Social Media and Mental Health

Social media is a tool used for communication, entertainment, collaboration, information, and social organization, used by people of various age groups. Facebook is one of the most popular social media sites that consist of over one billion active users. Its utilization is for business and personal communication that can serve positive advantages of increased connectivity, sharing of ideas, and online learning.  Social networking sites have impacted the way people communicate and interact. The development of social networking sites have increased the time spent on devices which has led to the reduction of interpersonal communication with both family and social environment.  It enables a person to interact with a large number of people, but the interactions are described as shallow and cannot replace face to face communication.  90% of social media users were between the ages of 18-29,  they spent approximately two hours a day on social media. Bailey Parnell a social media expert discussed  the consequences social media has on a person’s mental health.   Parnell focused on 4 common stressors of social media.

  • Highlight reel is the collection of a person’s brightest moments and it becomes a stressor when comparison is made to other peoples highlights
  • Social currency, value is placed on likes and dislikes given to a person by others.
  • The “Fear of Missing Out” (FOMO), according to a Canadian university 7/10 students did not want to get rid of their social media accounts because they did not want to be left out.
  • Online harassment, has been either experienced or witnessed by anyone who owns a social media account with targets that are women, people of color, or part of the LGBQ community

There is so much information stating that social media is harmful to our mental health but  social media is not the  problem but it’s the  users who create a harmful environment. There is no evidence that states Facebook or any other social networking site causes depression especially if they are used for reasons other than communicating with family and friends.  It has been seen to decrease rates of depression. However extensive use of social networking site used in other forms than communicating with loved ones may weaken their relationship by increasing feelings of loneliness.  On the contrary the hyper personal model is an aspect of the positive results of social networking,  it allows users to portray appealing traits of themselves to other social networking users. The selective self-presentation impacts an individual’s self-evaluation and self-esteem.



Online Social Networking and Mental Health. (1, October). Retrieved from

Shibboleth Authentication Request. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Why Social Media Causes Anxiety. (2019, September 12). Retrieved from



Pot For Pain?


By: Marco Verch Professional Photographer and Speaker

Pot for Pain?

 Pain comes in all sorts, and each of us has experienced it in some way or another. Whether it’s the pain of a headache, a broken bone from a fall, we all have pain receptors. What happens when it isn’t temporary? When your nerve endings have permanent pain, and it tingles and hurts chronically?  Pain then becomes a long-term issue, chronic, and it can have a significant impact on quality of life. What does a person do when traditional medications don’t cut it, and increasing tolerance to medications, such as opioids, with other side effects as an issue? With the approaching legalization of cannabis becoming more and more it has many wondering if it is a good option for pain relief.

By: Marco Verch Professional Photographer and Speaker

A Quick look at Neuropathic Pain:

  • Neuropathy is the damage to the sensory, motor or automatic nerves that occurs from an underlying cause such as diabetes, accident, spinal cord or nerve damage.
  • It’s a complex and chronic condition that affects nearly 20 million people in the United States. That’s 20 million people seeking relief.
  • Neuropathic pain accounts for about one in five cases of chronic pain.
  • Neuropathic pain is notoriously difficult to treat. Medications that are normally prescribed for other types of pain (e.g., non-steroidal anti-inflammatories or opioids) are most often times ineffective.

So, studies suggest that cannabis may be a good treatment option to relieve chronic neuropathic pain but does the evidence stand up to the hype, or are the pain-relieving properties smoke and mirrors?

What does the research say?

THC and CBD are the two chemicals found in marijuana that are thought to contribute have the ability to relieve pain. THC alters pain perception by reducing anxiety and stress, while CBD has anti-inflammatory benefits that lessen pain. Cannabis-based medications come in several forms, so for the naysayers on smoking being risky, it can also be ingested in foods, taken as a supplement, and also available in tincture options.

By: Thomas Haynie

A recent systematic review found that compared to a placebo, cannabis-based medications have the ability to provide moderate to substantial pain relief, reduce pain intensity, help with sleep problems, and also mental and psychological distress such as anxiety and PTSD. Unfortunately, these benefits also come associated with side effects including sedation, confusion, and psychosis.

The catch here is for some people, these side effects may be severe enough to outweigh cannabis’s pain-relieving benefits, yet how the drug is used also effects its side effects.

Where does this leave us?

Overall the fact is…the quality of the research around cannabis for neuropathic pain relief is low. That is not to say that neuropathic pain sufferers should disregard cannabis as a treatment option – but as with any treatment, it may work for some, but not for others.

The bottom line ___________  

  • More high-quality research is needed to confirm its benefits.
  • Many people experience neuropathic pain, which becomes more common as we age.
  • Cannabis-based medications may relieve pain in some people, but side effects such as sedation, confusion, and psychosis can cause the risk to outweigh the benefit.
  • Current evidence is of low quality, so while promising, more high-quality research is needed to completely determine the effectiveness of cannabis-based medications for the treatment of neuropathic pain.
    By: Marketeering Group


Hill, K. P., Palastro, M. D., Johnson, B., & Ditre, J.
W. (2017). Cannabis and Pain: A Clinical Review. Cannabis and
cannabinoid research
2(1), 96–104. doi:10.1089/can.2017.0017

Modesto-Lowe, V., Bojka, R., & Alvarado, C. (2018).
Cannabis for peripheral neuropathy: The good, the bad, and the unknown. Cleveland
Clinic Journal of Medicine
85(12), 943–949. doi:

Wallace, M. S., Marcotte, T. D., Umlauf, A., Gouaux, B.,
& Atkinson, J. H. (2015). Efficacy of Inhaled Cannabis on Painful Diabetic
Neuropathy. The journal of pain : official journal of the American Pain
16(7), 616–627. doi:10.1016/j.jpain.2015.03.008

The Flu Shot

 Flu Shot:

Should it be mandatory for healthcare workers to get the flu shot?

Influenza (the flu) is an easily spread virus that targets the nose, throat and sometimes the lungs. Symptoms range from mild to severe. The virus can cause complications and, in some cases, lead to death.

