Table of Contents
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What Types of Food are Good or Bad for Your Skin?
What a Headache!
To Roll or not to Roll
Exercising Joint Care
Nutritional Strategies for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
ObamaCare and Women’s Health
Go FETCH! Guide to Eating Well on Campus
Sleepless in Seattle[’s Best Coffee Dependency No More]
Beginner’s Guide to Eating and Exercising as a College Student
Boosting Focus through Nutrition
Medical Uses of Video Games
Just How (Un)healthy is a Vegetarian Diet?
Mental-Health-Based Discrimination in Cornell Admissions?
The Benefits and Costs of Creatine as a Workout Supplement
The Affordable Care Act and Women’s Health
Did you Hear That?
© The Student Body 2012
ello, and welcome to The Student Body’s first issue of the 2012-2013 school year! For future reference, we plan on publishing another two issues this school year during the second semester. Our magazine has undergone some changes in leadership and size in the past year, as we added the executive board positions of Editor, Outreach Chair, and Secretary to the already existing positions of Editor-in-Chief, Graphics Editor, and Treasurer. The Student Body team would like to take this opportunity to introduce you to our goals as a student-run health publication. As you may have guessed by our magazine title, we are a magazine written by students and for students, with the focus of our articles on student health. We plan to write our articles in such a way that an educated reader with little to no background in science or health policy should be able to understand our points. We hope to take creative, organized approaches to health issues commonly faced by college students, and we plan to reflect this creativity and accessibility through the graphic layout of our magazine. Every issue, our staff will publish an Editorial, which reflects the opinion of the majority of staff members on a given topic. In a given issue there will be other opinion pieces written by individual writers, but these articles do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Student Body staff as a whole. Now, just because you’re a reader of our magazine doesn’t necessarily mean you will be passively flipping through its pages like you would with the latest issue of People while you’re lounging on the beach. If we had to guess, you most likely fit into one of these three categories of readers: the overachieving Cornell student, the overachieving Cornell professor, or the overachieving parent of an overachieving prospective Cornell student. So your intelligent, curious self will be tempted to read and critically think about the facts, issues, and opinions presented in this magazine—please, DO succumb to these urges! As journalists, we love nothing more than stirring up conversation and questions about a given topic. We writers, designers, and editors are only human, so while we strive to get the facts exactly right, unfortunately, we sometimes get them wrong. This is where we hope you—the engaged active reader—will bonk us on the head and raise a red flag and mention that information used in an article seems not quite right, and to politely refer us to, for example, another source we may have overlooked. We appreciate any feedback that will help us grow even more as a magazine. Another part of this whole “being engaged and active” persona is your right as a reader to submit an opinion piece in response to any of the articles featured in a given issue. We hope to develop and maintain an “Op-Ed” (opposite the editorial) page in which we will publish your responses for our entire readership to see. We love hearing fresh perspectives, and we will do our utmost to accommodate your voice as space allows. Finally, if you find yourself participating as a reader above and beyond the “call of duty,” consider joining us as a staff member! We are always looking for new writers and designers. You can find our contact information on the back page of every issue. Happy reading! The Student Body staff
Meet our Executive Board Editor-in-Chief Editor Graphic Editor Treasurer Secretary Outreach Chair
Sarah Parauda Helen Tian Mytien Nguyen Susan Duan Alison Jarmas Ariel Wampler
Advisor Bruce Lewenstein
Produced by Mytien Nguyen, Amy Chen, Kathy Zhang, Vinayak Portonovo, Katie Smith, Siyu Yang, Sherry Wang and Ali Soong.
whattypesof foodaregood orbadforyourskin
Yoon Jo (Crystal) Chung
any college students today are not aware of the correlation between food and skin care. Nevertheless, we can all agree that the acne and blackheads that pop up on our faces drive us crazy. We try so many ways to get rid of them, and yet they stubbornly persist. Here is a little secret that we all should’ve been told a long time ago: we are what we eat! Our diet affects the health of our skin, and there are various kinds of foods that are especially good and bad for our skin. So exactly what choices do we make every day that cause those pimples and blemishes? Soda is one of the worst mistakes we college students make for our skin. Along with soda are sweets and simple carbohydrate foods such as desserts, white bread, and white rice. They are detrimental to our skin because the high levels of glucose in these foods trigger hormonal activities, which then cause acne.
Some other obvious foods that are unhealthy for our skin are foods that contain large amounts of saturated fats and hydrogenated oil, such as fast foods. These fats and oils accumulate in our skin cells and can cause excess oil build up. So next time you decide to order a burger or fries at Nasty’s, think about what you will be doing to your skin. 4
The good news is that most of the foods that are harmful to our skin are obvious for us to see and notice. There is a direct parallel between the health of our skin and the health of our bodies. We all know that fast foods and soda are not the best choices we make for our bodies. But we also know that foods unhealthy for our bodies are inevitably unhealthy for our skin as well. So not only is it easy for us to distinguish which foods are beneficial for our skin, but also by taking care of our skin, we will be boosting your overall health. On the other hand, water, green tea, fruits, and vegetables are salubrious for our skin. Green tea has antioxidants called catechins that fight bacteria and decrease hormone activity. Fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants and vitamins. The nutrients from these foods will keep your skin looking healthy!
For beautiful and healthy skin, stay away from soda, fast foods and desserts. Instead, have a lot of water, green tea, fruits and vegetables. You now know all the choices you have to keep your skin and body healthy, what choices will you be making?
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© The Student Body 2012
What a Headache! By: Alison Jarmas
early every college student knows just how inconvenient and painful it can be to deal with headaches in the midst of assignments, exams, activities and interviews. Yet experts at the National Headache Foundation are suggesting that college students are particularly prone to primary headaches, which are headaches that are not associated with another disease process. Exhaustion, stress, anxiety, poor posture, inadequate nutrition, excess caffeine and alcohol and eyestrain from hours spent over books and computer screens can prove to be a lethal combination. Psychological stress from academic and personal commitments can exacerbate the symptoms.
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NSAIDs are associated with increased risk of heart attacks, high blood pressure, kidney damage, ulcers and general digestive system upset. Even more distressing: long-term use of painkillers for headache management can result in the occurrence of recurring â€˜rebound headachesâ€™. These rebound headaches are more challenging to treat and are often associated with aggravated or intensified symptoms.
In fact, medical directors at headache clinics across the country propose that repeated use of over-thecounter painkillers for episodic headaches actually reduces the levels of a chemical called serotonin in The vast majority of headaches experienced by the brain. The result: changes in perception of pain college students are classified as tension-induced and a lower pain threshold, which ultimately nulheadaches, which involve sustained muscle con- lifies the positive effects of the painkillers. This is traction. This decreases the blood flow to the re- most pronounced when the medications are comgion, irritating the muscle and nerve fibers. An as- bined with caffeine â€“ which is, of course, standard tonishing 90% of the adult population is believed for college students. Most experts suggest that to be affected by tension headaches, while 3% suf- taking painkillers two or more times per week for fer from chronic tension headaches. Women are headaches is excessive, and alternatives should be nearly twice as likely to be affected (Williams Col- considered. lege). Sufferers report pain and discomfort that is typically dull or pressure-like in both the head and If your headaches are troublesome, consider pracneck, usually with associated muscle tightness. ticing better posture (such as not using your laptop curled up in bed), as shoulder and neck strain For most people, proper hydration, a quick nap can trigger tension headaches, drinking more waor some acetaminophen or ibuprofen can do the ter throughout the day, and taking breaks during trick. Yet there are long-term side effects from con- the day to rest or go for a walk. Lastly, time mansistent or excessive use of over-the-counter pain- agement, getting adequate and regular sleep, and killers and non-steroidal anti inflammatory drugs cutting back on caffeine and alcohol can be very (NSAIDs) that must be considered. Ibuprofen can effective. Think twice next time you reach for the cause stomach upset, blurred vision, drowsiness bottle of painkillers for a headache: the solution and difficulty breathing, while medicines contain- might really be as simple as maintaining proper ing acetaminophen have been linked to extensive posture and hydration. liver damage.
