Survey Says: Negative Body Image and Facebook Use Are Connected

By Brooke Strickland

Facebook is integrated in almost every part of daily life.  People have it on their laptops, their desktops, their phones, their Kindles, and iPads.  They’re telling you where they’re at, what they’re doing, and who they’re with. They’re posting photos galore.  But have you ever stopped to think that Facebook might be affecting your body image, or the body image of your teenage son or daughter?  A new survey completed by the Center for Eating Disorders at Sheppard Pratt, looked at 600 Facebook users (ages 16 to 40).  The results showed:

  • 75% were unhappy with their body
  • 51% said Facebook makes them feel more conscious of their body and weight
  • 51% found themselves comparing their bodies with their friend’s bodies
  • 32% said they feel sad when they’re looking at their friend’s photos

This study coincides with the results of another recent survey done by the University of Haifa which showed a link between eating disorders and Facebook use.  The conclusion is that instant access to pictures makes one feel that they always need to be ready for the camera – this in turns affects body image and the users of Facebook are being negatively affected.  [1]

Social standing is definitely affected by Facebook – you feel more liked or loved if you have more people comment or like your photos and posts.  If people aren’t interacting with your social media updates, do you feel lonely or unloved?  Are you feeling more self conscious of what you look like when you know there’s the ability to have a photo snapped and uploaded to Facebook almost instantaneously? 

The pressure that social media has put on daily living is real.  Bu it’s important to recognize that your Facebook page doesn’t define who you are, you define who you are. 

[1] Cowdown, Susan, MS.  “Survey Links Facebook Use to Negative Body Image.” April 10, 2012.  Accessed April 28, 2012.

Does hand sanitizer really work?

By Brooke Strickland

Hand sanitizers are a popular product on the market today; sales are through the roof!  Antibacterial sanitizers are marketed as a highly effective way to wash your hands when the traditional soap and water method isn’t readily available.  Hand sanitizer has a high concentration of alcohol and works by stripping away the outer oil layer of the skin which usually prevents bacteria from adhering to the hand’s surface.  The alcohol kills the bacteria and germs don’t develop a resistance to it.

The manufacturers of hand sanitizer claim that it removes 99.9% of bacteria, but research has shown that this isn’t the case.  When product testing takes place, manufacturers generally test the products on inanimate objects, which have shown that it kills bacteria on those surfaces.  However, the hands are complex and have different variables – ones that manufacturers have not always tested due to the difficulty of it. This shows that the claims of 99.9% removal of bacteria is not totally accurate and that one should not use hand sanitizer as a sole replacement of hand washing, but instead, in conjunction with it.  Regular hand washing with hot, soapy water (for at least 20 seconds) is the best way to fight off the bacteria that cause the common cold, flu, or other viral or bacterial-based diseases.

So, if you end up shaking the hand of a person that you know just sneezed or coughed into their hands, pull out some hand sanitizer – it’s good to fight off those types of germs that you know are there.  It’s also good to use in places like grocery stores, offices, or hospitals, where you know germs are lurking.  But be careful – sanitizers need to have at least 60% alcohol to do the job. Some sanitizers out there have less alcohol content, offer phony protection, and end up being no better than washing with plain water. 

So remember, wash your hands regularly.  And for times that you just can’t get to a sink and wash with soap and water, keep hand sanitizer nearby. Try keeping some in your purse, the console in your car, or your desk at work!

Breakthrough: Brain Machine Restores Movement in Paralyzed Hand

Researchers at Northwestern University developed a brain machine that could replace the spinal cord and help restore hand or leg movements in paralyzed patients, giving them greater mobility and independence. 

Professor of Neuroscience at Northwestern University, Lee Miller, said that the machine taps into the natural electrical signals that the brain gives to the arms and hands signaling them to move the muscles. Researchers used monkeys, but using electrodes to record brain and muscle signals while the monkeys were picking up a ball and putting it into a small tube.  The results allowed them to create a decoding system for the brain signals which helped them predict muscle activity.  With the results in hand, they temporarily blocked nerve activity to achieve hand paralysis and then, using small electric currents, they found that the task of picking up and placing a ball could be simulated.  The scientists then built a machine that detects activity in 100 neurons, in which they can gain a significant amount of helpful information. [1]

There is no additional information as to when the technology will be made available to the public.  But so far, the study shows a great amount of potential in helping individuals of all kinds learning to live with paralyzed limbs. 

