Bad habits up teen headache risk

Tech and Science | Updated today at 09:51 AM


CHICAGO – OVERWEIGHT teens who smoke and exercise infrequently are three times more likely to get headaches and migraines than teens with healthier lifestyles, Norwegian researchers said on Wednesday.

More than half of the teens in a study who had all three negative lifestyle factors had frequent headaches compared with 25 per cent of normal-weight, non-smoking teens who exercised.

Teens with two of the negative factors were 1.8 times more likely to have frequent headaches than those who had none of them, Dr. John-Anker Zwart of the University of Oslo and colleagues reported in the journal Neurology.

The researchers did not determine whether the obesity, smoking and lack of exercise caused the headaches, or were connected in some other way.

‘These lifestyle factors have rarely been studied in teens,’ said Dr. Andrew Hershey of the University of Cincinnati, who wrote a commentary on the findings.

‘This study is a vital step toward a better understanding of lifestyle factors and potential preventive measures that can be taken,’ Hershey said in a statement

10 safety rules for running on the road

1. Turn down the volume
be sure that you can hear the traffic (horns)

2. Always hydrate yourself
even on cooling days, drinking of water before and after exercise is a must.

3. Fuel up before running –
make sure your body has enough carbohydrate to burn

4. Antixodants to fight off air pollution

5. Proper warm up

6. Prepare for terrain
different terrain requires different footwear. Be sure to have the correct shoes for the correct workout

7. Steer clear of traffic

8. Keep hill work on a level plane
Hill work are great for training. But include them gradually to get the best workout improvements as well as to avoid injury.

9. Run with a partner
wear reflective apparel or light coloured top if running at night. Choose an area that you are familiar with.

prepared and written by Zac Leow

5 Fitness Myths You Need to Forget

1. Walking is not as effective as running.
You will be more likely to burn about twice as many calories running for 30 minutes, versus walking for 30 minutes. We should be focusing on the distance covered during a workout rather than the time taken to complete the workout. Hence, if one is willing to take a walk that takes 30 minutes to cover via running, the walk would be an effective outwork too.

2. Exercise increases hunger
It’s a common misconception: If you burn hundreds of calories during a workout, you’ll end up eating more. But research shows that exercise has no effect on a person’s food needs, with the exception of endurance athletes who exercise for two hours a day or more. In fact, research shows that exercise often suppresses hunger during and after the workout.

3. It doesn’t matter where your calories come from
Calories are not created equal. First, some foods (in particular, proteins) take more energy to chew, digest, metabolize, and store than others. Others (such as fats and carbohydrates) require fewer calories to digest and store. Second, different food types have different effects on your blood sugar. Refined carbohydrates (think white bread, cookies, and fruit drinks) raise blood sugar levels dramatically, which encourages fat storage, weight gain, and hunger. Fibrous foods like apples, as well as proteins, raise blood sugar less, making them friendlier to your waistline. Finally, foods that contain a lot of water, such as vegetables and soup, tend to fill the belly on fewer calories, so you’ll stop eating them way before you stop eating more calorie-dense foods.

4. Diet alone is enough for sustained weight loss
You’ll lose weight in the short term by slashing calories, but experts say exercise is what keeps pounds off for good. Exercise burns calories, of course. It also builds muscle, which takes up less space than fat. Muscle tissue also requires more calories to sustain it than fat tissue does. In other words, the more muscle tissue you have, the more calories you’ll burn at rest. In fact, some studies suggest that over the long term, if you had a choice of eating consistently less or exercising consistently more, exercise would be the better weight-loss choice. The best option is definitely to combine both exercise and diet.

5. There is no best time for exercise
If you’re simply walking to get healthy or take off some weight, it doesn’t matter when you do it, as long as you do it. Remember, any exercise is always better than no exercise. The harder you push yourself during a workout,the more calories you will burn.

prepared and written by Zac Leow

Seven Keys to Proper Running Mechanics

1. Pull your toes up

Most running injuries occur by running with your toes pointed down toward the ground. Aim to land through the middle of your arch by keeping your toes pulled up. Thinking about sliding your heel back and up underneath your butt. This will automatically force you into the proper position to land on the balls of your feet.

2. Don’t overstride

Your feet should land beneath your hips, not out in front of your body. One way to avoid overstriding: Speed up your stride rate. If you’re running with a faster stride rate, you’ll pick your feet up and put them down quickly, making it very hard to overstride. Your feet should strike the ground roughly 170-180 times a minute. miCoach displays stride rate in every completed Workout Details chart.

