Author Archives: Claudia Lynn Hatch

Does Gum Stay In Your System for Years?

My mom always used to tell me not to swallow my gum or it would be stuck inside my stomach for seven years. This always scared me as a child because, like most people, I have swallowed my gum. I remember thinking I was doomed because the gum would be sitting in my stomach for the next seven years. As I got older I stopped swallowing my gum as much, but I also stopped pondering this question. Then about a week ago,one of my dear friends suddenly brought the question to light, and all of a sudden I got nervous again. So, I thought I would try to research the topic and come to a conclusion: Does gum stay in your system for years?

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According to the Yale Scientific, gum does not stay in your system for seven years. The article goes on to say it probably doesn’t even stay in your system for more than seven days because the ingredients and sugar in the gum breakdown, just like normal food. While it might take slightly longer for the gum to leave your system, and while it might leave looking similar to what it did when it entered your body, the digestive system will still move the gum out of your body safely. However, the article also states that the leftover residue from the gum can sometimes line the esophagus and cause problems swallowing. Also the sorbitol found in sugarless gums can cause stomach pains and sometimes diarrhea. This is very rare though, and most of the time your gum will simply leave your system without causing you any sort of harm.

Students at Ohio State University found the same results and had the same explanation. They say that the intestines pass things much more intense than gum. So as long as you aren’t making it a habit to swallow your gum, especially in large amounts, your digestive system will move it right out into your stool. (Sorry for the image) They say there is no way it can stay in your stomach for seven years, especially with the way the stomach breaks down its foods.

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So, clearly this is a myth that has been debunked and is one we do not have to worry about. I would not recommend purposely swallowing your gum or consuming large quantities of gum at one time, but I think the occasional mishap will not cause you any serious harm. So the next time somebody tells you that your gum will be stuck in your system for years, you can now prove them wrong. It may be a slightly grossly detailed story, but now you know the truth behind swallowing your gum.

Are Glasses Harmful?

As I was sitting there trying to contemplate what to write on, my friend sat there fidgeting with her glasses. She was complaining and wishing she had perfect vision. She then offered to let me try on her glasses and it hurt my eyes. Suddenly I began to wonder if glasses actually make your eyes worse? My friend said she had heard this phrase be repeated multiple times, so I decided to do some digging and try to figure out if glasses were harmful to your vision.

According to this article posted by BBC, there is plenty of research on children and reading glasses. It basically concluded that it is better to give children reading glasses at young age, it they need them. However, it goes on to say that it is difficult to find any on adults and the affect on their eyesight. I have to say, they were right. I found it very difficult to find studies proving, or disproving, this question. However I did find more articles. THIS article states that the glasses aren’t making your eyesight worse. Instead you are simply so used to having the glasses improve your vision, that not wearing them intensifies the inability to see. This sounds pretty plausible to me. I don’t see how wearing glasses, tools that are there to improve your eyesight, could actually make your eyes worse

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Now even with some intense research and extensive searching for scholarly articles, it was hard to find any sufficient evidence to answer this question. So, I can conclude that most likely glasses do not make your eyesight worse, or else they would be off the market, and there would be more studies done to answer this question. There is also a chance that this topic could be suffering from the file drawer problem. It very well could be that people have continued to get negative results, or results they do not wish to share, and therefore no studies have been published. This would be my best guess. However, I have also decided to design my own experiment for this topic:

I would take as large of a sample of people who are about to get glasses, but have not yet purchased their first pair. Then I would do a simple eye test on all of the participants, before giving them their first pair of glasses. I realize that there could be many confounding variables in an experiment like this, but I would do my best to control them. I would ensure that the people wore their glasses everyday and that they recorded when they took them off. Also, I would have people quit the study if they failed to abide to the rules of the experiment. Then after three years,I would have them take their glasses off for a few hours, and then test their eyesight again. This would show me whether or not their eyes were actually damaged by wearing the glasses.

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In conclusion, I still don’t believe that glasses can be harmful and make your eyes worse. I really think it has to do with the type of prescription you wear and the time it takes for your eyes to adjust to the new circumstances. I hope in the future, there are more studies done, and we come to a better conclusion for those who have to wear glasses.

