Author Archives: Charlotte Anderson

Changing of the seasons can cause mood to change

There is something so exciting about the time when winter turns to spring, when it is finally warm enough to go without wearing a coat, or even seeing flowers for the first time. The changing of fall to winter, however, is not always as fun. You know what I mean, the time when it is so cold that the thought of leaving your warm bed and walking all the way down to west campus, or even the dorm next to yours, is the worst thought in the world. You might think its just you who these things happen to, but science has proven that different seasons bring different moods.

In an article from the Huffington Post, a psychologist from the University of Pittsburgh goes into detail about this recent finding. People commonly crave carbs and become more tired during the winter months. Our bodies also make less of the hormone which is supposed to generate feelings of happiness and wellbeing during the winter. When Scientific American was researching this subject, they found that dopamine levels in people were the highest during the spring and summer. Dopamine is linked to motivation and pleasure. This means that people were the happiest during spring and summer months. The researchers had a feeling this was because people get lazy during the winter and have more energy in the summer. In the winter I have no motivation to do anything and hate being in the cold. The warm weather is not the only benefit of summer, there is also no school and time for the body to relax. Happiness is increased by the things which come along with summer, going to the beach or vacations with family.

Vacations keep you healthy

I can’t be the only person that loves vacations. There is nothing like laying on a beach and having no responsibilities. Or exploring new places and discovering the history and events that took place there. Now there is an excuse to get away, studies have found that traveling is good for your health.

The L.A. Times describes a study done by the U.S. Travel Association which shares the benefits of travel. The study found that women who vacation annually, or even more than once a year have decreased risk of heart attacks or heart related health issues. Women aren’t the only people who benefit from taking a vacation, men also were found to have health benefits from traveling. The same study found that men who did not travel were more likely to die from a young age, especially from a heart related disease. The reason why the heart benefits so much from vacations is the newfound relaxation and lowering of stress is found to prevent heart attacks and lower cholesterol. Along with this, U.S. News adds that travel also is also healthy for you physically. Depending on the destination of your trip, exercise is a key part of the vacation. When I went to South Dakota (I know, weird location for a vacation) we spent the majority of our time hiking or swimming. By the end of the vacation I was in great shape. Trips like these extremely beneficial to the body because it is exercising without even realizing it. I was so interested in exploring what was around me that I didn’t even notice I was exercising.

So next time you are trying to convince your parents to take a vacation and they tell you its too expensive, fill them in on the positive effects that come along with taking  vacation.

Health benefits of having pets !

Pretty much everyone I know has or had some type of pet in their life, even if it was a fish that died within a couple of days. Whenever I see my dog it increases my happiness and puts me in a good mood for the rest of the day. Not only do pets make people happy, they are scientifically proven increase health by keeping them in the home or having them around.

According to an article from the Harvard Medical School , having animals around such as cats or dogs provokes a calming feeling in humans. These animals are so attached to their owners and their loyalty makes us feel more calm which then reduces blood pressure, cholesterol, and stress. Other health benefits provided by Harvard include the point of how certain pets force owners to exercise. Some dogs need to be walked daily, so the owner gets exercise in by walking their pet.

A study done at the Virginia Commonwealth University decided to test if there was a difference between people who took their dog to work, people who had a dog and did not bring it to work, and people who did not have a dog at all. With 550 people working at the company, around 30 dogs would come to the company during the day. They were testing the different stress levels, and did this by taking a sample of the saliva. At the beginning of the day the different groups of people did not test much different for their stress levels. But throughout the day the researchers found that the group of people who brought their dogs to work had their levels of stress decrease significantly. Workers who did not have dogs’ level of stress went up during the course of the day. Surprisingly, the group of people who had dogs but left them at home showed the biggest increase of stress. Overall, the pets in the office caused the amount of work to go up and many people were found to be enjoying their days in the office. This study proved again what Harvard described about how pets can decrease stress which then leads to health benefits.

As a dog lover as well as dog owner, I am happy to hear that not only is my pet making me happy, he is helping my heart.


Are tanning beds worth it?

I am the type of person who always likes to be tan. Before deciding on Penn State, I originally only wanted to go to a school that had warm weather so I could keep a nice color all year round. But then I discovered tanning beds. Tanning beds allowed me to always be tan for a cheap price and minimal effort. I quickly became obsessed with going tanning and friends had to tell me to stop. I told them that because I was only going twice a week, no harm could come from it. Many people, think that indoor tanning is safer than tanning outside. I decided to do my blog post on the topic of how harmful tanning beds actually are.

