Disclaimer: The information, articles, and tips portrayed on this blog, while based on research, do not constitute medical advice. The opinions expressed are meant to educate and inform, but not to dictate lifestyle choices or personal beliefs. These articles are meant to provoke thought on issues surrounding college health and to inform the Hopkins community of healthy information and resources.

11.29.2010

SEE for Yourself on Monday

11.29.2010
SEE Tip: The holiday season has officially begun! As the time for gift giving draws near, think fitness while you shop. Instead of doing the majority of your shopping online, head out to the mall to find your presents. It's an easy way to add some physical fitness to your routine and also check some people off your list. In an hour and a half of shopping, you can burn over 380 calories. In fact, a recent study found that the average woman burns roughly 48,000 calories a year from shopping alone! So while you shop, ditch the laptop and head to the sales rack in person!

Quit Tip from HKB: Why wait until January 1st to make your quit smoking resolution? It may be easier to find someone to smooch at midnight without the stench of cigarettes on your breath. Commit to spending the next month to quitting the habit. You can start 2011 feeling healthier and can work on a different resolution in the upcoming year!

Mellow Out Monday: The holidays can often trigger feelings of stress and depression. As if the winter blues weren't bad enough, piling on exams, papers, and traveling can often bring a heavy load on your shoulders. Check out these tips for ways to cope with the holiday stress! You can also let Stressbusters melt your stress away. FREE 5-minute seated back rubs are available every Monday night at the MSE library, Q-level from 8-10 pm.

Minimize Monday: It's easy to reuse or recycle your inkjet cartridges, so get started today! If you've been chucking your inkjet and toner cartridges in the garbage up to this point, you're not alone. Over 13 cartridges are discarded in the U.S. every second, according to CartridgeFundraising.com.  It's actually easy to cut down on this waste. First off, some inkjet cartridges can be used more than once by buying a refill kit. If this seems too messy, take your empties (think copiers and faxes, too) to the nearest drop off center to be reused or recycled by others. (Plug your zip code into Earth911.org for nearby collection places.) You can also save some money by buying recycled cartridges to begin with! For more information on living green, visit The Daily Green.

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11.23.2010

Holiday Weekend Sip Tip

11.23.2010
When it comes to holidays involving alcohol, often termed 'alcoholidays,' your mind probably drifts to St. Patrick's Day, Halloween, or New Years Eve. Surprisingly, a study from the Underage Drinking Enforcement Training Center found that "Thanksgiving Eve" has taken over all other nights of the year for the most amount of alcohol consumed, particularly by underage drinkers. For many, this may be the first long break from college to return home and reunite with friends. To ease the transition, alcohol may be added to the mix as a bit of social lubricant. Older siblings may be returning to supply the booze to the underage drinkers, or there may just be a ready supply stocked in preparations for the holidays ahead. Regardless of the reasons surrounding it's title, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving has earned the nickname of Black(out) Wednesday. You may choose to drink during the weekends at school, so returning home may appear as a chance to show your friends your newly acquired drinking skills/games/tolerance/etc. Remember, people change and so do social situations. Friends that could previously keep up with each others drinking habits may be in drastically different places after three months apart. Keep to your own pace and don't get caught up in the excitement. You have a big day of eating ahead of you. It's not a morning you want to spend feeling sick! Besides, you really want to impress your friends from home? Show them you can still drink, have fun, and wake-up hangover free- Stop@Buzzed! Happy Thanksgiving!

Tip of the Week: Stuff the Turkey, Not Your Tummy!

November 25th will mark a time for giving thanks for what you have. It's also a time where many of us choose to celebrate by piling our plates high with some of our favorite foods. Thanksgiving meals range in styles and selections, but can also range in calorie counts! The average meal can contain up to 4000 calories depending on how much you consume. According to a study by Texas A&M International University, Americans may consume an extra 619 calories per day between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. That can add up to an additional 7 pounds in a very short time frame. The sweets, fats, and carbohydrates can be very tempting for your taste buds, but not so healthy for your body. Fear not! There are healthy swaps you can make to enjoy your Thanksgiving meal without the negative health implications! Check out this clip for more information.


11.22.2010

SEE for Yourself on Monday

11.22.2010
SEE Tip: Thanksgiving may be a time to indulge in your favorite treats, but a full plate doesn't mean it has to be full of unhealthy options. You can have your pumpkin pie and eat it too! There are plenty of swaps you can make to cut down on the calories, fat, and sodium often present in the standard Thanksgiving meals. Fill half your plate with veggies to fill up from nutritious foods before you stuff yourself with stuffing. Click here for other healthy options to stay thankful for a healthy mind and body!

