Daily Archives: November 18, 2016

Does Your Eye Color Mean Anything?

Even when I was a little girl, random people would come up to me and compliment me on my eyes. My bright green eyes have constantly caused people to stop a conversation to tell me how beautiful my eyes are. I am not going to lie, I love being complimented on the color of my eyes, but little do people know I have absolutely horrible vision. I never realized how bad my vision was until the 5th grade when my eye doctor told my mother I desperately needed glasses. The older I got the worse my eyesight got; each doctors appointment  my contact prescription would go higher and higher. So, could there be any possible causation between light eyes and bad eyesight? If so, this would mean the Null Hypothesis would be there is no connection between light eyes and bad eyesight, while the Alternative Hypothesis would be there is a connection between light eyes and bad eyesight. Picture2b1765486a1b924bad87c114d42be543


When looking to discover which of my hypothesis was correct, I came across a lot of interesting studies and news articles. This study,  was conducted to see if darker eyes have better reaction times than lighter eyes. The study observed 59 male rugby athletes regarding a peripheral vision test and a goal-kicking test in order to determine if the darker eyed rugby players had a faster reaction time than the lighter eyed rugby players. At the end of the study it was concluded that the dark eyed rugby had no significant difference than the light eyed rugby players. Although this study supported my Null Hypothesis, there could have been a number of confounding variables and it is unclear the number of light eyed rugby players that are being tested versus the number of dark eyed rugby players that are being tested. According to an article by Everyday Health, lighter eyes tend to be more sensitive to lights. People with lighter eyes have less pigment in their eye than a person with dark eyes. So by having less pigment in your eyes cause you to have worse vision? According to UCSB Science Line, the answer is no – pigment does not effect your vision. But just because pigment does not effect your eyesight, could it be effecting something else? According to Everyday Health, there is a greater chance that people with lighter eyes have a better chance of developing cancer. Why is this? Since people with lighter eyes have less pigment, they have less protection of Ultraviolet Rays, which can increase one’s chances of melanoma of the uvea in the eye. According to the Ocular Melanoma Foundation, Ocular Melanoma has about 2,000 to 2,500 cases in the United State each year. So even though you may have lighter eyes and have a higher chance of developing Ocular Melanoma, it is a very rare cancer that one with lighter eyes should not worry too much about. The easiest way to prevent Ocular Melanoma is not to stare at the sun and to wear sunglasses on bright, sunny days.

Take Away

All in all, the color of your eyes do not have any effect on your vision. For me, I guess I was lucky to have pretty eyes but just unlucky to have bad vision. Therefor, the Null Hypothesis would stand and eye color has no causation to eye vision. Even though eye color does not effect your vision, light eye color can increase your chances of developing Ocular Melanoma. So although my vision may not be affected by my eye color, my eye color may cause me to have a slim chance to develop Ocular Melanoma!



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yoga and science ?


Many of my peers like to go to weekly yoga. All I know is that it helps to stretch the body but I have wondered is there any science involved. I wanted to get more information about yoga and a possible answer to my question. I have found after researching online that yoga “Current research suggests that a carefully adapted set of yoga poses may reduce low-back pain and improve function.” (1) I find it very helpful that studies are being done in order to find out all that yoga has to offer to people. It also says that “Other studies also suggest that practicing yoga (as well as other forms of regular exercise) might improve quality of life; reduce stress; lower heart rate and blood pressure; help relieve anxiety, depression, and insomnia; and improve overall physical fitness, strength, and flexibility.” (1)  This is very good news meaning people can get help without having to necessarily drink medication. The source even states this from the results of the studies. It says “Conclusions from another 2011 study of 313 adults with chronic or recurring low-back pain suggested that 12 weekly yoga classes resulted in better function than usual medical care. “(1)But this cannot rule out the possibility that it does not work. The article goes on to say that “A 2011 review of the literature reports that few published studies have looked at yoga and arthritis, and of those that have, results are inconclusive.” (1) This confirms the suspicion that it cannot be completely ruled that yoga might not be the best alternative for some people that have arthritis and other conditions such as that. Other sites go into detail how yoga affects our brains.  In one site it says “ it moderates the cortisol hormone keeping the individual calm.”(2)And “After conducting MRI scans, scientists have discovered that people practicing yoga have more gray matter (brain cells) than the non-practitioners do.”(2)


Having this grey area helps expand the brain according to the site and helps the person since they have more room for “mental mapping” in our bodies.  This sounds fascinating but I still would want more science behind yoga. When searching for the science behind yoga most of the websites were not very reliable sources that weren’t overly biased or trying to sell something. I hope there can be more studies done and science related evidence for yoga.


