Synesthesia By: Rajan Sapkota

When the brain does not do what it was designed to do, and some parts of the brain intertwine with each other, very interesting things start to happen, and people start to get diagnosed with very intriguing disorders. Synesthesia is a perfect example of the brain not sticking to its designed blueprints, and the effects it can have on a person and their lives in a neurological level are far beyond extraordinary.

Synesthesia is neurological disorder in which the senses of the patient intertwine and mix with each other, meaning that whenever they smell, taste, see, hear or feel something, they are reminded of a different sense. For example, it could be possible that whenever a synesthete tastes chocolate, they can hear orchestra music. There are also instances in which the senses crosswire to the point in which the synesthete cannot comprehend majority of things properly, and the way they verbally communicate is skewered.

Scientists are still not sure how synesthesia works, but they know that it occurs when neurons and synapses that are supposed to be contained within one sensory system cross over to another, which is how the senses can be mixed up. They also gathered data presenting that 60% of people diagnosed with this disorder have close relatives that are also synesthetes. This means that having synesthesia comes from your biological background, and can pass on as a gene further into the family tree.

Synesthesia can have a substantial impact on someone’s life, and those impacts can be positive or negative. To start off, synesthetes essentially have an extended sense, meaning that if you are an artist, your disorder can sprout a new idea for your song or drawings, because of the fact that your senses are cross-wired. It can also help someone calm down in a situation, for example, if you hear a particular sound, one can earn pleasure because that sound is linked with another sense that they find desirable, which can ultimately lead to happiness. It can also have a negative effect on the synesthete, because some senses can interrupt one another to the point in which your comprehension of reality itself can turn out to be random crowds of numbers, letters, and sounds.

Finally, the reason I was interested in researching the phenomena known as synesthesia was because when reading The Secret Series, it connected a lot to this disorder, and I was very intrigued about the concept of hearing a feeling, or tasting a sound, and wanted to learn more about it. Synesthesia can also have a huge impact on figuring out how we can comprehend different feelings and link them with each other, and if we find how synesthesia works, we can make a lot of scientific improvements and make medicine for people who suffer from depression or from traumatic experiences.


The Power Of Compliments – Sarina

Once upon a time, there was a little mouse that got lost in a classroom, and caused great chaos. The teacher asked the help of “Little Stevie” to find the mouse. His classmates were surprised by the fact that the teacher asked “Little Stevie” to find the mouse because he was blind. The reason why the teacher asked him was because he had the best ears. Sure enough, “Little Stevie” caught the mouse. From that day on, it was the start of “Little Stevie’s” new life because he didn’t feel sorry for himself that he was blind, but instead used his ears, which later made him one of the greatest musicians of all time. Do you know who little Stevie Morris is? His stage name is Stevie Wonder. Have you ever experienced a moment when someone said something really nice to you and it influenced who you are today like Stevie? I have, and I’d like to share my story with you. I chose this topic because I personally experienced the power of compliment in my life. I started dancing jazz at the age of nine. It was all for fun. My jazz teacher told me that I should also take up ballet because I had potential. She complimented me on my flexibility and dynamics. Because of this compliment, I gave ballet a try. This has truly affected me because without this compliment, I would have never started my ballet journey. On 2014, right before the Philippine Dance Cup, the same teacher gave each and everyone of us in the class a compliment card regarding our dance ability. What she said in that card inspires me until this very day, to work hard and do my best in dance. A month after, she passed away, but that power of compliment, stayed in my heart. I know that anytime a person gives me a compliment, whether it is from my parents, siblings, teachers, or friends, it makes me feel cared about, respected, and appreciated. It makes me strive to enforce that positive compliment even more. Every time I give a compliment to others, I feel positive about myself as well. Because of these reasons, I think compliments are powerful and relevant to me. I am inspired to give compliments to others to hopefully have a positive impact on their life. Giving compliments connects to my previous learning because it can benefit one’s overall talking-hn_0health which I learned in wellness class. It is interesting to know that a single compliment can benefit a person’s emotional, mental, social as well as physical health. These aspects make up a healthy person. In addition, in my previous learning, I have seen people that change positively because of compliments. For example, I always encouraged my little cousin about her artistic talent and now she has decided to take art lessons to discover her talent even more. Because of these experiences, giving compliments are important because it motivates, inspires and brings happiness to both the giver and receiver. Specifically, it is more important for us teenagers, because 7 out of 10 teenagers believe that they are not good enough or don’t measure up in some way, including their looks, performance in school and relationships with friends and family members. Compliments therefore is very significant for teenagers as it can boost their self-esteem.


