Author Archives: Alexander Roker

Could Lack of Sleep Be Making You Ill

In every lecture hall I sit in on, the teacher’s voice is equally matched or drowned out by a cacophony of coughs and sniffles. It is no secret, the plague is among us, people are getting ill. There are many reasons why college students could be prone to sickness. Primarily, college is a hub of thousands of kids all packed into one small confined space. My building alone houses over three hundred students, over forty kids share the same bathrooms, and lecture halls can be up to five hundred or six hundred people. The sheer amount of germs concentrated into small areas in college makes it easy to catch something.

But, as I’ve seen in the case of my roommate and many of my friends, many of us have a lot of trouble getting healthy after getting sick. Common colds and and basic symptoms are lasting weeks and weeks for some people. In my basic research of what mainly makes people sick, I came across one that could definitely affect college students: sleep deprivation.

As on team of scientists found, the level of sleep that you get has a direct effect on your health and likelihood for illness. Researchers at the University of California San Francisco recruited 164 healthy adults and observed their natural sleeping patterns for a week. The next week, 124 of the subjects were given a nose drop containing rhinovirus, which causes common cold. The remaining forty were administered a placebo nose drop. Then, all 164 of them were observed for the next five days to assess the results (Engelking).

Their results supported the hypothesis that less sleep correlated with a higher likelihood of sickness. The scientists physically weighed disposed tissues to measure the health of their subjects. The scientists concluded that out of the 124 participants that were infected, 48 contracted the virus. The one trend that scientists found: those who slept less than five hours per night were four times more likely to catch a virus than those who got six hours of sleep or more.

In college, this is ever so applicable. Students have late nights out, study at length for tests, and wake up early for class. Staying up late and waking up early for your 8am class could be depriving you of sleep and be perpetuating your illness.

It is important to clarify, though, that lack of sleep is 100% not a cause of illness, but a contributing factor. As I tried to further my research, though, every article pointed back to the same study. While in one sense it is hard to say with certainty that a single study is proof of something, it is also worth nothing that a mass of articles were written on this study alone, which certainly adds to the validity of the finding.

As a result, keep in mind that if you have an early class, it is essential to go to sleep earlier than if you did not. Further, if you, like so many others, are feeling the effects of the Penn State plague, make sure you rest up, it might just be your saving grace.

Does Milk Really Build Strong Bones?

In English 15A I had one stay assignment in which i was tasked with investigating a food that is largely considered ‘natural’ and investigate how it is processed and made. In my investigation, I researched the processing and production of milk, and found in my paper that milk is much more processed than one may think or be able to perceive. In my research, though, I came across several articles saying that milk is not as healthy for you as you think.

Many of us were taught from a young age that drinking milk is good for you because it has calcium that builds strong bones. However, the information that I found in my research heavy milk consumption can actually increase the risk of bone fractures, which is certainly surprising.

An everydayhealth.com titled “Is Milk Really bad for the Bones?” cites a BMJ study that looked into how milk intake correlates to bone fracture, death from cardiovascular disease, death from cancer, and death of any cause in a large group of Swedish men and women.

The study was a widespread longitudinal study, and observational in its nature. Over 100,000 Swedish men and women were given questionnaires in which they noted how often they ate certain foods. In a follow up twenty years later, 25% of the women had died, and almost 30% had bone fractures. Men had their follow-ups after an average of eleven years (the study was originally done to study women exclusively but then opened up to men a decade later) and the findings were similar; 22% of the men had died by the time of their follow up, and about 12% had bone fractures. The results of the study are heavy in statistics lingo, introducing a concept called adjusted hazard ratio. The adjusted mortality hazard ratio for three glasses of milk per day versus one glass of milk or less for women was 1.93, meaning women who drank a substantial amount of milk were almost twice as likely to die. In men, there was a slight increase in mortality, but it was less than five percent.

