Julie Guest Blogs: Manage Your Meal Times

Julie Nam, one of Dr. T’s Health Psychology students, guest blogs again!:

For those who seek weight loss in order to acquire a healthy weight, the timing of meals seems to impact their progress. Often, when people diet, they focus on the amount of calories they eat rather than on the time of day they eat. A recent study found that the timing of meals have a significant influence in weight loss. One group ate their main meal, lunch, before 3 p.m. and the second group ate their meal after 3 p.m. The two groups had similar caloric intakes, energy expenditures, and sleep. Researchers found that compared to the early-eaters, the late-eaters lost less weight and revealed a lower insulin sensitivity, a risk factor for diabetes type 2. These findings suggest that when dieters eat is an important contributor for effective weight loss.

Rishi Guest Blogs: The Threat of Ceaseless Pandemics

This Guest Blog Post is from Rishi Menon, one of Dr. T’s Health Psychology students:

With today’s scientific and medical advancement, populations across the globe are steadily becoming less wary of airborne disease. After all, chances are you’ve already gotten the vaccine to fight it. While most are aware that different strains have varying levels of strength and resistance to drugs, the emergence of entirely drug-resistant diseases could send countries worldwide in national panic. This article, for instance, presents a dangerous situation in which widespread tuberculosis, one that is completely resilient to drugs, would be incurable. With the knowledge of the presence of such a disease strain, governments may feel encouraged enforce preventative action. This includes nationwide mandates for citizens to receive vaccinations, screening for possible disease infection, etc. Yet the emergence of an drug-resistant strain could also shake society’s confidence in the medical system – can our cutting-edge research keep up with the ever-growing diseases? Will we need to find a new way to eliminate disease within our populations? Vaccines are artificial immune systems that cannot pass down through posterity – can we find a more permanent solution to diseases? These are important questions still lingering.

Amy Guest Blogs: The best type of medicine…

This Guest Blog Post is from Amy Trang, one of Dr. T’s Health Psychology students:

Many of us have heard that laughter is the best medicine. Fortunately, this is no joke! This research from the Mayo Clinic reveals that laughing can help relieve stress leading to both short-term and long-term benefits. Not only does it alleviate mental exhaustion, it also stimulates organs throughout the body, such as your heart, lungs, and muscles. When this happens, endorphins are released by your brain, producing an overall feeling of well-being. Laughing soothes tension by relaxing muscles and also activates and deactivates your stress response, leaving you in a relaxed state. The long-term effect from laughing includes improving your immune system by having positive thoughts manifest to release certain chemicals that fight off stress and other illnesses.

Jacqueline Guest Blogs: Just a spoon full of sugar?

This Guest Blog Post is from Jacqueline Ip, one of Dr. T’s Health Psychology students:

Do you believe sugar can heal your wounds? Professor Murandu from University of Wolverhampton recently tested sugar therapy with three types of sugar to see the effect on bacterial growth. Participants in his study had different wound types, such as leg ulcers and surgical wounds, and results show that greet sugar and cane sugar have an antimicrobial and an analgesic (pain relief) effect. This research suggests that underlying sugar therapy is the principle that  bacteria needs water to survive. Since sugar has high osmolar action, sugar “takes away” the water in the wound thus inhibiting bacteria reproduction and causing the bacteria to die. So while a spoonful of sugar may be bad in our food, it may work great under our band-aids.

Jessica Guest Blogs: Pain in the Brain

This Guest Blog Post is from Jessica Xi, one of Dr. T’s Health Psychology students:

We know that placebos can help reduce pain, but it’s still not entirely understood how this works. This recent article, describes an attempt to use fMRI scans to explain how the placebo effect functions. Researchers noticed that some areas of the prefrontal cortex, which controls thinking, do not contribute to the placebo effect. Because previous research has revealed that distraction can also reduce pain, it is predicted that distraction is associated with thought control of the brain. Distraction reduces pain by activating a different part of the brain compared to placebos, so if you want a more powerful pain reducing effect, you should use both techniques.

Danni Guest Blogs: Stress eating in children

Danni Ji, one of Dr. T’s Health Psychology students, guest blogs again!:

In this recent study, researchers tested children to see how stressed they would get by delivering a speech or performing a mathematics task. They measured stress through salivary cortisol before and after the task. After the task, the children participated in an eating activity. Those with exhibited higher cortisol release consumed significantly more calories than those whose cortisol levels only rose slightly. Furthermore, researchers found that cortisol levels stayed elevated or decreased slowly in those kids with the greatest BMIs, and these kids also consumed the greatest number of calories. These findings shed much-needed light on triggers of eating in childhood.

Julie Guest Blogs: Write your illness away

This Guest Blog Post is from Julie Nam, one of Dr. T’s Health Psychology students:

Adjusting to an illness is not easy, especially if that illness is cancer. Ms. Kyle Potvin, a breast cancer patient, uses an effective technique, writing about her illness, but takes it up a notch, by creatively expressing her cancer through poetry. In her poems, Ms. Potvin disclosed her emotions, such as loss ad mortality, and processed her thoughts. The support for poetry writing as a therapy has been effective in diverse populations, such as people struggling with pain and adolescents struggling with bullying. People suffering from both physical and mental illnesses have, amazingly, found a way to fight for health through artistic approaches. Historically, this approach does make sense, considering that many of the greatest authors in literature wrote through their struggles. Read more about Ms. Potvin’s story and the research behind writing therapy here.

Sharon Guest Blogs: Supplements to reduce autism risk?

This Guest Blog Post is from Sharon Lai, one of Dr. T’s Health Psychology students:

Some believe that taking vitamins and other supplements could prevent autism. While this new research cannot not prove this theory, it does suggest that taking supplements could reduce the risk of your child getting autism. Study results suggest that taking supplements containing folic acid could reduce the risk of autism. Women who took folic acid “before and in early pregnancy were 39% less likely to have autistic children,” but the effect only happened when women took these supplements during six weeks before and six weeks after conception. These findings shed some light on a potential critical period in fetal development for reducing the risk of autism.

Valeriya Guest Blogs: Stressing the significance of stress

This Guest Blog Post is from Valeriya Komova, one of Dr. T’s Health Psychology students:


Many of us don’t realize how stress impacts everyday life; however, the American Medical Association classified stress as being the cause of more than 60% of all human illness and disease. All stress, big and small, affects our bodies. It can disable your thinking, and when you become accustomed to stress, its effects can go unnoticed until it is too late. The good news is that we can control how we respond to it, and we can begin by recognizing stress and dealing with it the very moment that it comes up. Read here about effective strategies that we can employ daily can help save our health and prevent us from visiting the doctor in the future.

Danni Guest Blogs: Flu Mask Fashion

Danni Ji, one of Dr. T’s Health Psychology students, guest blogs again!:

It may not be the most stylish fashion statement, but past research has found that using surgical masks by flu patients reduced the impact of large droplet spray (coughing, sneezing). And now a recent study by Dr. Milton and his research team found that using a surgical mask prevents both large and fine airborne particles from escaping into the air, which can infect other individuals. Dr. Milton and his team tested 38 flu patients for both coarse (≥ 5 µm) and fine (< 5 µm) particles, and found that there is 9x more influenza virus present even in the smallest airborne droplets exhaled by flu patients than healthy patients. Additionally, wearing a face mask significantly reduced the amount of virus in the smallest droplets by 2.8 fold.