Author Archives: mtakhi

Is It Time To Say Goodbye To Energy Drinks?

At times, we all need that extra energy to, for example, study all night or to play an intense basketball game. Question is where can you attain that energy? Many teens and young adults are using energy drinks as a source for caffeine enrichment. Recent studies have shown that energy drinks can be unhealthy for teens and young adults. Energy drinks are becoming ubiquitous and are an easy access to many teens and young adults. These teens and young adults do little research about these types of drinks and are unaware of these consequences.

Energy Drinks Credit: Mike Mozart Source: Flickr Commons

Energy Drinks Credit: Mike Mozart Source: Flickr Commons

According to researchers from the University of Minnesota and Duke University, researchers have found that teens and young adults are at higher health risk with energy drinks as this is often associated with higher intake of other sweetened beverage and cigarette smoking. Even though consumption of soft drinks has decreased over the past few years, the consumption of energy drinks has tripled in recent years.  Researchers conducted an experiment in which 20 male high school students participated in this study and their daily activities were tracked. Results have shown that male students, who consumed energy drinks weekly, spend about to four additional hours per week playing video games compared to those who drank less than once per week.  Researchers have concluded that this can eventually lead to negative behaviour.

In addition, due to the harmful effects from energy drinks, many politicians are concerned how these energy drink companies are marketing towards people under the age of 18. This energy drink industry has had an increase in 60% growth from 2008-2012. A report has been released about the growing concern on the lack of regulation on these energy drinks by the U.S Food and Drug Association (FDA). This report was sent to 12 energy drink companies about their concerns and only 3 companies responded to this reports. These companies are in a very competitive field, and therefore, want to deviate away from these regulations.

Credit: Journeyman Pictures from Youtube

Association of energy drinks with alcohol has even caused more concern within the health field. An Australian study has shown that people who drank alcohol with energy drinks found to drink more than those who just drank alcohol.  In an experiment consisting of 75 young-adult participants, those who drank alcohol and energy drinks had a stronger desire for alcohol and wanted to continue boozing. There is a constant research happening on how alcohol and energy drinks interact with each other within the body.

Alcohol and Energy Drinks Credit: Oliver Goh Source: Flickr Commons

Alcohol and Energy Drinks Credit: Oliver Goh
Source: Flickr Commons

Taking a step back, there is a growing concern about the consumption of energy drinks by teens and young adults. Energy drinks have shown to cause heart palpitations (feeling of heart beating too fast or too slow). Companies need to work together to prevent marketing towards young adults and teens. As well as  drinkers must be aware of the association of alcohol with energy drinks. Next time you consider taking an energy drink, you may want to do some research beforehand.

-Manpreet Takhi

New Species Discovered in Antarctica?

Planning on travelling to another continent as a vacation? Why not book a flight to Antarctica? Antarctica may have long winters and short day-light hours but new species are still being discovered till this day. Thousands of scientists travel during the summer hoping to make astonishing discoveries and get a better understanding of this bitter-cold and isolated world.

A recent discovery has been made on fishes living beneath Antarctica by drilling holes through the ice and feeding a camera through it. These are not your ordinary fishes but rather a worm-like fish that live beneath a 740 m thick ice. Ross Powell, who led the team to this project, mentions that it is incredible how these species have managed to thrive with little to no sunlight and be isolated from rest of the world. These cameras usually pick up lifeless mud environment with at most microbe activities. However, the discovery of these fishes has definitely intrigued many scientists.

Fish found below Antarctica ice Credit: Reed Scherer (NIU)

Fish found below Antarctica ice Credit: Reed Scherer (NIU) Source: Scientific American

Furthermore, even though there are a few species thriving in Antarctica, how were their ancestors able to survive for thousands of years?  An international team has discovered that steam and heat from the volcanoes have helped many species to survive in ice ages. In addition, a team lead by Ceridwen Frazer has collected data for many decades and pinpointed a common trend. His team found that there were more species living near the volcanoes compared to other places. Frazer explains that these large volcanoes melted large ice caves that are warmer than outside. This has allowed species to survive during cold ice ages.