I learned that giving simple compliments to people can lead to many benefits, specifically emotionally, physically and socially. Firstly, on the emotional benefits, giving compliments can motivate the person to do better. For instance, when you praise your cook’s food, your cook will be motivated to cook the same food with additional love. In addition, compliments create positivity. When giving positive compliments, it delivers a positive effect on that person as well as you. Both mind-sets then turn positive. More importantly, giving compliments can boost your self-esteem. Both you and the person you compliment will feel good. Once you feel good about yourself, you perform well either in your school work, or in sports.  Some mental effects of receiving compliments include the increase of serotonin in the brain which controls your overall mood and activates when you feel confident, significant, important or respected by others. Secondly, on the physical benefits, giving compliments can lead to better “skill consolidation” during sleep. Praise provides memory boost for the brain to efficiently learn while sleeping. According to the study from the National Institute for Physiological Sciences in Japan, the brain, receiving a compliment is as much a social reward as being rewarded money. A person performs better when they receive a social reward after completing an exercise. The Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies, made a study of nearly 7,000 adults in California. The study showed that 40 to 50 % of happiness or anxiety comes from genes, but with good mental health from receiving compliments by teachers, coaches, school counselors, can contribute to physical well being for a lifetime. Thirdly, on the social benefits, giving compliments is healthy for any type of relationship as it makes the bond stronger. Since it boosts your self-esteem, the person is more confident to build relationships with others. Knowing these benefits has expanded my learning because I did not realise the impact that a complement can give as it 7242c921c14976a60f312e6b5e3b13daaffects people mentally, emotionally, socially and physically. I used to give compliments without realising it is connected to health. My opinion on compliments therefore is that we should be generous on giving them. Giving a compliment is good manners. When you think of something  good about someone, don’t hesitate to say it. It is interesting to know that something that started in Netherlands in 2011 is now a world wide event. On March 1, it is World Compliments Day where people give compliments in words, and not in gifts. Moreover, another interesting fact about compliments is that it makes people smile, which leads to laughter. Did you know that laughing heartily for 15 minutes daily burns 40 calories! My thinking has changed because after learning more on the power of compliments, I am more aware that people need compliments to feel good about themselves and to keep them motivated. In every new situation, you can make someone’s day by giving a small compliment. You can apply this whether it’s someone you know or even to a stranger. As they say, “a little spark of kindness can put a colossal burst of sunshine into someone’s day”. On the other hand, there are some misunderstandings about compliments. People with low self-esteem have doubt about themselves and don’t accept them. A solution to boosting people’s self-esteem is that you have to go beyond the compliment and focus on the meaning behind it. A study shows simple-complimentsthat after experimenting with people who have low self-esteem and were asked to describe the significance and meaning of the compliment they received, their self-esteem increased by 11%, and no one’s self-esteem decreased. In conclusion, the power of compliments has influenced my thinking about wellness because it applies to the three aspects of health; emotional, mental, social and physical. Most importantly, giving compliments improves a person’s state of mind which equals a better state of body. Simple compliments mean the most. It can make someone’s day or even someone’s life! Remember Little Stevie? A simple compliment created a great musician.

Clink the link and check out a short film I made on receiving compliments:

Down Syndrome- Maryam

I chose down syndrome as my topic because I have heard it around but I never knew what it was. I also chose it because it affects my family as one of my grandmother’s had it Though down syndrome is not inherited from your family, it was tough to have someone in your life that you loved and got close to while you still knew they would leave you very soon. It was even more devastating for me because I was only around 3 years old when she passes away. I knew that most people who had down syndrome had almond shaped eyes, but that’s all I really knew. A connection of mine to down syndrome as I already mentioned before was my family. Another connection is that my aunt works at home for the people with these kinds of disorders. She often tells us how hard it can be to work at that kind of environment and it makes you really sad because you know everyone there won’t get to live out their lives properly. Down syndrome connects to my previous learning because we learned how important exercise is for people, especially adolescents and pubescents. However if someone has down syndrome it is very dangerous for them to exercise because their maximum heart rate can only be 170-175. People with down syndrome have a special exercise plan made for them specifically so they cannot do most of the things we do. Reflecting back to my knowledge about physical fitness, I also know that if you don’t exercise it makes you depressed which can sometimes happen to down syndrome patients. It is important to know about down syndrome because we need to be aware how to deal with these situations if it ever happen to us or someone we care about. Down syndrome affects teenagers because down syndrome patients have difficulty keeping themselves in shape throughout their lives and will probably not be fit enough to even do simple everyday tasks.

This photo represents how a down syndrome kids looks different but is different in many more ways than that.

I learned so many new things about this issue. I learned that down syndrome is not only causes physical changes in your body, but it also takes a toll on your mental health. This expands my learning because now I know how many people go through these kinds of things. Not only is it very hard for them but it is extremely difficult for their family. I think that eventually when we have a safe we to modify genes, we will be able to fix this disorder for many people. It is very interesting that a lot of people with down syndrome have speech problems and behavioral issues because you would not have thought about how having all of these issues make them unable to do so many things. My thinking has changed because I understand how random the changes in you genetic structure are and what they can do to you. I can apply my learning to new situations because I can be more open-minded towards a lot of health issues.

Healthbuzz – Superfoods – Xavier

Do you know what a superfood is? Do you know how many superfoods there are? Have you eaten a superfood before? Hello my Name is Xavier and I am going to be talking about Superfoods and their benefits to you and me.