Do Vitamins Really Work?

I like to start off everyday with a daily vitamin. I usually take two of the chewable gummies once a day, and occasionally I take some vitamin C supplements. With the end of the semester nearing and with the inevitable Penn State Plague waiting to sweep the campus, I am really wondering if these vitamins are truly beneficial to your health? I personally have not gotten sick since I started taking the vitamins, but I am curious if this may be another case of confirmation bias,and the vitamins are only working because people are believing in them?

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According to recent findings posted on WebMD in 2013, people should stop taking these supplements. This article brings in recent studies that show that multivitamins don’t actually have any health benefits. It is said to be suffering from the placebo effect, because the pills themselves are not curing any illnesses, or preventing them for that matter. The placebo effect is when you take a pill, or substance, that has no actual effect but because of belief in the drug, people think it is beneficial. If we read on, you find the idea that vitamins are a way for the rich companies to continue to gain more wealth. But regardless of the money, this industry is clearly still convincing people that the multivitamins work. So if you’re one of these people, consider the following studies.

The article continues to touch on the three studies that were done testing these multivitamins. I will break them down numerically:

  1. The first study tested 6,000 male doctors who were at least 65 years old. Half of the men were randomly given the placebo drug and the others took the vitamin. It followed them and their health for twelve years after they were expected to the take the multivitamin daily. Though only 84 percent said they actually followed through, the test revealed that there was no “significant” difference in the two groups.
  2. The second study was done with 17,000 heart attack survivors who were randomly assigned a placebo or given six daily vitamins to take. While the majority of participants dropped out early, they still found no significant differences after 55 months.
  3. The third study just looked at 27 other studies on the vitamins and the various supplements included in the study. Like we learned in class this an example of meta-analysis, because they are analyzing other studies in an attempt to compile all of the data. Once again, they found these vitamins had no benefits. There was a small potential for decreasing cancer, but they were still thought to be insignificant pills.

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Another article found on the Harvard Health Publications found similar results. The vitamins were thought to potentially work towards preventing cancer, however they were not found to help with the heart or brain. So the daily uses of them were pointless. 

It seems to me that this is plenty of sufficient evidence supporting the idea that vitamins don’t work. With both of these credible sources, it doesn’t seem plausible to me that these vitamins are giving me any sort of health benefits. However, If we are looking at the potential costs to continuing to take the vitamins, it is small to none. So, even with the mounds of evidence ,I do not plan to stop taking my vitamins. Maybe me thinking they are working is enough, and as long as I am not getting sick, I will continue to take them.Also, if there is any chance that I can prevent cancer, I am going to take it. So, what will you do?

What is Love?

With the Christmas season, love is in the air. However, what I have been wondering lately is if love is biological? I always see couples walking around campus and I just wonder what love really is. Everyone seems to have a different idea but I want to know if science can give me an answer. When you meet that special someone does your body change as well, or is love something we simply created as a way to feel complete in this world?

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We all know the common symptoms for someone who is falling in love. Their face gets red, their heart races, they are giddy and glowing. So if we can see these physical   changes, there must be some sort of reaction occurring, right? Well BBC published an article that I think has some very helpful answers. The article goes on to explain Helen Fisher’s three stages of love, all of which can be biologically explained. The three stages are as follows:

  1. Lust: This is the state where we feel the need to go out and date. The testosterone and estrogen levels in our body are physically making us lust for affection.
  2. Attraction: This is the highly lovey-dovey phase we all know about. During this phase the neurotransmitters in our brain known as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, cause us to have this intensified physical attraction.
  3. Attachment: This stage speaks for itself, but it is the phase of long lasting relationships. Couples who make it here often go on to get married, have children, and obviously be very attached to one another. This phase is due to the release of the hormones Vasopressin, and Oxytocin. Oxytocin is released from the hypothalamus  when couples become intimate and is said to strengthen their emotional bond. Vasopressin is also released and is used to help the kidney, and relationships, function on a long term scale.