Quit Tip from HKB: The temperatures outside are getting colder. Do you really want to stand outside for a smoke break? Quit to keep yourself warm this winter! Not only will you be able to stay inside, but your body will be better able to regulate its temperature. Smoking impacts circulation, particularly to your hands and feet. By quitting, you can help keep your toes (and the rest of your body) nice and toasty!

Mellow Out Monday: Stressed out over upcoming holiday travel plans? Take time to de-stress! Let Stressbusters melt your stress away. FREE 5-minute seated back rubs are available every Monday night at the MSE library, Q-level from 8-10 pm.

Minimize Monday: Starting your holiday shopping? Select ground transportation, instead of rush delivery for your mailing needs and cut down on fossil fuel use and pollution. Try to avoid overnight shipping, which burns the most fossil fuels per item. In fact, ground shipping tends to be six times more energy efficient than air.  Also, because airplanes release their greenhouse gases way up in the atmosphere, they tend to do more damage than gases emitted at ground level, at least as far as global warming is concerned.  Avoiding overnight delivery will also save you a bundle of money, since companies add a hefty price for the service. For more information on living green, visit The Daily Green.

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11.19.2010

Weekend Sip Tip

11.19.2010
As the semester winds down, you may be looking back to reflect on your notes, your exams, and your year in general. Is your memory of your weekends a bit blurry? It could be because you lost track of just how much you were consuming. Look back on this archived post so if you choose to drink, you know what to expect from your pour. Measure your weekend in memories, not empty drinks! Stop@Buzzed!

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In the News: MIA on the HPV Shot

HPV, along with its vaccine Gardasil, surged in conversations not long ago as women supported the efforts of protecting themselves against cervical cancer and genital warts. While many flocked to their doctor's offices with the best of intentions to receive the shot, they didn't always follow through. A new study found that less than a third of women who begin the series actually complete it.

The vaccine against HPV/cervical cancer is given in a series of three separate shots over a period of about six month's time. In order for the shots to be effective, the patient must comply by getting all three at the correct time. Failure to do so results in women being under protected and may reduce the length of time the vaccine is effective. The study monitored 2,641 women who started on the HPV vaccine and found that 39.1 percent received a single dose, 30.1 percent got two doses, and 30.78 percent completed the three-dose regimen. Barriers to compliance may include scheduling difficulties, unwanted side effects, costs, and failure to follow-up. It is not necessary to restart the series if one shot is missed, but one should be sure to complete the series once it begins. Both males and females are approved for its use to protect against genital warts and/or cancer. The vaccine is available through the Student Health and Wellness Center. Talk to your health care provider to learn more!

11.17.2010

SHWC Spotlight: Get Vaccinated!

11.17.2010
'Tis the season to spread germs! As the winter months arrive, it's important to focus on prevention to keep yourself from getting sick this season. A 2008 study examined the impact of influenza-like-illness on academic performance among college students. Those vaccinated suffered less from both illness and poor grades! The study concluded, "influenza vaccination was associated with substantial reductions in ILI and ILI-associated health care use and impairment of school performance. College and university students can experience substantial benefits from influenza vaccinations".

Fortunately, the Student Health and Wellness Center offers flu vaccinations to students. Take just 15 minutes out of your day to keep from missing up to a week's worth of class! The SHWC has a limited supply of flu vaccine left after two very successful Flu Clinics. Protect yourself today!
Schedule an appointment: 410-516-8270.
COST: $15.00 /$8.00 with school insurance
PAYMENT:  Cash, check, J-card, credit card or bill your student account   

11.15.2010

SEE for Yourself on Monday

11.15.2010
SEE Tip: Sleep helps you process all the information you’re learning! See for yourself and go to bed early one night this week. A study at Harvard Medical School demonstrates that sleep within 30 hours of learning new information or a new activity is absolutely required for improved performance. Subjects who were tested only a few hours later and subjects who were sleep deprived the next night did worse on the test than those who slept normally following the activity. Stickgold, R., James, L., Hobson, J.A. Visual discrimination learning requires sleep after training. Nature Neuroscience. Dec2000, Vol. 3 Issue 12, p1237.

Quit Tip from HKB: Keep smoking and your may be exposed to disturbing images along with the unhealthy smoke. The FDA has unveiled some pretty graphic warning labels they intend to start putting on cigarette packs to discourage smoking. The US will join 39 other countries that now require large, graphic depictions of smoking’s effects. You may be aware of the risks and dangers, but soon they could be more in your face than ever! Want to quit? Join HKB for the Great American Smokeout on-campus Wednesday and Thursday!

