Author Archives: Peter Bott

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder has plagued human beings since the beginning of time. Whether it being referred to as shell shock, combat exhaustion, battle fatigue, or PTSD it has been a problem that effects the lives of combat veterans, first responders, and anyone else involved in a traumatic experience.  Although physicians and the rest of society are more informed of the problems PTSD causes for those suffering from it, there are still many questions on how to best treat it.

People suffering from PTSD show a variety of signs and symptoms. These include but are not limited to trouble sleeping, nightmares, depression, feeling isolated from the rest of society, among other things. There is no long term cure  for PTSD that is fully accepted by Doctors around the country. Doctors have been experimenting with the use of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) treatment in hopes of relieving stress in their patients. EMDR’s workImage result for edmr treatment by patients and therapists discussing negative memories and linking them to specific eye movements, usually by moving a finger or small object back and forth in front of the patients face. Afterwards these eye movements are linked to positive thoughts in hopes that the same eye movements made when thinking of a traumatic event will translate into something positive.

EMDR was first discovered in 1980 by Dr. Francine Shapiro. One day Dr. Shapiro took a hike through the woods and noticed her stress had nearly disappeared as she moved her eyes back and forth to observe her surroundings. After realizing the relief she felt from this, she asked her patients to try, and it was met with great success. There are two explanations as to why patients feel relief after EDMR treatment. The first, is the belief that EDMR effects the patients Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep. REM sleep is the stage of the sleep cycle closely associated with dreams. During the REM cycle a persons eyes are still active, often moving back in forth. When patients feel relief during EDMR therapy it is believed that this relief translates into a more relaxed REM cycle, therefore the patient receives a more restful sleep. The second, is the belief that the patient uses both the left and right side of the brain in order to follow the object being waved in front of their face. The benefits of synchronizing both sides of the brain are having a better perception  of reality, self awareness, and feelings of optimism.

EDMR’s growing popularity has sparked debate within the science community. The first controlled study was conducted in 1989, by Dr. Shapario. In this study of twenty- two people one group underwent EDMR treatment, while the other under went group therapy sessions, another common treatment from those suffering from PTSD. Her studies concluded that the first group who went through EDMR felt relief after the first session, while those in group therapy felt little to no relief at all. Scientists within the community challenged Shapario saying that she was biased to the group who underwent EDMR, because she had developed the therapy. Other arguments were that the trial was too small, and that there was no way of measuring who suffered from worse cases of PTSD. A number of both controlled and uncontrolled studies have taken place since Shapario’s study. The general consensus is that EDMR often does offer relief to patients, but there’s no way to measure the results or tell if this is due to other variables. Scientists opposing the effectiveness of EDMR make the argument that it could be due to the placebo effect, third variables, and negative results not being published (file drawer effect).

Debates over EDMR’s effectiveness are still going on today. There are no solid explanations or results linking EDMR to relief but many organizations around the country have adopted the practice, based off the fact that many patients feel better after receiving the treatment.  Since its formal introduction in 1989, more than 20,000 psychologists have studied EDMR. As the practice continues to grow it looks like EDMR will be a preferred treatment method for patients who suffer from PTSD.

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Should Kratom be banned?

I had never heard of Kratom until a few weeks ago. I was working out with my friend and he told me that he doesn’t take pre workout, he takes an herb called Kratom. Later that day I learned that Kratom is not a well known drug but has many benefits. Kratom is a tree that primarily grows in Southeast Asia, whos leaves can be used for multiple benefits. The most common uses in the United States are for recovering heroin and painkiller addicts, pain relief, and at small doses can be used to boost performance during strenuous activities. If Kratom is such a useful drug, why did the Drug Enforcement Agency decide to ban it this month?

On August 30th, 2016 the DEA announced that Kratom will no longer be legal in the United States as of September 30th. Kratom will be classified as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substance Act. This means Kratom will be grouped with other hard drugs such as Opium, Acid, and Heroin. The DEA’s reasoning for this is because people who us Kratom at high prolonged doses may become physically addicted to the drug. Short term effects from abusing Kratom include sweating, blushing, loss of coordination and causes your pupils to shrink. Long term use can lead to anorexia and psychosis. One of Kratom’s active ingredients is mitragynine which at a high dose can give users the feeling of being high from opiates. Mitragynine is different from other drugs because it binds to different opiod receptors than most common opiates. The mu receptors when targeted with drugs like Morphine and Heroin help release a numbing feeling of euphoria, while mitragynine binds to delta opiod receptors which improves your mood and reduces pain. Users often need to up the doses of Kratom to maintain the same effectiveness of the drug from when they originally started which could lead up to a physical abuse. There have only been fifteen deaths related to Kratom.

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Kratom has many benefits if it is not mistreated, and should atleast be sold through perscriptions. At roughly $1.75 per dose of 5 grams Kratom is a much cheaper and safer alternative than other perscription painkillers.

