinion, due to the alarming number of research and survey articles out there about the dangers of using cotton swabs within our ears, as well as the number of warning labels placed on just about every brand of cotton swabs currently on the market.

“Just one example of the warning labels found on nearly every cotton swab brand today.” Source: http://i.thestreet.com/files/tsc/mainstreet-photos/photo-gallery/art-gallery/warnlabel-qtips.jpg

Now it is time to review my findings!

To repeat, the questions were whether or not cotton swabs cause ear damage, and whether or not I should stop my use of cotton swabs to clean my ears. Due to not only my findings through direct, third variable, and even the causation of chance, I concluded that using cotton swabs to clean your ears can cause ear damage, especially over the course of years which could lead to a dangerous build up of earwax, which is exactly what happened with my teacher back in high school. But is the evidence truly compelling enough to get me to stop cleaning my ears with these dastardly weapons? Absolutely! Thinking back on Andrew’s advice back in class, the evidence I have gathered definitely swayed my opinion on the effects using cotton swabs in my ears could have on my health, both in the short and long term. Not only will I try to explore some safer, alternative methods of removing a large build up of wax, such as a light suction tool or the use of certain oils to help break it down, but I will also share my findings with family members and friends who have been using cotton swabs for their entire lives as well.

Thanks again for your time, and I hope you learned something new!

Did you enjoy my post? Have any comments, questions, or concerns? Feel free to leave a reply!

Headphones Make you Deaf?

Our parents have been nagging us for years to “Take those headphones out! You’ll go deaf!” Who knew that, yet again, our parents would be right? Recently, researchers have uncovered the disastrous effects of earbuds on hearing in young adults. According to the American Osteopathic Association, 1 in every 5 teenagers will have some sort of hearing loss. That is a 30% increase in comparison to the hearing abilities of teenagers in the 1980s and 1990s. Researchers have found an almost direct link from young adult hearing loss to the advent of personal headphones.earbuds

So how does listening to music equate to eventually going deaf in later years? Mp3 players can reach decibels up to 120. This is equivalent to the noise levels at a rock concert. Teens are listening to this level of noise pollution an average of 3 hours every single day. The design of most modern earbuds allow them to sit just before the inner ear, which amplifies any sound at least 9 decibels higher than if the noise was coming from outside the ear. The high decibel causes the myelin sheaths coating the nerve endings to disintegrate. Without these coatings, the nerves cannot transport messages to the brain effectively. In turn, the brain cannot interpret the sounds into brain waves. (SOTT)

Headphone manufacturers like Apple and Samsung defend the invention claiming it’s not the machines themselves; rather, the volume at which the user plays his music. The International Journal of Audiology conducted an experiment to chart the damaging effects of personal music players on the hearing tissue. It was discovered that pain in the ear begins at 125dB, which is equivalent to the noise of a hand drill. Death of hearing tissue begins at 180dB, which is equivalent to standing 100 feet away from a jet engine for an extended period of time. These levels can be reached by regular, loud headphone use.

Dr. David A. Schlessel of Stony Brook Medicine created a chart indicating the damage that can occur after using headphones depending on duration of exposure to noise pollution.

  • At 95 dB, damage will occur after four hours of exposure per day.
  • At 100 dB, damage will occur after two hours of exposure per day.
  • At 105 dB, damage will occur after one hour of exposure per day.
  • At 110 dB, damage will occur after 30 minutes of exposure per day.
  • At 115 dB, damage will occur after 15 minutes of exposure per day.
  • At 120-plus dB, damage occurs almost immediately.

So how do we prevent the younger generation from having worse hearing than our grandparents? Dr. Foy of the American Osteopathic Association prescribes using headphones at 60% full volume for a maximum of 60 minutes a day. If surrounding bystanders can hear the music from your headphones, it’s way too loud. Doctors also recommend people invest in larger, over the ear headphones to avoid the inner ear damage. In previous generations, the leading cause of hearing loss was excessive noise in the workplace. Times have changed and headphones have surged in worldwide popularity. Changing teen’s habits before drastic hearing damage will definitely be difficult. If we’re being honest, I typed this entire blog while listening to music with headphones on full blast. Oh well.baby


Other Sources:

Beltone Hearing Health

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Stem Cell Transplants in Monkeys: Do they work?