Given the fact that this study is observational, the results are inherently prone to confounding variables. The article additionally mentions the possibility of reverse causation, though I see very little possibility for this considering the study was longitudinal. Since the study is chronological, I do not see how milk intake could be caused by one’s death twenty years in the future. However, women could be drinking excessive amounts of milk because they were already at risk for bone disease, and thus their doctors told them to drink a lot of milk (Sakimura).

Traditional milk bottle with a glass full

http://saveourbones.com/osteoporosis-milk-myth/

Additionally, this study lacks generalizability. Could something about Swedish culture (diet, cultural practices, quality of doctors, etc.) lead to women having increased risk of bone fracture?

As such, there is no need to change your practices or stop drinking milk based on just this one study. However, it would not be wise to rely on milk alone to keep your bones healthy.

Lastly, as one WebMD  article notes, over fifty percent of adults are at risk for brittle bones. So, this increases the chance that this study is a poor barometer for milk’s effects. The countries that consume the most milk in their diets are the countries where osteoporosis is most commonly reported. This is a correlation, not a causation, but the connection there is notable. As it turns out, the link between calcium intake and bone health is very minimal, and the link between dairy consumption and strong bones is next to none (Goldschmidt).

Don’t stop drinking milk because of these findings, an absence of evidence is not always evidence of absence. Nonetheless, remember that if you are drinking milk with bone health in mind, you may be accomplishing much less than you previously thought.

Dress Down Day

As a high school senior, my SAT tutor advised me to dress well for my upcoming September test, a strategy that I had never heard of before. Everyone has heard the term “dress for success”, but this term is largely associated with business and not school (i.e. going to a job interview). I did very well on my test that fall, and ever since have been interested to know why this works, or if it truly does. Additionally, I have dressed nice for tests ever since doing well on my fall SAT senior year.

The first article I read, a college life op-ed, features a discussion in which the blogger muses at how she frequently wore sweats when testing in high school, but upon going to college, she became familiar with the concept of dressing well on test day. The author explains that many of her peers believe that dressing well can help them improve their test results, and so she has bought into the concept. While the article does include several quotes from students at Georgetown, Boston College, and Vanderbilt, all of which provide their own takes on dressing to flatter or dressing for comfort on test day, it does mention that the article is not based off science. In fact, the author of the 2014 article notes that she could not find a true scientific study that proved a correlation between dress and test results.

http://www.sparqvault.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/150609-Eindexamen-ANP-9810385.jpg

A recent New York Times article on the matter provided far more scientific validity and credibility. It introduced a concept known as ’embodied cognition’ that shows a concrete correlation between the clothes one wears and their performance on tests. Despite not being able to find a mechanism for the difference, the results gave researchers reason to believe that the clothing we wear can have an effect on the way we think and perform academically.

The entire concept of embodied cognition revolves around the fact that clothing affects how we perceive ourselves and how others perceive us. Even more generally, embodied cognition states that we think with our bodies and not just our brains. We think of a person as more congenial if they are holding a warm drink versus a cold drink, for example. Teachers who dress more professionally garner more respect from their students, and women who dress more masculine at interviews are likely to be treated with more respect (Blakeslee). So, scientists designed experiments to help discern whether or not the way we dress truly does affect our psychological processes.

In the first experiment, a group of undergraduate students were randomly assigned to wearing either a doctor’s coat or a painter’s coat. They were given a test in which they had to look at two seemingly identical images side-by-side and point out the four minute differences between them as quickly as possible. Researchers found that those who wore the doctor’s coat found more differences faster. This was a randomized trial because there was no logic to who was given the doctor’s coat and who was given the painter’s coat. Additionally, it was a placebo trial. As the article revealed, both the painter’s coat and doctor’s coat were the same coat. Each trial was done individually, so they were not to know that there was no difference between the painter’s coat and the doctor’s coat were identical. The test subjects acquired different attention spans based on their clothing. This is embodied cognition at work.

In another similar study, test subjects had to complete a test in which they had to notice incongruities between a word on the screen and the words meaning (i.e. the word green shown in red letters). Those in a lab coat found twice as many incongruities than those wearing street clothes.

