more at
mobile journalism by the UCLA Daily Bruin

Archive for the ‘Science & Health’ Category

Science & Health

‘Cellphones cause cancer’ and other health myths

When I got my first cellphone, my mom told me to not put it in my pocket because it would give me cancer. I rolled my eyes and told her that that was stupid, but I always worried a little when I went to slip my phone into my jeans.

It’s a worry that many share, largely because this myth rears its head every so often. It often expands to encompass not only cellphones, but also laptops and microwaves. However, based on current evidence, it is just that – a myth. But now, although we can use our cellphones as much as we want (which might very well be every waking moment), we may have to worry about meat giving us cancer.

Keith Diehl, a radiation technology instructor at Santa Rosa Junior College, says that this myth started because “the word ‘radiation’ causes fear in the population.” But every type of technology emits radiation since the word radiation describes the way that energy moves through space – that energy can take the form of light, signals and much more.

Cellphones and laptops emit radiation, but the type and amount of radiation that is produced (low levels of nonionizing radiation) can’t even penetrate the human body.

Harmful ionizing radiation – the kind found in X-ray machines – is powerful enough to displace electrons orbiting a nucleus, which then leads to the electron disrupting DNA bonds. This is what causes biological problems, like cancer or other noncancerous tumor formation, or even genetic problems which can then affect future generations.

But nonionizing radiation cannot do this – it’s simply not strong enough. Even microwaves, many parents’ secret fear, do not emit harmful radiation nor do they “zap” the nutrients out of food.

For there to be any change in expert opinions on this, there would have to be much more extensive and in-depth studies. “The radiofrequency radiation used in cellphones may affect the brain in different ways, but scientific evidence has not been proven to cause cancer or tumor formation in animal or human studies. An extensive epidemiologic study would need to be conducted to further study if there is a direct link between the radiofrequency radiation used in cellphones and tumor or cancer formation,” said Diehl.

Although we don’t have to worry about our household appliances giving us cancer, we still aren’t only cursed by genetics or sheer bad luck – instead we get to contend with food that tries to kill us. It turns out that eating processed or raw meat might actually increase our chances of getting cancer. Granted, if you have that meat-lovers’ pizza at dinner, you will not die, nor you will suddenly collapse if you have a few pieces of bacon at breakfast. If you suddenly decide to go on an all-meat diet, however, you might run into trouble.

The World Health Organization recently categorized processed meat as Group 1, meaning that there is sufficient evidence linking the consumption of processed meat (like that found in hot dogs, beef jerky and sausages) to colorectal cancer.

Red meat has been classified as Group 2A, which means that limited evidence has suggested a strong positive association between consumption of red meat and colorectal cancer, as well as strong mechanistic evidence suggesting a connection.

So maybe you should avoid a third hot dog, or skip the steak at dinner, but at least you can curl up with your laptop for as long as you want with no fear.

No Comments Yet

Science & Health

Places to Avoid On Campus On Friday the 13th

The unluckiest day in history has arrived. It’s the first Friday the 13th of 2015 and if you believe in superstitions, you’d better be on the look out today while on campus to avoid any stray black cats, cracks in the sidewalk or pesky ladders. Not a believer? Well, according to a study by the North Carolina Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute, an estimated 17 to 21 million people are affected by friggatriskaidekaphobia, an intense fear of Friday the 13th. So it’s a pretty big deal.

In lieu of this feared day, we have compiled a list of places to avoid on campus to ensure your survival. Good luck!

1. The sixth step of Janss Steps

We have all heard the myth during our freshmen orientation that one of the Janss brothers is buried beneath the sixth step leading up to Royce Hall, but maybe today isn’t the day to test your luck. Better to be safe than sorry, so skip the step.

2. The Inverted Fountain

It’s basically already a written rule that touching the water of the inverted fountain before graduation dooms you to an extra year of school. Combine that with Friday the 13th, and I don’t even want to think about the consequences.

3. Any construction zones

UCLA. Under construction like always. If you see any warning signs of “sidewalk closed” or “caution: slippery,” you’d best find another way to get to where you need to go.

4. The computer labs

In a hurry to print your paper before class starts? Friendly tip: Go early. Knowing this mischievous day, printers are going to break down, toner is going to disappear and you are going to be stuck waiting for someone to finish printing every slide of every lecture for the quarter.

5. Kerckhoff Coffeehouse

It’s the classic movie scene when you’re dressed up all nice, grabbing coffee before a big job interview, and all of a sudden the girl next to you trips over thin air and spills her entire coffee on you. Every boiling drop.

6. The treadmill

Trying to look cute and smiling at your crush while running at faster-than-walking speed is basically just asking for Friday the 13th to mess you up.


There you have it! Just a few places you probably should be careful around on this unlucky day. We will have two more Friday the 13th’s in 2015, again in March and November, so if you survived this one, good luck making it through the next two!

Tags: , , ,

No Comments Yet

Science & Health

5 Ways to Use Apple Cider Vinegar

The first questions that probably popped in your head when reading this blog post title: What is apple cider vinegar, and why should I use it?

What is apple cider vinegar? It’s made from crushed apples that are fermented to make alcohol, which is then fermented again to make the vinegar.

Why should I use it? First things first, you can use it for a whole slew of different things, and one bottle only costs around $3. Apple cider vinegar (ACV) has gotten quite the buzz in the health world recently for its antioxidant content and supposed benefits for your digestive system and skin. ACV also contains iron, calcium and potassium, and in addition to health use, it can also be used as a cleaning product.