Mellow Out Monday: If ever you find yourself spacing out in class, take that time to check in with yourself. While in class or waiting for it to begin, notice any tension in your body (jaw, neck, shoulders). Breathe deeply and gently stretch and relax any tense areas. Roll your neck, arch your back- you may snap to it feeling better! You can also let Stressbusters melt your stress away. FREE 5-minute seated back rubs are available every Monday night at the MSE library, Q-level from 8-10 pm.

Minimize Monday: Winter is just around the corner, and it’s almost time to turn start turning up your thermostat. While heating a home requires a great deal of energy, you can reduce the amount of energy your home uses by winterizing. One little known way to save energy and to reduce heating costs during the winter is to rotate your ceiling fan blades in the clockwise direction. Using the fan in this manner pushes warm heated air back down into the house where you are. By doing this, you will feel warmer, and eliminate the urge to crank up the heat. For more information on living green, visit The Daily Green.

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11.11.2010

Weekend Sip Tip

11.11.2010
It should come as no surprise that when it comes to beverages, alcohol is not the best option if you want to promote full cognitive function. Few (though, hopefully none) would chug a beer before taking a final in hopes it would improve their performance. Yet come Friday, many student choose to drown their busy week via Solo Cups and cheap beer. Your brain is easily the most useful organ in your body. Before you decide to reach for that extra drink, here are some effects of EtOH it may help to know!
  • The more you drink, the more areas of your brain that are affected. Different areas control different body functions, so as your BAC increases, your brain has more trouble regulating normalcy. Feeling drunk is a result of your brain losing it's ability to regulate your body.
  • It takes a lot to actually kill your brain cells, but alcohol does inhibit them. A 1993 study found no difference between alcoholics and non-alcoholics in density of brain cells. However, alcohol does inhibit the ability of your brain to fire off neurons to send messages to allow you to think, act, and process information properly.
  • An obvious fact, alcohol impairs your decision making. Not only that, it slows down your reaction time and increases your likelihood to make errors. What seems like a good idea at 1am may seem like a terrible decision in hindsight.
  • Think your brain bounces right back the next day? Nope! One night of heavy drinking can impair your ability to think abstractly for up to 30 days, limiting your ability to relate textbook reading to what your professor says.
  • According to JHU Professor Dr. Gorman, your body continues to develop myelin until the age of 25. When you drink, it disrupt normal brain myelination. This process allows for the transmission of signals between the brain and the body. Heavy binge drinking could limit your myelin production.
Your brain is important, especially if you want to excel at Hopkins. Don't damage it by drinking to excess. A small amount of alcohol will offer the euphoric effects without the risks of impairment. If you choose to drink, keep it to one drink an hour for your body and brain, Stop@Buzzed! For other facts on alcohol's impact on the brain and body, click here.

Upcoming Events

Looking for something to do this weekend? Check out these healthy and helpful events!

Nolan's Nights and Johns Hopkins Olympic Taekwondo present: 
BASICS OF SELF DEFENSE
Saturday, November 13th
9:00pm - 11:30pm
Nolan's in Charles Commons
Lessons are 30 minutes long and start every half hour

Admissions: $3 and includes FREE food
Come learn some simple but effective defensive techniques (with actual, practical applications) from trained martial artists  and enjoy cheap, delicious food homemade by the Hopkins Foodies Club!

The Office of Multicultural Affairs presents:
CultureShow 2010
Saturday, November 13th
6:00pm
Shriver Hall Auditorium

Come and enjoy an evening of five star performances at this year's CultureShow 2010. There will be 16 cultural vocal and dance performances this year ranging the globe from countries such as Ireland, China and Africa.  This showcase is free and all are welcome to attend. This year marks the 22nd year of this Johns Hopkins tradition. For additional information please call (410) 516-8730 or visit, wwww.jhu.edu/oma.

11.10.2010

In the News: Break-Ups Abound

11.10.2010
In the age of social networking, relationships are more on display than ever. You are less likely to run into PDA than FDA, Facebook Displays of Affection. The hook-ups, make-ups, and break-ups via Facebook interactions have sparked the interest of one British journalist who took this trend to a new level. Journalist David McCandless, also a graphic designer, has analyzed over 10,000 status updates to produce the Facebook Breakup Chart. The graph shows the most likely times of the year for couples to split according to changes in relationship status.

Considering the majority of Facebook users, the trends tend to make sense. The majority of break ups spike just before Spring Break when some may choose to do a little spring cleaning before heading off on wild trips. The other large spike occurs just before the winter holidays. Apparently the threat of gift giving trumps getting into the holiday spirit with a special someone. With just a month to go before a potential break-up boom, it may be time to check in with your sweetie and see how your relationship is working. Don't let the stress of midterms and holidays interrupt your relationships. Make time for each other or you may one of the relationships ending as the new year begins!

