Author Archives: Adelaide Christine Edgett

The Drug Culture in the United States

As the legalization of marijuana spreads across the country, there has been more evaluation into the drug culture within the United States, specifically that which is associated with partying. There are differing levels of drugs that affect the body in various ways. For example, nobody would say that smoking pot affects you the same way taking a hit of heroin does. There is a large taboo associated with any type of carnal pleasure in the United States, possibly stemming from the puritanical roots from which our nation was founded, but in the modern generation some stigmas associated with a more “risqué” type of life are being lifted.


This begs the question, what are the effects of different drugs on the body? In other words, is experimentation OK?


Let’s build from the ground up with more approachable vices: alcohol and marijuana. Alcohol is considered a depressant and effects the brain by causing sluggishness, a difficulty in speech, and an overall impairment of the brain’s activity, according to Alcohol is ingested and broken down by the liver; whatever can’t be broken down goes straight to the brain where it effects neurotransmitters, specifically GABA, which is where the sluggishness and slowed reaction time comes from ( On the other hand, cannabis (more commonly known as pot or marijuana) is considered a hallucinogen. Commonly ingested through smoking, pot can cause an altered state of mind, sluggish movement, and can affect memory ( According to LifeHacker, the active component is THC, which affects the dopamine levels in our brains and creates the sense of happiness associated with smoking pot. Both alcohol and marijuana can cause lasting effects if they are used recklessly, but in regards to recreational use in moderation they do not seem to bring about harmful results. These are the most common recreational drugs and can sometimes be considered gateways to other, riskier drugs.

maxresdefaultWithin the partying community, the next tier of drugs includes MDMA (commonly known as ecstasy), LSD, and cocaine. These are not as common as the aforementioned, but they make quite an appearance in the more hardcore nightlife scene. I’ll begin with LSD, as it’s one of the most notorious and mythical out of the three. LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) is in the same class as pot, being a hallucinogen. The most common effects include a distorted sense of reality, specifically affecting the senses, and increases brain activity. There are not a lot of lasting effects associated with LSD, though taking it frequently will cause a buildup of the drug and therefore increase tolerance ( While it can’t be said that LSD is a “safe drug” due to how much it affects and distorts the senses (which can put the user in an unsafe situation), LSD has the possibility to be enjoyed in a safe situation.url

Now we’re going to shift to a drug not as many people are familiar with: MDMA. MDMA is a synthetic drug that combines some hallucinogenic and stimulant properties which primarily affects the serotonin levels in the brain, causing a great sense of happiness and euphoria by affecting the senses. The issue with this synthetic drug is its potential for damaging the serotonin production, which could impair cognitive function according to Mic Network. As opposed to some of the other drugs that have been mentioned, MDMA has the potential for lasting effects on the brain after one use and it usually takes a while to recover from.

To finish up this barrage of facts, I will be discussing cocaine, which is often lumped into the same class as heroine due to its monumental effects on the brain. It is a stimulant typically associated with the wealthy and is often snorted to achieve the desired effect. The danger is the highly addictive nature of the drug, which is higher than those previously mentioned. According to Medical Daily, cocaine typically affects the frontal cortex, specifically dopamine receptors. This creates a sense of happiness, but because cocaine is a short-lived high, the crash results in a depressive state. To achieve a similar high, more of the drug must be taken which is how overdoses occur. In fact, cocaine is one of the leading causes of non-prescription drug related overdose (


In the grand scheme of things, I could describe all the various drugs that are associated with a hardcore partying life, but nobody wants to read lists of facts for that long. But throughout constant research and interest in the subject material, any sort of drug that has an influence over the brain should be treated with caution. Some drugs are a lot more dangerous than others, but in a safe environment and with the right people and knowledge experimentation is not as devastating as many people make it out to be. It is key to be wary of signs of addiction and not to use any of the aforementioned substances as an outlet for inner turmoil on a frequent basis.


Netflix: Blessing or Burden

We are all familiar with Netflix, and for the most part it is considered a handy tool for killing time or hosting movie nights with friends. By making the process of obtaining and viewing movies and TV shows more accessible, it is easy to abuse this powerful piece of technology. “Binge-watching”, or the process of watching numerous TV shows back to back in a single sitting, is a prominent phenomenon in today’s society. Bingeing may have its time and place, but the constant use of Netflix could have some potentially negative effects.

