With a new academic year rolling around, students of all ages will be looking for help and guidance with their work—and there are a wealth of options on mobile app stores and the web to help you succeed.
Here we've picked out some of the best apps and services across multiple categories, including time management, homework help, note-taking, and more. Put them together and you've got a comprehensive toolkit for making sure that this year is a good one.
No matter what your requirements, courses, or study habits are, there should be something here for you (or for the young student in your life). You might be surprised at just how much difference the right app can make.
The main appeal of Trello is its versatility: You can adapt the simple card-based interface in whichever way you want—whether to keep track of individual homework assignments or to log multiple research strands in an essay—and the software will adapt accordingly.
You can assign categories and deadlines to cards, attach files to them, and drop in to-do lists. However you decide to use Trello, you're going to find it straightforward to get around the app with easy drag-and-drop operations and a ton of options and features.
Trello (freemium for web, Android, iOS)
Powered by Google's artificial intelligence engines, Socratic is here to answer any question on any topic, whether you need step-by-step math explanations, a quick overview of a historical event or work of literature, or details of a particular set of biological processes.
Need a ride to the airport? Or help hanging your curtain rod? These pesky tasks are often made easier by asking a friend for help, but many of us are reluctant to do so.
People consistently underestimate others' willingness to lend them a hand, according to a new study published in the journal Psychological Science.
Help-seekers also overestimate how inconvenienced the person they are asking for a favor will feel.
"It can be nerve-wracking to ask a stranger for help," says Xuan Zhao, a social science research scholar at Stanford University who co-authored the study with Nicholas Epley, a social cognition professor at the University of Chicago.
"In our research we found people underestimate both strangers' and friends' [desire to help]."
Throughout history, there has been a debate about whether we live in a selfish society or a collaborative society, Zhao says.
"Over the past few recent decades, there has been more and more evidence that we are a pro-social and collaborative society," she says. "That's part of our winning strategy of evolution."
If you think about how you feel when you've helped out a friend, it might start to make sense.
"Helping other people makes you feel good because it creates a moment of social connection," she says. "It makes you feel valued and needed by other people and if you are successful at helping them it makes you feel competent, and everyone likes feeling competent."
Helping other people makes you feel good because it creates a moment of social connection.
Still, we underestimate how positive others feel about doing us a favor, Zhao's research found.
"When we need help it can be stressful and you have a lot of worries," she says. "You might be trapped in your own concerns. All of that makes it easy to overlook other people's willing ness to help."
American culture might also exacerbate the situation.
"People are taught to be self-sufficient and there might be a stigma to the idea of seeking out help and you might be concerned about being perceived as weak or inferior to other people," she says.
Those eager to help might be treated with suspicion, as research shows most people expect others to act mainly out of self-interest.
If a friend agrees to help you build a dresser, you might be wondering what favor they will ask you in return down the line.
Generally, though, people help because helping makes them feel good, Zhao says: "It's called warm-glow giving. The idea that helping other people makes us feel good ties back to the idea that it is something written in our genes."
New research published last week in JAMA Psychiatry investigated if taking the inexpensive vitamin folic acid may help reduce the risk of suicide.
“The importance of our study is that we have identified an inexpensive, widely available potential suicide prevention tool that has minimal if any side-effects,” lead author Robert Gibbons, PhD, Blum-Riese Professor of Biostatistics and Medicine at the University of Chicago, told Healthline.
In 2020, over 12 million adults thought about suicide – with 1.2 million actually attempting to end their lives, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“Folic acid is a type of B vitamin,” said Nicole Roach, a registered dietician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York. “Many foods contain folate or will be enriched with folic acid.”
She added that this nutrient is naturally high in foods such as vegetables, especially dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach, mustard greens, and asparagus.
“Other foods which contain folate include nuts, beans, oranges and orange juice,” she continued.
According to Roach, while these foods are naturally high in folate, there are other foods that will be fortified with folate, which means that while not naturally a good source, the vitamin is added during the manufacturing process.
“These foods include enriched breads, flours, pastas, rice, and cornmeal,” she said.
