Daily Archives: October 18, 2016

Are tanning beds worth it?

I am the type of person who always likes to be tan. Before deciding on Penn State, I originally only wanted to go to a school that had warm weather so I could keep a nice color all year round. But then I discovered tanning beds. Tanning beds allowed me to always be tan for a cheap price and minimal effort. I quickly became obsessed with going tanning and friends had to tell me to stop. I told them that because I was only going twice a week, no harm could come from it. Many people, think that indoor tanning is safer than tanning outside. I decided to do my blog post on the topic of how harmful tanning beds actually are.

It is common knowledge that tanning beds are dangerous to the body. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) this is because of the different types of ultraviolet rays which are hitting your skin. The rays can cause skin to wrinkle much earlier than it usually would, especially if young people are the ones using the beds. And the CDC’s statistics show that most tanning bed users are students and young people.  The rays also increase the risk of melanoma in young people also. Another harmful effect of the rays is not to the skin but the eyes. Tanning places suggest that people using the beds wear proper eye protection. I never did this because it would cause an obvious line over the bridge of my nose. The CDC says that if proper eye protection is not worn it can lead to a eye disease which will likely result in blindness. In an article from the Skin Cancer Foundation, it states that over 400,000 skin cancer cases are due to tanning beds. The article then boldly states that this number is higher than the number of lung cancer cases caused by smoking. This statement blew me away. I was brought up learning about how harmful smoking is to the body, and if you smoke you are destined to get lung cancer. Earlier in the semester we discussed in class the correlation between smoking and lung cancer. So now to read that indoor tanning is virtually worse for you than smoking was really eye opening.

Unfortunately, indoor tanning is not safer than outdoors and definitely not safe at all. Writing this blog post has me upset with myself for damaging my skin so much and a little worried about the future of my skin. I would highly advise people to cancel their memberships to indoor tanning salons. It was hard but your skin will thank you in the end!

http://www.skincancer.org/news/tanning/international

http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/basic_info/indoor_tanning.htm

Higher Intelligence Related to Laziness?

Being a typical 18-year-old, I was recently on a Facebook feed frenzy and came across a very interesting spectacle which addressed a newly researched question of whether or not being lazy means someone is more intelligent. Sounds strange, right? With those specific words, the information was a bit misleading and personally, quite offensive since I enjoy being physically active. I decided to research this bizarre speculation. My first question of action was what determines someone’s intelligence?

According to a set of studies done by the Journal of Health Psychology , they defined the term Need For  Cognition (NFC) in association with this specific relationship between thinking and physical activity. The NFC is defined as the enjoyment to engage in cognitive notions, or intrinsic motives; how likely someone wants to think intuitively. How is the NFC affected though? In one study by Watt JD and Blanchard MJ  showed lower-NFC people experience more negative boredom and high-NFC people are prone to avoid boredom (JHP 3). This leads to the question of why is boredom more common among these so-called lower-NFC individuals?

The whole point of this study is to see how this how different leveled NHC’s satisfy their physical activity levels, and with that come many variables that affect either side of the spectrum. The conginitive variables include preferences, intentions, and self efficacy as well as behavioral disorders that include anxiety and ADHD which are defined by neurochemical imbalances in the brain. The physical variables include approach avoidance motivation, which can be defined by people acting upon their good qualities rather than their bad, a person’s health status, sensation seekers, which is defined as people who commonly become bored without intense feelings they find in sensational experiences or things, or the Big Five Personality Traits which can directly affect someone’s personal. I found that since cognitive variable are accountable for the NFC, in addition, in a study conducted testing the physical variables by grouping them in categories of social structure or social cognition. This proved the difference social standings and social cognition have on being more physically active. It was seen that social cognition, which is apart of NFC (JHP 3), was related to how physical a person is (JHP 2).  Otherwise, the more socially motivated a person is, the more likely they are to interact in social environments that may include physical activity.