According to a study done conducted by nature.com, implanted stem cells can regenerate cells of a damaged heart in macaque monkeys. According to researchgate.com, the new cells are not rejected instantly like other foreign cells entering the body, and they helped the heart contract after an intentional heart attack. During and after this heart attack the new stem cells integrated with the existing heart cells, and there were no signs of rejection coming from the immune system.  However, the monkey who received these new stem cells did suffer from an irregular heartbeat for the following four weeks after the implantation of the stem cells.

iPS cells were generated from MHC homozygous monkey and differentiated into cardiomyocytes. The cardiomyocytes were transplanted into another monkey in which either of the MHC haplotypes was identical to the donor. Credit: Yuji Shiba

Diagram of how Yuji Shiba, a human biology professor in Japan, conducted this experiment (Yuji Shiba)

The leader of the study was Yuji Shiba, a human biology professor at Shinsu University in Japan. In an interview with researchgate.com, Shiba said that these findings can be used to help cure patients with chronic heart infarctions. Before the integration of stem cells, oxygen was blocked from entering the monkey’s heart for three hours, giving the monkey myocardial infarction, or MI. After oxygen was allowed to re-enter the hear the monkey suffered from reperfusion, yet the study found that the stem cell implantation only helped cure MI. In order to avoid an immune response/rejection to the new stem cells, Shiba gave the monkey daily dosages of immunosuppressant drugs prior to the oxygen blockage, and he ensured that a surface protein, MHC, was carefully matched between the donor & recipient monkeys. Shiba predicts that cell implantations like the ones he ran on the monkeys, which have been used in humans before, will become more widely used within humans sooner rather than later.

Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in humans right now, so the findings of Shiba’s study are extremely helpful towards fighting heart disease. Fortunately, post-experiment meta-analyses found that the p-value of the study was less than 0.05, which means that it is unlikely that the monkey’s condition improved after the stem cell implantation solely due to chance. Several of these meta-analyses were done after the experiment was finished, with tests such as a two-sided Fisher’s Exact Test and Turkey’s multiple comparison test being conducted. All of these tests found the low p-value, which is an encouraging find in terms of finding the cure to heart disease.

Image result for heart disease

Heart disease death rates in the United States from 2008-2010 (cdc.gov)

As I said before, heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in human health today. According to statcan.ca, heart disease ranked 2nd in Canada in 2011, responsible for 19.7% of all deaths in the country that year. Only cancer (29.9% of all deaths) killed more people that year. The amount of people killed by heart disease every year is obviously alarming, so any strides made towards finding a way to cure and treat heart diseases are encouraging and beneficial to human health.

Why do We go Gray?

Why Do We Go Gray?

I have always wondered why some people start getting gray hairs when they’re twenty, yet others don’t see a gray hair on their head until well into their fifties. Why exactly is this? Is it true that people get gray hair earlier because of stress? Or is it all genetics? While researching this question I came across information about hair I have never known before. In fact, I had no idea about any of the science that explains hair color.

Science Behind Going Gray


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I learned that hair gets its color from a pigment called melanin. When you get older your hair starts to have less and less of this pigment and that is why your hair gets gray. Everyone’s hair will at some point turn gray if they live long enough. Hair will actually eventually turn white if it loses all of its pigment.  When Doctor Tobin talks about hair going gray he explains that it is because of two things; age and genetics. Genetics wise each hair follicle will age at different rates in different people. Some people get gray hair much earlier than others and that means that their melanocytes(cells causing gray hair) were producing slower than other peoples. Scientists also say that there are many other reasons that could cause hair to turn gray that are not due to genetics. For example; climate, pollutants, toxins and chemical exposure. I also read about how European researchers say that the cause of gray hair is because hydrogen peroxide builds up in your hair follicles. You can read more about the researcher’s findings here. Another website I found in my research attributes hair going gray to mainly genetics. Sinclair, the author, brings up how twins tend to both go gray around the same time. Scientists aren’t sure what gene actually controls this yet. Sinclair debunks the myth that stress is a cause of gray hair and says how other disease can produce gray hair. Some examples include; Alopecia Areata, Vitiligo and Werner Syndrome. These diseases are rare and aren’t explanations for the majority of the populations early graying. Sinclair explains that to prevent the graying scientist would have to figure out how to elongate the lives of the melanocytes (the cells causing gray hair mentioned before). As of right now, from the research I have done and the information I gathered I can conclude that there is not only one clear reason that tells us what the cause of gray hair is.



