Author Archives: Darby Helen Smith

Does Birth Control Cause Weight Gain?

When the topic of birth control is brought up, I almost always hear someone say “I stopped taking the pill because I was gaining weight” or “I would never go on the pill, I don’t want to get fat!” As I have never taken birth control I had no personal experience and have always wondered whether this was a legitimate side effect. The question made me think of the fact that correlation does not always equal causation. An example of this that we went over in class was the controversy over the belief that vaccines lead to autism. We learned that although there is absolutely no evidence backing up the idea that the vaccines are a cause, people might think it is because babies start to show signs of autism around the same time that they receive certain vaccines. This could also be true of the belief that birth control leads to weight gain. It is possible that many women begin to take the birth control pill as they enter college and also many women gain weight as they first start college. This is an example of a correlational third variable.


Null Hypothesis: Birth control does not cause weight gain.

Alternative Hypothesis: Birth control causes weight gain.

As I began to shift through articles on this topic, almost all of them state that this belief is a myth and that there is no real evidence to back it up. I found a meta-analysis study that includes 49 different studies. Out of all of these trials, none of them found any valuable evidence to say that birth control causes to weight gain. However, that meta-analysis only provided studies for birth control pills and patches and there are other forms of contraceptives. This article in Women’s Health Magazine tells us that a certain injection of birth control can cause a considerable amount of weight gain. Another study on the same injection also resulted in evidence that it leads to weight gain in women.


Figure 3 shows the weight gain over time as the subject receives more of the birth control shots.

Method: Although their is not a lot of information out on the method behind the weight gain caused by the injection, the study above states that it could be due to the shot triggering an increase in appetite.

Conclusion: I think that the most rational way to react to these results is considering risk and reward. If you use the correct type of birth control, it seems as if there is no real risk to gaining weight. Therefore, if birth control is an important preventative measure for a specific person, it makes sense to take it considering there is no real evidence that all birth control leads to weight gain.

Is the Ocean Safe?

One of my science teachers in high school claimed that he had not been in the ocean in about ten years because of the threats that it imposes on human health. Ever since he told us this, I had been unsure whether it was true that the ocean was dangerous and he was being logical, or it was some kind of myth that he heard and ran with. I decided that these blog posts gave me the perfect opportunity to finally look further into this question.

The null hypothesis is that there is no negative effects to a human’s health from going into the ocean. The alternative hypothesis is that there is in fact negative effects to a human’s health from going into the ocean.

I found a study that was conducted from a beach in England over a period of three weeks in 1990. A few things were taken into consideration concerning the subjects of the study. They were asked about the length of their stay, ranging from a day trip to residency in the beach town. They were also asked whether their purpose of being in the water was for bathing, wading, surfing, or diving. These specific questions were asked so that they could rule out cofounding variables to the best of their ability. They answered questions a week after leaving the town regarding different symptoms they may have been feeling.

The results:


The subject’s reports showed us that those who bathed in the ocean water were more likely to experience a gastrointestinal illness than non-bathers. Also, they were more likely to show symptoms of issues in the eyes, ears, nose, throat and respiratory system, but not by a very large amount. The real difference is found within the extent to which the person went in the ocean. The risks get increasingly higher as the scale goes from a wader (less risky) to a swimmer to a surfer/diver (more risky).

Mechanism: There was no mechanisms stated in the study above, so I decided to research the topic a little bit further. An article published by the EPA explains that people and animals cause pollution and sewage to make way into the ocean, which makes the people who go into the ocean come in contact with pathogens.

As I was looking on the internet for information on this topic I came across an article that reminded me of the concept we went over in class called the power of the anecdote. This article was about a little girl who went in the ocean and soon after had a severe eye infection. As I was reading this story, I was beginning to think that it actually might not be worth it to go in the ocean. The power of the anecdote was taking effect on me. Although one intense like this should never be able to have a large effect on one’s opinion, the way in which these news stories are presented catches the attention of the general public.