A study was also done by a team, including Fisher, that tested 10 women and 7 men, in an attempt to locate what portions of their brain were activated when in relationships. They were trying to understand the motivation and reward locations of the brain and how it relates to human attraction, and love. They had the participants, who were said to have been in love for at least a month, look at pictures of their loved ones and well as someone who they knew very well. They were then told to do tasks in between looking at the photos of the two individuals.An FMR machine was used to get the pictures of the brain, and they found that the locations of these regions can vary depending on the contestant, and that romantic relationships are based off of these portions of the brain and allow the person to focus on one partner at a time.

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This study is more evidence that love is a highly biological event. While it might take us a while to find the “right” person, it is clear that our body has a lot to do with who we love and why we love. It is crazy to believe that the concept of love is really just stemming from internal chemicals produced by the body, however it also seems reassuring. I see potential for scientific advances that might be able to make it easier to find love, or to be able to understand it better. Maybe someday we won’t just know the biology behind it and the different stages our body goes through; but we will know if everyone is truly capable of loving.

Is Chocolate Milk the Best Workout Recovery Drink?

I am a huge fan of exercising. I find it to be a very useful form of stress relief and I love the feeling you get when you finish a hard circuit. However, I never know what to eat afterwards. I’m not usually hungry, but I have been told time and time again that it is very important to get some protein back in your system at least twenty minutes after you finish your routine. Being a college student, it can be even harder to find a healthy effective, post workout meal. Protein bars are great but they just don’t do it for me. Then, I remembered hearing from my stepmother that chocolate milk is actually highly beneficial to your health, especially after you finish a workout. I found this hard to believe, but I do enjoy chocolate milk; so I thought I would do some research and find out if this tasty treat really is the best post workout supplement.


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According to THIS article, chocolate milk actually has very helpful ingredients when it comes to your recovery. The drink has a high water content, which makes up for the dehydration and the sugars are just enough to help  your body recover. Also, it has valuable carbohydrates and proteins that are crucial to a strong recovery. It was sounding pretty good to me, but I was still not convinced that a drink I used to consume as a treat could  actually be helpful.

So, I continued my research. THIS study done made famous by Joes M. Stager tested nine different cyclists. They were asked to cycle for as long as they could and then were given a  four hour break . During this time, the athletes would drink gatorade, Endurox R4, and low-fat chocolate milk. After the four hours were up, the cyclists were asked to once again cycle until exhaustion. The study had positive results as those who drank the chocolate milk had an equivalent, or even increased performance compared to those who consumed the other sports drinks. The article above also mentions that your average athlete should reconsider how much chocolate milk they are consuming. However, if you are training hard or leaving the gym, it is still seems to be a highly beneficial drink.


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Now as I was uncovering the wonders of chocolate milk, I also wondered how soon after a workout you should be recovering and consuming protein. According to one ARTICLE, the best option is for you to get your additional protein within thirty minutes of finishing your workout. They also suggest you split it up and drink some before and after, however, I am sure some post workout protein would be sufficient. This is fairly close to what I have been taught over the years; however, an article from Men’s Health begs to differ. THIS article claims that the allotted time to consume your protein supplement is actually much longer. It goes on to explain that contrary to what experts believe, the muscle growth continues for anywhere from 24-48 hours. Obviously it is better to drink some chocolate milk earlier, but you do not need to stress about getting your protein in within the half an hour.

Overall, it can be hard to decide whether or not you truly want to drink chocolate milk or if you want to drink it within thirty minutes of your workout. However, after doing some cost-benefit analysis, it is clear it couldn’t hurt to try. I would not recommend chugging a carton of chocolate milk, but giving smaller portions a try does not seem to be harmful in anyway.

Does Soda Decay Your Teeth?

I’m sure everyone has their favorite choice of beverage, and I’m sure many of you enjoy a good soda from time to time.My father has coke with dinner,a nd my mother loves her Diet Dr. Pepper. We all know from class that drinking sugary drinks might not be the best choice when it comes to gaining weight. However, have you ever wondered how these drinks can affect your teeth?

My first question was: Does soda decay your teeth and if so, how long does it take?