Roach emphasized the importance of making sure you consume enough folic acid, because it plays an important role in cell functioning and growth.
She said we typically need about 400 micrograms of folate per day, while people who are pregnant should aim for 600 micrograms per day and those who are breastfeeding should aim for 500 micrograms per day.
Gibbons and team collected the data of almost 870,000 patients from a U.S. pharmacoepidemiologic database of medical claims for patients filling a folic acid (vitamin B9) prescription from 2012 to 2017.
This process was then repeated with a control supplement (vitamin B-12).
Over 80 percent of patients in this study were female, and a little over 10 percent were aged 60 years or older.
Researchers found the group that filled a folic acid prescription experienced a 44% reduction in suicidal events, which includes suicide attempts and intentional self-harm.
Researchers also found that the longer people took folic acid, the lower their risk tended to be. Each month of taking folic acid was associated with an extra five percent decrease in the risk of attempted suicide during a 24-month follow-up period.
“We were surprised by the strong association between reduction is suicide attempt risk with increased duration of folic acid treatment, said Gibbons. “We were also pleased to see that our negative control, vitamin B12 showed no association with suicide attempt.”
He said that a randomized clinical trial of folic acid is already in the works.
“If confirmed in a large-scale randomized clinical trial, which we are pursuing with one of our nation’s largest healthcare providers, it could have the potential to save thousands of lives,” said Gibbons
Naomi Torres-Mackie, PhD, a clinical psychologist at Lenox Hill Hospital said the impact of vitamin deficiency on mood has been previously studied, with B vitamins being the most commonly examined, particularly B12.
“There have also previously been studies on folate and depression, she said. “Being mindful not to conflate depression and suicide, this study only looked at the latter, which is an important contribution to separate out and examine suicide in particular.”
Experts stress that more study is needed and that people in mental health crisis or who have thoughts of suicide should immediately seek medical help.
Torres-Mackie noted that it’s important that people who have thoughts of suicide are seen by a mental health professional who has training in suicide and crisis management.
“The specific way in which suicidal ideation is treated depends on the underlying cause, as thoughts of suicide can be related to a mental health condition, commonly psychosis, or depression.”
This study seems to have promise,” said Torres-Mackie.
However, she cautioned that more study is needed before folic acid can be accepted as a new way to prevent suicide.
“There are some barriers for access to traditional forms of suicide treatment, but if folic acid can be helpful in reducing suicide attempts, it has the potential to provide help on a large-scale basis to individuals who very much need it,” she said.
Torres-Mackie cautioned that “much more” research is necessary before getting to that point.
“And as the authors point out, a large-scale randomized clinical trial is needed before a causal relationship can be determined or before treatment recommendations should include folic acid,” Torres-Mackie concluded.
Dr. Alex Dimitriu, double board-certified in Psychiatry and Sleep Medicine and founder of Menlo Park Psychiatry & Sleep Medicine and BrainfoodMD, said that people who have thoughts of suicide are typically treated with a combination of medication and therapy.
“Lithium, ketamine, and anti-depressants have been shown to reduce suicidal behavior,” he continued. “I believe that neuroplasticity – our ability to adapt and think differently, is essential, especially when someone is in a crisis-like state such as suicidal ideation.”
He explained that certain medications might Excellerate neuroplasticity.
“In the case of folic acid, it plays a key role in the formation of various neurotransmitters, serotonin, norepinephrine and even BDNF – brain derived neurotrophic factor, which is like ‘miracle grow’ for certain brain areas,” said Dimitriu.
He considered the study “impressive.”
“Given the low downside or side effect profile of using folic acid, I would certainly give it a go,” Dimitriu said.
“Always seek professional help with anyone having suicidal thoughts,” said Dimitriu. “If it is truly urgent, safety first, call 911 or get the person to an emergency room to assure safety.”
He added that in his years of experience work, he cannot underscore how many people, who considered suicide, were so happy to be alive months later.
“Time heals, and you have to be safe to allow the healing to occur,” Dimitriu pointed out. “We live in a time of treatment options, use them.”