My intuition: After reviewing this study I do not think it would be logical to form a opinion on the health risks of going in the ocean. First of all, it is one study and we have learned many times in class that you cannot base anything off a singular study, especially when it is only pulling data from one place. However, my initial reaction from this one study is that there could possibly be health risks from going in the ocean and these risks increase with one’s exposure.

How harmful is drinking alcohol while pregnant?

A few days ago while scrolling through face book and mostly ignoring everything on the screen, my attention was drawn to a meme of a woman laying an a hospital bed after giving birth with her baby in one hand and a glass of wine in the other with a caption along the lines of, “after nine months of sobriety..” This picture made me think of how it must be pretty difficult for some people to stop drinking for the length of a whole pregnancy. It also made me question whether there are real negative effects on the baby if one decides to continue to drink.

 The null hypothesis in this situation is that there are no effects on a child if its mother consumes alcohol while it is growing inside of her. The alternative hypothesis is that those who are consuming alcohol while pregnant, are directly effecting their child. One study that I found regarding this question shows evidence that there are 428 different conditions that fall under FASD or fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, which (explained on Wikipedia) is basically a name for all the negative health effects that occur when the mother of a child drinks during pregnancy. The study is a meta-analysis and Figure 1 below shows the selection process of the studies used to build the results. I think it is very interesting how meticulous this process seems to be. There is specific criteria (stated in the study) that a study had to meet to become part of the meta-analysis. I believe that the reason for this is to make the study as legitimate as possible by looking out for things like consistency in the results, sample sizes and consideration of cofounding variables. 


Conclusion from this study: it obviously gives much evidence towards the fact that heavy drinking during pregnancy is harmful to the baby.


Another study that I found on the topic was published in The New England Journal of Medicine. a group of 633 pregnant women agreed to take part in the study. They were split into three groups based on the amount of alcohol they consumed during their pregnancy. Group 1 drank the least while group 3 drank the most. They took the women’s body mass index into consideration when forming the standards for these groups. This allows the results to be more consistent, and makes the study more legitimate. They surveyed the women on other nutritional guidelines they followed and the results were pretty constant among the groups. Therefore, that can be ruled out from being a cofounding variable. However, they found that heavier smoking and drinking went hand and hand for these women. Therefore, tobacco intake could be considered a cofounding variable. The babies were examined for congenital, growth, and neurological issues. In group one, 35% of the babies had issues in at least one of these categories. In group two, 36% of the babies had issues and in group three, 71% of the babies had issues. Figures 1 & 2 give a visual of the differences in effects between the three groups.



The mechanism (explained in the study and this article) behind these findings and all of the evidence that I found supporting the alternative hypothesis is pretty simple. After consuming alcohol, it goes straight from your blood stream, into the unborn baby’s bloodstream, stunting growth and causing many different issues in its body. I found the difference between group one and two to be very interesting. There are only 1% differences found between those who never or rarely drank and those in between rare and heavy drinking.

So, this information raises a more specific question: At what point does alcohol consumption of a pregnant woman become harmful to the baby? It is obvious that there are major effects on the health of the baby if his or her mother drinks alcohol during pregnancy, however the amount of alcohol that is “safe” to drink is very uncertain. When looking through different studies on this topic, I found that there were very contradicting and mixed results. This article explains that most medical professionals will say that one should just abstain from alcohol while pregnant because of this lack of knowledge. This situation relates to our SC200 class on vaccines. We went over the notion that nothing is really safe, so it is necessary to make a reasonable decision within the context of the situation at hand. Therefore, in this case it is logical that doctors are recommending that no risks should be taken considering the question is dealing with one human affecting the life and health of an unborn child.

Can Snuggling up with your Pet can Cause Potential Harm?