In response to this data, two possible alternative hypotheses were made: higher NFC results in more higher thinking than physical activity or a higher NFC may mean a higher need for social cognition which can be physical activity. The null hypothesis would be having a higher or lower NFC has no effect at all on physical needs due to confounding variables.

nfc-pic

Their (JHP) experiment included 60 participants ( 45 females) from Appalachian State University  that were tested on their levels on NFC. Previous to the experiment, There were tests in which asked them questions that had them agree or disagree. Based on the results, they were divided 30 with high-NFC, ad 30 with low-NFC. Then they were then given a device that recorded their movements for a week. According to the graph above, over-all the high NFC individuals showed significantly lower physical activity levels than the low- NFC individuals. With the probability 0.9% difference. The weekend effect also has to be accounted for since they were significantly different results, especially on Sunday which very close levels of physical activity for both NFC levels. The probability on Saturday being 12.7% difference and on Sunday 65%.

In conclusion, The alternative hypothesis of higher of NFC= lower physical activity was accepted but with the acception that the weekend affect showed extreme difference, which could be by chance, and the fact that these were all strictly college students with restricted schedules. This causes limited knowledge still upon this hypothesis. This study would then be a false positive. Since it is a relatively new study, there is limited research so as of now this hypothesis is still just a possibility and needs more testing.

As a side note, most of us will never have our NFC levels recorded. Your own intelligence should not be the cause of how physically active you are. Everyone needs some sort of physical activity to stay healthy and happy.

 

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/271332217_The_physical_sacrifice_of_thinking_Investigating_the_relationship_between_thinking_and_physical_activity_in_everyday_life

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1348/135910709X429901/full

http://www.sicotests.com/psyarticle.asp?id=60

https://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/sensation-seeking

 

Discovering Elephant

Recently, my mom traveled to Thailand and send me lots of pictures of elephants. When I saw the picture, the giant volume of elephant suddenly attracted my attention. Go over the images, I found out an interesting fact that no adult elephants is jumping. To find out the reason, I start my research.

elephant-wallpaper-26
First of all, I want to talk about the basic information about Asian elephants. As one of the smartest animals in the world, elephants have big brains and developed a way to comfort their friends when they are in a difficult situation which can only do by a few types of animals. Comparing to African elephants, Asian one is much more smaller and lighter than an elephant in Africa area whose height is around 3 meters from feet to shoulder. And they usually use a long nose to catch the food and throw it into the mouth. Also, there is another interesting fact about the elephant. As most people know, human beings stay pregnant for ten months to give birth, but elephants need to take twenty to twenty-two months.

elephants-show-emotion_cc6d32507f281a67
However, those basic information cannot provide direct evidence to illustrate why elephants cannot jump. Since scientists have not yet provided any research results to the public, I only find some assumptions. Initially, it might cause by elephants’ strange skeleton. Since elephant owns weak ankles, it is hard for them to do the strenuous exercise, like jumping. Their ankles will hurt due to the frequent movement. Second, according to physics, the heavy weight may be another reason. As the equation shows that pressure equals to force divided by surface area. Since the weight of an elephant is big and the area of the feet is small, it would result in a huge pressure which would be hard for an elephant to endure.

ivory-jewellery1
Furthermore, to my surprise, the most frequent news about elephant is not its interesting fact, but it is about the illegal ivory trade. Since the teeth of elephants can be used as both medicine and sculpture materials, it become a popular object around the world. And business men are concentrated on trading those special elements from countries to countries which hurt the elephants’ growth, like some elephants developed as a special type that born without teeth. Further information can be got it here:  Ivory Trade
In conclusion, even though there are many elephants existing around the world, they still need protections. From doing a little thing like avoid buying staffs made by ivory, it may provide a safe situation for elephants to stay alive.

Source:

  1. elephant
  2. Elephant cannot Jump

Exercise and Depression

Can exercising really help those who are feeling depressed? This question is something I have taken personal interest in. My friend was feeling depressed, and he asked me what he could do to try to be happier. We agreed that starting to exercise could take his mind off of his problems for a while. So he tried it. He started exercising daily, and it actually helped him through his depression. This made me wonder if the exercise was the factor that got him through his tough time, or if it was just a case of correlation not equaling causation.

There were multiple studies done on this subject. One study done in 1999 showed the effects that exercise can have on depression. This experiment took 156 men and women, separated them into three groups, and gave one group antidepressants. They made another group exercise daily, and they gave the last group antidepressants and made them exercise. The results showed that exercise did help the patients reduce depression levels. The antidepressants worked faster and very slightly more, but the exercise-only group showed significant benefits as well. Months after the experiment, the patients who continued to exercise had a lower relapse rate than those who did not exercise.