3. Keep your torso engaged

Your abdominal muscles should stay flexed if you’re running tall. Try lifting your head as far away from your tailbone as possible to maximize the muscle contraction and train your core while you run. Another way to think about it: Focus on running tall as if a string was pulling the front your hips forward.

4. Relax the iron fist

Keep your hands lightly cupped, but don’t make a fist. Fists cause your forearms to tense up, which impedes proper shoulder motion. Also be careful not to tense your fingers and slice through the air. This could cause your arms to move in a circular action instead of moving forward.

5. Keep your shoulders back and down

There’s a tendency to hunch over as you get tired. Resist it by keeping your shoulders back and down so your chest is lifted. Also, move your arms from your shoulder, like a pendulum, so your elbow angle remains the same.

6. Look for an angle

Keep your elbows fixed at right angles (bent 90 degrees) and pulled close towards your body. Don’t allow them to flare out. This way your arm action will be more efficient.

7. Eyes up

Keep your head up and your eyes fixed on the horizon to stay tall and upright while you run.

taken from

written by Scott Quill

Memory Recall: Semantic Versus Phonemic Encoding

Daily memory tasks involve different levels of processing. The processes involved in
remembering are attention, encoding, rehearsal and retrieval. These processes work together to form the memory system, which completes daily mental tasks such as learning and remembering. (Cermak, 1972; Craik & Lockhart, 1972; Hyde & Jenkins, 1960, 1973). The encoding process can be categorized into three main groups – surface, phonemic and semantic. Surface encoding is interpreting the order in which words are arranged in a sentence. In this experiment, our focus is on phonemic and semantic encoding. Phonemic encoding is the process whereby speech sounds are being distinguished, while semantic encoding relates to the meaning of a particular word that is being encoded. When one encodes something with the help of elaboration, the level of processing deepens. For example, it is easier to remember the word ‘poodle’ when you categorize it as being a dog, rather than remembering it to sound like ‘noodle’. Hence, semantic encoding is deep level processing while phonemic encoding is shallow level processing. When deep level of processing is engaged, people will find it easier to recall. Therefore, semantic encoding will yield a recall that is superior to phonemic encoding. (Hyde, 1973; Hyde & Jenkins, 1969, 1973; Walsh & Jenkins, 1973).
Majority of the people are ignorant to the effect of different encoding forms and how it can affect their recall performance. They assume that their ‘memory capacity’ is the same regardless of semantic or phonemic encoding.
People usually overestimate their actual abilities due to ignorance. For example, many people who do not train for their marathon think they can complete ‘with a little determination’. Often than not, these runners fail to complete the marathon due to cramps or cardio-vascular exhaustion. An estimated 5,000 cases of injured runners suffered cramps or strains, and minor complaints that required medical attention (Standard Chartered Hong Kong
Semantic Versus Phonemic Encoding 3
Marathon, 2010). Dr. Fong said: “People tend to overestimate their limits and push too hard. They have no idea that a marathon is a huge challenge for the non-professional athlete.” (Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon, 2010). Dunning furthered the research of overestimation in 1999 by forming a relation between ignorance and self-inflation, which in turn leads to overestimation (Kruger, J., & Dunning, D. 1999). As such, we will expect participants to overestimate their memory capacity in the same way they overestimate performance in other areas.
The current study aims to examine whether different forms of encoding (semantic vs. phonemic) will result in a varied percentage score of recalled items, and if there will be any difference in estimating their own recall performance compared to their actual performance. In this study, we will be testing three hypotheses. Firstly, participants who use categorical encoding will perform better than those who use phonemic encoding. Secondly, there will be no difference in estimation scores of their own performance regardless of which group they belong to. Thirdly, all participants will overestimate their own recall performance.
Eight hundred and thirty-seven first year Psychology students at University of Western Australia (UWA) participated in this experiment in order to fulfill their course requirement. Apparatus
The apparatus used in this experiment consisted of a categorical vs. rhyming test displayed on a coloured screen computer.
The categorical vs. rhyming test consisted of two parts. Before either part begins, participants are required to estimate their own recall ability. This percentage estimate reflects how well participants think they will perform in the second part of the test. In the first part, all participants are shown the same 26 word pairs. To answer each question, participants click on
Semantic Versus Phonemic Encoding 4
either the “same” or “different” button that appears on the screen. Participants in the category group will have to decide if each word pair belongs to the same or different category. For example, if ‘Table’ and ‘Chair’ are presented as a word pair, the correct answer would be ‘same’ since both can be categorized under furniture. On the other hand, if participants belong to the rhyming group, having the same word pair would yield a ‘different’ response because both words do not rhyme with each other. In the second part of the experiment, participants will be shown one of the words from each of the pairs that have been presented in the first part. They are required to recall and type in the other word from the same pair. In part 1, participants are given six trial questions before the actual test commences. There is a time limit of 30 seconds to answer each item in both the trial and part 1 of the test. If no answer is given after the 30 seconds is up, the question is taken as wrongly answered and participant will proceed to the next question. Percentage scores will only be recorded for the second part of the test.
