Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Children and Sugar-- Mary Tiernan

Being a parent and now a grandparent, in my many years of child rearing I truly thought that sugar had a negative effect on children.  After reading this assignment, I was enlightened that sugar consumption has no effect on children’s behavior.  Activity levels in children vary with their age.  A 2-year old is usually more active, and has a shorter attention span, than a 10 year old.
A child's attention level also will vary depending on his or her interest in an activity.  Adults may view the child’s level of activity differently depending on the situation.  For example, an active child at the playground may OK.  However, a lot of activity late at night may be viewed as a problem.  Refined (processed) sugars may have some effect on children's activity.  Refined sugars and carbohydrates enter the bloodstream quickly.  Therefore, they cause rapid changes in blood sugar levels. This may make a child become more active.

  Additional research was completed on my reviewing this topic and I found that there is a documented effect that sugar has on the following.

  • Each 12-ounce (355-milliliter) serving of a carbonated, sweetened soft drink contains the equivalent of 10 teaspoons (49 milliliters) of sugar and 150 calories. Sweetened drinks are the largest source of added sugar in the daily diets of U.S. children.
  • Consuming one 12-ounce (355-milliliter) sweetened soft drink per day increases a child's risk of obesity.
  • Acidity from sweetened drinks can erode tooth enamel and their high sugar content can cause dental cavities.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Fat Burners

  In today's day and age, we are growing more conscience of our bodies. Not only in appearance but what goes into it. Hydroxycut is one fat burner in a sea of many that use the pseudo-science technique to get consumers to purchase their product.
   It can be difficult to tell the difference between scientific claims and pseudo-scientific claims but the majority of the time, the tell all would be in the evidence. Hydroxycut is heavily reliant on testimonials rather than clinical trials and studies. At one point the parent company claimed they had done clinical trials, and the new formulas were "clinically proven" but were unable to produce a number of subjects in the trials, nor journals stating observations. Many feel that it may be because whatever findings they did have were weak and couldn't stand refutation.
Every Hydroxycut commercial is about results, which brings us to the next characteristic, emphasis on confirmation rather than refutation. Hydroxycut focuses only on the success stories. What you don't find is studies on how effective it really is as well as how safe it is.When Hydroxycut first debuted I was under the assumption that this was a miracle pill. it helps you lose weight and you don't have to do any work. What they don't tell you is that these people had to maintain a diet and exercise regularly.
If you are exercising regularly and maintain a healthy diet, you will 100% of the time see results. Adding these chemicals and toxins to your body, may have long term effects that they haven't encountered yet. So in a way taking these fat burners to quicken the process, may help you today, but may hurt you tomorrow.


     Astrology is a pseudoscience based on the premise that astronomical phenomena can be used to predict or interpret events in our life. The planets in our solar system are said to represent life forms that can be interpreted based on their zodiacal positions and how they're situated in space relative to one another. It is said that this can give a comprehensive analysis of a person and their future potential based on their natal horoscope.
     Unfortunately the astronomy field is one filled with extraordinary claims that lack irrefutable evidence. Controlled experiments show that astrologers' abilities don't exceed the degree of chance of their predictions coming true, although it is barely testable to begin with due to the vagueness of the predictions. Astrology itself even has some inconsistencies in its history. First, there used to be 13 zodiac signs, the missing one being Ophiuchus, which was discarded after it was decided 12 was the favorable number of signs. Also they don't account for the "wobble" of Earth's axis over a period of 26,000 years. This wobble has changed the current signs to be at least one sign off from the constellation the sun rises in from 2,000 years ago!
     Personally I don't believe in astrology or horoscopes but I do enjoy reading them from time to time. Enjoy this short 1 minute video from Bill Nye on the subject.

There's a storm a'coming...

Arthritis and the weather have been linked for quite some time due to the reports from those afflicted experiencing them first hand. I am one of those who can tell when a rainstorm is coming. I experience bone deep grinding flare ups of pain. When this happens often enough you start to take note of patterns. What exacerbates your pain? What relieves it. I noted an increase in my pain during changes in the weather, specifically changes in humidity. I do not believe that this is an illusory correlation as stated in our book, Scientific Perspectives on Pseudoscience and the Paranormal by Timothy J. Lawson. The article referenced in the text (chapter 2)  is from 1996, and I do believe there have been some further investigations into these claims since then. In a recent longitudinal analysis done by Savage, McCormick, McDonald, Moore, Stevenson and Cairns published in 2014 in Rheumatology International they concluded that arthritis symptoms were significantly lower in sunny less humid conditions. A recent Tuft’s University study also noted there was an incremental increase in pain during barometric drops in pressure greater than 10 degrees. Scientific proof is still refuted though. Now it is a debate on specific “types” of arthritis that experience these changes, and determining which ones actually experience it. All I know is, when I start feeling the aches and pain in my knees and hands, I grab an umbrella...

Savage, E., Mccormick, D., Mcdonald, S., Moore, O., Stevenson, M., & Cairns, A. (2014). Does rheumatoid arthritis disease activity correlate with weather conditions? Rheumatology International, 35(5), 887-890.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Essential Oils: Not So Essential

Essential oils have become a very popular trend over the past decade. Companies such as doTERRA and Young Living Essential oils are growing rapidly as they are promoting alternatives methods to health and wellness. And in the world of pseudoscience, people’s health is a huge target as everyone is looking for alternative methods that bring quicker and more effective results.
             Essential oils can be used on the skin or in some cases taken orally. They are said to be able to heal burns, headaches, and basically all other illnesses. The only issues is that none of these companies provide controlled tests that prove their oils to be effective. They also make claims of these oils for doing things that cannot even be tested such as balancing a person’s chakras and restore harmony to their “energy” flow. I put quotes around energy as this word is frequently used in pseudoscience claims as it sounds scientific but has no scientific value. They also claim that essential oils have been used for centuries, which is also a big indicator of pseudoscience.

