Author Archives: Annalise Marie Pilitowski

Exercise Before Bed

Last spring I decided that I needed to make a little change it my life. I have always been a healthy person, but upon coming to college, I realized that I had partially began gaining the freshman 15. So I started to hit the gym regularly to ensure that I didn’t gain any weight. However as a college student, with a packed schedule and barely enough time to even eat some days, I found it hard to find a good time to work out. The only time I could really find to go to the gym was late at night, usually around 9:30-10 o’clock. It seemed to be working for me for a while because despite my busy schedule, I did actually find the time to hit the gym. goodnight_gif_cz0zew After about a little over a week I realized that I hadn’t really been sleeping at all. After a phone call with my mom we both came up with the hypothesis that it was because I was working out so late at night right before I was going to bed. We predicted that going to the gym helped raise my energy and got my adrenaline pumping so when I went home and showered and tried to go to sleep, my energy and adrenaline was still pumping. I never actually looked into our hypothesis so I decided to research it for this blog post. Before my research I came up with this:

Null Hypothesis: Exercising later in the night was not keeping me up at night

Alternative Hypothesis: Exercising later in the night was keeping me up at night

To my surprise, the research I found right away already suggested that exercising before bed will not keep you awake at night. It is actually a common misconception that this will occur. Recent studies have shown however that this hypothesis is true. In the past, people believed that exercising before bed was not ideal for mainly three different factors (Green).

  1. Your body temperature is raised during exercise which is the opposite of what your body temperature does before bed
  2. Chemicals are released, including adrenaline (which I had hypothesized myself)
  3. High energy work outs make it hard to relax

A poll of 1000 adults ages 23 to 60 was conducted in 2013 by the National Sleep Foundation. The poll was a very log and detailed questionnaire, covering 16 pages, that asked about exercise that they practiced and when they did it as well as their sleep patterns. The findings showed that people who practiced more intense exercise experienced a better quality of sleep as shown in the graph below. There was also in depth research considering those who took medications.


The results that I really wanted however, was exercising before bed. The questions also looked at the differences in quality of sleep after exercise during two different times: one being more than 4 hours before going to bed and the other being within 4 hours of going to bed. The actual statistics of the answers provided are actually pretty interesting. The difference between the overall sleep quality is only 5% more in those who exercise more than 4 hours before bed compared to those who exercise within 4 hours before bed. Surprisingly, those who claimed that their quality of sleep improved on the days that they exercised compared to the days they did not exercise was 1% higher in those that exercised within 4 hours of sleep. And also, those who claimed that their length of sleep had improved on days the exercised was also higher in those that exercised within 4 hours of sleep.


Based on these findings, I think that it is safe to say that any exercise no matter what time of day will essentially help you sleep better. I suppose that it may be different for each individual. Maybe some people find it easier to sleep when they work out right before bed, whereas others, like myself find it difficult. Of course there may be some confounding variables that would explain why I could not sleep, for example maybe I drank coffee a little too late in the day. Everyone can decide for themselves what is best for them. I would like to see some research on how close is cutting it for exercise before bed time. Would I be more at risk for insomnia by working out an hour before going to bed, or 3 hours? Until I get the chance to figure that out, I found this article that explains what the right times are for cardio and weight training are, and also include some tips for sleeping better after working out.

Works Cited

Green, Ethan. “Does Exercise Before Bed Create Or Cure Insomnia?” No Sleepless Nights, 30 Aug. 2016. Web. 20 Nov. 2016.

Real Life Barbie?

Most young girls nowadays and since the 1960’s have been playing with Barbie Dolls. Dressing them up, doing their hair, and putting them in any and every possible scene that they could be in, practically making a life for the doll. I was even one of those girls who praised Barbie for being absolutely perfect. These days Barbie is portrayed by the media as the perfect girl with the perfect body and the ideal looks that make men attracted to them. Seeing how Barbie is portrayed as the perfect woman makes girls believe that they have to be like her and change themselves to become “the perfect woman”.


Researchers and doctors have proven that a real life Barbie could never be realistic based on her physical proportions. If Barbie were a real woman, doctors predict that she would be forced to walk on all fours like an animal and would be incapable of living life normally, not to mention the health risks she would have. Based on her measurements and physical proportions, she would 6 feet tall and weigh 100 pounds. The picture below shows a comparison of the US average measurements of a woman to the measurements of a life size Barbie (Olson). In most of the body parts listed, there is a drastic difference between the measurements and you can see how unreal and unattainable it really is.









Even considering the unattainable body that Barbie portrays, women still have found the need to want to look just like her. Some women, such as Cindy Jackson, as explained in this article, have been so inspired by Barbie that they have undergone multiple plastic surgeries to achieve the Barbie look. I have seen some pictures of women that have had surgeries to obtain the Barbie body image and its surprising that they are living and breathing. Not all girls however go to the extreme of getting surgeries, but a large number however have been affected by wanted to obtain the look. Barbie dolls have been proven to teach children that they should be skinny and blond to be accepted in the world. There are even connections between Barbie’s body image and eating disorders found in women and young girls.


The studies that have been done show that girls who have played with Barbie dolls when they are younger grow up and have eating disorders. It is however, fact that girls who have eating disorders might not exactly want to look like a Barbie doll, but do however want to have a better body image. It is reported by the Alliance for Eating Disorders Awareness that 70 million people worldwide suffer from eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia and about 90 percent of those are between the ages of 12 and 25 (Barbie and Body Image). Wanting to obtain the perfect body because they are surrounded by that with the portrayal of Barbie and the media today influence girls to want to become something they aren’t which makes them resort to unhealthy ways of obtaining that. Some research even compares the physical proportions of a real life Barbie doll to not only the average size of a woman in the US but also to the average size of girls who suffer from anorexia. It is honestly shocking to see that even those with anorexia have significantly more realistic bodies than Barbie does.

