Author Archives: Zachariah Watkins

When did Humans reach the Americas first?


The first Homo Sapiens migrated out of Africa about 100,000 years ago spreading far and wide finding themselves and their ancestors around the world, however the Americas were not settles until about 14,000 years ago. This had intrigued Anthropologist and Archaeologist in the early 2000s leading to a huge debate of when did Homo Sapiens arrive in the Americas. Currently the widely held view is that Humans crossed over the Beringian land bridge somewhere between 20,000 and 11,500 which is known as the Clovis period of settlement. However recent archaeological digs have began to shed new light that possibly people arrived in the Americas long before the Clovis hunters arrived. The first archaeological dig to support this idea was the Monte Verde II dig site in Chile which found that humans had settled there as long as 16,500 BCE which is 3,000 years before the accepted Clovis view of 13,500 BCE. However Monte Verde II has been hit with criticism and backlash as people believe there is not enough evidence to support this. However a new dig site has popped up in the Pampas Region of Argentina supporting this claim of humans were here before the Clovis hunters.


The new site is called Arroyo Seco 2, here the researchers led by Gustavo Politis from CONICET  and the Universidad Nacional del Centro de la Provincia de Buenos Aires, began to excavate bone remains from extinct species and animal bones that had fractures caused by human tools. Politis used radiocarbon dating to determine the age of the bones found and analyzed the bones under microscopes to get a better picture. The analysis revealed bountiful information including the presence of limb bones from the extinct animals which implies that the human activity of transporting and depositing animal bodies for consumption at this temporary camp. They also found the bones in a centralized area also implying that the people there had designated a certain area for butchering the animals and another for cooking the animal. The microscopic analyzing saw the fractures were probably caused by stone tools as they had the same pattern as other stone tools when used on animal bones. Finally the remains of the bones were dated anywhere from 14,064 to 13,068 years ago which Politis hypothesizes that the humans must’ve occupied the area during the time frame.


Because of the Arroyo Seco 2 dig site, Monte Verde II was garnered with a lot of supporting evidence from Politis. But more importantly it sheds even more evidence, and tears down the idea of “Clovis first,” that perhaps Humans arrived in the Americas a lot sooner than 13,500 years ago and that the place first settled was not North America but indeed South America. This also shows that Humans were traveling south during the last glacial period, Last Glacial Maximum, which ended about 20,000 years ago. Finally while this evidence might not directly outright say that there was no human intervention it is strongly founded that humans indeed had an impact on the area. Much like global warming there might not be direct evidence that Humans are causing Global Warming but it is backed with heavy evidence that we are indeed playing a part in Global Warming.

My Thoughts:

If we can prove ourselves wrong about when humans first settled the Americas then what else could we possibly uncover by doing more excavations around the world. Maybe the idea that Humans developed in Africa and migrated around the world from there might not be true, there is still so much to discover about our beginnings and our ancestors and the only place to look is in the ground.

Vitamin D in neonatal and MS later in life?


While research has been done before there has never been conclusive or even strong evidence to suggest a lack of Vitamin D in neonatal babies could possibly lead to MS, or Multiple Sclerosis, later in their life. Multiple Sclerosis is when the Immune System attacks the myelin that covers nerve fibers and causes communication problems between your brain and the rest of your body. MS is a very debilitating disease often leading to loss of motor skills later in life because of the constant pain that comes from the attack on the myelin during their life. Luckily the American Academy of Neurology, or the AAN, has began to delve further into the research regarding neonatal babies and the chances of getting MS later in life.

Objectives of Research:

Aiming to use past research to find the direct association between low-levels of Vitamin D and the increased risk of MS later in life.


The AAN used samples from the Danish National Biobank in a match-case control study by using dried blood spots samples from newborn babies that has been going on since April, 30th 1981. This put the sample size at 972 people born since April 30th, 1981 with 521 of them having MS let the scientist compare the vitamin D levels and compare the rate at which they got MS. In the research they found that newborns with Vitamin D levels less than 30 nanomoles per liter, or nmol/L, are to be considered born with deficient levels of Vitamin D. Levels between 31 and 49 nmol/L are to be considered born with insufficient levels of Vitamin D and everything over 50 nmol/L are to be considered born with sufficient levels of Vitamin D. There was 136 people with MS and 193 people without MS in the bottom group contrasting the top group which had 89 people with MS and 198 people without MS.