            I wanted to bring this to everyone’s attention in this blog because I had personal experience with this and wanted to share it. My mother was a huge advocate of these oils and I remember growing up with it. When I would get a headache or an injury she would apply her oils to the area. They never did anything but burn and produce an unusual smell.

Full moon crazies

If your ever in a hospital, ask any nurse what happens during a full moon. Nine times out of ten they will tell you all the patients go nuts, “every looney comes into the ER”, and if something weird is going to happen it’ll be on a full moon.  Why is it that rational people connect the events occurring in their workplace with the phases of the moon. I’ve even heard that it’s worse when the moon is in retrograde. The funny thing is for a scientific community there is no scientific evidence to back this up. There have been studies done trying to see the correlation of the moons stages to the events that occur in the hospital, none are conclusive. There is no connection to the moon. Even the belief that it effects the tides, and waters of the earth therefore, since we are made up of 80% water we too must be effected by this pull. Incorrect. The moons pull is small overall and only effects open water such as lakes and oceans.  Logic reasoning therefore should tell us that this belief is a fallacy. It’s coincidence that we see an upswing of events during the full moon. Yet it never fails that when  I work on a full moon it always ends up crazy busy! People’s perceptions are already set, and the preconceived notion that a full moon will end in chaos will eventually be made reality simply because the person already perceives it as truth.

My Future

A while back ago, i want to say back in 99 or 2000 my aunt had asked me to accompany her to a psychic. i figured sure why not. I expected the works, a neon eye sign lighting up a store front window, a round table with a crystal ball, the works. What i got was an apartment inside the projects in the Bronx. because of the difference of reality and what i had assumed, i began to think that maybe this lady was the real deal. while my aunt went to go get read, i sat in the kitchen with, i assume was her daughter or granddaughter. I asked the girl if this was real, if she was able to really read people and situations. the girl told me that she (the psychic) predicted that she would meet her then boyfriend. she said it wasn't immediate and she is off sometimes by a couple of months but she is able to do it. Just then another woman walked into the kitchen and told me that the psychic wanted to see me. I was a little shocked that she knew i was there. in hindsight, she could have 1 seen me coming with my aunt, the woman who opened the door could have told her i was there, or she could have heard me talking. I entered this room through beaded curtains (at least something cliche was there). Candles were lit, the scent of incense was almost nauseating, and pictures of saints adorned every wall. The psychic was a Dominican lady who only knew Spanish, so i needed help with some words as i am fluent in conversational Spanish, not really the supernatural. So the "helper" was there to translate. She told me that i was "invincible", and she explained not jump off the roof and you won't die invincible but you are able to handle a lot of pain, more than others, and that there are times that i should have died. I quickly associated that to every accident i've had in my life up to that point (i once put my elbow through a plate glass window and a shard sliced my neck open, about 1/2 an inch away from my carotid artery). saying to me that i should have died, immediately triggered a memory that i could relate to it. She went on to talk about how i would live a happy life, she saw me with a pretty woman and we would have a nice house and family. Again this generalized statement, i couldn't relate to so i fell back into my skepticism. She told me that i would have a daughter within the next year, but the mother would keep it a secret so i wouldn't know until later on when my daughter would need help and i would accept her into my life without question. She also said that my daughters name would start with an "A". by the end of my reading i left half skeptic. fast forward a year or two later, i was dating a Russian girl who claimed she may be pregnant. Again this triggered my reading memory and i started to freak out. My mind started to over analyze the situation and i even went as far as to look up common Russian girl names which of course, one of the top 10 were Anya. To further play with my mind, the girl broke up with me and i saw her a few months later and she was indeed pregnant. She said it wasn't mine, and i believed her.

Often we as people want to believe in the supernatural. We want to believe that there is more to life than just what we see, but we discredit actual science and follow pseudoscience, because pseudoscience affects us on an individual level. it fills the needs of the ego. My experience with a psychic, drives home some of the points in Chapter 5.3. Not only did the reading cause me to remember something specific to a generalized statement, but when something relatively close to my reading happened, i remembered that instance. I ignored the rest of the reading since none of it had come true, but because certain things happened and i was able to associate them to the reading my belief in the psychic and the paranormal became that much stronger.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Modern Witchcraft

          In my junior year of High School we watched the 1976 movie, Sybil, and ever since then I have been so intrigued by multiple personality disorders. The belief is that MPD is caused by severe childhood trauma and through having multiple personalities; the victim can escape the reality of their trauma. This is such a controversial disorder because it is impossible to diagnose. The majority of people who suffer from MPD do not show symptoms under they begin receiving treatment with MPD proponents.
            Before 1970, there were less than 200 cases and by the 1990’s, there were tens of thousands of cases! One of the most interesting things that I came across while reading more about this disorder was that this disorder dates back to ancient forms of shamanism and demonic possession. The idea that an individual can have multiple personalities is present in many cultures, each with distinct differences, but the biggest thing that all of them have in common is that these individuals are greatly influenced through hypnosis because they are in a dream state.

            It is amazing to me how there is still a debate on whether or not this is truly a disorder or not. I also agree with the argument that both the client and the clinician can be at fault for this “disorder.” The following YouTube video points out that this disorder became a cultural phenomenon after the movie Sybil came out. This special New York Times report does an amazing time discussing the history on Eve and Sybil. I highly recommend watching this video to see how the case of Sybil evolved.