Author Archives: Jacqueline Brocco

Does eating junk food effect a mothers child?

Women who are pregnant are overwhelmed with joy in having the opportunity to have a child. While being pregnant 9 months, women tend to crave an immense amount of junk food. Little do they know that a diet consisting of junk food while carrying a child is extremely harmful towards the newborn. A study that was published in the Federation of American Societies for Experimental biology journal found that the babies of mothers who had a poor diet have minimal feeling to opioids and have a higher chance of overeating junk food. The mothers who ate more junk food interfered with their child’s ability to correctly answer to opioids and led them to eat more foods high in sugar and fat to receive a “good feeling”. An unborn child only receives the nutrients the mother puts into her body and depending on the diet children “good feelings” will vary. If the child relied on junk food, sugar, and fat to receive nutrients that is what they will need and crave when they are born, and soon as adults.

If a mother primarily eats junk food while pregnancy it is not the end of the world, and there are ways to avoid children being addicted to junk food. In order to stop this from happening the child will need to maintain a healthy diet post birth. Although there are ways to avoid obesity and junk food addiction in the child, they will always have a craving for the overconsumption of junk food. This study is observational because they are observing and analyzing diets of women who are pregnant and seeing the outcome of the child. This was done to help mothers and show them what are good and nutritious foods to eat while pregnant, not to scare them. Eating junk food once in a while and having portion control while pregnant is totally acceptable. A consist diet of bad foods is not good for the child or the mother.

Children can also have an increased risk at behavior problems like depression and anxiety from a mothers junk food diet during pregnancy. Researches from Norway and Deakin University watched over 23,000 mothers who were involved in the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort study. The study recording the mothers diets from pregnancy to their child’s diets from the age of 18 months and 3 years. The mothers were also asked to take a survey about their children to see if there were any symptoms of depression, anxiety, ADHD, and more. As a result the study conducted showed that mothers who ate a junk food diet during pregnancy increased their child’s risk of having a behavioral disorder. A mother has to nurture her body with healthy good foods because what she eats is not only effecting her, it effects her baby.

Does winter cause depression?

Winter has received the reputation as being the season of depression and gloominess. Winter is cold, bleak, and many people tend to spend most of their time inside wishing that it was summer, or spring. Adults will stare out their office windows and think about the tragic traffic they will be in from a recent snow storm and children will look out their school window wishing they could go out and play for recess. These thoughts ultimately lead to sadness, because they will be doing things they are forced to do based on the cold winter weather. Depression is a psychological condition that leads to immense sadness, loss of happiness and pleasure, lack of sleep, and a blank attitude. According to psychologist Steven Lobello of Auburn University at Montgomery in Alabama, rates of depression does not necessarily change due to seasonal changes. Symptoms do not magnify or become more evident either.

Depression is a disorder that once is gone, can come right back. It can spring up in two successive winters, but that can be by chance. The reverse causality of this topic has to be ruled out. Just because someone is depressed during the winter, does not mean that winter has caused the sadness. Studies conducted by Kelly Rohan of the University of Vermont that looked at children, teens, and adults living in the United States and Europe, showed something else linking to depression during the winter. It is called seasonal affective disorder (SAD), that is a condition linked to depression. The depression symptoms of SAD are less intense than those suffering with nonseasonal depression. Basing off of surveys, she has sad that SAD is within 1 and 3 percent os US and Canada adults.

LoBello believed that SAD studies were improper. He took matters into his own hands and studied depression linked with seasonal pattern. Him and his investigators looked at data from 34,294 US adults and surveyed them by phone as well during 2006. People that were surveyed in the winter did not report more depression than the other people surveyed in other seasons.

A third variable that can be linked to depression is sunlight. The exposure to light comes from research in 1997 that studied people from different parts of the world with a variety of latitudes. The studies found that depression in the winter time skyrocket because people sleep through the sunlight. This does not mean that winter causes depression, the sunlight is just a factor. Minimal exposure to the natural light leads moods to decline. In order to help ease depression or SAD researchers have concluded that morning exposure to light can help increase moods. In an article it is said that in higher latitude areas winter days are shorter thus leading to a decline in exposure to sunlight. This goes against the idea that winter does not cause depression. If exposure to light decreases depression and winter time does not have an ideal amount of light, more people will be gloomy and dull.