Antartica Credit: Vincent Van Zeijst Source: Wikimedia Commons

Antarctica Credit: Vincent Van Zeijst Source: Wikimedia Commons

Moreover, the environment of Antarctica has sustained life for thousands of years. However, there is a growing concern of large volumes of ice melting causing a rise in sea level and destroying ecosystems. Scientists are using computer software to run simulations of possible outcomes in the next few years. For example, they looked in East Antarctica’s Wilkes Basin. Currently a thick rim of ice at the coast is holding this basin in place. If this rim of ice were to melt, the basin can cause a rise of 300-400 cm in sea level.

Credit: Newsy Science from Youtube

Lastly, action has been taken to prevent the destruction of Antarctica due to global warming. Changes in sea level have devastated the food web by flooding its environment.  Commission for the Conservation of Antarctica Marine Living Resources’ (CCAMLR) are making an effort to protect waters around Antarctica.

Taking a step back, Antarctica has provided homes to many species. Scientists are still discovering new species in little to no sunlight areas.  Now there is a growing concern with sea level rise due to melting ice sheets, and we must do our research to find ways to prevent this deep concern. If you love the cold, then make sure to stop by Antarctica on your next flight.

-Manpreet Takhi

Thinking of pulling an all-nighter? You may want to think twice!

We all had one of those stressful nights with exams and had to pull all-nighters. However, will it actually help you get an A? Recent studies show that it may be more beneficial for students to sleep on time rather than staying up all night. Lack of sleep have shown to affect both memory retention and health.

all-nighter Source: flickr

All-nighter.  Photo Credit: Edward Langley. Source: Flickr

Firstly, sleep and memory are interconnected. Sleep is essential to turn short-term memory into long term memory. This is known as memory consolidation. With inefficient amounts of sleep, this process cannot be completely successful. Furthermore, hippocampus is where all the memory is stored in the brain. This is where it can be greatly affected by lack of sleep. Research suggests that important points throughout the day are recycled through the brain specifically in the hippocampus.

Hippocampus Source: Flickr

Hippocampus.  Photo Credit: Steve.Milway. Source: Flickr

One of the research models about memory formation is the O’Donnell and Sejnowski’s model. Their model suggests that memory formation occurs during the dreaming stage. During this stage the hippocampus organizes memory by retaining the important information from the ones you don’t need.

Secondly, sleep deprivation is a serious factor that can affect one’s health. It affects millions of people in North America. It can be caused by stress and anxiety. There has been a link found between sleep deprivation and cell damage. Research has found damaged cells in the liver, small intestine and the lungs.  They found that lack of sleep causes cell damage showing that there is a direct link between sleep and health. However, further study shows that recovering from lack of sleep restored those damaged cells. This shows that a consistent sleeping schedule is vital for a healthy body and memory.

In addition, lack of sleep can cause the memory to recall information inaccurately known as memory distortion. Kimberly Fen, an MSU associate professor of psychology mentions that memory distortion is greatly increased during sleep deprivation. Many students do not get enough sleep every day and are sleep deprived throughout the weeks. This makes it more likely for them to have memory distortion and can worsen as they age.

Furthermore, in another research study led by Brigham and Women’s Hospital, they found that women who sleep five hours or less per day experience a more distorted memory later in their life. They even found that a greater fluctuation in the amount of sleep can seriously affect the memory. Getting a regular amount of sleep will prevent memory distortion.

Sleep studies Source: Flickr

Sleep studies.  Photo Credit: Chief Jimbo. Source: Flickr

Looking back at this, it is not worth the risk of pulling an all-nighter to hopefully ace the test. We must look past just the test and focus on our health. Sleep deprivation has been linked to cell damage that ultimately affects our health. Just hit the hay rather than staring at a book the whole night.

-Manpreet Takhi