Author Archives: jnb5450

Long Live Puppy Love… Literally.

About 6 years ago I started asking my parents if we could get a dog. The response was not positive because they said they would be the one’s to end up taking care of it.  My best friend was also trying to get her parents to get a dog too and was meeting with similar resistance.  We decided to put together a presentation to our parents on all the benefits of owning a dog to try to convince them to say yes! We did some research and made up a chart with about 5 or 6 major points and some graphs that we found online. I went over to my friends house and we presented it to her parents then she came with me to my house and we presented it my mine. After the presentation my parents said they were proud of us for doing all that and they would think about it. Weeks went by and still no talk of a dog. Finally I got a tip from my grandmother who told me to ask my father if he had a dog when he was a kid? I asked him the next day and he said he did. I followed up by asking him how many he had and he said two. I replied, but all I want is one! He agreed because he said to not agree would be hypocritical of him. I wish I could say my elaborate presentation was the reason we got Clover (that’s my dog) but it was not. However one of the bullet points of that presentation was that pets help people lead healthier and maybe longer lives. I got to thinking about this recently after my dad sent me a picture of him and clover jogging at the beach. Now that both me and my sister are out of the house, I know he takes her to play soccer and other places so it got me thinking about that point in my presentation and that is what I will discuss in this blog.

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(how cute is my dog when I snuck her into my dorm?)

Several studies from Harvard Medical School have shown that having a pet, specifically a dog, can make a person live longer. Some researchers even theorize that the health benefits of having a dog greatly outweigh that of having a cat simply because dogs are more affectionate. These studies have looked at a variety of variables that may lead to a longer life including a reduced risk of heart disease and lower level of stress. While there are several factors that go into the length of one’s life, it is ambiguous whether there is a direct relationship between dog ownership and the length of a person’s life.

One statistic provided by the American Heart Association states that “In a study of over 5,200 adults, dog owners engaged in more walking and physical activity than non-dog owners, and were 54 percent more likely to get the recommended level of physical activity.” This is a significant statistic and something that I can relate to my own life. While growing up, I played a variety of sports and while I was active at games and practices, my mom was never one that would frequently be active. Ever since having Clover, she has been more likely to take her to the trail in our town and go on a walk around the lake, which would be about 2 miles. However, I do wonder what constants were taken into account during this study because there are many factors that go into assessing a comparison of physical activity across a group. Were the dog owners more active in the first place? Were all the participants in the same age group? Elderly people are less likely to be as active as a younger person, regardless of having a dog.

While I have many questions surrounding this theory of dogs enhancing health and physical activity, it is something that has proven true to my family and myself.

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Sources:

http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/a-dog-could-be-your-hearts-best-friend-201305226291

http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/health/owning-a-dog-may-help-you-live-longer-happier-study/news-story/b12a490b2eee1991ab9a1a36ec8b88f2

Picture Sources:

Livestrong.com

(my phone)

Laughing is the Cure!

I am probably the biggest laugher there is. I laugh at pretty much everything, especially the thing I shouldn’t be laughing at. But who knew how healthy laughing really is? There have been so many studies that show a little laughter can go a long way. I was very interested in this topic since this is something we all do pretty often, without even knowing we are benefiting our health. Laughing can bring people together, relieve stress, reduce anxiety, help depression, along with strengthening your immune system and treating pain. It can not only benefit our health, but also make us a better person with helping us in relationships, and getting through tough times. It make make us live a longer, healthier and happier life.

Helpguide.org researched and found the best benefits that laughing has on us:

  1. Laughing burns calories! This is definitely a plus no matter if you are on a diet or what. It says that if you laugh 10-15 minutes, that already burns you 40 calories. Think about how much you laugh a day, way more than that. If you add up all of those minutes, that’s equivalent to burning three pounds in a year JUST from laughing.
  2. Laughing helps our hearts! Laughing can be our heart’s life savor! It helps our blood vessels function and which, therefore, increases blood flow in our body. This helps prevent us from getting blood clots and puts us at less of a risk of a heart attack.
  3. Our immune system: saved! Laughing even decreases our stress hormones and increases our immune system. This means that just by naturally laughing, we are at less risk for disease and illnesses. Laughing helps fight off our antibodies.
  4. Laughing is a pain reliever! Laughing triggers our endorphins to release. Endorphins are ‘feel good’ chemicals in our body, therefore, relieving pain.
  5. No need for yoga, laughing helps us relax! When you have a real good, hard, laugh, your muscles loosen. This leads to no pain and straight relaxation.891f9ee33524dcff9fdda13d55eb4e41
  6. Laughing gets rid of your angry load! When you think about it, you laugh because you are happy, or because you are thinking of the positive side to something. This means that you are not focusing on the bad/ sad, you are focusing on the good. Laughing is a mental thing, because you are thinking of the positive.
  7. Last but not least: laughing means long(er) life! This article states that in a study taken place in Norway, people that laugh a lot and have a good sense of humor live longer than people that don’t laugh as often.