New research finds that the B-vitamin called folic acid may reduce risk of self-harm or attempted suicide by up to 44 percent.
Experts say that this might be due to the vitamin’s crucial role in brain health.
They also say much more research is needed before folic acid can be considered a viable way to prevent suicide.
If you’re stuck on a problem or a concept discussed in class, ask for help. Ask a classmate, visit office hours or a help lab. Consider joining or starting a study group. And take advantage of other free resources. If you live on campus or are a first-year student, check out the Academic Success & Achievement Program (ASAP) for free tutoring support. If you need help writing a paper, visit The Writing Center. If you have a big research project, University Libraries offers consultations to help you get started. Review more academic resources for students.
Sometimes the hardest part of studying is just getting started. Schedule out time in your week to study and do your best to get started right away. Find a favorite place that can become your study spot, like a coffee shop, library or community room in your residence hall. Establishing study routines and finding the right study spot can help you feel prepared for midterms.
Weightlifting is now linked to as much as a 47% decrease in early death, according to a new study. (Photo: Grace Cary via Getty Images)
The notion that working out is good for you certainly is not anything new — it’s been shown over and over that exercise cuts your risk of heart disease, can help maintain a healthy weight, reduces stress and more.
While the benefits of aerobic exercises like spinning, swimming and running are often what first come to mind, a new study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that weightlifting ― when combined with the recommended amount of aerobic exercise ― has serious health benefits, too.
For the study, the recommended amount of aerobic exercise was defined as the current fitness guidelines, which state adults should do at least two days of strength training each week and should participate in 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity (like gardening, brisk walking or dancing) or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity (like running, swimming or jumping rope). You can also do a combination of both moderate and vigorous activities.
The new study analyzed data from 99,713 adults over a 10-year period. At the beginning of the study, participants were asked how often they had lifted weights in the past 12 months. They were given the options of less than once a month, one to three times per month, one to two times per week, or three to seven times per week.
The study found that people who met the guidelines for aerobic activity and lifted weights one to two times each week were associated with a 41% to 47% reduction in all-cause mortality when compared with people who did not exercise, according to CNN. People who only met the guidelines for aerobic activity but did not lift weights had a 32% lower risk of all-cause mortality.
What’s more, those who lifted weights but did not do aerobic fitness saw as much as a 22% lower risk in all-cause mortality, CNN reported.
Additionally, those who lifted weights saw a 15% lower risk of dying from cancer, Medical News Today reported. While aerobic activity also resulted in a lower risk of death from cancer, that mortality risk was not reduced further when weightlifting was combined with aerobic activity.
A few caveats to keep in mind: Participants did not share how much weight they lifted or the number of sets or reps they did, so it’s unclear whether those factors played into the beneficial results. Also, the average age of study participants was 71, so it’s unclear whether weightlifting has a similar benefit on younger people.
Lifting weights one to two times a week is linked to a lower risk of early death in a new study. (Photo: Mireya Acierto via Getty Images)
According to Katie Gould, a trainer andowner of KG Strong in Philadelphia, “strength training is one of the greatest tools for getting out of pain, as long as you’re doing it with good technique and alignment.”
By lifting weights, you’re strengthening muscles that were likely weak to begin with and may be the underlying cause of pain, she told HuffPost.
Another benefit of weightlifting may seem pretty straightforward but is actually a big deal: You’re getting stronger. Gould noted that many of her clients are excited to be able to properly and safely move things like the couch or the bed.
And with new strength comes increased confidence, Gould noted — and she has witnessed that confidence in her clients in and out of the gym.
“It is important to work all the major muscle groups of the body — the legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms,” lead study author Jessica Gorzelitz, assistant professor in the department of health and human physiology at the University of Iowa, told HuffPost. This way, you’ll strengthen your body as a whole, not just a specific body part.
To get started, Gould recommended you commit to 30 minutes of weightlifting once a week with an eventual goal of two to three times a week. She stressed that your workout program should incorporate a range of exercises.