A l e x
Z e l e n y
vicii and the craze associated with his performance recently rolled through Cornell’s campus, captivating almost everyone’s attention. Conversations across Cornell were filled with inquiries as to whether or not you got a ticket. If this first question was passed with a ‘ yes,’ it was almost always followed effects of stimulants and hallucinogens with the question: “Are you going to roll?” combined. In the brain, the drug induces the release of serotonin, dopamine, and norepiMethylenedioxy-methamphetamine (MDMA, nephrine. The drug also acts on several difmore commonly known as ecstasy) was clas- ferent receptors in the information-processsified as a Schedule 1 drug in 1985, making it ing center while secreting several hormones one of the most restricted and illegal abusive from the hypothalamus. Overall, MDMA substances. Schedule 1 drugs have a high po- elicits a variety of complex responses from tential for abuse, have no acceptable medical the human body. uses, and pose a safety hazard to the user. Even with this knowledge of the drug, reOften referred to in its most pure form as searchers are still not certain as to what “Molly,” the drug has become more widely the source of the psychoactive effects are. It abused over the last few years among young was originally thought to be from the excess people, especially those in high school and serotonin release, but other drugs that have college. Lately, people have started taking the same chemical effect on the brain do not this drug while attending raves or electronic cause the user to experience the same psymusic concerts, greatly supplementing its chedelic trip. Overall, it is the combination of growth in popularity. neurotransmitters, hormones, and receptor deformations that lead the user to experiThe drug has many effects on the human ence the high and the side effects of the drug. body and cognition. It is known to produce a relaxed, euphoric state in which users feel at With all of the attractions of Molly come peace and accepting of both themselves and a plethora of negatives that can ruin the others. Usually taken in pill form, the drug user’s overall experience and potentially provides the user with a boost of energy that cause harm to his body and/or mind. Physiallows them to dance or move for extended ological effects often include: teeth grinding, periods of time without feeling any exhausincreased blood pressure and body temperation, hunger, or thirst. This high-energy, ture, increased sweating, difficulty sleeping, sensory-enhanced experience makes the nausea, and erectile dysfunction, among drug very popular at events such as our past others. These short-term effects, coupled Avicii concert. with the desire to move and lack of thirst, can often lead to hyperthermia (dangerously MDMA belongs to a family of drugs known as high body temperature), dehydration, and enactogens, which are known to have the possibly death.
© The Student Body 2012
After using the drug, people often feel exhausted, anxious, or depressed as part of their descent from the high. Some users are unable to sleep well for months and feel as though life is less exciting. As mentioned above, Ecstasy acts by flooding the brain with serotonin, a mood regulating neurotransmitter. If the drug is abused too heavily in a single usage or repeatedly, long term damage can occur at the serotonin-transmitting axons, possibly leading to long-term depression or other effects that have not yet been discovered. To repeat, Molly is a Schedule 1 drug and should be taken VERY SERIOUSLY.
So, you have weighed the options, heard good reviews from your friends that have tried it, and still want to experiment--hereâ€™s how to stay safe. First, DRINK WATER! As your desire to move, body temperature, and perspiration levels increase, you body loses tons of liquids. Hydration before, during and after the use of Molly is the most important action you can take to reduce the risk of serious bodily harm. There are also testing kits online that can de-
termine if what you have obtained is safe and not â€˜cutâ€™ with any other drugs or harmful substances. Knowledge of its source can reduce the risk only slightly, as it has probably passed many hands before reaching you. Finally, if you have questions or experience problems in any way, Gannett Health Services can provide you with more information in order to make an intelligent decision. In the end, Molly will be available on college campuses, especially around times of large concerts. The drug is known to create unmatchable and indescribable feelings of joy while also posing a serious health risk. It is up to the individual to balance the risks and benefits in deciding whether or not to try it. I hope this article has provided information detailing both sides of the argument to allow you to make an educated decision regarding the matter. If you do decide to try the drug, heed the precautions listed above, be safe, and have a great time. Reproduced from 
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Excercising Joint Care By Dan Buchalter T
he importance of working out and eating right in order to maintain physical and mental health cannot be overstated. Therefore, as a reader of the Student Body, I will say nothing to persuade you to do either of these things, as they should already be a part of your health-conscious lifestyle. What is overlooked, however, is the importance of maintaining joint health in order to continue pursuing your fitness goals.
these causes. For the most part, however, we can avoid such injuries by training, eating, resting and recovering correctly.
The first, and arguably most important, measure for maintaining joint health is lifting correctly. Bad form can lead to bursitis, or inflammation of the bursaeâ€”fluid filled sacks that reduce joint friction. Such conditions can induce pain and possibly permanent damage through prolonged injury. Poor technique can If our joints are not operating at their peak, our also lead to tendonitis, caused by tears in the ability to train and maintain fitness, and even tendons of the joint. Many people choose to igsimply go about our lives, becomes limited. nore pains that indicate these conditions, putThere are many causes for a joint injury, pro- ting themselves at risk for poor joint health in viding the necessity to understand and avoid the future. 8
ÂŠ The Student Body 2012
The first step to correct technique is using the right training routine. A well-organized routine that alternates between periods of higher repetition and lower repetition works best. Training should not last more than an hour and every body part should be limited to 1-2 training sessions a week.
less well known and are important to note. Of utmost importance is to not disregard the intake of good fats, emphasizing essential fatty acids (EFAs) such as those found in fish and flax oils. These fats play a huge role in anti-inflammation and hormone production.
Even when dieting, it is important to maintain It is impossible to overemphasize the impor- caloric intake at a reasonable level in order to tance of warming-up. A warm muscle contracts avoid loss of bone mass and subsequently poor more forcefully and relaxes more quickly than joint health. Many dieters cut their calories too a cool muscle. Increased body temperature im- low when embarking on a fat loss phase and proves muscle elasticity, greatly reducing the consequently do irreparable damage to their risk of strains and tears. Dilating blood vessels joints. reduce resistance to blood flow and ulti- “Increased body temperature Some research indimately lower stress improves muscle elasticity, cates that increased on the heart. Lastly, consumption of Vitagreatly reducing the risk of increased blood presmin C lowers cortisol sure allows for a more levels and improves strains and tears.” efficient delivery of joint health. Vitamin C oxygen to working muscles from hemoglobin. is required for the formation of connective tissue (the tissue that supports your joints) so 2-3 Proper execution of an exercise with the proper grams of this vitamin a day is recommended. weight is crucial, as it reduces the tendency to jerk the weight and cause unnecessary micro- Lack of proper rest and recovery also constitrauma. Exercise form should never be sacri- tutes a major obstacle towards maintaining ficed for the sake of adding weight as this com- joint health. Too much training and consisbination not only affects how much the muscle tently training at 6 repetitions or less cause is actually stimulated, leading to poor muscle severe joint trauma over time, which can ultibuilding results, but it also leads to unneces- mately result in osteoarthritis, bursitis, tendonsary stress due to performing an action that has itis or even a full tear. When muscles are not a physiologically safe alternative. allowed to fully recover, trauma caused at the previous training session will remain and acLack of proper nutrition constitutes another cumulate. During sleep, the body produces all extremely important and often overlooked area anabolic hormones that deliver the nutrients in maintaining joint health. Without the right to the joints. Sleep deprivation ultimately leads nutrients, the body’s ability to adapt to work- to depressed hormonal production, affecting out-induced stress diminishes. Malnutrition your recovery and allowing this accumulation can lead to micro tears in the tendons as well of trauma. as deterioration of the cartilage in the joint. This can ultimately lead to osteoarthritis, due If something hurts, don’t do it. Try exercises to rough cartilage causing extra friction, which that do not trigger this pain and seek profeswill likely necessitate arthroscopic surgery and sional medical help as it is best to avoid any joint replacement. potentially lifelong injury. When it comes to working out, as with every other aspect of life, I will not delve into a full discussion of proper exercise caution, exercise moderation, and ultinutrition, however, some nutritional facts are mately, exercise joint care.
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Nutritional Strategies for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
olycystic ovary syndrome may sound like an obscure, multisyllabic diagnosis, but in fact this disorder is quite prevalent, affecting 5-10% of women worldwide. Diagnosed based on high male hormone levels, lack of ovulation and polycystic ovaries on ultrasounds (12 or more follicles in each ovary measuring 2-9 mm in diameter), the syndrome can have detrimental effects on fertility, psyche, appearance, and cardiometabolic health. It manifests in adolescence during puberty and thus, there are many lifestyle changes with nutrition and exercise that can be very helpful for any teenager with PCOS. Weight loss is the first issue that should be targeted in PCOS due to the fact that in the United States, approximately 50% of women with PCOS are obese. Obesity can have long-term consequences as it increases the magnitude of hormonal and metabolic dysfunction. Over a six-month period, modest weight loss of approximately 7% of one’s body weight can make a strong impact on insulin sensitivity and cardiovascular risk reduction. In a randomized controlled trial, Nybacka et al. showed that dietary management can lead to restored reproductive function with or without exercise. An additional study illustrated improved body composition, cardiometabolic risk and reproductive function in overweight and obese women with PCOS after a caloric deficit. Furthermore, a high-protein diet led to minor cardiovascular and reproductive improvements, independent of weight loss. Therefore, to improve the symptoms of PCOS, a woman who is overweight should be advised to eat five small balanced meals with a negative energy deficit and a higher protein-to-carbohydrate intake.
Micronutrient composition is also very important to consider in a diet essential for improvement in PCOS. Due to substantial benefits shown in preclinical and clinical studies, foods that are rich in folate, Vitamin D, soy and other B vitamins should be included in one’s diet. Luckily, these important nutrients are found in many foods that are found in the dining halls and cafes across campus!
