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.


Weekend Sip Tip

Ready for some "math"? (Since your brain loves working hard even on Fridays)!  Use the BAC chart attached to answer these TOUGH questions and scroll down to see what new research has to say about BAC levels and college students.

Four friends are out at a bar and drinking at the same pace.  In one hour, they've all consumed 3 drinks.  What is the estimated BAC for each person? 
120 lb woman?
160 lb woman?
120 lb man?
160 lb man?

This same group continues their night and ends up drinking for 3 hours now, but they haven't been keeping the same pace.  What is each person's estimated BAC based on their total drinks and weight below?

120 lb woman, 6 drinks
160 lb woman, 7 drinks
120 lb man, 7 drinks
160 lb man, 8 drinks

The group is finishing up their night after 5 hours of drinking, what's their estimated BAC using the info below?

120 lb woman, 9 drinks
160 lb woman, 9 drinks
120 lb man, 10 drinks
160 lb man, 11 drinks

Did you see a difference in the BAC levels for each person, despite the similar drinking levels?  If a person is equipped with the BAC cards at a bar, do you think they'd be more or less likely to stay in a safe drinking zone?  

What if you are out and drinking, and someone asks you to estimate your BAC level without a BAC card to guide you?  Do you think you would be accurate?  According to this study, students overestimated their BAC earlier in the night (think of the first sample problem), while underestimating their level of intoxication once the night was winding down.  You can imagine the implications from that, including higher incidences of alcohol-related injuries, arguments, fights, etc.  A person believing they are more sober than they are can have dangerous and sometimes very serious consequences. 

Looking for ways to avoid those dangerous situations if you are drinking, but don't want to carry a BAC card around?  Try to plan your night before heading out so you know what your limits are before stepping foot near alcohol.  Pace yourself to about 1-2 drinks an hour to stay within a buzzed range.  Remember you don't need to keep pace with everyone else- alcohol may affect you differently than your friend.  If you feel like you should have a drink in your hand, try switching to a water or non-alcoholic version of your drink.  And remember...

Answers to the math problems:
 .10, .07, .08, .05
.18, .15, .17, .14
.26, .17, .23, .18


Hump day: Put a ring on it

Bloomberg's School of Public Health has recently published a study on the effectiveness of using female condoms to reduce disease transmission in Washington, DC.  The results proved that these commonly under-used contraceptives could be a winning choice for reducing infection rates.

Why would the female condom be so effective or even preferred for use?  Here are some considerations...

  • They are easy to get (we have them for free in the CHEW office! Come by and get one or buy one at a local store for about $2-$4/each).
  • Can be a great alternative for those allergic to latex male condoms
  • Does not require the woman to use a hormonal birth control
  • No Rx required
  • Can be inserted up to 8 hours prior to use
  • Better with lubricants (we have that too)!
  • Can be inserted by a partner or the wearer
  • Allows the woman to be involved in the protection against STIs and pregnancy
Want to give it a whirl?  Come by the CHEW office in Levering or look for a Hump Day table with PEEPs to score one for yourself!  And be on the lookout- researchers are working on making different versions right now... imagine the possibilities.


PEEP Talk: Spring Break Lessons


A message from one of our PEEPs!
  One of the hardest things I have ever had to do at Hopkins is find balance between school, extracurricular commitments and keeping my spirits high. This Spring Break, I did what it took me my entire life to figure out how to do—relax. I went on vacation with one of my best friends, Emily, to Orlando. We spent a week with my family in a resort right outside of Disney World, where we passed the days by swimming, sitting in the hot tub, going to the steam room, enjoying rollercoasters, and not doing work. Yes, I said it, I did not get much work done over Spring Break.

            To all my professors- I’m sorry, but a girl needs a real break sometimes. I have spent my semester cracking my head against my books to write a thesis for my French major, learn how to do basic epidemiology, understand sociological theories, and look at health from a million different dimensions, all the while, I have held a part time job and a number of Executive Board positions in clubs on campus. So I took the advice of my mom and some of my closest friends and just closed my books.

            I was scared at first, to be honest, that I would feel some kind of void when I didn’t do any work. It sounds stupid, but I didn’t think I would know what to do with myself and my –dare I say it-free time! Surprisingly, when you open up to life, you find that a million new opportunities present themselves. It’s common knowledge that I’m a tad uptight, so going on rollercoasters used to be something that I mostly dreamed about. This break, I said yes to every ride at the theme parks, and found myself loving the rush of adrenaline along with the thrills of drops, twists, turns and high-speed chases.  Talk about an insanely therapeutic experience I never saw coming!