Gurinder S. Bains, a Ph.D. candidate at Loma Linda University, stated in Harvard Health Publications, even said that laughing as an elder is healthy and suggested. Laughing is a way of life, it shows that you are enjoying the moment and everyone needs that. I find it interesting how when we laugh, we don’t think about all of the benefits it has on us. We just know, that in that moment, we are happy. A study was done at California’s Loma Linda University to see if laughing is more than just a comic relief, and has other benefits. They randomly chose 20 healthy women in their 60’s-70’s and measured their short-term memory and stress levels. There were two groups: one group was sitting in a quiet room doing absolutely nothing and the other group was watching a bunch of funny videos. Twenty minutes later, all of the participants gave saliva samples and took another short-term memory test. 43.6% of the women who watched funny videos were able to recall facts while only 20.3% were in the non-laughing group. This proves to me that laughing really does make for a better life. 

Senior Hispanic woman laughing and using digital tablet

 

Sources:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/22/laughter-and-memory_n_5192086.html

http://www.helpguide.org/articles/emotional-health/laughter-is-the-best-medicine.htm

Picture Sources:

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/250231323017069291/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/22/laughter-and-memory_n_5192086.html

 

How safe really are E-Cigs?

Nowadays, you can’t walk from class to class, or dorm to dorm, without seeing people smoking e-cigs (electronic cigarettes). People smoke e-cigs so they can have the same pleasure of smoking, without any harm on their body.. But are they really keeping their body safe? The FDA considers an electronic cigarette to be a battery operated device that lets the user inhale a vapor which can contain nicotine or another substance (American Lung Association). They can come in many different forms: e-pens, e-pipes, e-hookah, and e-cigars. All of these are known as ENDS (electronic nicotine delivery systems). Some people think they are so harmless, that they can smoke them all day, every day. Doctors, dentists, and dermatologists have researched this device to see what e-cigs can really do to us.

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Effects on the Skin:

Fitness Magazine posted an article, “Everything You Need to Know About E-Cigarettes and Your Skin” where Dr. Joel Schlessinger and Connecticut-based dermatologist Dr. Karen Soika of the Cosmetic Medic shared their research about how e-cigs affect the skin. They were first asked if an e-cigarette can affect the skin in the same way that a regular cigarette can. Schlessinger answered this by stating that any type of smoking can lead to a quicker result of aged/ wrinkled skin, under-eye bags, and dehydrated skin. He goes into the science behind this and tells us that this is because any form of smoking deprives the skin of oxygen and decreases the normal blood flow. This affects the circulation of the blood flow and this breaks down elastin. Smoking anything can also lower the amount of Vitamin C in the body which is necessary for the production of collagen. Schlessinger states that it is hard to tell the long term effects on the skin, from an e-cig, because it is such new technology but because there are similar chemicals, he believes that it is likely that it will do the same amount of damage to the skin over time. He says that puckering your lips around the nozzle constantly will cause many wrinkles around the lip area. He then goes on to say that a huge factor is the time period in which you smoke. The longer you smoke, the more your skin will be damaged. Dr. Karen Soika, The Cosmetic Medic talks about why you should be concerned about your skin if you smoke e-cigarettes. He was asked if smoking an e-cig can lead to skin cancer. His answer is that if you smoke a regular cigarette or an e-cigarette, you are two times more likely to get a type of skin cancer called squamous cell carcinoma. They conclude that e-cigs are just as bad for your skin as regular cigarettes and that smoking constantly will guarantee a negative effect on the skin.

Effects on the Oral Health: One of the reasons why people smoke e-cigarettes is because regular cigarettes can make your teeth rot, change the color, and just negatively affect them in general. Oral Health group wrote their article, A Dental Perspective On Electronic Cigarettes: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, based off of the research done by Richard Holliday, (BDS (Hons), MFDS RCSEd, NHIR Academic Clinical Fellow/Specialty Registrar in Restorative Dentistry; Claire Stubbs, BDS, MFDS RCPSGlas, General Professional Trainee). In 2014, a lot of research was done and observations were taken to see how e-cigarettes affect the mouth. Many users filled out a questionnaire about the side effects that they experience when smoking an e-cig and the most commonly repeated side effect was that they felt an automatic sense of dryness and irritation in their throat. In France, there was a 5 year long multicentre prospective observational cohort study that took place to test e-cig’s effects. One outcome was hospital admission for oral cavity cancer. This goes to show how dangerous e-cigs can be to the mouth. Even in Fitness Magazine, Dr. Karen Soika states that smoking an e-cig also increases the risk of getting  oral leukoplakia which is the precancer to oral cancer. She also says that 75% of oral cancer is caused by any type of smoking.