Folate-rich foods include lentils, edamame, lettuce and spinach, while Vitamin D can be found in mushrooms, fish, milk and eggs. Soy, having an estrogen-like effect, is associated with improvement in hormone and cholesterol levels in PCOS. Foods such as tofu and soymilk would greatly benefit women with PCOS. Additionally, cinnamon can be beneficial in improving insulin resistance and can be a burst of flavor to otherwise bland diet foods. Antioxidants, found in many colorful fruits and vegetables, should also be emphasized due to higher oxidative stress found in women with PCOS. It is essential to “eat the rainbow”! In contrast to those foods included in a diet plan for PCOS, there are certain aspects to avoid due to increased susceptibility. Women with PCOS should be cautious of smoking and exposure to the industrial compound, bisphenol A (BPA). Cigarette smoking functions as an endocrine disruptor. In a cohort analysis of 346 women with PCOS, smoking was associated with testosterone and insulin levels. Found in plastics, Bisphenol A, which can mimic estrogen, has been linked to elevated testosterone synthesis and insulin resistance. It can be difficult to entirely avoid these environmental exposures, but do your best as it is for your safety and health! Finally, consultation with a registered dietitian after diagnosis with PCOS is recommended due to the prevalence of disordered eating and nutritional issues. With differences in behavior, ethnicity and initial weight, it can be best to have personalized nutritional advice. With the emphasis on nutrition at Cornell, it is easy and accessible to talk to a registered dietitian. Overall, to improve short and long-term risks, women with PCOS should follow a practical dietary plan best suited for their needs. Incorporating a weight loss goal, appropriate micronutrient levels, and avoidance of endocrine disruptors will greatly ameliorate the symptoms for any student with PCOS.
© The Student Body 2012
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ObamaCare Women’s Health Anushka Mehrotra
he dispute regarding the American government’s role towards women’s reproductive health has been a strong source of controversy in the recent election between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama. The Supreme Court recently upheld the constitutionality of Obama’s Affordable Care Act and most components of this act will be enacted by 2014. But what exactly are the implications of this legislation in terms of women’s health? How would a woman’s access to reproductive healthcare have differed under Romney versus Obama? And, most importantly, why should women’s reproductive health costs definitely be included in our healthcare plans? Currently, women pay 25-50% more for healthcare than men do. The primary reason for this is the high cost of the birth control pill. Under Obama’s plan, this discrepancy would be eliminated and men and women would pay roughly equal costs for healthcare. The Affordable Care Act achieves this by requiring most healthcare plans to cover birth control without the expensive co-pays that were previously necessary. Churches and other religious institutions that have a moral objection to birth control would be exempt from this requirement. Romney, however, was strictly opposed to most provisions of the Affordable Care Act, particularly the components addressing women’s reproductive health. Though it would have been extremely difficult for Romney to repeal the act since it has already been passed (that would require a 60-vote senate majority), he would have easily worked around it by choosing not to fund aspects of the bill. There is minimal harm in covering the birth control pill amongst the multitude of drugs already covered in most healthcare plans. Several drugs pertaining to men’s reproductive health are cov-
ered, so it remains logical to cover those concerning women’s reproductive health, too. The birth control pill has numerous other health benefits in addition to being an oral contraceptive. It reduces acne, regulates menstrual cycles, and diminishes the risk of ovarian and endometrial cancer. It is crucial for the opposition to realize that the pill provides several health benefits in addition to being a contraceptive.
Economically, covering women’s reproductive health costs in the Affordable Care Act is more than feasible. It is actually 15-17% more expensive for an employer to choose not to include birth control in their healthcare plan. Currently, more than 50% of women between the ages of 18 and 34 say that they have struggled to afford birth control. With more affordable and easier access to effective contraception, there would be a dramatic decrease in unplanned pregnancies and a resulting reduction in abortions. Additionally, Obama’s healthcare plan excludes abortion-inducing drugs such as RU 468. Obama has made it evident that he is opposed to extending the act to drugs that actually cause abortion. In a recent message regarding women’s health, Obama proclaims, “women are not an interest group” and it is exactly this fact that several conservative politicians keep forgetting. Women comprise over half of the voting population, existing not as an interest group or an obscure political action committee but as a major faction of constituents. And, the issue of women’s reproductive health is not one that will not diminish over time. The new healthcare act is a symbol of social progression in the American health sector, and it is only through covering all aspects of women’s health that this progression can be truly attained.
Guide to Eating Well on Campus
Go FETCH I
’ll be honest: it took me forever to get the whole eating-well-as-a-college-student situation figured out. Introduced as a freshman to a dining hall that in many ways resembled all my favorite restaurants under one roof, I brought a whole new meaning to “All You Care to Eat.” Then, just as I began to learn that my general well-being was inversely proportional to the number of times per week that I frequented the dessert table, the game changed on me. I moved off campus and on to another extreme--the one most commonly depicted by the “starving college student” image. Upon realizing that I enjoyed prowling through Denice Cassaro’s emails looking for my next meal just about as much as I enjoyed gaining that Freshman 15, I began to suspect that there must be some balance between perpetual hunger and unlimited buffet meals. I call that happy equilibrium FETCH. Fast, Easy, Tasty, Cheap, and Healthy describe a surprising number of versatile meals and snacks, making for a student-friendly diet that just about anyone can follow given these five no-fail criteria.
handy reheating later. My roommates can attest to the ridiculous number of burritos that I massproduced several weekends ago--and also to the fact that I’ve so far had to cook fewer dinners than anyone in the house, since frozen burritos can go from microwave to tabletop in a matter of 2 to 3 minutes.
very often includes several hours spent in class, some type of work or job, and half a dozen club meetings back to back to back. Unless you somehow managed to secure a time turner à la Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, you probably know what it feels like not to have time for three square meals. When at all possible, avoid going to popular dining locations during the peak hours between midmorning and afternoon classes, so that exasperation won’t tempt you to choose your food based merely on where the shortest line happens to be. If you make food at home, try preparing dinners for the week ahead of time and sticking them in the freezer or refrigerator for
minimal effort. Among my favorite time-savers is the cook-two-meals-at-once maneuver, if you already happen to be preparing food anyway. Make an extra portion, and bam—you’ve got the next day’s lunch. Bonus points for anything self-contained, such as bananas, granola bars, or string cheese, which can be thrown into your backpack now and enjoyed later. I’m not preaching laziness here, but in the event that you have to eat on the run, lunch had better not require the use of more than one eating utensil (or two eating utensils, if they are your left and right hands. Even Trillium’s Una Mano sometimes calls for the use of dos manos...)
Fast. A day in the life of the average Cornellian
“Whether it’s cayenne pepper or ketchup, find whatever suits your taste and then stock your shelves.”
Easy. Along the same vein, meals should require
© The Student Body 2012
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“Foods high in fiber--fruits, vegetables, beans and nuts--actually do keep you full longer and cut down on the perceived need to eat everything in sight during mealtimes.” Tasty. If you are what you eat, why chow down
on the bland and tasteless? There’s no need to sacrifice flavor for the other four food virtues, as long as you know what to look for. This category isn’t hard to fulfill if you have a meal plan, as you’re certain to find something at one of Cornell’s many award-winning dining facilities that pleases your palate; but if you make your own meals, it may be time to spice things up. The next time you go grocery shopping, pay attention to the condiments that you throw into the cart. Are they doing the job? Consider changing things up and grab one or two new flavors; you know, the kind that you can sprinkle onto anything. Cumin and curry powder are always at the front of my pantry, but your go-to garnish may be something different. Whether it’s cayenne pepper or ketchup, find whatever suits your taste and then stock your shelves. A splash of something that excites your taste buds can upgrade a meal from dull to delicious in an instant.
Cheap. Those of you who have stockpiled
enough bricks of Ramen to build a small fortress in your dorm room know what I’m talking about. This is the kind of food that you can literally buy with pocket change. While most food will not be this cheap, it’s definitely worth hunting around to see where you can get the most bang for your Big Red Buck. That goes for grocery shopping, as well: compare the value between local supermarkets (Target’s new grocery store isn’t half bad) and you may be surprised. Beans and chickpeas, for
example, usually cost less than a dollar for several servings. These taste great on salads, in soups, or over rice—talk about versatility! And then there are lentils, the unsung heroes of the legume family. These can be eaten in any way that you would prepare beans, and are packed with protein, fiber, and B vitamins in addition to being dirt cheap.
Healthy. Hey, I’ll admit it: I have snacked on my fair share of not-so-salubrious morsels from Libe Cafe, as well as succumbed to the greasy seduction of the boxed single-serve pizzas at Trillium on more than one occasion. Soon after I moved off campus and was met with the challenge of keeping my stomach happy on a limited meal plan, though, I rediscovered that foods high in fiber--fruits, vegetables, beans and nuts--actually do keep you full longer and cut down on the perceived need to eat everything in sight during mealtimes. It turns out that the whole wheat wraps, fruits, and granola bars that typically go into my lunchbox are just as filling as whatever I used to eat at Okenshield’s. Just a few weeks of healthier meals has given me more energy and helped me shed a few pounds without any real effort--which, in my book, is icing on the cake (or hummus on the pita, if you will).