There are some theories that go along with these results. Some scientists believe exercise helps with depression because exercising makes you release endorphins which coincide with a positive mood. Some people believe it is because exercising causes your body to heat up and increased temperatures in certain parts of the brain cause you to relax. Another theory is that exercising distracts you from the cause of your depression. This is the thought process my friend and I had when we decided he should work out. Lastly, one theory is that exercising makes you more fit, which can cause you to be happier with your body, making you a happier person. Any of these theories could be true. Much of the brain and how it works is undiscovered. This is why it is hard to just cure something like depression.

As of right now, we do not know exactly why exercise helps with depression. We don’t know if exercise directly causes lower depression levels. It could be that a third variable is causing lower depression levels, but we think it is exercise due to the strong correlation. It could also be the classic case of chance causing the lower depression levels. We can, however, rule out reverse causation. We know that lower depression levels in the future could not cause the person to go back in the past and work out.

We know that exercising is strongly correlated with lower depression levels, whether it equals causation or not. In my opinion, if you’re ever feeling depressed, try exercising pretty often for a while. The data shows that its worth a shot if you are a rational person.

Image result for exercise and depression

Sources: http://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/exercise-and-depression-report-excerpt

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC474733/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10547175

Humidors, Not Just for Your Cuban Cigars Anymore

As a former resident Denver, I can personally attest that there is a very noticeable difference in the air at a mile high as compared to the air at the relative sea level of Penn State or my home in Maryland. Whenever I return, stepping off the airplane in Denver International Airport is like learning how to breathe again. It feels like your lungs are doing the same work in order to access less oxygen, and that’s because they are. That’s why many people get altitude sickness and why three of the five longest field goals in NFL history happened to take place in Mile High Stadium. But there’s another quality to the Coloradan atmosphere; it’s extremely dry.

Baseball teams in Colorado notice the difference as well. In the first nine years after the Colorado Rockies baseball club entered the MLB, their ballpark, Coors Field, was known as a hitters park. According to MLB Reports, their team batted an average of .331 at home, an great number for an individual player and patently absurd for an entire team to sustain over the course of almost a decade.

Many thought the dry air could be the cause of the Rockies batting success. Baseballs are made of a rubber core tightly wrapped in dozens of meters of yarn and covered in leather. The yarn was thought to become heavier and softer in humid conditions while it was harder and compressed less (therefore making the ball go further when hit) in dryer conditions. There was no way, however, to isolate that from the confounding variable of the thinness of the air, until 2002 when the team installed a humidor to keep their baseballs in storage. If the yarn were soaking up atmospheric moisture in other locations and not doing so in Denver due to the lack thereof, maybe keeping the baseballs moist could help normalize the Rockies’ insane hitting statistics.

Their null hypothesis in this case was that keeping baseballs in a humidor wouldn’t affect their hitting stats while the alternative hypothesis is that it would decrease them.

Eleven seasons in (by 2013), the null hypothesis was unequivocally rejected. In that time, the Rockies have seen their team average plummet to .315, an extremely significant drop. baseball-humidorThe sample size on each side of the humidor installation is also large enough to control for years where the team might have had an exceptionally good or exceptionally bad season.

The team’s minor league affiliate, the Colorado Springs Sky Sox, followed suit by installing a baseball humidor in 2012. While the sample size of two seasons looked at by the Denver Post is relatively small, the results are very pronounced. While hits and batting average have both fallen by between two and three percent, the number of home runs, where the aerodynamics of the ball would be most effected by moisture or lack thereof, decreased by 14.9%.

Clearly, the use of the humidors served exactly the purpose the originators of the idea believed it would serve.

Photo Refrence:

http://www.rockieszingers.com/2014/04/14/key-pitching-altitude/

References:

Humidor having big impact on Colorado Springs Sky Sox games

http://www.profootballhof.com/news/long-field-goals/

The Humidor Effect On Baseballs At Coors Field: 11 Years In

Wait, Smoking Makes You Earn Less Money Too?