            So what does any of this have to do with health or PEEPs for that matter? Well, the realization that what matters most is my happiness is something that has taken years and years for me to acknowledge. That being said, I’m not completely realistic about my priorities, I fear that once I get back into the swing of things, I’ll forget about the fun of the two hundred feet drops, the sensation of a free fall, and throw myself back into my work. That’s not healthy. I want to make a promise to all of you to put a more positive spin on my life here at Hopkins, and I hope that you will take this pledge too. Take a risk. Enjoy yourself. Don’t be afraid to take a personal day, whether you want to have an individual spa day where you put on a mask, paint your nails and jam out to your favorite songs or you feel like going to your first concert downtown. Just be safe and it’s all good! There’s no sense in drowning in stress, so make Spring Break last a little bit longer, do what makes you happy, truly absolutely happy. 


SEE for Yourself: Meatless Monday


See Tip: Consider going meatless this Monday.  You might lose a day of meat, but think of all you'll stand to gain.  Not sure what to eat to replace your protein source for the day?  PEEPs can help you out- stop by the SEE for yourself table from 1-3pm today on the Breezeway for some ideas!  Want to start planning now?  Try this brownie recipe for a healthy, protein-rich treat!

2 cups chocolate chips
1/2 cup butter
2 cups soft-cooked black beans, drained well (hs: canned is fine)
1 cup cocoa powder
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon sea salt
4 eggs
3/4 cup brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Blend beans thoroughly in a food processor.  Melt Butter on stove and put in large bowl.  Add pureed black beans, cocoa powder, vanilla, salt, eggs, and brown sugar.  Mix well until batter is smooth.  Add chocolate chips and bake in a square cake pan.  Bake for 30-40 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean from the middle.

Servings:  12  

Health Benefits of Meatless Mondays

LIMIT CANCER RISK: Hundreds of studies suggest that diets high in fruits and vegetables may reduce cancer risk. Both red and processed meat consumption are associated with colon cancer.

REDUCE HEART DISEASE: Data from a Harvard University study found that replacing saturated fat-rich foods (for example, meat and full fat dairy) with foods that are rich in polyunsaturated fat (for example, vegetable oils, nuts and seeds) reduces the risk of heart disease by 19%.

FIGHT DIABETES: Research suggests that higher consumption of red and processed meat increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.

CURB OBESITY: People on low-meat or vegetarian diets have significantly lower body weights and body mass indices. A recent study from Imperial College London also found that reducing overall meat consumption can prevent long-term weight gain.

LIVE LONGER: Red and processed meat consumption is associated with modest increases in total mortality, cancer mortality and cardiovascular disease mortality.

IMPROVE YOUR DIET. Consuming beans or peas results in higher intakes of fiber, protein, folate, zinc, iron and magnesium with lower intakes of saturated fat and total fat.

Environmental Benefits of Meatless Mondays

REDUCE YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT. The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization estimates the meat industry generates nearly one-fifth of the man-made greenhouse gas emissions that are accelerating climate change worldwide . . . far more than transportation. And annual worldwide demand for meat continues to grow. Reining in meat consumption once a week can help slow this trend.

MINIMIZE WATER USAGE. The water needs of livestock are tremendous, far above those of vegetables or grains. An estimated 1,800 to 2,500 gallons of water go into a single pound of beef. Soy tofu produced in California requires 220 gallons of water per pound.

HELP REDUCE FOSSIL FUEL DEPENDENCE. On average, about 40 calories of fossil fuel energy go into every calorie of feed lot beef in the U.S. Compare this to the 2.2 calories of fossil fuel energy needed to produce one calorie of plant-based protein. Moderating meat consumption is a great way to cut fossil fuel demand.

HKB News:  A new report shows that nearly 1 in 5 teens smoke cigarettes.  While the rate is going down from past decades, we could do more to prevent others from this very difficult addiction.  Luckily, this week is Kicks Butts week!  Come check out the Levering Quad on Tuesday for Quit Cold Turkey Subs from 11-1 and see HKB and Colleges against Cancer on Wednesday from 11-1 for more ways to help reduce tobacco or learn about ways to quit if you're interested.

Mellow-Out Monday Tip: Want to be less stressed?  Try reducing your meat, fish, and poultry intake by participating in Meatless Monday.  A recent study from the Nutrition Journal found that people eating vegetarian diets were in better moods and less stressed than their omnivore counterparts.  Need more than a change in diet to reduce your stress?  Try a back rub from Stressbusters tonight from 8-10pm on Q-level in the MSE Library.  We've got your back!