If you use these guidelines as rigid rules, you’re bound to feel limited in what you eat. Rather, foods that are part of a balanced and studentfriendly diet should fall naturally into all or most of these categories, and it’s pretty easy to decide whether they do. (For instance, dessert with every meal? So not FETCH.) The change in my own eating habits has been guided by my attention to these criteria, and I’ve never felt better. The FETCH food lifestyle isn’t as difficult as the potentially tricky transition might lead you to believe, especially if you try to make a change too quickly. Instead, try implementing one FETCH component at a time. You may be surprised to find that tasty and healthy are actually complementary, not mutually exclusive. The same goes for cheap and easy, or healthy and fast. The bottom line: if you are able to build these components into your diet in a way that works for you, expect a change that will benefit your belly, your budget, and—most importantly—your well-being.
Sleepless in Seattle[’s Best
By Aisha Sindhu
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or those of you who have iPhones and have the will to hit the snooze button? To start the day trouble getting up in the morning, change your well rested and alert, not with coffee cup in hand alarm tone to “Digital”; it’s absolutely one of the and a 5-hour energy bottle in tow? It may sound most annoying sounds insane and completely out of you will ever hear, and “If you’re getting less than the realm of possibility, but you’ll be overcome with the amount of sleep your I’m telling you, it’s feasible! the urge to shut it off immediately. In the process body needs, your brain will How? I’m maxed out of of thrashing through your not have an as-large capacity credits, I’m the president of covers in order to locate two organizations and an for storing fact-based memothe source of the shrill active member of two more, ring, the desire to smash my research PI expects hours ries.” your phone to smitheron hours of work in the lab, eens will be replaced with and I’m a TA… How am I the realization that you’re awake and have but two supposed to get the elusive eight hours of sleep? options: 1) to groggily work your way out of bed and start your day, or 2) snooze for a little longer Well, my sleep-deprived, coffee-addicted, zombieand deal with the heart-attack inducing alarm esque friend, I’m here to tell you how. twice in one morning. Truth is, not all of us need eight hours of sleep. But in all honesty, how great would it be to be able According to Stanford University, “the average to wake up to a traditional alarm sound without sleep requirement for college students is well over
© The Student Body 2012
eight hours, and the majority of students would fall within the range of this value plus or minus one hour.” When it comes down to it, though, we’re all wired in different ways, and thus, our bodies react differently to varying hours of sleep. If you are a superhuman that can function on normal-enough levels to be a part of society on just 5-6 hours of sleep, then more power to ya! But, if you’re like me and try to get every minute’s worth out of your eight hours of sleep, and still have trouble acting in a socially acceptable manner, understanding how to maximize your sleeping routine will keep you energized and will decrease your dependence on coffee (and save you four bucks for every grande skim caramel mocha latte with whipped cream, please and thanks!).
I know it can be addicting to go on coffee dates with your buds and lounge around Amit Bhatia aka the former Libe café, but instead, use that glorious half-hour of free time to make power naps your new best friend! Although hour-long naps are scientifically proven to dramatically boost and restore brainpower, even a 20-minute snooze in a random corner of the library (where are my cocktail loungers?) can recharge a person and improve overall alertness, boost mood, and increase productivity. It is, hands down, one of the best things you can do before an exam, rather than cramming down to the last minute.
Collegetown is always abuzz for Fishbowls, Thirsty Thursdays, and the rest of the weekend, but try your best to limit the booze. Alcohol, while With school already taking a nice helping people fall asleep faster, penny out of your pocket, don’t messes with the body’s intricate shortchange yourself on sleep! sleep cycles and typically leads to REM sleep and its trademark poorer quality of sleep. Since your sleep spindles occur during the body knows that it’s not getting the second half of the night and best sleep it can, it compensates by correlate with better learning lengthening one’s sleeping time. capability. So if you’re getting This overcompensation ruptures less than the amount of sleep the delicate sleep architecture of your body needs, your brain will the brain and negatively impacts Reproduced from  not have an as large capacity for the brain wave functions that leave storing fact-based memories. If you feeling refreshed in the morning. you can, try to choose a class schedule based on timings that work for you, i.e., later in the afternoon You’ve heard it time and time again, but the best if you don’t learn well in the morning (plus, who thing you can do for yourself as a college student doesn’t love the bragging rights that come with is to learn how to manage time. Making a routine saying your first class doesn’t start till noon?). and sticking to it, whether it is on a daily or weekly basis, can be a very effective way of ensuring the But oh, would you look at that? It’s past closing proper amount of sleep. Plus, when you’re on time at the libraries, and you’re still drowning in top of your game in terms of academics, you can work. Naturally, you consider turning to the famed be that person on the quad throwing a Frisbee All-Nighter… but don’t do it! It may be a little around, rather than the one watching begrudgingly hypocritical of me to advise this since I have pulled from behind the windows of Olin. Because let’s be my fair number of all-night work sessions,but in honest, no one likes to be that person… trust me. retrospect, it’s not worth it. Staying awake for that many hours on end is not only absolutely depressing By making a few, simple changes to your daily when you realize you’re still doing problem sets routine, you’ll quickly come to see how your when the sun is rising, but it also decreases your sleeping pattern is more regular, and how the ability to learn new facts by a considerable amount. quality of your sleep is much greater than before. The sheer fatigue causes your brain to shut down Implementing some of the tips for a more restful certain regions and neurons upon realization that night as a lifestyle change can quickly lead you it is not receiving enough down time. So come 6 down the road of sleeping like a baby. But if a.m., it’s probably in your best interest to shut your that fails, you can always stick to the tried-andbooks and hit the sack. true classic of counting sheep. Happy sleeping, everyone!
By Scott Widyn
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Includes an efficient workout plan for the busy college student!
If you are a college student who does not want the “freshman fifteen,” then you need to be eating right and exercising hard. Since the former is already being covered in this issue, I am going to concentrate on the latter. Getting the benefits of exercising hard only takes about an hour per week. In a month or so, you will be well on your way to gaining muscle, losing fat, having more energy, and getting better sleep. If you passed your physical for college and you do not have A.R.D.S. or C.O.P.D. (if you do not know what they stand for, then you probably do not have them), then you are able to exercise. But, please go to your primary care physician for a physical check-up before doing this beginner exercise program, which is a general introduction to the world of physical activity. It should be known that I am not a medical doctor: I am only a personal trainer. My article is not meant to diagnose or cure a disease or illness, but rather to introduce you to a healthier lifestyle. This general introduction to the world of Physical Activity, A Beginner Program, is not a set exercise routine with a specific number of repetitions, rest periods, or sets. It has no author, but is a general set of guidelines outlined in a number of personal training, strength & conditioning, and performance exercise textbooks. It is a beginner program because it is the first step to a healthier you – it is there to put you at less risk for heart disease, heart attack, stroke, lung disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, endocrine disorders, and osteoporosis. It does not matter if you are male or female: a day of exercising hard needs a good deal of fuel. If you are able to, eat a good sized meal that is balanced in carbohydrates, protein, and fat or drink one to two scoops of protein powder in a shake (in milk or water, depending on your tolerance of dairy products) an hour or two before you go to the gym. Again, if you are able to, be hydrated (a half gallon for females, a full gallon for males) enough because you are going to be doing fifteen to thirty minutes of physical activity. When you get to the gym, you need to do an active and dynamic warm up. A good warm up is about five to seven minutes on the recumbent bike, the stationary bike, the rowing machine, or the treadmill in which you get a good sweat going on your forehead. Once you are ready and have a sweat going on your eyebrow, then you are ready for resistance training. Resistance training is exercise that is done in opposition to or against gravity, the weight of your body, or weight that is presented via a machine, dumbbells, or a barbell. Resistance training is good for the things that I outlined in the introduction, but it is also good for providing human growth hormone, sex hormones (testosterone and estrogen), insulin and cortisol to your musculoskeletal system. The exercises that you are going to be doing are the bodyweight squat, the modified push up, the assisted pull up, and the assisted dip. If you have questions, comments, or concerns, please feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. 16
© The Student Body 2012
First, we are going to do the bodyweight squat. We are going to do between six and nine repetitions, the number being higher for those who are conditioned and lower for those who are deconditioned. When doing these, we are going to rest for a period of two to three minutes and do about two to three sets in total. Second, we are going to do the modified push up. We are going to do between nine and twelve repetitions, with the knees being off of the floor for those who are conditioned and on the floor for those who are deconditioned. When doing these, we are going to rest for a period of one to two minutes and do about three to four sets in total.
Third, we are going to do the assisted pull up. We are going to do between nine and twelve repetitions, with a lower weight on the machine (twenty to thirty percent of bodyweight) for those who are conditioned and a higher weight (seventy to eighty percent of bodyweight) for those who are deconditioned. When doing these, we are going to rest for a period of two to three minutes and do about two to three sets in total. Fourth, we are going to do the assisted dip. We are going to do between six and nine repetitions, with a lower weight on the machine (thirty to forty percent of bodyweight) for those who are conditioned and a higher weight (sixty to seventy percent of bodyweight) for those who are deconditioned. When doing these, we are going to rest for a period of one to two minutes and do about three to four sets in total.