11.09.2010

Tip of the Week: Don't Take Your Sunshine Away

11.09.2010
Now that the clocks have fallen back another hour, you may find your days seem to fly by. Yesterday's sunset occurred at just 5:00pm. The shorter sunlight hours can lead to a biochemical imbalance that leave you feeling depressed. Approximately 10-20% of Americans may suffer from mild symptoms associated with the winter blues.

The reasons for the melancholy feelings stem from changes in hormones. Melatonin (the sleep hormone) decreases and serotonin (the hormone for wakefulness and elevated mood) increases when it's light. Sun also helps your body produce vitamin D which helps in the production of mood-boosting serotonin. With less light to regulate the chemicals, you may feel more fatigued earlier in the day. To ward of the winter blues, there are some tips that can help!

When you begin your day, turn on the lights instead of getting ready in a dimly lit room. It will better wake you up and keep you from starting your day feeling sluggish. Take the long way to class. There are only a limited number of sunlight hours in the day so try to soak up as much as you can. Walk across campus for lunch, take walks for study breaks, or wander around the neighborhood when chatting with friends. If you can't brighten up outside, brighten up your inside space. Get a bright throw blanket, pick up some fresh flowers, or just keep your blinds open throughout the day. If you feel you may have more than just the winter blues, contact the Counseling Center for information on Seasonal Affective Disorder. For more information, click here.

11.08.2010

SEE for Yourself on Monday!

11.08.2010
SEE Tip: Afraid of getting sick? Give your immune system a boost by exercising. People who exercise experience fewer and milder colds. Studies have shown that exercise helps improve the immune system. People who exercise regularly are less likely to get sick and tend to have quicker recovery times. For more information, click here.

Quit Tip from HKB: Which came first, the smoking or the brain impulse? A recent study found that a certain area of the cerebral cortex is thinner in smokers than in people who have never smoked. This area of the brain deals with the reward pathway, impulse control, and decision making. While scientist aren't sure of the cause and effect pathway, there certainly does seem to be a brain difference. Smoking causes many negative side effects on your body and brain so protect yourself by quitting today!

Mellow Out Monday: Daylight Savings Time gave you an extra hour this past weekend. Regardless of how you used that time, think of ways to 'reset' your own clock this time of year. Are you feeling stressed, anxious, rundown? Take a moment to yourself to think about all the positive things in your life. Think about how you spend your time throughout the day and think of ways to make it more efficient. Once you settle your mind you may find it easier to settle your schedule. You can also let Stressbusters melt your stress away. FREE 5-minute seated back rubs are available every Monday night at the MSE library, Q-level from 8-10 pm.

Minimize Monday: If you have the option, use a toaster oven instead of a conventional oven, and you'll consume far less energy.  Tests have shown that a well-insulated toaster oven, with plenty of room for air to circulate around it, consumes a whopping 50 percent less energy. As an added bonus, using a toaster oven will keep your kitchen cooler. Maybe using a compact toaster with a 10 x 10-inch footprint more often will get you thinking about downsizing your overall carbon footprint, too. For more information on living green, visit The Daily Green.

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11.04.2010

Weekend Sip Tip

11.04.2010
If you've recently browsed through the headlines, you most likely have stumbled upon some mention of the drink Four Loko. The hospitalization of several college students who consumed the drink has led to blanket bans by officials and administrators alike. These incidents may be publicized, but the use is not isolated. The low costs, sweet taste, and high alcohol content make the drink tempting to many college students. Branded as 'liquid cocaine' or 'blackout in a can', you can see how it may draw the attention of drinkers. Four Loko may be taking the heat, but it's not the only beverage of its kind. Roughly 25 companies produce a similar beverage and the FDA is looking for evidence that these drinks are actually safe for consumption. One 23.5oz can contains the equivalent of six alcohol servings and roughly the caffeine equivalent of 4 cups of coffee. Sound like your idea of a quick and cheap pregame? Hold that thought. When consumed quickly (as is usually done), these drinks cause severe side effects. There are many potential dangers associated with alcoholic energy drinks, but the most life-threatening stems from the combination of a depressant (alcohol) and a stimulant (caffeine).

