Page 1

THE DAILY WILDCAT Printing the news, sounding the alarm, and raising hell since 1899



NEWS - 2



COFFEE, HOLD THE COLD UA professor finds that disposable coffee lids can carry harmful bacteria and viruses

UA study: Brain sees more than you know BY MARK ARMAO The Daily Wildcat






CHARLES GERBA, a professor in the Soil, Water and Environmental Science Department, swabs a coffee cup lid to test for the number and type of bacteria on the lid in the Veterinary Science and Microbiology building on Tuesday. Gerba conducted a study that revealed that coffee cup lids carry bacteria that could transmit anything from the common cold to the flu to those who come in contact with them.


The Daily Wildcat



Follow us on Twitter

Find us on Tumblr

Coffee lovers beware: Coffee cup lids can be home to a host of harmful viruses and fecal bacteria, according to a UA professor. Charles Gerba, a professor of environmental microbiology in the Soil, Water and Environmental Science Department, studies how diseases spread among people and objects in indoor settings. Gerba recently examined the bacteria on 40 coffee cup lids from various coffee shops. Ten of the lids made up the control group, meaning they weren’t handled, while the other 30 were the experiment group. These 30 lids were handled by coffee shop owners and customers alike, accumulating bacteria that was then looked at in the lab. Gerba found that the lids were contaminated with fecal

bacteria through the presence of E. coli, which indicated that viruses could be present as well. “It’s basically ‘catch a cold with your caffeine in the morning,’” Gerba said. “I don’t think most people expect it.” Jonathan Sexton, a research specialist in community, environment and policy who has worked with Gerba in the past, said testing for E. coli is an easy way to show the presence of fecal bacteria, among other forms of bacteria. “E. coli is a fecal indicator,” Sexton said. “It’s really easy to process in the lab, and it’s really cheap. Some of these other organisms cost hundreds of dollars just to look for it in the lab.” Gerba said E. coli was just one of the indicators in his study. He also saw other bacteria present, like the Noro virus, which causes adult diarrhea. Bacteria like these can cause people who handle and who drink from these coffee lids to get not only

diarrhea, but anything from a common cold to the flu, said Gerba. Bacteria-infested objects like gloves and sponges are the most prominent danger sources, Gerba added. Sponges are used to clean counters and gloves are worn so that objects don’t make contact with employees’ hands directly. However, it’s worse when the harmful bacteria begin to grow in the sponges and on the gloves themselves, which employees and customers expect to be sanitary. “People handle [the lids] when they give [the coffee] to you, so whatever’s on their hands they transfer onto the lids,” Gerba said. “Not everybody washes their hands, and they [bacteria] grow on the sponges and gloves.” Erin Mullen, a pre-veterinary freshman, said she wasn’t too surprised to learn that there’s

Imagine that your friend walks into the room wearing a dark shirt. You turn to look at him and notice something odd on his shoulder: a big tarantula peeking over at you. You instantly warn your friend of the creature’s presence, and the danger is averted. This situation requires your brain to do some high-level processing of shapes and meaning after a moment’s glance. Researchers at the UA are trying to figure out what exactly goes on in the brain immediately after visual stimuli are observed. “The question that we wanted to ask: ‘How does the visual system process the meaning of shapes when you’re not consciously aware of those shapes?’” said Jay Sanguinetti, a graduate student in the Department of Psychology and one of the authors of the study published in the journal Psychological Science. The traditional view is that the brain isolates certain objects in the field of view and quickly works to identify and respond to those objects, largely ignoring the things in the background or along the borders of the primary objects. The study found otherwise through an experiment designed by Sanguinetti. In the experiment, subjects are told to look at a computer screen that periodically flashes a white shape on a black background for a fraction of a second. The subjects are told to push one button if they recognize the shape — whether it’s a cactus, a bicycle or an ice cream cone — or press another button if it is a “novel shape,” a random shape that doesn’t mean anything to them. However, what the subjects aren’t told is that many of the novel shapes have hidden shapes along their borders. For example, the subject may be shown a courtesy image in which a novel shape is silhouetted by a meaningful one. The researchers are trying to figure out whether the subjects can perceive objects of which they aren’t consciously aware. To find that out, Sanguinetti uses electroencephalography equipment to measure the electrical activity in the brain — namely, a spike that occurs 400 milliseconds after the stimulus is shown called N400. Sanguinetti said although it is unclear exactly what



ON OUR APP For breaking news and multimedia coverage on the go — check it today.


PARTLY CLOUDY Coffee, Va. Mocha, Chile Latte, Italy

66 43 LOW

39 / 25 61 / 38 52 / 44


So what am I thankful for this year? The UA and the opportunities it presents me, my friends ... and lastly, my family, for always supporting me. Happy Thanksgiving, UA.” OPINIONS — 4

Rec Center ranked No. 1 most impressive BY MAGGIE DRIVER

The Daily Wildcat The UA’s Student Recreation Center was ranked the No. 1 most impressive student recreation center in the U.S. last week. Bestvalueschools. com ranked schools’ recreation centers according to the design and eco-friendly awards they had won, in addition to their size and nontraditional amenities they offer, such as rock climbing walls. The UA Rec Center was the only facility on the list that had earned the LEED Platinum designation from the U.S. Green Building Council. LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is earned based on ecofriendly architectural features, with platinum being the highest possible rating. One example of how the Rec Center is ecofriendly is the glass walls and windows around the facility that allow natural light to come in, therefore reducing the cost and use of artificial light, said John Lloyd, the associate

director of Facilities and Services for Campus Recreation. The expansion in 2010 also helped make the facility impressive, Lloyd said, as it allowed for a two-story weight room to be added to the facility, along with other amenities. “We’re utilizing the space we have very efficiently with the amount of equipment we have,” Lloyd said. “Students can move around, and you don’t feel like you’re shoved in a small space.” For students who don’t want to just work out, the Rec Center also offers intramurals and group fitness classes that help students branch out, Celaya said. Other amenities, such as the Think Tank and Fuel Modern Eatery, make it well-rounded, she added. Along with gaining points for its ecofriendliness and design, the Rec Center also got one “Wow” factor point for its rock climbing wall. “We offer something for everybody,” Lloyd added. “Whether it’s hardcore fitness people … or someone who just


UA COMMUNITY members work out at the UA Student Recreation Center on Tuesday. The Rec Center was recently ranked No.1 “Most Impressive” by

[wants to] hang out and play video games for a bit.” Brittany Allen, a physiology junior, has played intramural sports at the Rec Center since the second semester of her freshman year, which is how she met many of her friends. Allen said she didn’t know that intramural basketball was available at the Rec Center until she

walked in and decided to get involved. “That’s what attracted me in the first place,” Allen said. “There’s just so much to do there. It’s not just machines, but the actual events that are going on.” Samantha Celaya, a business management senior who works at the Rec Center’s front desk, credits the high rating to the 2010 Rec Center

expansion. “Before the expansion came on, I don’t even think we would have been considered for anything,” Celaya said. “I think it’s great how much we’ve really improved within the past three years.”

— Follow Maggie Driver @Maggie_Driver


In this edition of the Arizona Daily Wildcat: Coffee, hold the cold UA study: Brain sees more than you know Artists aim to make Congress cr...

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you