  1. “Yoga: In Depth | NCCIH.” U.S National Library of Medicine. U.S. National Library of Medicine, n.d. Web. 18 Nov. 2016.
  2. Conclusions from another 2011 study of 313 adults with chronic or recurring low-back pain suggested that 12 weekly yoga classes resulted in better function than usual medical care.


Heights and Cancer

  Do you believe that “ for every extra 10cm (4in) of height, when fully grown, the risk of developing cancer increased by 18% in women and 11% in men”? It sounds unbelievable, but according to a large sample and long-term experiment in Sweden, it is true.

At the 54th Annual European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology Meeting, karolinska_institutet_seal-svgresearchers from  the Karolinska Institutet (one of the largest and most prestigious medical universities in the world )and University of Stockholm showed that cancer risk has been found to increase with height in both Swedish men and women. They examined 5.5 million men and women in Sweden, born between 1938 and 1991 and with adult heights ranging between 3.3 feet and 7.4 feet, and followed the group of individuals from 1958 or from the age of 20 until the end of 2011. Then the scientists got the conclusion which I show above. What’s more, they demonstrated that taller women had a 20% greater risk of breast cancer development, while both men and women have the increased risk of developing melanoma by approximately 30% per 10 cm of height. Study lead author Dr. Emelie Benyi of Karolinska Institutet said that their study is the largest study performed on linkage between height an cancer including both male and female.

Does this mean that great height is the direct cause of development of cancer? Certainly, not! First, the cause of cancer is multifactorial. Although height might be a reason, but is very difficult to predict what is the impact on cancer risk at the individual level. Second, the study only included the sample of men and women in Sweden. To be specific, the data on adult heights was collected from the Swedish Medical Birth, the Swedish Conscription, and the Swedish Passport Registers, whereas the cancer data was retrieved from the Swedish Cancer Register. That “ taller people are more likely to develop cancer” cannot represent the whole population of human. Third, it is possible that the confounding variable exists. It is unclear so far if they also have a higher risk of dying from cancer or have an increased mortality overall, as Dr. Emelie Benyi said. Fourth, it could be a file drawer problem.

Although it seems that height and cancer risk are fairly clearly linked, tall people don’t have to be too worried about these results. “Height itself is not a risk factor, but it really appears to be a marker for one or more exposures that influence cancer risk.” said Geoffrey C. Kabat, a senior epidemiologist in the department of epidemiology and population health at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University in New York.

_85853516_thinkstockphotos-536109487-1Many factors can influence our heights.( For example, the nutrition we intake in childhood, the amount of foods we consumed in childhood can influence heights.) Therefore we have several possible explanation for the correlation between heights and cancer risks. Growth factor is a circulating level of protein which is influenced by exercises, stress, body mass index and nutrition. It is associated with both increased height and cancer risk. So taller people (while young) are exposed to higher levels of growth factors, which could possibly promote cancer development.  Also, taller people simply have a larger number of cells in their bodies that then could potentially transform into cancer. Because cancer means that some of the body’s cells begin to divide without stopping and spread into surrounding tissues. (much information about cancer in cancer.gov)treatment-resistent-breast-cancer-articleSo it is easy to understand that the more cells you have, the much number of cells might be abnormal. A third possible explanation is that taller individuals have a higher caloric intake, which has also previously been linked to cancer. These explain why heights and cancer risks relate each other.

Additionally, the impact of height that increases the risk of cancer is actually smaller than we think. Cancer Research UK scientists have studied in this relative risk. “The researchers found that every extra 10cm (or 4 inches) of height was associated with a 17 per cent higher risk of the disease. Drinking alcohol increases breast cancer risk: every extra unit per day increases the risk by 12 per cent (and a large glass of wine is about three units). Comparing that to the effect of weight, the risk for women with the highest BMIs is 40 per cent higher than for the slimmest women. Having children also has an effect. Women with no children have a 43 per cent higher risk of this disease than those who have had children.” So in comparison with these risks, the influence of high is not large. (If you want to learn more about it, click the following link Height and cancer risk – the long and short of it)

Now we have no clear conclusion about cancer risk and height. Please do not worry about your height. To reduce risk of cancer, there are many important thing to do, such as giving up smoking, cutting down on alcohol, and adopting a healthy diet and lifestyle.