Right off the bat we can say that people belonging to the top group were 47% less likely to have MS than those in the bottom group. However it must also be stated that these numbers do not mean that increased Vitamin D levels is equal to reduced levels of MS later in life. However this also helps because there is a shortage of Vitamin D in pregnant woman and this might help them get their levels up to reduce the possibilities of MS later in life. Sources that should be used for Vitamin D is the mothers diet which can be found in fishes such as Salmon, Vitamin D supplements, and obviously the Sun. However contrasting that the researchers also said that the levels of Vitamin D should not be too low or too high but in the recommended range.

Limitations of study:

Even stated in the study we see that only dried blood spots samples were only available for 67% of people born with MS during the time frame. Also the vitamin D levels were based on one measurement, the study participants were 30 years or younger providing only information of early onset MS and not taking into account older people. Thirdly the population of Denmark itself is predominantly white which means that this finding might not apply to other populations of more diversity. Finally they also stated that Vitamin D levels cannot exclude the apparent beneficial effect could be found through other factors that develop later in life in which they would throw out the entire research because Maternal Vitamin D supplementation would not decrease the risk of getting MS later in life.

Europe: Forest fires set deliberately by Hunter-Gatherers


Before there was civilization, or even horticulture based societies, most humans survived as nomadic Hunter-Gatherers to feed themselves and their tribes. In Europe their is considerably less dense with trees than in North America or Asia, luckily Climatologist Jed Kaplan from the University of Lausanne and Archaeologist Jan Kolen of Leiden University their research and findings might explain why this is the case.



The hypothesis, which is formed from previous evidence and research, is that the forest of Europe where much more densely populated at one time. However at the end of the last great Ice-Age some 20,000 years ago Hunter-Gatherer tribes of Europe began setting controlled fires for a multitude of reasons but mainly to create grasslands to open up their hunting grounds and make it easier for gathering foods. Also this opened ground and great fires attracted animals to the area allowing for greater intake of raw resources and foods. Thirdly it also facilitated movement, by allowing the Hunter-Gatherers to know which locations had already been used as previous hunting grounds as not to pick the place clean of animals and allow for population increases so they could indeed use it later.


First the Scientist began with using the layers of ash from multiple dig sites across Europe and noticed that during the time frame they were looking at there was considerable amounts of ash on the ground spread out evenly, more than a simple fire could produce. Next they reconstructed the vegetation based on pollen and plant remains from the lakes and marshlands, this reconstruction suggested that Europe had an open steppe vegetation, but with the input of computer simulations they noticed that under natural conditions without human intervention large areas of Europe should have been far more dense with forest. There is also little evidence that the computer simulations are errant in their simulations.

Secondly in their research they looked at the large-scale impact humans had on the landscape. They began with compiling analyses of both Ice Age accumulations of silt during the time and computer simulations interpreting the new archaeological data. The data, which is quite surprising, shows that Hunter-Gatherers were capable of altering the landscape with the first large scale impact of humans on landscape happening about 20,000 years before the Industrial Revolutions would completely alter the landscapes of Europe really the whole world. Scientist new that during the time of the Ice Age giant animals would also have an impact on the landscape but the idea that humans had a quite a significant impact on the landscape was surprising to say the least.


From the combination of Hypothesis and Research we see that the researchers were not far off with their guesses, in fact they were pretty much accurate. However the one thing they were off about is, was this deliberate intention by the tribes or was this rather negligent behavior with fires, we know how tough fires can be to handle look at Gatlinburg right now. I would argue that this might be a combination of the two and that while they had intentions of what they wanted to do with the fires, they could have never predicated the large-scale impact they would’ve had on the environment and the landscape itself.

Platypuses Not Only Cute but Helpful in fighting Diabetes?