As the article briefly mentions, this finding parallels the psychological concept known as priming. I’m currently learning about priming in Psychology 100; it is a two-step process in which introducing someone to one concept can make them quicker to react and recall a second. The example my Psychology teacher Dr. S. used was when she said the word pair and asked us to write it down, everyone spelled it as such. Later in class however, she said ‘apple’, ‘banana’, and then pair again, but many of us this time spelled it ‘pear’.

The findings of these studies are very interesting, but they do not confirm without a doubt that dress affects test performance, as one writer tried to assert. The subject field of less than 100 was simply too small. I think a larger randomized control trial in which one group dressed nice and another did not would garner very good results and would reject the null hypothesis, showing that dressing well increases test performance. There are many ways that the test could be performed, but they would need to pick randomly from a large field to limit the effect of confounding variables. One group could dress well while another dressed down (depending on what the decided criteria for “dressed up” meant) and scores could be compared that way. Similarly, a study could be done in which all students take a test in dressed down clothes as a baseline, and then take the same test with similar difficulty again in nicer clothes and see how the tests compared. However, time could be a confounding variable here as students could be more likely to do well.

It is difficult to say, with the studies on hand, whether or not dress affects test performance. However, studies as of now point toward yes, and I think that we are only a few well designed experiments away from confirming this.

How Important is Morning Breakfast?

As a child, my parents stressed to me the importance of eating breakfast, citing it as ‘the most important meal of the day’. Many people frequently use this phrase as a way to advocate eating breakfast every morning, but seldom have I heard anyone give a true as to why this belief is held. As I’ve grown older, particularly in the past year or two, I’ve found myself eating breakfast much less frequently, all the while scared that this practice would have a negative effect on my health. However, upon looking into the matter further, I have failed to find any proof that breakfast truly is the most important meal of the day.

In an article on webMD.com the author describes how some people will skip breakfast as a means of losing weight. Many people think that skipping breakfast will decrease calorie breakfastintake, and thus help them diet. Many observational studies have found that people who skip breakfast are more likely to gain weight, with scientists hypothesizing that missing breakfast causes people to snack more and eat larger servings throughout the day (Rubin). However, observational studies are not a good means by which to prove causation. The same article  cited a randomized control trial in which test subjects were randomly assigned to either eating breakfast or not eating breakfast. However, the experiment failed to find that skipping breakfast  particularly increased or decreased calorie count over the course of the day. After reading more, though, I found that Rubin notes another experiment done by Cornell University found through randomized control that those who skip breakfast save 450 calories a day.

Whether this is good or bad is left up to interpretation. This study found a correlation between skipping breakfast and calorie intake throughout the day, but did not find how this relates to weight loss.

I wanted to figure out if there was any proof that eating breakfast can lead to weight fluctuation, or any important health statistic for that matter. After all, the very concept of eating breakfast being important and making you more healthy is very vague and led by a soft endpoint, ‘health’. A New York Times article titled ‘Sorry, there’s nothing magical about breakfast’ cites a study from 2013 that found that the subjects that skipped breakfast had a slightly higher risk of heart disease. This is a correlation, though, not causation. It is very possible that a confounding variable, like eating habits, causes this. Those who skip breakfast may be more inclined to drink alcohol, or eat greasy food, which could lead to this correlation.

The more I looked, I found that there was distinct lack of well done randomized control trials. Some observational studies noted correlations, but could not go anywhere with these conclusions because of a lack of information. The studies  that I did find could not find a noticeable difference in weight of their test subjects. Further, this New York Times article cites numerous studies and experiments, all of which accept the null hypothesis and state that breakfast has no discernible effect and is not the most important meal of the day.

Despite not being able to find an experiment that links eating breakfast and a hard endpoint about health, I did find an EAS article linking several soft endpoints with eating breakfast as I concluded my research. It lists four main reasons why breakfast is important, among them, breakfast primes the body for calories later in the day, breakfast lowers stress hormones, breakfast impacts the entire day’s food consumption, and breakfast affects cognitive ability (Ivy).