So tonight I was casually scrolling my Instagram feed, and it was pretty much the usual. Girls that I know were sticking their butts out while they take pictures with their friends, all the golf trick shot accounts I follow were posting mind blowing videos of people doing things I didn’t even think were possible using golf clubs and golf balls, and all of my hippy friends were posting nature photos from their latest hikes. Then, I came across something that didn’t seem quite right. It was an advertisement from the anti-smoking group, Truth, about the dangers of smoking. But rather than lament lung cancer or the amount smokers pay each year to feed their nicotine addiction, it spoke of a smoker’s wage gap similar to the so-called gender pay gap. These folks claimed that smokers make 20% less money per year because they smoke. It seemed a little far fetched to me, so I decided to do some investigating into their claims. smoking-money

The null hypothesis in this case would obviously be that smokers make the same money as non-smokers and the alternative hypothesis is that smokers less money. While I was unable to find the exact data that lead to their claim that smokers make 20% less than nonsmokers, the CDC website states that about 26% of adults who make less than the poverty line smoke while only 15% of adults not living in poverty do so. So obviously there’s something going on here with smokers and their disproportionately low incomes.

Next I decided to look to some other possible explainers for the data besides direct causality between smoking and making less money.

Reverse causality, that making less money may cause an individual to smoke, has a place in this discussion. The Health Literacy Special Collection mentions that for some, smoking is a means of stress relief because they have personal or financial problems. This environmental stress then makes it harder to quit smoking, according to the CDC.

There could also be confounding variables in play. Also based on CDC statistics, those who have an associates degree and higher are much less likely to smoke than those who have a high school diploma or less. Obviously, those with lesser education tend to make less than those who have pursued more advanced degrees. A possible mechanism for the discrepancy in smoking related to education could be that more educated individuals know better the effects of smoking and will avoid it. Time also reported that workers in the construction, mining, and hotel and foodservice industries, not particularly high paying jobs, smoke the most, all three of those hovering around a 30% rate. Some of the jobs where smoking is least prevalent are business management, finance and insurance, and science and tech fields, all with rates between ten and fifteen percent. The discrepancy here could also be due to the relative education levels of those with certain jobs or it could be due to the culture within these occupations. For example, construction workers spend all day outdoors and thus have more opportunity to smoke on their breaks while business managers spend all day in offices with no smoking policies.

In conclusion, while there seems to be something Truth’s claim that smokers make less money, there doesn’t seem to be enough evidence to back up the idea that smoking in and of itself is what is hurting smokers economically.

Photo Reference:

Take It From CVS: Quitting Smoking Could Save You Thousands

References:

Ranked: Jobs With the Most (and Fewest) Smokers

 

http://healthliteracy.worlded.org/docs/tobacco/Unit3/1why_people_smoke.html

http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/campaign/tips/quit-smoking/guide/stress-and-smoking.html

https://www.instagram.com/p/BLjkvmohIbM/?taken-by=truthorange

The dreaded nail biting

You sit down to take a test, feeling pretty confident. Not too nervous, not too stressed, but after you turn in the test, you look down at your fingers. Your nails, which you’ve been spending weeks growing out, are now nubs. Fingernails chomped down as low as they can go. Why does this happen every time? Is it nerves or stress? Is it just the jitters? Is it something that you mindlessly do will your brain is at work? This issue is important to me because it is something that I have struggled with for years. It’s something my mother did, my sister did, and my grandpa did. My sister and I have even gone to the extent of painting layers and layers of foul tasting nail polish on our finger that was meant to break the bad habit. Unfortunately, it didn’t really taste that terrible and our bad habit was barley broken for 24 hours, until we managed to peel the nail polish off.

This habit, something that is very present in many people’s daily lives, especially in the teenage population, is something that scientists are only beginning to seriously study. Small studies that have been performed show that roughly a quarter of the adult population in America suffers from forms of it, some more severe than others. But the ideas that people once thought triggered the development of the habit are now heavily refuted. Even with no evidence to support his theory, Sigmund Freud thought it was a result of too much breast-feeding. He believed this not only caused nail-biting, but also just a general urge to chew on things. Obviously with no scientific evidence to back up this idea, it was not heavily considered for long. Coming from a nail biter, this also wouldn’t explain why my nails suffered the worst during tests and stressful situations. In Joseph Stromberg’s article, he briefly discusses Freud’s theory, along with some of the other ideas scientists have brainstormed. Some believe it is casually linked to a form of self-harm, though not many support this idea. Researchers who study body-focused repetitive disorders refuse to link it to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder because for most nail biters, it is not a compulsive action. In Stromberg’s article he explains that most commonly accepted hypothesis is that it is a method that we use to regulate our stress, anxiety, and other heightened emotionsnail_biting_stress.

