Categories
Poetry

The Year 2020

Darkness.

Countless lives gone, families shattered. 

Silence.

Months since we’ve heard the sound of laughter.

Crying. Shaking. Coughing. Grieving.

Life can be ever so deceiving.

Behind the masks there are faces

People starving for their loved one’s embraces 

Hatred. 

Hoards of people unjustly hurt because of their color.

Division

The country is collapsing. When can we win?

Killing. Looting. Hurting. Dying

Life can be ever so deceiving.

Our dead brothers and sisters. Remember their faces?

People starving for their loved one’s embraces

Sai Datla, Youth Medical Journal 2020

Categories
Biomedical Research

Does Cell Phone Radiation Cause Cancer?

Introduction

“Don’t use your phone so much. It will give you cancer!” This is the phrase that parents love to use to scare children into putting cellphones away. Knowing there is false news on social media, people don’t necessarily take this statement seriously. However, cell phones can increase the risk of cancer. It is a difficult thing to even digest, but when it is closely studied and put under investigation, the results are shocking. 

84% of teenagers and 53% of children 11 and older own a phone. On top of that, some sources say that around 81% to 95% of adults own a smartphone. Technology has grown to be a vital part of life. One cannot live without their phone for a mere day! Children need technology for school and adults need it for work. Virtually anywhere you go, there is technology present. Though the recommended amount of time to use a screen is 1 hour,  people go way beyond that. It is also a known fact that radiation is bad for us, though small amounts will not harm us terribly. There is natural radiation from rocks and the Earth itself, and there is radiation from technology. Certain amounts of radiation can have detrimental effects on the body. Cell phones give off a certain type of radiation known as “non-ionizing radiation” and though non-ionizing radiation is usually harmless with small health issues, exposure to this type of radiation for prolonged periods can contribute to ill health.  Multiple studies have proven that radiation from technology does increase the risk of cancer.

Studies

Scientists conducted an in-depth study that cost around 20 million dollars in 2018. The main idea was to see whether rats reacted to cell phone radiation. “NTP conducted two-year toxicology studies in rats and mice to help clarify potential health hazards, including cancer risk, from exposure to RFR like that used in 2G and 3G cell phones which operate within a range of frequencies from about 700–2700 megahertz (MHz). These were published as Technical Reports in November 2018,” (CPRFR). The scientists “expose laboratory rodents to high doses of cell phone radiation over their entire life span and see if they developed cancer as a result. Investigators found what they called “clear evidence” that cell phone radiation could cause a type of nerve tissue cancer called a malignant schwannoma in rats. They found that 6% of the male rats exposed to the highest dose of cell phone radiation developed malignant schwannomas in the heart, while 2 to 3% developed gliomas in the brain. None of the control rats (which did not receive radiation) developed either cancer (Memorial).

The type of cancer which was found in these rats is deadly and very rare to humans. If cell phones can increase the incidence of the disease, it is something to worry about. The data is all pointing to cell phones increasing the risk of cancer. As technology advances, so does the rate of cancer in teenagers from 15-19 years old and it has been rising from the mid-1970s to 2012. This data demonstrates that using cell phones for an extended period is detrimental to the health of people overall. 

Along with that, another study was done on the effects of cell phone radiation reacting to a certain genetic variation in people. There is a particular variation called single nucleotide polymorphisms (commonly known as SNPs). This gene increases the risk of cancer in the thyroid gland. This researcher looked at 900 people and tested how their genes reacted to the radiation. 4 of the gene types tested showed that people with that gene are more than 2 times more likely to experience problems such as thyroid cancer. Examining a total of 176 genes, they identified 10 SNPs that have an increased risk due to cell phone radiation.

“Our study provides evidence that genetic susceptibility influences the relationship between cell phone use and thyroid cancer,” said Yawei Zhang, M.D., Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at the Yale School of Public Health. “More studies are needed to identify populations who are susceptible to radiofrequency radiation (RFR) and understand exposure to RFR by different using patterns of cell phones.” According to the American Cancer Society’s recent report, there were nearly 53,000 new cases of thyroid cancer in the United States, resulting in 2,180 deaths. Thyroid cancer is three times more common in women and is diagnosed at a younger age than most other cancers,” (Thyroid).

Conclusion

These results clearly show that there is a strong correlation between the increase in technology usage and the increase in people diagnosed with cancer. When cell phones are such a vital part of our everyday lives, it might be difficult to cut it out completely. Reducing the amount of time we are on screens would be a good start. Though this is frightening, it truly is an important topic to discuss and more studies will be done soon.

