Author Archives: Thomas John Krieger

Is Ice Always the Answer?

Ever since I was a kid, the first thing I was usually told after an injury was to go get ice. I never would question it, if an adult told me to put ice on an injury I would. Did this ice really help most of my injuries out though?

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Coldness should be used for any acute pain or for a swollen or inflamed area. Ice is generally used to help with fairly new injuries. Our body’s natural reaction to an injury is that our tissue becomes inflamed. This isn’t good because this means that our body is trying to heal itself on its own. It is amazing how our bodies know how to heal themselves as soon as injury is sensed. Swelling pushes the tissue together which causes pain in that area.

Cryotherapy is the same thing as cold therapy. During cryotherapy, ice is used to help numb the injured area. Ice can help to slow down a person’s blood flow in the injured area, which will help reduce the pain and stop excess fluid from building up. Ice doesn’t usually help the overall injury, it is usually used to heal pain in the short term. The best time to use cryotherapy is when an injury is fairly new, swollen, or red. Another key thing this is used for is to help reduce inflammation after a hard workout. Ice can reduce recovery time after exercising. This is important for people that want to be active as much as possible because they need to feel like they are in good shape to workout again and again each day.

In conclusion, I believe that ice is very beneficial in helping to at least reduce pain in a lot of injuries. In the video above you can see the ice getting put to use. Now I’ll be able to explain to someone why we put ice on injuries if they ask me.

Caffeine… Additive or Addictive?

Caffeine helps many people get through their day. How many people do you see that need to have coffee everyday? Caffeine is also considered a drug, and it is used more than any other drug in the world. People hear the word drug and get scared, but different people have different definitions of the word drug. Just because it is considered a drug doesn’t mean caffeine is bad for you.

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One of the main sources of caffeine is coffee. Coffee has many positive effects on our body. Some studies found that coffee helps in the prevention of strokes and some cancers. This is very important considering how prevalent cancer is these days. It also can lessen our chances of getting Parkinson’s or dementia. Many people worry about cancer, so maybe coffee will help. The issue is most of the positive effects of coffee are because it is made from beans. Actual caffeine though has been thought to lower someone’s chances of having Alzheimer’s.  I found this interesting since Alzheimer’s is the most prevalent type of dementia, so maybe caffeine is a part of the reason why coffee can lessen our chances of getting dementia.

Caffeine isn’t all good news though. Caffeine is always safe in moderation, but too much can be a problem. Caffeine is also addictive which isn’t very good because if you go without caffeine you can have symptoms such as headaches. Caffeine can also lead to insomnia if too much is consumed. This is a big issue especially in college where sleep is very important. For women, caffeine can be especially dangerous. An excess of caffeine can cause a miscarriage.

Caffeine like many things has its good and bad. I personally think the bad outweighs the good. A person should watch their caffeine intake. I think that the addictive part of caffeine is the worst. I don’t want my body to become dependent on caffeine. My roommate suffers from headaches on days that he doesn’t have at least 3 sodas because he is dependent on caffeine. This is something I don’t want to have to deal with, so I’m gonna watch my caffeine.

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Why is the Right Side, the Right Side?

In the US, about 90% of the population is right handed. This is a common trend throughout history. This article is a tough read, but is very informative on the history of handedness. How can this be with something so simple as a dominant hand? The numbers are staggering in the right side’s advantage. What causes such a big difference though?

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Many believe that it has to do with our brain and genes, but just a quick look at those numbers on this chart seems to suggest that there is something else that may be effecting these numbers. How come the percentage of right handed people is almost 100% in those Asian countries. I decided to ask my roommate, if he knew why this was because he and his family are originally from Vietnam. He explained to me how in there culture people have believed that there is something wrong with left handed people. His mother was originally left handed, but she was made to use her right hand, and now she can write with both hands. This article agrees with his claims, but this can’t account for such a widespread gap. Or can it?

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It could be possible that we are genetically made up to more likely be a righty vs. a lefty. How can this be? Is it possible that being left handed is a recessive trait for this gene? This can’t be completely true because that means that, if a left handed person has a kid with another lefty, then their kid must be left handed. Dr. Gupta explains how this isn’t true, and in fact they still would only have a 26% chance of having a left handed child. This isn’t the only proposal that has to deal with genes. Other ideas aren’t quite as simple especially for people not interested in science. Simply put, some researchers believe that we can get 1 of 2 genes. The one gene causes us to be right handed and the other gene causes us to have a 50% chance at being right handed. This could explain the disparity in the number of right handed people vs. left handed people.

The bottom line is that we don’t know why there are so many more right handed people than left handed people. There are many theories to explain it, but they are not proven. I personally believe that it is a combination of these theories that makes such a huge disparity between left handed and right handed people.

Fun fact:

Throughout this blog you can see the pattern of most humans being right handed, but in the National Hockey League (NHL) almost two thirds of the league shoots with their left hand. This doesn’t make sense since 90% of the population is right handed. This is because in Canada most coaches teach kids to use their less dominant hand, so they will be able to be a better all around player. Approximately half the NHL is Canadian. Many other countries are starting to adopt this theory too, so we may see these numbers rise.