I have always fantasized about the pets that I am going to own when I am older due to the fact that my parents deprived me of ever having one when I was growing up. I have always known in my parents case, they did not want a pet because it would be a time and money consuming addition to my family of six. However, I have also questioned whether health has ever played a role in the decision to own a house pet. This seems to make sense because despite the fact that animals roam around outside putting there mouths and noses on anything they can touch, owners still allow their pets to sleep in bed with them. However, the research regarding this issue tells us that a health effect is not a strong reason to avoid having a pet in the house.

Before looking for studies that were published on this topic, I searched for some base information. I found out through this article that you cannot pick up the common cold or flu from your pet because you can only contract that from your own species. That same article from University of California Berkley, informs us that one way to become infected from your pet through its feces, if it contains Salmonella or Campylobacter.  Also, this article explains that if one does not properly take care of their animal and its hygiene, there are different diseases and infections that can potentially effect their owner, especially if they are allowing it to join them in bed.

There was a study released in 2011 that shows the illnesses that humans can catch from their pets sleeping in their beds with them. This study starts off by telling us that in the United States, out of an estimated 60 million dogs, 21-33% sleep in their owners bed and out of an estimated 75 million cats, 60% sleep in their owners bed. As we have talked about in class, this large sample size is a key part of a legitimate and effective study. The study then begins analyzing the different diseases and infections that are displayed in Table 2 below. The results of this study contain an accumulation of different cases in which the owner became sick from their pet. It is logical that an observational or experimental study from a randomized group of pet owners would not be efficient considering the rarity of the infections and diseases that are caught from pets. However, it is more difficult to rule out cofounding variables with a case study like this.


As you can see, any type of health issue caused by a house pet is pretty rare in the grand scheme of things. As we have done many times in class after going over different studies and experiments, it is important to debate whether the benefits of having an animal outweigh the health risks. This article mentions many physical and psychological benefits that range from increased levels of exercise to increased levels of joy and comfort. When comparing these positive effects with the small chance of contracting any sort of illness from your pet, I do not think that negative health effects should turn someone away from owning a pet. Also, I do not think it is necessary for anyone to start kicking their animals out of bed!


Drinking Alcohol on an Empty Stomach

Now that I have left my home and began my new, independent life at college my parents are always finding ways to remind me to stay safe and healthy. As any college campus is a hub for the binge drinking culture, this is one of their main concerns. Recently, before I go out to a party my mom will shoot me a text saying, “remember to eat a big dinner before you go out if you plan on drinking!” As sometimes I am rushing to get ready for my night time event, I wonder if spending time getting and consuming this big meal is actually beneficial. I have heard multiple times that if you drink on an empty stomach, the alcohol will effect you more than it would with a full stomach. However, as we have learned many times in class, just hearing something from the general population does not necessarily mean it is the truth. For example, the statement could be skewed due to the power of the anecdote. It is possible that one person did not eat all day and then went out and got too drunk, which could just be a case of correlation. It is always necessary to turn to science with these types of questions.

Possible answers:

Null hypothesis: The amount of food consumed by a human before drinking does not play a role in how much the consumption of alcohol is going to effect him or her.

Alternative hypothesis (general belief): The amount of food consumed by a human being plays a role in how much the consumption of alcohol is going to effect him or her

Before doing any research on the topic I was thinking about how it would effect people’s daily habits if the null hypothesis was correct. I concluded that as this point it might not change anything at all. It would probably be very difficult to convince someone that this is true . As we have talked about in class, once something is a strong, popular belief amongst the majority of people, it is extremely hard for scientists to change their mind.


The study that I found is from the Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and shows two different studies that were performed at Indiana University hospital. The first study consisted of 20 people (10 males and 10 females) and was testing the alcohol elimination rate. The subjects  underwent two sessions of alcohol being injected into their veins. The first session was after a 12 hour period of not eating and the second was after a normal meal. In order to make the study accurate, all of the subjects ate the exact same amount of calories.



Result: Those who ate before the alcohol injection had a increased alcohol rate of 25% compared to those with an empty stomach. There were also large differences between males and females which is shown above.

