Author Archives: dhc5097

Penn State Creates 3D Printed Cartilage

When I was in high school, I took a 3D art class where we would make and then print 3D figures and models. I never thought that I would hear that one day human cartilage could be 3D printed to help humans and that my school, Penn State would be the ones to break the barrier. The purpose behind this new technology is to  help replace damaged tissue with new 3D printed tissue that is from the same person. An article on explains the history and the significance of 3D printing and how it will change the medical community.

Penn State scientists 3D printed cartilage by creating large scale scaffold less tissues which are tiny tubes of algae that are between .003 – .005 inches in diameter. Then the tubes are inserted with the cartilage cells. These cells take approximately a week to grow. After they are grown, they are taken and removed from the tubes and the only thing that remains are thin strands of cartilage. Instead of ink, those strands are then used to 3D print almost anything.

This new 3D printed cartilage gives a lot of opportunity for medical advances. Eventually this technology is going to be applied to human cartilage. The fact that it is from the same person allows patients to not have to worry about finding a match. This technology allows patients to be their own source of tissue regeneration. Stem cells could then be developed into cartilage cells.


*The video above is from a scientist who summarizes how the 3D cartilage is made.





Do Jails do their Job of Rehabilitation?

Prisons became into effect right after the American Revolution and has been a pivotal part of America’s society to this day.  One of the main purposes behind prison besides a form of punishment is to give rehabilitation to those who have broken the law so that once they are let back into society, they can abide by the rules and live as an every day American. Recently, America’s incarceration system has received a lot of flak for their extremely high recidivism rate (rearrest of criminals). This makes me wonder, is America really doing its best to rehabilitate inmates?

An article on recidivism from the National Institute of Justice released data showing 68% of prisoners released within three years will return to jail. In five years that number jumps to around 75%. On top of that, the 50% of prisoners that were rearrested, are then arrested again after their first year out.  This is a lot of inmates going in and out of jail which defeats the purpose of incarceration if the jails cannot properly rehabilitate their inmates.

Many prisons have begun to bring in psychiatrist to help deal with the mental aspect of things and create classroom settings to teach prisoners to read, write and further educate themselves. One prison has provided inmates with the chance of getting an education in business. These prisoners then take MBA-level courses such as learning how to write business plans as well as give business pitches. This program goes by the name of the Prison Entrepreneurship Program (PEP) and has already been extremely successful. They have over 1,000 graduates, and almost all of the inmates find a job within 90 days of being released from prison. On top of that, their recidivism rate is less than 7%.

Enriching programs like PEP is what America’s incarceration system needs. Instead of allowing criminals to sit in jail, we should focus more on their rehabilitation than anything and give prisoners a way to make a beneficial impact in the community legally. Unfortunately a majority of prisons have not incorporated programs such as PEP and recidivism is still a problem that plagues our incarceration system to this day. Response To Intervention (RTI) has paired up with Penn State University’s Justice Center for Research and have been conducting a study on the recidivism problem. The study involves 700 individuals who have had a criminal history. The study will involve conducting interviews that will take place about 20-25 years from the participant first arrested. The goal of this study is to examine the main effects behind recidivism in the community and help lead to the decrease of the recidivism rate. As of now, our incarceration system has shown a lack of effort in regards to rehabilitating their inmates.


Rehabilitative Effects of Imprisonment




Studying in Groups vs Studying Alone. What Do You Prefer?

When it comes to studying for a major exam, I prefer to study by myself in fear that if I studied in a group setting I would become distracted and branch off into a conversation that would not be related too the material on the exam. While this is my preferred way of studying, many of my friends express the effectiveness of studying in a group setting and how it expands their understanding of the information because you can discuss the information with classmates.

Pro’s for Studying in Groups: A problem that many students face is procrastination. Living away from home and being in college, you have so much time on your hands and it is up to you on what you do with it. I know many students have procrastinated until the last minute before an exam and being in a study group just might be the answer to your solution. Studying in a group requires responsibility and you have to meet up at a specific time to study for a specific amount of hours.  Also, while working with other students and studying the same material gives you the opportunity to ask questions if you become confused on a certain segment of the textbook. You can also learn from others and pick up your peers study techniques that work for them.

Group Study

Pro’s for Studying Alone: A problem that many students face when it comes to study groups is distraction. Meeting up with your friends to study can quickly go from studying Economics and trying to understand the Law of  Demand, to a discussion about fantasy football rankings. Studying solo allows you to minimize distractions around you. You can focus on the information that you need more practice on, instead of reviewing material you might already know but have to clarify for a friend who doesn’t. Lastly, you can go at your own pace and take breaks when you desire.

