Author Archives: Julia Rose Gallelli

Is bad breath gettin ya down?

chewing-gum (taken from this site)

So you wake up, get out of bed, brush your tee-. Wait. You brush your teeth, right? And you brush your tongue too?

Brushing your teeth and tongue is just necessary good hygiene. It gets the bacteria out from in between your teeth and off of the surface of your tongue. The bacteria that lingers is what causes bad breath, otherwise known as halitosis.

Have you ever had a conversation with someone and couldn’t stand the smell of their breath? A conversation so long that you almost feel like your eyebrows are about to burn off just from the pure stink?

Well, I have and I am certain you have too. These conversations have lead to me my research on the effects of bad breath on the human mind. I mean, think about it. It can’t make a person feel too good when they know their breath smells. It has to make the feel at least a little self-conscious, right?

My findings have answered that very question. Yes, it can. According to Dr. Katz, bad breath can have a negative effect on a person’s self-esteem and can cause social anxiety. A study featured in Health and Quality of Life Outcomes revealed that several of its subjects with significantly bad breath experienced severe social anxiety even following their treatment. The psychologists in charge conducted anxiety measurement tests prior to the start of the experiment, as well as afterwards.


Pause. Now think about this.

Have you ever considered that the opposite may also be true? While bad breath can cause a person to experience symptoms of SAD, SAD can also cause bad breath to get worse. How is that? The psychological meets the physiological. If you know you have bad breath and suffer from social phobia, you’ll probably begin to feel sweaty and shaky and your mouth might begin to feel dry conversing with another person. Something to note about halitosis is that bad breath is commonly developed from a dry mouth, as determined by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

So…this never ending cycle of smelling bad, feeling nervous about opening your mouth, and then smelling even worse as a result of anxiety is why people with bad breath ARE TYPICALLY NOT HAPPY.

Can you blame them?

So, here are some tips to avoid bad breath that I find one hundred percent effective:

Brush your teeth and tongue at least three times throughout the day.

Floss just as many times, and use mouthwash…

It also can’t hurt to carry around a pack of breath mints just in case you can’t run back to your place to brush your teeth. Remember, it’s not just you smelling your breath, it’s everyone you talk to. So, practice good hygiene people!


Are we ready to drink alcohol before 21, or are we just a bunch of overeager kids?


(taken from this site)

Ahhh, the two questions that have sparked such a fire among Americans:

Should the drinking age be lowered? OR…

Should the drinking age be raised?

I finally decided to do some research on our current legal drinking age and why it is twenty one.

There are several people who feel that lowering the drinking age would do more harm than good. Lowering the drinking age would warrant more binge drinking and lead to future alcoholism in young adults. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, between the ages of twelve and twenty are when binge drinking heavily occurs. Just take that in for a second- TWELVE.

So what is it that’s causing this problem? Is it society’s “don’t touch it” attitude about drinking that is pushing the younger generations towards this behavior?

Well, the attraction to the illegality of underage drinking is often considered a reason for kids drinking alcohol. Rebellion is attractive to the young and reckless. Alcohol’s cool image, as advertised by the media, may be what is causing young teens to begin drinking at an early age.

Here’s what we see on TV:

Alcohol is fun. Alcohol brings people together. Alcohol makes you do silly things and goof around with your friends…

Now, for many of us, alcohol may be all it is crapped up to be. But does that mean at age eighteen kids are old enough to drink responsibly?

Before you decide, let’s take a look at the other end of the debate.

On the flip side, there are many people who support a higher drinking age for the following reasons…

College. When you hear that word what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Parties? Drinking? For many of you, these words are probably what came to mind. Penn State, while it is an incredible learning institution, let’s face it,- IT’S ALWAYS A FUN TIME BECAUSE WE KNOW HOW TO PARTY IN THE HAPPY VALLEY. And dang it, WE ARE proud.

The alcohol consumption rate in college is much higher than that of high school teens. Why? Think about it. Freshman year you are away from home for the first time and you are clumped together with kids your age and older. Alcohol is an easy access for pretty much everyone. Going out at night, it is very seldom that you’ll come across a party without alcohol. This is where peer pressure really sets in and binge drinking becomes a weekly occurrence for the majority of students.

According to neuroscientist and author, Sandra Aamodt, the human brain does not fully develop until the age of twenty five. The prefrontal cortex is the area of the brain that controls decision-making and impulse actions. At age twenty one, the prefrontal cortex has still not reached its full growth.

So why is age eighteen considered to be the beginning of someone’s “adult years?” Or, why is the drinking age twenty one? These are questions that spark controversy among Americans, and provide support to the argument that the legal drinking age should be changed to twenty five.