The second study was performed in a similar fashion except their were four sessions. The first was again one in which the subjects did not eat before the injections. The second one gave the injection after a high-fat meal. The third one was given after a high-carb meal and the fourth one was given after after a high-protein meal.


Result: Those who ate before the alcohol injections had a 45% increased rate of alcohol elimination. There were no significant differences across the three different types of meals that were consumed by those who ate.

Method: This article tells us that on an empty stomach, alcohol is absorbed into the blood stream faster than it is if you have recently consumed food.

Conclusion: All of the advice that I have heard from many people ranging from my best friends to my parents, along with the scientific evidence that I stated above, has made me come to the conclusion that it is a smart and rational idea to eat the appropriate amount before drinking alcohol.


Biting your nails is not just a silly little habit

Ever since I was little I have always needed to be picking at something. Whether I am playing with my food at dinner, ripping up little pieces of paper in class, or picking at my nails, I am constantly fidgeting around with something. This seems non-detrimental and it is for the most part, except for the nails. I do not only pick at my nails, but I also bite the skin around my nails, sometimes until the point of bleeding. For awhile, I had the mentality that everyone has there weird habits and this is mine. I did not think there was any real reasoning behind it, until I met someone who did the same thing. She saw my torn up fingers and quickly blurted out the observation and showed me her fingers. She began to talk about it being a nervous habit, and I began to realize that whenever I am feeling stress or anxiety, I resort to biting the skin around my nails.

I decided to do some research on this, and hopefully find some ways to stop myself from doing this because of the gross outer appearance of my fingers, along with the physical pain. I found through this site that that there is an actual medical name for this tendency called Dermatophagia and it is a form of obsessive compulsive disorder. Those who bite at their own skin around their nails like I do, are referred to as “Wolf Biters.” These people get a certain type of satisfaction from biting on the skin and causing pain. The post on the website states that this can run in the family. Although I do not think there are any other “wolf biters,” in my family, there is history of OCD, which makes clear sense as to why I do this to myself.

The reason that I was so unaware of this might have been because there are very few studies on the subject. As we talked about in class, this could be due to the fact that not many people have found it important enough to spend countless amounts of money and time on the research.


Why do we get more sick in the winter?

As the winter approaches here at state college, I am becoming a bit frightened because I had already had bronchitis twice since I have gotten here, and the peak of the cold weather has not even begun. There is a well-believed and strongly backed fact that people are more likely to get sick in the winter. So there lies a question: what is the cause of this? Is it the weather itself? Through my research on this topic I found that the weather does not directly cause one to get sick. You have to come in contact with a germ or virus to contract a sickness, which is stated here. However there are theories on links between the winter and the likeliness to catch a cold.

Although many of our parents have told us to “come inside, you are going to catch a cold!” That could be a very counterproductive command. There are many possible cofounding variables that could relate the winter with sickness, that have to do with being indoors. For example, this article explains that  In the winter, it is not as desirable to spend time outside, therefore people pack themselves indoors and might become more likely to catch something from someone sick in the same vicinity. Also, there are some theories that central heating has a link to a weakening assume system.

On the other hand, our parents could have been right as they were yelling at us from inside the house. There was a study done on animal cells to test these theories. They tested these cells at different temperatures that correlated with the nose and lungs. The results showed that the decreased temperature did indeed decrease the effectiveness of the immunity to fight off the virus. Although this is good first step in testing the hypothesis, the study did not go beyond this, which makes it difficult to know whether this holds true for humans.

It seems as if the link between the cold and a common cold has not been completely figured out yet, but as the season is approaching I wish everyone luck!


Artificial Sweeteners VS. Sugar

Throughout my whole life, my mom has been trying to keep up with the new healthiest things to make up her daily diet. As she is most definitely addicted to coffee, she is always back and forth between how to sweeten it. One day regular sugar will be the healthy option and the next day she will switch to an artificial sweetener. As I am in my freshman year of college and coffee has become a necessity, I began to question which of these is better for you.

