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6 Clever Study Hacks That Students Are Using To Get Ahead in 2017

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Every college student knows how insanely stressful studying can be.

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Whether you’re facing a challenging midterm in the morning or feeling dumbstruck at the prospect of a pop quiz, it’s harder than it looks to pull up the necessary information buried deep inside your brain.

Both professors and fellow students are happy to offer tips on what works for them, but sorting through the many methods of studying can be tedious.

Instead of taking a shot in the dark and hoping it pays off, check out these six study hacks that are helping students of all kinds get through the school year.

1. Chunking

While chunking may sound a bit silly, the phenomenon is backed by solid scientific research. A study by UC Santa Barbara psychologists revealed that grouping related information together makes it easier to recall than if the same information were stored in the brain as single, separate points.

This explains why we think of a phone number as one long sequence and why we can rattle off those 10 digits without having to scour our memory for each one.

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Chunking takes this idea and turns it into a helpful study tool. By making short lists of between five and nine related names or numbers, the information is stored as an easily-recalled sequence and can be brought to the front of your mind in a flash.

Cramming for a history test? Group together those Civil War dates that seem unbelievably bland and forgettable and make them into a list. When it’s test time, you’ll be pleasantly surprised how well you know Lincoln’s inauguration date and Mississippi’s secession year.

2. Better Bedtime Routines

Wondering why your morning study sessions aren’t working, even with the addition of several cups of coffee?

As the Harvard Health Blog explains, cracking the books at the crack of dawn leaves your brain open to interference throughout the rest of the day, leading to reduced productivity from your early study sessions.

Instead, schedule some time to hit the books right before you hit the sack. Research has shown that unrelated word pairs are best remembered when learned directly before going to sleep, an outcome that further proves how helpful sleep is in stabilizing new information learned during the day.

Although you’ll no doubt be tempted to pull a couple all-nighters this school year, remember how effective a bedtime ritual of studying can be and opt for seven or eight solid hours of snoozing per night.

3. Climbing the “Forgetting Curve”

As this article by the Association for Talent Development explains, the Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve is a very real thing that many students may have never heard of.

Regardless of whether you’ve ever said the word Ebbinghaus in your life, you’ve definitely experienced the effects of this common phenomenon.

The Forgetting Curve proves that information is better stored in our memory if we review that information often.

When your professor says to take notes during his lecture, he’s not just being bossy. Reading those notes every day for the next week will give you a serious leg up during your next quiz.

4. A New Perspective on Brain Health

For years, college students looking for an edge would ask around until they found a friend with a prescription for Adderall or Ritalin.

After their all-night study session resulted in a mediocre test score, they’d pop some Xanax or Ativan to curb the jitters. In 2017, students are increasingly dropping the prescriptions and turning to nootropics.

Nootropics are more-natural “smart drugs” — compounds that improve cognition, intensify focus, and ramp up study sessions without the grogginess or jitters of Xanax or Adderall.

While many nootropics offering various benefits are now on the market, Adrafinil is probably the most effective over-the-counter option for wiping out fatigue and giving your brain that extra boost it needs to soak up information during your study sessions.

Adrafinil doesn’t produce a hyperactive feeling, but simply gives you a focused, clear-minded outlook that’s perfect for studying.

5. Move Your Body, Move Your Mind

While a pop quiz might get your blood pumping for a few minutes, moderate cardio for 20 minutes a day is a much better way to exercise.

Benefits of exercise include reduced stress, better blood flow, and even enhanced memory, so going for a quick jog before your next study session is a great way to maximize your memorization potential.

Many students are understandably turned off by the prospect of paying a monthly fee to join a gym, but there’s plenty of opportunity for cash-free exercise if you look in the right places.

6. Take a Break!

Just like all-nighters, cram sessions hold an eternal temptation for college students. The idea of buckling down for three or four hours seems like a winning idea, and the reality is that long study sessions can be beneficial, with one important caveat.

Put down the pencil and take a break. Not just one break, but many breaks. As long as they’re short, intermittent pauses actually help you focus better. If you find yourself staring at a single sentence while wondering what you’ll have for lunch, that’s a sign you’ve been at it too long.

For students who have trouble tearing themselves away from the books, even when daydreaming, setting a timer can be extremely helpful in announcing it’s break time.

With all the advice concerning study sessions out there, it can be hard to choose the method that’s right for you. In reality, most students don’t have a single way of studying, but instead employ multiple methods to help them gear up for challenging tests and ace difficult projects.

Staying engaged in school isn’t too different from staying engaged at work, as the helpful tips in this article show.