Social media and children’s toys greatly have an impact on the way people, especially young children view themselves. Just knowing that a toy can lead women and young girls to obtain eating disorders to want to become what they think they have to be is just so sad. However, I do believe that the company that created Barbie is starting to create, or have already started to make more realistic dolls so that the negative effects will no longer be prevalent. This article questions if this would actually work and actually mentions a couple studies that have not linked Barbie’s body image to the way young girls view themselves. To be honest, I think that have petite, tall, and curvy sized dolls to choose from is amazing and shows the world, and especially young girls, that they don’t have to be a Barbie Doll.

Works Cited

Olson, Samantha. “Why Are Barbie’s Body Measurements So Unrealistic? Little Girls Aren’t Buying It.” Medical Daily. N.p., 2014. Web. 20 Nov. 2016.

“Barbie And Body Image.” Mirror-Mirror. Mirror Mirror, 2016. Web. 20 Nov. 2016.

Are Women in Red More Attractive?

For many years now, women wearing red, whether it’s a red dress or red lipstick, have been seen as more attractive. The iconic red dress/red lipstick has become one of the world’s most famous sex symbols. In ancient times, red was a symbol of status and power which was considered sexy for women, kings throughout history were known to wear red robes, and even today red cars are very popular in that sense. Not to mention that love has been the color of romantic love across cultures and times, with Valentine’s Day as proof to that. Many studies over the past years have experimented with the nature and mechanisms of the associations between the color red and sexual attraction.

In a study done by Andrew Elliot and Daniela Niesta, two psychologists from the university of Rochester, they demonstrated that the color red makes men more attracted to women. The study tested this:

Ho: There is no relationship between women wearing red and attractiveness

Ha: There is no relationship between women wearing red and attractiveness

Their research consisted of 5 different experiments. The overall study took men and showed them photographs of women under a variety of different color appearances. One of the experiments had men look at a photo of a woman that was bordered with red or white and were asked different questions. They were asked questions similar to “how pretty do you think this woman is?” and “how attracted are you to this woman?”. The other experiments were the same, but included borders with either red or blue, red or green, and red or gray. The last study changed the colors of the women’s shirts instead of the boarder around their photo. When looking at the pictures of the women wearing either a red shirt or a different color shirt, they were asked more in depth questions such as “If you took this woman on a date and you had $100 dollars, how much of it would you spend on this woman?”. Examples of photos that were used are shown below.


The results of each condition that was tested showed that men were significantly more attracted to the women when they were wearing red or the border around the photo was red than the ones without red. The photos that they were showed even presented the same women in both red and other colors and the same woman was considered more attractive when associated with the color red. When in red, the women were also more likely to be asked on a date. Other studies have also found the same results, such as one in 2012 which involved restaurant customers. What was found was that men tipped higher to waitresses who wore red over the ones that wore white.


Despite these findings in men, the color red does not seem to have had the same effect on women when looking at other women or men in red. Similarly, red did not change how men viewed women in terms of kindness or intelligence, just in terms of attractiveness. The findings do however prove that when a woman who wear red are seen by men as available or interested, however, it does not mean that a woman is actually available or interested. Knowing this information and seeing how the color red makes women more attractive to men leads to questions about so many more things such as, “what colors have what effect on people?” or  “are there other colors that make women feel more powerful or attractive?”. After research this topic I think it is safe to say that I will be buying some more red clothes and lipstick this weekend.

Works Cited


Bee Stings

Many people have had the experience of knowing what a bee sting feels like and let me tell you, it is not pleasant.  If someone has been stung more than one time, odds are that they haven’t been stung in the same spot numerous times. With that being said, someone who is stung in different spots can compare the pain and figure that one may have hurt more than another. Assuming there is no confounding variables, such as type of bee, it can most likely be concluded that a bee sting may be more or less painful in some spots compared to others. Testing this, comparing bee stings on different parts of the body, would be difficult because it is hard to compare without testing it in a controlled experiment where all factors are the same for each sting to ensure valid results. On the other hand, choosing to conduct a controlled experiment would not be ideal because it is unethical to purposely sting someone in random spots on their body and compare the pain for each spot. However, that is exactly what researchers at Cornell University have done.


There was a popular study done by a man named Justin Schmidt who judged the painfulness of stings from different insects and rated them on a scale of 1 to 4. The results were published and became the Schmidt Sting Pain Index. Gaining knowledge of how painful stings were from different species was very helpful, but it did not answer the question of whether or not location affects the painfulness of a sting. So Cornell University decided to conduct this experiment based on Schmidt’s findings and research.

In the experiment, researchers wanted to figure out if certain locations of stings were more painful than others and wanted to basically make a scale showing the results. To ensure valid results, they used one man and chose the European honey bee because it is a very common bee sting which would make it an ideal experiment stimulus. Since the research program at Cornell does not have any policies of self-experimentation, the author was the tested subject and was fully aware of the circumstances and gave his consent.


They chose 25 different locations (as seen above) on the body to test and used the forearm as an internal standard assuming that it would induce a “median level of pain”. Each day the author would self-administer five stings upon himself. The first and last stings were on the internal standard point, the forearm, and the other 3 stings were judged in relativity to the stings on the forearm which was rated as a 5 on the pain scale they came up with. Lower scores concluded lower pain and higher scores concluded higher pain. In total, the author received three full rounds of stings on each body part chosen and was stung over a total of 38 days.