Common symptoms include:

·      Sore throat

·      Runny/ stuffy nose

·      Cough

·      Fever

·      Chills

·      Headaches

·      Lack of energy

·      Body aches

Many healthcare workers have direct contact with patients. Some states do not require staff to get flu shots, although they encourage it. But should it mandatory for employment?



Benefits of the flu shot:

·      Can stop you from getting the flu.

·      Can reduce flu-related hospitalizations

·      Protect pregnant women

·      Can protect the people around you, including babies, young children, older adults and people with a higher risk of getting ill.

You should NOT get the flu shot if:

·      You have egg allergies

·      You had an allergic reaction to the flu shot itself

·      You have Guillain-Barré Syndrome 


Why some people refuse the flu shot?

Some people question if the flu shot actually works, while some individuals are concerned about the side negative effects, which can sometimes be similar to the flu itself. Also, some people do not feel that they are at risk of getting the flu. Religion can also play a role in someone refusing the flu shot. While there are several reasons why people decide against getting the flu shot, should individuals that work in healthcare be required to get the flu shot?






Although the flu shot is not 100% effective, it is important for individuals, especially healthcare workers to get the flu shot, in order to protect their patients. This is true unless you have a medical or religious reason to waive getting the vaccination. Whether or not it should be required for employment should be left up to the hospital or facility. However, it is important to find the balance between employee rights and keeping the best interest of the patient in mind.




Implementing a mandatory flu shot policy: What every employer should know: As hospitals

push forward with mandatory flu shots, some employees are pushing back. (2017). Medical Staff Briefing, 27(11), 1–5. Retrieved from


Key Facts About Seasonal Flu Vaccine. (2019, October 21). Retrieved from


Nelson, W. A., & Lahey, T. (2013). The ethics of mandatory flu shots. Balancing patient

protection with healthcare worker autonomy is essential. Healthcare Executive, 28(6), 42–46. Retrieved from



The Importance of Vaccinations

The Importance of Vaccinations

Childhood vaccinations can seem very overwhelming when you are a new parent. Recommended vaccine schedules are determined by credible agencies and organizations, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Academy of Family Physicians.

Vaccinations not only protect your child from deadly diseases, such as polio, tetanus, and diphtheria, but they also keep other children safe by eliminating, or greatly decreasing, dangerous diseases that were once easily spread through child to child contact.

A vaccine is a weakened version of, or part of, the “actual” germ and it cannot cause the disease being protected against. When children are exposed to a disease in vaccine form, their immune system can build up antibodies that protect them from contracting the disease if and when they are exposed to the actual disease.

In recent years, vaccines have generated controversy over fears of lack of safety, but no convincing evidence of harm has been proven. Although children can have a reaction to any vaccine, the important thing to know is that the benefits of vaccinations far outweigh the possible side effects.

2019 Recommended Immunizations from the CDC for Birth to 18 Years of Age


Fact or Fiction?

Trying to tease out myths surrounding vaccinations from the truth can seem overwhelming and never ending due to way misinformation can be disseminated so easily in this day and age. There is constant battling between the PRO (people for vaccination) and CON (people against vaccination) groups everywhere we look. Books, websites, and media videos are all vying for your attention, especially on the Internet where content providers are trying to get “clicks” to generate revenue. Studies have shown a negative influence on vaccination uptake through television and newspapers, as well as with new technology and social media having their share of misinformation. How do we, as consumers of information, know which sources are legitimate? Doctors and scientists use controlled experiments to generate data which can then be used to determine safety and efficacy. However, once vaccines are available to the public, it does not guarantee accurate information regarding their safety and efficacy reach the public. This can lead to various negative outcomes like reduced vaccinations. As evidence, according to a recent survey (2018), approximately 1 in 8 children under the age of 2 are under-vaccinated. The acceptance of vaccines is declining in the United States, and doctors need to play a more pivotal role than ever to help disseminate knowledge and positive attitudes toward vaccinations. With proper education, we can improve our decision-making process to one which is enlightened and our own.

The Science of Anti-Vaccination

For many the question of whether or not to vaccinate is daunting. Before anyone makes the decision to vaccinate or not, they should review information from creditable sources to guide their final decision.  


Facciolà, A., Visalli, G., Orlando, A., Bertuccio, M. P., Spataro, P., Squeri, R., & Di Pietro, A. (2019). Vaccine hesitancy: An overview on parents’ opinions about vaccination and possible reasons of vaccine refusal. Journal of public health research, 8(1).

Orenstein, W. A., & Ahmed, R. (2017). Simply put: Vaccination saves lives.

Sarvesh Kumar, J., & Brundha, M. P. (2018). Awareness about childhood vaccination among parents with children below 15 years of age. Drug Invention Today, 10(12), 2481-2484.

Vaccines for Your Children. (2019, March 18). Retrieved from




Fact or Myth: Treating Chronic Pain Without Opioids..Does It Work?

By: Marco Verch Professional Photographer and Speaker


It is no surprise that medication can be used for pain relief. How many of use an Advil or Tylenol every once in a while for a headache or joint pain? At times, just rest, ice or a heating pad will do the job. Unfortunately, for people dealing with chronic pain it’s not that easy. Until the recent opioid crisis, many people used opioids as the main way to treat their pain. From a legal standpoint, there are now stricter laws on what types of conditions they can be used for. Even though opioid use has led to many addictions and deaths, the law restriction makes it a lot harder for people who are actually dealing with chronic pain. Many doctors have chosen not to prescribe opioids because of drug abuse. So where does this leave those who need them for chronic pain? While some may not be open to it right away, research and medical professionals report that there are successful alternative ways to treat chronic pain aside from using only opioids.

For instance, the video below explains that hospitals are adapting alternative treatment methods for cancer patients dealing with chronic pain.

Massage and Healing Touch For Chronic Pain

By: Collin Parker

FACT: Regarding the video above, recent evidence from Gentile, Boselli, O’Neill, Yaguda, Bailey-Norton and Eaton (2018) suggest that using alternative methods like oncology massage and healing touch can reduce pain in cancer patients. The term “integrated oncology” refers to the widespread shift of using a combination of typical treatments and alternative therapies to target the mind, body and spirit of patients fighting cancer. Although the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) did not apply regulated guidelines of opioid use to cancer patients, The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) and The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) have created guidelines focusing on the value of treatment approaches that are not geared only towards opioids (Gentile et al., 2018).

