Archive: May 2021

Social Initiatives

Health officials have consistently stressed the significance of maintaining a sense of community throughout the pandemic, but for many, this may feel impossible. The benefits of having these connections range from improved mental health to a stronger immune system, benefits that have largely been put on pause due to the presence of the pandemic. Many people have turned to online communities and spaces to fill this social gap, including children. Kids are undoubtedly hit the hardest in terms of missing friends and classmates, as they will be lacking in essential social development and stimulation by the end of the COVID crisis. Some suggestions for maintaining connections include distanced walks or streaming a movie together. While it may be difficult for the time being, being able to support one another in any way we can will help drive us toward returning to our communities in full.

The month of May has been deemed Mental Health Awareness Month by the National Alliance on Mental Illness. What is this month dedicated to? How has COVID-19 taken a toll on the mental health of people? And how can we remove the stigma surrounding mental health? Read on to find out!

Mixed Martial Arts has been a recognized combat sport for centuries, which incorporates fighting techniques from a variety of other sports, including wrestling, boxing, karate, and more. Yet, it was only since a few decades ago that women were able to participate in MMA in any way. In fact, the very first tournament allowing female fighters was only held in 1995, and even in 2011, the president of the UFC, a popular MMA organization, stated that women would never be able to compete in the UFC. Nevertheless, over the past decade or two, female MMA fighters have gained a significant popularity, and are known as brilliant role models to women and girls around the world.

Dreams often contain our subconscious thoughts and fears, and with COVID lurking in the back of everyone's mind, it's no surprise that more people are feeling like they’ve gotten up on the wrong side of the bed. As Cara, Max, Marie and Advik are slamming down alarms for 8 a.m. classes, they have all found time to give us a little insight into their subconscious by writing a dream diary entry. Join them as they piece together their thoughts and paint their pandemic dreamscapes!

 

Scientific News

In 2018, the United Nations warned that we only have twelve years to limit the climate change catastrophe. That gives us until 2030—the year that scientists estimate we must significantly reduce carbon emissions by—to prevent the global temperature from rising 1.5˚C before the century ends. This reduction target of 1.5˚C is vital in minimizing the widespread impacts of climate change which include extreme heat waves, natural disasters, increased precipitation, rising sea levels, and a severe threat to wildlife. This present and prevalent issue is time-sensitive, and we must act now to prevent an irreversible climate change catastrophe.

Genetic testing allows doctors to detect absent or defective genes in a fetus; it provides a way to identify certain pre-natal medical conditions in the patient. As for what it actually looks like, pre-natal testing can take many different forms, such as blood tests, an amniocentesis (studying the amniotic fluid), or a CVS (removal of a piece of the placenta). Bearing children comes with various levels of risk depending on the age of the parents, which is why pre-natal testing is recommended especially for those whose children have a higher risk for birth disorders. Now, the methods for pre-natal testing have widely expanded to increase the safety and comfort of the process.

“Senior moments”. We’ve all heard of these infamous, tiresome qualities associated with becoming older – such as struggling to remember the name of a coworker, politician, or celebrity, only to have it reappear into our mind only a few hours later when we are no longer actively trying to remember. Although we are all prone to certain lapses in memory on occasion, these so-called “senior moments” do tend to increase as we get older. Contrarily, several cognitive abilities do tend to continue to improve with age and there are individuals who seem to be particularly exceptional when it comes to the effects age has on one’s cognitive, physical, and socio-emotional abilities.

The micro-bacteria found in the intestine plays a vital role in one's physical and psychological health. As such, a study was conducted in Bangladesh to determine if improving the gut health of malnourished children would in turn help them grow and gain weight more effectively. This was done by observing the effects of the dietary supplement MDCF-2 compared to the calorie-dense supplement normally used to treat malnutrition (RUSF). The researchers observed many factors, such as the plasma proteins and the bacteria in the feces of the children. At the end of the study period, it was found that the gut health of the previously malnourished children now matched that of healthy children. Additionally, the children continued to grow at a healthy rate, displaying a positive correlation between gut health and overall nutrition.

 

Advice/Tips

It is well known that sleeping well is vital for good mental and physical health, but what is the best way to sleep? There are multiple combinations of sleeping positions that vary in support and benefits. Some common sleeping positions include the fetal, soldier, and starfish positions. More generally, sleeping positions fall under one of three categories: side sleeper, back sleeper, and stomach sleeper. The various positions tend to fall under those categories. It should be known that there isn't a single, widely agreed-upon, sleeping position. The best position for you may be different from others due to individual health status, preferences, and mattress type.

"I can do it later," "I'll do it when it's an even time," "I still have 12 hours to do it". That's what we try to tell ourselves. According to Wikipedia, procrastination is the action of delaying or postponing something, putting things off that you have to do intentionally or habitually. It's hard to convince ourselves to do something, but procrastinating doesn't necessarily mean we do nothing; we might be distracting ourselves with trivial activities.

 

Other News

As a reminder to do our part in keeping our planet healthy, Earth Day has been taking place every year on April 22nd for many decades now.  Established by a few activists in 1970, it aimed to inform the public of the effects of pollution and a toxic climate on the Earth when many people were completely unaware of these dangers. Now, it continues to encourage us to benefit the environment, and there are many ways in which you can do so. For instance, using reusable bags is a habit that many people have still not adopted, yet it’s an easy way to reduce the amount of single-use plastic you are consuming. However you choose to improve your impact on the Earth, make sure to form long-term habits rather than contributing only one day a year!

The Netflix Documentary Seaspiracy, though released only recently in March, has already had a tremendous impact on the awareness of the public regarding sustainable fishing. Although it has sparked controversy, it has also taught us many lessons about issues in the fishing industry, as well as what we can do to help solve them. For instance, the documentary explores the topic of bycatching, or when fishers catch, but discard animals if they are not wanted. Moreover, it speaks to the pollution and dangers to ecosystems caused by fish farms, fishnets, and more. It also brings awareness to the more surprising but devastating situation surrounding human slavery within the industry.