Think about it this way. If people at age twenty one are scientifically more prone to make impulse decisions due to the underdevelopment of their prefrontal cortexes, how does it make sense to add alcohol, a decision impairer, into the mix? That being said, how does it make sense to lower the drinking age or even keep it age twenty one?

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to ruin anyone’s fun here or my own, for that matter. I simply want you to think about both sides. Which side do you find yourself on? Are we old enough yet to be dabbling with this popular drink?




Is your pet all you need?

6359279773703196621432195854_puppytirednotext (taken from this site)

Have you ever wondered if all you really need is your pet? You know, like when life really gets you down and you feel like the only thing you can count on is your furry friend. Well I certainly have. But have ever really thought about why that is?

I decided to look into this idea of pets being just the therapy we need when we’re feeling low. In several of the studies, the results were inconclusive. However, according to one study conducted by the University of Missouri-Columbia, simply petting an animal can reduce levels of cortisol, a hormone that regulates the urge we have for carbs. So that late night snacking we usually partake in from being stressed and not sleeping properly can start to lessen and lessen.

Therapeutic dogs have been a big part of patient treatment in nursing homes, hospitals, and rehabilitation centers. Experimenting with animal therapy, however, is fairly new and is still being tested. Dr. Rebecca Johnson along with other researchers are now questioning who the dogs will benefit more and how much animal-assisted therapy it takes to improve a person’s health.

Dr. Rebecca Johnson conducted a study that included the research from the late nineties of South African scientists. These scientists discovered that as little as fifteen minutes spent petting a dog triggered a positive change in hormones in both the dog and human.

So what were the errors in this experiment?

Issues with this study were its size- too small. It consisted of only eighteen subjects and an even small number of dogs. The scientists neglected to test for alterations in serotonin levels, eliminating the possible discovery of a connection between petting a dog and healing depression. Heightening our serotonin levels has several positive effects-  better concentration, better sleeping habits, better sense of personal happiness.

Keep in mind, however, that this is just one of several studies that have been conducted regarding the effects of animal-assisted therapy. Dr. Johnson’s larger study included one hundred subjects- fifty dogs and fifty adult owners. Owners were brought to a room where they were asked to pet their own dogs, a stranger’s dog, and a robotically constructed dog for fifteen to thirty nine minutes.

Blood tests were administered to both the owners and the dogs before the petting sessions, as well as five minute intervals during and fifteen to thirty minutes afterwards. The results revealed that the blood pressure levels in the both the owners and the dogs decreased by a whopping ten percent.

According to the article, Dr. Johnson’s findings showed only a spike in serotonin levels when the subjects pet their own dogs. She detected a decline in these hormonal levels whilst the subjects were petting the robotic dog. Her study further supports my opinion in that the personal connection between dog and owner is the reason people feel so relaxed from simply stroking these furry creatures. This connection is a bond that goes deeper than just ownership. It’s a friendship.

So now the question remains…

Should pet therapy become more prevalent in the treatment of ill patients based on recent findings? Would you consider this new type of therapy to be effective in the improvement of patient health?

Think about it.



Too old to color? Think again.


(taken from

Ever feel stressed? Is that a silly question to ask? Yeah, it definitely is. All of us feel stressed at one point or another. I can think of plenty of stressors I face on an hourly basis a day sometimes. Now, hearing that, you may think: “Oh she’s probably always on edge.” That’s what anyone would think. But that’s not true at all. How, you might be wondering? I’ll give you my secret. Listen closely.

COLORING. Yes, you heard me right. I color when I am stressed. I have always been the artistic type since the moment I could hold a crayon in my hand. I find enjoyment in picking up a piece of paper and getting out my pastels, pens, and colored pencils. What I find most relaxing about coloring is the focus. It’s not a focus like trying to memorize a definition. It’s a focus on the picture I am creating. I get to decide what colors to use, where to use them, and what technique I will use with each color. There are no mistakes in art. Anything goes. That’s what I love about it. How can you be stressed when you’re creating your own image and you don’t have to worry about “messing up?”

As soon as I noticed the therapeutic benefits from coloring I was experiencing, I began my research on the concept. Was coloring just for kids and the artsy fartsy? Well, this is what I found…

You are NOT too old to color. It is becoming a popular trend among publishers to create adult coloring books. So, why should adults color when a little sh*t hits the fan? According to an article called “Coloring Isn’t Just For Kids. It Can Actually Help Adults Combat Stress” published by the Huffington Post, coloring triggers areas of the brain that control motor skills relative to creativity and our senses.