Information about Meatless Mondays from http://www.meatlessmonday.com/why-meatless/


Hump Day: Sensory Mapping for pleasure


Wondering what stimulating different parts of the vagina looks like?  Wonder no more!  Scientists have done fMRI technology with women during different types sexual stimuli and have learned how the brain reacts to each.

They found some fascinating results.  For instance, they found that the female's clitoris when stimulated shows up in the same position on the sensory cortex as when a man's penis is stimulated- further linking the two pleasure zones.

Additional research found varied sexual experiences are linked to different parts of the sensory cortex, such as stimulation of the front vaginal wall versus stimulation of the nipples.  This research proves how orgasmic different stimuli truly are, and can prove beneficial in the medical community according to researchers.


It's Spring BREAAAK!!

Have a fun and safe spring break!!

Weekend Sip Tip: Greening Out

St. Patrick's Day is this weekend and there will be green flowing through the streets in the waves of "Kiss me, I'm Irish" t-shirts, buttons, and so on.  Often, St. Patty's Day revelers are so caught up in the day that the meaning behind it can get lost.

DYK this about St. Patrick's Day?

St. Patrick's Day celebrations stem from the spread of Christianity to the Irish.  And the shamrock actually served as a way to explain the holy trinity to others- using the three leaves.

According to researchers, there were no actual snakes driven out of Ireland, as the folklore says.  The snake metaphor was used to talk of religion and the change from Pagan beliefs to Christianity.

By law, Ireland closes it's bars on St. Patrick's Day as it is a national religious holiday.

The Americanized version of St. Patrick's Day formed in the late 1700s as a way to celebrate Irish culture, ancestry, and group identity with parades that spread throughout the country.

Wearing the color green is actually considered unlucky in Ireland, though it is widely worn in the U.S. on March 17th as a way of showing allegiance to Ireland.

A common drink in the U.S. on this day is the "Irish Car Bomb".  This drink is not only dangerous due to the chugging aspects of it, but it is also extremely offensive to the Irish, who faced the car bomb terrorism in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s.  Read more here. 

If you choose to celebrate St. Patrick's Day this weekend, consider the history, and think of the future- your future.  If you decide to drink, do so responsibly and use these tips to keep the day going safely.

  • Stay hydrated.  Alternate drinking water with drinking alcohol.
  • Have a good meal- enjoy an Irish breakfast!  And continue eating throughout the day.
  • Pace yourself- stick to about 1 to 2 drinks an hour.
    • This includes taking shots, etc. - If you are doing shots, these will be consumed at a faster rate, while the absorption of the alcohol may take a little longer.  This means, the effects of the shot may not hit you until a little later...be aware of how much total alcohol you may be consuming to monitor your B.A.C. level to stay in a safer zone.
  • Stay with friends and take care of one another.
  • Designate a sober driver, arrange for a taxi pick up, or find some other form of transportation that will get you to your destination safely.


Hump Day: Spring Breaking it down


Thinking you might find a week of love during Spring Break?  Or perhaps you're reuniting with your long-distance boyfriend or girlfriend? If lovin' is in your future, enjoy, but also remember some keys to keeping it safer while you're there.

Be prepared. Use protection. 
If you're engaging in sexual activity condoms are your best bet against both STIs and pregnancy, if you and your partner may not be monogamous. And great news, we have free ones at the Student Health and Wellness Center and in the CHEW office.  We also offer discounted Trojans and Durex condoms through our "Condom Sense Program".   We also have dental dams and female condoms available- just come to CHEW!

If you use hormonal methods, be sure to take them as advised by your physician.  Spring break can have lots of fun distractions, but a missed pill or patch replacement can cause unneeded stress.  Plan ahead to avoid that worry.

Talk it out.
Be sure both people are on board with the activity that's about to take place.  Mutual consent is a must.  Just ask to get clued in that things are good for everyone involved.  Communication is not only necessary, it is also hot!

Know your status and your partner's.
STIs may be hard to bring into the conversation, but for both of your safety, it will be important to ask about.  1 in 2 sexually active people under the age of 25 have contracted an STI.  Ask the questions, use protection.

Not really, but just make sure your friends are aware of what's going on, too.  If you are hitting it off with someone, introduce that person to your friends, include names (first and last), and be sure to stick with your group or at least have them know where you are.

Trust your gut.
You know what's right for you more than anyone else.  If something feels off, trust yourself and remove yourself from the situation. It is your spring break and you get to decide what to do with it.


SEE- National Napping Day!