To conclude results, the researchers took the pain rating for each location from all three stings in that spot and averaged them and ordered those from lowest to highest in a table (see table below). It was found that the location of the sting of a bee showed a significant impact on the level of pain that was experienced. Seeing that the experiment was only conducted on one person, it can be assumed that the pain levels that this individual experienced will not hold to be the same in others. And also, any confounding variables would tamper with the results. However, the question at hand of whether or not the location of a bee sting affects the pain felt, has been proven true and this experiment as a whole is very interesting.



To Floss or Not To Floss

Everyone knows the importance of maintaining good personal hygiene, washing hands, showering regularly, wearing clean clothes, and brushing your teeth. However, there is an important component to brushing your teeth that most people don’t do and they should. Growing up I’m sure everyone experienced their parents and dentist stressing the fact that flossing is important and you need to do it. When I was younger I never flossed my teeth unless I had a dentist appointment that day and wanted to avoid getting the lecture about flossing. And no matter what, I could never fool the dentist into thinking I floss regularly, because they know best and even after being told I need to floss, I still would never do it.


When I was around 16 years old I started working in a dentist office doing some administration work. I still have that job to this day and let me tell you, flossing is important. I love to take care of my teeth, they’re like my precious jewels that I take much pride in. To maintain the beautiful teeth I have and always get complimented on, I brush and floss them regularly. And I never knew the true importance of flossing until I started working in a dentist office. Even though I mostly do administration work, such as filing and scheduling, I do occasionally assist the hygienists with periodontal charting.

Periodontal charting is a basically a test to assess what condition your teeth and mostly gums are in. Essentially it is used to tell if a person is flossing regularly and assessing for gum disease. The hygienist will poke the gums and measure, in millimeters, the depth of the gum tissue for each tooth. The lower the millimeters, the better condition your gums and teeth are, but the higher, the millimeters, the more severe your gum disease is and the more at risk you are for tooth loss. Higher numbers are also associated with more bleeding, which is not good. When I assist the hygienists, I enter the numbers that are called out into the patients file. After sitting in on so many and seeing some really gross mouths, I realized that I really need to floss my teeth, and I do not want to lose my most priced possessions, my teeth.


Studies have proven that flossing greatly benefits your oral health and the deeper the periodontal pockets are in your mouth; you are more at risk for major health problems. When we eat, plaque and food builds up on our teeth and brushing our teeth takes care of it, but doesn’t get any build up in between our teeth which is what flossing is for. Aggressive treatment is required to save teeth and it is almost always required to have surgery to repair any damage. Having gum disease can also lead to tooth loss and even more serious issues such as heart disease, strokes, diabetes, and eve respiratory problems (Langberg).

One study, done by researchers at the New York University College of Dentistry, has proven the positive benefits of flossing. They chose to follow twins in their research because twins typically live together and share the same dietary habits and health practices which makes them the perfect subjects to compare results. 1,100 twin pairs, male/female and identical/fraternal, were assembled from a disadvantaged neighborhood in a Brazilian city where the subjects had limited access to dental care and were at risk for decay (Colgate). The researchers followed 51 well-matched pairs in a two-week period and found that periodontal disease and decay was found significantly more in the group that did not floss compared to the group that did floss. The results found that brushing teeth and also flossing decreases the number of bacteria that is associated with gum disease (Colgate).

flossing teeth

flossing teeth

As you can see, flossing is a very important component of good hygiene. No matter what people say about flossing, you should always listen to the professional (your dentist) because they know best and wouldn’t tell you to floss if it wasn’t beneficial to you. You can floss all you want, but doing it correctly is what will help the most. If you’re worried about flossing wrong, here is an article that tells you how to effectively floss your teeth.

Works Cited

Langberg, Dr. “What Is a Periodontal (gum) Chart? – Southfield Dentist | Family and Cosmetic Dentistry.” Southfield Dentist | Family and Cosmetic Dentistry. N.p., 2014. Web. 15 Nov. 2016.

Colgate. “Twins Study Confirms Benefits of Flossing.” Colgate, 2009. Web. 15 Nov. 2016.


Somewhere between 2% and 3% of the population between the ages of 18 and 54 suffer from OCD (UOCD). This number seems to be very low, but it is actually a large percent and even out ranks other mental disorders like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or panic disorder (UOCD). About 3.3 million people in the U.S. alone have OCD. Anyone from ages as early as 18 months old to ages 50 and above (UOCD). It is safe to say that most everyone knows someone or has seen someone on TV who has OCD. I personally have met a few people in my life that have different levels of OCD. My mother actually has a very mild form of OCD and I think it is safe to say that I myself have had my fair share of OCD-like moments.


What is OCD?

OCD, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, is a very common, chronic condition where a person will have uncontrollable, reoccurring thoughts and behaviors that they feel the need to repeat over and over (NIMH). There are many normal times where someone could experience something like this happening, like double checking to make sure you really did lock your car or unplug your curling iron before leaving. In these cases, it is not out of the ordinary to repeat over. Some people may think that this would mean you have OCD when in fact, you were just taking a precaution. People who do suffer from OCD will do the same things, except their thoughts and behaviors can actually be so severe that it takes over their entire lives. Those who have OCD can recognize their irrational urges but still are not able to control them since they cannot resist.