As such, I can not say with certainty that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. From a nutritional standpoint, it is widely held that eating breakfast is good for you and primes your body for the day. However, I cannot report from what I’ve read that science has proven that breakfast will have a noticeable impact on your health, because it has not. As science has supported the nutritional benefits that the aforementioned EAS article reported, but has failed to link breakfast eating with weight loss, heart disease, or any other claims/myths that are out there. As a result I would advise breakfast eaters to keep eating breakfast. If you don’t feel hungry in the morning, don’t feel pressured to eat breakfast because of claimed nutritional benefits, because science has not substantiated them yet.

 


 

Sources used:

http://www.webmd.com/diet/news/20140902/breakfast-importance#1

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/08/breakfast-isnt-important/378917/

http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/early/2014/06/04/ajcn.114.089573.abstract

 

 

Will (or should) Football Go Extinct?

Football has long since been recognized as a dangerous sport, but for long, and for most, this view was held in reaction to frequent sprained ankles and torn ACLs. In recent years, however, awareness surrounding the dangers of football-related head trauma have come to the forefront. Concussion protocol in professional sports has increased. Players are treated with extra caution when displaying concussion like symptoms, and coaches are advised not to put their players back in the game because the dangers of concussions are known.

As dangerous as concussions are, the ultimate result of repeated head trauma can be even more devastating. CTE, (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) is a progressive, degenerative brain disease heavily correlated to football-related head trauma.

While scientists have found a correlation between football and this disease, we know that correlation does not always equal causality. Scientists have, however, developed a plausible mechanism for the development of the brain disease. Nadia Kounang draws a parallel between the brain inside of the skull and an egg inside of a shell to illustrate how the disease is contracted from sub-concussive impact. The brain is suspended in fluid inside your skull, much like the yolk of an egg that sits within the whites of the egg. When severe impact is made, the brain sloshes back and forth within the fluid. This repeated movement is damaging for the brain and leads to the development of CTE (Kounang). Furthermore, Kounang notes that harder helmets or more padding cannot prevent the brain from being damaged. For example, putting a dozen eggs in a carton may prevent them a bit from breaking, but cannot stop the yolk from moving back and forth within the shell (Kounang).

After reading this one source, I tried to find a more definitive answer as to how CTE is developed, as the first only provided the analogy between brain and egg. I wondered if a confounding variable could be at work. For example, could CTE be due not necessarily to the being hit in the head but perhaps wearing helmets that are tight on the skull. mayoclinic.org, though, notes that players of all sports are at risk. The back and forth movement of the brain causes a protein called tau to build up surrounding the blood vessels, which deteriorates brain functioning and damages nerve cells, a main symptom of CTE (Wexler). By the end of CTE’s development, the state of the brain is fully altered from its original state.

stage-2stage-4

The tau buildup in the brain of a CTE patient mirrors that of an Alzheimer’s patient; football is the fast track to Alzheimer’s related symptoms. While the repeated head trauma does ultimately cause CTE, the tau buildup is an intermediary. This is to say that repeated blows to the head cause the tau protein in our brains to clump together and clout, which advances the symptoms of CTE.

The next issue is dealing with how to recognize CTE in a living brain. Up to now, recognition of tau build up in CTE-diagnosed brains only happened after the player had died. Tau is in all human brains. It is the deposits and clots of tau that are extremely dangerous, the hard endpoint.

In order to judge how much head trauma affects tau buildup in the brain, scientists studied the brains of five retired NFL players and five control brains. The brains of the NFL retirees had much higher levels of tau deposits in their brain. The deposits were mostly found in the amygdala, a part of the brain that dictates fear and anger (Roth), which corresponds with the second stage of CTE, as pictured above (Wexler).

While this is a very small study, paired with the standing belief that tau deposits could cause CTE, I think it is very promising. I would like to see a much larger control study in which the brains of retired NFL players are compared to control brains of say, white collar workers. This could lead to concluding that it is too unlikely for chance to be at work. As such, it could be confirmed through a large control study that head trauma causes tau deposits, and tau deposits cause CTE.