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Can We Prevent It?

Is it possible to prevent your hair from going gray? While researching this I found many natural remedies that people claim to prevent premature hair graying and to just prevent going gray in general. There is really no science that proves these natural remedies to be 100% effective but here are a few examples, Coconut oil and curry leaves, Sesame oil and carrot juice, and onion juice. Most of these remedies include having to drink the juices or apply the oils to your scalp. If it were me going gray, I’d just stick to hair coloring instead of trying these remedies. I also found some more practical and dependable options that include doing things like not smoking, exercising, and eating healthy. These options are what any person that wants to keep themselves healthy and youthful should do anyway. Another option I read about is the use of supplements according to this source the use of B source vitamins can prevent gray hair. I looked into this further and found a doctor that said that a vitamin B-12 deficiency can be a cause of premature gray hair but I found no studies done that prove it. After researching all of this I came to the conclusion that there is no one way that is completely proven to prevent hair from going gray. As for now, we just have to wait and see if science comes up with a prevention more reliable with science to prove it.






Vitamins That Prevent Gray Hair


What’s the deal with Essential Oils?

Before any blog post or homework assignment I work on, I put lavender essential oil on my wrist so if I start feeling anxious I just take a deep breath and inhale the lavender which acts as a calming mechanism. Everyone is raving about them, you can buy them anywhere really and each essential oil acts in a different way. I wanted to explore the concept of essential oils more because after frequent use of lavender I have wondered if it actually works or if it is a placebo effect.

Every essential oil has a different benefit for your overall being. Lavender, Orange, Frankincense, and Ylang Ylang are a few of the essential oils I have heard about. Throughout this blog post I will discuss the benefits of different essential oils from different resources. Below are the essential oils I discussed above and what their overall effect are.

Image found here
Lavender: relieves stress & improves sleepc700x420

Orange: fights cancerous tumors & decreases wrinkles

Frankincense: reduces inflammation

Ylang Ylang:  helps improve self confidence in ones self


How do essential oils work?

There are multiple ways to use essential oils including by massaging it into your skin, breathing it in through your nose, swallowing it, and taking medicine with the essential oils inside. These 4 ways were stated in this book. The picture below is how someone can react by inhaling the essential oils.


Image found here.

It is hard to find specific studies that relate to if essential oils really do work. I did find a couple articles that talked about what essential oils are capable of doing. According to aromatherapists in the journal, the overall conclusion is that they don’t want all the scientific studies done in order to still obtain the symbolic procedure of essential oils.


Question: Do essential oils help or are they just useless?

According to the evolution of aromatherapy there are two types of aromatherapies that are present. The first one is clinical aromatherapy which focuses in on one problem like having a headache. The second one is holistic aromatherapy which involves a combination of different essential oils.

study I came across talks about the different smells of rosemary and lavender have on the perception and mood in adults who are healthy. The sample of the study was 144 volunteers who were randomly assigned to 3 different groups. During the study they would place a volunteer into a room with the smell of rosemary, lavender or no smell. During that time the volunteers would complete the Cognitive Drug Research (CDR) assessment which is when you are presented with two answers, yes or no, and the assessment records how long it takes you to answer and if you selected the right answer. The results stated that lavender provided a reduction in active memory and damaged times for memory/attention tasks. On the other hand, rosemary allowed volunteers a sufficient amount of performance for memory. The overall findings of this study state these two specific essential oils, lavender and rosemary, can provide unbiased effects on brain function and personal effects on overall mood.