Effects on General Health/Lungs:

Although it is said that e-cigarettes are much safer than regular cigarettes, e-cigs can still bring toxic chemicals, such as carcinogens, to the lungs. Stanton Glantz, director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California, found that e-cigs bring the body a high level of nanoparticles, which can increase the risk of asthma. There have been many studies that link smoking to breathing problems. Maciej Goniewicz from Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, N.Y, explains that the users of the newer and more improved e-cigarettes have a higher risk to the body. Second generation e-cigs allows their user to increase the voltage and temperature per puff, which leads to more nicotine going into the body and chemicals reaching the lungs. Many of the chemicals in e-cigs are mostly a concern when they actually reach the lungs.  Stanton Glantz believe that the particle size and amount of particles is a major factor in how much the body can be affected by this. Glantz found that many e-cig users will inhale large amounts of tiny aerosols, which are the most harmful size, which will be carried into the lungs smallest airways. This will cause a block to move air to the body and can cause more breathing problems.

There are not necessarily the facts to prove that e-cigs are MORE dangerous than regular cigarettes, but they sure can be as dangerous as them. E-cigs can negatively affect oral health, you skin, your lungs, and your body’s overall health. So kids, think again before vaping.

Sources:

https://www.sciencenews.org/article/health-risks-e-cigarettes-emerge

http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/beauty/skin-care/everything-you-need-to-know-about-e-cigarettes-and-your-skin/

A Dental Perspective On Electronic Cigarettes: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Picture Sources:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2016/03/12/e-cigarettes-are-no-safer-than-smoking-tobacco-scientists-warn/

http://ru.memegenerator.net/instance/49929476

 

Ice Cream = Happiness ?!?!?!?!

Have u ever heard a girl that just broke up with her boyfriend say she’s going to drown her sorrows in a pint of Ben and Jerrys? I know I was that girl. I never really though about the science behind why it made me so happy. Was it just my taste buds, or was it affecting my brain too? Being sad IS an excuse for people to eat tubs on tubs of ice cream. Many people love the taste of ice cream and consider it to be a treat to their taste buds. so is it true? Does ice cream really make us happy?

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The Background:

The myth that eating ice cream makes you happy may not be a myth after all. A study to test this was conducted in 2010 at the Centre for Neuroimaging Sciences, Institute of Psychiatry, London in collaboration with Professor of Neuroimaging, Michael Brammer . Their goal was to prove, with scientific evidence, that ice cream does make people happy and they achieved this by using fMRI brain imaging. This was a nonrandomized controlled trial because they chose the . First, they chose the participants. They picked eight graduate and post graduate staff at the Institute of Psychiatry because they were familiar with the fMRI scanner. This was important so that they would not be nervous in the machine causing the brain image data to turn out differently. They also made sure they kept the ice cream brand and flavor constant (Carte D’Or Vanilla Ice Cream, stored/ served at the recommended temperature). 

The Procedure:

Before they began, the participants were told that they were to rate how much they liked to ice cream (on a 5 point scale from -2 to +2). Each participant was brought to a testing room with a scanner table that they would lay on. The participant put headphones in and then they were scanned by the fMRI to see their original brain activity. They are given a small amount of water thirty seconds before taking each bite of ice cream. They are all given fifteen spoonfuls of ice cream, in one minute increments, with as little head movement as possible. The pipettes of warm water in between acted as a control stimulus to the ice cream. It was good that they used a control so that they can compare results for better accuracy, but I think they should have used more than one ice cream. What if this one ice cream affected them more or less than normal?

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The Result:

It’s true… ice cream does make us happy! It was found that the Orbitofrontal cortex (OFC), a part of the brain which plays a role in emotional processing and decision making, is activated when eating ice cream. The OFC showed a positive emotional ponse when eating ice cream, almost like the brain was being rewarded (Oxford Journals). There were five other parts of the brain that were positively activated by eating ice cream: The primary somatosensory cortex, insula cortex, motor cortex, dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, and retrosplenial cingulate. The primary somatosensory cortex was affected by the temperature/ texture, the insula cortex was triggered by the taste, the motor cortex was activated by how the mouth moved, the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex excites the brain when ice cream is consumed, and the retrosplenial cingulate was positively affected so the person was emotionally happy because of the ice cream.

