All posts by Nathan Ngo

Is bottled water healthier than tap water?

Study: Bottled Water Contaminant Exposures and Potential Human Effects. Image Credit: yanik88/Shutterstock

Image from www.news-medical.net

As you are having a nice dinner with your old friend, reminiscing about the glory days, something tickles the back of your throat. After noticing your discomfort, your friend excuses himself to get some water for you, and you hope that he brings back bottled water rather than a glass of water from the tap. But is one healthier than the other?  

Bottled water comes with its own “glass” and is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. Also, there is no concern about old pipes (think Flint, Michigan), sewage leaks, pesticide runoff, and other factors. Tap water is regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act, avoids adding plastic to the environment, and is less costly.  

The benefits of cautiously and thoughtfully defaulting to tap water are worthy of consideration.  Bottled or tap can be useful depending on the context, but it’s difficult to argue that the decision can affect your health.  

 

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/327395#pros-and-cons-of-bottled-water 

https://www.uhhospitals.org/blog/articles/2022/06/is-bottled-water-healthier-than-tap-water 

https://svalbardi.com/blogs/water/bottled-vs-tap 

Does eating carrots give you night vision?

As kids, it was commonplace for adults to preach about the importance of vegetables and how carrots could help you see better at night. But does eating carrots really improve your night vision?  

The idea first originated in the early 20th century during World War II, at a time when the British were subjected to nightly German bombings. Eventually, the British devised radar stations that were used to detect these German aircrafts passing overhead. However, in order to ensure that German intelligence would not catch on, the British spread propaganda that improved night vision from eating carrots was how they detected German bombers at night.  

And there is a grain of truth in the matter. Carrots contain vitamin A, which is a key building block of molecules responsible for both low-light and color vision.  It is the light-sensitive part of rhodopsin, a protein in rod cells in the retina of the eye that is particularly sensitive to light. People who are deficient in Vitamin A may not see as well at night.  But Vitamin A and carrots do not improve sight in individuals that have sufficient vitamin A.  The fact that health advice can be based on old war propaganda is one of the reasons we encourage you to always “Think Twice.”  

  

https://www.centreofthecell.org/blog/science-questions/will-eating-carrots-give-me-night-vision/ 

https://www.lenstore.co.uk/eyecare/myth-or-truth#:~:text=Despite%20the%20myth%2C%20carrots%20are,this%20may%20cause%20night%20blindness.  

https://www.sciencefocus.com/the-human-body/do-carrots-really-help-you-see-in-the-dark/ 

Does listening to classical music improve academic performance?

 

Image from theconversation.com

In the 18th century, Amadeus Mozart gripped the musical world with his elegantly crafted symphonies and intricate, melodic orchestral pieces. But can his music help students with studying? 

“The Mozart Effect” was first suggested in 1993 in a study conducted by psychologist Francis Rauscher at the University of California in Irvine. Students assigned to listen to a piano sonata composed by Mozart scored higher on a spatial reasoning test compared to those who did not.  

According to a study published in Learning and Individual Differences, students who listened to classical music during a lecture received superior marks on exams compared to their peers who did not. However, this may relate to classical music in general rather than Mozart in particular. An additional study on “The impact of music on the bioelectrical oscillations of the brain” used EEG data to measure brain activity, which suggested that music had a positive impact on brain function. The theory is that music reduces stress while stimulating happiness and arousal, which in turn helps students better concentrate on the task at hand. In the experiment, as long as the music was not too dynamic and did not become distracting, it was associated with better student performance on cognitive based exams.  

So the next time you are stressing about an exam, consider popping in some earbuds and listening to classical music. It might offer heightened stimulation to help you focus on the task at hand and get the most out of your studying time. 

 

https://news.usc.edu/71969/studying-for-finals-let-classical-music-help/

https://www.incadence.org/post/the-mozart-effect-explaining-a-musical-theory#:~:text=The%20Mozart%20Effect%20refers%20to,and%20their%20reactions%20when%20listening.

https://lighthouse.mq.edu.au/article/please-explain/february-2022/please-explain-does-music-help-you-study

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.02044/full

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6130927/#:~:text=According%20to%20scientists%2C%20music%20that,right%20frontal%20and%20temporal%20regions