Author Archives: Katelyn Bowers

Adderall-Worth the risk?

Adderall is a stimulaadderallnt drug prescribed mainly to ADHD patients to increase their focus and concentration.  There has been an enormous increase in the use of un-prescribed Adderall in college students recently.  A study by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health watched mainly 18-25 year olds use of the drug from 2006-2011. Over this period of time, the amount of Adderall prescribed stayed the same but non-prescribed use of the drug rose 67% and emergency room visits rose 156%.

Why are there so many more emergency room visits? The recreational use of Adderall with, alcohol, marijuana, and/or cocaine has become much more common and is extremely dangerous.  When drinking alcohol while on Adderall one is much more likely to get alcohol poisoning.  The use of any drug (including alcohol) severely increases the chances of overdose and/or complications such as a heart attack.  It is also very easy for people who are already abusing the drug to become addicted. If one were addicted and didn’t take it one day they would feel foggy, tired, and unable to concentrate or be productive. The withdraw effects are severe and it is often difficult for users to quit on their own.

The majority of people who misuse Adderall are students but other large groups who abuse the drug are working professionals, athletes, and people with eating disorders.  Athletes use it to feel less tired and more focused during games, and people with eating disorders use it for its ability to suppress appetite.

The side effects perscription-useof using Adderall include irregular heartbeat, increased blood pressure, anxiety, paranoia, headaches, and depression.  Ultimately, if you are prescribed Adderall and use to because you actually cannot concentrate without it, the risk of these side effects are worth it.  If you are using it to “have a good time” and plan on using it with other drugs/alcohol the risk is most definitely not worth the reward of……? It is one’s own decision if they want to use it as a “study drug” but personally I do not think the risks of all these side effects and the long term effects are worth it.

Can a lamp improve your health?

After moving into our tiny dorm, my roommate (like most freshman) had too much stuff and not enough space.  She had to decide what was important enough to stay and what would have to go back home.  I saw a large, glowing, salt-lamps-2orange/yellow rock taking up a large portion of her desk and recommended she gave that the boot.  I immediately regretted my suggestion when she turned around with a look of disgust on her face.  “It’s not a rock, it’s a salt lamp and you’ll thank me later when our room is clean and you don’t get sick” I was very skeptical, until about a month later.  The bulb in the lamp died.  For a few days nothing changed but slowly we noticed dust collecting in our room, and both of us developed small colds.  Was it a coincidence, simply ironic timing, or was the salt lamp keeping us healthy?

The claim is that these lamps emit negative ions into the air and air with more negative ions is what causes the benefits. They say that these salt lamps can increase energy, neutralize electromagnetic radiation, better sleep, improve mood and concentration, treat Seasonal Affective Disorder(SAD), and reduce static electricity in the air.  It’s true, an increase in negative ions in the air would cause all of these benefits, but salt lamps produce barely any.  A study showed the negative ions produced by salt lamps were almost too small to measure.  Therefore, the salt lamps can’t cause any of these benefits.

Although they don’t produce negative ions it has been proven that salt lamps do help clean the air.  Water vapor constantly floats around the air and carries dust, pollen, and other microscopic compounds with it.  The lamp attracts water in the air, along with the pollutants.  Once attracted the compounds stay on the lamp rather than floating in the air.

dust            It would be beneficial for my roommate and I to conduct a well thought out study to support/contradict the other studies I found.  We would take a notebook and write down how we were feeling (stuffy nose, sore throat, etc.), the cleanliness of our room and quality of air (dusty/clean), how we slept, and our overall mood.   We could do this for two weeks with the salt lamp and two weeks without and repeat several times.  If we wanted to have a larger size study we could have some of our friends get salt lamps and do the same thing.



Do your doctor’s political views affect your treatment?

With the extreme controdoctor-politicsversy that came with the most recent presidential election, differing political views are more prominent than ever.  It has proven itself over and over again that political views have creeped into areas far from politics.  Such as job hiring, relationships/friendships, churches and many others.  A study conducted by Yale students says politics have now entered the doctor’s office.

The study included 20,000 doctors in 29 states across the country.  They were given nine patients at random.  Three of the patients brought up politically sensitive topics such as marijuana use, firearm possession, and abortion.  The republican and democratic doctors gave significantly similar advice.  Their treatment plans for issues such as depression, alcohol abuse, and obesity were all very similar.  Republican doctors would stress the importance of family life (opposed to abortion) and not using marijuana.  Democratic doctors would point out the importance of not having firearms in the house; republicans tended to just reinforce the importance of proper storage of these firearms. different medical advice on these three topics, but on non-political issues they gav


Many patients will choose a doctor based on their gender to feel more comfortable and get the kind of treatment best suited for them.  Should doctors have to disclose their political views for patients to feel demrep-doctor-graph
more comfortable?  Ultimately, doctors political views will affect the treatment they prescribe on politically sensitive issues, but doctors’ advice on these issues are merely suggestions.  If a doctor says you should/shouldn’t have a firearm in your house, it is up to you to take this advice and determine your own political views on the issue.