Everyone knows that Platypuses might be some of the greatest creatures on the face of the Earth, do not argue with me about this I mean look at the little guy he is smiling, but on top of being a cutie pie he might also hold the key to helping fight diabetes that currently 29 million Americans have. Diabetes is a disease that produces too much glucose for your body no matter what the type is. There are many symptoms of Diabetes the main ones being increased thirst, frequent urination, extreme hunger, unexplained weight loss, irritability, blurred or lost vision, etc. This disease is affecting more and more people every year and many researchers/scientist are scrambling for a way to combat this disease and maybe even cure it.

Researchers at the University of Adelaide and Flinders University noticed surprisingly that the same hormone produced in their stomach to regulate the level of glucose in their body is also found in their venom. The hormone known as glucagon-like peptide-1, or GLP-1, is normally secreted in the stomach by both humans and animals which usually regulates our glucose level as stated above but with diabetes there is usually either too inefficient to help regulate levels in people with Diabetes 2 or dissolved within minutes to not have a lasting impact on glucose. First what was noticed was that Platypus and Echina’s evolution has caused their GLP-1 to resist these fast deterioration of insulin thus providing both with the ability to actually balance out their levels and not have to worry about Diabetes.

What we know:

Frank Gruntzer of the University of Adelaide, first stated that the GLP-1 is degraded in monotremes, the scientific classification of Platypus and Echidna, by a different mechanism than how the human body degrades GLP-1. Upon further analysis of monotreme’s genetics the revelation was that there seems to be a kind of molecular war in the bodies between the function of GLP-1, which we now know is also produced in their venom not just their guts. The venom itself is produced during the breeding season, the males use this venom in competition to get the females. The war that is going is seen as that GLP-1 in the gut is used in the same regulatory process as in humans but the GLP-1 is also used in the venom for fending off other males and the tug-of-war between the different functions has created dramatic changes in the GLP-1 in monotremes, but not so much for humans.

What we believe is happening:

Also because of this tug-of-war between the functions of GLP-1 has most likely triggered the evolution of the this stable form of GLP-1 in monotremes. Stable GLP-1 molecules are desirable as a potential Diabetes Type 2 treatment. As the problem with humans GLP-1 is that there is not enough stability or length of time to dissolve the glucose to a normal level. Because of these evolution changes and optimization of GLP-1 we know that stable GLP-1 might be the factor we are missing when talking about fighting off Diabetes or at least treating it. Lastly a side note worth mentioning is that while Echidnas have produced the same GLP-1 variant found in Platypuses they do not have the same spurs that Platypuses have to deliver their venom, which in itself is curious and might be another key to unlocking the usage of GLP-1 for humans with Diabetes.

Future possibilities:

This being the first step, both researchers agreed that there is still years of research left until GLP-1 or possibly another factor could be used to treat and maybe cure diabetes. With that in mind we now see that sometimes our greatest chance for curing many diseases might not be found in our own but with a combination of nature, animals, and our body we might catch the disease before it is affecting the human. Preventative medicine versus Reactive medicine is what age we currently live in and this is just one more disease need to prevent.

Parkinson’s Disease may be Linked to Stomach Microbes

Currently there are 10 million people worldwide living with Parkinson’s Disease, in the U.S. alone there are 60,000 new cases diagnosed each year. Parkinson’s affects 50% more men than it does women with the average age of onset at 60. Like many diseases Parkinson’s is thought to be incurable but with the breakthroughs we are having every day in science it is not surprising that someone may have found the link to Parkinson’s through one of our many stomach microbes. Parkinson’s is a neurodegenerative disorder that we know slowly, or immediately, deteriorates the Neurons in the brain leading to loss of motor control and a decrease in the dopamine levels.


Gut bacteria’s may have a link to Parkinson’s Disease in that Gut Bacteria, or a lack-thereof, tends to lead to Parkinson’s or Parkinson’s like symptoms. One key factor as to why they looked at Gut Bacteria instead of continuing to search the brain of patients for clues, is because many Parkinson’s patients have many Gastrointestinal problems such as constipation precede the major ailments of Parkinson’s. Now this is not saying that because you get constipated you have a higher risk for Parkinson’s the scientist in question merely saw the link between major constipation found in Parkinson’s patients.