When you drink a soda the acids mix with the bacteria in your mouth to slowly decay your teeth. This article states that the decay process takes about 20 minutes and restarts every time you take a drink of your soda. It also says that those, such as children, whose enamel are still growing, are more inclined to get tooth decay with excessive amount of soda consumption. So, it isn’t really the sugars in the soda, breathe the acids that attack your mouth.  IT was difficult to find a particular time frame for losing teeth due to soda, however there were many tips on how to prevent this nasty decay. Many of the common tips include  not drinking soda often, Using a straw to prevent the acid from attacking your teeth, brushing your teeth after consumption, and SIMPLY NOT DRINKING IT. A tasty juice or water is a healthy alternative that is much less harsh on your precious teeth.

I was also curious if certain sodas were more acidic or caused more decay than others? Well one very harmful drink is Mountain Dew. This drink is so acidic it has even coined the nickname Mountain Dew Mouth which occurs when the teeth begin to decay. However, it is not even the most acidic drink. According to the Mississippi State Department of Health, Pepsi and Coca Cola are the most acidic drinks, right below battery acid. Their acidic levels are at a4.5 on the scale. Right behind them is minute maid orange soda and then Dr. Peper.


This was very helpful in knowing how to keep my teeth safe and learning what sodas to stay away from. I am not the biggest coke fan as it is, but after learning how acidic the drink is, I plan to not drink it. I don’t drink soda very often, and I once took a year off for sports and it made a big difference. I am not trying to tell you not to drink soda, but it is clear that it does more harm than good, and it seems to me that it just isn’t worth losing teeth over.





How Does Color Change One’s Mood?

Have you ever walked into a room and suddenly your mood changes completely? Well I was thinking about this the other day as I was walking through the abstract section of the Palmer Art Museum. I was wondering, can the color of the room, affect a person’s mood? When I look at the colors on the paintings, each one seems to pull a different emotion out. I think this is why painters play with color so much, and I am curious if it really does affect one’s behavior?


A study was recently done by Alexander S. Soldat and Robert C. Sinclair from the University of Alberta that began to explore this question. They did two studies, but they were both very similar. Overall, they had test subjects complete either high complexity or simple tasks on either blue, red, or white paper. What they found was that in simple tasks, or low motivation, the blue or white paper participants outperformed those who were using red paper. They also later tested how the colors made people feel and they found that the red color was correlated with more positive feelings.

Another study was conducted to see how people responded to purchasing a product based on the background colors in the ads. This study revealed that people were more likely to buy a product if it was associated with the blue color than the red. The article says that red has been associated with tension, and blue with calmness. Thus, when selling a product the blue colors are a better advertising move. THis relates to mood because just based off of a color, we are subliminally changing how we feel and simultaneously changing how we act.

Lastly another study was done where 92 college students were asked to respond to five primary hues, five intermediate hues, and finally three achromatic colors.. The color green ended up getting the highest positive reaction because of its association with nature. White also got a highly positive response. However, green-yellow got a negative response due to the fact that we associate it with sickness.


This is why I believe that color affects someone’s mood. Whether we mean to or not, we associate colors with different emotions, different moments, and it is for this reason that we enjoy some colors more than others. THink about walking into a white room, as opposed to walking into a room splattered with vibrant color. THe colorful mood will most likely strike a more positive reaction because you associate bright colors with happiness. So, when you are down or are looking to change your mood, take into account your surroundings and maybe try to change up the color.




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Do I Really Need to Sleep?

All through high school people told me I need to get eight hours of sleep. I always wondered why this was and if it really made a difference because for one, I never was able to get eight hours of sleep, and two, I seemed to feel better when I got less sleep. It seemed to me that my circadian rhythm had simply synced with my new sleeping patterns, and thus I didn’t need to get the full eight  hours of sleep. However, in college I have found that I am getting more sleep than ever before, but consists of me staying up much later and waking up much later. This, to me, does not seem to be a very healthy way to live, and I am curious what I can do to make things better. I want to know three very specific questions. 1) Does it matter what hours you sleep? 2) Do I as a college student need the full eight hours of sleep to function? 3) Can I make up for lost sleep by simply sleeping longer on the weekends?images


This first question can be slightly difficult to answer because everybody’s bodies differ so greatly. However, according to an article from TIME, Dr. Matt Walker says it definitely makes a difference. Dr. Walker is the head of Sleep and Neuroimaging Lab at UC Berkeley and he warns us that what times we sleep at night can actually affect the how well we sleep. When you sleep, you switch from non-REM sleep to heavy REM sleep. It does not matter what time you go to sleep, this cycle happens naturally form the early night, to the early morning. So, when you are falling asleep really late at night, you are skipping this lighter sleep, which in turn forces you to go into REM. Then when you are waking up later, you are coming out of this deeper sleep, which can cause you to be groggy and lethargic throughout the day.