It is common knowledge that tanning beds are dangerous to the body. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) this is because of the different types of ultraviolet rays which are hitting your skin. The rays can cause skin to wrinkle much earlier than it usually would, especially if young people are the ones using the beds. And the CDC’s statistics show that most tanning bed users are students and young people.  The rays also increase the risk of melanoma in young people also. Another harmful effect of the rays is not to the skin but the eyes. Tanning places suggest that people using the beds wear proper eye protection. I never did this because it would cause an obvious line over the bridge of my nose. The CDC says that if proper eye protection is not worn it can lead to a eye disease which will likely result in blindness. In an article from the Skin Cancer Foundation, it states that over 400,000 skin cancer cases are due to tanning beds. The article then boldly states that this number is higher than the number of lung cancer cases caused by smoking. This statement blew me away. I was brought up learning about how harmful smoking is to the body, and if you smoke you are destined to get lung cancer. Earlier in the semester we discussed in class the correlation between smoking and lung cancer. So now to read that indoor tanning is virtually worse for you than smoking was really eye opening.

Unfortunately, indoor tanning is not safer than outdoors and definitely not safe at all. Writing this blog post has me upset with myself for damaging my skin so much and a little worried about the future of my skin. I would highly advise people to cancel their memberships to indoor tanning salons. It was hard but your skin will thank you in the end!

Benefits of Yoga

I have been a big advocate of yoga for awhile now.  There are many different types such as vinyasa, hatha, or even fitness yoga for a better workout. I was never a very athletic person but always found yoga to be a great workout. It was not too strenuous of a workout but for some reason I always left feeling refreshed and better than I did before. Harvard University Medical School decided to look into the benefits of yoga and published a series of articles discussing the positive effects of yoga on the mind as well as the body. The first article describes how yoga can improve body image. I can agree with this because practicing yoga, even for a short period of time, helps me feel more in touch with both my mind and my body. Besides helping feeling a connection to the body, helps with body image because yoga promotes mindfulness in everyday life which transfers over to eating habits. People become aware of what they are putting in their bodies, and this results to healthier eating and weight loss. Although yoga did not change my eating habits I agree with the idea given by the article. In yoga we are taught to be good to our body and eating junk food is not recommended. Yoga did, however, make me more aware of how I was overeating. The second article  by Harvard Medical School goes more into depth about the health benefits. It describes how practicing yoga can decrease chances of heart disease, improve cardiovascular health, and lower blood pressure. One of the main components of yoga is meditation and relaxation. This helps to lower of blood pressure as well as cholesterol which can lead to a lessened chance of cardiovascular diseases. This is proven by a study done by the author of the second article. After participating in yoga classes on average it was found people lower cholesterol by 12 points and blood pressure by 5 points (Harvard Medical School). In an article from the Huffington Post, it was found that just 20 minutes of yoga can improve memory and strengthen the brain. This was shown in a study done by the University of Illinois. Thirty female students participated in a yoga class and were tested, then took a aerobic workout class and were tested again. The students were found to do better on the test after yoga, with better focus and a higher accuracy rate.

Yoga is not just a form of stretching. Yoga is a workout for both the mind and the body. It helps you feel relaxed and calm in everyday life. This calmness results in the lowering of stress and blood pressure. Instead of taking various medications and going to doctors, yoga has the same or even better effect. It turns into a workout I actually look forward to. Related to how we learned about prayer healing people, many are skeptical about the benefits of yoga. But it has helped me and many others have a more positive view of ourselves and the world around us.

More than a stretch: Yoga’s benefits may extend to the heart

Are drugs such as Ritalin safe?

In highschool I was prescribed a medication named Vyvanse to help me focus in class. Originally, my doctor wanted to give me Ritalin or Adderall, but my mother said that those had bad effects on my when I had tried them earlier in life. I am one of the people who is prescribed these types of medication,but in this survey done by Nature Weekly Journal of Science, 1 in 5 people they asked admitted to using these types of drugs without being prescribed them in an attempt to make them smarter and focus better. This did not shock me because in my high school, taking Adderall and Ritalin was a big phenomenon. People who were prescribed were selling it to anyone, both for school and not school purposes. I remember that because people were not prescribed the medication themselves, they did not know what dose to take and were frequently overmedicating themselves. If the drug is already not supposed to be given to people not having ADHD or another condition, overmedicating is definitely not a good idea.

According to Science Alert, while medications such as Vyvanse and Adderall can be helpful for someone like me who has ADHD, they might be making children do worse than they would be usually. People who have low levels on concentration are the optimal users of this drug, the type of people who are wasting their time are the people who have high concentration levels because their brains are already almost using their brain’s full potential, so using drugs such as Vyvanse could actually weaken concentration and short term memory (Science Alert).

Interestingly enough, in a new study people who were given a placebo drug which they thought was Ritalin concentrated more on schoolwork and in class.

These drugs can also be harmful because of what it does to the body. When I take my Vyvanse I don’t want to talk to anyone, I don’t eat during the day, and if I am not doing work I feel wasted as a person. But once the medicine wears off, I always feel exhausted and drained. To some, the reaction is feeling wide awake so when it wears off and they are tired, they are tempted to take another pill. According to Business Insider, this can lead to a cycle of becoming addicted to taking these drugs, and it is especially harmful for people who are not supposed to be taking them every day.