Categories of OCD

Those who suffer from OCD can have different types of obsessions and behaviors and can be put into different categories (Smith). The “washers” of OCD are those that are basically germaphobes and feel the need to constantly wash themselves or clean. “Checkers”, are those who constantly check things to make sure no harm can be done, for example making sure the car door is locked. There are also “doubters and sinners”, these are the ones who need to make sure that everything is done perfectly. “Counters/ arrangers” need to make sure that everything is in order and not out of place. And then there is also “hoarders, who feel the need to keep everything that they own. These are just the common categories of OCD, however their severeness of each person varies. Some people experience extreme symptoms while others may only experience subtle symptoms.


Signs and Symptoms

People with OCD can be put into any of the above categories based on how they physically deal with their urges. Some people could also have certain motions, or tics, such as blinking or making odd eye movements, twitching of any part of the body, or even making constant sounds or noises (Smith). However, sometimes certain symptoms can be confused with other disorders. Also reading a list of symptoms and realizing that you may be experiencing one of them does not necessarily mean that you have OCD. It is important though to seek help if you seem to have severe symptoms.


There are many different ways to help yourself if you have OCD. Being able to control you urges and obsessions is a very important part of recovery. Controlling it will help you live a better life, especially if OCD is taking it over. Self-help, according to this article  includes things like exercising, keep in touch with family and friends, sleeping regularly, and even just realizing you have a problem plus many more. It is good to try and teach yourself to not give in to your regular impulses. Aside from self-help, you could try cognitive behavioral therapy (Smith). Cognitive-behavioral therapy has two different parts to it. The first part is exposure and response prevention. In this part, the person with OCD will be exposure directly to the source of their disorder and then they must refrain from the obsessions or behaviors. Then there is cognitive therapy which focuses on how the person feels when they experience their compulsive symptoms. Other treatments do include medications and different types therapies. (Smith)

Eraser deleting the concept Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, OCD.

Eraser deleting the concept Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, OCD.


The number of people who suffer from OCD is surprising very large, but the level of severeness in everyone can vary widely. Sometimes it is hard to tell if someone even has OCD or if they just experience normal instances that do not seem out of the norm. There are many different ways to control OCD or help contain any symptoms which makes it somewhat easy to help reduce and eliminate obsessions and behaviors. Today there are tons of different clinical studies that are still finding different ways to discover, prevent, and treat OCD in people. This means that research will always constantly be involved in finding treatments and providing help to the 3% of the population who suffers from OCD.

Works Cited

NIMH. “NIMH » Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.” The National Institute of Mental Health. N.p., Jan. 2016. Web. 16 Oct. 2016.

Smith, Melinda, and Jeanne Segal. “Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD): Symptoms, Self-Help …” Help Guide., Oct. 2016. Web. 16 Oct. 2016.

UOCD. “UOCD: Facts& Statistics on OCD. –” UOCD. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Oct. 2016.

Coconut Oil

The use of coconut oil has become more and more popular over the past couple years. People have come up with many, many uses for this product and it’s amazing how beneficial it actually is. There are always different posts on Facebook, Pinterest, and more that are titled “100 ways to use coconut oil” or “500 ways coconut oil is beneficial”. I always end up reading every single post and every single one of the ways coconut oil can be used or how its beneficial.

natural coconut walnut oil

natural coconut walnut oil

Only recently have I been really into using coconut oil and I use it so often. I mostly use it on my face, primarily as a make-up remover but also just as a kind of lotion before I go to bed so that I can wake up with a flawless face. I have also used it in my hair to make it super silky and soft. So far I haven’t used it for many things yet, but coconut oil can be used for a wide variety of things from health benefits to beauty care to cleaning uses and so on.



As I have already mentioned, there are way too many uses for coconut oil and I could not list them all here. Some uses include (Wellness Mama):

Cooking Uses:

  1. Add to food for energy
  2. Use as a replacement to other oils such as vegetable oil
  3. Try making coconut clusters
  4. Use in foods as a brain boosting snack

Health Benefits:

  1. Can help speed up weight loss
  2. Can help improve sleep
  3. Can relieve pain
  4. Can get rid of cellulite

Beauty Uses:

  1. Can be used as a lotion
  2. Eye/ face make-up remover
  3. Can increase sun tolerance and avoid burn
  4. Can be rubbed on lips as a natural lip balm

Around the House Uses:

  1. Can be used as hand soap
  2. Used in laundry
  3. Rub on leather couches to soften
  4. Can be used as a bug repellant

Here is an article that lists many of the ways coconut oil can be used and how beneficial they are.

How many types of coconut oil are there?

Believe it or not there are many different types of coconut oil! There is unrefined organic coconut oil, extra virgin coconut oil, refined coconut oil, and also fractionated oil (Wellness Mama). Each oil has different ways of being produced and has different components to them. Coconut oil is said to have many great benefits, but depending on what you would like to use it for depends on which type of oil you choose. The certain types have varying benefits and ways to use. For example, extra virgin oil would be used in food and cooking as opposed to standard olive oils (Wellness Mama). For any uses internally the best types to use would be the unrefined organic oil whereas refined types or fractionated types are best for external use (Wellness Mama).


How could it be so beneficial?

A big contributor to coconut oil being super beneficial is the unique composition, meaning everything it is made up off. About 92% of coconut oil is saturated fat, which may seem very worrying since saturated fats are more times than not, not good for you (Wellness Mama). Many people have been avoiding it and actually advising against coconut oil for that reason. Recent research however has proven that being misled about coconut oil is unnecessary. The reasoning is because most of the fats that are in coconut oil are saturated but are in the form of Medium Chain Triglycerides and they affect the body differently than short and long chain fats (Wellness Mama). Essentially this means that the structure of the fat found in coconut oil is different than traditional oils making it a better option.