First scientist begin with raising three different set of Genetically Modified Mice, in different sets of cages, with Parkinson’s like disease either in normal cages, non-sterile cages, or in a germ-free environment. The mice in germ-free environments displayed fewer motor deficiencies and reduced accumulation of mis-folded proteins, specifically the Alpha-Synuclein Protein found in Neurons,  protein aggregates in brain regions involved in controlling movement. When put through a test of moving across a beam, removing adhesives from their nose, and scaling down a pole these mice had an almost normal level or performance when compared to mice without the Parkinson’s like disease.

Contrasting that, the same mice that had been raised in Germ-Free environments reacted poorly to experiments with microbial metabolites called “short-chain fatty acids” or when they received fecal transplants of stomach microbes from patients with Parkinson’s disease the poor reaction lead to worse motor symptoms then when not experimented with these injections.

Now when comparing the two against each other the scientist drew the conclusion that stomach microbes deteriorate motor symptoms by creating the environment that possibly increases the risk of increased accumulation of mis-folded protein aggregates.

Side notes

I would be falling into the Texas Sharpshooter problem if I did not state that in this study stomach microbes cooperated with a specific genetic factor to influence the risk for developing Parkinson’s disease. The scientist used specific genetic mouse models that would summarize motor symptoms through the Alpha-Synuclein accumulation found in brains of Parkinson’s Patients. Also genetically normal mice, that is mice who had not been raised specifically for the Parkinson like diseases, did not develop the same motor symptoms the other mice had when receiving the fecal transplants from patients. There was also the fact that confounding variables such as pesticide exposure also played a role in the disease.


The findings of the experiment suggest a couple of things, first that probiotic and prebiotic therapies have a huge potential to alleviate the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Contrasting to that the idea of using antibiotics or fecal microbe transplants are not a viable therapy option at this time but might be in the future with more research. Sampson, one of the researchers, is quoted with saying “Long-term, high-strength antibiotic use, like we utilized in this study, comes with significant risk to humans, such as defects in immune and metabolic function… Gut bacteria provide immense physiological benefit, and we do not yet have the data to know which particular species are problematic or beneficial in Parkinson’s Disease.”

Finally we come to the major conclusion that the most critical part of future experiments is to find specifically which pathogenic microbes contribute to a higher risk of having Parkinson’s later in life. On top of this the researchers have stated that the next major step would be to look for the bacteria that is specific in causing the deterioration of motor usage in patients allowing scientist to create a medicine that halts or greatly decreases the onset of Parkinson’s Disease.

Final Note

We are still years away from finding a cure or even a medicine to combat Parkinson’s but there is hope as this was a huge first step in the right direction. So always hold on to the hope that maybe not in our lifetime but in our children’s lifetimes there will be a preventative medicine that corrections the gene for causing folding in proteins that cause Parkinson’s.

Best time of the day to work out?

I have heard all sides of the debate when regarding what time is best to go to the gym, half of my friends say go in the morning it wakes you up and the other half shout back go at night its better to rest your muscles after you work out. I personally agree with the half that say work out in the morning to wake yourself up and get that nice boost of energy that is needed to get me through the day. However with the recent studies that have been done on mice regarding oxygen levels and circadian rhythm, see my last post for this to make sense, scientist now think that there is a way to use the time of the day to boost how much you work out and how much effort you will put into working out. All cells in our body including the muscles, are adapting to the changing conditions 24 hours a day 7 days a week. If this is true than scientist at Northwestern Medicine theorized that there could possibly be a way to manipulate the oxygen to truly boost our work outs even more so than, creatine, pre-work out, etc.

Lets look at what we know right now, first off there is the fact that all experiments up to this point have been done on mice so what we say works for them might not work for us humans. However that being said they found that while they made the mice exercise at different times of the day including night time, they found that because mice by nature are nocturnal creatures worked out well in the night time but not as well in the day time. This ties back into the circadian clock, while the mice clocks have been tuned into the night this means that their muscles are processing the nutrients like salt and sugar better at night when compared to the day which is when they sleep. The scientist then took this and conlcuded that if you applied this to humans in the same enivorment we would see a similar result except for the day.