Take home message:

After researching this topic more, I am 100% positive that essential oils help and work. I go to a counselor for my anxiety and she always tells me to put lavender on my wrist and inhale it when I am starting to feel anxious. That is all I have ever known. On the other hand, a lot of people state that essential oils are what you make them. By that I mean that some people don’t believe that essential oils work and it’s all just what you make it.



What Time is Best to Workout When You Want to Lose Weight?


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          I’ve heard many conflicting opinions about which part of the day (morning, afternoon, or night) I should workout to help achieve my fitness goals. I’ve been told that exercising in the morning is the best time because you kick-start your metabolism and burn calories throughout the rest of the day. Conversely, I’ve been told that working out at night helps you fall and stay asleep, because your body is fatigued and more restful after a workout. This clashing of opinions reminds me of a similar debate of whether you should put ice or heat on a sore muscle. Both are beneficial, but is one more beneficial than the other? Is a specific time of day more influential in the process of weight loss?

(photo credit)cb10b02fb919e45324b90685766a606b

An experimental study was conducted on 29 overweight and inactive post-menopausal women that studied if morning or night walks led to the most weight loss. This study was not a blind procedure, as the women are clearly able to tell whether it is daytime or nighttime. The results show that the group of 15 that went for nightly walks lost more weight than the group that exercised in the morning. The scientists found a link between nighttime walks and dietary changes. It seemed that the women exercising at night would consume more at breakfast time than those 14 women that exercised in the morning. This link could help to explain the weight loss seen in the nighttime group. Eating a heavier breakfast could have possibly suppressed their hunger, causing them to not overeat throughout the day. There could also be other confounding variables at play here such as intensity of the walks, metabolic rate of the participant, what specifically the women were eating, etc. Although the study’s results did prove that evening exercises yield the most weight loss, the demographic being studied is not broad enough to apply to most college students, in fact, it eliminates all males because it follows post-menstrual women. It seems that the study was done well but it was a very small sample size (29 women). Because of these factors, I wouldn’t necessarily change my workout time from morning to night.

Another experimental study conducted in 2010 followed men ages 18-25 (all considered to be “healthy”, the qualifications were not specified). The aim of the study was to figure out if eating breakfast or fasting leads to more weight loss. This study occurred over a span of six weeks. The control group did not exercise while the experimental group was taking was in high-endurance workouts. Within the experimental group, several participants ate carbohydrates before working out, while the others did not eat anything (fasted) before their training session. The results found concluded (for the first time) that not eating breakfast and working out led to more weight loss in their test subjects. Although this study does not test for nighttime workout benefits, it does show that there is a strong relationship between morning workouts and weight loss. But the study does say that it is the first time these results have been proven, and the number of subjects is unspecified. So before anyone makes changes to your diet or exercise routines, you should wait to see if there are any other follow up studies that agree or refute the results of this particular experiment.0a322a0af1562104618185f8314f20f1

All in all, it seems that the verdict of this question is inconclusive. The results from these two studies contradict one another, however there seems to be an overlap of some sort. Each study placed their participants on regimented workout routines. Everyone in the experimental groups in the two studies did lose weight. It just so happens that the women working out at night, and the men who fasted before working out, lost more weight than the others in the study. It’s possible that the time of day isn’t as crucial to  losing weight, as is the consistency of diet and regularity of getting to the gym.

(Dori photo credit)

Yoga for ADHD

In a previous blog, I wrote about the benefits of the life-changing practice of yoga, how it benefits humanity, and how it could cure certain diseases. The feedback I received encouraged me to take my studies further into the idea that yoga is directly correlated to an ADHD cure. ADHD is a chronic condition when a person cannot control their impulsivity, sit still, or focus on a topic for extended periods of time. Signs of this disease range from each individual, but most symptoms consist of inattention and distraction. Still unknown as to why, the diagnoses of this disease have increased over the years. This increase in diagnoses calls for an increase in treatments to suppress or cure this disease. To date, yoga, the practice of body and mind control, has been named the healthiest cure for this disease.

When I was 14, I attempted to participate in my first yoga class. Being accompanied by multiple friends, you can assume that it didn’t live up to the meditation expectation I planned it would. Each time “om” or “namaste” was chanted, we would laugh instead of embracing the psychological meaning behind it. Since then, many elements of my practice have changed. Although maturing was a huge part broadening my yoga experience, people with ADHD benefit from the 3 C’s:  Concentration, Control, and Confidence.