Regardless of what you’re focusing on, use scientifically-backed techniques and you’re sure to complete your goals.

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Awareness

9 Studies You Should Be Aware of Before Trying The Ketogenic Diet

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    The Ketogenic diet is a popular fad diet that promotes quick weight loss and symptom management for bodies that are dealing with poor lymph, kidney and digestion health.

  • Reflect On:

    Based on the studies that are emerging, is our desire for quick weight loss more important than living a long and healthy life? Are we learning about these diets primarily through those with strong ties to upholding these diets?

The ketogenic diet has popped up as a popular approach to weight loss in the last few years. Is it successful at that? Sure, it is. I’ve experimented with the diet myself years ago when I was looking to lose some belly fat. I was entering into ketosis in a different way than most, as I was not eating any animal products, but it does in fact work.

But like any animal product based diet, what are the consequences of eating so much food that does not truly jive with our human bodies? Not only that, is fast weight loss more important than keeping our morality rate down?

In the last few years, we’ve reported a lot on the Keto diet and the various ways it can be done. We have explored the studies, the results and in some ways, we supported it. But lately, I have been thinking about how supporting this could actually be encouraging people to jump into these diets, including the paleo diet, when in reality these diets increase mortality rates and are not healthy for the human body.

It became a thought in the back of my mind, I have always strived to put the best information out that I can through this platform to promote good health. And so we must look at that, even if that means upsetting some people who currently are on paleo or keto and are seeing some good weight loss or symptom management. The truth is, like the many people I’ve seen crash on these diets after a few years, I want people to know the truth of what’s going on out there. And how we can get beyond diets that symptom manage, and instead get onto diets that truly heal.

Anytime we have fad diets, which paleo and keto are, we see products and bias pop up all over the place to support the continuation of these trends. It becomes less about health and more about upholding an identity or a business.

So as I recently looked into what experts are saying about these diets, I came upon two important videos I think everyone should check out. Both have been embedded below. Remember, it’s not that I care what you choose in your own life, or that I feel there is a right or wrong, it’s that I believe we should be informed and I wish to use this platform to promote as best a message as I can.

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The Videos

Thanks to Plant-Based News for creating such a good channel and resource of information on YouTube.

In this video, several plant-based health experts talk through 9 nutrition studies that would be of interest to low carb keto diet proponents. To read the 9 studies, click here.

Next up, Dr. Kim Williams (past President of the American College of Cardiology) shares his insights about the ketogenic.

Related Articles

Diabetic Shares Why He Quit ‘The Ketogenic Diet’

Doctor Explains Why She Never Recommends The ‘Ketogenic Diet’

The Biggest Misconception About The ‘Ketogenic Diet’…You Don’t Actually Have To Follow It

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Alternative News

A New Disease Carrying Tick Species Has Been Discovered

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    For the first time in 50 years, a new tick species has been identified in the US. The longhorned tick is prolific and can lay as many as 2,000 eggs at a time. It has health implications.

  • Reflect On:

    Not long ago, the US government was accused of manufactured disease via ticks, to be used as bioweapons. More on that within the article.

So many problems are created by powerful people, and then these same powerful people like to offer us the solutions. A great example would be false flag terrorism, like lying and staging chemical gas attacks in Syria, and then using them as an excuse to infiltrate, invade and bring ‘democracy’ to that country in order to protect its people. You can read more about that specific example here. This is known to some, as Robert F. Kennedy Jr. recently expressed in a Facebook post regarding global warming, as “disaster capitalism,” the science of how corporations and tyrants profit from the crisis they create, regardless of whether that crisis is staged or real.

When it comes to ticks, it’s hard not to ponder if we’re seeing the same thing play out here. Will the rise in ticks and new tick species suddenly result in the development of more vaccines, ones that are specifically designed to combat the diseases these ticks are carrying?

There are a number of subjects that were once considered ‘conspiracy theories’ that are now no longer in that realm. ‘Conspiracy theories’ usually, in my opinion, arise from credible evidence. The implications, however, are so grand and so mind-altering that many may experience some sort of cognitive dissonance as a result. One of the topics often deemed a ‘conspiracy theory’ is weaponized diseases, and the latest example comes from an approved amendment that was proposed by a Republican congressman from New Jersey. His name is Chris Smith, and he instructed the Department of Defence’s Inspector General to conduct a review on whether or not the US “experimented with ticks and insects regarding use as a biological weapon between the years of 1950 and 1975” and “whether any ticks or insects used in such experiment were released outside of any laboratory by accident or experiment design.”