So what is the perfect time for you to go to bed? Well it really depends on whether you as a person. If you are hardwired to stay up later, you shouldn’t try to force yourself to go to sleep earlier. However, the critical time for you to go to bed is anywhere from 8 P.M. to midnight. This is when your brain can get the non-REM sleep it needs for you to be functional the next day.

  Now we move onto the second question… Do I as a college student need the full eight hours of sleep? Research was done by the National Sleep Foundation that included eighteen highly qualified scientists that met and discussed over 300+ current studies on sleep quantity, and then voted on the new age groups and recommended hours. What they found was very interesting, but in particular the difference between college students and high schools student. For ages 14-17 it is recommended that they get between 8-10 hours of sleep. However, age 18-25 it goes down to 7-9 hours, with anywhere from 6 hours and as high as ten to 11 hours being acceptable. So this is still showing that as a college student I should be trying to get the full eight hours of sleep, but that my body can function with as little as 7.unknown-4

Personally I find that when I oversleep, I wake up groggy. This is most likely due to waking up out of deep REM instead of letting my body finish the cycle. However, I found it interesting that high school students were recommended to get more sleep than college student. I mean in high school they are getting up much earlier, and usually have a full schedule, whereas in college you can control your classes and sleep ties. However, I would think with the extra workload, college students would need more sleep to be healthy and active.


The last question is can I catch up on sleep by sleeping longer on the weekends?

Well according to acn article on, if you are constantly losing sleep during the week, you will have a hard time making up for lost time. If you are sleeping in on the weekends and staying up really late, it can throw off your usual sleep patterns which can make it harder to fall asleep during the week. This is not healthy and is not a great strategy for catching up on sleep. Instead, it suggests that you just start to adjust your sleeping times. You can do this by going to bed earlier, or just trying to get more sleep every night. Slowly getting more sleep is a better strategy than sleeping for long periods of times on your day off.

I know in college it can be very hard to get a good amount of sleep,but it is very important that we try. If you can regulate your sleeping patterns and try to get your 7-8 hours a night, you will feel better and more productive during the day. Sleep is crucial to our survival and our happiness and it is important that we take it very seriously.




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Do Cats Always Land On Their Feet?

The other day I was trying to climb down my very steep bunk steps with my laptop in my hand when my foot slipped and I fell flat on my bottom. This was rather embarrassing, but it did bring a question to my mind. If I were a cat would I have landed on my feet? Yes I’m sure we have all heard the myth that cats always land flat footed, but I wanted to find out if this was actually true, and if it was, then why? How is it possible that you can throw a cat from anywhere, and watch as they somehow find a way to land on their feet? I decided to find out, in hopes that maybe I could take some tips from  these highly coordinated animals.unknown-2

1)Do cats always land on their feet?

Now with this being such a myth, it was difficult to find the evidence backing up the claim that cats always land on their feet. However, according to an article written by Laura Moss, “Do Cats Always Land on Their Feet?” cats have something known as a rooting reflex, which allows them to quickly reorient their body in the air. The righting reflex doesn’t usually appear until the cat is around 3 weeks old, and it is then they are able to begin situating themselves midair. It is fully functionable by about 6-7 weeks of age. According to wikipedia, this is functional, due to the felines lack of a working clavicle and a very flexible backbone. According the Moser’s article, a study was done by a French scientist by the name of Etienne Jules Mary. Here is the video he used to analyze the cat. This man decided to test the theory by using a camera to take multiple shots in a one second frame, so he could watch the cat fall in slow motion. After playing the film back, he was able to see how the cats body repositioned itself in the air before safely landing on its feet. However this might not mean that a cat falls on their feet 100% of the time, which leads me to question two.


2) Why can cats land without death?