In conclusion, to answer the question as of right now the best time to work out is anytime during the day but make sure it is between 7 A.M. and 5 P.M. as that is when most humans have geared themselves to be the most active and most awake. This post was mainly for debate purposes with a little side of science backing my belief but let me know what y’all believe and think.

How to stop Jet Lag

The circadian rhythm is what gives you your sleep schedule, if you have ever wondered why you stay up until 4 in the morning and do not wake up until 2 in the afternoon it is because you have conditioned your body over time to fit this schedule of yours. If you want to go to sleep earlier you have to re-condition your body into falling asleep at an earlier time and its kind of nice when you sleep from 9 or 10 P.M. and wake up at 7 A.M. However scientist are still baffled at what drives our biological mechanisms when dealing with the Circadian Rhythm however a recent study, and by recent I mean it was posted today, shows that there are many factors that deal with and affect our internal clock currently we know of three light, food, and temperature that affect the circadian rhythm of animals. The study was used to see if Oxygen was also a factor that would affect circadian rhythm and the study found that the variation of oxygen levels around mice reset their circadian rhythm thus allowing the researchers to hopefully apply this situation to Airplane’s Cabin Pressure thus stopping the affect of Jet Lag we face when we step off the plane. The reason for this is, the scientist believe is the HIF1α, the link explains what HIF1α is, is the link between oxygen and circadian rhythm as HIF1α is present in Oxygen Homeostasis and obviously throughout the body. The scientist first simply shifted the oxygen concetration twice a day that was present in a controlled enivornment with the mouse by a mere 3% and saw dramatic renewals in the mices, this allowed the mouses cells to synchronize to a circadian rhythm. With that finished they moved on to the Jet Lag Experiment.

First the mice were left to their regular schedules of sleeping, eating, and running on their wheels in a nice air-conditioned enviornment, when the oxygen levels were altered nothing serious happened regarding their circadian rhythm. Next the mice were induced to a 6-hour jump ahead in daylight hours this threw off their circadian rhythms, scientist theorized that varying the oxygen levels could help the mice adapt their daily schedules to the new time faster, basically skipping all the nasty side affects of Jet-Lag. The mice also saw a small drop in O2 levels 12 hours before the jump put the mice back on their circadian rhythm schedules faster and this was dependent on HIF1α in the mice.

Results: We see that the mice are indeed recovering faster but like Andrew has said many times just because it works for mice does not mean it will work for the Humans. So until more research is done on the topic we just do not have enough evidence to support the fact that O2 pressure may fix Jet Lag.

Conclusion: Currently Commerical Airlines have their cabins pressurized at the same level as cities who are around 6,000 to 8,000 feet above sea level, so basically it would be like picking up Flagstaff, Arizona and flying around with it. The reason the cabins have this low-pressure is because it saves wear and tear on the airplanes and they cruise through the skies at ridiculous hieghts. However too many passengers are complaining about the air-sickness they get from flying around so Airline Companies have been trying to find ways to increase the pressure and make passengers feel comfortable. Recently Boeing released the 787 Dreamliner in which the cabin pressure was actually increased and while the passengers actually felt better while in the air, the higher pressure actually hurt their chances for a quick recovery from jet-lag.

What is the Final Frontier?

When it comes to this topic there actually is a huge debate raging, what is Mankinds final frontier? Is it the deep blue sea that we have barely scratched the surface on or is it the big vast empitness we call space? I would argue it is Space. Space was the way our ancestors navigated their ways across the lands and oceans, to the  constellations that told the stories of their heroes and legends. To us today in which we think we know a lot about space however there is still so much to learn from space. But before we dig into the meat of the issue lets see where we have come as a species with our understanding of space and the universe as a whole.