One of the biggest questions asked when evaluating the effect of Netflix on individuals is how it influences mental health, specifically anxiety and depression. There have not been many intensive studies into the health effects of binging Netflix as it is still a relatively new invention. Many people have reported, though, that the process of watching an inordinate amount of Netflix can be draining and can cause feelings of sadness and depression once a TV show ends (The Guardian). There is a feeling of attachment that comes with watching a show constantly, and individual’s moods are affected when there are changes in the show, or the show ends. But this depression can extend beyond the fleeting feelings associated with the end of a show. Those who watch a large amount of television, or in this case Netflix, have a higher rate of loneliness that comes with the isolation that occurs from prolonged TV watching. This loneliness can trigger depression, which already affects a large amount of the United States population.

binge-watch-tv-860x442Besides the assumed effect on mental health, there are other health risks posed by binge watching Netflix. This has less to do with the act of watching TV, but more so on the health issues associated with sedentary tendencies. According Reader’s Digest, by sitting for a prolonged amount of time, an individual is at a greater risk for issues like obesity, heart attack and diabetes later in life. These issues are very prominent in the United State as it is. Many people who binge are unaware of the long term effects as they only focus on the initial gratification that comes with enjoying a couple episodes of your favorite show.

The binging of TV has been around as long as the invention of television, but by adding the digital age into the equation, Netflix makes it easier to feed this addiction. Addiction is a common topic of discussion on college campuses, but people mainly consider drugs and alcohol as objects of discussion. Binge-watching Netflix might be just as detrimental to a college career, though. Not only could students begin to prioritize their leisure activities, such as Netflix, over their academic studies, the act of watching Netflix late into the night greatly cuts down on the hours of sleep that students receive (Network 58). Young adults should ideally average around 9 hours of sleep per night. This is already limited by everyday obligations such as school, work, and a social life. Through the addition of a fourth variable, one that takes a significant amount of time away from other activities, the schedule of the student is stretched too thin. There are many students who, when choosing which activities to cut back on, even prioritize their binging tendencies.sketch2

I love Netflix. In fact, it is one of my top recommended websites. But regardless, the act of binge-watching Netflix should be treated as an addiction and should not be joked about in such light tones. By not exercising control, the effects of binge watching can extend into all aspects of life, not only academic and social pursuits, but in terms of health as well. College is a stressful time as it is and there is no need to add to the headache and potential quarter-life crises that come with the early 20s by indulging in the easily preventable risk that is binge-watching TV. Netflix is great in many situations, but it is always wise to exercise some caution when indulging in this addictive instrument of leisure.


How Unhealthy Is Binge Watching? Press Pause, and Read On

Netflix Binge Watching Negatively Affecting Students


Our current generation seems to be more geared towards health issues than other previous generations. It is a common stereotype of millennials that many strive to eat organic or vegan mystery foods, but how does restricting our diet in such ways affect our overall health? I would evaluate this question by focusing on dietary restriction, specifically veganism, as there is a lot of controversy as to whether or not that is a healthy life choice.

vegan-not-healthyFor those who don’t know, adopting a vegan diet means cutting out all food that contain any type of animal byproduct. Where vegetarians can have foods that contain milk or eggs, being vegan means that anything that came from an animal is off the table. There are many different mentalities behind adopting this lifestyle: health reasons, a moral disparity with how animals are treated, or even social reasons (for example, being raised vegan from birth or choosing veganism to fit in with a social group).

First things first, while being vegetarian more various different ways of introducing protein into the diet, those who are vegan quite frequently need vitamin substitutes to make sure they are getting the proper nutrients ( There are reasons why, from the beginning of time, meat and animal byproducts have been incorporated into the human diet: without the presence of proper vitamins and a steady source of protein, it would be impossible for a group to flourish, according to Empowered Sustenance.