This study supports the hypothesis that nail biting is caused by certain heightened emotions. Forty-eight participants filled out a questionnaire that measured their levels of emotions, some of which included anger, guilt, and anxiety. Twenty-four of these participants previously experienced body-focused repetitive disorders, while twenty-four of them did not. All forty-eight participants were then taken through 4 events, each event was meant to cause a specific emotional reaction. The 4 emotions that were triggered, to a certain degree in each participant, were stress, relaxation, frustration, and boredom. Most of the half of the participants who initially experienced nail biting and other repetitive disorders were affected and triggered by the feelings of boredom and frustration. This supports, but does not prove, the hypothesis that nail biting is caused by stressful situations and feelings of anxiety. The study also revealed that the reactions that the participants with repetitive disorders had were very similar to the reactions and symptoms of perfectionists. Being a perfectionist is a possible third variable that could trigger similar reactions among the nail biters, and also the nail biting itself. Some holes in the experiment could be the order in which the tests were performed, and the level of effect the tests had on each participant. It is also almost impossible to tell if each participant had matching emotional reaction to each test. Perhaps while some tests were successfully able to induce boredom in most of the participants, in the other participants, it caused anxiousness.

Because the causes of nail biting are only just starting to be seriously studied, a clear mechanism has not been discovered. The causes of this habit may vary from person to person, but if an exact mechanism is discovered, the answer that connects all victims of this addictive habit may become obvious. Because of the links to perfectionism that were concluded in O’Connor’s experiment, psychologists think the habit can be reduced by therapy sessions that focus on stress control and impatience.

The image in this post came from futurederm.com

Works Cited 

http://www.vox.com/2015/4/22/8464365/nail-biting

http://www.medicaldaily.com/nail-biting-boredom-away-psychological-factors-behind-compulsive-behaviors-325350

What are Superbugs?

Like any other college student here, I caught the “Penn State Plague”. The first week of classes I woke up with a very sore throat and it drug on a couple days so I decided to finally go into the University Health Center. I believed I had another case of strep throat. The doctor swabbed my throat to check for strep, and sure enough it was positive. The doctor told me that I since I was allergic to Penicillin, he had to prescribe me Clindamycin. He had to prescribe me Clindamycin because the bacteria in the throat when you have strep is now immune to Amoxicillin. That made me think, is there a big problem with superbugs today?

What are superbugs?

Bacterial infections like strep throat are harder to treat when bacteria are able to survive the antibiotics. This happens because the bacteria carry certain genes that make them immune, and that immunity can be passed on through the bacteria. This is a very big problem because it can happen so rapidly. This rapid passing of antibacterial immunity creates what we know as a “Superbug”. According to C-Health, misusing or overusing antibiotics contributes to superbugs. A lot of people never end up taking all of the pills prescribed by their doctor because they believe they feel better. This is a major problem because every single time that someone does that, the drug becomes less and less effective.This resorts into more expensive and more difficult anti-bacterial medications like what happened to me. Instead of being able to use  Amoxicillin, which I believe is taken once a day, I had to be prescribed Clindamycin, which is two pills twice a day for ten days.  Antibiotics are sold over the counter in certain parts of the world which contribute to this problem because there are commonly misconceptions on if an individual even needs the drug or not. Also, many of the over the counter antibiotics do not have the proper recommendations for use, which help the bacteria service the medication. If you misuse antibiotics -such as taking the drug without needing it- harmless bacteria suffer because the antibiotics kill them. Not only that, but the medicine can also change the harmless bacteria, helping the actual harmful bacteria resist antibiotics.