In terms of progression, please increase the repetitions first. When you are able to do double the amount of repetitions that this exercise program calls for, then you may increase the weight (or decrease the weight if it is an assisted exercise). If you are going for cardiovascular health, then you may increase the sets or decrease the rest periods as you see fit. If you are going for strength or power, then you may decrease the repetitions or increase the weight (or decrease the weight if it is an assisted exercise) as you see fit. But, please, only do what is comfortable for you. When you are done exercising hard, do a five to seven minute active and dynamic cool down. 17
nu tri ti on
by Taylor Bicchieri
ver sit in class and find yourself focusing so hard on hoping no one notices your stomach grumbling that you’re unable to process anything the professor is saying? Believe it or not, there are a few key groups of “super foods” that can prevent this. For example, by simply including wholegrain toast or some fruit into a quick breakfast, you can improve your mood and concentration for the entire day. As college students, we will try anything to maximize how long we can concentrate and focus. The behaviors aimed at achieving maximum concentration vary: from an innocuous cup of coffee to the extreme habit of abusing study drugs, such as Adderall. However, many of us fail to look at our food choices as important factors in how long we can stay focused. The later we are up at night, the poorer food choices we tend to make, and subsequent lack of sleep the next morning leaves us reaching for lots of coffee and bursts of sugar that we believe will help get us through the day. The problem with caffeine-from sources like coffee, energy drinks, or even chocolate and some medications--is that the effects are usually short term. Many students find that it is next to impossible to
keep intake at just one serving a day and wind up feeling jittery and uncomfortable after consuming one cup too many. Ultimately, caffeine actually inhibits productivity and concentration. Like caffeine, sugar can help alertness, since it is converted to glucose, which is essentially your brain’s fuel. Yet, too much sugar has negative effects as well, ranging from impairing memory to causing weight gain, especially when eaten too close to bedtime. Rather than maximizing our concentration, these foods often bring more harm than good. The other key to using nutrition to boost your focus is when to consume these “super foods.” We’ve always heard it said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. This meal earns this honor, no doubt, because it provides us with alertness that can last through the day when it’s packed with high-fiber whole grains (containing both folate and thiamine which boost blood flow to the brain and improve memory, respectively), dairy, and fruit. Although high calorie breakfasts can actually hinder concentration, eating a breakfast of high nutritional value can get our brains going after a good night’s sleep and boost short-term memory and attention.
© The Student Body 2012
After speaking to a few Cornell students on what they eat for breakfast, I found that many skip the meal altogether, while the ones who actually do eat breakfast tend to have something small, and insufficient, on the go. It should be clear now, though, how important a nutritional breakfast is in providing the fuel needed for a productive day. The better you eat, the better you’ll feel and you’ll see serious results in your ability to get work done efficiently. Below are a few of my favorite foods that will help keep you at your peak all day long.
Often deemed the best brain booster, fish is a rich source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids that are vital to brain functioning and development. Omega-3 is a type of healthy fat that has been linked to lower rates of dementia and stroke and might actually help slow mental decline. These fats are also essential in enhancing memory, especially long-term. It is recommended to eat fish at least two times a week. My personal favorites are tilapia and salmon, both of which you can cook fairly easily by just placing on tinfoil in a baking sheet in the oven for about 15 minutes at 400 degrees. Add a little lemon or seasoning and you’ve cooked yourself a delicious and healthy pre-library meal!
When freshly brewed, green tea enhances memory and focus and fights mental fatigue, making it a great alternative for coffee both early in the morning and late at night without making you jittery. It actually contains a substance called catechines, which help you relax mentally while still keeping your wits and focus sharp. Also found in green tea are polyphenols, which are a group of powerful antioxidants that increase availability of dopamine, arguably the most important neurotransmitter in creating a positive mood. Polyphenols also help maintain steady levels of glucose to serve as our brain’s fuel, keeping all systems running smoothly. Green tea is essentially the king of all super foods because it keeps you alert while reducing stress, thus allowing you to work more efficiently. Not bad for a warm, low-calorie drink that also helps prevent cancer and heart attacks!
Fruits and vegetables that are rich in deep pigments (the purples of eggplant or the dark greens of spinach) are all important in preserving the machinery of the brain and boosting connections made between neurons (enhanced neuronal signaling leads to stronger associations between knowledge allowing us to access and recall it much quicker). However, blueberries may be the leader of this club because they have compounds which turn on key systems in the brain that help with memory and related cognitive skills. These compounds have the unique capability of stimulating neurogenesis, or the production of new brain cells, in the hippocampus (responsible for long and short term memory) and have even been linked to reduced effects of age and stress related conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Eating dark chocolate before heading to the library can improve mood, visual and verbal memory, and enhance cognitive skills! Not only does dark chocolate contain some powerful antioxidants, it also has natural stimulants that promote the release of endorphins in your brain to make you feel happier, more energized, and ready to concentrate. The high content of flavanols facilitates blood supply to the brain and is known to jump start impulse control and reaction time. While dark chocolate has beneficial effects, it is important to remember to indulge in moderation.
medical uses of
video games By Alison Buermeyer & Jodie Smith W
e’ve all heard someone describe the sup- op a more accessible, cost-efficient and interactive posed negative effects video games have had method of stroke rehabilitation. His first product on our generation. The addicting nature of video games can lead to sleep deprivation. Excessive video game play can result in “Nintendo Thumb,” a term given to describe symptoms such as carpal tunnel syndrome and blistering from excessive video game play. The video games children play may take the place of games that would involve exercise and creativity, and take time away from schoolwork. Ironically, supposedly detrimental gaming systems are now being converted into revolutionary medical technology. Many entrepreneurs are taking advantage of the low-cost gaming technology to develop complex systems that by other means could be quite costly and difficult to get a hold of. Gaming technology such as Nintendo Wii, and Microsoft’s Kinect are now being transformed into practical medical technology. Who could have guessed that gaming systems previously associated with causing health issues could now be revolutionizing health care?
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utilized the gaming system Ninento Wii. Stroke patients would point the Wii remote at moving targets on a monitor. Each time they “hit” this target, it would shrink and therefore the next “hit” would be more difficult, allowing for progress. This initial project validated his idea of using adaptive gaming as a means of rehabilitation, an idea that was being implemented elsewhere as well. His second and current project utilizes Microsoft “...gaming systems are Kinect for Windows, an alternate system originally created now being converted gaming for the gaming system Xbox, to into revolutionary achieve the same goals he set in Wii game but at a higher and medical technology.” his more engaging level.
One example of a company applying gaming systems to the medical field is Jintronix. Jintronix is a biomedical device company designing software for physical and cognitive rehabilitation. Justin Tan, CEO of Jintronix, realized several challenges recovering stroke patients face while helping his father through stroke rehabilitation. He found a lack of engagement in his father’s treatments, and was frustrated by the high costs and poor accessibility of these rehabilitation methods. His frustration with this inspired him to devel-
Jintronix’s activities for Kinect were created through clinical trials and specialized for stroke rehabilitation patients. As patients perform their exercises, another part of Jintronix ‘s system called the Web Portal tracks their progress. The patients’ physicians or physical therapists can then log onto the Web Portal to view exactly when and for how
© The Student Body 2012
long their patients did their rehabilitation exercises, and how successful they were. By viewing this data, the physicians can modify exercises or assign new challenges to their patients based on their progress. This allows activities to be specialized not only for stroke patients in general but also for each individual patient.
PTSD—the response, including the nightmares and flashbacks, will decrease.
The video game approach can make a huge difference. While some soldiers try to sit down and talk about what they’ve seen, video games allow the individuals to revisit their experiences. This is based on the idea that repeated exposure to a fear Gaming systems such as Kinect are a great way to in a safe environment causes that fear to slowly engage patients. Physicians are not only using these disappear. In the video game, the soldiers can’t devices to check their patients’ progress—Kinect avoid their fears. They’re seeing them every time is now being utilized in operating rooms! As doc- they plug in the Xbox. Playing out a situation on a tors open up body cavities, it is important to main- game is far less intense than living through it, and tain a sterile environment and prevent pathogen soon their flashbacks aren’t as emotionally taxing entry. Therefore, doctors must undergo an exten- as they were before. sive process known as “scrubbing up” Besides the fact before entering the that it’s just cool surgical room. To and interesting that look through a pavideo games are tient’s medical rebeing used in the cords, they would medical field, there need to touch other are real advantages. surfaces and then Adaptive gaming repeat the sterilsystems are easization process. To ily accessible and avoid this problen readily available, while still keeping unlike some other operating rooms medical technolosterile, physicians gies. Their systems and techies alike can be bought for a are looking to the fraction of the price Reproduced from  of other technoloKinect. GestSure Technologies have gies. For example, developed a “hack” of the Kinect that allows doc- most medical facilities spend thousands of dollars tors to access medical records on computers us- on a 3D body scanner, used to scan the body’s viing gestural, touchless, interfaces. A doctor can tal organs. Manctl uses Kinect for Windows and its actually scroll through records and references own mapping software to deliver the same results! mid-surgery, without touching any surface! This Lower prices of medical technology make the techdevelopment could save time and extra work for nology more accessible to different medical faciliother employees that fetch and record information ties and therefore available for more patients overfor doctors as they perform operation. GestSure’s all. Adaptive gaming systems have been converted usage of Kinect saves time in the operating room from simply interesting, fun games to products while making it a safer environment. that may change the medical field forever, making Another application of video games is found in procedures cheaper and easier to come by. Who the field of psychology. They are now used as an would have thought that adaptive gaming systems, approach to post-traumatic stress disorder treat- developed solely for amusement, had such pracment. Psychologists hypothesize that if soldiers tical applications in the medical world? Systems with PTSD re-confront past situations that tor- once used for rainy afternoon entertainment may ment them, their stress will gradually become less now become essential to surgeons, physical therdetrimental to their mental health. This process apists, psychologists, and various professionals is known as habituation. Essentially, by increas- around the world. ing the stimulus—the situation that caused the
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Just How (Un)healthy is a Vegetarian Diet? By Katelyn Smith
cannot count the number of times I have been asked the question, “How do you get enough protein?” after I tell people I do not eat meat, cheese, or milk. While the question may sound innocent enough, it stems from the greater misconception that a vegetarian or vegan diet puts one at risk for malnutrition. Let’s look at the evidence to evaluate the risks and benefits of a vegetarian diet.