Solo Study

Both study styles have advantageous and disadvantages and each individual student has their own way of studying that works to their advantage. If you study in a group it is important to find the right group members that can challenge you and further your knowledge of the material. If you are studying alone, staying on task and not procrastinating is the most important tip to keep in mind.

One way of determining which study style is most effective is running an observational study with a response variable.  How you could do this would be to take a group of students in the same class, with the same knowledge of the material and give them the same study guide and then split them up into two groups; students that study alone vs students that study in groups. Give each group the same amount of time to study for an exam and compare the average grade of the two groups after they take the exam.


Affects of Adderall On The Human Body

For those of you that do not know, Adderall is a popular drug among college and high school students that allows them to focus for a long duration of time. The drug requires a prescription from a doctor and is not an over the counter medicine. A bulk of its users are teenagers with ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) or ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). The drug is not easy to get because one would have to be prescribed in order to buy. With that being said, the drug is so popular that it makes its way around high school and college campuses, and is being taken by people who are not even diagnosed with ADD or ADHD which raises concerns on its health benefits. In this blog I will discuss how the drug affects the human body.

First off, Adderall serves as a central nervous system stimulant which helps one study, control behavior, and pay attention which is why the drug is so widely used by students. An article posted by summarizes how the drug stimulates the nervous system which can cause dilation of the pupils (In your eye), increased heart rate and blood pressure, and lastly increased sweating. Now what does all of this mean?

Due to how the drug stimulates the nervous system, Adderall can cause a wide range of affects, some more serious than others. reported  that Adderall affects can lead to; nervousness, restlessness, headaches, vomiting, loss of appetite and loss of weight. The more serious affects include; shortness of breath, slowed speech, faintness, seizures, hallucination, aggression, rash and hives.

Snorting Adderall also negatively impacts your respiratory system. This can lead to the ruination of your nasal and lung tissues, can cause your heart to have an irregular heartbeat, causes problems with circulation, and can lead to increased aggression and toxic shock. Snorting Adderall has been proven to be less affective and can cause long term damage to your brain. Next time you think about taking Adderall be cautious for you know now the damage it can do to your body.

30mg tablets of Shire Plc's Adderall XR are arranged in a Cambridge, Massachusetts pharmacy on Tuesday, August 15, 2006. Shire Plc shares rose after the company settled a patent lawsuit with Barr Pharmaceuticals Inc., protecting Shire's best-selling Adderall XR hyperactivity drug from cheaper rival copies until 2009.  Photographer: JB Reed/Bloomberg News. ORG XMIT: BUDGET 8/15/06






Binge Watching Shows Is Worse Than You Think

I read an article that was released by Netflix that discussed how 61% of all of their streamers tend to binge watch a show regularly. Having so much time on my hands has allowed me to fall into that 61% category myself. Recently one of my favorite shows “Narcos” came out with a season 2 on Netflix, and my roommate and I watched all 10 episode within the span of 4 days. While we enjoyed our time, I couldn’t help to think that spending so much time binge watching a show could have any positive affects on our bodies. I mean it involves sitting in one spot for multiple hours, the light reflected on your eyes can cause straining, and you are isolated from the outside world. Besides those facts, I decided to research other health impacts that binge watching T.V. can cause to your body and what I found was extremely shocking.

Binge watching a show has several affects on the health of your body, ranging from becoming anti-social to an increased risk for heart disease, cancer and diabetes. An article on summarized how if you are regularly sitting for long periods of time without a break can lead to heart diseases, cancer, and diabetes. This is because when you sit still your blood pumps slower and your muscles burn less fat which ultimately leads to fatty acids clogging your heart. So if you happen to be sitting for long periods of time watching a show, your risk for a heart disease increases.

The reason behind why Binge watching a show regularly can lead to diabetes is because it involves very little movement to no movement at all. An article on the causes of diabetes lists inactivity and sitting for long durations of time one of the leading reasons for people getting diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. The lack of movement leads to burning calories a lot slower which adds up if you are binge watching a show for multiple hours, which increases the risk of diabetes.

Lastly, around 56% of people who binge watch shows rather watch them by themselves than with company and almost 100% of binge watchers, do so at their homes. Spending such a large chunk of time watching a T.V. series instead of going out and socializing can be un healthy for you and can lead to making you more anti-social. Now before you binge watch Narcos like I did, think of this article and most importantly the health of your body and the harm you may be causing to it.


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



Does Using Your Phone At Night Affect Sleep

When I go to bed at night, the last thing I check is my phone and vice versa when I wake up in the morning. My mom would always tell me to “put my phone away an hour before bed” because it negatively affected my sleep. Although I never really listened to her, I can feel the affects weighing on the amount of sleep I get now. The reasons behind this is because the light reflected from the screen negatively impacts our internal clocks causing our sleep patterns to scatter.