This was another question that came to mind. If cats have this innate ability to land on their feet, why are they able to fall from such tall heights without death? Yes, some cats might be injured, but even then they are still able to survive. Well according to this article, a study was done by the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, explaining this situation. IT basically has to do with the maximum terminal velocity the cat reaches while falling. Unlike a human, they don’t have quite of high as a velocity which allows them to withstand the impact of the fall. The study watched 132 cats who fell anywhere from 5.5-32 stories high. In this time period the cats would have been able to reach their terminal velocity, however, there was a 90% survival rate. While ⅔ of the cats needed medical treatment, they still survived long enough to receive it and live through the fall. The article goes on to argue that cats are actually reported to have a lower mortality rate for falling from the stories 7 or above. This may seem weird because as a human we would want to fall from a lower story. However, with cats it is theorized that falling from a taller height actually gives them more time to adjust to the situation and relax their bodies. This, in turn, reduces their velocity and allows them to prepare for the impact.

It was hard to find more studies on the subject because people can’t ethically throw cats around, but I do believe I have come to a conclusoin. After my research I would say that cats probably don’t ALWAYS land on thier feet, but that doesn’t mean it happens the majority of the time. I am fairly certain based off of experiemnts and my own personal experience that cats do have an inate ability to land on their feet! I guess with this superpower, they won’t be needing their nine lives after all!




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The Treadmill Myth

Exercising can be a great and healthy way to release stress and ensure you don’t gain that dreaded freshman 15. While running outside can give you all the cardio you need for the day and can give you a break from all the pressures of school and work, this may soon not be an option. If the weather continues to get colder, then we will soon be having to find alternative ways to exercise. While heading to the gym is great, and lifting weights is very beneficial, I have wondered what my alternative to outdoor running will be. This has led me to one question: Is running on a treadmill helpful or harmful? Now while I don’t mind running on a treadmill, I am curious as to whether it is as beneficial as running outdoor, or even on the indoor tracks. If it indeed does more harm than good, I will have to switch my training, so I need to know.unknown-1

I thought the best way to answer this burning question would be to do a cost benefit analysis and decide which form of exercise is truly going to be the best.

The Benefits:

Running on a treadmill can be useful because of the technology. An obvious benefit to using a treadmill is the ability to control the speed at which you run. When you run on a treadmill, you don’t face the obstacles that running outside can bring. There is no need to fight the wind current, or worry about the sturdiness of the ground. When running on a treadmill you have the luxury of the belt tracking your mileage, and being a constant surface. Also, if the weather is bad, it is safer and easier to go for a nice, paced run on the treadmill. Also if we compare the effect on the body, it may actually b better to run on the treadmill. A study was done by the University of Delaware that came to this conclusion. The study was published on the Huffington Post and after having the participants run at a speed of 3.5 m/s while they measured the knees, hips, and ankles, they found that there was very little difference between running on a treadmill and running outside. Meaning there is really no negative effect to running on a treadmill, as opposed to outside. Another study shows that running outside can put more strain on your knees, which can cause people to lean towards running on a treadmill. This was helpful for me because I have struggled with knee problems, due to a heavy gait, in the past and being able to run on a treadmill is very beneficial.


However, another article makes the claim that running on a treadmill can be harmful to your knees because unless you move the dial, you are forced to run at a constant speed. They argue this puts an increased amount of strain on your knees. Also, many people tend to hold the bars while running on a treadmill which can hurt your form and thus make you more susceptible to injury. Another struggle people face, at least I know I do, is boredom. This can make it difficult for people who aren’t the greatest runners to lose interest and thus run a shorter distance, or even worse, look at their phones. A study done by Kent State that showed a negative correlation between those who used cell phones and those who were the most fit. More than 300 students were tested and 49 of them were tested for fitness, which showed that those who used their cell phones for around 14 hours a day, were less fit than those who only used it for around 90 minutes.

So, as you can see, there are many varying opinions on whether or not running on a treadmill is beneficial or not. When looking at the effects on joints, like the contradicting knee studies, it was very difficult to find sufficient evidence backing either claim. The studies were not done as well as they could have been, which made it hard to really decide if it is better to run outside or on the treadmill. However, personally I am going to continue with the training I have now, and will continue running on the treadmill. With the weather starting to get colder, I think that is the best decision. I do hope this question is tested better in the future and that we can start to understand the best way to train our bodies.