Almost all vegetables, nuts, grains, and seeds have at least some protein, and there are several sources, such as lentils, beans, and tofu, that have a significant amount of protein. It was formerly believed that plant sources of protein had to be carefully combined to provide all the essential amino acids within one meal since eggs, milk,
meat, and fish are the primary sources that contain all the essential amino acids in sufficient quantities. However, it is now known that it is not necessary to obtain complete protein sources within one meal. Furthermore, many plant sources have all the essential amino acids but are low in one or two, so eating a variety of proteincontaining plant foods can easily provide all the amino acids needed.
It is true that vegan diets in the United States tend to be lower in protein than diets containing meat and dairy. However, the average American consumes much more protein than the Recommended Daily Allowance (only about 0.36g per pound of body weight), but there are no demonstrated benefits associated with consuming extra protein. In fact, some studies indicate health problems as-
© The Student Body 2012
sociated with high animal protein intake. A study released in 2001 by the Osteoporotic Fractures Research Group concluded that elderly women consuming a diet with a high animal protein to vegetable protein ratio had a greater risk of hip fractures than those with a low ratio. Additionally, according to a study of 1624 women enrolled in the Nurses’ Health Study, high protein intake, especially from meat sources, appeared to accelerate decline of renal function in women with minor renal insufficiency.
live in more northern climates, the sun may not provide adequate Vitamin D levels. In that case, non-dairy milks and cereals that are fortified with Vitamin D or a supplement if absolutely necessary can make up the difference.
Vitamin B12 is found almost exclusively in animal products, so one might expect to see Vitamin B12 deficiencies more frequently among vegetarians and vegans. This vitamin is important for brain and nervous system functioning. Vegetarian and Iron vegan diets do tend to show lower intake of B12, The body better absorbs meat sources of iron, but but studies also show that deficiency is extremely Vitamin C helps the body absorb plant sources of rare. This is probably because B12 is found in fortiiron. Vegetarian diets tend to contain more fruits fied in foods such as breakfast cereals, pastas, and and vegetables overall, which contributes to high- crackers. For vegans who do not consume foods er levels of Vitamin C. There are many plant sourc- fortified with B12, or who do not care to look into es of iron, such as black, kidney, and pinto beans, it, a B12 supplement might be appropriate. lentils, tofu, peas, and whole wheat bread. Rates of iron deficiency anemia are not any higher in veg- The Overall Picture etarians than meat eaters. The Adventist Health Study, a longitudinal study that followed over 34,000 vegetarian and non-vegCalcium etarian Seventh-day Adventists in California, found There are several calcium-rich alternatives to milk that that risks of obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and milk products for the person who wishes to cut arthritis, and all-cause mortality were lower in out dairy products from their diet. Calcium-forti- vegetarians. It also found that lifetime risk of Corfied orange juice and onary Heart Disease soymilk, almonds, “...a vegetarian diet maintained for was reduced by 37% broccoli, and kale are in male vegetarians about two decades contributes to a just a few of the opcompared with nontions. It is certainly 3.6 year increase in life expectancy.” vegetarian males, important to make although the same sure to have a calcirelationship was not um source in one’s diet, yet there are other factors observed in females. Colon cancer was 88% more than diet that contribute to having sufficient cal- likely in non-vegetarians. Additionally, a review of cium levels. Studies show that the amount of cal- the Adventist Health Study and the Adventist Morcium lost in the urine increases with high-protein tality Study concluded that a vegetarian diet maindiets. So it appears that those who do not consume tained for about two decades contributes to a 3.6 meat may have lower calcium requirements on av- year increase in life expectancy. Other health benerage. Studies also seem to be indicating that our efits include the lower risk of contracting bacterial high rates of osteoporosis are due to our high-pro- infections such as E.coli, Camphylobacter or Saltein diets rather than not getting enough calcium. monella, and contracting certain animal diseases. Additionally, exercise, avoiding smoking, modera- Highly restricting the diet in addition to being tions in alcohol, caffeine and salt use, and adequate vegetarian or vegan may be reason for health staVitamin D levels support calcium retention, so fol- tus concerns. However, studies show that welllowing these lifestyle habits likely require lower planned vegan diets can provide adequate nutricalcium intakes to support bone health. tion as long as there is a source of B12 in the diet. The key for both vegan and vegetarian diets is to consume a variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and Vitamin D Vitamin D is important for maintaining calcium grains for multiple benefits and minimal risk to levels, so Vitamin D is especially important for veg- health! ans. The main source is sunlight, but for those who
Mental-health-based discrimination in
Cornell Admissions? Ariel Wampler
his summer, a discussion thread popped up on the Cornell University Alumni Network on LinkedIn. The question: “Should Cornell applicants be screened for alcohol, drug, use or addiction, mental and emotional health issues prior to admittance? How should pre-admittance screening be done?”
about the backgrounds of students admitted to Cornell? No sources are listed to support the 2025% figure, no statistic is even given for the “high rate of drug and alcohol use,” and the initiator is hazy on what exactly these “other risky behaviors” are. On what does he base his claim that fraternity and sorority populations tend to attract students with these vaguely defined “issues”? Before decrying “toxic” applicants, shouldn’t the definition of “toxic” be made clear?
According to the thread initiator, “There is a high rate of drug and alcohol use, and other risky behaviors that are affecting the student population generally, and the UniverSo what do the data say? “An improvement strategy sity’s reputation and imCornell does not appear to might be to separate the collect data on the alcohol age. These risky conditions may be more prevalent and drug use backgrounds non-toxic from the toxic apamong the Sororities’ and of its applicants, so any plicants, as part of the strat- figures given are at best Fraternities’ populations. By some estimates 20% to speculation. After viewing egy to clean up the campus?” 25% of admittances may Gannett Health Center’s have such backgrounds.” data, it was confirmed that the vast majority of Cornell undergraduate stuThe initiator goes on to ask, “An improvement dents in 2005 had drunk alcohol at least once in strategy might be to separate the non-toxic from the past year (83%), 30% had smoked marijuana the toxic applicants, as part of the strategy to at least once, and 4% had used cocaine. While clean up the campus? Should a self-disclosing these numbers may seem high, all three were and doctor’s health statement be required with below the national average for college students the application? Should a self-disclosing state(85%, 33%, and 6% respectively). ment of adverse school actions, infractions, misdemeanors and felonies be required?” Data from the Cornell PULSE survey conducted in 2009 show that members of both fraternities This is certainly a controversial issue – the post and sororities are roughly twice as likely to have garnered many comments on the LinkedIn site had at least 1 binge-drinking episode in the past – and here I choose to leap into the fray. I would two weeks, compared to their non-Greek counargue three points: 1) the suggestion for screenterparts. Additionally, the 2005 data show that ing rests on shaky premises, 2) a self-disclosure members of the Greek system were significantly screening plan would be fraught with practical more likely to have tried used marijuana, cocaine, issues, and be largely ineffective in achieving its or prescription stimulants without a prescription aims, and 3) that pursuing such a policy would than non-Greek students. However, this does violate Cornell’s motto and sabotage Cornell’s not support the assertion that the Greek system support of the mental health community. attracts people who have a history of use – it is more likely that people end up using these illegal First, where is the initiator getting their statistics substances after they’ve started college.
© The Student Body 2012
No public data could be found on the mental or emotional health issue prevalence at Cornell via the Gannett website, but there is little reason to suggest that Cornell would have a higher percentage of students who have a mental or emotional health condition than comparable institutions.
I am not attempting to trivialize substance abuse, suicide, or mental health – I have experienced and witnessed these issues first-hand, and recognize how dire their effects on individuals and communities are. But before proposing a change to Cornell’s admissions policy, which could impact thousands of people, our community needs to understand how prevalent these behaviors or histories truly are. The best policy decision is an informed decision. Second, the suggestion to base such screening on self-reported histories is naïve and impractical. Few applicants would willingly admit to having struggled with such issues, knowing that checking that box could mean the difference between entrance to the coveted “ivory tower,” or being shot down from its battlements with a rejection letter. In the increasingly competitive admissions environment, who would think that disclosure is a smart move for them?
you believe them, and feel comfortable enough to own up to having one of these “issues,” during what many high schoolers consider the most important process of their life?