In conclusion, there are many theories and beliefs about whether or not winter causes depression. I do not believe that the season itself causes depression, but the limited sunlight is a factor. A seasonal affective disorder is a better way to describe the mood changes when the season changes to winter, not depression.

Will every diet work for you?

The world is currently obsessed with being healthy, fit, and skinny. Dieting is a new trend and there an immense amount of diets to participate in. Whether it is to be dairy free, gluten free, no carbs or sugar, or even vegetarianism. Many people try different diets to lose weight due to the fact that not every diet is effective for every individual. Each body is different and processes foods various ways. For example a piece of candy can make one person have an extreme sugar rush, but can hardly affect another person. A new study was conducted that indicates the glycemic index of food is within the eater.

Researches reported on November 19th that even when people eat the same exact piece of bread, pizza, fruit, or any other food, their blood sugar fluctuates differently. A study was conducted that focused intensely on the blood sugar level of participants two hours after eating a meal. This is called the post-pradinal glucose response. They came upon this discovery after putting 800 people under a blood glucose monitor for a straight week. The members were all fed duplicate breakfasts and after eating those foods their blood glucose levels varied. The researches concluded that traits and behaviors throughout the body including BMI, amount of sleep and exercise, blood pressure and cholesterol levels participate in the response with blood glucose to food. Coauthor Eran Elinav, an immunologist at the Weismann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel said that differences in individuals have been noticed in studies before. Previous studies have brushed off the idea that these difference are flukes, but Elinav says they are assessing that claim. For example, after eating a piece of bread, blood sugar levels will increase 44 milligrams per hour of deciliters of blood on average.To back up the claim of individual differences, in this experiment some peoples blood sugar skyrocketed as much as 79 milligrams, or as low as 15 milligrams prior to eating the same piece of bread.

A third group that consisted of 26 people were given personalized meals. Each participant was given a “good” meal and a “bad” meal. The “good” meals were the foods that decreased blood sugar levels and the “bad” meals increased blood sugar levels. It played out that a “good” diet for one person, was a “bad” diet for another, vice versa.

If you want to lose weight you have to remember that not every diet will work for you. Each individuals response to food will vary depending on height, weight, and “microbiome”, which is the collection of bacteria that is left in the digestive system. Research has shown that the microbiome plays a significant part in the risk of obesity and diabetes in a person. The genetic makeup of each person is different and foods will effect each individual in various ways.

Does being close to your family help you live longer?

My family is extremely important to me. They support me through everything and will always be there for me no matter what. Although I love my friends, family is the key component to growing as an individual. Your parents, siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents teach you all of life’s lessons and guide you in the right path. Sociologists have said that older adults have a few extra years to live if they are close with family members. Author James Iveniuk, a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public health found that the older individuals decreased their chance in dying because they surrounded themselves by family and were extremely close with them. This study used survey data from around 3,000 adults who answered a series of questions in 2005 and 2006. They were in a range of ages from 57 and 85.

During the survey, adults wrote down five people who were the closest to them and describe the relationship. They also rated how close they were to each individual. Many people had an immense amount of support from their companions. This study did not include spouses and most of the participants were married. They were healthy and did not feel lonely. People who felt really close to family members that were not their spouse had around a 6 percent change of dying within the upcoming 5 years. The people who were not that close to family members had around a 14 percent risk of dying.

A main aspect of living longer and being healthy is having support form social relationships. Yes, have a close knit family is extremely beneficial and healthy, but being involved in sports teams, organizations, trade unions, or any kind of professional group can aid in a healthy life too! A recent British study looked at “joiners” who were apart of the groups said above. Researches from BMJ Open, evaluated 848 people at the age of 50 or older. They found that the elders with a stable quality life before retirement were likely to have a quality of life that was relatively the same after retirement. The people who were apart of two, before and after retirement had a 2 percent chance of death in the first six years, 5 percent if they stayed in one group and 12 percent if they ended their memberships.