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Is It Harmful To Crack Your Knuckles?

Crack! That’s the sound I love to hear as I pop my knuckles. Now I know that for some, this is the most excruciating sound, and for others it is their biggest pet peeve. We are all entitled to our opinions on knuckle cracking, but I for one am a big fan. I think after a long day of writing, or just a long day in general, coming home and releasing the pressure from your knuckles, your neck, your back, it all feels great. However, I have been warned about this every since I was little. I remember my grandmother telling me that if I continued to do this, I would get arthritis, and she was not the only one to send me this warning. Now as a child, I believed her and was worried I had messed up my fingers forever…Luckily this was not the case. But, I am still curious as to whether or not she was being truthful, or just trying to scare me into stopping. It is possible that she just hated the sound, amongst all the others who told me the same story, and that this was a way to prevent the cracking. I wasn’t certain, but I was determined to discover the truth.

If we read THIS ARTICLE by the Harvard Health Publications we begin to find some answers. They tell us that according to multiple studies, knuckle cracking does not cause arthritis. In reality, cracking your knuckles is basically just releasing the pressure built up in the fluid found in your joints. This is called synovial fluid and it helps show that cracking your knuckles is really not dangerous. However, they do say that it can cause your hands to swell later in your life. I don’t know if I truly believe this, and I hope it is not true because I crack my knuckles quite often. THIS ARTICLE from WebMd also tells us that cracking your knuckles does not cause arthritis, contrary to popular belief. They have a theme very similar to that of the Harvard article, and there are many more you can find backing up the theory that cracking your knuckles does not cause any sort of harm, especially not arthritis.

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So I would advise you to continue cracking your knuckles, if that is what you like to do. It might begin to bother those around you, but that is your call. It will not hurt you, it just might annoy your friends!

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HERE is another link to a fun BuzzFeed video that further explains this point. If you are still questioning the facts, watch this video! It tells you what cracking your knuckles actually does and the evidence backing up the “harmless” theory. I hope this didn’t crack you up too much!

What Are The Benefits To Napping?

If you are anything like me, napping is your favorite part of the day. Whether my exhaustion is due to my lack of sleep, or my busy schedule, or both, I always find myself beat by the middle of the afternoon.I used to nap when I was in high school quite often, but it was usually during class on my desk. I never had the luxury of going home and sleeping when I had a full schedule from 8 am to 3 p.m., and that was just school itself. So, I would usually nap often and in short periods of time during each class, when I knew I could get away with it. Buy now, being in college, things have changed. Now I find myself staying up late, sleeping in late, and then coming home after class and napping. The duration of these naps vary from  20 minutes, to two hours, and I am curious if this is benefitting or injuring my health. I have found that if I take a 20-30 minutes nap I usually can wake up and feel energized for a while, but once my nap gets long things change. I will be groggy and lethargic for a few hours, but then I am able to stay up much later, which can also be helpful. I just don’t know what I should be doing to regulate my sleep schedule and be sure that my naps are benefiting my health, and bettering my college experience. So, I decided to do some research.

According to THIS ARTICLE on,  a nap can be very beneficial to your day, especially if you have had a long night It informs us on the gains from taking a quick nap by telling us that anywhere between 20 to 90 minutes is a sufficient napping time, and any longer will result in grogginess. However, I am not sure I agree. So, I kept digging. I also remember being taught in AP PSychology that 26 minutes is the prime amount of time to nap. If you get to deep into your nap, and reach REM you will be woken up before having cycled all the way through the sleep stages. This is what leads to your grogginess.

THIS ARTICLE from the Huffington Post gives you some tips for napping! So if you are someone who loves to crash for a few minutes, or hours, check it out! It also suggest that the best time for you to nap is 20-30 minutes so you do not become groggy after waking up. There was s tudy done and posted HERE on that helps to prove this. It says that 5 minutes ,had little benefits, then from 10-20 the benefits increased. The best however, was a thirty minute nap. This time had the longest lasting effects and had the most benefits.

