Blink, Breathe, and Break

You're one of those avid computer users who squint at the screen all day. You rush to the mirror to see red, watery eyes. You rub your eyes helplessly and go back to the monitor.If you are one of those 60 million Americans complaining about eyestrain, eye fatigue, burning sensations, irritation, redness or blurred vision due to heavy computer use, then you are experiencing the effects of "Computer Vision Syndrome" (CVS.) About 90% of Americans using computers for more than three hours a day experience symptoms of CVS in some way or another.

What happens during a coma?

Hit your arm hard against the wall, and you will notice a swollen bump there the next morning. Swelling due to leakage from damaged blood vessels is one of our body's responses to trauma, or serious injury or shock to the body. The same happens when the brain is traumatized. Just like any other tissue, it swells. Unfortunately, unlike other parts of the body, the brain is enclosed within the skull, a bony structure that provides structural support to the head. The brain has no space to expand into, leading to a rise in the pressure in the brain. When the rise in pressure equals the arterial pressure, or the pressure exerted by the transportation of oxygenated blood in blood vessels to various parts of the body, the blood flow to the brain is affected. The brain cells cannot metabolize normally and are unable to excrete toxins from the brain, causing them to accumulate and lead to further brain damage. This vicious cycle is the major cause for death in brain trauma patients. One of the major breakthroughs leading to patients' increased survival rate in recent years has allowed physicians to break this cycle.

The planetary standstill: A word without a definition.

But who decided those were planets, anyway? In fact, it appears that deciding which objects are planets and which objects are asteroids is a difficult question with no obvious solution. What's at stake here is not only the planethood of familiar objects like Pluto, but also the definition of the word itself. As it stands, recent findings are placing the mnemonic in jeopardy and engendering a partisan atmosphere in some circles of planetary science.