In conclusion, the main source of living a good, healthy, and long life is maintaining a good, close relationship with family members. Your family will love you for who you are and always have your back. Along with family being a great source of a quality life, being apart of social or professional groups also increase longevity.

Think twice before eating off the floor

We all have been through the trauma of dropping a food that we are so excited to eat on the floor. We also have all been through those five seconds debating whether to pick it up and eat it, or throw it away. The thought of eating it is due to the “5 second rule” that is drilled into our heads. “Oh you can still eat it, theres a 5 second rules” “Oh my god pick it up quickly! 5 second rule!” These are common phrases amongst people who see people drop something they are about to eat. Before you bend down and pick up what you dropped, think again. A recent study has shown that the 5 second rule is a myth and disproved. It just so happens that bacteria can transfer from a surface to food instantaneously.

Researchers of the School of Environmental and biological Science at Rutgers University conducted experiments to test the truth of the 5 second rule. In the study researchers tested four different surfaces, stainless steel, ceramic tile, wood, and carpet. Along with the surfaces, four different types of foods were tested, watermelon, bread, bread and butter, and gummy candy. There was also four contact times, less than one second, five, 30, and 300 seconds. Two medias were used, tryptic soy broth or peptone buffer they aided the growth of Enterobacter aerogenes, a “cousin” of Salmonella.

Multiple transmission scenarios were assessed for each food type, surface type, contact time, and bacterial preparation. The surfaces were fully dried before the samples of food were dropped and vaccinated with bacteria. There were 128 different scenarios that were repeated 20 times, leading to 2,560 measurements. Due to the moisture, watermelon turned out to attract the most bacteria. The gummy candy absorbed the least amount of bacteria. From the study we can tell that the more wet the food is and the longer the contact time, usually leads to more contamination of the food product. Here is a video of Dr. Oz testing out this theory!

So, is there really harm in eating food off the floor? It depends on the the factors of the situation including, what type of food, what type of surface, contact time, and even the type of organism that transfers on to the food. No matter the circumstance, when a piece of food falls on any surface, for any amount of time, bacteria will be transferred, but the amount and type that is, will be different every time. You can drop a gummy bear on a clean tile floor for one second and a minuscule amount of bacteria can be transferred that it can not even be harmful. But, is it worth the risk? To be safe and not be infected with unnecessary germs, do not eat food that has fallen on the floor, and disregard the 5 second rule.

Should you include more coffee into your diet?

I am the type of person who in order to get through the day, needs a cup of coffee  right when I wake up. I drink coffee when I’m tired and need a little pick me up or when Im just in the mood for it. Coffee is an essential for me but I do question whether it is good for me. According to Kris Gunnars from authority nutrition, coffee is not harmful to the human body. In this article the benefits of coffee overcome the few downsides to it.

Coffee contains key nutrients and antioxidants that we need in our bodies. An average cup of coffee consists of vitamins B2 (11%), B5(6%), B1(2%), B3(2%), Potassium(3%), and more. Although the percentages are low, for people (like me) who drink up to four cups a day, the percentages add up. Coffee has an outstanding high content of antioxidants. A person who eats an average Western diet receives more antioxidants from coffee than some fruits and vegetables. Coffee has a minuscule amount of vitamins and minerals, which will add up depending on how many cups you drink a day.

Caffeine is a stimulant, it blocks the responsibility of the brain hormone Adenosine. Due to caffeine preventing Adenosine from working, the brain activity increases and the discharge of norepinephrine and dopamine are put into place. Those neurotransmitters that are released due to caffeine make people feel more alert and less tired. The focal operating point in coffee is the stimulant caffeine. It leads to an increase in energy levels, brain function, and more.