This experiment was conducted during one of the weekly laboratory lessons. Participants were randomly placed into either of two groups – rhyming and category – by tossing a coin once. If the coin shows ‘heads’, participants belong to the rhyming group, and if it shows ‘tails’, participants belong to the category group. Participants are then requested to open up the web browser and type in this web address, At the web page, participants are required to fill in their name and to select ‘Rhyming’ or ‘Category’ according to which group they belonged to.
Results Descriptive statistics of participant’s percentage scores in the category (N = 397) and
rhyming (N = 440) groups are shown in Table 1. Participants in the Category group (M =
Semantic Versus Phonemic Encoding 5
36.69, SD = 20.65) scored better than participants in the Rhyming group (M = 25.02, SD = 18.99). This indicates that categorical encoding leads to greater recall of items compared to phonemic encoding. Cohen’s d is 0.59 which suggests that there is a medium effect indicating a meaningful difference between the scores of the two groups. Hence results suggest that ability to recall items is better with the help of semantic encoding rather than phonemic encoding.
Table 1
Means and standard deviations (Cohen’s d) of participants’ percentage scores in the Rhyming and Category group.
Group Percentage Scores
Category Rhyming
Table 2
36.69 20.65 25.02 18.99
Means and standard deviation of participants’ estimate percentage scores in the Category and Rhyming group.
Group Percentage Scores
Category Rhyming
50.44 19.42 52.73 22.54
Participants’ estimated scores of their recall performance is shown in Table 2. Results show that the rhyming group had a higher estimate compared to the category group. However,
Semantic Versus Phonemic Encoding 6
Cohen’s d is only 0.11, suggesting that the magnitude of difference between the groups is very small. Therefore, results support the second hypothesis that regardless of which group participants belonged to, they all had similar estimations of their percentage performance scores.
Descriptive statistics of participants’ estimated and actual performance is shown in Table 3. The sample of 837 participants was analyzed as a whole without any group conditions. Results show that estimated scores (M = 51.64, SD = 21.14) were greater than actual scores (M = 30.56, SD = 20.63). Cohen’s d generated is 1.01, indicating a large effect suggesting that difference between participants’ estimated and actual performance scores are statistically significant. Results support the third hypothesis that all participants will over- estimate their own recall performance.
Table 3
Means, standard deviation, and Cohen’s d of participants’ estimate recall and actual recall percentage scores.
Group Estimate Actual Cohen’s d
All participants 51.64 21.14 30.56 20.63 1.01
Discussion The current study aimed to determine if semantic or phonemic encoding leads to
greater recall. The first hypothesis states that participants in the category group will recall better than those in the rhyming group. The second hypothesis states that regardless of which group participants belonged to, everyone will have the same estimation of their own abilities. Lastly, all participants will overestimate their own recall abilities.
Semantic Versus Phonemic Encoding 7
All three hypothesizes were supported in this study. The results established that participants in the category group performed better than participants in the rhyming group. This indicates that semantic encoding leads to better recall compared to phonemic encoding. Results also show that all participants had similar estimation of their own abilities regardless of which group they belonged to, suggesting that participants are ignorant towards their own abilities and think that they will be able to perform well. Lastly, results supported the hypothesis that all participants will overestimate their own abilities.
Although all hypotheses were supported, it is important to consider some methodological limitations. Participants were told in the instructions that they were supposed to remember the word pairs given in part one in order to complete part two. This piece of instruction might have been inadequate because participants need not rely on whether word pairs were categorical or rhyming in order to remember the word. Some participants may have taken the 30 seconds time limit to rehearse the word pairs and still be able to recall them in part two. Hence, this test may not have been an accurate determinant of the difference between semantic and phonemic encoding.
Results from this study seem promising and highlights many potential uses. Future studies can be developed to incorporate semantic encoding with learning. It will be worthwhile to examine whether semantic encoding is more superior in terms of learning in younger children, compared to phonemic encoding. Knowing that semantic encoding provides a better recall of information, it will be interesting to note if the same applies for younger children who are in preschool.
Semantic Versus Phonemic Encoding 8
References Cermak, L.S. (1972). Human Memory: Research and Theory. New York: Ronald.
Craik, F. I. M., & Lockhart, R. S. (1972). Levels of processing: A framework for memory research. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 11, 671-684.
Hong Kong Standard Chartered Marathon. (2010). Run safe with the AMS by your side. Retrieved May 10, from Hyde, T. S., & Jenkins, J. J. (1969). Differential effects of incidental tasks on the organization
of recall of a list of highly associated words. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 82,
472-481. Hyde, T. S., & Jenkins, J. J. (1973). Recall for words as a function of semantic, graphic, and
syntactic orientating tasks. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior,12, 471-
480. Kruger, J., & Dunning, D. (1999). Unskilled and unaware of it: How difficulties in
recognizing one’s own incompetence lead to inflated self-assessments. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 77, 1121-1134.
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Can’t sleep : Insomnia