There have been many different studies done to prove some of the many benefits of coconut oil. One of those studies was done associating the connection between coconut oil and cardiovascular disease. There were 40 participants in this clinical trial. Over the course of 12 weeks they were either given 2 tablespoons of soybean oil a day or 2 tablespoons of coconut oil (Ware). At the end of the 12 weeks, it was found that the participants who had 2 tablespoons of soybean oil a day had a decrease in HDL, good cholesterol, and an increase in their LDL, bad cholesterol (Ware). A decrease in HDL and an increase of LDL are signs that put someone at risk for cardiovascular disease.

Another trial gave participants 18-24 grams of the fat contained in coconut oil a day to consume during a 16-week weight loss program (Ware). The results concluded that more weight loss and even fat loss was found in those who consumed the coconut oil compared to the other half of participants who consumed olive oil (Ware).



To conclude, it seems that coconut oil is beneficial in every way possible ranging from being used as a make-up remover to helping prevent heart disease. In the past coconut oil was shunned upon but numerous studies have proven that it is beneficial in thousands of ways. There seems to have been no trials proving that coconut oil doesn’t work. That leads to the question, what does coconut oil not do?!

Works Cited

Ware, Megan. “Coconut Oil: Health Benefits, Nutritional Breakdown, Risks …” Medical News Today. MNT, 23 Nov. 2015. Web. 16 Oct. 2016.

Wellness Mama. “101 Best Coconut Oil Uses and Benefits for Home and Beauty.” Wellness Mama. Wellness Mama, 11 Oct. 2016. Web. 15 Oct. 2016.

Do you really have to wait 30 after eating before swimming?

Imagine when you were a kid swimming in the local pool with all your friends. Your whole family was there as well and they’ve claimed the “family spot” where you sit every time you’re at the pool. You’re having a great time jumping into the shallow end and slowly trying to move into the deep end even though you can’t exactly swim there yet. Then all of a sudden your mother comes to tell you its time for some lunch. You quickly run out of the pool and eat the nice lunch your mom has packed for you and as soon as you scarf it down you’re eager to run and jump right back into the pool. However, your mother makes you wait 30 minutes before going back it In. We’ve all heard this old saying before, that you should wait at least 30 minutes after eating before you swim.


Where did this idea come from?

People tend to believe that the reason behind this old saying is that when we eat a meal the blood that is being pumped in our arms and legs, allowing us to move them and swim around, will be diverted directly towards the stomachs digestive tract. It is believed that when that happens, our arms and legs will no longer be able to move, thus putting us at risk for drowning (Myth or Fact).

The truth

According to this article, it is actually true that when we digest food, some blood is redirected to help our body in the digestive process. There is less oxygen available to the working muscle and stomach when there is a reduced blood flow which can potentially cause cramping to occur. This cramping however could be caused by a number of confounding factors such as dehydration or not enough electrolytes (Monday’s Medical Myth). These factors can vary from person to person, meaning that everyone can experience cramps for different reasons. Since it is true that oxygen is diverted from place to pace in the body, then it must be true that we won’t be able to move our arms and legs in this case right? Wrong. We actually have enough blood in our bodies to keep every body part functioning. Swimming is known to be a type of exercise. And with any exercise, eating before can cause any kind of discomfort with a broad spectrum, anywhere from cramps to heartburn and everything in between. With that being said, it is safe to say that there is no medical evidence that anyone should wait 30 minutes after eating before swimming.



A study done by researchers proves that when people go swimming on a full stomach, they do in fact have a higher risk of drowning. In fact, these researchers say that there have been past studies that provided inaccurate evidence for a link between swimming right after eating and drowning. Data was collected on 536 autopsies between April 2000 and December 2007 by scientists from Tokyo Women’s Medical University (Nordqvist). All the autopsies were evaluated and the cause of death for each one was determined and they also determined all BAC levels and if there was any food residue in the stomach, meaning that the dead person had eaten before they had died.

The Findings

Of all the autopsies, 59 of the deaths were undetermined. In nearly 79% of the cases where food had been discovered in the stomach, the person’s death was caused by accidently drowning (Nordqvist). A total number of 111 deaths were suicides and 51 of them were caused by drowning. The scientists then compared the suicides to the 34 people who had accidentally drowned (Nordqvist). 79.4% of the accidental drownings had food residue in their stomachs while only 43.1% of the suicide cases had food residue (Nordqvist).


The findings of this study seem to be very accurate and provide good numbers. Based on the results, someone can explain that there is a link between eating before swimming and drowning. But this doesn’t mean that there really is a connection. There must more studies on the topic to be able to prove that this was the direct cause. There also must be even further studies to determine how much of a risk it is to swim right after eating and to figure out exactly how long is enough to wait before you are safe enough to swim again.

Works Cited

“Monday’s Medical Myth: Wait 30 Minutes after Eating before …” The Conversation. The Conversation US, 18 Nov. 2012. Web. 12 Oct. 2016.

“Myth or Fact: Should You Wait to Swim after Eating? | Duke …” Duke Health. Duke University  Health System, 26 Aug. 2013. Web. 12 Oct. 2016.

Nordqvist, Christian. “Eating Before Swimming May Be Dangerous, After All …” Medical News Today. MNT, 25 July 2011. Web. 12 Oct. 2016.