[1] [1] Perry, Douglas. “Brain Machine Interface Restores Movement in Paralyzed Hand.”  April 25, 2012.,news-14912.html#xtor=RSS-993 Accessed April 28, 2012.

Do I have a pinched nerve?

By Brooke Strickland

If you’ve ever had a pinched nerve in your back or neck, you know how uncomfortable they can be.  But how do you know if the symptoms you have are from a pinched nerve?  Doctors use a lettering system to identify the sections of the spine.  For example, bones from the cervical part of your neck are labeled C1-C7, top to bottom.  The lumbar vertebrate is labeled L1-L5.   Understanding a little more about the overall lumbar area will help you recognize if you indeed have a pinched nerve.

Nerves branch off from the spinal cord and when these are pinched, you’ll experience some symptoms.  If you’re experiencing pain in the L5 region, you’ll likely have weakness in your feet or toes or numbness at the top of the foot.  If you have a pinched nerve in the C5 area, you’ll likely have shoulder pain, possible numbness in the shoulder area, or weakness.  If you have pinched nerves in the C6, you’ll probably have pain that runs down your arm and into your thumb. If it’s in the C7 area, you’ll experience pain or numbness down the arm and into the middle finger.  Or if the pinched nerve is in C8 region, you’ll probably have pain or numbness on the outside of your hand, affecting the overall functioning of it. 

If your doctor in fact finds you have a pinched nerve, there are some ways to help minimize the pain.  There is no real treatment for a pinched nerve – it’s solely up to the body to heal itself.  Most pinched nerves can take up to weeks or months to heal and a patient usually has to learn how to effectively cope and live with the pain or numbness on a daily basis.  However, there are ways to help relieve pressure and pain.  Ask your doctor about exercises that are safe and helpful for your back to heal and help recondition your back.

Is the Internet raising up real-life murderers?

By Brooke Strickland

The Internet is a powerful tool – much more powerful than we might think.  With violent online role playing video games, violent movies, and social media outlets that encourage discussion without censorship, the Internet has become a vehicle for individuals to express themselves, and unfortunately, gain access to an unequivocal amount of grotesque material. 

Last year, 32-year old Norwegian resident Anders Behring Breivik was brought into the spotlight after killing 77 people in Norway in a bomb and gun rampage. He was even brave enough to post his goal of murder on his Facebook days before he acted on it.  He went on this rampage with intent to kill as many people as he could and his goal of killing a mass amount of innocent Norwegian men and women was, to him, an accomplishment.  He says it was a suicide attack and that he had no intention of living.  Yet, here he is, still alive, while families are left torn apart, missing their loved ones.  He is now on trial and the question of capital punishment is being discussed.

Another question being asked is what causes a person to go on a rampage like this?  Is it an inherent narcissistic approach to life?  Is it the Internet that is breeding and encouraging people to act on their murderous fantasies?   A troubling reality is that Breivik was obsessed with the extremely violent online game World of Warcraft, which he played full time for a year.  In court, the image of his World of Warcraft character was shown, and for the first time in days, he smiled.  When he was asked about the greatest influence in his beliefs and guiding life principles, he answered: “Wikipedia.”  [1]

Breivik has showed no repentance for his crime, which begs the question – did his obsession and addiction to gaming allow him to somehow allow him to imagine how the real life mass murder rampage would go?   Many people would argue that his gaming had no affect on what he did.  But, at what point does the virtual world become the only reality?  For Breivik, it became his reality and he acted on his intent to murder.  Frighteningly enough, children and adults all over the world are addicted or are becoming addicted to the Internet and online games such as World of Warcraft.  Social media and online games will warp and distort real life if we let it. 

Gaming and online addiction is real.  Read more about it at



[1] Keen, Andrew. “Does the Internet breed killers?”  April 19, 2012.  Accessed April 28, 2012.