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This specific experiment concluded that ice cream pleasures the brain, and pleasure equals happiness. (: This makes me wonder about how other foods affect our moods. I would love to hear responses about what you guys think can affect our brains like this and why. So, according to these arguments, girls: maybe you should eat ice cream next time you and your dude get into a fight….

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Sources:

http://cercor.oxfordjournals.org/content/10/3/295.full

http://neurosci.co.uk/portfolio/ice-cream-makes-you-happy/

Picture Sources:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2337460/Why-eat-ice-cream-sad-Feeling-reduce-ability-taste-fat.html

http://neurosci.co.uk/portfolio/ice-cream-makes-you-happy/

http://nelsonsicecream.com/flavors

 

 

Does music played for a fetus increase intelligence potential for that baby?

I was out in Ohio over the Thanksgiving break visiting family. On the first night there, after we all ate and played some games and watched a movie everyone headed to their assigned bedrooms.  I was sleeping in the room next to my cousin Allie and her husband.  As soon as the lights went out I heard music through the walls. It wasn’t the rap or pop stuff that I am used to listening to but was more of a classical style. It went on for most of the night until I fell asleep and was still playing when I woke up.  The next morning at breakfast I asked my cousin, who is 7 months pregnant what was up with the music last night.

She told me she was playing for her baby to soothe him and help his brain develop.  At first I thought she was playing with me but she explained that some people think that music, especially classical, can help a baby’s brain develop while it is still in the womb.  She showed me her CDs, there was Beethoven, Bach and Wagner. My mom heard us talking and when she heard what we were talking about she told me that she did that for me and my sister as well.  I never knew this! My grandfather later chimed in that in his day they didn’t do this and tried to make a joke at my uncle’s expense.  I knew that this would make an excellent topic for one of my blogs because it is a relatively new idea and i  was guessing  there would be some research to prove or disprove this.

Wellesley College posted an article called, “Wagner for the Womb” in which they answered if the stimulation of prenatal music affects how smart the baby will be when they are born. They tested this theory with animals, since testing human fetus’ would be unethical and not as practical. Although it is not known if animals have the same love for music as humans, they still have found that prenatal music stimulation has an effect on the animal fetus. They looked at a study done on rats where the researcher exposed pregnant mothers to music every day for one hour until the fetus’ were born. When they were born, they were put in a maze to see how fast they could find their food compared to the control group, which were rat’s not exposed to music in the womb. It was found that the mice that had prenatal auditory stimulation were much faster to find their food in the maze.

“Wagner for the Womb” then goes on to talk about how music physically affects our brain and how its impact on our intelligence and the Mozart Effect. The Mozart Effect is a theory that if you listen to Mozart, a child’s IQ will increase. This lead me to think that when a child is exposed to a sound, inside or outside the womb, their IQ will increase leading them to become smarter as time goes on. But this also makes me wonder, is it just music that helps, or can it be other sounds as well, like a mother’s voice?

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Livestrong also investigated this theory. They concluded that it is still unknown if prenatal music affects the fetus but they have found some evidence to prove that it does, after birth. There was a study done with 6 pregnant ladies in 1991 with a follow up study in 1993. The study was to see if the children recognized the music that was played while they were inside the womb. Some of the music played was classical music and piano music. The music was played through headphones and held up to the mother’s stomachs in 1991. In 1993, it was found that the babies who had music played to them in the womb, showed more of a recognition toward the sounds than the babies who had not played music to them. This goes to show that although we can’t be positive that prenatal music stimulation will affect the baby’s IQ, it sure seems like it does.

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Sources:

http://www.livestrong.com/article/494633-the-effects-of-music-on-prenatal-babies/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1281386/

https://www.wellesley.edu/sites/default/files/assets/departments/neuroscience/files/studentworks/lai_wagner_for_the_womb_2011.pdf

Picture Sources:

https://amberbuddy.com.au/blog/tag/smart-baby/

http://www.livestrong.com/article/494633-the-effects-of-music-on-prenatal-babies/

 

Is Coffee Good or Bad for us?

Ever since I was young, I’ve loved drinking coffee. When I was young, I was told to avoid coffee because it would stunt my growth. In high school, I would drink it almost every morning to help me get through my long day and school after having to wake up at 6:00 in the morning. Now being a college student, I drink coffee two times a day (most days). My dad is really into health and researching what food/ drinks are good for your body and what’s bad for your body. He would always go back and forth whether or not I should drink it all the time. This has always interested me so I’ve decided to research: is coffee good or bad for me? (Hoping it’s good.)