screen-shot-2016-10-18-at-12-50-26-am

The superbug experiment

An experiment done at Harvard Medical School shows the evolution of bacteria on a gigantic 2 feet by 4 feet petri dish. The bacteria are able to move along the petri dish, slowly making their way through different amounts of antibiotics in each section. The outer layer had no antibiotics so the e-coli bacteria traveled or spread until the next barrier with antibiotics where they then could not survive. The superbug begins to form when a mutation occurs. Each section going towards the middle of the petri dish becomes stronger and stronger with antibiotics until it is 1000 times stronger than what was needed to kill the first section of e-coli bacteria. Astonishingly, the bacteria slowly but surely makes its way to the middle of the petri dish due to these mutations that cause the bacteria to survive event the strongest situations.

090716_lh_antibiotic-resistance_free

How can you as an individual help stop superbugs from forming?

There are multiple ways that you as an individual can help stop the spread of superbugs.By doing these very important things, you are stopping the spread of immune bacteria in the body.

 

  • Make sure you take the entire course of the antibiotics
  • Do not pressure your doctor into a prescription you do not need
  • Never take antibiotics without a doctor’s prescription

 

Works Cited

Image 1 , 2

Cara, Ed. “The Scary Reality Of Antibiotic Resistance Captured In A Petri Dish.” Medical Daily. N.p., 14 Sept. 2016. Web. 18 Oct. 2016.

“The Rise Of Superbugs: How Antibiotic Resistance Develops And How You Can Help Stop It.” Fox News. FOX News Network, 26 Aug. 2015. Web. 18 Oct. 2016

“Superbugs: What Are They and How Are They Formed?” – Canoe.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Oct. 2016.

 

Socioeconomic Status and IQ

Growing up in a popular suburban town outside of Philadelphia, PA I personally never gave much thought to this idea until coming to college and having it discussed in one of my classes. The idea is that your intelligence can be effected by your socioeconomic status. Now when you think about it, it makes a lot of sense. Without wealth and money, you can’t guarantee the best schooling and teaching that you receive growing up. You also hear a lot of talk about when people decide to buy a new home about which school district they’d like to live in, in order to make sure their children get the best schooling. How17ever, if you don’t have the economic wealth, is your intelligence compared to those that have wealth that different?

When doing research on the topic I came across a study that was done on twins within the United Kingdom. With a total of 7426 pairs of twins, they gathered data on their parent’s education and occupation when the children where 18 months old and recollected the same data when the children turned the age of 7. The family income was assessed at age 9.

To measure the intelligence side, the twins were assessed at ages 2, 3 4, 7, 9, 10, 12, 14, and 16 with a variety of tests. These tests included parent-administered testing, as well as web based and telephone based examinations. A majority of these tests were both verbal and non-verbal and called for their knowledge of vocab and cognitive abilities.

The results did not seem to come as a surprise. As the children got older their intelligence scores were positively inter-correlated. Socioeconomic status also was positively correlated with intelligence at all ages as well and increasingly so. gr2When looking at the p-values, across the two samples in latent growth of IQ and socioeconomic status the value was p<.001.

Many studies are said to have shown similar results to this one as well. This goes to show that income inequality can be an issue when it comes to education. However, this particular study is not the best demonstration of the entire worlds population as a whole. The study was only conducted in the United Kingdom. Not to mention that confounding variables can always be an issue with experiments. For this study in particular, since it is an observational study it is extremely difficult to say that the socioeconomic status is the direct causation of a child’s intelligence. When in reality it could be a numerous amount of things.

In conclusion, the study in my opinion however did show some interesting things. Such as when the children got older, the IQ gaps between those well off and those that weren’t significantly grew between the ages of two and 16. They also pointed out that the children in better off families could have experienced greater opportunities which relates back to the confounding variable issue that I talked about earlier.

 

Link to photos:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4641149/

https://cslcivilrights.com/tag/socioeconomic/

Is eating two chocolate bars a day healthy?

Chocolate is many people’s lover, it is without a doubt one of our guilty pleasure. During my sophomore year, I remembered that my roommate used to tell me that eating a chocolate bar a day is healthy and I did believed him but did not do any further research on it. Since taking this class, I somehow had a reminiscence of what he told me. Thus, I decide to write a blog on it and read numerous article about this myth.

chocolate-bar

Is eating two chocolate bars a day healthy?