The article goes on to discuss the artistic approach of Carl G. Jüng on the idea of using coloring as a way to reduce stress. A twentieth century psychologist who was the first to use the mandalas technique, Jüng created drawings of geometric patterns symbolic of the universe. This technique was commonly used within Indian religions. Using the various colors to fill in each unique shape required concentration and creative direction. Focusing on a task forces you to live in the present. There is no time to dwell on past experiences or predict future happenings. You just look at what is in front of you and take action.


(taken from

This concept was not newly developed. Several people today have become skeptical of Jüng’s techniques and ideas. Psychologist Gloria Martinez Ayala explored this theory a little further. If coloring does in fact have a therapeutic benefit tied to it, how is this occurring? By what process in the human mind can this be possible? According to Dr. Ayala’s research, coloring reduces stress through stimulation of the cerebral cortex and amygdala. The part of the brain that handles emotion is the amygdala. When the activity of this part of the brain lessens, stress is reduced because it processes fewer emotions.

Think about it this way. When you color you are focused on what is in front of you, not what happened twenty minutes prior or what’s about to happen in twenty minutes. You are focused on the present. When you put all of your attention towards something that has already happened or something that could happen, you become stressed. So if it’s that easy to just get twenty minutes to an hour of stress-free time, why don’t more people try this therapy?

Coloring is commonly associated with children. People typically do not consider it an age appropriate activity; however, with the emergence of adult coloring books across Europe and the United States, more and more adults are trying out this therapeutic hobby. It’s been reported that even though coloring can’t erase your stress away, it can relieve it significantly. And that’s not just for people with a natural creative eye. You don’t have to be an artist to color. You just need to apply a little bit of focus and use your imagination. Sometimes it’s good to have an escape from reality at times. We all need that.

…So why not try it? Pick up an adult coloring book. Ain’t no shame in the coloring game.


Stomach pains? Anxiety? What’s happening?

natural_redhead_feel_more_pain (provided by this site)

Have you ever had a stomachache so painful, so irritable that you feel like you can’t move? Have you ever wondered what was causing this horrible, undeserving pain? Did you find yourself questioning what you ate that day over and over again? Well, sometimes it isn’t the food we eat that causes us to feel the hell risen in our stomachs…

Findings from Stress and the sensitive gut :

Stress and other environmental factors can contribute to the discomfort we sometimes feel in our stomachs. Each one of us has been in the middle of an uncomfortable situation before. You know, that feeling you get when your nerves start going and you can’t decide whether you should avoid or confront the stressor. That feeling is called our fight or flight response. As we become increasingly nervous, our digestive system significantly slows down and then comes to a complete stop. The energy we use to digest our food now serves a different role. It is used to protect ourselves from the stressor we are facing. The anxiety that builds up inside of us can then cause nausea and increase the amount of stress we feel substantially. In less stressful situations, our digestive system continues to function but at a much more gradual pace. In these cases, a person might experience abdominal discomfort and other symptoms like constipation and distension (bloating of the abdomen as a result of air build up).

Findings from Could this Be the Hidden Culprit Behind Your Sensitive Gut? :

While some only experience the occasional stomachache, others struggle with gastrointestinal disorders . According to Harvard Health Publications, “functional gastrointestinal disorders affect 35% to 70% of people at some point in life, women more often than men.” Types of gastrointestinal disorders include: celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, inflammatory bowel disease etc. Symptoms from these disorders can range from mild to extreme nausea, constipation, distension, and bloating (Harvard Health Publications). Those who struggle with these disorders consistently experience stomach discomfort independent of stress. So have you ever considered if the reverse is true? Could your stomachaches be causing you to feel anxious and stressed?

Findings from Anxiety In Your Head Could Come From Your Gut :

…Well, it is important to note that while stress can cause a person to experience gastrointestinal pain, the reverse can in fact be true as well. Stomach pains and the nausea that comes along with them can cause a person to become stressed.

Dr. James Greenblatt, a psychiatrist and staff member experimenting in the field of psychopharmacology at Tufts Medical School in Boston, worked with a patient that struggled with various digestive problems, attention deficit disorder (ADHD), and extreme obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Dr. Greenblatt first took a standard urine sample from his patient to check the level of harmful bacteria in her system. He found that her levels were too high, and suspected that this was the cause for her stomach pain and anxiety. In response, he prescribed her a trial of strong probiotics to increase the amount of good bacteria in the body as well as antibiotics to protect against the bad kind. Finishing the course of medicine given to her, Mary’s count of clostridium (a harmful bacterium found in the intestinal tract that causes extreme stomach pain typically due from food poisoning) significantly decreased ( Her obsessive-compulsiveness and attention deficit problems disappeared in the span of a year, and Mary is currently in great health.