I thought this was a pretty straightforward question that would have a straightforward answer, but after researching, I understand why my mom has rapidly changing opinions on whether artificial sweetener is better than sugar. For the most part, it seems as if the majority of concrete evidence shows that artificial sweetener is a better choice for weight loss and diabetes, which is explained in this article. However, there is a theory that the artificial sugar creates a confusion within your body that can result counteractively towards losing weight. After my research, I am going to use artificial sweeteners because there is more legitimate results that back the notion that it will cause less weight gain than sugar, which I believe to be the correct assumption for anyone who knows the facts.

Many of the people who believe that artificial sweeteners are bad for you developed this opinion from a warning that was let out in the 80s regarding the sweetener called saccharin. It is explained in this article that there was a study performed on rats that found evidence that this artificial sweetener causes bladder cancer. This immediately forms opinions in people’s minds against all artificial sweeteners. The issue here is that later, it was discovered that the experiment done on the rats does not correlate with the human body, and therefore does not and could not apply to any of these people who believe this substance causes cancer. This study is an example of the faults of performing experiments on animals when trying to figure out truths about humans.


Does Tylenol Reduce Empathy?

Recently one of my friends declined the tylenol I offered her for her headache because “it can make you a bitch.” Naturally, I had absolutely no idea what she was talking about and she proceeding to explain that something in tylenol can have an effect on the empathy you feel for others. Even as she began to explain herself more, I was still not believing it. After this encounter I had the idea to research this topic for one of my blogs. As a hit the search button on google, a large amount of articles popped up discussing this exact topic. To my surprise, there were actual studies performed on the subject.

I found that there is a theory that Acetaminophen, a component of thousands of drugs across the globe, including tylenol, can have some mental and psychological effects on its users. Some believe that this drug can cause people to feel less empathetic than they usually would towards other people.

As I shifted through the different articles, the same study was mentioned in almost every one. I found the study which was conducted by professors from Ohio State. The study explains that the theory that Acetaminophen decreases the empathy that one feels stems from the idea that the pain one feel for others is closely linked with the pain that one personally feels. The science behind this is that personal pain and pain for others activate two of the same parts of the brain. 80 college students participated in this study. The study was a blind placebo trial, so the students either received Acetaminophen or did not, and they did not not where they were taking the drug or the placebo. After this step of the study, the students were told stories in which people underwent some type of pain. Following the stories, they were asked different questions on how they felt towards the people feeling pain. Those who had not taken Acetaminophen reported to feel more empathetic than those who did.

I think that the conductor of this study did a good job at making sure the study was as ethical as it possibly could be. Whenever testing drugs on humans, it is important to take preventative measures. The study explains that the students were informed on all of the risks included in taking the drug and were told what and what not to do if they decided to participate.

Overall I think that this is an interesting theory that seems to have some legitimate evidence to back it. I hope to see the furtherance of the study because it is regarding such a popular drug and if true, would be affecting a large quantity of people. brain-in-a-pill



Does Marijuana Cause Weight Gain?

As Marijuana is becoming evermore prevalent in our society today, many people ponder the consequences of this drug. Recently I had been thinking about how it is known that one gets what is called “the munchies” after participating in the smoking of weed. This effect of the drug inclines one to eat more than they usually would at that given time. I then began to question whether this period of increased intake of food caused a pattern of weight gain for regular users of marijuana.

When researching this question, the most consistent answer that I found was that Marijuana causes weight gain. However, there are two factors that seem to heavily alter this conclusion, which are gender and the smoking of cigarettes. The study explained in this article, tells us that in general, marijuana leads to weight gain in men if they do not also smoke cigarettes. This is because as marijuana stimulates more of an appetite, cigarettes stint appetite, therefore it evens out and the cigarette smokers will not gain the weight. The gender factor comes into play because girls who smoke both marijuana and cigarettes are not less likely to gain weight compared to girls who only smoke marijuana. The article explains that a part of the brain that controls hunger can be effected by the hormones found within women. The statistical analysis is found here, within the direct study of this topic.