According to the article I found, it seems that eating two chocolate bar (100g of chocolate) is actually helping our heart to be healthy. The first article talks about a study, which tried to find ouat whether eating dark or milk chocolate is beneficial to our health. Their sample were 21,000 people from UK, in Norwich and the researcher have been regulating them for 12 years. They found out that the regular chocolate eaters, who ate around 100 grams per day, were less likely to get heart attack, stroke or other cardiovascular diseases by 11% and also found that there is 25% reduction in the chance of dying from these heart issues.

To test the validity of these findings, I look into other article that had numerous study. It first mentioned a study conducted by Harvard, where they look at 31,823 Swedish women of age 48 to 83 who ate an ounce of chocolate each month. The women were showing to have their heart problem reduced by 32% and the study also mentioned that eating more would prevent the benefits.This is only 28 grams a month which already contradicts with the Norwich study findings who said that they are consuming 100 grams of chocolate per day. This means that they miscalculate and gave a false amount in their results.

However, this same article also mentioned a study with 44,000 participants who ate chocolate weekly were having 22% less chance of getting stroke compared to those that do not eat at all. Moreover, Both these article recognizes the fact that both dark and milk chocolate have flavonoids, which is an antioxidants that helps the blood to flow better. Milk chocolate also have other beneficial compounds such as calcium and fatty acids. Therefore, it would still be safe to say that eating chocolate is beneficial to our health but not at 100 grams of it.

What should I conclude and do?

reasons-why-you-should-eat-dark-chocolate-health-food-get-fit-in-shape

As mentioned, it seems that the correct amount of chocolate that needs to be consumed is still skeptical. Another article I found also criticized the Norwich study and states that we should eat on average only 7 grams of chocolate per day. They did say that eating chocolate can be beneficial but it is too reckless to believe that consuming 100 grams of chocolate would be healthy. On the other hand, I would conclude that we should still reject the null hypothesis because it seems that there are still many evidences of large sample that demonstrate that chocolate is beneficial to us. However, we should bear in mind that this might still be a false positive because these studies are observational so it is difficult to really relates the cause and effect.

By Dhaam Sakuntabhai

 

Sources:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3125548/Chocolate-curbs-stroke-heart-attack-risk-Regularly-eating-dark-milk-varieties-beneficial-health.html

http://www.livescience.com/36754-eating-chocolate-health-benefits-heart.html

Is eating 2 chocolate bars a day healthy?

 

 

Can The Party Drug Molly Help Treat Patients With PTSD?

Most people might know MDMA for being a party drug which is commonly referred to as molly or ecstasy. Partygoers often take the drug to feel a euphoric high, but the drug has recently been used to treat patients who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. PTSD is a disorder that is caused by a traumatic experience in ones life such as war or sexual assault, which can cause flashbacks, feeling tense, angry outburst, trouble sleeping, and many other symptoms depending on the patient. Patients are given the drug under the supervision on a trained psychotherapist, which allows them to be able to discuss and look back on the experience that caused their disorder while feeling a layer of safety due to the MDMA’s affects. MDMA-assisted psychotherapy is for people who are not responding to traditional therapy for PTSD. In 2000 clinical studies of the drug was approved by The Food and Drug Administration, which is being carried out by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies who also studies the benefit of drugs such as LSA, Ibogaine, Ayahuasca, Marijuana amongst other Psychedelic Research.

People affected by PTSD are overcome with fear when it comes to the event which lead to their disorder. This can be a problem in treatment as patients are encouraged to revisit the sometimes terrifying event to overcome the fear. This is where MDMA comes into play, by reducing fear levels, allowing the patient to revisit the traumatic event in a way that brings more to the surface benefiting there treatment.

The Null hypothesis of this study is that patients with PTSD, will have a positive affect on the patients side effects. While the reverse hypothesis is that patients with PTSD, will have a negative or no affect on the patients side effects. After only a few MDMA therapy sessions the patient should no longer need the assistance of the drug during treatment.

