Health/Phys. Ed.

Health/Phys. Ed. (X) - ELA (X) - Above the Noise (X)

Can Genetically Engineered Mosquitoes Help Fight Disease? | Above the Noise

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In the last couple of years, the mosquito species Aedes aegypti has garnered perhaps the most attention, at least in parts of the U.S. where it resides. It’s the one that can transmit a generous selection of very nasty diseases including Zika, yellow fever, dengue and chikungunya. In an effort to control these mosquito populations and reduce the spread of mosquito-borne diseases, some scientists at the British company OXITEC have turned to genetic engineering. Host Myles Bess dives into the science and policy surrounding the use of genetically engineered mosquitoes to combat mosquito-borne diseases.

How Do Different Social Media Platforms Affect Your Mood? | Above the Noise

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Do a quick Google search on how social media affects your mood, and the results make it seem like all the social media platforms will plunge you into depression. Facebook shows everyone’s perfect life and exotic vacations. Expertly curated selfies abound on Instagram. But, if you look at the actual research, the results aren’t that simple. In this Above the Noise video, host Myles Bess breaks down the science and cuts through the hype about the link between depression and social media use, and looks at how different social media platforms may affect your brain in different ways.

Why Do Our Brains Love Fake News? | Above the Noise

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Ever have an argument with someone, and no matter how many facts you provide, you just can’t get that person to see it your way? One big reason for this is cognitive bias, which is a limitation in our thinking that can cause flaws in our judgement. Confirmation bias is a specific type of cognitive bias that motivates us to seek out information we already believe and ignore or minimize facts that threaten what we believe. Studies show that when people are presented with facts that contradict what they believe, the parts of the brain that control reason and rationality go inactive. But, the parts of the brain that process emotion light up like the Fourth of July. In this video, host Myles Bess dives into the research and offers some tips to combat confirmation bias. This resource is part of the News and Media Literacy Collection.

Are Energy Drinks Really that Bad? | Above the Noise

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Above the Noise host Shirin Ghaffary weighs the potential health risks of drinking energy drinks, and compares them to other sugary, caffeinated beverages. Energy drinks are a billion dollar industry and their popularity keeps growing despite health concerns. We are warned they are particularly dangerous for children and teens -- and there have even been reports of deaths linked to energy drink consumption. In this video we take a closer look at the science to see if energy drinks are really as bad as the hype, and what it is about them that has doctors concerned.

How Widespread Is Student Homelessness? | Above the Noise

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Student homelessness in the US is a tricky thing to quantify. HUD -- the federal government's Department of Housing and Urban Development -- controls most of the money used to help the homeless. But, that agency misses about 4 in 5 homeless students. Why? It’s all about how you define the term “homeless”. According to HUD, you’re only considered homeless if you’re living in a shelter or living on the streets. But according to the Department of Education, about 80% of the 1.3 million homeless students living in the US are couch surfing, living in motels, or doubling up with family or friends. These students aren’t eligible for HUD money, so increasingly, it’s up to schools to provide help. Host Myles Bess explores how homeless students get the help they need when different federal agencies use competing definitions to define who’s homeless.

Should Sexting Be a Crime? | Above the Noise

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Numerous research surveys and school scandals indicate that teens are engaging in sexting, and as technology and trends rapidly change, it’s hard for parents, schools and the law to create rules around this behavior. Watch the latest Above the Noise video to help students discuss the tricky issue of sexting.

Is Your Social Status Making You Sick? | Above the Noise

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Financial inequality has been in the news a lot recently. It was the rallying cry for the Occupy Wall Street movement that began back in 2011, and it was at the center of Bernie Sanders’ campaign when he ran for president. This inequality creates what is typically called a social status ladder, with rich people at the top and poorer people toward the bottom. Research shows that your position on the ladder is actually one of the most powerful predictors of health. But it’s so much more than just how much money you have or how fancy your education is. It’s how you feel you compare to other people -- your subjective social status. We’ve scoured the research, looking at human and animal studies, to find out how your subjective social status actually affects your health.

Why Can't Teens Wake Up Early For School? | Above the Noise

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The research shows that teenagers are wired to sleep late, yet most schools in the US start before 8:30 am. Sleep is largely dictated by your genes. Inside all mammals is a tiny region of the brain called the suprachiasmatic nucleus, or the SCN. The SCN is referred to as the body’s master clock, telling the body when to go to sleep and when to wake up. It actually shifts as you age -- and the biggest change happens to teenagers, making it tough for them to wake up for those early classes. But schools aren’t heeding the research. Most school schedules revolve around the typical 9 to 5 workday of adults, and so there is a general worry that pushing back when school starts will be too disruptive. What’s the solution? Watch the latest Above the Noise episode to find out.

Is Marijuana Actually Medicinal? | Above the Noise

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With the results of the 2016 election, use of medical marijuana is now approved in 28 states, plus Washington, D.C., but the plant itself is not approved as medicine by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It still remains federally illegal. Under the Controlled Substances Act, the federal government classifies marijuana as a schedule I drug-- which is a category reserved for the most dangerous drugs, drugs that do not show any medical benefit. This classification makes it difficult for researchers to study, because drugs in this category are very tightly regulated. Host Myles Bess explores the research surrounding medical marijuana and discusses some of the challenges researchers face in studying it.