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This website has led me to find that there are both advantages and disadvantages to coffee affecting our bodies. One of the advantages is that coffee can protect and save our brain. Since we are taking in a lot of caffeine, the high caffeine level in our bloodstream can lower our risk of getting Alzheimer’s Disease while also lowering the risk of us getting dementia. Caffeine can also assist our fat cells break down body fat. It breaks down fat and allows us to use this as energy for exercise. Of course, if you add cream and sugar into the black coffee, this will ruin the purpose. But, if you drink black coffee before a workout, it is said that you can increase your physical performance by 11-12%. Since caffeine increases our adrenaline, this will prepare us for a nice, awakened and refreshed day. This study also says that drinking coffee, anywhere from 1 to 6 cups per day, can help us focus and increase our concentration throughout the day. A very important advantage is that coffee brightens our mood. This helps people fight off depression which lowers the likeliness of suicide in some. A few other pro’s about coffee is that it reduces risk of Parkinson’s disease, reduces the risk of cancer and reduces the risk of a stroke. This website then mentions a few disadvantages of coffee on our body. It mentions how it can cause insomnia. This means that you will not be able to sleep and this is not healthy on your body. It can also be toxic to some consumers.

People change their mind all the time, whether or not coffee is good or bad for us. After reading this study, I believe there are far more advantages that coffee has on our body. I’m going to stick to my daily intake of this delicious caffeinated beverage.

Sources:

http://www.warriorcoffee.com/news/2/12-health-benefits-and-6-disadvantages-of-coffee-smashing-it

Pictures:

https://genesistransformation.files.wordpress.com/2014/11/coffee.jpg

Rainy Days = Sleepy Days

Why do we sleep better when it rains?

Heavy Downpour --- Image by © Anthony Redpath/Corbis

Heavy Downpour — Image by © Anthony Redpath/Corbis

Whenever it rains, people always say they sleep better, even I think it’s true. On a gloomy or stormy day, the mood of the day is just tiring and low. Listening to the rain puts everyone to sleep. Why is this? This has always interested me, because I am one of those people that loves to fall asleep to a storm. Let’s look at the science behind this.

One study was done at the University of Rochester Sleep Laboratory in New York. They noticed this among many of their students as well. They test group consisted of 43 students. These participants were told to write in a ‘sleep diary’ for 105 days. This sleep diary would keep track of the weather that day, along with how long they slept and how their sleep was. This study worked with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather database. They found that when the barometer was high, the participants rested better. This led them to their answer. They concluded that it is because of the sound and the gloominess, we tend to sleep more and not want to get up.

Will Wister, a student at Stanford University with a biology degree, went more into the science of it. He explains why our bodies react this way. A lot of rainy days don’t involve much sunlight. It is a lot of clouds and dark skies. He describes how the lack of sunlight decreases our melatonin secretion production.  Wister found that when the sun reaches our optic nerve, we feel less tired and begin to feel more awake. Since many rainy days lack sunlight, our optic nerve is not stimulating as much and we feel more tired. With the help of melatonin secretion, our body is told that it is time to sleep. If our bodies did not receive melatonin, we would not feel tired and would feel very awake. This is why we often wake up to sunlight. When the sun begins to rise, our bodies sense it and our melatonin production will increase again; causing us to want to wake up (well,  not always wanting to).

Nancy Hall wrote in an article called, “Do Rainy Days Make You Feel Sleepy?” and brought up her conclusions to why this is. Besides mentioning the lack of serotonin, she mention that it also is because of the soothing sound of rain and how our ears interpret this. She believes that the pattern and repetitive sounds all night can cause our bodies to become tired and lazy which leads us to fall asleep. Next time there is a huge storm outside, you are all about to have the best sleep of your life. 

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Sources:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200302/why-rainy-days-make-us-tired

https://www.quora.com/Why-do-rainy-days-make-you-sleepy

http://fun107.com/do-rainy-days-make-you-feel-sleepy/

Pictures:

Reduce Your Pain by Adjusting Your Sleeping Position

http://efdreams.com/rain.html

Does Cinnamon Make Us Smarter???

In grade school, my teachers would always give my class cinnamon gum before our yearly standardized tests. They would tell us that it would keep us concentrated and make us smarter! To this day I still chew cinnamon gum when I take tests because I have adapted to this idea that it will make me smarter… but does it really?