Those who follow a vegan diet like to combat the aforementioned issue of protein by bringing up soy, of which a large portion of their diet is reliant on. This isn’t a safe choice in terms of health, specifically hormones, though. According to Paleo Leap, ingesting too much soy can wildly affect hormone regulation, specifically those that work with energy levels and appetite in an unideal way. Additionally, the compounds found in grains (the family soy is a part of) can severely impact insulin regulation. What does that mean, you ask? People who ingest too many lectins, which cause insulin resistance, are more susceptible to metabolic problems. Basically, vegans are at more of a risk for illnesses. The dangers of soy, added to the limited intake of vitamins, poses many potential health risks.infosite-soy-2-fb

This information might make vegans clutch their tofu with rage, but there are great examples of veganism’s general unhealthiness. Let’s take a gander at what happens when infants and young children are forced into a vegan lifestyle by their parents. Vegan diets quite commonly cause lower energy, in addition to a limited presence such as vitamin B, B12, D as well as iron and amino acids, according to The Guardian. These components of a balanced diet are greatly restricted, especially in a child’s diet. Infants and young children are growing at a very fast rate and need all sources of energy and nutrients that they can get so they can sustain this growth. According to the Mayo Clinic, iron deficiencies can also occur, which can spark anemia as well as inhibit growth. Unless the parents are incredibly well informed, are in conference with a nutrition specialist, and vigilant with administering the proper diet, it is very risky to force a young child into a vegan diet. In fact, there are some instances where infants who are being raised vegan have been removed from the parents due to health issues that arise, such as malnutrition (The Guardian).

Based on all the current research, it seems counterintuitive to adopt a diet with the intention to increase overall health but is instead notorious for endangering your immune system. It seems even more questionable to inflict these choices on others. While it is possible to remain stable in terms of health while adhering to a vegan diet, the constant need for vigilance, not only in regards to if what you are eating is “vegan” but also in terms of moderating low nutrient levels, seems to create many more problems than it solves. There are a bountiful number of vegetarians who live happy, healthy lives through their dietary choices, but the restrictions placed on a diet by veganism are borderline dangerous to an individual.thanksgiving-freedom-from-want1


The Dangers of Soy

10 Reasons Why I’ll Never Be Vegan

Is Coffee Good for You? – The Effects of Coffee on the Brain

Coffee has become a staple beverage in the United States throughout the last century. With the introduction of instant coffee such as Maxwell House, through the rise of the café and into the third wave coffee craze hitting the country now, the average American drinks three cups of coffee per day, according to USA Today. But what does this nationwide addiction mean in terms of health?

13600003_1214232891973320_2251902810698495294_nThe best first step into understanding how coffee affects us is by learning how it works. Most people know that coffee gets all of its magical powers from caffeine, which the beverage has plenty of. It binds to the chemical receptor that is usually responsible for the uptake of adenosine, which caffeine is structurally similar to (cnet). The ironic thing is that adenosine is the chemical compound in our brain that makes us sleepy. And like a lot of chemical compounds in the brain, we build up a resistance to it the more we ingest. That’s why some people need a lot more coffee to escape their zombie-like state in the morning than others.

Growing up, my parents always told me that drinking coffee would stunt your growth and give you yellow teeth, so I was wary to drink the beverage. Research into the subject pf how coffee effects these things, as well as other aspects of health, draws more of a correlation between caffeine and health effects, but considering the rate that coffee is being consumed, in this blog caffeine and coffee will be evaluated together. According to, coffee works as a vasodilator, which increases the blood circulation through the body and increases heart rate. Many are aware of this through the jitters and energy bursts that come with too much coffee. Likewise, coffee can facilitate digestion, but can also cause bloated-ness and nausea if they’re drank on an empty stomach, as stated by The Telegraph.f74c59f99f745b360e1c84a27346764a

For the most part, we know more about the short term effects of coffee intake as studies into the long term effects have only began in the past 20 years. Researchers have attempted to show a link between long term diseases, such as heart disease and pregnancy complications, but for most of the cases, results have been inconclusive ( If anything, we have learned that coffee is not as detrimental to our health as we originally assumed. For example, we no longer believe that coffee effects how much we will grow, based on research compiled by

sprudge-bluebottleechopark-mackenziechamplin-blue_bottle_echopark_front_counter_1_mackenzie_champlin  Because of the nation’s growing interest in the magical black bean that is coffee, we now know more about the brew and, as of now, have less to fear than we thought thirty years ago. While the caffeine in coffee can cause anxiety and sleeplessness if abused, there are few long term effects associated with coffee that we are aware of. This does not mean that we should over-consume coffee as there is still such a thing as OD-ing on caffeine. But if you are an avid coffee drinker and want to take your brews to the next level, there is such a thing as Death Wish Coffee, which boasts 660 mg of caffeine in a cup. Go hard or go home.63757917


Coffee and body performance

Long-Term Effects

Death Wish Coffee – 16 oz

Should We Lower the Drinking Age?