Since previous research exists only with smaller samples sizes (no more than 165 participants), researchers used a sample size of 572 cancer patients. They received one therapy session of oncology massage or healing touch. Healing touch focuses on regaining energetic balance within the body through light touch or hand sweeping motions. The idea is that any bad health has caused this energetic imbalance in the body (Gentile et al., 2018). Through healing touch, creating equal amounts of energy in the body helps to manage/alleviate pain. Oncology massage involves applying pressure at different areas of the body. Their pain was assessed before and after. Results showed that after both therapies, more than half of the patients reported significant pain relief as compared to before therapy (Gentile et al., 2018).

Addressing Pain: Mind, Body & Soul

The outcomes of using opioids are more negative than not. The video below represents the goal of focusing on an approach that looks at the whole person and not just providing opioids for neck, lower back pain, headaches or other muscle/joint pain conditions. For many patients, there are other areas of their life that can contribute to the pain.

FACT: Mehl-Madrona, Mainguy, and Plummer (2016) provide supporting evidence that pain can be deep-rooted in all aspects of life. Unlike cancer, the Centers for Disease Control placed regulations on use of opioids for other types of pain. With focus on treating the whole person (holistic approach), Mehl-Madrona et al. (2016) used psychological and behavioral treatment, mindfulness and physical exercise (also know as complementary and alternative medicine therapies) to treat chronic pain. Individuals experienced less pain, less need for opioids and better quality of life. Mehl-Madrona et al. (2016) used group medical visits (GMV) as their method for pain management. Patients could only receive opioid refills if they were willing to attend the group sessions. A nurse, behavioral health specialist and doctor specializing in behavior led the groups. There were 12 participants in a 2-hour group session. Within the groups, there were restrictions placed on obtaining medication. Opioids were monitored closely to make sure they were being used properly and refilled at the appropriate time. Patients continued group visits for almost 7½ months (Mehl-Madrona et al., 2016).

Goals of the group medical visit:

  • Understand benefit of complementary and alternative (CAM) therapies
  • Become aware of harmful effects of opioids for pain management and possibly reduce amount of opioids used per day
  • Improve quality of life
  • Use CAM therapies as apart of lifestyle
  • Be responsible for own health

Group included the following:

  • Talking circle (sharing of any personal feelings, life experiences, pain, and moods)
  • Physical activity (yoga, stretching, yoga, quigong, t’ai chi or authentic movement)
  • Mindfulness or visualization
  • Behavioral therapy goal and discussion
  • Homework assignments issued at the end of the session
  • Consistently reminding patients that use of opiates can enhance pain and are not an effective method of pain management.

By 7 months, healthcare professionals found that there were improvements in many of the group members. Out of 42 patients, 8 stopped using opioids, while 18 decreased the amount. It is reported that group members overall mood/attitude changed as compared to the beginning of the study. They had less pain with a better sense of quality of life and negative effects of relying only on opioids to manage pain. Some participants chose to continue group medical visits up for 19 months (Mehl-Madrona et al., 2016).

Can Tai Chi and Exercise A Day Make the Pain Go Away?

By: Boris Thaser

Chronic pain can also be improved by increasing physical activity. Some might assume that this can contribute to the pain. However, the video below explains that Tai Chi is used to treat chronic pain conditions like fibromyalgia.

FACT: According to Sawynok (2018), physical exercise is effective in treating chronic pain conditions like fibromyalgia. Aerobic exercise is a common treatment method suggested for pain management in patients with fibromyalgia. Between the years of 2010 and 2017, Tai Chi became more widely recognized as an alternative physical exercise approach. Alongside meditation and yoga, Tai Chi is considered a mindful exercise. When comparing both exercises, Sawynok (2018) found Tai Chi to be more effective than aerobic exercise. Additional evidence suggests Tai Chi is useful in treating other chronic pain conditions like low back pain and osteoporosis. In the current study, there were 226 participants split into 5 groups. Four groups performed a Tai Chi regimen for 12 or 24 weeks one or twice a week along with home exercise for 30 minutes a day. Participants performing aerobic exercise were expected to do so twice a week for 24 weeks (Sawynok, 2018).

           Group 1: Tai Chi once a day; 12 weeks; 30 minutes at home

            Group 2: Tai Chi twice a day; 12 weeks; 30 minutes at home

            Group 3: Tai Chi once a day; 24 weeks; 30 minutes at home

            Group 4: Tai Chi twice a day; 24 weeks 30 minutes at home

            Group 5: Aerobic Exercise twice a day; 24 weeks

Participants completed a questionnaire specific to assessing Fibromyalgia (Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire Revised) before and after 24 weeks. The questionnaire reviewed overall well-being: pain, depression fatigue, anxiety, physical function morning tiredness and job difficulty (Sawynok, 2018). The results demonstrated that participants that performed Tai Chi had more benefits than those who performed aerobic exercise. All 226 participants had improved pain. They were able to lessen their amount of opioids used by the end of the study. Although one was found to be more effective than the other, the point here is that physical exercise is found to be effective in treating chronic pain (Sawynok, 2018).

So here’s the point…

For those reading this and dealing with chronic pain I understand that it’s not always that simple. Not everyone’s pain can be treated by methods other than medication. But there’s one thing everyone should know: Opioids are NOT the ONLY way to treat chronic pain. Other ways exist and have been effective in individuals who have tried them. This is promising. Not only can these alternative pain management therapies treat the specific point on your body, but they can address other areas in your life that you may not realize are adding to physical pain. Trying some alternative methods can help to decrease the dosage of opioids prescribed. The idea is to avoid the “quick fix” mentality with opioids and view pain with a more holistic approach. Only a few alternative treatment methods were named today. However, there are many to choose from. None of the studies found that participants reported complete relief from pain. But, if your pain could be more manageable and offer an improved quality of life isn’t that something you would want?  Consult with your doctor regarding referral to a pain management specialist for more information about options that work best for you. 