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How much sleep do we actually need?

I, like many other students, am up very late most nights. I constantly hear people talking about how our body needs about 8 hours of sleep a night. I rarely, if ever, get 8 hours of sleep, but I don’t believe this is a problem because I function perfectly fine on a lot less sleep.

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This is a topic that I feel students aren’t very educated about. Most students have also heard of this “8 hour rule”, but I’m sure many don’t follow it either. It is hard to get an adequate amount of sleep for students between classes, homework, jobs, studying, friends, and clubs. Students that get overwhelmed will start to look to places to save time. Students shouldn’t cut out essential things to save time such as eating, showering, or having friends. Instead a student should work on there time management like we have learned in class.

Time management is a great idea for getting more sleep. but how do we know if we need more sleep? Most students in college sleep about 6-7 hours each night. Is that enough? The answer isn’t as black and white as it seems because everyone is different. For some people that is enough, but for others it isn’t. We all need to find our own amount of sleep we need each night.

The issue with not knowing how much sleep you need at night is that you can be building up a sleep debt. This is not good because it can cause many problems for a person. A way to realize if you are adding on to a sleep debt every night is to pay attention to your sleep schedule. An easy indicator is to compare the amount of hours you sleep a night during the week compared to the weekend. People that are accruing a sleep debt generally sleep a lot more on the weekends than they do during the week. Now this might be as good of an indicator because a lot of students don’t sleep much on weekends especially during football season. Another thing to look for would be to notice if you are tired a lot during the day. This is a sign that more sleep is needed.

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Many students resort to napping, but naps may be counterproductive at times. Naps can be used to help get you through the day after a long night, but naps should be short in nature to feel the most refreshed. Longer naps put you into a deep sleep, which can mess up your sleep schedule at night, and leave you not feeling rejuvenated. Naps are useful, if correctly used.

How much sleep do we actually need? We need enough for us to function properly. Some of us need closer to 6 hours a night, while some need closer to 10 hours a night. A person just needs to find their amount that they need in order to not build up a sleep debt each night. Naps can also help this if they are used the right way.

Should We Still Use Body Mass Index?

Body Mass Index (BMI) dates back to before the civil war. It was created by a man named Adolphe Quetelet. It was originally called the Quetelet Index, until it was later named BMI in 1972 by Ancel Keys. BMI is used to determine if a person is underweight, healthy, overweight, or obese. It isn’t very difficult to calculate a BMI. It can be found by dividing a person’s weight in kilograms by their height in meters squared. This is a big reason why it is so widely used. Anyone can calculate their own BMI after a couple measurements.


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What can be wrong with it then? Actually, there are a couple things wrong with it. One of the biggest issues with BMI is that it doesn’t account for muscle in people. Athletes tend to have high BMI’s because they are usually very muscular, which causes them to weigh a lot more. An athlete that is muscular and has a high BMI obviously isn’t obese. NFL running back Adrian Peterson is listed at 6’1″ tall and weighs 220lbs. At that stature, his BMI would be about 29, which is considered overweight and on the brink of obesity. This is obviously a flaw with BMI. On the left side is a picture of him, and I don’t think many people would think he is overweight or anywhere near obese.

A similar problem is that if a man and woman both have the same BMI, odds are that the woman will have more body fat than the man. This is just because of the way the 2 genders are. Older people tend to have more body fat than younger people too.

BMI also has an issue as a whole. It isn’t so much the way you calculate it, but the issue is what it is used for. BMI was originally meant to be used for a group of people such as a population. Obviously, there are still flaws in that, because it still doesn’t account for muscle mass, age, or gender as previously stated. Now it has transitioned into being used on an individual basis where it doesn’t work as well. Although, a population’s BMI might not be 100% correct either it could lead someone in the right direction.

Why do people still use BMI then, if it is so obviously flawed? It is still used all the time because of its simplicity and the lack of alternative methods. There are alternative methods to BMI, but they are usually costly or not practical. As fallacious as BMI seems it is said to be correct about 80% of the time. This is a very good percentage for something so easy to calculate. BMI is an even better predictor when it comes to the extremes. If someone has a very low BMI, the odds are that they will be skinny.

Although not perfect, BMI is still a valuable tool for people to use. It shouldn’t be seen as law, but it can be used in a lot of instances. It still works for populations since that is what is was originally created for. Someone who is educated on BMI can productively use it.

You can check your BMI without doing any math or without any knowledge of the metric system.


Can You Hear Me Now?

One of my favorite things to do is to go to concerts, but is it safe for me to go to small venues that have such large speakers? I am okay now, but I want to still be able to hear when I’m older. Ever since I was young my mom would tell me not to listen to music in my headphones too loud, but I never knew why.