“A really good program is going to have a bilateral lower body push exercise — so think about a squat — [and] a bilateral lower body pull exercise like a deadlift. And, really, you want at least one exercise that is going to be unilateral, or one side dominant, like a lunge,” she said.
Gould said you should also be sure to focus on your upper body. Try incorporating an upper-body push like a pushup and an upper-body pull like a pullup. Lastly, make sure your workout targets your core. Gould noted that her favorite core exercises are Turkish get-ups or a classic plank.
“You’d do three sets for about eight to 12 reps depending on whether or not you’re using [weights],” Gould said. If you are doing bodyweight exercises (meaning, without weights), you can try to get closer to the 12-rep number.
“People may be unfamiliar with weightlifting and not know how to get started. Our results suggest that some is better than none, and it’s OK to get started slowly and progress as strength and confidence increases,” Gorzelitz said.
But, improper weightlifting form can lead to injuries and intense soreness, which is why Gould encouraged folks to get help from a professional before lifting up some dumbbells.
“My favorite choice is you go to a studio and you either get some private training or semi-private training,” she said. But, if you can’t do that, she added that many gyms offer virtual training sessions where they’ll create a workout program that is ideal for you and your goals.
Additionally, there are people online who give weightlifting guidance. Gould recommended Girls Gone Strong, an online program that has free, downloadable fitness guides. The program also shares technique tips on its Instagram account.
Gould said Perform Better is a great resource for general movement tips and so is Katie St. Clair Fitness. She noted that her own gym’s Instagram account shares weightlifting advice, too.
Also on HuffPost
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.
A global study into mucinous ovarian cancer could help oncologists recommend the best treatment for women who are diagnosed early with the condition.
By looking down a microscope for two different 'patterns of invasion' – the way that cancer cells invade ovarian tissue – oncologists can better predict which patients may have better or worse prognoses and can target treatment accordingly. The finding was reported in a paper published today in Clinical Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.
"Mucinous ovarian cancer is a rare type of ovarian cancer. It actually has more in common with gastrointestinal cancers, and can be hard to diagnose and hard to treat once it has spread beyond the ovaries," says lead author Nicki Meagher, who has just completed her PhD in the Molecular Oncology group, UNSW School of Clinical Medicine.
She says that observing which of the two types of invasion patterns that the cancer cells form could help specialists decide on treatment strategies.
We've shown for the first time that women who have early-stage disease – meaning they have tumors that haven't spread beyond the ovary – have much poorer survival chances in the first two years from diagnosis if they have what we call an infiltrative pattern of invasion.
Knowing this in the early stage of the disease means we can identify patients who could benefit from additional chemotherapy following surgery to remove their ovaries."
Nicki Meagher, Lead Author
The two patterns of invasion are defined by the way the cancer cells organize themselves when viewed under a microscope. The infiltrative pattern of invasion associated with poorer health outcomes shows cancer cells spreading in an uneven, haphazard way through the ovarian tissue. The other pattern is known as expansile, where cells expand through tissue in a more orderly manner, and is associated with better prognoses.
Up until now, other studies had suggested that the infiltrative pattern of invasion was associated with poorer patient outcomes, but no study had large enough numbers of patients with early-stage cancer to reach statistical significance.
But the current study, that involved more than 100 researchers in Australia, UK, Canada, Asia, Europe and the US, was able to test this hypothesis in much larger numbers by examining the tissue of 604 patients. The researchers also looked for the expression of 19 genes including THBS2 and TAGLN in addition to the patterns of invasion.
Professor Susan Ramus who oversaw the global study and heads the Ovarian Tumour Tissue Analysis consortium says that guidelines on how to treat women with early-stage mucinous ovarian cancer have differed around the world due to limited data on infiltrative patterns of invasion associated with survival rates.
"For example, in some parts of the world, an infiltrative pattern was acknowledged as an important feature and determined what treatment those women receive," Professor Ramus says.
"Whereas in others, all patients are recommended for the same pathway of treatment. We hope that after this large study treatment guidelines can be aligned and that we can target treatment for women who may have these more serious indicators, even if they are diagnosed in early stages."