So you might be thinking what is a superfood. Superfoods are whole foods that have not been processed. They are foods that contain numerous combinations of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that help prevent sicknesses and diseases. Some of the most common superfoods are familiar foods that could be added to any of your meals. Fruits, vegetables, grains, seeds, healthy fat, legumes, nuts, and fish. These foods are the best foods for our health and wellbeing and can provide a long healthy life. Some examples of superfoods can be blueberries, quinoa, salmon, steelcut oats, greek yogurt, coconut oil, kale, cocoa, eggs, sweet potato, olive oil, avocado, chia seeds, cauliflower, tea, pumpkin, flax seeds, acai juice, walnuts, spinach, and even dark chocolate!

This photo shows some of the many different variety of superfoods

I chose to the topic of superfoods because I think that it is an interesting subject. There are many different types of superfoods and all are extremely good for your physical and your everyday health. I have a family history of heart-attack, stroke, high-blood pressure and type two diabetes.  This is relevant to me because these conditions run in my family, and if I have a healthy, superfood rich diet from an early age, maybe I can prevent some or all of these condition in my later life. I now know that if you include superfoods into your everyday diet, you can lead a healthy, long life. It helps you to be in a healthy weight range, be active in both your body and your mind.

I include superfoods in my everyday diet, this means that I am getting lots of vitamins and minerals, growing a healthy body and eating the best foods I can eat. Superfoods are important because without them we wouldn’t get the right amount of oils, good fats, vitamins, minerals.  Superfoods are good for teens because they help the immune system, helps them stay on task, not feel drained of energy have a clear mind to learn and concentrate at school and sport.

By researching Superfoods, I have learned that they are very important foods that we need to be part of our everyday diet, and we need to consume as many as possible as often as possible to let our bodies get all the vitamins, minerals, fruits, vegetables, grains, seeds, healthy fats, legumes, nuts, and fish we need. I used to think that a superfood was eating a carrot or broccoli once or twice a week, and that was enough. I now know that there are over 100 superfoods, and you need these in your diet regularly to maintain a healthy mind and body. I have also learned that eating SuperFoods regularly can help prevent cancers, heart attacks, cholesterol, high blood pressure, helps the immune system and lots more. This influences my thinking about wellness because eating SuperFoods can make you live longer!



Music, Tinnitus, and Hearing loss – Vincent

Hearing loss

          I chose this topic because hearing loss is a not well understood and known risk (as it’s often ignored) that can potentially leave people deaf for life. My connections to this is that I used listen to music at high volumes frequently, and I now have minor case of tinnitus (ringing in the ears) from acoustic trauma. They expand learning because it helps people become more aware to certain problems people often disregard as minor when in reality it would be hazardous. This issue is relevant to me since teenagers like myself like to listen to music a lot to reduce stress, and sometimes I like to turn up the volume, as the music somehow feels better like that, however we would be unaware that it could potentially damage hearing through constant use. It is an important issue that must be addressed because most people are not informed of the damage high volumes of sound can do to themselves. In fact, the WHO (World Health Organisation) reported that over 1.1 billion teenagers like me are now at risk for hearing loss in 2015. 50% of the 1.1 billion were listening to loud music on mp3 players while the rest were exposed to extremely high volumes at music concerts and festivals. Most of them don’t even know that once they lose their hearing abilities it will never come back. In my opinion, hearing loss (and some cases of tinnitus) hit teenagers hardest. This is because as aforementioned, teens love to listen to music with the volume up high- and for long periods of time. This combo causes huge amounts of permanent damage over a long-term span. 1.1 billion teenagers are at risk for this. Furthermore, some cases of tinnitus can become so bad it drives teens into stress, depression, and even suicide (disrupting their lives in summary).

            I learnt that tinnitus, compared to hearing loss, isn’t a condition itself but a symptom of another issue (examples of underlying conditions include: hearing loss, acoustic trauma, and earwax blockage.) There are also two types of tinnitus, according to MayoClinic. The first one is called “Subjective tinnitus”. This is the kind of tinnitus that only the affected person can hear, since it’s most likely caused by some damaged hairs inside the cochlea- that can move and create electronic signals in the form of sound. The other kind called “objective tinnitus”, however, is one that an audiologist will be able to hear. This isn’t caused by damaged hairs in the cochlea, but by atherosclerosis, head and neck tumours, or high blood pressure. However, this is a very rare type of tinnitus, as they are related to blood vessel disorders. Hearing loss, on the other hand, is a condition itself, not a symptom. On top of that, once hearing damage has been made the damage is permanent-  something most people overlook. To sum it up, I feel that this is a major issue that people do not have enough awareness of compared to other major issues. Not only that, it’s one of the most easiest to prevent (as easy as lowering down the volume of an mp3 player or wearing earplugs at a concert) unless the victim has objective tinnitus (which is rare). My thinking has changed as I now start to notice the drastic effects of small actions and the preventability of huge problems later on through taking the right choices of those little decisions. And since it applies to most things, I can use it in most situations no matter how minor or how major it is, whether it be picking chocolate or vanilla ice cream to deciding lifetime lasting decisions. When it comes to health and wellness, I’ve learn’t to always make sure not to be rash, and consider the consequences of certain actions and decisions, because I know that it can compromise my health in the future.