First there was Aristotle that actually set forth the idea of the Earth being the center of the universe with everything rotating around us in perfect circles. Ptolemy would come along centuries later and improve upon Aristotle’s vague idea of the Earth being the center of the universe Ptolemy actually gave the theory a name, Geocentric model. For years the Geocentric model was held as true and right, even being adopted by the Church as the correct model since it played into the teaching of Earth being God’s most perfect creation and that we as humans are the best thing etc. Millenia would pass until one man, Nicolas Copernicus, would challenge the idea of Geocentric and actually put forth the idea of Heliocentric in which we rotate around the Sun and that we are not the center of the universe. Next would come Tycho Brahe who would improve upon this Heliocentric model and actually gain credible evidence to the idea of this, he in turn would hire Johannes Kepler the man would formulate the equations for Planetary Motion which included finding that our orbits were indeed not a perfect circle but more of a ellipses or oval shape, he would also explain the tides being affected by the moon, and the fact that the location of the planets to the Sun played a key factor in how fast the planet moved around the sun, i.e. Pluto is moving very slow and Mercury is moving very quick around the Sun. Finally Galileo would put the nail in the coffin regarding if Copernicus was right when he made the telescope that could magnify 30x and eventually published his own papers regarding the universe. With all of these ideas added up together Isaac Newton was able to formulate Gravity, he realized that with Kepler and Galileo’s ideas the same thing that causes objects to fall to the ground and the reason we are all still on the planet is the same thing that keeps the planets in the orbit they follow. From the beginning we see that we have come a long long way with our knowledge of the universe. Luckily we have technology on our side now, especially with the Hubble Telescope. So that begs the question what is left?

The answer is a lot more complex than we could ever hope to imagine right now. However we are making leaps and bounds when it comes to uncovering more and more of the truth. Such as the European Space Agency and NASA have teamed up and launched a new initiative regarding the Hubble Space Telescope, going farther beyond the Hubble Deep Field Telemetery or even Hubble Ultra Deep Field Telemetery. Right now as we are speaking there are many pictures being taken apart of the Frontier Fields program which has discovered many different new galaxies and even found the oldest galaxy to date which was formed a few hundred million years after the Big Bang which is crazy. However even more on that point is the fact that Hubble astronomers observed 16 background galaxies whose light is distorted so much that they form many images in the sky. This will let astronomers know and improve upon models of the mass in the clusters of the galaxies, both in matter and dark matter. Dark matter I should explain is something that cannot be seen by telescopes or anything really but it can be inferred through gravitional influences it has on objects and makes up a vast majority of the known universe. Let me know what you guys believe our final frontier is and why ou believe it is that for a reason.

Cramming means Energy Drinks right? Hopefully not anymore

I must admit right off of the back that I am indeed one of the students you will see around the library or the Testing Center with multiple energy drinks trying to cram for that test I should have studied for days ago but come on we all fall victim to procrastination every now and then. However what I need to talk about is what is actually in our energy drinks, what are we consuming, and why are they making us so jittery? Luckily for us the Mayo Clinic has done just the experiment we are looking for. Before I jump into that let me explain that this experiment shows many things but most importanly the study finds that consuming even one energy drink may lead to increased heart disease in young adults. That is scary because Monster and Redbull probably make their money simply off college kids during finals week. Lets jump right into the experiment conducted by the Mayo Clinic.

Experiment: A randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled pilot

The Mayo Clinic had 25 healthy young adults, who did not smoke and to the knowledge of the researchers did not have heart problems or any other disease, with an average age of 29 come in, 14 of the 25 young adults were males. Each volunteer was instructed to drink once 16 ounce energy drink and a placebo drink within 5 minutes of drinking the other one, there was no specified order of whether to drink the energy drink then drink the placebo or drink the placebo then drink the energy drink etc; they had to do this on two seperate days with a maximum of two weeks between those two days. The placebo was similar in everything to the energy drink except lacked the key ingredients of caffeine and other stimulants such as taurine, guarana, and ginseng.

As a side note, Taurine is a organic compound that is usually distributed in animal tissues, it is a big component of bile and can be found in large intestines. Guarana is a plant found near and around the amazon basin named for a tribe called the guarani tribe and its uses are mainly for athletic usage and treating minor problems such as diarreha, fever, headache, joint-pains, and heat exhaustions. Finally ginseng is actually considered quite healthy and used to give a short boost of energy and cure many problems such as allergies, joint-pains, headaches, sore throats, etc. From this we see that if used with organic ingredients energy drinks should not be that terrible for us but when bombarded with caffeine and sugar then the drinks become a very big problem especially when dealing with the heart.