ADHD impairs the ability for people to be in control of their thoughts and actions. Yoga is used to promote health through spiritual and physical discipline. This trains the brain how to control energy through breaths. Having ADHD means your brain is almost always in frantic, making it normal to have shallow and short brestudent-yogaaths. With the concentration of pranayama (breaths), the deep and long breath gives more time for the oxygen to reach the brain. The simple exercise of breathing reduces the amount of anxiety and irritability a person usually experiences with ADHD. They feel the foreign feeling of calmness. But the exercise of breathing is harder said than done. It takes amence amounts of concentration, which trains the person to focus on this exercise. ADHD, an attention deficit, makes the person become aware of this focus and it strengthens their self-control. It trains their brains to stay in one place. After undergoing control and concentration, the person tends to feel confident since they are experiencing feelings that are almost always out of their control. They become confident with their poses and start to master the practice.

The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey and University of Pennsylvania underwent multiple experimens to see the effects of yoga and its physical outcome on children. The most prominent one was conducted with controlled and pilot studies, mainly randomized and cohort control trials that examined the intervention it had on children. The experimental study was filled with clinical treatment accompanied with a control condition. The childrkids-yogaen were randomly assigned to groups. Each group either experienced breathing exercises (pranayama), physical postures, or meditation. The experimenters compared exercise with a placebo, controlled comparison or standard care. The conclusions were that yoga had a positive impact on motor performance in children. It also suggested that yoga increases working efficiently and increases the ability to concentrate and focus, making it easier to put their energy into goal-driven tasks.

Although my argument throughout this blog was to demonstrate that yoga is a natrual cure for ADHD, yoga is also a cure for many other things. You don’t need to have ADHD to practice. A rough day could require some individuals to get to yoga. It clears the brain and creates an organic meditation. I encourage everyone to try at least two classes to see if it works for them.



Galantino, Mary Lou, PT, PhD, MSCE. “Therapeutic Effects of Yoga for Children: A Systematic Revie… : Pediatric Physical Therapy.” LWW. Web.
Miller, StudioD By Ashley. “What Are the Benefits of Breath Control Yoga?” Healthy Living. N.p., n.d. Web.
Turis, Stacy. “Say Yes to Yoga for Kids with Attention Deficit.” ADDitude Magazine. Web.
Picture 1: http://www.stylecraze.com/articles/6-yoga-breathing-techniques-for-weight-loss/
Picture 2: http://mauihotyoga.com/yogarama-kids-yoga/

Twin Telepathy

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When I was in middle school I went to the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. for the first time. As I was walking around I came across the section of the museum that talked about the experiments doctors would do on certain types of patients. One of the experiments they had done was with twins. They would harm one twin and see if the other could feel it. This really hit home with me because I am Jewish and I have a twin. It got me thinking, “Can one twin feel pain or feelings that his or her twin feels?”

The first article I came across was about a set of girl twins. Twin A was taking a bath and Twin B had a strange feeling to check on Twin A. As it turns out Twin A had a seizure and was drowning in the bathtub and when Twin B found her, she had turned blue. Twin B performed CPR and was able to save the life of her twin. Stories like these usually happen between identical twins (twins who look alike), but these girls are fraternal twins (twins who do not look alike). Their mother said that even though the girls are fraternal twins, they are very close and share a special bond. Dr. Lynn Cherkas concluded that 20% of of identical twins have experienced some type of telapathy with their twin and 1% of frateranl twins had some form of telapathic experience.

The articles I have come across have mostly been stories of one twin obtaining the skills another twin has. Such as one twin taking guitar lessons and after some time the other twin could play just as well, even though he had never taken any lessons at all. Most of the stories I have come across are between identical twins rather than fraternal twins. Identical twins (also known as monozygotic) seem to have a better connection because they come from the same egg.  Fraternal twins (also known as dizygotic) come from separate eggs.