Identifying the link between tau deposits and CTE is crucial, because scientists believe they have found a correctional method by which they can prevent the loss of tau’s function in the brain (Roth).  With deaths of football retirees increasing, a study such as this that finds correctional means may be able to silence the rising sentiment that football is too dangerous to play.


Pictures from:

http://study.com/academy/lesson/cerebrospinal-fluid-in-the-brain-functions-production.html

How CTE Affects the Brain

Laughter is the Best Medicine

Everyone loves to laugh. It is clear that people reflect positively on memories in which they laughed a lot; memories characterized by laughter are widely regarded as ‘fun’. It is easily accepted and widely held that people have more fun at an event where they laugh (a comedy show) than a one where they do not (a lecture) even though these are both events in which the audience sits in a group and someone speaks to them.

This example seems obvious, I know, but the point is – people universally draw enjoyment out of laughing. Laughter is a universal language. This outward manifestation of pleasure, happiness, humor, or excitement is the same in every language.

For example, I read about how writers for BBC traveled to South Africa, and the only thing that the locals could identify with was their laughter. Other emotions, like pride, triumph, which surely are felt by all cultures, were not expressed the same.

As such, laughing is largely about nature rather than nurture – everyone naturally laughs.

Some people laugh more than others, different people laugh at different things, we know this is true. But everyone laughs. One study estimated that people on average laugh seven times in every ten minutes of social interaction. Pinpointing exactly what makes people laugh is the hard part. Every one, at some point or another, has though to themselves what might make their friends laugh. What joke, witty line, one-liner or quip will make someone laugh? The answer is not universal (everyone has a different sense of humor) but the answer is also far less intuitive than you think.

girls-laughing-in-grass-350

look at how happy these females look http://www.helpguide.org/articles/emotional-health/laughter-is-the-best-medicine.htm

Robert Provine from Psychology Today and three undergraduate students examined just what it is that makes people laugh. They observed 1200 naturally occurring laughs, presumably, from standing in populated areas and overhearing conversations, and noted who the speaker was, who they were speaking to, who laughed, and what was said.

For one, Provine and his students noted almost 50% of the time, it was the speaker laughing more than their audience (humans have a way of amusing themselves) They also noticed that laughter was often preceded by rather commonplace comments rather than jokes or wisecracks. Lastly, no more than one in five laughs came from something actually comical.

There are three traditional theories that scientists have identified as things that people find humorous. The incongruity theory proposes that people find it funny when the conventional is replaced by the unexpected, which are popularly known as anti-jokes. The superiority theory refers to jokes that make fun of people, while the relief theory refers to when someone makes a comment that offers comedic relief at an intense or suspenseful time.

Lastly, and most important, laughing is healthy. helpguide.org reports that laughing helps you relax and relieve stress, but even more so, can help you prevent heart diseases. Further, laughing has even more health benefits such as working your abs, releasing endorphins, and boosting T-cells. T cells are cells in your immune system that help you fight illness. They are in our body, simply waiting for activation, and when we let our a good hearty laugh, they are released.

Not only does smiling help us feel good psychologically, it can actually help us stay healthy! Now you know 🙂

Sweet Dreams

Dreams have eternally fascinated me. Why did I have more nightmares as a kid than I do now? Why are so many dreams incredibly complex, anachronistic, and confusing? Why do we remember our dreams sometimes and other times we don’t? Dreams are a bit of dark spot in science, and I imagine they will be for a very long time.

There are so many facets of dreams (recurring dreams, nightmares, memories, lack of control, etc.) that it is a very difficult subject for science to tackle, I’m sure. There’s simply too much to measure. Further, it is very difficult to compose an experiment on dreams. A subject could go ten days, weeks, months without ever having a dream, or at least have a dream that they remember when they wake up.