Results: The blood pressure of the volunteers as well as ther norepinephrine levels, norepinephrine is the chemical produced by the body to counter-act the epinephrine or fight-flight response chemical, increased by almost 74% which is huge when compared to the 31% increase seen when people drank the placebo drink. Systolic blood pressure, which is when your heart is contracting during the pumps, is seen with a 6% increase when consuming the energy drink and a 3% increase when drinking the placebo.

Conclusions: Drinking an excess of energy drinks is very dangerous. What we see from the results is that energy drink consumption, even when drinking one, leads to many problems for our future selves. Now we all know that as Americans we can never consume just one energy drink, we must live into the sterotype of mass-consumption and drink a lot of energy drinks in one sitting. Which we can deduce is very dangerous, as one drink lead to many problems with the volunteers blood pressure, imagine what 4 or 5 could do in one sitting. Also to stave people away from over consumption here is a video showing what happens when you drink too many energy drinks in a short period.


Do we really need 8 glasses of water a day?


According to recent studies the tale of drinking 8 glasses of water a day might not be true after all. While yes drinking water is good for you, recent studies have shown one major factor that we are forcing ourselves to a schedule of drinking water rather than drinking when we are thirsty. Our brains have a mechanism that forces us to stop drinking water after an excess amount of water is drank to maintain the nice calibration of volumes of water in our body. Also shown is the factor that too much water intake can lead to a fatal water intoxication or literally drinking so much water you drown yourself from the inside which is not a nice way to go. At the normal rate you can drink about 4 cups or 1/4 of a gallon per hour for you body to process the water and filter it throughout your body. So if your body can only process 4 cups, which is half of the 8 that is “required” then something is not clearly adding up. There have actually been quite a few studies done on the idea of this mainly I will be talking about the Monsah University study of water intake. and ways it has implied water intake is dependent on the biological make-up of the person.

Monsah would take the route of using past experiments by asking the group under two condidtions how much effort would it take to drink water and these two conditions were after they had rigorous exercise then next time they were simply persuaded to drink as much water as they could in one sitting. After comparing both the results the researchers at Monsah concluded that there was a three fold increase in effort after over-drinking, which would imply that if you indeed drink too much water your body is going to try and get ways of releasing that excess water, whether it is through urination, sweating, or any other form of excretement. Monsah would also use the fMRI machine to measure brain activity when the participants would try and swallow water with much effort, the fMRI found that the prefrontal cortex, mainly the right side, was very active when drinking in excess showing that the biological mechanism to stop over intake of water is found somewhere in the right prefrontal cortex. This according to the scientist, proves there is some sort of drinking inhibition when you reach the point in where your body has a nice balance of water, which implies also that different people need different amounts of water to reach this point. Whether it is 8 glasses or 4 glasses or even more than 8 considering your job, such as athletes, construction workers, etc. Age is also a major factor to take into affect, mainly elderly people are not intaking enough water and therefore are needing more and more water as opposed to younger generations who seem to be drinking more and more water thus need to stem back on the water intake.


Finally the last point is a health issue in which drinking too much water might seem like its impossible to drinking too much water but as I explained earlier drinking too much is harmful to your body, if too much water is drank there is a danger of water intoxication, aka hyponatremia, which occurs when the sodium levels are dangerously low from too much water absorbing the salt causing lethargy all the way to convulsions or even more dangerous comas.

For more reading I would recommend also reading the research published by Monsah University here.

Let me know what you think!


E-Cigarettes; Tomorrow’s yesterday or Yesterday’s tomorrow?