The researchers also noted that women with higher expression of two genes, THBS2 and TAGLN in their tumors, had poorer overall survival.
"We're hoping that this may be able to help explain some of the biology potentially down the track," says Ms Meagher.
"Another avenue could be that knowledge of expression of these genes could assist in developing targeted drugs."
The researchers are part of a wide network of experts who plan to carry out a validation study to further investigate these genomic markers as the basis for a targeted treatment strategy.
Meagher, N.S., et al. (2022) Gene expression profiling of mucinous ovarian tumors and comparison with upper and lower gastrointestinal tumors identifies markers associated with adverse outcomes. Clinical Cancer Research. doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-22-1206.
Autistic children face an increased risk of hospitalisation if exposed to air pollution for relatively brief periods, with boys more at risk than girls, new research suggests.
Admissions for issues such as hyperactivity, aggression or self-injury may be prevented by minimising their exposure, and cutting air pollution levels could lower the risks, the researchers behind the study concluded. The findings were published in the journal BMJ Open.
“Short-term exposure [to air pollution] was associated with a higher risk of hospital admissions for autism spectrum disorder,” the researchers wrote. “The associations were demonstrated to be more prominent among boys than among girls in sex-stratified analyses.”
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder with a range of symptoms and severity. It is often accompanied by neuroinflammation and systemic inflammation meaning drugs, supplements and diet can Excellerate the core symptoms, according to the report in the BMJ Open.
It is believed that exposure to air pollution in the short-term, over several days or weeks for instance, can induce systemic inflammation and neuroinflammation, potentially increasing the risk of hospital admission in autistic people.
But previous studies have focused on the association between long-term exposure to air pollution over years during pregnancy and the early postnatal period, and ASD development among children.
The researchers sought to find out if short-term exposure may also pose a risk of aggravating ASD symptoms among school-age children. A child’s developing nervous system is more susceptible to environmental exposures than an adult’s, the report said.
Globally, one in 100 children are autistic, according to the World Health Organization.
Researchers from the Institute of public health and medical care at Seoul National university hospital drew on official government data on daily hospital admissions for autism among children aged five to 14 between 2011 and 2015.
They also collected data on national daily levels of fine particulate matter (PM2.5), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and ozone (O3) in each of the 16 regions in the Republic of Korea.
Analysis of the data revealed that short-term exposure to PM2.5, NO2 and O3 was associated with a heightened risk of hospital admission for autism, and that boys were at greater risk than girls.
The researchers acknowledged limitations to the study and called for further research in the area.
“This study suggests that short-term exposure to air pollution affects ASD symptom aggravation, which is more prominent among boys than among girls,” the researchers concluded. “Air pollution mixtures were also found to be associated with ASD symptom aggravation, mostly driven by PM2.5 and NO2.
“These results emphasise that reduction of air pollution exposure needs to be considered for successful ASD symptom management, which is important with regard to quality of life and economic costs.
“Because this is the first study on this subject, further studies, especially studies directly investigating ASD symptoms in more detail, are warranted to confirm the results and draw policy implications.”
Snacking on walnuts instead of biscuits or sweets may add years to your life, according to research. A handful of nuts a day reduces the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and other life-threatening conditions linked to obesity.
The superfood is packed with chemicals that protect DNA by destroying reactive molecules, or oxidants. The study was published in the Nutrition, Metabolism, & Cardiovascular Diseases journal.
A study found regular consumers were slimmer and fitter as they got older. They had fewer harmful fats, called triglycerides, and lower blood pressure.
"Walnut eaters seem to have a unique body phenotype that carries with it other positive impacts on health like better diet quality," said lead author Professor Lyn Steffen of the University of Minnesota.
"This is especially so when they start eating walnuts from young into middle adulthood—as the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, obesity, and diabetes elevates," Steffen said.
The findings are based on more than 3,000 individuals across the U.S. who were tracked for three decades, into their fifties.
Among walnut eaters, average weight gain was less, there were fewer cases of obesity, and fasting blood glucose was lower. They also had lower bad cholesterol than eaters of other nuts.