With all of that being said, there were many studies that I came across that contradicted the one above and mentioned many third (confounding) variables. The study explained in this article found that the intake of marijuana results in lower obesity rates. It also talks about medicinal marijuana and that the illness of the person taking it, could be a cofounding variable. Another article, explains that people are actually losing weight when they begin to smoke marijuana because they become less likely to binge drink.

So, one might ask: What is wrong with the studies that are being done regarding this topic? It seems as if they are all looking at large enough sample sizes and the studies seem to be going on for a long enough time. However, all of the studies were completely observational. Studies can become more and more unreliable when they are solely based on observation because many variables can be effecting their results when they are not varying anything. I believe that if all of the people in the study had the same eating and exercise habits and were smoking the same amount of marijuana, the results might be more clear.

Similarly to the conclusion that we found in class about the question, “can prayer heal?”, there is no clear answer to whether marijuana causes weight gain because there are not enough studies that share similar data on this topic. small-meal

Hand Sanitizer VS. Regular hand washing

I was hard core blanking when trying to think of a third and final topic for this blog period. The other two came to me very quickly but this time it was a little bit more difficult for me to come up with something on the spot. I started scanning my dorm for inspiration and I saw hand sanitizer sitting on my roommates desk and immediately started thinking about all of the germs that are covering this huge college campus. I remembered my past week of rushing sororities and the hundreds of hands a shook and began to realize how easy it is to get sick here. After all of my rush days I found myself using hand sanitizer and thinking that all the germs from the many different girls had left my hands. However, as I was thinking about hand sanitizer from a more scientific perspective in a mindset caused from writing these blogs, I began to question its effectiveness and if it can replace regular hand washing.

As I read up on this topic I learned that using hand sanitizer cannot completely replace washing your hands regularly with soap and water. First of all, when you have dirt or something else that you want to wash off your hand and you are not necessarily worried about germs at the moment, hand sanitizer will not help nearly as well as washing with soap and water (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). A more serious reason that hand sanitizer is not an equal substitute for hand washing is because it does not work against some very serious infections, which is explained in further detail here.

The most important thing to take into account when purchasing or using hand sanitizers is the alcohol concentration. If it is not at least 60% alcohol than it is not only ineffective, it also has negative effects. One of the negative effects of sanitizers with not enough alcohol is that they can increase a germ’s resistance, which is completely countering the exact reason you are using the sanitizer (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).


  1.  Do not think that you can replace the routine washing of your hands with the application of hand sanitizer
  2. When using hand sanitizer, make sure it has an alcohol concentration of at least 60% !!!!



Blurred Lines

I have had 20/20 vision my entire life and never even slightly struggled with seeing anything. When I arrived to Penn State as a freshman and began to go to class again after a long summer, I noticed that I was having trouble seeing the board in my large lecture classes. I then began to pick up on little things like not being able to clearly recognize the face of a person who is across the room from me in these classes. It seemed to have gone from perfect eyesight to a condition in which I absolutely needed glasses with no transition period. I began to question why this was happening. I was not sure if I had deficiencies with my vision before but have never noticed or it was a new thing happening to my sight. I knew that if it was the latter conclusion, I wanted to know what causes this!

As many people say – do not look up symptoms online because it will cause you to self-diagnose yourself with a rare and deadly disease when you are most likely fine! When I began to research the causes of lost eyesight, the results gave me a little bit of anxiety! There are many different conditions that link are mentioned here that link up with vision change, for example: presbyopia, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy, Naturally, these big words began to scare me so I called up my parents to inform them that I was soon going to die, and they reminded me that I am fine, and I have also been genetically doomed with a worsening vision.

It is likely that if one or both of your parents have poor eyesight, you will also experience this at some point in your life. Personally, I began to have trouble seeing things that are far away and have no trouble seeing things that are close by, which is called nearsightedness. Although genetics is a large factor into the reasoning behind changing vision, it can also be do to your surroundings and daily activities or habits. One example I found when researching is that a lot of reading can cause ones eyesight to worsen. The worsening of my eyesight triggered a thought that it would be interesting to conduct a trial on whether genetics or environment has a more prominent affect on the human eye.