Yes, disciplinary and criminal histories are currently asked about on the Common Application in a self-disclosure format, but one can argue that it is easy for admissions offices to ask the school or local police department for official reports of misdemeanors, decreasing the incentive for applicants to lie about these items. But if an applicant ever abused alcohol or was depressed? For these, it is much harder to find external sources against which to check a self-disclosure. Applicants know this, and the likelihood of applicants disclosing mental or emotional health issues is probably much lower than for admitting that they’ve received a speeding ticket.
Furthermore, there is evidence to suggest that high intellectual capacity and mental/emotional health issues are linked. Let’s discount the examples of Edgar Allen Poe, Emily Dickinson, and Vincent Van Gogh, who may very well be exceptions. But findings of several studies also hint that the “tortured genius” may be more than a romantic notion. One 2010 study of 700,000 Swedish adolescents found that the highly intelligent Neither the Director of Undergraduate Admisteens were four times as likely to go on to develop sions nor the Associate Vice Provost for Enrollbipolar disorder in a ten-year follow-up. If Corment could be reached for comment on how nell were to reject applicants due to mental health much of a “red flag” an indicated history of menissues, we could risk losing the very students who tal/emotional health issues or substance use go on to become highly influential – and miss out would be. But how reassuring would it be to hear on the chance to call high-profile alumni/ae our a university official claim that checking off the box own. Should we send away top talent simply to would not reduce chances of admission? Would shield against liability of student suicides? continued on p. 26
“...findings of several studies also hint that the “tortured genius” may be more than a romantic notion. One 2010 study of 700,000 Swedish adolescents found that the highly intelligent teens were four times as likely to go on to develop bipolar disorder in a ten-year follow-up.”
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“If Cornell is to continue its commitment to the motto of ‘Any person, any study,’ then discriminating against students on the basis of mental or emotional health histories would introduce the stain of hypocrisy.” continued from p.25
Understanding why Cornell might be tempted to pursue such a policy is simple, especially after the $180 million lawsuit brought against the school last year, by the father of a student who took his own life. Cornell is trying hard to dispel its widespread reputation as “the suicide school,” and certainly our institutional reputation is important. In fact, data collected between 1990 and 2001 showed that Cornell’s suicide rate of 5.7 per 100,000 students was lower than the national average of 7.5, as well as that of Harvard, Johns Hopkins, and MIT (7.4, 7, and 10.2 respectively). Why does Cornell get such a bad rap? Because jumping into a gorge is a much more vivid and arresting story – which attracts more readers – than that of a student who hangs, asphyxiates, or poisons himself in his dorm room. That people overestimate the probability of dramatic phenomena is a well-documented finding in psychology. But which “reputation” is it most important for Cornell to uphold? Cornell has displayed a strong, historical dedication to diversity in its student body – it was among the first institutions to be non-sectarian, co-ed, and admit non-Caucasian students. If Cornell is to continue its commitment to the motto of “Any person, any study,” then discriminating against students on the basis of mental or emotional health histories would introduce the stain of hypocrisy. Should our university hold fast to the values put forth by its founders, which arguably were and still are key to its success, or bend them in order to project a pristine façade of a campus free of “toxic” students? There is little reason to suggest that applicants are being scared off by dramatic suicides – Cornell received nearly 38,000 undergraduate applications in the most recent admissions cycle, up 4% from the previous year.
Maybe slamming the doors in the face of a student who suffered from depression in high school would prevent a PR fiasco for the University, but it would cast a dark shadow on Cornell’s integrity, and reinforce the stigma of mental illness that so
many have fought long and hard against. Rather than being the first school to turn away otherwise highly qualified applicants on the basis of having “a history of X,” Cornell could play up its strengths – CAPS services, the plethora of campus mental health organizations and support groups (EARS, Cornell Minds Matter, Let’s Talk, etc) – which benefit students who have endured hard times or have made poor decisions in the past.
Perhaps instead of screening applicants before admissions, Cornell could require admitted students to complete a mental and emotional-health equivalent of Alcohol-Wise a few weeks into the beginning of the year. This way, students at risk could be identified without having to face the loss of their spot at Cornell and quickly receive additional attention. Additionally, this would address the population that a pre-admission screening policy would miss: students who only develop mental or emotional health issues after starting at college. A student’s time at Cornell represents a valuable opportunity for him/her to develop the techniques necessary to cope in a stressful, demanding world. To close, I’ll share a thought from Cornell Minds Matter-sponsored event at which acclaimed mental health advocate Jordan Burnham spoke. In his poignant address, he shared that the thought that ran through his head before he attempted to take his own life was “You don’t belong here anymore.” I urge you to consider this: for Cornell to turn away applicants with a mental health history, similarly tells those students, “You are not welcome here.”
Should Cornell be a community characterized by compassion and inclusiveness? Or one which only accepts applicants who have never stumbled and spurns all who deviate from a narrowly defined “perfect” profile? It’s up to us to decide. So Cornell students, faculty, and staff: which Cornell would you rather learn and work in?
© The Student Body 2012
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+ _ Workout Supplement ofCreatine as a
hether we are athletes or ordinary people striving for an alluring beach body, there exists a relentless desire to attain rapid muscle growth and tone– to maximize progress in the most cost-efficient way. Bodybuilders and trainers search for exercises to amplify such growth, while dieticians and nutritionists seek combinations of foods that contribute to muscular development. Some athletes and bodybuilders, however, shift their focus to workout supplements to achieve their fitness goals. While the more basic and mild supplements, such as protein powder, are widely used, the increasing consumption of creatine has sparked controversy among its advocates, adversaries, and even scientific researchers. The issue ultimately boils down to a simple question—is creatine consumption worth the potential hazards it engenders? Creatine exists as a natural substance composed of its constituent amino acids. While often consumed through diet, creatine is also produced in the body’s liver, pancreas, and kidneys. One of its main functions is to provide extra energy to muscle cells. Such a function becomes particularly convenient for bodybuilders and athletes who wish to increase their stamina and strength during workouts. Creatine consequently not only allows for a more effective workout, but also paves the path for greater muscle stamina and exertion. The result is rapid muscle growth and development, due to creatine’s energizing and musclebuilding effects. Simply put, creatine works. Despite the supplement’s evident role in efficient muscular development, there is significant controversy over its use. Some even propose that its
potential repercussions outweigh its benefits, and instead, advocate a more natural method of gaining muscle mass. A common argument claims that creatine tends to achieve the appearance of greater muscle mass by drawing water into muscle cells and inflating them. While it is true that creatine does foster muscle fiber growth as well, its large dependence upon water inflation detracts from its appeal as a supplement. Furthermore, following long term usage of creatine, there have been reported incidents of kidney damage, among other noted side effects such as upset stomach, nausea, mental instability, and light headedness. While these side effects are anecdotal and inconsistent at best, there is an inevitable linkage between overexposure to creatine and negative health consequences. Though medical reports have yet to categorically solidify such claims about its health detriments, it must be understood that excessive consumption of supplements in general does have a history of engendering varying degrees of problems among their users.
As with all things, too much is never good. Ultimately, though natural exercise is optimal for the human body in that there are no “side effects,” taking creatine is still an acceptable method of gaining rapid muscle growth. There simply must be a balance and moderation with which it is consumed. And amidst all this discussion of workout supplements, we must realize that muscle growth, regardless of the supplements taken, does not occur without simple exercise. The supplements may provide shortcuts to reaching such goals, but the foundation of fitness results still resides in the effort put in at the gym.
The Affordable Care Act and Women’s Health By Natalia Mesa
n 2012, the impending access to free birth control for women covered by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) caused quite the media frenzy. But, after months of hubbub, on August 1st, 2012, the ACA assured millions of American women access to free contraception—as well as dozens of other preventative care services—all co-pay free. Or so we thought. Exactly who is and who isn’t covered is still a bit muddled. Many of these provisions won’t come into play until later in the game for a large number of women. Some fine print on the ACA makes it so that it may take up to a year for many women to get covered. So, what’s to prevent the ladies of Cornell from waltzing into Gannet and demanding some free pap smears and birth control pills?
The answer for a large number of the young women at Cornell is rather fortunate—nothing! The Affordable Health Care act covers all insurance plans renewed or started on August 1, 2012. For Cornellians, (and many college-bound young women) their insurance plans renew after this date, as it marks the beginning of the school year. This is exactly the case with Cornell’s student health insurance plan (SHIP). Many Cornell students choose SHIP, a program provided by Aetna Student Health Care, as their health care provider while at Cornell. According to the SHIP member’s guide, the plan exceeds all of the necessary provisions dictated by the ACA, which includes preventative care and free contraception.
As far as women’s health is concerned, the ACA doesn’t just cover contraception; it assures women will receive over a dozen other co-pay free preventative services. According to the Health Resources and Services administration, these include annual wellwoman visits, cervical cancer screenings, STD screenings, screenings and counseling for domestic abuse, and about a dozen other services. What about those Cornellians who elected not to be on SHIP? The new provisions will extend to most private health plans that are renewed after August 1st, meaning women who have recently-renewed health plans will have access to all that ACA has to offer. However, most employer-covered health plans won’t typically renew until the beginning of the year.