Does The Cold Rain Actually Make You Sick?

What’s the myth?

There is an old philosophy that people believe to be true but in fact is not true at all. Has your mom ever told you not to go out and play in the rain because you’ll catch a cold? Everyone thinks that there is an association between being in the cold rain and catching a cold.

It seems to be accurate because whenever you’re out in the cold rain you end up feeling sick or having symptoms of a cold such a sore throat or stuffy nose. It is interesting in fact that you actually cannot directly get sick from being in the cold rain.


This topic first interested me when a family friend came up to State College for a football game. I met up with them before the game to have breakfast and it had been raining all morning. At the end of breakfast, they asked me if I was going to the game. I told them that I had been sick all week long and I wasn’t sure if I would go to the game because I didn’t want to get sick again after standing in the cold rain for the football game. This friend of mine proceeded to tell me that being in the cold rain would not get me sick. I didn’t believe what he was saying so I did some research to find out the truth. I soon found out that he had been partially right.

My Research

Realizing that what I have always thought to be true was actually not completely true I decided to figure out why and how that could be. The reason people associate the two, sickness and rain, is because of the symptoms experienced post being in the rain. It turns out that if someone starts to feel flu-like symptoms, it is because they have already previously been exposed to those symptoms even though they could not feel it yet (Halder). A person can carry a sickness in them and not have symptoms, but when something like cold weather or rain occurs, that person’s body will allow that sickness to develop its symptoms, i.e. causing someone to feel sick (Jake).


Among my research, I found that many people who have wondered about the same topic actually tested it out themselves and said things like “I stood in the freezing rain for hours and I didn’t get sick”. I found a study that tested this theory in a randomized control trial. During this study, professors from Cardiff University’s Common Cold Center brought together 180 volunteers during the flu “season”. The first half of volunteers were instructed to place their feet in a bowl of ice and cold water for 20 minutes. The second 90 participants, the control group, were instructed to place their feet in an empty bowl for 20 minutes. After a couple of days they recorded that almost a third (29%) of the participants who had chilled their feet in ice and cold water had developed a cold and only 9% of the control group had developed cold symptoms (Dumb Scientist). However, it was not recorded weather or not any of the participants had been exposed to or already had the virus but didn’t experience any symptoms.



When first researching this topic I found that being in the cold rain does not make you develop a cold, germs do. The transfer of germs is the reason why we get sick but having those germs in our system already without having symptoms and then being in the cold rain or cold weather will help those symptoms come alive. It is true that we may not have obvious symptoms of a cold but being exposed to coldness will trigger them to happen, but it is very hard to have a true randomized control trial to prove this. In essence it seems unethical to get a bunch of volunteers together and expose them to sickness. It also seems impossible to collect accurate data considering there is no true way to measure if someone has been exposed to a cold already with underlying symptoms and no way to compare them in every person. It is obvious that there is some sort of link between being out in the cold rain and getting sick, but whether or not they are directly related is unknown without considering any confounding variables, which in this case are hard to measure. It is however easy to conclude that this is just another topic of science that is left to be questioned.

Works Cited

“Dumb Scientist – Cold Weather Really Can Make You Sick.” Dumb Science. N.p., 5 Dec. 2008.

Web. 10 Oct. 2016.

Halder, Alaka. “What Is It That Makes You Catch a Cold When You Get Caught in the Rain.”

Quora. N.p., 13 Aug. 2014. Web. 10 Oct. 2016.

Jake. “Does Working Out in the Rain Make You Sick? – Intrepid …” Intrepid Athletics. Intrepid

Athletics, 13 Dec. 2014. Web. 10 Oct. 2016.

Motion Sickness

About 33% of people are susceptible to motion sickness even in subtle circumstances and almost 66% in mores serious conditions (Kraft). When experiencing motion sickness, a person might feel uneasy and have a weird feeling in their stomach as if they might get sick. People can experience motion sickness in situations like riding in a boat, a car, or even a ride at an amusement park. My dad is in the U.S. Coast Guard and has spent some time on ships for long periods of time. He used to experience motion sickness years ago when he first joined the Coast Guard. Since then he has learned that motion sickness is “all in the mind” and has learned to control it and not experience any of the uneasiness that he usually would feel.


I myself sometimes feel motion sick when driving in the car for long rides. Most of the time if I am reading a book, or on my phone, or fall asleep and then stop focusing on what I am doing, I will start to feel kind of nauseous. A little while ago I started to think about how my dad always says that “motion sickness is all in the mind”. Now when I am in the car I’ve realized that when I am not thinking about being sick, then I don’t feel sick, but when I’m focusing on the symptoms of motion sickness I feel sick. Maybe it is all in my head, but there actually is some science behind why we get motion sickness which is self-treatable.

What Causes Motion Sickness?

Motion sickness is a feeling that someone gets when the motion they sense in their inner ear feels different than the motion that they see through their eyes. There is a mixed signal between what the ears and eyes tell the brain (Davis). The brain gets different signals from each causing your body to seem confused thus triggering the uneasy feeling of nauseousness. There is a difference between when we intentionally move our body and when our body is unintentionally moved, for example in a car (Kraft). When in a car, we are not intentionally in motion, however when the car does move, we are moving without realizing. This is why when we voluntarily move, like when we walk, our brain can process what exactly is happening because all of the input from the eyes and ears is coordinated from the brain. The brain does not coordinate the inputs from the eyes and ears thus causing motion sickness.

What are the symptoms?