Anderson, K. [Cancer treatment of America, CCTA]. (2015 August 18). 3 alternative options for pain management [Video File]. Retrieved from

Gentile, D., Boselli, D., O’Neill, G., Yaguda, S., Bailey-Dorton, C., & Eaton, T. (2018). Cancer Pain Relief After Healing Touch and Massage, The Journal of Alternative And Complementary Medicine. 24(9&10), p 968-973. DOI: 10.1089/acm.2018.0192

Mehl-Madrona, L., Mainguy, B. & Plummer, J. (2016). The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 22(8), p. 621-626. DOI: 10.1089/acm.2015.0212

Sawynok, J. (2018). Benefits of Tai Chi for fibromyalgia. Pain Management, 8(4), p. 247-250. DOI: 10.2217/pmt-2018-0021

UCLA Health. (2017 September 13). Managing Chronic Pain Without Narcotics [Video File].

WCVB Channel 5 Boston. (2018 April 19). Tai chi workout may make chronic pain easier to manage [Video File]. Retrieved from

Are Electronic Cigarette Safer Than Smoking Tobacco Cigarette?

By: Mike Mozart

The use of electronic cigarettes has been a debatable topic in the media on being a safer alternative than smoking traditional tobacco cigarettes. Electronic cigarettes also called e-cigarettes were first licensed in China in 2003 and launched in 2007 in North America (Smith, Brar, Enja, & Lippmann, 2016). Many companies who sold this device largely advertise placing aids on the internet (Rom, Pecorelli, Valacchi, & Reznick, 2015). Cooperation’s selling e-cigarette, claim to be a healthier alternative and to help quit smoking traditional cigarette (Rom, Pecorelli, Valacchi, & Reznick, 2015). Since the launch of electronic cigarettes there are mixed views in the media and scholar research studies on this topic. Many media reports stated that e-cigarettes are safer due to less toxins such as a tar, however other media reports argue that electronic cigarettes are just as bad for you as traditional cigarette. With mixed views in the media on this topic it may be difficult to determine what is fact and what is fiction. It’s important to look at scholarly research articles when considering using e-cigarette.

What is Electronic cigarette?

A battery operated device that heats liquid that may contain nicotine and produces a vaporization of the liquid in which you inhale (About Electronic Cigarettes, n.d.).

What does electronic cigarette look like?

By: Sarah Johnson

There are many different styles of e-cigarettes.
Few examples are:
1. May look like a pen
2. Resemble traditional cigarettes
3. May also look like a USB stick
(About Electronic Cigarettes, n.d.).

What does the media say?

  • This video states that e-cigarettes are less dangerous than traditional tobacco cigarette.
  • Reported that since the launch of using electronic cigarettes, the use of smoking traditional cigarettes has decreased for students in high school.
  • Discussed using electronic cigarettes to help someone quit smoking traditional cigarettes. However, stated the importance of using e-cigarettes from reputable companies versus generic brand due to the possibility of products being altered.

(CGTN America, 2019).

  • This video compares two different research studies.
  • One experiment study stated that electronic cigarettes are safer than traditional tobacco smoking. Two jars were compared, 1 jar with traditional tobacco cigarettes and the other jar using e-cigarettes. The jar using traditional tobacco cigarettes found extensive amount of tar exposure, however the electronic cigarettes appears not to have much exposure noted. This experiment was to compare the risk of cancer. This experiment study reported to be approximately 98-99% safer when comparing the risk of cancer.
  • However, second research study reported using electronic cigarette is just as bad. This study exposed rats to e-cigarettes for 8 months and found increased risk of vascular disease (problems related to veins and arteries), which can increase an individual’s chances of a heart attack and stroke.

(CBS This Morning, 2019).

  • Reports using e-cigarette decrease risk of cancer between 56-97% when comparing to smoke traditional tobacco cigarettes.
  • States the importance of eliminating smoking traditional tobacco cigarettes and using e-cigarettes instead to see benefits.
  • Conclude, e-cigarettes are safer to use, however states the unknown of long-term effects.

(WCCO-CBS Minnesota, 2017)

Comparing journal articles from media post

First journal article analyzed was published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences written by Rom, Pecorelli, Valacchi, and Reznick (2015) compared e-cigarettes and smoking traditional tobacco cigarettes. This article aimed to determine if e-cigarettes are less harmful and help an individual quit smoking traditional tobacco cigarette (Rom, Pecorelli, Valacchi, & Reznick, 2015). However, this study concluded increased probability on an individual becoming dependent on nicotine (Rom, Pecorelli, Valacchi, & Reznick, 2015).  This journal article was unable to conclude a decline in smoking and stated the unknown long-term side effects on using this device (Rom, Pecorelli, Valacchi, & Reznick, 2015). When comparing this article from the media, it does not support using electronic cigarettes as a way to help an individual quit smoking nor does it say this device is a safer alternative.

By: Vaping360

Second journal article looked at was published in The Journal of Family Practice aim to determine whether using e-cigarettes are safe (Smith, Brar, Enja, & Lippmann, 2016).This journal article points out the un-known mixture in the liquid in many different e-cigarette devices, which can cause potential harm (Smith, Brar, Enja, & Lippmann, 2016). It was found that some e-cigarettes contain more nicotine than a traditional tobacco cigarette (Smith, Brar, Enja, & Lippmann, 2016). This article did not find evidence on the benefits of using this device to help quit smoking traditional tobacco cigarette (Smith, Brar, Enja, & Lippmann, 2016). However, evidence showed an individual who uses electronic cigarettes attempted to quit smoking more (Smith, Brar, Enja, & Lippmann, 2016). Lastly, this journal article reports an increase in harm effects of using both e-cigarettes and traditional tobacco cigarettes at the same time due to an increased exposure to the toxins (Smith, Brar, Enja, & Lippmann, 2016). Comparing this journal article from the media post, it continues not to support using e-cigarettes as a safe alternative.