Phase 1
In 2004 phase 1 was approved to be ran by psychotherapists who had completed a research therapist training program through MAPS. There was one small catch, each psychotherapists had to have their own MDMA experience in the same setting which their patients would soon have the chance to. Rick Doblin, founder of MAPS found this to be a very important part of the study as he wanted the psychotherapists to better understand what their patients would experience throughout the process. As of now seven psychotherapists have completed the training and have found it was beneficial not only professionally but also on a personal level.

ptsd1

Phase 2
In 2015 a Phase 2 clinical study of the drug was approved by the FDA. This involves treating over 100 patients around the world to monitor exactly how safe and effective the drug is. The initial study included 20 subjects, which included some patients getting an inactive placebo with all the same therapy as those receiving the actual drug.(12 patients were given MDMA, while 8 were given placebos.) At the end of the study 25% of the patients who received the therapy and the placebo were free from PTSD. While 83% of the patients who received the therapy and the MDMA were now free from PTSD. The benefits of the treatment were reported to last an average of 3.8 years by patients. The rest of the studies are almost complete and should be published when MAPS applies for phase 3.

ptsd2

Phase 3
MAPS has hopes that by 2017 they can come to an agreement with the FDA to how Phase 3 will be conducted, from there they will have four years to finish the phase. These trials will contain around 400 patients costing around $21 million, more then half of the money has already been raised. MAPS current estimate is to have MDMA-assisted psychotherapy be legalized by 2021.

The sample size thus far has been small but this is due to how the FDA allows drugs to be tested. The study also faces the Drawer Problem as MAPS is the only group conducting studies to bring MDMA to the market. This is why the FDA is in control of what drugs are offered to the public. Up to this point in process the Null hypothesis has proven to be correct.

Web Sources
http://www.maps.org/research/mdma
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/mdma-psychotherapy-may-be-legal-in-just-five-years_us_56266075e4b08589ef4902ca
http://www.mdmaptsd.org/testimonials/136-mdma-assisted-psychotherapy-for-ptsd-momentum-towards-phase-3-and-beyond.html
http://www.mdmaptsd.org/research-category.html
https://www.inverse.com/article/13196-mdma-steps-closer-to-fda-approval-as-a-drug-but-now-it-needs-to-leap
http://www.npr.org/2015/09/13/439963019/researchers-turn-to-popular-club-drug-to-treat-ptsd
http://www.maps.org/news/bulletin/articles/bulletin-winter-2015/5922-research-update-mdma-assisted-psychotherapy-for-ptsd
Images Sources
Source: Mithoefer et al. (2010)
Source: Mithoefer et al. (2012)

Why people got so addicted to sugary drinks?

During the class, Andrew talked about the sugary drinks can cause the weight gain. Because  these soda drinks contains high levels of sugar. But there are still a lot of people are crazy about these drinks. Even people who are trying to lose weight. According to the research, there are approximately half of all people drink sugary drinks in America every day. So what are the ingredients in these sugary drinks makes people so addicted ?

no-diet-soda

First of all, most of the sugary drinks such as coke contain caffeine. It is known to the world as the most popular drug to let people think sharper, and give people energy. Because caffeine is soluble both in water and fat, so after people drank the coke with caffeine in it, they can go directly to the brain through the blood. The reason that caffeine can reduce people’s stress and make people feel less tired is because they can block the adenosine receptors (which is a nature molecule in the brain). So the excess of adenosine in the brain can produce fight chemical adrenaline. So some people use these feelings as energy. So when people gets tired, they will choose to drink more caffeine drinks in order to restore their energy. Therefore people gets addicted to it.

Second, because most of the sugary drinks contain high levels of sugar. For example, a small can of soda contains approximately 39 grams of sugar and this could attract all the small children and teenagers. Because we all like “flavored sweet water”.

Third, most of the sugary drinks such as Pepsi and coke contain carbon dioxide. And carbon dioxide can change water to sparking water, and make people fall in love with it.

But according to the research, there is no beneficial nutrition for people in sugary drinks. Sugary drinks will only harm our body. Because this kind of drinks contain phosphoric acid, and it could break down the calcium in human’s body and cause people have a bone fracture. And because there are so many sugars in the sugary drinks, and it can cause people get diabetes, which is explained why there are so many young children got diabetes.

So it’s better for people to realize that how much damage can sugary drinks do to people and start to drink more healthy.