An article posted by explained to me how the lights reflected from the I-phone are blue and white lights. This leads to the prevention of melatonin being released from our brain which is a vital hormone that informs our body that it is time to sleep. When melatonin is not released right at bed time it makes falling asleep a much more difficult task. Experts suggest that turning your phone off an hour before bed time could lead to a much deeper and faster sleep.

study was conducted and the researchers found out that a double expresso coffee does not negatively affect your sleep as bad as your cell phone does. The blue light is so strong that when our brain receives the light it comes off as a sun glare, which results in our sleep time being pushed back as well as our melatonin not being released from our brain. The light reflected from your phone is basically telling your brain not to sleep. All in all, put your phone away about an hour before you go to bed and watch your sleep increase dramatically.


Dreams and Nightmares, What Do They Mean?

First off, everyone dreams 4-6 times a night despite if you remember it or not. Dreams are created from our imagination that can be put into story / image form. Dreams can cause many emotions from becoming happy to sad or just flat out confused. But what do dreams really mean and what is the purpose of them? Can dreams help you predict the future? Do dreams have bigger meanings that affect your life?

Some experts say that dreams have no correlation with our real emotions but are just strange stories that have been put together with our imagination while asleep. Other experts may say that our dreams bring out our real fears and desires and that we should act upon them. Either way while we sleep our brain’s imagination is unleashed and this has lead to many people coming up with their best and most creative ideas. Many believe that you should follow your dreams because it is your subconscious talking to you.

Nightmares are often caused by; stress, fear, emotional problems, illness, and or drug use. An article on talks on how if you have a continuous nightmare you should listen to your subconscious because it might be trying to inform you of something important or of something that you need to do. Either way nobody really has the answer on what the meaning is behind dreams and nightmares.

I have had many dreams where I have woken up confused out of my mind on what the higher meaning of the dream meant or if it meant anything at all. While researching information on dreams I found a link to an article called “14 Common Dreams and Symbols and Why They’re Important”. I can say I have definitely experienced a few of those myself.


Why Do So Many College Freshman Get Sick?

It did not take me long for me to catch my first cold in College. From working out in the gym, using a public bathroom, sharing drinks, and staying out late during the weekend are all a few reasons why a college freshman might get sick. I read an article online that discussed why college freshman get sick. Being in a new environment that your body is not use to can often lead to colds. Simply just living in a new dorm can lead to a cold as well, since our body is not yet accustom to this new living situation and not accustom to sharing a dorm with another person. Sinus Infections, the Flu, Mono, a cold, and Strep throat are all common sicknesses for college students.

A reason behind these various sicknesses is not as complicated as it might seem. College students tend to lack sleep and do not have a healthy diet, especially first year freshman that are away from their parents for the first time in a while and are getting their first taste of freedom. On average teens need about 7 through 9 hours of sleep to keep our body fresh. Lack of sleep makes it easier for viruses to enter our body and causes sicknesses. Our immune system relies on the sleep we get so if we want to combat sicknesses a quick way to start is by getting a lot of sleep to allow your body to combat the cold.

Having a healthy diet is an easy step to combat sickness in college despite that many college freshman do not do this. Simply supplementing french fries for a fruit like pineapples can help prevent colds, the flu,  and other illnesses that plague your body. Also, replacing soda with water allows your digestive system to wash out any unhealthy bacteria that might be causing you to become sick. I look forward to using these few tips to combat my sicknesses in the future and hopefully become a healthier college student.




Bill Nye is Why I Loved Science

What’s up everyone! My name is Derrick Collins and this is my first year at Penn State. I was born and raised in the nations capitol, Washington, D.C. and am currently enrolled in the Division of Undergraduate Studies, with the hope of soon becoming a member of the Smeal College of Business with a major in Marketing. I started Penn State in the summer and believe it or not, met a lot of cool people playing basketball in the IM building that took this class last year. I told them that my schedule had not been finished yet and was looking for a gen-ed that would be interesting, which is when they told me about “Science in Our World: Certainty and Controversy,” which has lead me to where I am now.

DMPrintSmeal-100WEB-Copy-800x535 Here is a picture of Smeal College of Business where I expect to be in a few years.

In middle school, science use to be very interesting to me. My science teacher would always put on Bill Nye videos in class and would often bring in various animals such as snakes, rabbits, turtles, etc and she would let her class interact with all of the animals. It was not until high school until my love for science began to fall off. Despite Biology, I never became interested in Physics or Chemistry.

This class is not like the average high school class which is what I love so much about it. When reading the description of the course the goal is to encourage critical thinking of the sciences and on top of that this class is not for science majors. Maybe this class will bring back my love for science!