Third article analyzed was published in International journal of environmental research and public health by Jankowski, Krzystanek, Zejda, Majek, Lubanski, Lawson, Brozek (2019) conducted research study on the of effects of using e-cigarettes and traditional tobacco cigarettes in young adults. This study concluded that numerous participants who started using e-cigarettes originally started using it to attempt to stop smoking traditional tobacco cigarettes (Jankowski et al., 2019). This research study analyzes and categorizes a group of 30 people as dual users (smoking regular cigarettes and e-cigarettes), cigarette smokers, and e-cigarette smokers (Jankowski et al., 2019). The journal article concluded individuals who smoke e-cigarettes had increased dependence on smoking (Jankowski et al., 2019). This study also found that individuals who smoke e-cigarettes are twice as likely to become addicted to nicotine as an individual who smokes regular cigarettes (Jankowski et al., 2019). Lastly, when comparing this journal article in what you see in the media and previous journal article analyzed it concluded an increase in dependence in nicotine (Jankowski et al., 2019).

By: Lindsay Fox

The takeaway

Electronic cigarettes are a fairly new device. It’s still early to tell what the potential long-term effects are. When determining if electronic cigarette are safer than smoking tobacco cigarettes, it is important to be aware of the unknown side effects. Some media posts reported that the use of e-cigarettes is less harmful and decreased the risk of smoking traditional tobacco cigarettes. However, all three journal articles analyzed and concluded an increased dependency on nicotine and does not recommend using electronic cigarettes as a safe alternative. It’s important to note that continued research on this topic is required.


About Electronic Cigarettes (n.d), Retrieved from

CBS This Morning. (2019, September 20). What the science says about the safety of e-cigarettes [Video file]. Retrieved from

CGTN America. (2019, September 19). What does the media say? Is vaping still safer than smoking tobacco? Professor Brad Rodu explains [Video file]. Retrieved from

Jankowski, M., Krzystanek, M., Zejda, J. E., Majek, P., Lubanski, J., Lawson, J. A., & Brozek,    G. (2019). E-Cigarettes are More Addictive than Traditional Cigarettes-A Study in Highly Educated Young People. International journal of environmental research and public health, 16(13), 2279. doi:10.3390/ijerph16132279

Rom, O., Pecorelli, A., Valacchi, G., & Reznick, A. Z. (2015). Are E-cigarettes a safe and good   alternative to cigarette smoking? Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1340(1),  65–74.

Smith, L., Brar, K., Srinivasan, K., Enja, M., & Lippmann, S. (2016). E-cigarettes: How “safe” are they? The Journal Of Family Practice, 65(6), 380–385. Retrieved from direct=true&db=cmedm&AN=27474819&site=e host-live

WCCO-CBS Minnesota. (2017, February 7). Study: E-Cigarettes Safer Than Regular Cigarettes [Video file]. Retrieved from

The Truth About Mental Health

By: Isabella Anonuevo

Mental illness has been an ongoing controversial topic for several years in terms of how it has many negative portrayals in society. When hearing the words “mental illness” or “mental disability”, it is more often than not associated with a person being “crazy” or “dangerous”. This is a part of the stigma associated with mental health that continues to pull society backwards. It is not only damaging, but can be harmful to a person’s healing. Mental illness is depression. It is schizophrenia. It is post-partum depression. It is anxiety. It is post-traumatic stress disorder. Mental illness can be many different things. One of the biggest influences of society is the media. The media includes the news, articles, magazines, radio stations, apps, websites, and more. As the public perception continues to correlate mental illness with violence, more people are suffering in silence in fear of being viewed in a negative way.

Let’s take a look at a few examples of how society and the media display mental illness, or what is associated with mental illnesses. We will start off with some of the most common associations, that even children this day might believe.

This is a clip of the trailer for Shutter Island, a popular movie starring Leonardo DeCaprio:

As you can see, the movie claims that mental health hospitals are dark, dreary, and haunted. Additionally, you can see how the video portrays that mental health patients are mistreated and totally helpless. If you have seen the movie, you would know that they also portray psychiatrists as evil, and that people with schizophrenia are violent. Another movie example would be the infamous “Joker.” This movie also highly associates mental illness with extreme acts of violence. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good fictional movie and storyline, however, that’s just what it is. FICTIONAL. Unfortunately, these cinematic stories play a significant role on society’s views and attitudes towards people with mental illnesses. One of the best steps we can take to change this is to become educated on the facts and spread the awareness.

Looking into other media sources, such as the news, it is easy to pick up that there is a common conception that gun violence or acts of violence in general is directly linked to a person’s mental illness. In other words, the media often portrays that the reason a person acted out in violence was because they have a mental illness.

In this video you can see a clip of our President Trump stating that mental health and hatred are the causes of the recent acts of gun violence.

This next video shows an entire news portion where they are suggesting that mental illness is the cause of violent acts. After talking about the perpetrators, the news castors automatically talk about the mental status of them. You might be asking, “what is wrong with that?” or, “aren’t they just shining the light on the need for more available help for people suffering with mental health?” While that may be true, it’s the way they portray acts of violence such as homicides and mass shootings as the norm for people with mental illnesses when, in fact, there are other factors.

By: Kevin Simmons

Fortunately, we can use media to do just the opposite- to decrease the stigma against mental health and to spread awareness of how important that is.

I wrote about movies having an effect on society’s attitude towards mental health, using examples such as “Shutter Island” and “Joker,” where mental illnesses and their treatments are associated with violence, misery, darkness, and even evil. Research has shown that these movies promote negative perceptions of mental health, and that it may lead to shameful and fearful feelings from people who are suffering (Cerully, Acosta, & Sloan, 2018). This just touches the tip of the iceberg when discussing the stigma of mental health.