Sai Datla, Youth Medical Journal 2020

References

“Thyroid Cancer, Genetic Variations, Cell Phones Linked in New Study.” ScienceDaily, ScienceDaily, 12 Feb. 2020, http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/02/200212121948.htm.

Edward T. Creagan, M.D. “Is There a Connection between Cellphones and Cancer?” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 12 Dec. 2018, http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/expert-answers/cell-phones-and-cancer/faq-20057798.

“Demographics of Mobile Device Ownership and Adoption in the United States.” Pew Research Center: Internet, Science & Tech, Pew Research Center, 5 June 2020, http://www.pewresearch.org/internet/fact-sheet/mobile/. 

Kamenetz, Anya. “It’s A Smartphone Life: More Than Half Of the U.S. Children Now Have One.” NPR, NPR, 31 Oct. 2019, http://www.npr.org/2019/10/31/774838891/its-a-smartphone-life-more-than-half-of-u-s-children-now-have-one. 

“Non-Ionizing Radiation.” Non-Ionizing Radiation – an Overview | ScienceDirect Topics, http://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/non-ionizing-radiation.

NRC: Natural Background Sources. http://www.nrc.gov/about-nrc/radiation/around-us/sources/nat-bg-sources.html. 

“Cell Phone Radio Frequency Radiation.” National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, ntp.niehs.nih.gov/whatwestudy/topics/cellphones/index.html. 

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. “Do Cell Phones Cause Cancer?” Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, 20 May 2019, http://www.mskcc.org/news/do-cell-phones-cause. 

Categories
Neuroscience

Sleep Restriction Relating to Anger

Introduction

Anger. One of the most painful emotions to encounter. Regardless of how much humans despise the feeling, everyone has experienced it. Not only is the feeling unpleasant, but the physical and mental health problems caused by excessive anger are dangerous and sometimes even life-threatening. Controlling it is challenging and tedious; allowing it to roam free hurts others and oneself. However, what if there was a way to lessen the amount of anger that is felt by merely sleeping?

A typical person needs 7-8 hours of sleep per night. When getting less than that, one goes into sleep deprivation. When this continues to happen for multiple consecutive days, a person will go into sleep debt. Sleep deprivation and sleep debt are very dangerous for the body because it can cause memory issues, mood changes, weakened immunity, higher risk for diabetes, weight gain, and more. Humans tend to be more irritable when tired. Therefore, it is much more likely for someone to get angry when they are on low sleep. Studies have shown that sleep deprivation can be fuel for anger, and getting enough sleep can lessen the emotion in your body.

Studies

In a 2016 study done on 2767 adolescents between the ages of 12 and 16; 52% of the participants were male, and 48% were female. The main objective of this study was to see whether less sleep leads to more behavioral problems. The study showed that the teenagers who slept less had more behavioral problems than those who slept the recommended hours. They reported emotional changes, including an increase in anger.

Another study was done on Japanese high school juniors and seniors to see whether poor sleep habits impacted impulsivity as well as negative behaviors. Teenagers were asked about their sleep patterns; 12% of younger teens and 18% of older teens slept less than the recommended time. These children reported more behavioral issues and negative behaviors/emotions, such as anger. This study helps to prove the theory of sleep deprivation relating to anger.

Furthermore, the amygdala is commonly known as the emotional center of the brain. However, it also plays a crucial role in the process of sleeping. When one is sleep-deprived, there is a functional deficit between the amygdala and the ventral anterior cingulate cortex (VACC), which causes an increase in negative emotions. 

Conclusion

Better sleep will give one a balanced mind. It is evident that sleep and emotions will be correlated because of the functions of the amygdala. The study on adolescents proves that less sleep affects emotions and behavior. Along with this, the Japanese survey of juniors and seniors showed the same results. The less sleep one has, the more likely it is for them to be angry or frustrated throughout the day. Therefore, sleep restriction will increase anger levels.

Categories
Neuroscience

Does Personality Affect Genetics?

Creativity, temperament, curiosity, and compassion; these are just some of the pillars of what makes a person who they are. Our actions as human beings are based on personality because we are an emotional species. This emotion drives us and makes up our identity. Therefore, emotions are a result of experiences that mold your character. We must ask the question of whether personality is entirely up to us. Are we the ones driving the car to the path of identity, or is there a map? Does genetics play a role in our personality? Recent studies have shown specific genes in our DNA that significantly affect how our character is shaped.

