Tag Archives: blog period 1

Are there real health benefits from eating placenta?

In today’s society, cultural trends spread fast while publicity figures have become news sources that go relatively undoubted by their followers. Its no surprise now that so many women are defending the presumed health benefits of placenta eating to help alleviate the difficulties of afterbirth. Celebrities like Kim Kardashian as well as Hollywood actors have spoken out in support of placenta eating, making it trend that everyone is willing to follow. Me being very in the know of pop culture, I wanted to look into how legitimate these health benefits are, since so many people follow these media figures for lifestyle tips without looking into scientific reasoning or even checking to see if media figures practice what they preach.

Stated in a Science News article by Laura Sanders, supporters of placenta-eating claim quickened healing in afterbirth, better mood, and helps lactation production, the alleged mechanism being the hormones and vitamins in the placenta. In most articles found, a woman named Jodi Selander was used as a source in discussing the supposed benefits of placenta consumption. Selander has a business based in Nevada in which she dehydrates womens’ placentas and puts them into pills for easier consumption (Sanders). Her website, which has an advertisement for a placenta emporium on its homepage, can be found here.



From researching this, I found in an article by Marla Paul that the lack of scientific support in the benefits of placenta-eating is still an issue, but that an even bigger issue is the newly publicized finding of its possible risks and dangers. Paul, writing an article for Northwestern University’s website, cites a major study published by the Archive of Women’s Mental Health. Researchers gathered information on studies done examining the benefits of placenta-eating and created this overview, which as of June 4th of 2015 seemed to be the only major scientific research looking into this new health-craze. The study found that research into the effects of placenta eating had only been evaluated with animals, which had statistically significant results, but which cannot carry over to human females (Coyle et al.). The study also makes note of the large issue that the placebo effect may have in these perceived benefits of the placenta consumption preventing postpartum depression; animal tests would not be able to validate these variables (Coyle et al.).

This publication prompted articles from Science News (referenced earlier) and NPR, amongst others, warning of the lack of support for the trend’s benefits and introducing the risks of the trend.

In the NPR article written by Tara Haelle, quotes and information are provided by supporter Daniel Benysheck, an anthology professor who has studied the benefits of placenta-eating. In this article written about the publication of the overview of studies, Beysheck stated that he would be wrapping up a random trial experiment in 2016 in which the placebo pills made by Selander would be administered (Haelle).

The experimental trial done by Beysheck was recently published just last month, which itself was originated in a conflict of interest, due to it being a research study done by both the study’s authors and Selander’s placenta pill business (Benyshek et al.). The study analyzed the composition of a daily dose placenta pill from 28 different women’s processed placenta (Benyshek et al.). 14 elements, including vitamins such as zinc and possible toxins such as mercury, were measured by part per million (ppm) in these 28 different women’s processed placenta pills (Benyshek et al.). The results show the amount of healthy vitamins/minerals found present were small percentages under 10% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for lactating women. The toxins measured were seen to have even more minimal amounts in the placenta pills that were nowhere near harmful levels (Benyshek et al.). The only element of the 14 studied found to be higher than 1 PPM was the percentage of iron at just 24% RDA for lactating women. From this scientific study, there is provided evidence that the placenta pills are likely more of a placebo than its current status of an all-healing ailment.


Young, Sharon M., Laura Gryder K., Winnie David B., Yuanxin Teng, Shawn Gerstenberger, and Daniel Benyshek C. “Human Placenta Processed for Encapsulation Contains Modest Concentrations of 14 Trace Minerals and Elements.” Nutrition Research 36.8 (2016): 872-78. Web.

“Should You Eat Your Baby’s Placenta?” by Laura Sanders 


“Placentophagy: therapeutic miracle or myth?” study overview

How does music affect the way we view the world?

When walking to class, doing schoolwork, or simply hanging out, music works as a mediating background. I realized that on this campus, and probably most other college campuses, everyone is almost always using music to create their own personal buffer to the world. There is approximately an endless number of playlists designed around what you’re feeling and want to feel. Even in movies and tv, music is used as some sort of regulator for mood, used to evoke greater emotion from the audience. I decided I wanted to find out how much music truly impacts human emotion, thus affecting the way in which the world is perceived.



In finding out how perception may be impacted, I found a large overview, or meta-analysis, examining an array of experiments done to study the relationship between (no lyric) music and perception. Differing experiments were discussed, each one having slightly different variables. In most of these experiments, visual stimuli were used in combination with music to help evaluate the ways and situations in which music has an effect on perception (Hanser, Mark 305).

Authors Waldie Hanser and Ruth Mark stated that these experiments involved participants listening to happy or sad music while or before having to rate the emotionality of a picture of a person’s facial expression. The facial expressions were rated on a point scale. It was found in multiple experiments that participants listening to happy music while rating a picture would rate it more highly in mood, while participants listening to sad music while rating a picture would rate it lower in mood (Hanser, Mark).

Additionally, experiments were done in which music was played prior to the presentation of the visual stimuli to be rated by participants. In a specific study by Nidhya Logeswaran and Joydeep Bhattacharya, as explained by Hanser and Mark, a wider range of music was used than just happy and sad, measuring on the music and the person on the variable of arousal. Additionally, they had participants rate neutral visual stimuli (Hanser, Mark 314). In this specific study, the effects of the music seemed to be stronger when the stimuli (such as a picture of a person’s facial expression) was neutral or ambiguous (Hanser, Mark 313). This overview showed that there is a definite correlation between happy and sad music and the way in which people perceive visual stimuli.

Writing for Scientific American, sognitive science professor Mark Changizi has an argument in support of Hanser and Mark’s overview, specifically citing this Logeswaran and Bhattacharya study in discussing how music affects emotion. Changizi explains that the study shows a connection between auditory senses and the evoking of emotion, but clarifies that it is not clear why music has such an effect. In trying to deduce why music is so emotionally provoking, he hypothesizes that this is due to music’s relation to language, making it an abstract form of it (Changizi). Changizi’s other hypothesized reason for music’s emotional effect is its relation to the human movement of dancing, its auditory stimulation helping bringing it to the mind.

All in all, both Hanser and Mark’s meta-analysis and Changizi’s hypothesizing agree on the correlation between music and a person’s emotions and feelings having a possible causation in the auditory stimulation crossing over through the system of senses. While no causation has been established, Hanser and Mark concluded that in future studies there must be experiments in which a more direct relationship can be established (320).


Meta Analysis 2013

“Why Does Music Make Us Feel?” article by Mark Changizi


Spotify Link