That’s one point to note – we do in fact dream every night. Dreams are extremely complex, and as such, we wake up feeling confused by our dreams. So much so, that often we wake up and do not even recall that we had a dream that night. Nonetheless, it is estimated that most people spend up to 2 hours dreaming every single night. (Canoe)

Most people tend to dream during REM (rapid eye movement) the phase of sleep most often characterized as the deepest portion of sleep. Typically, sleepers fade between non-REM and REM sleep, and endure the longest phase of REM sleep right before they wake up, which is the portion of sleep that we are most likely to remember the dream we had, and we are most likely to have the richest and most complex dream as well. So, while it is hypothesized that people dream during all phases of sleep, failure to remember your dream when you wake could be because you woke up before this last intense phase of REM.

Nightmares

So, nightmares. I distinctly remember making and hanging my dreamcatcher in my room, smiling contently and retiring, covers up to my chin, knowing for a fact that I’d be safe from nightmares from that point on. I’m not sure why I so dearly trusted a paper plate and some yarn to keep me safe, but, nothing is off limits in science. (Honestly, I’m sure an experiment could be done that finds a correlation between dreamcatcher use and a decrease in nightmares)

Nightmares, traditionally, are a response to underlying anxieties or fears that we have. (Tartakovsky) As a child, I would often have nightmares that my parents were replaced with bigger, scarier, much meaner parents, and I was alone in my house with them. In hindsight, I suppose this is just a fear of losing the companionship of my parents.

Nightmares, largely, are grown out of. Nearly 50% of young children (aged 5-10) experience nightmares occassionally (Canoe) while, now, I barely ever experience nightmares.

Repeated Dreams

Repeated Dreams can be for two reasons. For one, recurring dreams can mean that there is an underlying fear or source of anxiety that you have not acknowledged, or may not even know about.

As a child, I had a recurring dream that the man in the yellow shirt from the children’s show The Wiggles was chasing me down a hill. In this instance, it is much less likely that I had to acknowledge my underlying fear of being afraid of large singing men wearing yellow shirts, but more likely that it is the second reason, our brains tend to take us back to familiar places, or situations that we have visited before in our mind’s eye. For example, it is possible to have a dream again simply because you subconsciously thought about it right before you fell asleep.

Illogical Dreams

Often, the dreams I have are illogical, anachronistic, or nonlinear. This, simply, is because our minds work in abstract, nonlinear ways. Our thoughts bounce to and fro, and our consciousness does not stay on one straight chronological path. How often do you find yourself talking about one thing, and then quickly recall something else?

As such, our dreams simply take after the illogical pattern that our consciousness follows. Often people will wake saying they had multiple dreams, which is true, but the reason we are often confused by the chronology is because they are just as abstract as our subconscious. (Tartakovsky)


 

Lastly, researchers have studied the brain waves involved in when people dream. Scientists measured which waves were emitted and how they correlated to the phase of sleep (REM and non-REM) This article explains how they woke up the subjects at different points in their sleep, and asked them to journal about their dreams.

What they found is that recalling dreams activated the same response in the brain as recalling autobiographical memories. Thus, for our brain, recalling dreams is just like recalling things that happened to us in real life. In another study, the article continues, scientists found a link between dreams and our emotions. For example, having a nightmare about an upcoming event is a form of your brain “practicing” per se, processing a situation. (Sanford) As such, dreams are a very real way to get our emotions out. While the experiences in our dreams are completely artificial, the emotions linked with those dreams are very real.

Dreams are a way for us to process our emotions.


 

Sources used:

  • http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-science-behind-dreaming/
  • http://mentalfloss.com/article/51228/5-actual-facts-about-science-dreams
  • http://chealth.canoe.com/healthfeature/gethealthfeature/Dreams-The-Mysteries-of-Sleep
  • http://psychcentral.com/lib/9-common-questions-about-dreams-answered/
  • http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/inside-the-mind/human-brain/dream8.htm

Overeating and Over-walking: The Freshman Zero

Making the transition from high school to college has brought many changes to my life, along with the whole slew of freshman that find themselves nicely and neatly packed into East Halls with lots of room to spare.

sarcasm-memes-12

For one, I sweat much more at Penn State than i ever have before. The oppressive State College humidity, matched by an appalling and blatant absence of dormitory air conditioning has brought my personal perspiration levels to an all time high. I’m easily over my beads of sweat per month quota. Nonetheless, when looking into how different aspects of college life could affect the fitness, health, and weight of a college student, I couldn’t find any justifiable evidence that profusely sweating is by any means a good way to lose weight.