The fact that the amendment was approved by a vote in the House speaks volumes. Smith said that the amendment was inspired by “a number of books and articles suggesting that significant research had been done at US government facilities including Fort Detrick, Maryland, and Plum Island, New York, to turn ticks and insects into bioweapons.”

Now, for the first time in 50 years, a new tick species has been identified in the US. The longhorned tick is prolific and can lay as many as 2,000 eggs at a time. “In Asia, it causes a devastating disease called “SFTS” — severe fever and thrombocytopenia syndrome. About 15% of those people have died. It has not happened in the U.S. yet, but epidemiologists are watching closely.” (source)

When it comes to Lyme disease in particular, the Guardian points out that:

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A new book published in May by a Stanford University science writer and former Lyme sufferer, Kris Newby, has raised questions about the origins of the disease, which affects 400,000 Americans each year.

Bitten: The Secret History of Lyme Disease and Biological Weapons, cites the Swiss-born discoverer of the Lyme pathogen, Willy Burgdorfer, as saying that the Lyme epidemic was a military experiment that had gone wrong.

Burgdorfer, who died in 2014, worked as a bioweapons researcher for the US military and said he was tasked with breeding fleas, ticks, mosquitoes and other blood-sucking insects, and infecting them with pathogens that cause human diseases.

According to the book, there were programs to drop “weaponised” ticks and other bugs from the air, and that uninfected bugs were released in residential areas in the US to trace how they spread. It suggests that such a scheme could have gone awry and led to the eruption of Lyme disease in the US in the 1960s.

Could this new tick be some sort of weaponized one? Who really knows.

The Takeaway

We are living in a world of extreme secrecy. Much of what was once deemed a conspiracy theory is no longer a conspiracy theory anymore. A lot of information is arising that’s really challenging people’s minds, and some of it is so unbelievable and hard to imagine that cognitive dissonance is a common reaction. In today’s day and age, it’s important to keep an open mind as new information that challenges collective belief systems continues to emerge.

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Awareness

Study Finds Infants of Unvaccinated Moms Fared Better Compared To Vaccinated Ones

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Public health officials and doctors, ever more insistent that pregnant women get flu shots, are frustrated that fewer than four in ten American moms-to-be avail themselves of the recommendation. Policy-makers’ disappointment stems not just from their zeal to achieve the Healthy People 2020 goal of 80% coverage of pregnant women but also from their recognition that women who go along with vaccine recommendations during pregnancy are more acquiescent about vaccinating their newborn infants as well.

Yet maternal worries about vaccine-related harm to the fetus are widespread and operate as a principal barrier to higher pregnancy vaccine uptake. Envisioning a day when “even more vaccines” will be added to the maternal vaccine schedule, researchers are studying how to improve uptake and design more persuasive “communication interventions.” Their messaging generally emphasizes a twofold rationale for prenatal flu shots. The first and primary stated aim is to prevent influenza in mothers and babies—but researchers also assert that by preventing such infections, they may be able to prevent unwanted fetal outcomes thought to be linked to influenza infection during pregnancy.

research team out of South Africa has just published a paper examining the second rationale, comparing four outcomes—fetal death, low birth weight, small for gestational age birth and preterm birth—for infants whose mothers received flu shots or a placebo. In their surprisingly frank conclusions, not only do the researchers report that influenza vaccination during pregnancy was ineffective in lowering risk for the four outcomes, but—ever so cautiously—they also note that the vaccinated infants fared worse.

The study

The 2011–2012 South Africa study was one of three large double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trials of influenza vaccination during pregnancy funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF). As originally described in 2014 in the New England Journal of Medicine, over 2,000 mothers received either trivalent inactivated influenza vaccines or placebo between 20 and 36 weeks of pregnancy—in other words, in their second or third (but not first) trimester of pregnancy. (In the U.S., which encourages flu shots during any trimester of pregnancy, studies have identified a heightened risk of autism in the children of women vaccinated during the first trimester.) The researchers followed up on fetal outcomes when the infants reached 24 weeks of age.

Of note, the study used an inert saline placebo. This is unusual in the context of vaccine clinical trials, which nearly always compare one group that receives the vaccine of interest against another group that receives a different vaccine (called an “active comparator”). The use of active comparators can “increase the occurrence of harms in the comparator groups and thereby [mask] harms caused by the…vaccines” being studied. In contrast, an inert placebo enhances the likelihood of detecting differences between groups, if any are present.