Image result for twin telepathyEven though multiple studies have been conducted dealing with twin telepathy, I have not been able to find any scientific proof. This article talks about how the bond between twins might just only be a bond and nothing more. They also bring up the story I mentioned earlier about one twin drowning in the bathtub. Twin B might have felt the need to check on Twin A because she had known her twin was prone to having seizures. It could have just been a coincidence.

These scientists conducted an experiment with twins where one twin had to pick a card with a shape, telepathically communicate it to the other twin, and have the other twin pick the same card. The scientists stated that about 50% of the time, the other twin picked the correct card. When scientists decided to pick the card for the first twin, the second twin only picked the correct card about 25% of the time. They concluded that the twins picked the same card because they had similar preferences, not because they were telepathic. Similar experiments could be conducted with other family members and the results would come out the same. These scientists do not believe it to be any type of paranormal or telepathic activity, just families having similar preferences due to living together and being around one another frequently.

Despite what the scientists in my last article said, there are still plenty of articles talking about phenomena related to twins. Some are more explainable than others. My sister and I have never felt anything telepathic related to each other but it is interesting to see that other twins have had these experiences before. I think something like this could be possible. Despite others opinions, there have been instances where twins have had some sort of telepathic experience and I think it is something that should be studied more.


Are Pets Actually Therapeutic?

My roommate was on FaceTime with her family last night, which would include her four shiatzus. It was obvious how much she missed her pets; and after the phone call, she looked at me and expressed how much better she felt after seeing her dogs. It got me realizing how often I hear someone say how good it feels when they get to see their pets, and how happy they get when they are around their pets. I then recall times when I’ll be holding my cousin’s kittens or my friends’ dogs, and how much better I felt during that. So I decided to do some research and see if it was actually proven and known that pets are therapeutic for anyone. Here’s the insight I found:According to an article from American Journal of Critical Care, a randomized control trial was done to determine the effectiveness of lowering anxiety and additional factors with patients of advanced heart failure with a dog visit. This article was written by a combination of professors and statisticians of the School of Nursing and David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, as well as the Director of evidence-based practice and a cardiac nurse. The study consisted of 76 patients randomly assigned to 3 groups, with each group being watched over a period of time (longitudinal study). The first group received a 12-minute visit with a volunteer and the therapy dog, the second group was given just the volunteer, and the third and final group(control) had the standard treatment. The experiment was repeated several times, as this longitudinal study followed these patients to get effective results.

The results show that the volunteer and dog group had lowered artery pressure, with the P-value decreasing from .03 to .001. Comparing from the baseline risk, the results tell us that the group with the volunteer and the dog decreased anxiety and improved the health of the patients. We can agree that statistical significance has been found, and the rejection of the null hypothesis as well. From this study, the authors of the article concluded that animal assisted therapy helps patients facing heart failure.

Naturally, another source gives us more evidence that pets are therapeutic.  Therapy Dog International (TDI) Inc. gives an interesting take on the subject, as the results from one of their numerous surveys conducted on their patients report back immense data that patients positively changed. The patients were observed as in a better mood, more social, and more alert than they had been prior to the study. The TDI report also provides more examples of experimental and observational studies done to get the same results.

Image result for pet therapy experiments

Of course, this also goes for healthier people. An additional source infers on a psychological perspective that pets are therapeutic to humans. According to an article written by the Veterinary Clinics of North America on sciencedirect, having a pet and/or being around one can healthily influence one’s mental condition. It explains how the presence of pets tend to create an atmosphere of gentleness, peace, friendliness, and relaxation.  In addition, the source gives numerous study examples that support the hypothesis that pets are therapeutic and beneficial to health. Examples of this would include:

  • An observational study involving a participant, and noticing his social interaction level was higher when the researcher had a dog, compared to the researcher without the dog.
  • A telephone survey conducted a random sample of 399 people (200 as pet-owners) that showed results saying that the pet-owners were not lonely and felt more social compared to non-pet owners.
  • A cross-sectional survey of 127 senior citizens indicating pet owners walked more and were more engaged in physical activity than the senior citizens who did not have pets. 44 of the 127 were pet owners.