Nut consumers showed an advantage in relation to diet quality, but walnut consumers appear to have a better heart disease risk factor profile than other groups, even after accounting for overall diet quality.
"The surprising, healthy shifts in the overall dietary pattern of walnut consumers suggests walnuts may act as a bridge or 'carrier' food," Steffen said.
Walnuts are rich in healthy plant chemicals including polyunsaturated fat and omega fatty acids which combat bad cholesterol. They dampen inflammation that can lead to a clotted vessel—and trigger a heart attack or stroke.
The study says walnuts might be an easy and accessible food choice to boost the heart when eaten up to middle age. It could be due to the "unique combination of nutrients" and their effect on health, Steffen said.
About an ounce a day—equivalent to seven whole walnuts—has four grams of protein and two grams of fiber. It is also a good source of magnesium which is important for the muscles and nerves and increases energy.
The study—backed by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute in the U.S.—was also partly funded by the California Walnut Commission.
It took into account other heart disease risk factors including overall diet, smoking, and body composition.
Produced in association with SWNS Talker.
This story was provided to Newsweek by Zenger News.
A new study concludes that the 2020 European ban on menthol cigarettes made it more likely that menthol smokers would quit smoking, supporting previous Canadian research on the positive public health impact of banning menthol cigarettes.
Christina Kyriakos from Imperial College London led the study in collaboration with researchers from Maastricht University and the Trimbos Institute in the Netherlands and the International Tobacco Policy Evaluation Project (ITC Project) at the University of Waterloo in Canada.
“This Dutch study is our second major national study to provide evidence of the powerful impact of banning menthol cigarettes on quitting, which supports proposed menthol bans in the U.S. and other countries,” said Geoffrey T. Fong, professor of psychology and public health sciences at Waterloo, and the principal investigator of the ITC Project.
The research team surveyed a national demo of adult smokers of menthol and non-menthol cigarettes in the Netherlands before and after the EU menthol ban. Of the menthol smokers surveyed before and after the ban, 26.1 per cent had quit smoking. This quit rate was higher than the control group of non-menthol smokers, of whom only 14.1 per cent had quit.
In fact, the increased quit rate of 12 per cent of menthol smokers after the European ban is greater than the increased quit rate of 7.3 per cent found in an ITC study of the menthol ban that was in effect across Canada in 2018.
For decades, tobacco companies have added menthol to cigarettes because it creates a cooling sensation that reduces the harshness of smoke. It makes it easier to start smoking, causing non-smoking youth to be more likely to progress to regular smoking and become addicted to nicotine.
For more than a decade, the World Health Organization and many other public health authorities have called on governments to ban menthol in cigarettes to reduce smoking, which kills 7.1 million smokers and 1.2 million non-smokers from second-hand smoke per year worldwide. The global tobacco control treaty, the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, calls upon countries to prohibit or restrict menthol and other additives that make smoking easier.
To date, 35 countries have banned menthol cigarettes. On April 28, 2022, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced a proposed rule to ban menthol in cigarettes and cigars. An ITC study published that day on the impact of the Canadian ban projected that a ban on menthol cigarettes in the U.S. would lead more than 1.3 million smokers to quit.
The Dutch study also found that one-third of menthol smokers reported continuing to smoke menthol cigarettes even after the ban. The tobacco industry markets a wide range of accessories to enable people to add menthol flavouring to tobacco products themselves.
“These tobacco industry actions undermine the effectiveness of the menthol ban. By tightening the regulations to include these menthol add-ons, the impact of the menthol ban on quitting could be even greater,” said Marc Willemsen, co-author of the Dutch study and professor in tobacco control research at Maastricht University and scientific director of tobacco control at the Trimbos Institute.
The study, Impact of the European Union’s menthol cigarette ban on smoking cessation outcomes: Longitudinal findings from the 2020–2021 ITC Netherlands Surveys, appears in the journal Tobacco Control.
Impact of the European Union’s menthol cigarette ban on smoking cessation outcomes: Longitudinal findings from the 2020–2021 ITC Netherlands Surveys
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