Improving preventative services for women is a large part of the ACA mainly because being a woman can get expensive. Indeed, many women elect to not have preventative procedures such as cervical cancer and HPV screenings, because of the co-pay. Even procedures with moderate copay are underutilized. Thus, by eliminating co-pays, many women of all ages are expected to take advantage of these provisions, which will allow them access to necessary preventative care. This will benefit college-age women especially, since many are only employed part-time or underemployed. © The Student Body 2012
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There are many other provisions on the act that will affect college students. For example, the ACA will also extend health care coverage to dependents until they are 26, which will allow current students and future graduates to have access to their parent’s health care for a number of years.
But there are a few other caveats of the ACA to look out for. For example, providers do not have to cover the cost of a brand-name birth control pill when there is a generic available. Exemptions to the provisions of ACA were also given to certain religious organizations that have objections to providing contraception. Thus, many women and dependents of parents who work and are provided health in-
surance by certain religious organizations and their dependents won’t have access to this provision, but will have to abide by all other provisions of the act. Additionally, insurance plans that have “grandfathered” or have not changed since March 2010 are exempt from having to provide some of these services. Over the next year, more and more college-age women, and women of all ages, will have access to preventative care. It is the goal of the ACA that all Americans have access to this coverage. While controversial, the ACA is indeed one of the biggest advancements in women’s health in decades. This far-reaching new law affects how care will be provided to women for years to come.
DID YOU HEAR THAT?
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By: Aliso n
hances are, on your walk to class, during your quick lunch break or on the ride on the crowded mid-morning bus, either you or the person next to you has their headphones in. Given the excess background noise of the buses and cars rumbling by, or the other students chatting at the adjacent table in the dining hall, you probably have the volume turned up extra high to compensate. Or perhaps you work out with some high-energy, high-volume music? Personal music devices are exceedingly common these days, but the cumulative effects of listening to music at high volumes for long periods of time can be very and permanently damaging. The truth is, even though many young adults have heard of the possible connections between loud music and headphones and hearing loss, they pay little attention to it. Yet hearing loss is often permanent, and hearing ability cannot be regained, as the reduction of or damage to the small nerve fibers responsible for sound perception and transmission in the ear is irreversible. A common and annoying accompaniment to this hearing loss is tinnitus, or ringing sensations in the ears. An estimated 6.5 million teens and young adults suffer from mild hearing loss, but what is unclear is the percentage of those individuals that will go on to suffer further losses in hearing. Males and white students appear to be at a greater risk. Most teens and college students that participate in such studies of hearing loss are unaware of the decline in their hearing ability prior to having the hearing screenings conducted. Yet experts warn that listening to personal music devices at the current increasing rate may eventually cause permanent damage by the time a person reaches their mid-twenties. Protecting long-term hearing is likely not on the 30
minds of most college students as they think about their health. Unlike healthy eating, exercise and regular visits to the dentist, the accumulating affects of hearing damage are not immediate and are not usually sensed until much later in life. The first signs of hearing loss are the inability to hear whispering tones, struggles with hearing in noisy settings, and troubles differentiating between certain consonant sounds. All of these symptoms can be too subtle to detect initially. The most frequent symptom is loss of hearing ability for high frequencies, which suggests exposure to loud noise for prolonged periods is to blame.
According to the Health and Consumers of the European Commission, some personal music devices produce astonishing maximum volume levels of 120 dB, which is equivalent to the sound generated by an airplane take-off. Many young adults cite the fact that limited studies have clearly demonstrated the link between personal music devices and long-term hearing loss, yet the proliferation of such devices is too recent for sufficient longrange research to have been conducted. Presently, sustained listening at levels up to 80 dB, no matter the duration, is considered safe. Current research trials involving guinea pigs have demonstrated that the antioxidants in salicylates and Vitamin E, when administered within 3 days of prolonged exposure to high-decibel noise. Recently the focus has been on shifting these results to two at risk groups: military personnel and college students (NIH). Presently, for young adults with no identified hearing loss, hearing screenings are not typically a part of annual health routines, but experts recommend getting a baseline test at the start of college. And donâ€™t listen up. Listen down.
ÂŠ The Student Body 2012
Content References Pg. 4: What Types of Food are Good or Bad for Your Skin? 1. ”Feed Your Skin, Starve Your Wrinkles”; Allison Tannis; 2009 Pg. 6: To Roll or Not to Roll 2. Betsy Bates, “Kids Who Use Ecstasy Are Playing Russian Roulette with Their Lives,” Pediatric News, October, 2001. 3. Hyde, Jesse. “Ecstasy Rising.” Rolling Stone 2012: 58-. ProQuest Research Library. Web. 12 Sep. 2012 . 4. “Study Finds More College Students Using Ecstasy,” The Brown University Child and Adolescent Behavior Letter, April, 2009. 5. Vollenweider, Franz. “Brain mechanisms of hallucinogens and enactogens.” Pharmacological Aspects. 3.4 (2001):265279. Print. Pg. 14: Sleepless in Seattle[’s Best Coffee Dependency No More] 1. http://www.campusgrotto.com/how-much-should-college-students-sleep.html 2. http://www.nickcampos.com/2008/05/sleep-deprivation-leads-to-brain-shutdown/ 3. http://www.webmd.com/balance/features/the-secret-and-surprising-power-of-naps 4. http://www.helpguide.org/life/sleep_tips.htm Pg. 24: Mental Health Discrimination in Cornell Admissions 1. http://www.gannett.cornell.edu/cms/topics/drugs/alcohol/upload/SA_Gannett_AOD_data.pdf 2. http://worldsciencefestival.com/webcasts/madness_redefined 3. http://web.mit.edu/~sdavies/www/mit-suicides/ 4. 4 http://www.cornell.edu/admissions/admissions-data-fy2012.cfm Pg. 27: The Benefits and Costs of Creatine as a Workout Supplement 1. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/873.html 2. http://www.livestrong.com/article/180083-how-does-creatine-affect-the-kidneys/ 3. http://www.livestrong.com/article/23029-benefits-creatine-powder/ 4. http://men.webmd.com/creatine Pg. 28: Affordable Care Act and Women’s Health 1. https://www.aetnastudenthealth.com/schools/cornell/brochure1213.pdf 2. http://www.studentinsurance.cornell.edu/about/spotlight_details.cfm?id=61220 3. http://www.hrsa.gov/womensguidelines/ 4. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/25/health/25land.html?_r=1&emc=eta1 5. http://www.healthcare.gov/news/factsheets/2011/08/womensprevention08012011a.html 6. http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/02/10/fact-sheet-women-s-preventive-services-and-religious-institutions
Photo References 1. Photography by Vincent Wei Wei (ww254@cornell. edu) 2. h t t p : / / w w w. f l i c k r. c o m / p h o t o s / s m i l e e y face1993/4663340135 3. h t t p : / / w w w . f l i c k r . c o m / p h o t o s / scelera/3053530869 4. http://www.flickr.com/photos/epsos/8116279888 5. h t t p : / / w w w. f l i c k r. c o m / p h o t o s / u s a g h u m phreys/5708848973 6. http://www.flickr.com/photos/beglen/197975293 7. http://www.flickr.com/photos/lululemonathletica/4685680163 8. http://www.flickr.com/photos/epsos/8099419727 9. http://www.flickr.com/photos/33498942@ N04/6040633862 10. http://www.flickr.com/photos/75001512@ N00/5058617956 11. http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_5GLBV2-4PCQ/Ri1nnYaWA0I/AAAAAAAAAQ8/TUSnvE_ne7Q/s1600-h/0704_ ysquat_200x200.jpg 12. http://1.bp.blogspot .com/_5GLBV2-4PCQ/
Ri1nm4aWAwI/AAAAAAAAAQc/o1sWTObyJ3g/s1600h/0704_slegromanian_200x200.jpg 13. http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_5GLBV2-4PCQ/Ri1nnIaWAxI/AAAAAAAAAQk/a_jrBohNro0/s1600h/0704_smanlunge_200x200.jpg 14. h t t p : / / w w w. f l i c k r. c o m / p h o t o s / s a p r o mo/5659029011 15. h t t p : / / w w w . f l i c k r . c o m / p h o t o s / patrick_q/115638541 16. http://www.flickr.com/photos/johnnystiletto/5226474427 17. Cornell University 18. h t t p : / / w w w. f l i c k r. c o m / p h o t o s / s i e g e r t marc/6017513174 19. http://www.flickr.com/photos/89355994@ N05/8136434824 20. http://www.flickr.com/photos/andresrue da/3547755667 21. http://www.flickr.com/photos/42931449@ N07/5771025070
Be Heard. Write or design for The Student Body. Contact: Sarah Parauda (scp69) Mytien Nguyen (mtn29)
The Student Body is an undergraduate student organization affiliated with Gannett University Health Services. Publication of The Student Body is funded by SAFC.
The contents of The Student Body are the works of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or beliefs of the organization, its affiliates, advisers, or Cornell University.
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