            There are symptoms of motion sickness and there can also be signs. Symptoms are known as the things that cannot be seen but felt whereas signs are the things that someone can physically see. In the case of motion sickness, the symptoms include nausea, as I previously stated, vomiting, and dizziness (Kraft). Signs include, sweating and also discomfort, meaning that when someone feels sick, it is easy for someone else to look at them and tell something is wrong. There can also be symptoms that are more serious such as drooling, short breath, and drowsiness (Kraft).


How to treat motion sickness?

Most of the time motion sickness is said to be self-treatable (American). There are many suggestions to help cease motion sickness like looking out of the window of the car in the direction that it is moving. Personally, I have tried this one myself and it does actually work. Another suggestion is to simply close your eyes or doze off and take a nap. Like I mentioned earlier, taking a nap is tricky because if you fall asleep and then wake up and you’re still moving, this may cause more sickness. Some try to chew gum or even just chew on anything to distract from the feelings. There are also a number of over the counter drugs that, when taken before being in the car, boat, ship, or whatever cause the motion sickness, will help to prevent any symptoms (Kraft). There are even many more effective ways to self-treating motion sickness which just sort of proves that it is something that can definitely be controlled by the mind. However, if someone is constantly experiencing motion sickness or has very severe symptoms, it is important that they see their health care provider to guide them on how to take care of it. Here are 10 tips to beating motion sickness.


It is very hard to tell what will actually help relieve any symptoms and the question of if motion sickness is “all in the mind” or not is questionable as well. The reason why we get motion sick has only been hypothesized even though the science behind it is actually true. But if someone can use mind over matter to “undo” the symptoms so to speak, then how can it actually be a brain miscommunication If we coordinate with our brain to relieve the symptoms? We may never know.

Works Cited

“American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery …” American Academy of                                                 Otolaryngology, 2016. Web. 8 Oct. 2016.

Davis, Charles P. “Motion Sickness.” Steven Doeer, Aug. 2016. Web. 88 Oct.          2016.

Kraft, Sy. “Motion Sickness (Travel Sickness): Causes, Symptoms and …” Medical News Today. N.p., 8 Sept. 2015. Web. 8 Oct. 2016.

An Apple a Day

It is safe to say that everyone has heard the saying “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”. This is something that everyone’s parents probably taught them when they were young. I know that my parents used to always say it to me. I never ate an apple every day, but I did make healthy eating choices. As a result of this, I was never a sickly child. I only went to the doctors for checkups since I had no other reasons to go.

The saying dates back as early as the 1860’s as it first appeared then in a newspaper. Originally the form of the rhyme started in Wales and it was worded a little differently. It was “Eat an apple on going to bed and you’ll keep the doctor from earning his bread” (Hunter). This meant that eating an apple a day would basically put doctors out of business. Now this saying is a little more excessive than the one we all grew up hearing but it is based around the dame theme. But does the common saying have any truth behind it?

There are many components of apples that have positive impacts on our health. There are quite a few different components but just naming a few, there is pectin, boron, and vitamin c. Pectin, which is a form of fiber that helps lower blood pressures and glucose levels and also maintain a healthy digestive system. Boron is a nutrient that helps not only bone strength, but also supports a healthy brain. Vitamin C is also found in apples and that helps a lot with the immune system. (Hunter) I work in a dentist office and I have learned that along with the many health perks found in the nutrients of apples, there is also the fact that apples are also significant for the health of your teeth and mouth. They can act like a toothbrush in getting out any bacteria in the mouth. So with all this information, it is easy to say that apples definitely provide great health benefits for those who eat them, but that doesn’t prove that eating an apple everyday will prevent you from getting sick.


According to many different studies, it is found that eating an apple a day cannot be proven to keep the doctor away. There are many different confounding variables that would contribute to staying healthy. For example, just living a healthy lifestyle in general with exercise, diet, sleep, etc. will lead to healthiness and help reduce the risks of sickness and disease. Nonetheless, all fruit is good for you and each one has different benefits that will affect our health in different positive ways. A good combination of fruits and vegetables in your diet is a great way to stay away from the doctor. It is actually known to keep a very mixed diets, which means not sticking to eating the same things every day. Eating apples may play a big role in keeping you healthy, i.e. “keeping the doctor away”, but it doesn’t mean that it is the only contributor. So maybe the saying is just a clever, fun, rhyming way of saying that consuming fruits and vegetables everyday will lead to a healthy life.

Hunter, Amy. “Will an Apple a Day Keep the Doctor Away?” HowStuffWorks. N.p., 28 July 2009. Web. 10 Sept. 2016.

Is Yawning Contagious?

Everyone yawns. People, animals, amphibians, almost every living mammal. Cats, dogs, owls, lions, penguins, and even fish! They all yawn. It is also discovered that babies yawn in the womb. We all know what it looks like to yawn. As you stretch open your mouth wide, you inhale deeply and then exhale. Sometimes yawns can last for only a quick second, and other times they can last for quite a few seconds. We experience yawns most often when we are ready to go to bed at night but also in the mornings when we first wake up. A lot of times too, we yawn at random times during the day, because yawning in a sign of tiredness or boredom. When we yawn, the mechanism seems to help us regain some energy and wake us up a little. It is almost as if yawning is some kind of caffeine our body needs to keep us from falling asleep.


In fact, this is exactly why we yawn. Yawning is directly related to activity in the brain. The brain is known to take up a significant percent of our body’s energy, and since this happens, the brain tends to heat up more than any other organs in our body (Koren). So basically, when we yawn, as we inhale oxygen, the cool air goes through our nasal and oral cavities and that air changes the temperature of the blood flow therefore bringing cool air to our brains, cooling it down. This then causes us to feel some sort of relief that is sort of refreshing. And that is just what it is, refreshing. Kind of like cooling down with a glass of water after a nice, long run, except maybe not as refreshing!

