Category Archives: Uncategorized

Marijuana and its Green Glory!

Do you ever get the urge to rebel against something your told not to? I’m sure most of you would say “YES”! Most of us do it for the ‘high’ and adrenaline rush that we experience. Ever since we have been children, curiosity grows in us to go against what we are told not too, this continues in to our adult lives as well. Especially, when it comes to ‘drugs’. Those are a big “NO NO” our parents, teachers and elderly would say. So the questions arises, is marijuana really as bad as it is said to be, or are there benefits that make this ‘gateway drug’ a positive addition to our health.

Source: Flickr Commons. Marijuana Plant

Surprisingly, there are 5 health benefits associated with Marijuana:

1) Suppresses Cancer

Source: Flickr Commons. Cancer Cells

A study that took place in 2012, found that marijuana had a compound within it that was able to suppress and kill aggressive cancers such as leukemia.

2) Reduces Blood Pressure

Source: Flickr Commons. Blood Pressure

A study from 2005-2010, showed that users of marijuana compared to non-users, had a 17% reduction in insulin resistance levels.

3) Treatment of Glaucoma

Source: Flickr Commons. Optometry Equipment

When marijuana is consumed orally or by inhalation, it helps to lower eye pressure that leads to blindness with people who suffer from glaucoma.

4) Alleviates Pain

Source: Flickr Commons. Pill

Marijuana has been successful in using its anti-inflammatory properties to treat illnesses such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and migraines.

5) Inhibition of HIV

Source: Flickr Commons. HIV

A study conducted with monkeys helped to show that a daily dose of the active ingredient in marijuana, THC, helps to stops the spread of the disease throughout the body.

Source: Flickr Commons. Marijuana Cigar

These are just a few of the benefits that marijuana possess. So if you are on the fence about trying this ‘green bud’, just remember its not as bad as we think it is!


By: Rubeen Sangha

Marfan Syndrome: tissue disorder in tall people

Are you tall, thin, have flexible joints, flat fleet and crowded teeth? You may be a victim of Marfan syndrome. Marfan Syndrome is a genetic tissue disorder that affects the connective tissues of the body, specifically long bones. People with this disorder are born with it but the features are usually present later on. This disorder affects 1 in 5000 people worldwide although not many people are familiar with it, such as myself. An article I came across on this subject caught my attention because I have physical features such as a tall, thin build with flat feet, similar to the symptoms. There is however, many tall people with the physical features of the disorder but are not diagnosed with it, which is most likely my case.

Source: Flickr Commons Author: Michael Dorausch

The tissue disorder is caused by a mutation or defect in the gene that produces fibrillin-1, the protein involved in Marfan syndrome. This defect results in an increase in production of a protein known as transforming growth factor beta (TGF), which initiates defects in the connective tissue of the body. This disorder can affect many areas of the body since connective tissues are found throughout the whole body. Commons areas infected are bones, joints, the heart, blood vessels and the eyes. Because of this, it can be life threatening. Most deaths are cardiovascular related.

This videos goes over some physical signals of Marfan Syndrome:

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An eight grader from Urbana, Illinois was diagnosed with the disorder at six-years-old. At the age of 13, she was just over 5 feet and 10 inches. Luckily for her, she began treatment at a young age to prevent any serious complications. Treatment of this syndrome involves daily intake of beta-blocker medication and an echocardiogram once year. Unfortunately, her father was diagnosed in his late 20’s and after years of strenuous activities such as playing basketball and football, his heart had experienced too much damage to be treated. When undiagnosed and untreated, there is up to 250 times the risk of a tear or rupture of the aorta. The effects of this syndrome are therefore serious and should be better communicated to people in order to be aware of the condition.

So if you know anyone that is young and has any of these features, it might be worthwhile to mention the tissue disorder as it could possibly prevent further damage and save a live.

Jessy Duhra

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

Left or right preference in birds

Handedness is an individual’s preference for the use of a hand, and can also be described as being left-handed or right-handed. We all know that some people are right handed, and some are left handed, while others are blessed with ambidexterity, but did you know that individual birds also favor a particular side? Scientists at The University of Queensland’s Queensland Brain Institution (QBI) and the Australian Research Council Center of Excellence in Vision Science have worked together and discovered that budgerigars (also known as common pet parakeet or shell parakeet) display an individual bias to fly to the left or right.

Picture of a budgerigar. Source: Wikipedia


The researchers flew the budgerigars down a tunnel that has an obstacle in the middle of it. The budgerigars then had to pick between two paths to fly through. Sometimes, the paths are the same in size, other times one is bigger. Some birds showed no preference and flied through the larger path every time, while others had a bias towards one side and flied in that path even if it was narrower and more difficult to fly through. Scientist speculate that this allowed groups of birds travelling together to navigate past obstacles by splitting up in different directions and not slowing down to crowding.

What’s really remarkable though, is that birds can display a preference for one direction in one task, and another direction for a different task, such as which side they land on a perch or which feet they use to land. This showed that an animal’s thought could be more complex than we initially believed. However, researchers said more investigation must be done in order to observe the behavior of the birds in groups and examine if their different side preference when flying stayed the same.

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Source: Flickr Commons. Assortment of Dark, Milk, and White Chocolate.

Chocolate is a delicacy that most of us have been indulging ourselves with since we can remember. It’s something that we nibble on when are studying, watching television or just doing nothing at all. Most of us can say that eating chocolates can bring a smile to our face. Besides bringing a smile, chocolates have some pros and cons that should be considered.

Let’s start with the BITTER side of chocolate!

Even thought chocolate is really yummy, it can be bitter at times with its negative effects. First of all, consuming chocolate is not cheap. Eating the finest of chocolates can significantly increase ones shopping bill, as darker chocolates with more “cocoa” content are more expensive than milk or white chocolate. Besides the cost factor, chocolates do sadly pack a lot of calories with them. For example, 100g “dark chocolate” contains 510 kcals, “milk chocolate” 520 kcals and “white chocolate” 529 kcals. These can be a lot of unnecessary calories to intake. Furthermore, chocolate consumption can lead to glucose and mood swings. As most of us know, chocolates contain a lot of sugar. With large amounts of sugar present, it leads to increases in development of obesity and type-2 diabetes. Also mood swings occur because the sugar is able to alter levels of endorphins.  Another downside of eating chocolate is acne. Hormonal fluctuations caused by chocolate, lead to those unpleasing bumps that appear on the surface of our skin.

Now the SWEET side of chocolate!

There are many benefits that also come with eating chocolate. Most of these benefits come from dark chocolate in particular. Dark chocolate is good for the heart as it helps to lower blood pressure, improves blood flow and prevents formation of blood clots. The brain is also benefited, as the chocolate helps cognitive function. Dark chocolates are full of antioxidants, which help free the body of radicals that cause oxidative damage to cells. Vitamins and minerals are as well present and help support the daily health requirements that the body needs. Specifically, the copper and potassium in the dark chocolate help prevention against stroke and cardiovascular ailments.

Source: Flickr Commons. Chocolate

Basically the next time you bite into a piece of chocolate, just remember that it can be BITTER-SWEET, as there are both positives and negatives.


By: Rubeen Sangha