The Adderall Phenomenon

When high school and college kids begin to reach their peak of workload along with anxiety over this workload, they are likely to be introduced the highly stimulating prescription drug called Adderall. It is formally prescribed to those with ADHD or narcolepsy (Patterson). ADHD is an attention deficiency disorder and narcolepsy is a sleep disorder, so it is evident that this drug would naturally do a very good job at countering the things that prevent teenagers and young adults from studying – sleep and distraction. A teen who receives and proceeds to take the opportunity to experience this drug will most likely have the initial reaction that is the greatest aid to get through a big test or paper, and they simply do not know how they ever worked productively without it. The previous statement correlates with the immediate feeling of reliance that people feel towards adderall after using. Taking this drug regularly can cause a vicious cycle to begin in their life. When in effect, it prevents one from feeling the signs of fatigue and as it wears off and the “crash” begins to kick in, an addict may easily resort to taking another pill to restore the high they felt before.

College students that are taking enough classes to be considered full time are two times more inclined to abuse adderall than people in the same age group that are part time students or not currently being educated. Out of all the people using adderall, over 90% of them are using it for purposes related to school work and studying (Yanes). When analyzing these statistics, a question arises: Is the abuse of adderall caused by professors overworking students, or due to the pure addictive chemicals that compose the drug?

It could be possible that the overuse of adderall among teenage students could have something to do with a workload that has become impossible for some people to naturally handle, therefore they need the drug to succeed. On the other hand, facts about the contents of this drug tell us that it is highly addictive. Adderall contains Amphetamine and dextroamphetamine which activate unnatural reactions within the nervous system ( Amphetamine contains dopamine which stimulates a discharge of chemicals which causes a “good feeling” or high for the person using, making it a very addictive substance (mount regis center).

One could concur that the beginning of a teens adderall usage is due to the fact that they are overworked or stressed and the actual abuse has to do with the addictive side and the high that they feel when on it. From personal observation of those around me as a freshman in college, I see many people taking this drug that would never try other drugs like cocaine, which has a very similar effect to the body. This small perception supports the statistics behind the use of this drug being used for study purposes because they otherwise would not be using it. The people using it for this purpose may not be aware that they also have motives to feel the high that adderall causes.





Hello my name is Darby Smith and I am a Freshman here at Penn State. I joined this class simply because I am in the Division of Undergraduate Students and at orientation I answered my advisors question of “Do you want to major in anything science related,” with a hard no and he signed me up for this class right away. In fact, during the basic flood of small talk that took over most of my conversation during the first week of freshman year there was a lot of people asking what I am interested in majoring in. I have never had much of an answer to that inquiry except for the fact that I do not want to do anything related to science.

This evident pure hatred for science accumulated in my mind after many years of science classes throughout grade school and high school. I cannot fully claim that these teaches are “bad teachers,” but I think I can claim that they lacked real life examples that related to what they are teaching in the course. Therefore whenever I thought of science, my brain linked it directly with pure memorization and numbers, and I knew that I preferred critical thinking.

After attending my first SC200 class my perspective about science began to change. Something that really stuck out to me was when Andrew explained how scientists that are doing important things like researching climate change and cancer treatment are never really recognized by the outside world. It clicked in my head that some of the most valuable careers in our society are purely science related and they require a great deal of critical thinking. Before this class I thought that If I wanted to realistically end up with a good job and make a decent amount of money I would have to graduate with a business or a law degree, and now my mind is more open to the importance of science majors. In fact, when researching about the recent increase in demand for STEM jobs found in this article here. I realized that if you work hard and become qualified in a STEM major, you actually have a better chance of becoming successful in the future. It is still not likely that I will follow through with a major in the science department, but after that first SC200 class I am definitely more appreciative of the world of Science and all it entails.