Category: Health

Effects of Probiotics, Prebiotics, and Synbiotics

Diane K., journalist

 It is estimated that people have trillions of microbes externally and internally. Though it might not seem so, these microbes are a very essential part of everyone’s health. Good microorganisms such as probiotics, prebiotics, and synbiotics can confer many health benefits, making it a popular topic among many. Research has shown that foods containing probiotics, prebiotics, and synbiotics are beneficial to health in several ways.

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Cabin Fever: What it is, and How You Can Avoid It

Beatrice L., Journalist

As millions of Americans stay at home because of the Covid-19 pandemic, you might have noticed that you’ve developed feelings of isolation, whether the longing for interaction, feeling bored or unmotivated, or even feeling yourself losing touch with reality. What you might not realize is that these feelings have a name. What you’re experiencing is an age-old phenomenon known as cabin fever.  

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Identity, Consciousness, and the Mind-Body Debate

Maya Tuckman, GW Chronicle Journalist

The mind and body debate encompasses a multitude of different theories that contribute to scientists’ understanding of human consciousness. It leads biologists and philosophers to question the extent to which our genetic predisposition influences our conscious and subconscious decisions through its critical reexamination of the mental and physical properties behind our actions.  

How does the metaphysical idea of the “mind” depend on the biological processes of the brain? How does this connection influence human behavior? How do physical changes in the brain alter a person’s mental state? How does consciousness alienate humankind from other species? These are all questions that branch out from the mind-body debate and lead to a much broader discussion of psychological identity, genetics and behaviorism, and nature versus nurture. The mind and body debate plays a fundamental role in examining these areas because it provides a structure to explore these questions further.

Scientists’ understanding of the mind and body debate of human consciousness is linked to identity, not in the ways we explicitly choose to identify, but because it describes the biological and mental characteristics we involuntarily possess as intelligent beings that comprise our personalities and behaviors. It relates to both the idea of who we are as individuals and what we are as the human race since the relationship between the mind and body dictate every thought, memory, or emotion we experience. This concept makes each argument compelling, and the debate, itself, demonstrates the complexity of human self-awareness.

Behaviorists, biologists, and humanists all have different insights as to how human consciousness operates. These perspectives conflict with each other over whether the mind or body are the same or separate entities. Neurobiologists may argue from a more materialistic outlook. They would say the mind doesn’t exist at all, and mental processes are characterized by the brain’s physical structure. This would mean that everything we feel, think, or experience is a direct result of brain activity. The other extreme is phenomenalism, which asserts that physical objects are manifestations of the mind’s perceptions and only mental objects exist. This suggests that the body is an illusion of the mind and an extension of our complex conscious thought.

Materialism and phenomenalism fall under the category of monism because they describe a scenario in which only the mind OR body exists. On the other hand, according to substance dualism, the mind and body both exist, separate and distinct from one another. Substance dualists believe in a division between the mental and physical elements; therefore, they reject the biological notion that the brain and mind are one physical system.

Behaviorists believe stimulus and response should dictate psychology in another branch of thought, while humanists believe people’s subjective perceptions are equally as significant when it comes to interpreting someone’s actions. Like how “a schizophrenic might not define their actions as ill, rather they would believe they had insight into some occurrence that no one else had.”

Though these numerous points of view offer interesting theories behind psychological processes, their conflicting natures reveal how little we know about them. There are countless studies to evidence each argument, but this only attests to the debate’s paradoxicality. Despite this, the mind and body debate supports further research and provides an interesting bridge between psychology and philosophy.

The Effects of Fast Food

Jillian Haskin, Science Department Co-Editor

After a long day at sports practice, the red and yellow food sign that can be viewed from a car window can entice just about anyone. Quick, oily, and filled with loads of sodium, nothing can top the first bite of hot fries and a bacon cheeseburger. Though the feeling of satisfaction that comes from choosing something off of an illuminated food menu is something wondrous, the effects of consumption may do more harm than good. 

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How Palforzia Can Change Lives

Katelan A., journalist

On January 31, 2020 the U.S. Food and Drug Association or FDA approved a new drug called Palforzia. Palforzia is a type of oral immunotherapy using peanut powder that lowers the risk of anaphylaxis in people with peanut allergies. Linda Herbert of Children’s National Health System states, “The stress and anxiety as a result of food allergies is comparable to that of other chronic illnesses.” With the FDA’s approval of Palforzia, some families’ stress and anxiety may be put at ease.

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Nurses on the COVID-19 Pandemic

Jillian H., Science Department Co-Editor

Automatic sliding doors blast a concentrated smell of hand sanitizer and icy air throughout each elevator and waiting room. Coughing, hacking, and wheezing greet most who walk in. Magazines are stacked neatly on tables, waiting for a handful of children to ponder through the pages. The clicking of small keys can be heard over the ring of phones from the receptionist’s office. The smell of gum and concentrated coffee meanders all around the lobby, as another child with a nosebleed stumbles through the shiny doors. A sterile atmosphere characterizes the beige and white walls and floors, all of which the harsh white light reflects upon, illuminating the sparkle from last night’s mopping. People of all ages lumber in, their current conditions plastered upon their faces. This was the everyday work atmosphere for most nurses. With the sudden introduction of COVID-19, many nurses now face a different harsh reality. 

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Going Gluten-Free

Francesca R., journalist

In an Italian household, deciding to go gluten-free was going to be hard. However, given my allergy to wheat, it was probably going to be a good idea. Much like how people who are lactose intolerant are notorious for consuming dairy, I was an avid lover of bread and pasta. The idea of going gluten-free was entirely preposterous to me. But a doctor suggested that it would be a good idea in order to help my seasonal allergies, as well as possibly improve my sleep and performance in athletic activities, so I decided to give it a shot. 

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Odontogenesis: Developmental Process of Human Teeth

Alexandra Hoethke., editor

Odontogenesis is the developmental process of teeth. Teeth undergo a specific developmental process that enables them to develop within the human gums fully. Within the general operation of odontogenesis are distinct developmental stages. The stages in which the teeth develop are initiation, bud, cap, bell, apposition, maturation, root formation, and eruption. (John Giunta, 1:33-3:49) Teeth development begins in the fetus stage of human development. During this stage, the tissue in the gums forms around the teeth. After this process, the teeth start to perpetuate through the gums. This stage occurs after birth. Consequently, the development of human teeth further advances as the human body grows and develops. (John Giunta, 0:04-0:32)

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