Author Archives: brendanguyen

20/20 Vision

Wearing prescription glasses can be an inconvenience. Remember that time when you were cooking and they fogged up? Or that time it was raining outside and you forgot an umbrella?

Wet Eyeglasses
Source: Gravity of the Situation WordPress

There are several reasons why people choose to look into other alternatives. Among the alternatives, contact lens and laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis (LASIK) surgery are popular choices.

Inserting Contact Lens
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Corrective Lenses
Unlike eyeglasses, corrective lens don’t interfere with daily activities and give an unobstructed view. Although corrective lens provide temporary 20/20 vision, opthamologists advise against wearing them for extended periods of time. Corneal damage can result from long-term use as well as improper cleaning. In fact, researchers at the Oregan Health & Science University found that long-term contact lens users, who wore contacts daily for 15 years, suffered a higher rate of vision loss than those who opted for laser eye surgery.

LASIK Procedure
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Laser Eye Surgery
LASIK is a surgical procedure where the cornea is reshaped. A microkeratome is used to create a flap in the cornea so a laser is used to reshape the underlying cornea. The cornea is reshaped to allow light to be focused on the retina for better vision, thereby correcting the patient’s vision.

After undergoing the LASIK procedure, successfully, patients are thrilled with their 20/20 vision. Patients are able to see naturally, and not worry about eyeglasses obstructing their view or having to insert their contacts. Although this procedure seems miraculous, there are many risks. There is the possibility of regression, which is when the patient’s eyesight worsens, difficulty seeing clearly in the dark, dry eye symptoms, and loss of vision. In that regard, it is critical that prospective patients be cautious and do their research. They should see if they’re good candidates for the surgery and they should research the best ophthalmologist to carry out the procedure.

This video outlines the LASIK procedure.YouTube Preview Image

As someone who has undergone the LASIK eye surgery procedure, I would definitely recommend it. I definitely had the procedure too young, so I am experiencing some regression. However, if I were to have the surgery again, knowing this, I would do it again in a heartbeat. Having to wake up to a blurry surrounding until I inserted my contacts or put on my glasses, I never realized how much of an inconvenience it was. The other positive thing I would like to note is that the procedure has since saved my parents a lot of money that we would have spent on eyeglasses and contacts.

Hopefully those considering this operation will consider the advantages and disadvantages and be cautious when deciding!

-Vy (Brenda) Nguyen

Oxytocin: The reason for monogamy?

To the insecure, the girlfriends, the wives and the crazies: I guess you can finally put an end to splurging on beauty products! It turns out it is not the endless hours we have spent before date nights that reminds your man to remain faithful to you – it is actually because of the hormone, oxytocin. Oxytocin is a hormone secreted by the pituitary gland. It is often referred to as the “love hormone” or the “cuddle hormone” since it’s released during hugging, touching, and other intimate moments.  

Many people mistakenly call oxytocin the “love hormone” when “attachment hormone” or “bonding hormone” would be more suitable. This video outlines other chemicals released in the brain through the various stages of romance!

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Chemical Structure of Oxytocin
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Monogamy is not prevalent in mammals. In fact, humans are part of the few species that serve as an exception to this and it is oxytocin that is responsible for this partner bonding.

Larry Young, a professor of psychiatry from Emory University in Atlanta, examined prairie vole brain activity during bonding. Young compares these rodents’ behaviour to humans, in that their oxytocin concentrations rise during bonding. It was observed that monogamous male voles had a strong desire for their partner and acted in a hostile manner towards other females.

This video outlines Young’s findings of prairie vole brain activity with regards to bonding.

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Dr. René Hurlemann, an executive senior physician from Bonn University Medical Center, and researchers from Ruhr University of Bochum in Germany and the University of Chengdu in China, collaborated to examine the effects of oxytocin in humans, specifically in males. They showed pictures of their female partners and pictures of other women to 40 heterosexual males. These males were given a dose of oxytocin (in a nasal spray form) and then a placebo, on another day.

The Good?
After being administered oxytocin, it appeared that their reward system, in their brain, was very active when shown pictures of their female partners. In fact, according to their brain activity, males found their partners more attractive than other women.

The Bad?
With oxytocin activating the reward system between lovers, Hurlemann suggests that the lack-of oxytocin  might be responsible for the immense sadness and depression people experience after parting ways with their partner. Individuals experience a state of withdrawal, with the reward system being significantly less active.

Your best bet for faithfulness would be to increase your oxytocin concentration! Give your special someone a hug or two and complete a challenge together! This should increase activity in your reward system and remind your significant other to remain faithful!

-Brenda Nguyen

All-Nighters: Not worth it

Pulling An All-Nighter
Source: Pink and Black Magazine

I can recall the countless times I have found myself on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or other social media sites when I should be studying. In wasting all that valuable time procrastinating, I end up pulling an all-nighter in order to complete my assignment. Or that time when I realize that I spent the majority of the term slacking off, so I resort to pulling all-nighters during final exams in attempt to learn all the material. 4 months’ worth of course load in 24 hours…that’s possible, is it not?

Many people believe that all-nighters are necessary to achieve better grades. Is it worth sacrificing a few hours of sleep to attain a higher GPA?

The answer, unfortunately, is no!

The Anatomy of an All-Nighter
Source: Staff Writers, OnlineColleges

Christian Benedict, a professor of Sweden’s Uppsala University in Sweden, and other researchers, performed a study to determine the repercussions of pulling an all-nighter. These sleep researchers analyzed the blood content in fifteen men: after they had a full 8 hours of sleep and after they pulled an all-nighter. After the participants pulled an all-nighter, researchers discovered an increase in the concentration of NSE and S-100B in the participants’ blood. The Swedish researchers compared the effects of sleep deprivation to that of head injuries’ (similar to a blow to the head or from a car accident), since it is known that the molecules NSE and S-100B increase in blood during head injuries.

According to study funded by NINDS (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke), the brain’s role during sleep is to rid itself of toxins. Lack of sleep may be connected to neurodegenerative disorders, which are result from toxin build-up between brain cells. Examples of neurodegenerative diseases include multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

Not only are all-nighters harmful to brain health, sleep deprivation leads to poor grades! Pamela Thacher, a professor at St. Lawrence University, discovered that students who frequently pulled all-nighters had worse GPAs than students who didn’t. Dr. Philip Alapat, a medical director and professor of Baylor College of Medicine, agrees with Thacher in that a lot of rest helps with memory retention and increases both academic performance and concentration. Alapat recommends that students get 8 hours of sleep, study during the evening (6-8pm), and not abuse caffeinated beverages to increase both health and GPA!

For the students who might disagree and exclaim that they have received a better score when they replaced an hour of sleep with an hour of studying: it is not worth it if it is at the expense of your well-being!

The video below outlines why sleep is necessary for maintaining brain health.

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Happy studying!

-(Vy) Brenda Nguyen