It appears that the presence of pets have seemed to help with people and have made a positive impact, based on the study results. Another study supports this, as well as supporting how pet therapy, in particular dogs are the pet of therapeutic source. Every study mentioned above included dogs in the experiments, which got me to dig a little more and see how beneficial dogs are.  A case report on a ten year old girl with an unfortunate history gives interesting insight on this. Annie, a young girl who had an abusive father, was chosen to see if a dog would help her cope with her acting out, lying, aggressive behavior, and other side effects her abusive father placed upon her. She was observed before and after a session with Kotter, the dog. After her first session with the dog, there were signs of improvement, as her bad behavior declined, relaxation appeared present, and she was able to share her feelings. This study concludes the idea that pets and dogs are a reliably therapeutic source for any kind of person.

The list goes on and on. I’m not at all surprised by these results, as I have personally have genuinely felt happier when in the presence of pets. I myself do not have any pets, but whenever I get to see pets of people I know, I instantly feel better and am put in a happier mindset. So next time you’re feeling down and need a pick-me-up, go see your friend’s pet, or maybe invest in owning a pet someday. They aren’t lying when they said a dog is a man’s best friend! I’m already thinking of getting a Cavapoo puppy one day(puppy photo below), because who wouldn’t want to see this when they come home and is in need of peace, happiness, and relaxation?

Image result for cavapoo puppies

photo sources:




Are they smoking marijuana to get high?

Marijuana has been a controversial topic over the last couple years with it now being legalized in 25 states for legal medical use and 4 states for just recreation use. Living in East residence halls, I get a lot of complaints about smelling marijuana which results in calling the police right away. Then I get to thinking why are these students smoking marijuana in the residence hall? Maybe it is a stress reliever and can actually calm down a student. My next underlying question is, are people smoking marijuana to get high or for the medical benefits? This question is two sided which leaves the answer being one people smoke to get high or two people smoke for medical reasons.


What are the components of Marijuana? 

To start off with, Tetrahydrocannabidiol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD) are two completely different things when talking about them in relation to marijuana. THC is the one that will make you get the feeling of being high that affects your brain. CBD is the one used for medical reasons and it is the one that doesn’t have the affect of making someone feel high. CBD helps battle depression, epilepsy, and so much more. This is the part where people start getting worried about legalizing marijuana. CBD is specifically to help people who are going through significant health problems.


Picture found here.


Marijuana’s Cognitive Effects on College Students

A study was done on the residual cognitive effects of heavy marijuana use in college students. It was a single blind experiment which looked at frequent users of marijuana versus infrequent users of marijuana. Two samples of undergraduate college students were represented in this study; 65 heavy users who had smoked 22-30 days out of all 30 days and who showed cannabinoids in their urine versus 64 users who had smoked 0-9 days out of all 30 days and showed no cannabinoids in their urine. Cannabinoids are the reason that people get the high feeling after smoking marijuana or the pain relief feeling.  The participants took part in a series of tests looking at attention span, verbal skills, and more. This is how the researchers measured for the primary results. The results of this study was that more frequent users of marijuana had more damage than non frequent or light users.

The study design used was very effective when testing frequent users versus infrequent users. In a single blind study the participants are unaware of what the purpose of the study was. If the users were aware of what was going on I feel as though the results would have been altered. In class, Andrew discussed the concept of reverse causation which is when x causes y and y causes x.  Looking at the question I proposed, I feel like reverse causation could be a definite answer when taking all the facts into consideration because college students could smoke marijuana to relieve stress or they are stressed out so they smoke marijuana. Another possible answer is confounding variables such as sleep activity, not eating enough and/or stress.


This image shows how infrequent users are better off than frequent users when coming to living situations.


Take home message:

I personally believe that if a person needs to smoke marijuana for medical benefits then go right ahead, I support that 110%. If that is the only medication that can relieve whatever illness they are going through, then why stop them? Everyone deserves relief from something they feel is taking over their life in a negative way. On the other hand I am not quite convinced that marijuana should be legalized for safety reasons. Such as, driving after smoking marijuana. I also can see how that can be compared to driving while under the influence of alcohol. The next step I would take on getting a specific answer is conducting a survey for college students that would allow me to dig deeper in why students smoke marijuana.