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The Rush University Medical Center created a study in July 2016 to test how cinnamon effects the brain. The easiest and safest way for them to figure this out, was to test it on mice. Scientists fed slower learning mice food and observed as they became smarter. This is because of the hippocampus. The hippocampus is a part of our brain that does everything involved with memory, such as storing and organizing it. The mice were fed pure ceylon cinnamon and results were seen immediately. Right after consuming the cinnamon, the mice’s bodies metabolized and began turning into sodium benzoate. This showed that it was positively affecting their bodies and brains because sodium benzoate helps treat brain damage. Kalipada Pahan is has a PhD, and is the head researcher of the study and the Floyd A. Davis Professor of Neurology at Rush. He believes that cinnamon really does improve the learning and memory of the brain. They then put the mice in a maze learning experiment. The maze was a Barnes maze. The constant variable in this test was by having all of the (soon to be experimented) mice see how they would do on this task, without consuming any cinnamon. These results were taken and calculated. A month later, these same mice were given the cinnamon to consume, and were given the same task, which was to finish the Barnes maze.  It was found that the slow learning mice began to start learning as quickly as the fast learning mice.

barnes-maze

Next time you are taking an exam, studying for a test, or just completing one of these blog posts, I suggest you chew cinnamon gum, or sprinkle some cinnamon on your toast. It is clearly shown that cinnamon is a brain booster and directly affects your hippocampus, leading you to learn better and focus. 

Sources:

http://www.mydomaine.com/learning-benefits-of-cinnamon-study

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/07/160712214659.htm

Pictures:

Barnes Maze

http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2014/07/03/10-drinks-that-make-smarter/

 

Studying While Listening to Music: Good or Bad?

Spotify is all us college students listen to these days. We listen to it when we are bored, when we are hanging out with our friends, when we are walking to class, and when we study. There are so many pre-made Spotify playlists that are made for people to listen to while they are studying, such as these: *Insert pics*. I listen to music whenever i am studying for an exam because I feel like it keeps me focused and doesn’t get me stressed. But now I wonder, is studying with music on really beneficial? Or is it hurting my studying?

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In 2012, the University of Wales conducted a study to test this question . They did this by giving students a list of items to remember in a certain order, while playing different music in the background for each student, and some with no background sound at all. There were five different scenarios given. The scenario was given with no background music, complete silence. In the next scenario, a person repeated the word “three” over and over throughout the task. Another scenario, people were repeating a bunch of short words repetitively during the task. Another background noise was with a song that the students enjoyed (they got to choose the song), while the next scenario was with music that they didn’t like.

Although these results did not find much of a difference between the test scores of the students that listened to enjoyable and not enjoyable music, there were some interesting results. They realized that just having any music on in the background, resulted in a lower test score. They said that any type of music is just as bad as any background noise, such as talking or conversation. They believe that any music is a distraction to studying and will not benefit the student in any way.

Here it describes two more studies that were done. The first study was done at the University of Maryland in 2013 to test the same question. They went about this task by having 32 students take a math quiz, but with different background sounds. They did not just test no music v. music, they also tested with songs of low and high intensity. Their results were similar to the results at the University of Wales. They found that any background music was a distraction to the working student. The grades of the students with no background music playing, scored the highest.

In contrast to these first two studies I have mentioned above, this next study in France begged to differ with their results. This was a much larger test group that consisted of 249 students. This study had their participants watch a lecture, some while listening to music in the background, some with none. These results happened to find that the group of people who had music playing achieved a higher score than those who observed the lecture with no background sound.

This website made some general conclusions from these two studies (University of Maryland study and the France study). They saw that fast paced music or songs with a lot of lyrics were distracting to those trying to read or do anything that involved learning something new. They also concluded that it keeps the student motivated and lessens their anxiety.

There are mixed results from all of these studies, but it also all depends on the  constant variable which is each individuals normal ability to focus and study. There is no 100% clear answer here, so we can never know for sure; it could be a personal preference. These studies did not specifically choose their participants, it was chance/ random.

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Sources:

https://collegeinfogeek.com/should-you-study-with-music/

Does Music Help You Study?

Pictures:

https://www.spotify.com/us/

Studying for finals? Let classical music help

 

How safe are vaccines?

‘Tis the season (of getting sick)! I just got an email the other day that reminded me there were going to be flu shot vaccines given in The Hub for two days. I went during the day, got my flu shot, and was happy about it because i wouldn’t be getting the flu now, right? Well this made me curious and made me wonder is vaccines are really safe and will keep me healthy. Many people have the belief that vaccines cause autism. Lets check out these studies that on this question.

Vaccine in vial with syringe. Vaccination concept.  3d

Vaccine in vial with syringe. Vaccination concept. 3d

 The article “Vaccines DO Cause Autism- Undeniable Scientific Proof”.  The Anti-Vaccine Scientific Support Arsenal has a very strong belief that getting vaccinated can cause autism. They collected many studies that prove their belief.