Overall, the investigators found “no significant vaccine efficacy” with respect to any of the fetal outcomes. Unexpectedly (to the researchers), they also found that the average gestational age at birth was lower in the vaccinated versus placebo group—a statistically significant result indicative of a greater risk of preterm birth. Although most of the study’s other findings did not attain statistical significance, the pattern of results showed, in another writer’s words, tendencies that were “not reassuring.” Across all analyses, the percentages and rates of fetal death, preterm birth, low birth weight and small for gestational age birth were higher in the vaccine group than in the placebo group. Couching their conclusions with caveats, the authors explain:

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[W]e found a slight, though non-significant decrease in the birth weight of infants in the vaccinated group…as well as a non-significant increase in fetal deaths among [influenza]-vaccinated mothers. […] We point this out only as a cautionary word and suggest this observation be explored carefully in larger studies of vaccine safety data bases.

Weak, inconsistent and biased evidence

In 2017, researchers who carried out a systematic review found that “comparative studies of adverse birth outcomes following maternal influenza disease are limited in quantity and have produced inconsistent findings.” In a 2019 paper, an Italian researcher agrees, arguing that it is inappropriate to recommend across-the-board influenza vaccination of all pregnant women in the absence of “strong and consistent” randomized clinical trial evidence—particularly if one also acknowledges that current evidence often exhibits bias. Making specific reference to the South Africa clinical trial, the author notes that the trial “was funded by BMGF and by public sponsors, with the principal investigator in financial relationships with the vaccine producer, and two authors with other influenza vaccine producers.”

The author describes other results from the South Africa trial that, while again not attaining statistical significance, “were not in the expected/hoped direction.” For example, maternal hospitalizations for infections were “numerically higher” in the vaccinated group, as were severe neonatal infections. Overall, the trial produced only “18 less influenza illnesses in vaccinated mothers and their children, to be weighted…against 9 more maternal hospitalization for any infection and 6 more neonatal hospitalization due to sepsis within 28 days of birth.”

In addition to the South Africa trial, the Italian author mentions several other randomized controlled trials (RCTs) in low-income countries that compared influenza vaccination during pregnancy against meningococcal or pneumococcal vaccination; even with an active comparator, the author suggests that these trials [hyperlinks added] do not support influenza vaccination during pregnancy:

The first and larger trial substantially disregarded an alarming excess of infant deaths and serious “presumed/neonatal infections” in the influenza vaccine group. Even in the other small RCT the fetal plus infant deaths were nonsignificantly higher in the influenza vaccine group. In a last large trial the tendency for miscarriage, stillbirth, congenital defects, and infant deaths at 0-6 months were not in favour of the vaccine group. These countries are not comparable to high-income ones, but one could expect that their poverty and demographic conditions would magnify the benefits of influenza vaccination, not the opposite.

2013 study that evaluated adverse pregnancy outcomes following influenza vaccination of pregnant women found that “low-risk” women (that is, women without medical complications or co-morbidity) who received the vaccine during the 2009–2011 influenza seasons had an increase in a composite measure of adverse outcomes (miscarriage, fetal demise, preterm birth and neonatal demise) compared to unvaccinated pregnant women—“even after adjusting for confounding factors.” Reluctant to accept the implications of their findings, the authors stated, “We do not believe that influenza vaccination causes adverse pregnancy outcomes in low-risk women; instead our findings likely represent the result of selection bias and residual confounding.”

The same kind of avoidance was apparent in a study that investigated risks for preterm delivery and birth defects following influenza vaccination in three consecutive seasons beginning in 2011. Although the researchers found that women in the vaccinated group had a shorter gestational duration and their infants had an elevated risk of a rare abdominal wall defect called omphalocele, the investigators concluded that their results were “generally reassuring” and that “[t]he few risks that were observed are compatible with chance.”

A questionable policy

Researchers have speculated that influenza infection during pregnancy could be associated with adverse birth outcomes due to “mechanisms such as maternal fever and inflammation,” and they note that “[i]mmunological responses, such as elevated pro-inflammatory cytokine levels…are recognised as an important pathway to preterm birth.” What they generally do not acknowledge is that prenatal vaccination also introduces immune activation risks—and these risks remain scandalously understudied. Instead of bemoaning pregnant women’s “suboptimal” flu shot uptake—or dismissing the risks to a developing fetus from vaccinating the mother during pregnancy as “theoretical”—researchers and policy-makers should be putting their poorly supported pregnancy vaccination recommendations on hold. And members of the public should remember that no vaccines have ever been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) “specifically for use during pregnancy to protect the infant.”


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