Why you shouldn’t clean your ears with Q-tips

After every shower I grab a Q-tip from the box and stick it in my ear cleaning out the shampoo and wax, doesn’t everyone?  We all ignore the many warnings saying to not insert the swab into ear canal, but we all do anyway.  Without thinking, could this potentially be bad for us?

q-tips            The most obvious reason to not stick the Q-tip in your ear is that it could puncture your eardrum.  We all say we won’t go that deep, but how deep is your ear drum?  If the entire cotton part of the Q-tip is in, you’re probably touching your ear drum.  When you touch this part of your ear you press on the little bones below it, which send shock waves into your inner ear and can cause problems with your hearing and balance.  In extremely rare occasions, you may puncture your eardrum and have to have surgery to fix it, or possibly lose your hearing forever.  This is not likely, but most commonly people will push the wax further back into the ear.  They often push more back than they get out, and will eventually need a doctor to help remove it.


So, if I’m not supposed to use a Q-tip to get the wax out, how should I?  The truth is, you actually shouldn’t remove the wax from your ears.  Your ear makes wax to waterproof themselves.  If the wax is removed, you are more likely to get swimmers ear or other ear infections because the water will get in and be trapped.  Therefore, leave your earwax where it is and save your Q-tips for various other activities.  Such as makeup, babies, cleaning, arts and crafts, and many other things, but not cleaning your ears.

Do cellphones cause cancer?

In this day and age everyone has a cellphone.  We all text, call, facetime, and do everything else our phones have to offer. college-students-face-cellphone-addiction They have integrated themselves into every aspect of our lives, even in class. The average person touches/checks their phone one million times a year, or 2,617 times a day.  We make calls, send texts, and send tweets without a second thought, but could it be slowly killing us?  New studies show that this might be true.

There have been several different studies on humans and rats, both drawing different conclusions.  The human study showed no growth in cancer or tumors in the time of the study, but the it was only performed over two years. Also several different types of bias were found in their data.  They found people overestimated, underestimated, and flat out lied about their true cell phone exposure.  The studies on rats have drawn different conclusions.  The early study showed no increase in tumors after exposure to the RF-EMF (the radiation put off by your cellphone).  The rats were either exposed to a high amount for short periods of time or lower amounts for long periods of time.  The next study exposed the rats to high amounts for long periods of time (9 hours a day).  This study had significant evidence that the exposure did indeed cause cancer.  There was a 3-4% change, which wouldn’t usually be that scientifically significant, but because of the rarity of the tumors, it is.

Like we have learned in class, correlation does not equal causality.  I have found this to be much like the smoking issue.  We simply do not know if cancer and phones are related at all.  Phones are relatively new, only having been used for about 10 years. We simply haven’t had enough time to see the true effect of phones and their radiation on our bodies.  Plus, the phone industry makes BILLIONS a year, why invest money in research when everything is working out for everyone just fine now?Experts suggest to limit your close contact with your phone.  For example, when on a phone call use headphones and keep your phone on a table or away from your body, or store your phone in a purse or backpack rather than your pocket or hand.Will we all come down with brain tumors in 10-20 years? Possibly. Is it likely? No, but why not do the simplest tasks to reduce your exposure and potentially add years onto your life. 

Is music more effective than pain killers?

Could the simple solution for narcotic addiction be an iPod and some headphones? Researchers from Queen Mary University of London have conducted a study saying yes, it can.  In the past 20 years the amount of pain killers prescribed has almost tripled.  These narcotics are highly addictive and are often misused, especially when they are given out so easily.  I had ACL surgery last year and was amazed at the amount of extra pills I had left over when I was feeling better.  It would have been incredibly easy for me to keep taking the pills when I didn’t need them and become addicted, or to sell them to someone who is already addicted.


The study used various types of music; pop, country, rap, classical, etc. They also played it at different times of the possess, whether it be before, during, after, or all three.  Another variable was the delivery method of the music; speakers or headphones.  They found that the most pain was reduced when patience listened to music before the operation.  The effectiveness decreased the later they listened to it, after the operation being the least effective. A wide range of surgeries were used, be it a simple colonoscopy to an open heart surgery.

One key variable was not affected in the study; no matter what variable was changed their hospital stay stayed the same.  So, they found if patients listened to music their pain was reduced but they spent the same amount of time in the hospital.  If I was to have surgery, I would absolutely choose to listen to music.  Why suffer through more pain if there’s the possibility that doing something as simple as having earbuds in could cause less?


Why I am not the next Albert Einstein


I’m Katelyn Bowers from northern Virginia.  Right now i’m undecided in my major but I’ve ruled out anything science or math related. I think this has much to do with my prior schooling, in middle and high school.  They were always my worst subjects and it had a lot to do with how they were taught, especially science.  I understand that science can be fun and interesting but it often depends much on the teacher and mine most definitily did not make science have this impression on me.  Having been scarred from my previous earth science, chem, physics, and bio classes I decided science was not for me.  If we’re being honest the reason I’m in this class is because I need a science Gen Ed, but all of us being non science majors in a science class, I’m sure that’s why most of us are.