I am sure that everyone has heard that yawning is contagious. It seems to have a domino affect. When one person yawns, someone else yawns, and then another person yawns, and so and so forth. I have actually experienced this multiple times. I don’t know what it is, but when someone else yawns, I just cannot help but yawn myself. But am I yawning because I have witnessed someone else yawn? Is it just a coincidence that we both yawned? Or am I actually really tired?

Since yawns happen to “cool down” our brains, it almost seems as if when we see other people yawn there is some sort of connection or energy that simulates between the two brains and resembles an alarm. It’s an alarm or reminder that tells our own brain that “it’s time to cool down”. Sand so, as a result of that, we yawn when we witness someone else yawn. However, sometimes it doesn’t even have to be a real person yawning. Even just seeing pictures of people or animals yawning, we yawn. I’m sure most of us have seen the pictures on Facebook of someone yawning and the caption reads, “I bet you’ll yawn looking at this picture”.


Actually, a psychology professor did a study on contagious yawning. In the study he found that people who experience contagious yawning actually do so as a result of being empathetic. The use of an fMRI scan showed that the same parts of the brain that are used to process emotions of ourselves and of others is activated during a contagious yawn (Koren). Therefore, when we watch someone yawn, we tend to subconsciously feel empathy towards that person and as a result, we yawn. So the rumors are true, yawns are contagious.

Koren, Marina. “Why Do We Yawn and Why Is It Contagious?” Smithsonian Magazine. Smithsonian, June 2013. Web. 10 Sept. 2016.

Do Cats “Always Land On Their Feet”?

I am the furthest thing from a “cat person”. I think that they are cute and all but I would never own a cat of my own. However, there is something that has always interested me about cats. I find it extremely interesting that cats are said to always land on their feet when they fall. One of my friends, Allie, has a cat that is about 3 and a half years old and I still remember when she first got him. Sully, Allies cat, was super tiny when he first came home and looked a lot like Sully from Monsters Inc., hence the name. He could just fit in the palm of our hands. We were playing with him in the living room and Allie put him on the couch. We turned around for a split second and before we could react, Sully fell off the couch, and what do you know, he landed right on his feet. I had always heard that that is what cats do, but I didn’t believe it, and I had witnessed a cat turn itself completely in mid-air and land on its feet.picture1


The well-known myth about cats is that they always land on their feet when they fall. Well, that myth is not so much a myth, and there is science behind how cats do it. People seem to think that cats have can for some reason “defy gravity”, and that seems to be true. Almost every time a cat falls it will land on its feet. I say almost every time because a cats’ ability to actually land on its feet safely actually depends on the height of the fall. Even though they always land on their feet, doesn’t always mean that they do it safely. By this, I mean that depending on how high the cat falls depends on whether or not the cat sustains any injuries. Surprisingly, higher heights give the cats the chance to experience a safer landing, whereas lower heights put the cats at a higher risk of injury. At the right height, a feline can land safely without any harm done.

When a cat falls, it is able to turn its entire body around in order to position itself exactly to land on its feet, this ability is called “righting reflex”. Officially, the righting reflex is a reflex that corrects the orientation of the body when it is taken out of its normal position (Righting Reflex). Cats are capable of doing this at the young age of only 3 weeks old. In 1890, to test the righting reflex a group of French students dropped cats and took a burst of pictures of the cat as it was falling (Moss). This allowed them to look at the pictures in slow motion to observe the cats righting reflex.


What happens is a cats’ ears act as a sort of compass and helps the cat navigate which way is up and which way is down. Once the cat is aware of which way is up, it starts moving its head around. Felines don’t have collarbones so their backs are exceptionally flexible and that’s how they are able to rotate the way that they do. Then the cat is able to position its feet underneath itself so that its face is protected from the impact. (Moss) Watching different videos of cats falling in slow motion, you can see that the cats rotate starting with their heads and then in a twisting motion the rest of the body rotates down to the feet and the cat lands on its feet.

Moss, Laura. “Do Cats Always Land on Their Feet?” MNN. N.p., July 2013. Web. 10 Sept. 2016.

“Righting Reflex.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Jan. 2016. Web. 15 Sept. 2016.


Hi everyone, my name is Annalise. I am from a small town called Clayton located in South Jersey. I am a Sophomore and currently studying Health Policy and Administration. I am taking this course for a couple of reasons. The main reason is because I needed a GN. Another reason is because I have heard GREAT reviews of this course and of Andrew! Friends of mine have highly recommended taking this course. When they first told me to take this Science course I rolled my eyes because Ive never been a science person, but they assured me that this course is even for those who loth science. They showed me their semester schedules with all the crazy sounding topics and then I was really interested and I knew I needed to see what Science 200 was all about.


I am not a science major because science has never been my cup of tea. I mean I really have never liked science… Iv’e never had any bad experiences in science class or anything that makes me not like it, I just don’t have a mind that gets excited when in a discussion related to science. I guess I just don’t understand any of it… Sure science was fun in middle school and high school, only when we did cool experiments in class and when the teacher would play an episode of Bill Nye , but I could never bring myself to enjoy learning about the facts and the formulas associated with science. Even though I have no clue what I learned in high school, I did pretty well.  I think that this course might help me appreciate science a lot more considering science is all around us everyday.