Their first argument was a link to an article written by Stephanie Seneff, Robert M. Davidson and Jingjing Liu. They used the MMR (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella) vaccine as an their test. They found thirteen symptoms with this including, rash, chicken pox, mumps, face oedema, measles, autism, cough, fever, hematoma, conjunctivitis, lymph node pain, respiratory infection, and blisters. Since this was the MMR vaccine, it is obvious that there would be a high rate of the symptoms chicken pox, measles and mumps. The highest symptom was a rash, with a p- value of 0.00000003. What they found most interesting was how much autism and fever was linked to this vaccine. Fever had a p-value of 0.024 while autism had a p-value of 0.0067. The total number of fever symptoms from this was 1840. This fever would be treated with acetaminophen. The article leads to say that acetaminophen causes toxins to go in the brain, which can be harmful to kids and lead to autism because children’s brains cannot get rid of these toxins. They did the same study with the Hepatitis B vaccine. This was given to kids under the age of six. They found that rash and chicken pox, the two highest symptoms, were caused from the varicella in the vaccine.screen-shot-2016-10-21-at-3-21-25-am

Although vaccines do not directly cause autism or other symptoms, there are certain things in different vaccines that can lead to them. Aluminum entering the body can be very harmful and can lead to a negative response from your body. Before getting a vaccine now, I will be looking into what chemicals and elements are in the strain before I get one. Vaccines do help your body fight off whatever it is supposed to, but it can also harm some parts. So are vaccines safe? Yes, they can be safe, but they also lead to a chance of a very bad symptom. (Check out this website to find many other studies done that are trying to answer this same question).

Sources:

http://www.mdpi.com/1099-4300/14/11/2227/pdf

Vaccines DO Cause Autism-Undeniable Scientific Proof

Pictures:

http://www.mdpi.com/1099-4300/14/11/2227/pdf

http://healthimpactnews.com/2015/cdc-spends-1-million-to-increase-adult-flu-vaccination-rates-flu-shot-to-be-mandatory/

Cheating Blog

Two clicks, “copy” and “paste” can ruin your career. Even a tiny peek over at your peer’s test, when you aren’t sure if the answer is A or C, can get you kicked out of school. Everyone thinks they can get away with cheating, whether it be copying homework or sending the answers to a test to their friend. The three part series of the article, “Cheating Lessons” written by James M. Lang, thoroughly describes experiments that have been done to test why people cheat. Lang bases his article on a trade book called, “The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie To Everyone- Especially Ourselves” by Dan Ariely. Dan Ariely is a Duke economist and behavioral theorist.

“Cheating Lessons, Part 1”

This first article describes a detailed experiment that was conducted to test how far people are willing to go in order to cheat. Ariely’s first task was to get a baseline of how much people would  do to cheat. He and his partners did this by distributing money to anyone who could get a math problem right. As the amount of money given would increase, the amount of cheating in order to get the problem right would increase. It then describes the “Princess Alice” experiment. This experiment was done with kids of the age of five through kids of the age of nine. The object of the game, for these kids, was to throw a Velcro ball at a sticky target. If they hit the target, they would get a prize. The conductors decided to record this experiment in order to catch all possible cheating. The first step in this experiment was to split the kids up into three groups. One group of kids were put in a room with a female observer. She had a friendly vibe to her, but would not assist the kids (she was just watching). The next group of children were put in a room with no supervision whatsoever (except for the camera that they, of course, were not aware of). The last group was put in a room with “Princess Alice”, an invisible princess that the children were told was watching over them. Here is how the experiment played out: the kids were less willing to cheat with an adult in the room, or “Princess Alice”, but were more willing when they were alone and had no supervision. I found it interesting how some children did not believe in “Princess Alice”, but only one kid who wasn’t sure if “Princess Alice” existed, was still willing to cheat. The most interesting part of this article to me was in paragraph 4 when the “fudge factor” is described and related to real life acts. The “fudge factor” is relatable to college students because people think if people don’t think it’s a really big deal, or because it is so small, they will not get caught which will lead them to do it.

Cheating Lessons, Part 2

This second article revolves around George M. Diekhoff’s studies on cheat habits. This psychologist’s research went to see if people are more willing to cheat if their stakes are higher. He focused on American and Japanese students, to also see if there was a cultural difference in cheating habits. His first finding was that 29% of American students admitted to cheating on at least one exam, while 55% of Japanese students acknowledged to cheating on at least one exam. These results were surprising to Diekhoff. These results were assumed to be the way they are because these Japanese students have only one major exam, which gives them one chance to do well to make their grade high. This, however, is not the same with American students. These American students have multiple exams that go toward their final grade. This means that The Japanese kids are more likely and pressured to cheat on the exam, so they do not fail their course. They American kids are less pressured to cheat on one, single, exam because they have more chances to get their grade up. Diekhoff proved that when the stakes are higher, students are more willing to cheat. The next example in this article included a Chinese civil service exam. This experiment rules stated that they would give a reward, of better income and a stable place in their Chinese Government, to the participant with the highest score. Who wouldn’t want give their all on a test, in order to get a better life? This was a very smart test because , of course, people would do anything to do well on a test and get a stable, safe life. The moral of this story was telling us that students need to be prepared for high stake tests and assignments, by being given lower stake assignments before. People need more practice, with less pressured assignments, before being given something that could make or break their grade/success. To read more in depth about about Diekhoff’s studies, click here.