Drinking more coffee can lead to a lower risk of many diseases. The most common neurodegenerative disease is Alzheimers, which is also a main cause of dementia. According to studies from Authority Nutrition, people who drink coffee have up to a 65% lower risk of Alzheimers. There is also a 32-60% lower risk of Parkinsons disease for people who drink coffee. An assorted amount of studies have shown that coffee drinkers have a lower risk of multiple diseases. In addition to the ones above, drinking coffee lowers the risk of type 2 Diabetes, liver diseases, depression, and suicide.

Due to coffee drinkers having a lower risk of an immense amount of diseases, it is probable that coffee could potentially aid you in living longer. In 2012 there was a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine that oversaw the habits of 402,260 individuals, ages ranging from 50-71. The study concluded that people who drank coffee had a significant lower possibility of dying throughout the 12-13 year study period.

Caffeine in general is known to enhance memorization in a person. Researchers from John Hopkins tested out this theory by organizing a double-blind trial. Participants who were not religious coffee drinkers, were given a placebo of a 200-milligram caffeine tablet just minuets after studying multiple images. The next day all of the participants were given images in order to test their capability of recognizing images from the day before. The majority of the members of the caffeine group did not have a problem identifying the images that were similar to the day before. The ability that the brain has to notice the difference between two alike but not the same items, is known as pattern separation.

In conclusion, yes you should include more coffee and caffeine in your diet. There are so many health benefits from drinking coffee and it even tastes good!

Why eat things that are chemically infused and are harmful to your health?

People lean toward vegetarianism by all sorts of motives. Some people want to live longer, avoid the toxic chemicals that are infused in animals, or even to spare animals lives. A plethora of scientific research proves the health and environmental benefits of a plant-based diet. Grain products, vegetables, and fruits are the sources where we should be consuming most of our calories. Around 70% of all diseases are linked to the diet a person lives by . A vegetarian diet lessens the chance of obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and colon, prostate, breast, stomach,lunch, and esophageal cancer. As a result, participating in a vegetarian diet will lead you to a healthier and happier life.

Vegetarian diets are more beneficial and healthful than the average American diet. Vegetarians are less prone to heart disease, cancer, and stops the progression of coronary artery disease. A vegetarian diet is naturally wholesome due to the lack of consumption of animal fat and cholesterol. Contrary to an average diet, vegetarians consume more antioxidant-rich produce and more fiber.

The stereotypical diet of an American consists of foods that are high in saturated fats, processed foods, and complex carbohydrates. Thus, many Americans suffer from obesity. Their dinner plates consist of three colors opposed to a vegetarians that consist of seven or more. The more color you add to your plate, the more nutrients like fiber, antioxidants, potassium, and vitamins you will receive in your diet. The seeds and skins of fruits and vegetables contain insoluble and soluble fiber. Insoluble fiber advocates a healthy digestive system and  soluble fiber aids in lessening cholesterol and regulates blood sugar levels. Antioxidants counterbalance the unwelcome compounds in your body. Vegetarian diets do not include high concentration cholesterol, artery blockage animal products that gradually slow people down. To receive energizing fuel vegetarians consume foods high in complex carbohydrates like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.

The meat industry has been an up and coming big business in society, and we are convinced that the meat we consume is wholesome and nutritious. But only if people new that was far from the case. Many people are not aware that the delicious chicken tenders or the juicy burger they eat at baseball games are loaded with poisons and toxins. According to the EPA, in an average American diet about 95% of the pesticide debris comes from dairy products, fish, and meat. Fish consists of  substances that may potentially cause cancer (PCB’S, DDT) and heavy metals ( Mercury, Arsenic, Lead, Cadmium). Cooking or freezing will not chemically or physically remove these toxins from the fish. Hormones and steroids can be mixed in with dairy and meat products as well. So next time you buy dairy or meat products, read the label clearly.