When purchasing apple cider vinegar, you want to look for raw, unfiltered ACV with “the mother” (the strand-like cloudy stuff that is actually enzymes of connected protein molecules), which you can find at most grocery stores like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods Market.

Here are a few ways to use ACV:

  1. Make a natural toner. Mix two parts water with one part apple cider vinegar to make a natural pore-cleansing toner that will help reduce breakouts. You can store it in a travel-sized reusable lotion bottle (available in the dollar section at Target), and dab some on a cotton ball to use on your face.
  2. Mix up a healthy morning cocktail by combining one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with half of a freshly squeezed lemon, four ounces orange juice and four ounces of water. You can get creative with this and add different types of juice to change the flavor. You can also freeze berries in ice cubes to add to your drink for a little more fun and flavor.
  3. Help remove buildup of hair products by using a few tablespoons of a one-to-one mixture of ACV and water in your hair after you shampoo. It’ll make your hair smoother and shinier.
  4. Make an all-purpose cleaner. Just mix up equal parts ACV and water, pour in a spray bottle, and use as a disinfectant in your apartment.
  5. Use it as a produce wash. Combine 1/4 teaspoon ACV with 1 cup of water and store in a container for washing fruits and veggies. The vinegar will help rinse off all the dirt and pesticides that can be found on your produce.

Have you ever used apple cider vinegar before? Tweet us @dbmojo or leave a comment below!

Tags: , , , ,

No Comments Yet

Science & Health

Cancer Awareness: Facts about Lung, Pancreatic and Prostate Cancer

A lot of things happen in November. The color of the leaves change, the Starbucks red cups come back, elections are held and the Halloween decorations become Christmas decorations. Thanksgiving is prevalent in our thoughts, and the nation celebrates Peanut Butter Lovers Month. Amid the holiday spirit, we shouldn’t forget that November is also Lung Cancer Awareness Month and Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month. To spread the awareness through social media, here are some facts about lung, pancreatic and prostate cancer, and what you can do to help.

Lung cancer


1. Lung cancer is still the leading cause of death for men and women in the U.S. More people die of lung cancer that those do by colon, breast and prostate cancer combined.

2. A nonsmoker’s chance of getting lung cancer can increase up to 20-30 percent if exposed to secondhand smoke at home or at work.

3. More than 228,000 people are diagnosed with lung cancer every year. The survival rate is 35 percent when the cancer is detected early.

Pancreatic cancer


1. Pancreatic cancer is one of the few cancers that have not had a significant increase in survival rates over 40 years.

2. The average life expectancy after diagnosis with metastatic disease (the spreading of cancer from the original site to another location) ranges from three to six months, and 94 percent of victims will die within a five-year period.

3. Pancreatic cancer is hard to detect because there are no tools to catch it at its early stages when surgical removal is still a possibility.

Prostate cancer


1. In the United States, about one in seven men is diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime.

2. Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related death in men in the U.S., behind lung cancer.

3. There are 2.5 million men alive today who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer.

With these facts in mind, it’s easy to help out on campus. Although we as UCLA students have limited options to help directly combat cancer, we can join clubs and promote awareness through the avenue we know best: social media. The American Cancer Society hosts Relay For Life on campus, an event in which hundreds of students come together to run on behalf of those who are fighting cancer or who have lost their battles.

Many clubs, sororities and fraternities hold charity events that donate to research funds and organizations. In addition, some of you may have noticed the Snapchat geotag the first day of November, which was an orange mustache. The “No-Shave November” trend, promoted by the Movember Foundation, is utilizing social media to get the word out about growing mustaches to increase awareness about men’s health. Awareness is nothing without action, so spread the word and get involved.

Tags: ,

No Comments Yet

Food and DiningHow-toScience & HealthUncategorized

Tips for Flu Season: Three Alternatives to Chicken Soup

It’s week five here at UCLA, and midterm season is in full swing. The libraries are more crowded than ever, and sweatpants have become increasingly popular. But you know what other season has also started? Flu season.

The free flu vaccine booths next to the Bruin Bear probably give it away, but less so than your friend’s incessant cough and tissue trail. Being sick makes you want to run home to your mom’s soup and your own bed, but this option is cut short for many students on campus. So, as a current flu victim, I’ve gathered some simple habits you could easily weave into your dining hall schedule to help you fight the infectious trend.

No Sugar

If you’re anything like me, dessert is a must. No matter how full I am, I will always have room for whatever is waiting for me at the dessert station. However, sugar can inhibit your immune system if consumed regularly when sick. It’s going to be a hard journey, but if I can do it, you can too.

Honey and Lemon Tea

Instead of drinking cranberry spritzer or Coke with your meal, opt for tea or hot water. Yeah, everyone knows to drink tea when they are sick, but we aren’t done yet. The crucial ingredients are honey and lemons. Honey is known to have antibacterial properties and to help with the discomfort from sore throats. The lemons add much-needed vitamin C and antioxidants to the simple drink. Not only did you just make yourself a medicinal remedy, but you also created a delicious drink. Pinkies up!

Wash Your Hands

As college students, our hands may be the dirtiest parts of our bodies. From touching door handles to elevator buttons, our hands are indirectly in contact with hundreds of other people on campus. The spread of all unseen germs is easier than it seems. So, right when you go into swipe into the dining halls, utilize that hand sanitizer dispenser. It only takes a couple of seconds to walk over and place your hand under the machine. If you notice that these dispensers are empty, you can easily carry the travel-size hand sanitizer bottles, which can be found in any convenience store, including the Hill Top Shop.

If you have any other helpful tips or advice for the sick, feel free to comment and let us know!

Tags: , , ,

No Comments Yet