In 2010, there was a meta-analysis study done on genome-wide lab data for “personality in 10 discovery samples (17,375 adults) and 5 in silicone replication samples (3,292 adults),” (Moor). All people were from European ancestry. Personality was scored for neuroticism (negative emotions), extraversion (positive emotions), openness to experience, agreeableness, and contentiousness. The scoring was all based on the NEO Five-Factor Inventory. “The NEO Five-Factor Inventory-3 (NEO-FFI-3), is the updated version of the NEO-FFI — a 60-item version of the NEO-PI-3. It provides a quick, reliable, and accurate measure of the five domains of personality and is particularly useful when time is limited and when global information on personality is needed”(NEO).

The results were as following:

 “ genome-wide significance to Openness to Experience near the RASA1 gene on 5q14.3 (rs1477268 and rs 2032794, p=2.8*10-8) and for Contentiousness in the brain-expressed KATNAL2 gene on 18q21.1 (rs2576037, P=4.9*10-8). We further conducted a gene-based test that confirmed the association of KATNAL2 to contentiousness. In silico replication did not, however, show significant associations of the top SNPs of Openness and Contentiousness, although the direction of the effect of the KATNAL2 SNP on Contentiousness was consistent in all replication samples,” (Moor).

The data from this study shows that there is a genome-wide significance relating to the RASA1 and KATNAL2 gene to 2 domains of personality. Further research was done on the KATNAL2 gene, associated with the personality domain of contentiousness The effect of the KATNAL2 SNP (single nucleotide polymorphism) showed to be consistent.

Single nucleotide polymorphism: .“Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) are a type of polymorphism involving variation of a single base pair” (Si Nu Po).

Another study was done on Norwegian twins to estimate how much impact genetics have on our personalities. For this study, scientists used the NEO-PI-R model of the NEO Five-Factor Inventory and the Satisfaction With Life Scale (SWLS).“The Satisfaction with Life Scale was developed to assess satisfaction with people’s lives as a whole. The scale does not assess satisfaction with specific life domains, such as health or finances, but allows subjects to integrate and weigh these domains in whatever way they choose” (Sat). Regression analyses and biometric modeling were used to determine influences on personality traits and where they came from, whether it be genetics or environmental. The results showed that Extraversion and Neuroticism emotions explained 24% of the variance in life satisfaction and facets explained 32%. Out of these facets, four were examined closer to the study. “Anxiety and depression in the Neuroticism domain, and activity and positive emotions within extraversion. Heritability of life satisfaction was 0.31 (0.22–0.40), of which 65% was explained by personality-related genetic influences” (Røysamb). 

In conclusion, though we have control over who we become, some parts of our identity were predetermined at birth. Through research and experimenting, scientists can give us a deeper understanding of this new, unknown topic. The meta-analysis study proved that there was a difference in the KATNAL2 gene when it comes to levels of Contentiousness and in the RASA1 gene with levels of Openness. The twin study showed that 65% of the heritability of life satisfaction came from genetic influences on personality. These two studies came to a similar conclusion; personality is affected by genetics.

References:

Røysamb, Espen, et al. “Genetics, Personality and Wellbeing. A Twin Study of Traits, Facets and Life Satisfaction.” Nature News, Nature Publishing Group, 17 Aug. 2018, http://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-29881-x.

Moor, M H M de, et al. “Meta-Analysis of Genome-Wide Association Studies for Personality.” Nature News, Nature Publishing Group, 21 Dec. 2010, http://www.nature.com/articles/mp2010128.

Jaime Derringer, Robert F. Krueger. “Predicting Sensation Seeking From Dopamine Genes: A Candidate-System Approach – Jaime Derringer, Robert F. Krueger, Danielle M. Dick, Scott Saccone, Richard A. Grucza, Arpana Agrawal, Peng Lin, Laura Almasy, Howard J. Edenberg, Tatiana Foroud, John I. Nurnberger, Victor M. Hesselbrock, John R. Kramer, Samuel Kuperman, Bernice Porjesz, Marc A. Schuckit, Laura J. Bierut, , 2010.” SAGE Journals, journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0956797610380699.

Krueger, Robert F, et al. “The Heritability of Personality Is Not Always 50%: Gene-Environment Interactions and Correlations between Personality and Parenting.” Journal of Personality, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Dec. 2008, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2593100/.

“NEO Five-Factor Inventory – 3.” SIGMA Assessment Systems, 20 Dec. 2018, http://www.sigmaassessmentsystems.com/assessments/neo-five-factor-inventory-3/.

“Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs).” Genome.gov, http://www.genome.gov/genetics-glossary/Single-Nucleotide-Polymorphisms.
“Satisfaction with Life Scale.” Satisfaction with Life Scale | Positive Psychology Center, ppc.sas.upenn.edu/resources/questionnaires-researchers/satisfaction-life-scale#:~:text=The%20Satisfaction%20with%20Life%20Scale,in%20whatever%20way%20they%20choose.