Your brain is only programmed to process so much alcohol in so much time before it engages certain life-saving mechanisms. When you pass out, it's not because you are tired. You pass out because your brain is trying to save you from yourself because it knows if you are sleeping, you aren't drinking. Once caffeine is added to the mix, your brain gets mixed messages. Part of it wants to make you drowsy and go to sleep and another part wants to keep you alert and awake. The caffeine bypasses your brains ability to protect itself. If your 'vomit' mechanism somehow gets bypassed as well, you are looking at a serious life-threatening scenario: alcohol poisoning. Another side-effect, the imminent hangovers. Alcohol and caffeine both act to dehydrate your body so using them in tandem will leave you with one heck of a hangover the next morning. If you choose to drink, opt for drinks with lower alcohol concentrations and avoid mixing them with caffeine. If you can't shake your love of the Loko, don't down them by yourself. Split one with a friend, sip slowly, and rehydrate yourself. Give it time to kick in fully before you reach for another drink. As with all alcohol, the greatest risks occur when it is not consumed responsibly and in moderation. Stick with safety, Stop@Buzzed!

In the News: Sad Times for Happy Meals

If you've ever heard the jingle, Rice-a-Roni lays claim as the San Fransisco treat. Now, one less treat is available to the Golden Gate locals. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors recently voted to ban the Happy Meal from the city. Well, not just the Happy Meal. It banned restaurants from handing out toys with any meals that fail to meet certain standards for fat, calories, and sodium.

The surge in childhood obesity sparked the debate of whether these child-friendly meals were encouraging unhealthy eating behaviors among youth. The thought process being that the toy entices children to request the meal. The ban, scheduled to take effect in December 2011, requires restaurants to distribute toys with meals only if they contain fewer than 600 calories, less than 640 mg of sodium, and less than 35 percent of calories in the meals could come from fat (less than 10 percent from saturated fat). The Board of Supervisors hopes this act will result in a decline of their already high child obesity rates.

McDonald's executives were none too happy with the decision, and neither is the San Fransisco mayor. Mayor Gavin Newsom already has plans to veto the bill. The Board also plans to re-vote to overrule the veto. It remains to be seen whether this ban will garner the desired results but for now, Ronald McDonald may be avoiding San Fran as his next vacation spot.

11.03.2010

Free Event Today!

11.03.2010
Are you looking for some Quick and Dirty Tips on diet and nutrition? The Public Health Student Forum and CHEW are proud to present the Nutrition Diva tonight!

Come to America’s “Nutrition Diva”: Lessons in Nutrition and Well-Being at 7 p.m. in Charles Commons Ballroom A. Free snacks provided! We’re also raffling off free drop-in fitness class pass next semester and one free personal training session from 2 to 4 p.m. at the rec center and 7 p.m. at Nutrition Diva's event. Come out tonight for information on eating well and feeling fabulous!

Nutrition Diva host Monica Reinagel is a board-certified Licensed Nutritionist and a professionally-trained chef. She has authored three books on health and nutrition, developed recipes and diet plans for websites and other publications, and currently works as blogger-in-chief and nutrition guru for NutritionData.com. She is also a regular contributor to the popular foodie site, Epicurious.com. Monica is also a professional opera singer who regularly dresses up in outlandish costumes, steps onto a stage, and rips off an aria or two.

11.01.2010

SEE for Yourself on Monday

11.01.2010
SEE Tip: Do your part to improve your personal health AND the health of the planet: eat less meat. Today marks the launch of Meatless Monday through Dining. Meatless Monday is part of the National Healthy Monday campaign to cut out meat one day a week. The campaign ties in with JHU's larger SEE for Yourself on Monday Campaign, which promotes healthy habits one week at a time, showing students that they can positively impact their health and the environment with simple changes. To join the movement, click here!

Quit Tip from HKB: Feeling sad? Reaching for that cigarette may not bring the soothing comfort you expect. In fact, smoking increases the chance of developing depression by a whopping 41% according to a study from the Harvard School of Public Health. Often people turn to tobacco to relieve stress or anxiety. Find a new healthy hobby to make your mind happier!

Mellow Out Monday: Students can get run down with so much going on, especially this time of year. Follow this tip to help you beat the stress: Put limits on work and study hours. You can't work and/or study all the time- fun and relaxation have to be part of your routine as well. Limit the times when you will work to give yourself time to sleep and rest up so you won't get sick. You can also let Stressbusters melt your stress away. FREE 5-minute seated back rubs are available every Monday night at the MSE library, Q-level from 8-10 pm.

Minimize Monday: Your leaf blower may be really modern and fun, but the following information may convince you to be old fashioned about moving the leaves in your yard. One Leaf blower can emit as much smog-forming pollution as 80 cars! Yikes! Manufacturers are working to make leaf blowers less filthy for your health and the health of the environment. In the meantime, pull up your sleeves, take out your rake and protect the environment. For more information on leaf blowers, visit The Daily Green.

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