At Penn State, drinking is a huge part of the social culture. I mean, every year we are voted within the top party schools in the nation. But the life of debauchery associated with the fine students at Penn State is not unique to us: it is an issue that plagues every state in the United States. College students and young adults often get a bad rap for underage drinking and endangering themselves by putting themselves situations where drinking occurs. I believe that this issue is not to be blamed on the quality of America’s youth, but on the legal age of drinking being set at 21.

Before the drinking age was raised to 21 in 1984, individuals were able to buy beer and wine at the age of 18 and liquor at 21, according to an article by Boston. Drinking in the USA has a tumultuous history, but the main reason the age was raised to 21 was because of drunk driving statistics. CNN reported that before 1984, a majority of drunk driving incidents were attributed to 16 to 21 year olds. The solution to this, according to our lovely United States government, was to simply raise the legal drinking age to 21. We all know that has not stopped young adults from partaking in the illicit beverage.imgres

These drunk driving statistics were not enough for some people, though. Soon individuals began to inquire as to whether or not underage drinking could be detrimental to a young adult’s development. To this I say, look to almost every other country in the world where the drinking age typically hovers around 16 to 18 ( There is little evidence that these countries, who have less of a taboo on drinking and instead educate their youths on how to drink responsibility, have stunted mental development due to drinking (Indiana).


Drinking begins to effect biological factors, such as mental development, once binging occurs. Binging is rampant in the US drinking culture and is iconic in the college partying scene. Just look at dear old Penn State, where basically every weekend is a revelry of cheap vodka and beer. The studies conducted by Indiana University point out that from an early age, people are taught that drinking is bad instead of how to drink in a responsible manner. This is similar to how we as a nation teach sex, where abstinence is the best policy. In actuality, addressing our problems in this was just breeds ignorance and does more harm than good. Because young adults do not know how to drink appropriately and in moderation, once they are exposed to it they are more likely to binge and make inappropriate decisions that could endanger their health.

biggest-drinking-country-franceMultiple studies have been conducted which show that drinking in moderation has no effect on the developing mind. Binge drinking, which occurs mostly in those below 21, is incredibly bad for the body and mind of young adults. This points to an issue in education of how to drink appropriately. Therefore, if the United States got their act together and realized that ignoring social issues such as teen drinking is not a wise way of solving problems, we could begin to solve this plaguing social issue that imparts a bad reputation on the youth of America. Based on the various studies conducted throughout the years, I believe that if we educated ourselves and made a conscious effort, it would be possible to lower the drinking age. There are many arguments against this stance, but through education on drinking and an approachable attitude in regards to information on alcohol, there could be significant improvement in the drinking habits of young Americans.


Why 21? A Look at Our Nation’s Drinking Age

A Neutron Walks Into a Bar & Orders a Beer

And the bartender says, “for you, no charge”.

My name is Adelaide and I’m currently a senior at Penn State. After many existential crises, I decided on a major of Anthropology with a minor in Philosophy and I intent to go into law after graduating. I’m taking this class to fill my GN requirement. And my friend has met Andrew and says he’s pretty cool.

I have nothing against science, I started at Penn State as a Forensic Science major and only after having a scarring experience with Chemistry and Calculus I decided to do a 180. I find the areas of Anatomy and Physiology fascinating and have chosen to focus some of my Anthropology studies in Biology. I studied in Australia for half a year and also gained an appreciation for the environment of that fantastic land. The continent evolved large hopping mammals with pouches, so of course it’s interesting.

I still enjoy reading about recent developments in science, I just don’t like studying it for a grade. I can’t perform under pressure like that. Science is the intriguing way that the world and all the things in it work and that’s fascinating. Tests are not, so that’s why I’ll stick to Gen Eds instead of a major in science.

If you don’t think nature’s pretty neat, just take a gander at this bear.