Despite the prevalence of mental health (1 in 4 people are suffering), society still has a lack of understanding (Flynn, 2017). A mental illness may have the same impact on a person as a physical illness, yet research shows that society continues to treat it differently when it comes to understanding and ACCEPTANCE. With that being said, let’s talk about something called “fear inducing stigma.” Fear inducing stigma places the blame on mental illness and the waterfall effects that will happen if mental illnesses are not treated. For example, Flynn (2017) uses this statement as an example of fear inducing stigma: “if American’s do not treat the mentally ill, America will continue to experience mass violent shootings, and if this continues people’s guns will be taken away.” As you can see, this statement places the blame solely on mental illness, and people who might really value their right to bear arms will automatically do the same. Contrary to the belief, only 5% of perpetrators out of 120,000-gun crimes were suffering from a mental illness (Flynn, 2017).

What we really need to understand is that there are risk factors involved when it comes to mental illness and acts of violence. Risk factors include: “a history of past violence, juvenile detention, physical abuse, parental arrest record, and substance abuse.” The data also confirmed that violence by someone suffering from a mental illness WITHOUT substance abuse was very minimal (Johnson, Van Dorn, & Volavka, 2012). This proves that mental illness should not be singled out when it comes to the reason an act of violence, such as mass shootings, was done.

What can you take away from this?

It is easy for media to reinforce the stigma and negative associations of mental illness. Additionally, the constant association with mental illness being the cause of violence is harmful to society in that we become less accepting and supportive. This has a large impact on the people who are suffering from mental illnesses because it makes them less likely to ask for help and receive the treatment they need. Remember, 1 in 4 people are SUFFERING from a mental illness. It is very likely that they are suffering in silence, and maybe they are afraid of what people might think of them. 1 in 4 people can easily be someone we know, and we would want them to know that it is okay to speak out or to ask for help. As we become more aware, we can start to notice the stigmatizing language displayed in different media sources, and even coming from the people around us. This is where we can educate others who don’t know any better, and even use our own social media platforms to spread awareness.

By: Chelsea Gabriel


Cerully, J. L., Acosta, J. D., & Sloan, J. (2018). Mental Health Stigma and Its Effects on Treatment-Related Outcomes: A Narrative Review. Military Medicine, 183(11/12), e427–e437.

Flynn, J. R. (2017). Break the Internet, Break the Stigma: The Promise of Emerging Technology & Media in Mental Health. Quinnipiac Health Law Journal, 20(1), 1–46. Retrieved from

Johnson, N., Van Dorn, R., Volavka, J., (2012). Mental Disorder and Violence: Is There a Relationship Beyond Substance Use? Soc Psychiatry Epidemiol. 47, 487-503. doi:10.1007/s00127-011-0356-x.

Learn more About Diabetes and a healthy Diet for Prevention and Maintenance.

Diabetes is a rapidly growing threat in U.S. society. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), from 1980 to 2012, the rate of diabetes among adults quadrupled, and it is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States (2014). Around 200,000 deaths occur each year in the U.S. due to diabetes (CDC, 2014).It is calculated that the prevalence of diabetes cases in U.S. (both type 1 and type 2) will increase by 54% from 2015 to 2030 (Rowley, et al., 2017). Because of the soaring rates of diabetes, it is important to take measures to prevent diabetes, and also to help individuals manage diabetes effectively.

So what is diabetes?

It is a chronic condition in which the body does not correctly process food for the body’s energy needs. Food is typically converted into glucose and stored in the body to be used for energy. However, with diabetes, the hormone, called insulin, does not do its job correctly in spreading the glucose throughout the body as energy. With diabetes, there is either too little insulin, or the insulin is not used correctly.

One of the most helpful websites is by the American Diabetes Association at On this website, you can learn more about diabetes whether you are managing it personally, or helping to support a family member or friend with managing diabetes. This website has a lot of information on recipes, family activities, medications, available resources, and emerging research findings, that can help improve diabetes management. There are diabetes cookbooks that can help a variety of people, whether looking for simple meals, or more challenging meals or deserts that can feed the entire family and guests. For example, did you know that whole grain use decreases the risks of diabetes? According to Chanson-Rolie, et al. (2015), for every 45g of whole-grains in the everyday diet, there is a 20% reduction in relative risk of type 2 diabetes. Therefore, even if one family member has diabetes, then these dietary adjustments can help reduce the risks to other family members.

For anyone who wants to reduce their own risks, switching to whole-grans and cutting out refined grains can make a major difference. Whole grans includes the following: Dark bread, cooked oatmeal, popcorn, whole-grain breakfast cereal brand and types, bran, brown rice, wheat germ, bulgur, couscous, and more. In contrast, here is the list of refined grains that are known to increase diabetes risks: English muffins, biscuits, muffins, white bread, pasta, cakes, sweet rolls, refined-grain cereals, pancakes, waffles, pizza, and white rice (Liu, et al., 2000).  Learning more about food and everyday exercise and lifestyle factors can significantly help with management and prevention.


CDC. (2014). Diabetes Report Card. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Liu, S., Manson, J. E., Stampfer, M. J., Hu, F. B., Giovannucci, E., Colditz, G. A., … & Willett, W. C. (2000). A prospective study of whole-grain intake and risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus in US women. American journal of public health90(9), 1409.

Rowley, W. R., Bezold, C., Arikan, Y., Byrne, E., & Krohe, S. (2017). Diabetes 2030: Insights from yesterday, today, and future trends. Population health management20(1), 6-12.

Eating Disorders: Truth Exposed


First off, let’s talk about what eating disorders are and who can be affected by them.  There are a few different types of eating disorders, but the major ones are; anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder. You may also hear them by the names; anorexia, bulimia, and BED.  A common misconception is that a person can only have one type of eating disorder, however, a person can have one or more eating disorder at the same time.

Anorexia Nervosa:  Anorexia is the refusal or inability to maintain a healthy body weight.  Let’s think about that second part again, inability to maintain a healthy body weight. A person can be considered anorexic even if they are trying to gain weight.

Bulimia Nervosa: Bulimia is a combination of excessive eating followed by purging or other compensatory strategies to prevent weight gain.  While self-induced vomiting is the most thought of method to counteract excessive eating, it’s not the only method.  People suffering from bulimia develop compensatory strategies like, excessive exercise and misuse of medications to name a few.