Mary’s case is a great example of how the opposite is true. Poor gastrointestinal health can cause anxiety inside the mind just as anxiety can cause our stomachs to feel uneasy. Levels of bacteria in our bodies can have an effect on how we behave and how we feel. Not all bacteria is harmful to us; however, it is important that we build up bacteria that fuels our bodies to become a stronger defense against the bacteria we don’t want.

Is Generation Y a lost cause?


Generation Y has been born into the digital age- cell phones, computers, iPads you name it. But can all this time spent fooling around with technology on a, let’s face it, 24/7 basis effect the development of these millennials’ minds? That’s something Sunyoung Cho, a young ‘Pittsburgher,’ dug a little deeper to find out.

Reading this article (http:// opened my eyes to this growing problem.

It is a well known scientific fact that the human brain does not fully develop until the age of 25. So what can technology do to that development? Let’s see.

There are several parts of the human brain. You have your lobes (parietal, occipital, temporal, frontal), your gyruses (precentral and post central), your Sylvian fissure, Olfactory bulb, cerebellum, and finally your central sulcus. Each of these areas serves a different function. A study conducted by the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing found that with technology added to the mix, your entire prefrontal cortex, parietal lobe, and cerebellum develop differently.

Your prefrontal cortex is what controls how you act and your ability to acquire new knowledge. Your parietal lobe controls your ability to understand language, and your cerebellum is what controls muscle movement. Each of these areas is effected by the constant use of technology. We just don’t know by how much.

Being glued, so to speak, to your devices inhibits people’s natural ability to communicate with others. This loss of real social interaction for Generation Y is what I think will set millennials back. Yes, innovations in technology are what pushes our society forward; however, the lack of face-to-face communication between people is not helping our brains’ development. Talking directly with someone, looking them in the eyes, and not having a device grasped in your hand is the cause of social anxiety for many people in today’s world. Nowadays, some people can’t even walk down the street, stand in line, or even eat by themselves- all simple everyday life tasks- without having a device to cling to for dear life.

God forbid somebody came up to you to say hello…or even WORSE…LOOKED AT YOU. AH! The horror!…

Have you ever heard of IAD? Well, psychologist and professor at St. Bonaventure University Kimberly Young, has diagnosed some of her patients- patients suffering from blood clots just from staring at a screen all day- with Internet Addiction Disorder. She finds this disorder to be just as addictive for people as drugs. Living through your phones and computers is not living in the moment and experiencing life. Technology, while it does come with many advantages, is what’s causing people to become disengaged with reality. Depression and even over eating can be linked to not having enough or any in-person interaction.

Our bodies need personal social interaction to release endorphins and other chemicals in the brain so that we feel happy. At the end of the day, a screen is a screen and it will not give you the feeling another person can by just interacting with them face-to-face. While there are several other factors that contribute to the development of your brain, researchers are currently trying to figure out just how much technology effects us.

Oh boy, science…

Hey guys,

My name is Julia Gallelli and I am a junior here at the best school ever…

Why am I taking this course?

I am taking this course to fulfill my science general education requirement. My major is currently Media Journalism, and I am a student in the College of Communications. I plan on switching my major to Public Relations next semester. However, even though my major is unrelated to science, I am very interested in learning about the various topics listed on the syllabus. The last science course I took was Earth Science about one year ago. I enjoyed participating in the different labs. I chose this course because you really don’t need a lot of background knowledge to excel in the class.

Why am I not planning to be a science major?

I find science intriguing. We are science. We live in science. Science is all around us…but where I excel is in communication. I am excited to pursue a career in the field of Public Relations working for a nonprofit organization. People tend to see PR representatives as the “bad guys,” the ones who cover up people’s messes. What people do not see is that there are some, including myself, whose missions are to communicate positive messages about good organizations to the public.

This summer I interned for an information technology company in New Jersey called NJ OIT. I was in charge of the rebranding of the Policy Planning and Customer Service department. I was also assisted in event planning and spreading the word about upcoming company events. I organized Customer Service Week and handled all of the marketing/PR aspects involved with that week-long event. For all of you science gurus out there, that probably sounds like the most boring thing on the planet to you- sorry.

I am currently interviewing with a PR firm in New York City and a start-up company in Brooklyn for a summer PR position. I have always been a more creative, talkative soul. I chose to pursue a career in the art of creative speaking.

For anyone else in this class that MAY be interested in Public Relations or media management, I would advise you to read the news and watch the news every single solitary day…sometimes even by the hour. You should also read articles like the one I posted below on a consistent basis as PR changes daily. Here is one to help you see how you can succeed in this field:


See you in class!