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Why Can’t I “Juju on That Beat?”

Going to Pennsylvania State University has made it abundantly clear that everyone here is immersed in the “party culture;” almost every weekend, college students are out drinking all the alcohol they can hold, dancing their nights away, and most likely contracting some strain of STD or virus (but who am I to judge!). And don’t even talk about the football weekends! One walk down College Avenue here in State College makes it a clear deduction that if you are not getting drunk or in its process, you are definitely missing out!

Anyways, knowing that the college we all attend is a party school is a good thing because we all go out and have a good time, while still staying on top of our studies. As a matter of fact, a couple of weeks ago at a Fraternity, I couldn’t help but notice that, excuse my bluntness, some people are horrid dancers. So, this got me to speculating on a couple of questions: What makes some people better dancers than others? Is one’s brain-functioning capacity involved? Do some people simply possess the natural talent?

Null hypothesis: There is no relationship between a person’s brain and his ability to dance “better” (more fluid and smooth) and control his body with a greater degree.

Alternative: Brain activity plays a critical role in how well someone can control his body to perform dance moves.

*I personally believe that the null hypothesis will be rejected.*

What is the dance called “Juju on that beat?”

The above video ^ is one of the recent crazes that teenagers today are talking about; a new dance called “Juju on that beat.” But I consistently find myself wondering what it is that makes some people better than others at performing dance moves, and so thats exactly what I set out to find through research in the scientific community.

The first scientific article that I happened to stumble upon seemed to attribute the lack of dance moves and beat rhythm to something called “beat deafness.” Unlike the majority of the human species, and very similar to other species within the animal kingdom, this affliction seems to effect a number of individuals that often cannot seem to recognize patterns in music, which, consequently, causes horrid dance movements; it simply does not come natural to some people, while others seem to be much more fluent in this physical language. In the very same article, there was research done by McGill University that attempted to find out exactly what causes “beat deafness” and why it only effects certain people. According to their studies, people who are actually beat deaf not only seem to lack normal coordination of the body, but also seem to have rough times recognizing beats and clapping to them accordingly. More specifically, two test beat deaf subjects named Mathieu and Marjorie, can easily create their own beats and clap to them when there is no sound or music, but when tunes begin to play, the disorder kicks into effect; thus, attempts at synchronization are the problem.

Interestingly enough, scientists have concluded on something called an internal oscillator; these are the basic biological functions like heartbeats and talking that operate on the rhythms of the human body. Caroline Palmer, head of this research, suggests that both Mathieu and Marjorie lack these oscillators; essentially, this oscillator theory helps to support the fact that some people are simply not predisposed to adapting to changes in rhythm.

Some people suggest, however, that capabilities to learn new dance moves rely on how well the brain functions. In one article I read, the author explicates research done by Oxford University stating that GABA, gamma-aminobutyric acid, located in the brain largbrainely affects one’s ability to learn new moves and master them; this acid located in the human brain seems to function almost like a gate that regulates the transmission of signals between neural cells. In some people, these GABA levels are regulated with more ease than others, putting them at a much higher advantage; however, this does not necessarily conclude that those with less flexible gates will never master dancing!

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Both the studies suggest two opposing reasonings for the same problem: lack of fluidity and coordination when dancing. The first study implies that problems with dancing arise from a disorder known as “beat deafness,” while the second study attributes the same issues to differences in brain acids. Unlike the first study that has experiments both in effect and pending in the future, the second study has no actual experiments to support its claims. However, this does not necessarily mean that because there in no lab that there is no merit in what was concluded. There is definitely a possibility that either studies are correct, or even that both have scientific validity to some degree. With that being stated, my hypothesis that the null would be rejected is true, since the brain seems to correlate with the dancing abilities of certain people.

However, regardless of whether you possess the best dance moves in the world, or simply cannot seem to find the beat to a song, don’t let that stop you from having a great time and enjoying a little physical relief once in a while!