SEE Tip:  We've sprung forward thanks to Daylights Savings Time and perhaps you are feeling extra sleepy today.  Need a quick solution?  Try a 30 minute nap to commemorate National Napping Day!

You must sleep some time between lunch and dinner, and no half-way measures. Take off your clothes and get into bed. That's what I always do. Don't think you will be doing less work because you sleep during the day. That's a foolish notion held by people who have no imagination. You will be able to accomplish more. You get two days in one -- well, at least one and a half, I'm sure. When the war started, I had to sleep during the day because that was the only way I could cope with my responsibilities.  
- Winston Churchill

HKB Big Tobacco Update: A recent study from UCLA learned of some foul play hiding in Big Tobacco's files.  Through an exhaustive search, researchers discovered that Big Tobacco was aware of the cancer risks associated with smoking decades before they were shared with the public.  These major health risks were kept a secret from the general population and not properly addressed out of Big Tobacco's fear of losing potential life-long customers through nicotine addiction.  Was it savvy business sense or disregard for public safety?

Mellow Out Monday: National napping day may seem silly to some, but it's the perfect excuse to take care of yourself.  If you aren't able to take a nap, at least do something for yourself today.  Try reading a book for pleasure, catching up on a favorite TV show, or stopping by Q-level in the MSE Library for a FREE 5-7 minute back rub from a Stressbuster.  Pamper yourself today- you've earned it.


Weekend Sip Tip: The Big Screen and the Big Drink


A recent study has linked binge drinking in students to Hollywood's display of alcohol use in movies.  While the researchers stated that alcohol use in movies doesn't CAUSE people to drink, they did find a correlation.  Their study found that with higher instances of watching movies with alcohol use, there were also higher instances of binge drinking in the students' own lives.  

What do you think of the correlation?


Hump Day: First Kisses

First kisses...

If you've been kissed, how would you describe that very first time?  Was it what you expected or completely different?

Did that kiss change your mind about the person you were interested in?

According to a UAlbany research study by Hughes et al., the first kiss can be a real deal breaker.  Their study findings showed that their participants could be attracted to someone, but after a first kiss that didn't connect or didn't meet their romantic desires, the person would lose interest after that initial kiss.  Would you give your date a second chance to find that connection?  Or is a first kiss a true deal breaker for you?

And to brighten up your day- see a true first kiss below.


SEE for Yourself: Eat Well


SEE Tip:  March is National Nutrition Month and CHEW wants to know, how would you grade your nutrition so far this semester?  How would you RATE YOUR PLATE?

HKB News: Federal court judge rules that proposed cigarette labels showing graphic effects from smoking would violate first amendment rights of the cigarette companies.  Want to know more?  Read about it and check out HKB on Facebook for more details.

Mellow Out Monday: Midterms are here and we're all feeling it.  Take a break and come to Q Level in the MSE Library from 8-10pm tonight for a back rub from Stressbusters!  A 5-7 minute back rub is the perfect break from the midterm madness.


Weekend Sip Tip: Four Loko Update


You may remember the Four Loko crazy from over a year ago with headlines like:

  • Man claims Four Loko caused permanent heart damage in suit
  • Houston woman and 1 year old daughter, found drunk on Four Loko
  • Two California teens found dead beside empty can of Four Loko
  • Alcohol poisoning deaths soar in past decade
  • Four Loko found in deadly teen crash
  • Four Loko sales to be restricted in Mass.
  • Potential Health Risks with Four Loko

In light of these articles and lawsuits, Four Loko decided to make a change.  They removed the caffeine content from their cans- removing a potentially lethal combination of alcohol and caffeine, or as they called it "black out in a can".  Four Loko is still on the market though- as an alcoholic beverage, and some companies are continuing to fight with the manufacturers.   The reason for the fight- misrepresentation of what's really in that can.

The company says that a 23.5 ounce can is equal to 1-2 beers.  However, a can which can contain about 12% alcohol can really be the same as 4-5 beers.  A big difference if someone is looking to get a buzz versus very drunk and potentially sick or worse.

Did you know Four Loko was still on the market?  If you did- were you aware of how much alcohol was in there?  Do you agree with the companies that think Four Loko should be more clear with it's marketing?  Why or why not?


Spring Break Tip: Protect Your Skin

It's March 1st- have you begun to think about spring break?  How do you gear up?  Typically, the gyms, tanning beds, and salad bars are buzzing with people trying to get their body exactly how they want it for the beach.  While some of that can be healthy, some can be dangerous too.  In particular, there are some dangers to skin out there that many know about, but only a few pay attention to.

Watch this to consider why you should start paying attention to your skin's health.