So I think it is very important to nap, especially if you are busy or a night owl. If you find yourself looking for an afternoon pick me up, turn to sleep instead of other caffeinated drinks. It is a healthier way to get the energy needed to finish out your day feeling happy and accomplished. Just DON”T sleep too long!



Picture found HERE

Does Listening to Music Improve Your Memory?

I’ve always had a passion for music. It is something I wish to pursue, though I am not a usic major, and I could not imagen a life wihtout it. One time when I was in about the 6th grade, I had a major history exam approaching. I remember being very nervous, because I, like most people, enjoy getting good grades. However, this test consisted of an extraneous amount of memorizing people, dates, and other various historical events. I spent a lot of time studying, and being attentive in class, but I could not seem to retain the information from class, or the textbooks. Then one day, I had an idea. My friends and I decided to write a song, consisting of all the important historic details from the chapters we were studying. Sure enough, after hours of writing and rhyming, we had the perfect song. Now you might be wondering what this has to do with anything, but that’s what these blog posts are for. You see thinking about this story, I began to wonder if music can improve my memory? Being a college student, the majority of my time seems to be spent studying, and preparing for my classes, and I am somebody who loves to listen to music while I work. Whether it be Mozart, Indie, or alternative rock, I always have something playing in the background. Now I also grew up with seven siblings, so I a very accustomed to noise, but I am still curious whether or not music really does improve my memory,and if I should continue to enjoy the music, or learn to work in silence.
According to this article  located on psychology the answer to this question varies form person to person. They held a study where 73 people, all roughly around the age of 27, were selected to listen to 14 different types of music. They then were told to pick three songs they found pleasurable and three songs that they found neutral to them. Now according to the article, there was a fairly even distribution of people who had musical talent, and those who did not. Then they had the participants listen to the different groups of music, while attempting to memorize 54 different Japanese symbols. In the end they discovered that for those who had a musical background, pleasurable music was better while testing, but it was harder for them to learn while listening to music the truly enjoyed. FOr those who were not musically trained, they found it easier to learn with pleasurable music. The author of the article thinks that this could be due to the analytical process that goes on inside the brain of someone who understands music. They believed that if you don’t have any musical training, you aren’t playing close enough attention to the music for it to be distracting.

Now I am not sure if I agree with this. I have a very strong musical background, and I do from time to time analyze the music that comes on my playlists, however I do not find it distracting. I personally find that when I study with music, I am able to drown out any excessive outside noise, and focus solely on the work that I am trying to accomplish. I also think that music motivates me to work harder, depending on the genre and my mood.


Picture found HERE


Image found HERE

HERE is a link to a video with more information on this topic and whether or not we should be listening to music while we study. If you are looking for some suggestions for study tips regarding music, I suggest you check it out.
What do you think is the correct answer, and what works for you?

Initial Blog Post

Hey everyone! My name is Claudia Hatch and I am a freshman here at Penn State. I am from a town just outside of Portland called Oregon City, Oregon. I also share time at my dad’s house in Boring, OR. Yes that is the actual name of the town, I am not trying to bash on my home state. I am a Broadcast Journalism major in the College of Communications, and I plan to minor in music. I am the oldest of 8 siblings (three of whom are step siblings) and so far I am loving it here.

I wanted to take this class because I am not a fan of science, especially when it comes to chemistry and biology. I heard this class was for people who were interested in how science relates to things in our everyday lives, and it sounded fun. I mean I was thinking if I could get away with finishing my undergrad studies without having to take a biology or chem class, I’d take it. However, I am happy with this course so far. It really seems like it is going to be a fun class! It is nice that we get to ask questions and sort of determine what is taught in class and what we want to learn. Building off of that I am not a science major because in high school science was hard for me, and I just did not find it interesting. I, like others have said, am just more interested in pursuing other majors. I really want to go into sports broadcasting, which is why I chose to attend this school, and I also am interested in pursuing music.


This picture pretty much sums up how I felt about science in the k-12 system. I look forward to actually learning science in a fun, relatable way,instead of just reading and filling out worksheets  to get a grade.

Here is a cool, informative story on how vaccines work.. for all of you who had to get a shot before coming to school. Go check it out!

See you all again in class Tuesday!