The science of psychology has a lot to say about what works and doesn’t work for people who cannot fall asleep (insomnia). Individuals with insomnia and other sleep problems often benefit from a range of solutions, rather than a single cure. But foremost, here are some everyone should be educated about.

I. Insomnia can be caused by a variety of conditions including: change, stress, physical pain, trauma, illness, and emotions, PTSD, death of a loved one, or recurrent thoughts.

II. Insomnia can come on at any stage in life. Old sleep habits might need to be changed or altered to be successful at overcoming insomnia. Returning to more natural rhythms and habits can take time. Be patient. If you’ve had a lifelong problem with sleep, you unfortunately may not find an overnight cure. There is no immediate solution unless you want to take medicine, which can often lead to a wide range of other serious problems. The goal of this article is to help you make sensible decisions regarding the role of sleep in your life, and return to more natural, reasonable ways of approaching and thinking about sleep.

III. Tips to SLEEP;Overcome Insomnia

  1. RETINAL STIMULATION – also known as eyes (retinal) stimulation. Let the eyes get stimulation from the sun. To do so, head outdoor for activities for around 15 minutes per day. A short 15 minutes packed lunch in the garden would do wonders for your sleep. It will also help you receive Vitamin D (available from sunlight) and will help in calcium production.
  2. NO NAPS – your body will be tired by the time it reaches night time. It should help enhance the chances of falling asleep.
  3. COOL ROOM – make sure room temperature is cool and comfortable. ‘Cool’ is objective. If you are living with a partner, work out a suitable, comfortable temperature for both of you.
  4. NO WAKING ACTIVITIES IN BED – do not get involved in waking activities such as eating, watching television, usage of computers etc. in bed. With such, your body will automatically associate ‘sleep’ with your ‘bed’.
  5. GO TO BED AT REGULAR TIME –remember the days where you are at the school camp or the army? Once the sleeping hour hits, you will be sleepy.
  6. DON’T EXERCISE BEFORE BEDTIME – avoid exercising 3 hours before bed time. When exercising, the heart rate increases and makes it hard to sleep.
  7. AVOID CAFFEINE – We all know how caffeine ‘wakes’ us up in the morning. Avoid caffeinated drinks at least 2 hours before sleep.
  8. WIND DOWN – do not engage in brain-taxing activities before bed. Let the mind rest and relax which makes falling asleep easier.
  9. CALMING MUSIC/SELF-HYPNOSIS – Listen to calming music. Classical music are my personal favorite. Remember the number times you fall asleep in the concert hall while listening to it?

If you are doing all the above suggestions and still have problem sleeping, please contact a physician or psychotherapist who specializes in sleep.

1. “Several Sleep Disorders Reflect Gender Differences”. Retrieved 2008-08-29.
2. Mendelson WB (2008). “New Research on Insomnia: Sleep Disorders May Precede or Exacerbate Psychiatric Conditions”. Psychiatric Times 25 (7).
3. Kripke DF, Garfinkel L, Wingard DL, Klauber MR, Marler MR (February 2002). “Mortality associated with sleep duration and insomnia”. Arch. Gen. Psychiatry 59 (2): 131–6. PMID 11825133.
4. Kirkwood CK (1999). “Management of insomnia”. J Am Pharm Assoc 39 (5): 688–96; quiz 713–4. PMID 10533351.
5. Jacobs, Gregg; Edward F. Pace-Schott, Robert Stickgold, Michael W. Otto (September 27, 2004). “Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Pharmacotherapy for Insomnia: A Randomized Controlled Trial and Direct Comparison”. Archives of Internal Medicine 164 (17): 1888–1896. doi:10.1001/archinte.164.17.1888. PMID 15451764.….
6. KARL E. MILLER, M.D. (July 2005). “Cognitive Behavior Therapy vs. Pharmacotherapy for Insomnia”. American Family Physician.