What are you talking about? is probably what you are thinking right now but clearly the most controversial topic I would argue today is whether or not E-Cigarettes are actually more beneficial than tobacco cigarettes. While most studies take years to complete and we need more time to fully understand what the true effects. But the short term studies are quite invigorating and very shocking. First off let me concede that both articles concede that if using an E-Cigarette to quit smoking tobacco then it is indeed very effective however both articles reveal that E-Cigarettes actually are on the same page as Cigarettes with regards to heart diseases and the deteriorating of your Lungs. From Science News we see that E-Cigarettes might not have the same problem as traditional cigarettes such as Lung Cancer or increased plague in your heart valves and arteries but rather that the E-Cigarettes could affect anywhere from 53-164 genes in our bodies and those genes specifically tend to deal with the strength of our immune system and our lungs capability to filter out the bad things we generally inhale on a daily basis. So from this we can deduce many things, coming from both studies, that although we might not face the same issues that involve traditional cigarettes we open up to many new issues we have never conceived with cigarettes such as that with our weakened immune systems we open up to many colds, pneumonia, and the Flu. So while E-Cigarettes may be useful for getting people to quit cigarettes long-term use, that we can tell for now as Andrew has said many times nothing is proven, we learn that there is definitely a give and take relationship between E-Cigarettes and Cigarettes.

Let me know what y’all think!

Video games are… Bad??


As someone who plays video games quite frequently, whether I am playing Battlefield 4 or hitting the links with my friends I play video games. This got me to thinking about one thing does video games actually harm growth in children, so I did a little bit of research from a Vanderbilt study, a study by the ACSD or the Association of Christians in Childhood Development, and a similar study by the Dana Foundation. Three different studies which have differing views on the effects of video games on children’s growth and how it’s changing in school. However each different source also gave unique insights into video games and their use today. First off I will speak of Vanderbilt’s study, in Vandy’s study they first discussed the history of video games, such as their large and sudden rise in the market from 100 million dollars in 1985 to a whopping 4 billion dollars by 1990. That is a substantial growth in a period of 5 years and even from there the video game market has exploded onto the scene of Americans and as of today the video game market is currently valued at 93.6 Billion dollars. From something that came from Pong to the current bestsellers such as The Witcher 3, we can see how much the world as accepted this video game culture, our video games have evolved so much in regards to length of the campaign, the graphics alone could have a blog post unto itself, and the multiplayer ability across the internet. From there Vandy delves into the how many people actually play video games during the information era, 8-12 year olds are playing about 13 hours a week and 13-18 year olds are playing about 14 hours a week so we can see that video games have easily become a facet of our society as much as cellphones have. Next Vandy delved into the pros and cons that are consistent with video games, for the negatives we have the usual reports that most kids tend to spend way too much time with video games rather than playing outside and making personal connections with more people and the fact that violent video games actually do tend to increase the violence in kids that are younger so the 8-12 year old range is more affected by video game violence than the older generations also there is the increase in weight . For the positives there are actually quite a few affects people do not take into account, first being the fact that while kids are not playing outside they are also making friends online which is a nice counteractive point, secondly there is the fact that they learn to follow rules and guidelines on which to follow while playing video games, and most importantly there is the fact that there is so much to learn from video games for people. Games now today have puzzles that need to be solved, there are multitasking aspects to video games, there are strategy games that require deep thinking and actual use of strategy to beat your opponents, kids today have such a wide variety of games to pick from and essentially learn from. Both the DANA foundation and ACSD found similar results however the ACSD was skewed more towards the fact that too much video games can be very detrimental to our children and their growth which is very valid point and many people concede that fact.

So at the end of the day we all realize that the video game topic is very controversial I have friends who do not and have never played video games and I have friends who live off of video games and copious amounts of mountain dew, but from reading the facts and the evidence there is clearly no winner here for both sides but still the debate lives on. At the end of the day the decision is up to you.

Works Cited

Science is interesting but not for me

Hello class!

From grade up until now Science has been my weakest subject, from basic sciences to my Astronomy and Meteorology class I took here at Penn State, I have struggled to overcome the biggest factor for science which is how well do you grasp the subjects of science. Professor Reed said it best when he said, “This class is about teaching you to be literate in Science terminology,” and that’s exactly why I am taking this class so that any future encounter I have with science will not result in me nodding my head while inside my head I look like Homer Simpson when he’s scared


Like my title suggest I find science very interesting and exciting simply reading about the new discoveries Scientist are making everyday is exciting especially astronomy. Now that being said although I find science interesting I do not completely understand it nor find many other fields interesting besides Astronomy so that is why I will never major in any field of science.

Let me know what y’all think!