If someone experiences loud noises for any amount of time, they can suffer from Noise-Induced Hearing Loss. This video explains how the hearing loss happens. The hearing loss might happen right away or a little later down the road. The hearing loss can last a day or a whole lifetime. It also can happen in both ears or just one. One in seven people suffer from noise induced hearing loss, so it is definitely a problem. Loud noises such as heavy city traffic, motorcycles, iPhone music on max volume, sirens, firecrackers, and firearms can cause damage.


It is okay though. Noise-Induced Hearing Loss can be prevented. The first thing someone can do to try and reduce their chances of losing their hearing is to try and prevent themselves from experiencing very loud noises or loud noises for a long time. Some people such as construction workers are subject to loud noises at work everyday. That is why it is very important that they wear their protective gear such as their earplugs. The same rule goes for lawn mowing. Both kids and adults should protect their hearing when cutting the grass.

Our hearing is important through out our whole lives. It is very important that we protect it because it is a very important part of our main type of communication. Imagine how much harder your life would be if you couldn’t hear. This problem can easily be prevented as long as you are a little more cautious about your environment and the sounds around you.

Does Football Raise or Raze Kids?

Football is a sport that has been played for over a century. Its popularity has grown immensely since the 1958 NFL Championship game. It is now the most popular sport in America. It brings in nearly a half of a billion dollars in revenue each week. In America football is seen as one of our great things that we can all watch and celebrate together. Boys these days grow up watching their idols on the football field. These boys want to be just like their idols, so when they get in between the ages of 6-14 they ask their parents if they can play football. A lot of parents are unsure on whether they should allow their kid to play because of all the new studies about concussions, but they should realize that it isn’t as hard of a decision as it may seem. Grade school football isn’t as dangerous as people claim, especially if the kids are taught the right way to play the sport. The good of football outweighs the bad because football instills hard work, leadership, teamwork, and a sense of brotherhood that no other sport comes close to matching.


The rules of football have went through a lot of transitions since it was first created. They have added in extra pads, helmets, new rules, and people are more aware of the risks. They always have on the news how football can impact the brain, and how concussions are so prevalent amongst football players, but this is usually about older players like high school to professional age. Although football is a contact sport, it is less dangerous than it is believed to be. Yes, some kids will maybe break a bone or sprain an ankle, but brain damage is very unlikely amongst kids. Most parents are more worried about the brain damage because that is a more lasting injury, but is rare amongst grade school players. Concussion expert, Dr. Joseph Maroon believes that this is the safest it has ever been. Dr. Maroon is the neurosurgeon for the Pittsburgh Steelers and also works at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. He has worked for the Steelers for 35 years. He explains how a big concern for parents is the threat of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. CTE is caused by repetitive brain trauma, and it can lead to memory loss, confusion, depression, and dementia. Dr. Maroon explains how CTE was first realized amongst football players in 2002, and since then there has been about 70 cases amongst football players. Now to some parents that may seem like 70 too many, but most of these injuries have been NFL players. According to Dr. Maroon the odds of you getting CTE because of football is about one in a million. These are about the same odds of getting struck by lightning. Dr. Maroon also points out that the four leading reasons for head injuries among kids aged 6-14 are automobiles, bicycling riding, playgrounds and self-propelled scooters. Should we not let our kids do these things too?

Football is a dangerous game that isn’t meant for everyone, but if a kid wants to take a chance and try it out, I think they should be able to do play. They will be able to polish certain skills that will make them more mature. Kids are going to get injured no matter what they do. Football players will occasionally get hurt, but they can stay as safe as possible if they are taught the right way to play. At the end of the day we all just want what is best for the kids.

Chew Gum for Good Grades?

Do you chew gum in class or while studying? If not, then maybe it is time that you start.

In college students are always looking for ways to boost their grades. A lot of students go to office hours. Some students go to Lion Tutors. Others resort to study drugs. What if there was an easy way to give your grades that little extra boost that you need without spending a little time or money?


Maybe the answer is brain-boosting gum, or maybe all you need is just some gum in general. Gum has been found to increase heart rate and blood flow as seen here. This means that more oxygen will be getting to our brain, but does this mean better grades? There have been experiments done that have actually produced results that agree with this hypothesis. In these experiments, the common theme is that gum helps people stay more attentive for longer tasks, have quicker reaction times, and have better memory.

A Toronto teacher is such a big believer in gum that she encourages her kindergarten students to chew gum in class. She said that she has noticed the kids are more attentive, less anxious, and more likely to sit still while chewing gum. Many other teachers have agreed with this too, but they are unsure of how to introduce gum in a classroom because of the many problems it can cause.

Gum can even be used while studying. That extra focus for longer tasks can be put to good use while studying too. Some researchers believe that chewing gum while studying and while taking a test makes it easier for your brain to remember the studied information.

I’m not saying gum will get you an A in every class, but it might help you to get a couple more answers right on your exams. Gum is relatively cheap so you don’t have to worry about costs. There also have been many advancements in types of gum over the years, so you don’t have to worry as much about the health effects.

With all this great news about gum, everybody wants some.