As vegetarian, I ask myself why people eat these meat and dairy products if they know it is detrimental to their health. Is that juicy cheeseburger or the finger licking buffalo wings worth the harmful toxins you are putting into your body? Eat veggies, be healthy, and get rid of the toxins in your body. There is more evidence to back up the claim on why to be a vegetarian than not. Eating meat is bad for yourself, the environment, and for everyone. Convert to vegetarianism to live a natural, healthy, wholesome, and toxic/poison free life.


Are college students letting technology take over their life?

As we know, technology is up and coming, and not going anywhere soon. The rapid increase of technology is something I have never witnessed before. People in the 21st century, especially college students, have access to way too much technology, that their lives could revolve solely on it, if they really wanted it to. Now, colleges and universities have online classes, food delivery services, and students can even have video game systems in their dorm room. Is it even worth spending so much money on going to a big university when you don’t even have to get out of bed to receive an education?

First of all, online classes are absolutely pointless. Im not even sure why they are available because students will not properly retain any of the information they are “learning”. They can take a test, or listen to a lecture while not even getting out of bed. Students will not be able to raise their hand and ask questions when they are confused, thus leading them to resort to asking Siri, or using Yahoo answers. Again using unnecessary technology! I value getting to know my peers in my class and receiving help from them. With an online class you only have yourself to rely on. Instead of talking to your teacher face to face, you speak through your computer via email. Personally, when I email teachers it is nothing like actually speaking to them in person. More information is given while talking and directions and questions are answered more clearly.  Online classes fries students brains and eyes due to their computer screen. Here  is an article I stumbled upon about the downsides of online classes! After having their online class students will reward themselves and order comfort food like pizza or cookies.

Ordering food to be delivered is always a pain. Restaurants always get the order wrong have no visual proof on what was actually said, they just write what they hear. Now, in order to eliminate the confusion and conflicts while ordering food, Penn State invested in OrderUp. OrderUp is an online food delivery service that delivers right to your building. Instead of getting out and walking to the dining  hall, students resort to their computer or cell phone and in a push of a few buttons there food will arrive. You don’t need to get out of bed to receive and education or nourish yourself with food due to technology!

Obesity is a common thing amongst teens due to technology. A sedentary life is put into place when teens revolve their life around video games, or the computer. Here is an article that analyzes technology linking to obesity. Physical activity is not a thought in their mind. Online delivery services basically supports teen obesity. Most of the options online are unhealthy and detrimental to ones health. What’s the point of that?

Video gaming systems are allowed in students dorm rooms, there is no motivation to go outside and get some exercise? Playing NBA 2k16 is basically the same thing as going to the gym and playing basketball, right? Wrong. Video games are toxic to the human brain and so is social media. Social Media consumes the average college students life and everyones biggest concern is, is this okay to Instagram? There average time a teen spends on their mobile device has skyrocketed since 1999.  According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the time teens spend on their mobile devices increased about an hour and 20 minutes a day. In conclusion, technology has taken over college students, therefore leading to a decrease in proper education and living a normal college life.


Hi! My name is Jacqueline Brocco and I am from Tenafly, New Jersey. I am freshman here at Penn State and I am majoring in Hospitality and Hotel Management. I am not  fan of science but I do not entirely hate the subject. Science can be immensely interesting but on the contrary it can be exceedingly boring. As I was with my advisor scrolling through science classes that did not seem interesting to me, I came across SC 200. This course was ideal for me because its science without all the boring things that come along with learning about science. This course contains the more intriguing parts of science.  Here is an interesting article that explains why the moon turns red during a Total Lunar Eclipse!

TScreen Shot 2016-08-29 at 11.07.23 PMhroughout my education I have taken all the basic science classes (physical science, chemistry, biology, etc). My teachers were uninteresting and talked right from the textbook. I wasn’t learning I was just listening. In my senior year of high school I was skeptical about taking a forensic class, but I decided to. My teacher was outstanding and really explained forensics in in-depth detail. I ended up loving the class and that was when I realized that all science is not that bad. I am not a science major due to the fact that I have no passion for science. I am required to take a science class for my major and this one seemed the most fascinating. Im very excited to take this class and to see what I get out of it!