Scientists are learning the specific workings of the brain when it is addicted to a substance or behavior, and showing that all addictions are similar. This gives hope of one day developing a drug to combat many addictions. However, the stigma of addictions—that they are a moral failing—still looms over the field.
Preparing for Disaster
Many people will have to deal with a natural disaster at some point in their lives. Two civil defense experts discuss how to be ready before it comes.
On average, the secondary school day begins at 8 a.m, which can make for some groggy students. Most parents will complain that their teen likes to stay up late and sleep in, but there is actually a scientific explanation behind that tendency. The hormone melatonin, which regulates sleep, behaves differently during the teenage years, meaning that a teen’s sleep schedule is about two hours behind the rest of the world. According to Dr, Wendy Troxel, Senior Behavioral and Social Scientist, Rand Corp. and Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh, it’s a lot like having continuou jet lag for a few years. Dr.Terra Ziporyn Snider, Executive Director and co-founder of Start School Later, says that most teens get the bulk of their REM sleep between 5 a.m. and 8 a.m., which is also the time they are being woken up for school.
Dr. Snider says that even though it might seem that the problem is teens staying up late on their phones, that in the end the problem is really the early start time for school, because it forces the student into an unhealthy sleep pattern. says Dr. Ziporyn Snider. Dr. Troxel also points to thirty years of research that shows that later start times help students succeed.
So, if later start times are scientifically shown to be better, why hasn’t the public school system adopted them? According to Dr. Snider, it comes down to school politics and backlash from parents. Communities who have considered pushing back start times receive parent complaints about how the schedule affects after-school activities and before and after school care, how families who also have elementary school students have to change their routines, and even about the different traffic patterns later in the day. All of these concerns become reasons for schools to keep things as they are. In contrast, however, school administrators who have committed to the change say they will never go back, because the students show up more, and perform better.
Dr. Wendy Troxel, Senior Behavioral and Social Scientist, Rand Corp. and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology, University of Pittsburgh
Dr. Terra Zipporyn Snider, Executive Director and co-founder, Start School Later organization
It may seem surprising that the number one question women asked when diagnosed with cancer is not “am I going to die,” but actually “am I going to lose my hair?” When beauty editor Caitlin Kiernan received the shattering diagnosis of cancer, she was obviously concerned about her health. But as a working professional, she also wanted to learn how to look her best while feeling her worst. Caitlin called on her list of extensive contacts–from top medical doctors to hair stylists, makeup artists, and style mavens–to gather the best and most useful tips to offset the unpleasant effects of treatment. In her book Pretty Sick: A Beauty Guide for Women with Cancer, she talks about how it seemed that her job and her health were not reconcilable. When she would ask about how to keep herself looking good, she would receive judgment about how this was a time to be focused on her health, not her beauty. Keirnan says the two are not mutually exclusive because feeling pretty and confident helps many of us get through the day. Other reasons women are often concerned with their physical appearance as they fight cancer include not wanting to frighten or upset their children, and not drawing critical attention at work.
Caitlin Keirnan, former fashion columnist & beauty director, cancer survivor and author, Pretty Sick: A Beauty Guide for Women With Cancer
Thirty years of research have shown that teenagers’ biology prevents them from getting to sleep much before 11pm, and with most high schools starting classes around 8 am, they are chronically sleep deprived. Experts discuss how students and even the economy would benefit from later start times and the reasons many people and school districts still oppose the change.
Cancer and Beauty
Women undergoing cancer treatment often suffer hair loss and other impacts on appearance. A noted beauty expert discusses best ways to deal with it.
Do you have a fear of going to the doctor? For some people that fear is actually not of going to doctor, but of being deported because they went. According to Dr. Evan Ashkin, Professor of Family Medicine at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, the crackdown on undocumented immigrants is limiting their health options. Dr. Ashkin talks about specially funded safety net clinics, designed to treat patients without any or adequate insurance with dignity and respect, and how fear within the undocumented community still prevents most patients from venturing out to take advantage of them.
Dr. Elisabeth Poorman, a doctor at Cambridge Health Alliance in Everett, MA, treats many immigrants in her work and says that is is hard to build trust with undocumented immigrants because many of them come from countries where health professionals are a part of the government. Dr. Poorman’s patients are also afraid to apply for insurance because of the immigration check included. This usually leads to people going without medical exams and prompt treatment, which then leads to bigger and more expensive issues. Both doctors say they have multiple stories about people risking their lives and even dying because of the fear of deportation.
With the federal government’s crackdown on undocumented immigrants, many of them are skipping going to the doctor or the emergency room for fear of deportation.
Dr. Evan Ashkin, Professor of Family Medicine, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Dr. Elisabeth Poorman, primary care physician, Cambridge Health Alliance, Everett, MA
We usually associate food cravings for things like ice cream and pickles with pregnancy, but pregnant women and young children are among the most likely to suffer from another kind of craving – a disorder called Pica. Pica is characterized by an appetite for substances that are largely non-nutritive, such as ice, clay, chalk, hair, paper, drywall, paint, metal, stones, soil, glass or feces.
Dr. Sera Young, Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Global Health at Northwestern University, explains why clay is the most common pica craving — clay has been proven to help with nausea and other health issues that pregnant women experience.. She also believes pica is under-reported because doctors don’t ask the right questions and patients are ashamed to admit their odd cravings to doctors. Pica is usually seen as a tropical climate issue, but some studies show that one-third of women in upper New York State have experienced pica at some point in time, as have women in Chicago. Pica actually is not exotic or rare, and can be both helpful or harmful depending on what the individual is eating.
Dr. Richard Kreipe, Director of Child and Adolescent Eating Disorder Program at the University of Rochester, says that a common complication is that a ball of stuff, usually hair, can form in the body of a sufferer, causing many problems. He adds that many aspects of Pica, including its specific causes, are still a mystery due to lack of knowledge on the subject.
Pregnancy and early childhood are the most common time for a strange disorder that prompts people to eat non-food items such as clay or ice. Experts discuss its mysterious history.
Dr. Sera Young, Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Global Health, Northwestern University
Dr. Richard Kreipe, Professor of Pediatrics and Director, Child and Adolescent Eating Disorder Program, University of Rochester