Category Archives: Interesting Articles

Review of an article that I read and remotely felt like sharing + witty and over irrelevant comments.

A Deadly Combination

A photo of a cup of coffee.

Image via Wikipedia

Apparently, according to this article just released recently on MedScape, several factors/activities have been elucidated as having the potential to exacerbate and/or trigger an intracranial aneurysm rupture. Among these factors three were: the consumption of coffee or cola, straining for defecation, and vigorous physical activity.

This is just the kind of news that I need to cause me to panic! Not really, but it was food for thought. Just two days ago, I had gone out for a jog after having had a cup of coffee an hour earlier. I thought nothing of it then. About 1.5 miles into my run my chest felt terrible and my lungs were on fire. I was terrified and walked the rest of the way back home. Did the coffee play a role in this little episode? I don’t know. Maybe it was a combination of over stimulation of my system by the caffeine or a lack of water from the diuretic effects.

Needless to say, I’ve not touched the stuff if I’m planning on doing any sort of high intensity cardio. Last thing I want is to be found all splayed out on the sidewalk from a failed heart or what have you. 😉 Anyone else had any issues from odd combinations of coffee and other activities? Feel free to share in the comments below!

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Posted by on May 6, 2011 in Interesting Articles


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Milk…the untold story

Milk: Good or Bad? Depends actually.

I recently read an interesting article from’s RSS feed on a study the suggested a link between whole fat dairy products and a lowered risk of type II diabetes. The idea behind the study was that a fatty acid(trans-palmitoleic acid) that exists only in whole fat products, and not in the skim products, and that people with high levels of this fatty acid in their blood lowered their risk of acquiring type II diabetes. Having higher levels than of this naturally occurring fatty acid also enjoyed less fat on their bodies as well as having lower overall cholesterol levels.

Let’s Not Get Crazy Now!

The article cautions that it’s too soon to make any changes to the dietary recommendations now in place. I disagree though. It seems like we need to make major changes to what we recommend people to eat. What we’re eating now is clearly not working out too well, as shown by the rising number of both children and adults who are significantly overweight or obese. People are not conscious about what they’re putting into their bodies and it’s showing. Milk and dairy products are a player in the problem, but fats and sweets are public enemy #1. Go ahead and drink your skim/2% milk. In moderation, I think you’ll be alright. Enough of my ranting. 😛 I know I plan to continue on drinking my one glass worth of skim milk each morning with my cereal. Cheers!

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Posted by on January 8, 2011 in Interesting Articles



Breakfast: To Skip Or Not?

The Science Behind Breakfast

I was reading an article in my RSS reader this morning that highlighted a study done on the effect of eating breakfast on children’s eating habits throughout the rest of the day. Apparently, those who ate breakfast tended to overeat by about 300-ish calories than those that skipped. However, the nutrients missed from breakfast by those that skipped were sometimes not made up later in the day.

My Personal Habits

I eat breakfast almost every morning, but lately I’ve wondered if a slice of toast and jam(or some other super light option) could replace my traditional cereal and milk. I find that on days I eat less I feel better/more energetic. What about you? Do you eat breakfast in the mornings? Do you feel better on days you eat more/less/not at all? Leave me your opinion in the comments below!

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Posted by on November 30, 2010 in Interesting Articles



Mashed Potatoes, Stuffing, and Tofu!?

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I know I have much to be thankful for this year! As I write this, the smells of turkey, mashed potatoes, and a host of other delectable treats float up from the kitchen downstairs. But according to a NYT article, “A Vegetarian Thanksgiving, Even for Carnivores“, fewer households will be smelling turkey this year and in the years to come. The article examines a growing trend among Americans away from meat and towards vegetables and fruits in general, and during the holidays.

A Growing Trend

There are reported to be 10% of Americans interested in moving away from meat in their diets, not counting the 3% that are already vegetarians and vegans. I applaud this tread, as I am counted among the 10% who are making the shift. It’s harder to do when your household still holds a meat-centric view of the standard meal however. What about you? Are you trying to change your diet at all? Do you support a meal with reduced to no meat?


Posted by on November 25, 2010 in Interesting Articles, Personal


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How To Read Scientific Articles

Photo from

The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem.

I have been largely ignoring a rather important aspect of my field for some time now and it’s finally come back bite me in the ass. Yes my friends, I’m talking about the ability to read, digest, and understand scholarly journal articles. I’ve gotten by through undergrad with reading and not really getting things. Now with grad school less than two months away, I find myself deathly afraid at the thought of being asked to read journals articles again. Pants-wetting afraid people.

So apparently you don’t read them like a book. Huh…

After some serious research, and by that I mean a cursory Google search, I found a number of sites that had rather helpful suggestions for reading articles. The most shocking thing I read was that I was reading them the wrong way. So I missed the memo that the ordering of the articles in the journals are not really the best way to read them for comprehension. Huh…that begs the question then about why they even bother putting the articles in the order they do. Editors. (rolls eyes) Anyone know why articles are kept the way they are, even if almost no one reads them the way they’re presented?


Now that my brain has been properly trained to read around the garbage in journal articles, and should no longer feel the need to do things the hard way, maybe I can choke down an article or two without falling asleep. Whatda’ya say brain? We’ll start off nice and slowly and ease into the harder, longer, deeper, faster….whoa! That could have gone to strange places. Well, hopefully there’ll be a revival of the “interesting journal articles” posts around here now.

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Posted by on November 13, 2010 in Grad School, Interesting Articles


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AotD: April 12, 2010

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Today’s journal article of the day *fanfare*:
“How To Perform Meaningful Estimates of Genetic Effects.”  Alvarez-Castro JM et al.  2008.

The authors discuss the problem inherent in working with models of gene interaction on a genome wide scale and the role of gene interactions in determining genetic traits(epistasis). This article looked at the application of a recently developed model called the NOIA (Natural and Orthogonical InterActions) to provide functional estimates of genetic effects. To accomplish this, the authors applied this new model to an experimental data-set. The results from this model was then compared to other models frequently used that did not account for divergences from the HWE in the same ways NOIA did. The results found suggested that NOIA does better than the other two tested models(G2A and F2) in additive variance of the trait tested in the simulated population.

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Posted by on May 12, 2010 in Interesting Articles


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Stacks of articles…eek

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As I type this update, I am surrounded by several piles of printed journal articles, in various states of highlighting and underlining, that I am “strongly encouraged to read”. By that, the professors mean, “read them or we will make your lives miserable. Yes, any information on them can be included on an exam.” Two cups of coffee later(I drink hot things reeeally slowly too; the coffee has to almost lukewarm before I start on it.), I’ve gotten through one big paper and two little ones, all without really understanding a word of what I was reading.

Am I slow or something? I see other classmates in my seminar class talk, at length, on the various articles they read. They even discuss their views on it, offer critical questions, and in general are smarty pants. Where do they summon the enthusiasm for digesting this dense, vapid, and uninspiring stuff. God….I just want a nap or a stiff drink after reading one of these. Maybe I’ll do both. 🙂

In an effort to keep myself up to date on the literature, I will try to periodically post a summary of a paper I have read and some insights on it. We’ll see how long that lasts. *rolls eyes*

Got any ideas for reading this kinda stuff? I can read textbooks fine, but put an article in front of me and it’s better than an anesthetic. Any tips are most appreciated!

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Posted by on April 23, 2010 in Interesting Articles


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