Binge Eating Disorder: BED is when a person consumes excessive amounts of food in a short amount of time.  Not to downplay the severity of BED, but we are all guilty of this from time to time.  A person with BED follows this binging or excessive eating pattern at least once per week for a three-month period.  To clarify, BED seems similar to bulimia, the main difference is BED lacks purging or compensatory strategies found in bulimia nervosa.

Now that we have a better understanding of the differences between eating disorders, let’s talk about what they share in common.  Many eating disorders have similar symptoms and emotional weight associated with them. But, an important thing to remember is that not every person with an eating disorder will have all the symptoms or warning signs.  Everyone is different in how they present themselves and how they feel.

Symptoms of eating disorders may include:

  • Changes in mood
  • Rapid weight loss or weight gain
  • Uncontrollable thoughts of food
  • Frequent extreme diets
  • Hiding food or eating in secret
  • Avoiding family or friends
  • Skipping meals
  • Obsessive thoughts of body weight
  • Excessive exercise
  • Incorrect use of laxatives
  • Self-induced vomiting
  • Distorted self-image
  • Constant checking of weight/measurements

These symptoms or warning signs often get jumped on too quickly, if you or a friend have one or more of these signs it doesn’t necessarily mean you have an eating disorder.  While symptom checkers online can often help a person get a better understanding of an illness, it is always best to speak with your doctor. 

POP QUIZ: Let’s see how much you’ve been paying attention.  Watch the following video clip, a trailer for a Netflix Original film, called To the Bone.  Think about what you have learned and see if you can spot the common misconceptions involving eating disorders.


How many misconceptions did you notice?  How many ideas have been generalized for the purpose of the film?  Let’s take the time to filter through this clip to determine what’s fact and what’s fiction.


●       Some people with eating disorders have excessive thoughts regarding calories in food.

●       Some people exercise excessively, this is more common with anorexia and bulimia.

Key words being some people with eating disorders, not all.

●       People with eating disorders often use their weight and eating habits to be in control.

●       A person could end up in the hospital from the negative side effects associated with eating disorders.

●       Family based therapy has been proven to help treat eating disorders.

●       Loved ones of those with eating disorders can be greatly affected.

●       People with eating disorders can learn ways to have healthy habits and meaningful lives.


●       A doctor would refuse to help their patient, this is not true, they take an oath to do just the opposite.

●       All people with anorexia look like the main character in the film.  People with eating disorders, even anorexia, come in all different shapes, sizes, genders, and skin colors.

●       A hamburger cake can get rid of an eating disorder.

●       Everyone can afford a specialized inpatient treatment program for eating disorders.  While this is not true, there are many free resources, support groups, and in some cases therapy that insurance may cover.


Eating disorders can affect anyone.  Eating disorders are considered a mental illness that do not discriminate based on age, gender, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status. Look at what the speakers in the next video clip have to say about eating disorders.

This clip does a good job sharing testimonials of people living with eating disorders.  It also talks about the fact that eating disorders are mental illnesses.  The DSM-5, a handbook that health care professionals use to diagnose mental illnesses, has officially included binge eating disorder as a mental illness.  Both anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa had previously been included.  The clip also shares information such as; women more likely to be affected by an eating disorder.  It fails to mention how women are also more likely to seek treatment and have an official diagnosis. Studies have linked eating disorders with an increase in alcohol abuse, medication misuse, suicidality, compromised cognitive functioning, hospitalization, and rehospitalization.  While the clip missed a few important factors of eating disorders, the purpose was to raise awareness during National Eating Disorders Awareness week.

Eating disorders affect people of all age, gender, ethnicity, shape, size, and socioeconomic status.  As readers it is crucial that we stop and decipher what we view in the media as fact or fiction.  We can ask ourselves if what we are viewing is a misconception or stereotype of a certain illness and change the way we perceive that illness.


Fairburn, C. G., & Brownell, K. D. (2005). Eating disorders and obesity: a comprehensive handbook (2nd ed.). Retrieved from

Keel, P. K., Klump, K. L., Miller, K. B., McGue, M., & Iacono, W. G. (2005). Shared transmission of eating disorders and anxiety disorders. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 38(2), 99–105.

Netflix. (2017, June 20). To the Bone Official Trailer [HD] Netflix. Retrieved from

POPSUGAR. (2016, February 28). Heartbreaking Video Shows What Eating Disorders Really Look Like. Retrieved from

Singh, S., Accurso, E. C., Hail, L., Goldschmidt, A. B., & Le Grange, D. (2018). Outcome parameters associated with perceived helpfulness of family‐based treatment for adolescent eating disorders. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 51(6), 574–578.


Fight for Recess—Necessary or A Waste of Time

By: guilherme jofili

Recess or no recess? This is a decision elementary school districts throughout the United States are making. Principals and school boards are deciding if they will allow students recess or restrict it to fit in more academic instructional time.

Since the early 2000’s, recess has decreased in many elementary schools. Within the last decade, media reports have showcased students, parents, teachers, pediatricians, and government officials taking a stand to put recess back into the school day.

How Does Recess Impact Children’s Health

By: GotCredit

Pediatricians stress how important play is in healthy childhood development. Because play happens during recess, recess is necessary for students’ health and the healthy development of their academic skills.

    1. Play is necessary for children to meet their developmental milestones and develop healthy bodies and brains (Barros et al., 2009, p. 431).
    2. Recess provides breaks from academic tasks which helps students combat stress and anxiety (Danaher, 2018, p. 15).
    3. Recess can help children achieve their recommended 60 minutes of rigorous activity daily to combat childhood diseases like obesity and type II diabetes (Huberty et al., 2012, p. 989).

What Happened to Recess?

By: Matthew Paul Argall

This local Georgia news station has an answer.

How factual are their facts?

1. 20% of schools cut recess an average of 50 minutes per week—TRUE

      • Between 2001 and 2008 recess was cut 50 minutes per week from 20% of schools (Stapp & Karr, 2018, p. 449).

2. Educational reform acts like No Child Left Behind (NCLB) are              responsible for recess cutbacks—TRUE

      • Several research groups cite NCLB as the push behind recess cuts (Stapp & Karr, 2018, p. 449; Martin et al., 2018, p. 249; Huberty et al., 2012, p. 990).