One thing I’ve noted, though, is the calorie burning potential that comes as a result of the extensive walks to class from East Halls. According to www.verywell.com, the average male burns seventy to one hundred twenty calories for every mile walked. While at first this may not seem like much, consider this – the walk from East Halls to the Forum Building and back alone is a mile. Walk that route or one of similar distance twice a day, along with the necessary travel getting food or going downtown, and you’ve already walked about three miles.

The pre-downloaded ‘Health’ app on the iPhone has a built-in pedometer that keeps track of your steps, how many miles you’ve walked, how many flights of stairs you’ve climbed, etc., so long as your phone is in your pocket or in your hand during such traversal. Since I’ve moved in on August 19, I’ve walked between three miles and eight miles on any given day. So, if I walk an average of 5.5 miles per day, using the table that www.verywell.com supplies, I burn 400 to 500 calories strictly from making my way around campus.

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Someone who weighs more will burn more calories from walking than those lighter than them, while moving at an accelerated pace expends more calories as well. Regardless, burning 500 calories from walking alone is considerable; 500 calories is nearly an entire meal. Wondering just how substantial an extra 500 calories burned per day is? www.health.com reports that trimming 3,500 a week, which works out to 500 per day, can shred two pounds a week.

For simply walking around campus, this is a tremendous turnaround.

However, a statistic such as this assumes consistent eating habits, perhaps even a confined diet. College, however, as many of us know, is the pathway to the infamous ‘Freshman Fifteen”. While the likelihood of gaining fifteen pounds may be low – in one study, about 10% of college freshman gained fifteen pounds over the course of the year, while a quarter actually lost weight – many freshman do gain 2-6 pounds their freshman year. In fact, the same study, per the Atlantic, found that there is no true distinction to be made between the change in weight of a college freshman and the change in weight of a peer who does not attend college.

Regardless, there is a particular demographic that is particularly affected by weight gain upon arriving at college (all you can eat dining halls may be to blame) and something as simple as walking can help combat it.

 

Pictures:

Sarcasm Memes

verywell.com/calories-burned-while-walking-3432716

I have a long history of breaking or stealing lab equipment, SC 200 will be my safe haven

I don’t hate science. I truly don’t. I have the utmost respect for the field of science and its value in our culture. In the words of Clint Eastwood, however, “a man’s gotta know his limitations.” For me, science is a limitation. (You can watch Clint Eastwood gruffly, intensely, and melodramatically deliver this line here followed by a distant and equally intense six second stare.

I’m taking SC 200 because I was looking for a science gen ed that wouldn’t hurt my feelings. My Honors Biology class freshman year was all types of intimidating, and as such, science has always been touch and go with me. I hated wearing those aprons during sophomore year chemistry experiments. Conservation of energy doesn’t make sense to me. I hate wearing safety goggles. What the hell are lipids.

I was the type to fail the preliminary lab safety quiz, or lose out on the participation points for not having my lab apron on. Or accidentally break all of the Erlenmeyer flasks :/

forgetlabsafety_fullpic

I also tended to steal lab equipment from other groups for my groups experiment locker and personal benefit, which was highly discouraged, but its always good to keep a stash.

So, when I learned I could take a science class where I could think and discuss and probe and ask questions and do anything other than wear safety goggles or keep data tables, I was all for it.   I am a freshman journalism major here at Penn State, which is as far as it gets from science in most cases, and I plan on getting a business minor as well!

I’m looking forward to a science class where I don’t have to mingle with a lab partner that I don’t know, and I’m soooo excited that Bunsen burners, hot hands, and anything glass won’t be on hand for me to break this semester. Can’t wait to hear Andrew’s accent for 2-3 hours every week, (which isn’t “sexy” per se, but refreshing for sure).