Even some people who are supposed to be taking the medication can have bad reactions to it. Among the people listed  as having health problems because of this medication, a young boy was given a low dose of the drug and had hallucinations and reoccurring nightmares. He needed the prescription because of ADHD but his body did not handle the medication in the correct way.

Hopefully, if you are prescribed Adderall, Vyvanse, Ritalin, or something similar this blog post has offered you a new insight of things that can happen.

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Are cellphones linked to cancer?

If you’re like me, you can be found almost anytime or anywhere with your cell phone. There have been rumors for awhile about how the radiation from cell phones causes cancer. For awhile I got pretty paranoid and would not keep my cellphone in my pocket or near my bed when I slept. But being as attached to my cellphone as I am, I later chose to ignore these rumors and go along with my technology loving life.

So why are people saying that cell phones are linked with cancer? According to the National Cancer Institute, there is radiation which comes out of the cellphones which can harm the body. By holding cellphones close to your ears is makes it easier for the body to absorb the radiation, which increases chances of cancer. The more someone is on the phone, they are at a  higher risk for cancer or harmful health consequences. In a study done by the National Cancer Institute, the side of the body where the phone was held glucose metabolism was significantly lower than before, and lower than the opposite side of the body (National Cancer Institute). According to the American Cancer Society, people can also be in danger depending on what type of cell phone they use and their distance to surrounding cellphone towers.


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What damages are suspected to be caused by cellphone usage? Because cellphones are normally held next to the head, researchers have also been on the lookout for tumors as well as cancer (American Cancer Society). Researchers have been exposing animals to the same types of radiation to see if tumors of other harmful things will be caused but so far it has been hard to find a direct link between and two and the results have been varying (American Cancer Society). As we learned in class, there is a definite difference between providing evidence and proving something. Another study done exclusively with rats exposed them to radiation for nine hours out of the day for two years (American Cancer Society). The results of this study found small tumors on the sides of the hearts of the rats. Interestingly enough, the number of these tumors was much higher in males than females (American Cancer Society). I personally do not think we can trust the results of this study because no person spends nine hours talking on the phone each day unless it is a requirement of their job. Also, the type of radiation used in the study is much more dangerous than the type emitted from cell phones (American Cancer Society), so this study seems unrealistic.

So what can people do if they are trying to stay safe from the consequences of cell phone radiation? In order to restrict cell phone usage, try talking on the phone with it on speaker, using the bluetooth option in cars, or texting more (American Cancer Society). I for one don’t really talk on the phone that much, so researching this topic definitely calmed my fears a little bit.

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Fidgeting in Class Has Benefits

I am someone who can not sit still for a long period of time. So when trying to find a topic for my blog post I was excited to come across an article that talked about how fidgeting while sitting down is actually good for your health. According to the New York Times, sitting for a long period of time without movement restricts blood flow to the legs, which in the worst case can raise blood pressure or over time lead to the hardening and narrowing of arteries. In a study done by the American Physiological Society, 11 college students were chosen to determine how much the blood flow would be restricted, and effective ways to stop this from happening. What the students had to do was sit down for three hours while keeping one leg still and the other moving for one minute and then still for four minutes. (New York Times). In order to properly get results, all of the students had their original blood pressure taken to compare the results with. As they expected, the blood flow in the leg that was still declined and went up in the moving leg. Something the researchers did not expect was that when testing the legs reactions to things it was worse than it was originally, so being still for three hours had already had a negative effect.

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Not only is blood pressure effected by being still, but it also has been found that not moving for extended lengths of time can cause obesity or heart disease, according to CBS news. In a study done by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, a group of women were chosen; some fidgeted and some did not. They were followed for twelve years, those who were sitting for more than seven hours a day while sitting almost still the entire time, had a 30% higher chance of an earlier death than those who sat for five or less hours a day, also while not moving ( American Journal of Preventative Medicine). Women in the group that had higher rates of fidgeting mortality that sat for 5-6 hours in a given day had rates of fidgeting that went down (American Journal of Preventative Medicine).

So if you’re someone like me who has a hard time sitting still in class, maybe its a good thing.

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New York Times



Initial blog post

Hi everyone, my name is Charlotte and I’m from Montgomery NJ. I’m a freshman and right now my major is special education but recently I’ve thought about switching to a different major. I chose education because I wanted to do something where I felt like I was helping people, and after working here for the past few summers I developed an interest in helping people with special needs. One of the reasons I chose education was actually because I knew it didn’t involve any challenging math or science courses. It’s not that I don’t like science, I’m just not good at it. I was never able to grasp any of the concepts and I would always get confused about the math that was involved


BUT in science’s defense, the science teaching staff in my school are horrible. I did take one year of science that I liked, which was environmental science. That is why I chose to take this class, because although hesitant about science the course description sounded interesting so I thought i would give science another chance!