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Texting while walking

As I walk from class to class everyday I’m almost always cut off or bumped into by at least one person who is texting and walking. I’m all for sending a quick text as soon as I get out of class, but some people cannot walk without having their faces glued to their phones.  It might not seem like a bad idea to pick up your phone and make a few quick texts or catch some Pokémon (for those of you who are still into that) but it could be dangerous and it develops bad habits.

Phones are becoming more and more advanced which in turn has left people more reliant on them.  A study done by Ohio State University  shows that in 2010 there were over 1,500 people admitted into the emergency room for accidents due to walking distracted. The number of similar accidents were less than 300 in 2005. People who are looking at their phones while crossing the street won’t even take a second to look for on coming traffic. A study conducted in Seattle, Washington observed over 1,000 people crossing a busy intersection throughout the day. The scientists results showed that pedestrians who were texting while walking were almost four times as likely to not look before crossing or disobey the cross walk signals. In another study  scientists made 28 participants walk 8.5 meters three separate times. The first would be at a normal pace with no distractions. In the second pass participants would read texts without replying, while in their third pass they would be required to text a short sentence and send it.  The results were what you would expect. The more distractions involved, the more crooked and slower they walked.

Some communities are beginning to fine people texting while walking, while others have come to the realization that it will remain in our society. In 2012 New Jersey police officers in Ft. Lee began writing $85 tickets to anyone they saw texting while walking across a road. On the other end of the spectrum the city of Chongqing , China has developed a designated walking lane for those inclined to text and walk. The texting lane has white arrows pointed on the ground so they can stay in line without having to look up.

It would be nice if people could put down their phones and walk but its not going to happen.  People’s attachment to cell phones will continue to grow as technology advances. It will be interesting to see what approach the rest of the United States will take to keep texting pedestrians safe.


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Will Mt. Rainier destroy Seattle?

I’m an outdoorsy kind of guy so when Andrew said we could blog about anything science related this idea popped into my head right away. I used to live in Washington state and I was lucky enough to hike Mt. Rainier. Being from the east coast I had never seen a mountain that went above the tree line, let alone one that is over 14,000 feet above sea level! Mt. Rainier is still considered an active volcano which got me thinking, how much destruction will it cause when it erupts?

Mt. Rainier is part of the Cascade mountain range that begins in northern California and ends in Canada. In the Cascades there are 18 volcano’s in the United States alone. Of those 18 Mt. Rainier is the only one considered a decade volcano. The title of a “decade volcano” is only given to volcano’s that have the capability of being very destructive. There are only 16 decade volcano’s in the world, and they are generally located near densely populated areas. What makes Mt. Rainier a decade volcano is its close proximity to the Puget Sound which is a very populated area. Mt. Rainier is also only 54 miles away from Seattle. There are roughly 3.7 million people living in or just outside of the city. The large amount of glacial ice on the mountain is another dangerous factor that makes it a decade volcano. When a volcano releases hot gasses or pyroclastic flows that mix with ice it forms what is called a “lahar.” A lahar is formed when ice and pyroclastic flows mix and flow down the side of a mountain. Lahars can be thought of as a giant blob that generally grow in size the further they travel, picking up anything in its way. The speed that a lahar will travel depends on how large it is, and the slope of the hill it travels down. There are roughly 80,000 people who live close enough to be affected by these dangerous flows. Lahars have been documented traveling up to 10 miles from Mount Rainier, posing no risk to anyone in Seattle.

Although lahars cannot travel far enough to reach Seattle, there is a chance volcanic ash could. In 1980 scientists calculated that when volcanic ash (tephra) from the  Mt. St. Helens eruption traveled over 100,000ft up into the sky. Mt. Rainier would be able to produce the same if not more tephra. The largest threat tephra imposes is the potential to contaminate Seattle’s drinking water, and maybe cave in a few roofs.  Mt Rainier has the potential to inflict some serious damage but Seattle may be just far enough from its reach.


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Science? Never heard of her

What’s up everyone? My name is Pete Bott, I am a freshman from Long Hill, New Jersey. I am currently in DUS, because I still have no idea what I want to do with my life. When I was making my schedule at orientation over the summer my advisor told me SC200 is the least sciencey class that I could take. I was all about that.

The only fond memories I have in Science class are building a seltzer rocket for my 4th grade science fair, and convincing my friend to eat the worm we were supposed to be dissecting in 8th grade (formaldehyde and all). The list stops there. I was never into Science because I never thought I would ever have to apply it to anything after I graduated high school. I never had an enthusiastic teacher that planned fun exercises. It was always death by powerpoint, covering the curriculum and the curriculum only. I have high hopes that SC200 will be different from the rest!

Oh, I forgot to mention I like Forrest Gump……..ALOT. Ever wonder what Forrest Gump would be like as a horror movie? Here

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