3. Test scores needed to be boosted, so schools figured more                 academic instructional time was needed and cut recess—TRUE

      • Schools cut recess because it was “not perceived to enhance students’ testing abilities” (Martin et al., 2018, p. 249).
      • Teacher’s perspective: “You have to meet these standards and in order to meet these standards you have to teach and if you are out at recess you’re not teaching and you can’t meet the standards” (Huberty et al., 2012, p. 990.)

What’s the Big Deal?

Why should schools and governments be fighting to put recess back into their schools? Simon Link explains why.


In this local news report from Wisconsin (view link above), a first grade teacher states recess helps her students focus when they get back into the classroom. One student says she feels better after recess, and another boy warns if recess is taken away students may become angry (unintentionally) and do badly on their work.  But how factual are Simon’s and the reporter’s facts?

Does Recess Help Kids Learn?

By: GotCredit

Yes! Several research studies have examined recess’s impact on foundational academic skills. The results are clear students do…

1. Attend Better after Recess

      • Students “[work] less efficiently when confined to their classroom in continuous instructional time (Barros, 2009, p. 435).
      • Students’ ability to block out distractions and continue paying attention to their work increases after recess (Brez & Sheets, 2017, p. 441)
      • Students’ brains and nervous systems are immature, and their experience in learning is limited. So, they require more breaks to maintain attention for optimal learning (Danaher, 2018, p. 24).

2. Focus Better after Recess

      • Recess increases neurotransmitters in the brain, increase oxygen saturation, and cause growth in neurotropic factors. Students’ brains and genes do change when exposed to play during recess, and these changes increases the amount of time they can productively focus on tasks (Stapp & Karr, 2018, P. 453).
      • Recess = more focus = more learning and less daydreaming

3. Retain Information Better after Recess

      • During cognitive rest (happening at recess), students’ brains transition what they learned from short term to long term memory. They come back into class after recess physically able to take in more information (Danaher, 2018, p. 23).
      • No recess = brains not processing information = unproductive learning (Danaher, 2018, p. 23).

4. Behave Better after Recess

      • Recess makes student’s calmer, more receptive to teaching and learning, and less irritable and disruptive (Martin, et al., 2018, p. 251-252).
      • Students are calmer, more relaxed, and less negative after recess (Martin et al., 2019, p. 251).
      • Academic work without recess = students unable to focus or remain on task = students become disruptive and misbehave
      • Academic work with recess = students’ brains reset = students return to class ready to learn and are less disruptive

5. Listen Better after Recess

      • Students who do not receive frequent recesses use more brain power to simply listen to teachers (Lund et al., 2017, p. 5).
      • Students given frequent recesses do not use brain power to listen and can use additional brain power to complete academic work (Lund et al., 2017, p. 5).

Does Recess Help Kids Develop Social Skills?

By: Vincent Li

Yes! Researchers agree recess is an arena where children are exposed to real life communication and social interactions. Recess is built on free play, meaning students can decide what and how they play and who they play with. Free play is what develops social skills.

    1. Social skills are learned easier during free play than during lessons about them in the classroom (AAP, 2013, p. 184).
      • During recess students learn communication, negotiation, cooperation, sharing, problem solving, perseverance, self-control, self-regulation (AAP, 2013, p. 184; Brez & Sheets, 2017, p. 434)
      • During recess students develop their creativity, resiliency, and leadership skills (AAP, 2009, p. 431).

2. The social and emotional benefits of recess extend further than         the playground and add to student performance and behavior in         the classroom (AAP, 2013, p. 184, 186).

      • Students problem solve for classroom work better because they have learned and done it at recess (Martin et al., 2018, pp. 251-252).
      • Peers get along better in class (Martin et al., 2018, p. 250).

Take Away

As accurately reported in the media and backed up by peer reviewed scientific studies its proven recess is an important factor in children’s health, well-being, and academic development. Every individual can be an advocate for children and support the schools and people trying to put recess back into schools. If instructional time and recess are appropriately scheduled to complement student’s brain needs, students will be equipped to reach their highest levels of health and academic success.


11Alive. (2019, July 29). Why have schools cut recess time? [Video file]. Retrieved  from

American Academy of Pediatrics. (2013). The crucial role of recess in school. Pediatrics 131(1),183- 188. doi:10.1542/peds.2012-2993

Barros, R. M., Silver, E. J., & Stein, R. E. (2009). School recess and group classroom behavior. Pediatrics 123(2), 431-436. doi:10.1542/peds.2007-2825

Brez, C., & Sheets, V. (2017). Classroom benefits of recess. Learning Environments Research, 20(3), 433-445. doi:10.1007/s10984-017-9237-x

Channel 3000/News 3 Now. (2013, January 7). Pediatricians stress value of recess for schoolchildren [Video file]. Retrieved from

Danaher, S. E. (2018). Scheduling of recess before mathematics and third grade achievement in Virginia: A casual comparative study (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Liberty University.

Huberty, J., Dinkel, D., Coleman, J., Beighle, A., & Apenteng, B. (2012). The role of schools in children’s physical activity participation: staff perceptions. Health Education Research, 27(6), 986-995. doi:10.1093/her/cys071

Lund, E., Brimo, D., Rhea, D., Rivchun, A. (2017). The effect of multiple recesses on listening effort: A preliminary study. Journal of Educational, Pediatric, & (Re)Habilitative Audiology, 23, 1-7.

Martin, H., Farrell, A., Gray, J., & Clark, T. B. (2018). Perceptions of the effect of recess on kindergartners. The Physical Educator, 75(2), 245-254. doi:10.18666/tpe-2018-v75-i2-7740

Stapp, A.C., & Karr, J. K. (2018). Effect of recess on fifth grade students’ time on-task in an elementary classroom. International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education, 10(4), 449-456. doi:10.26822/iejee.2018438135

TEDx Talks (2014, December 18). Kids need recess/Simon Link/ TEDxAmanaAcademy [Videofile]. Retrieved from