Cheating Lessons, Part 3

This final article of the series starts off with results of a survey taken by William J. Bowers, taken in 1963. This survey asked students (from 100 different universities) whether they have ever cheated before or done something that goes against academic integrity. The results showed that 75% of the participants in this survey had admitted to cheating before in college, at least once. Since this was old data, it was compared to Donald L. McCabe’s research from his book, “Cheating in College: Why Students Do It and What Educators Can Do About It”. This book showed data that stated 60-70% of people that were asked if they have cheated, acknowledged that they have before. Here, you can find out more about this survey in paragraphs 4-5. This data was questioned, though, because the data was taken from the internet, instead of a paper survey, like Bowers used. This article then goes on to bring back points from the first two articles: that when a student is taking a high stake exam, their likeliness to cheat is higher. They also explain what is good for students, and what is bad for students. It explains how students learn better and obtain more information when they have multiple low stake assignments (like quizzes, homework, graded assignments) instead of one high stake assignment (such as one large exam or a final/midterm). This is very relatable as a college student and I agree with this statement. This allows the student to get more practice on their material throughout the year, instead of cramming all of the information on one day.

Now, before you think about doing this, think again.

Here is a link for all of you that need some motivation and tips on how to NOT cheat!!!!

Sources:

http://www.chronicle.com/article/Cheating-Lessons-Part-1/139453

http://www.chronicle.com/article/Cheating-Lessons-Part-2/140113

http://www.chronicle.com/article/Cheating-Lessons-Part-3/141141/

Picture Source:

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5a/Cheating.JPG

Science, not my fave.

Hey SC200! I am Jessica Bull and I’m from Monroe, Connecticut. I love living in Monroe, mostly because I am only a 20 minute drive away from the beach. That’s basically all me and my friends do on the weekends in the summer. However, I could not do that this summer because I attended the Summer Session here at Penn State. At first, I was super hesitant to miss my final high school summer with my friends, but Penn State had been my dream school ever since I could remember, so I took a leap of faith. I have never made a better decision in my life. Summer session was the best summer of my life, and I got ahead on my gen-ed classes. I am currently in DUS, and hoping to get into the Smeal College of Business to major in marketing. I want to do big things in the future, and my goal is to do marketing for a well known fashion magazine (I know, dreaming big here). I came to Penn State because of the school spirit, football games, amazing academics, and the opportunities that I will acquire for getting an internship and a job in the future. I cannot wait for Halloweek here. Halloween is one of my favorite holidays and times of the year. But along with Halloween, come a lot of sick people, and then those people sharing clothes, drinks, food, etc. I’m not trying to be sick during the fall, and I don’t think any of you want to be either. Here is a link that tells you 10 ways for college students to stay healthy.
 
Why did I choose this course? When I went to schedule during my NSO, I got really scared when my advisor told me that I had to take a science class. I told him that my goal was to become a marketing major, and that I didn’t want to take a science class because I was horrible at it and wanted to keep a high GPA so that I could get into the Smeal College of Business. He suggested SC200 and I took about 30 mins reading the course description, and talking to my advisor about what the class is like. I was still hesitant because science is not my thing at all, but he told me “this is the science for non-scientists” and I said “yeah, that’s definitely for me then”. So here I am, writing my first blog post in my first science class here at Penn State. Going to classes got me more excited for what is in store for the information we are going to discuss. I like how it relates to life and things around us. I also like how this class allows us to give input on the science questions that we want answered and have been wondering about ever since we were little, such as: are aliens real?

Why am I not a science major? Well, when I was a little kid, me and my dad used to look through the telescope all the time and at night he would show me constellations and planets, and taught me everything he knew about space and the solar system (he’s a science nerd). I would watch National Geographic with him sometimes and he would explain to me how those things related to real life and how science helps humans live better lives. This was all really cool as a kid. But when I entered high school, I kind of lost my passion for it because it wasn’t interesting being taught it from a book with no real world applications. Chemistry and physics were hard for me to enjoy. “Book science” did not interest me as much as seeing science in the sky with my dad and just talking about our theories about science on life. I am more of a creative person. This is why I am excited to be a marketing major, where I don’t have to do everything that a book tells me to do.
I hope by the end of each class, we will all feel like this:
science