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Student Research Poster Competition Winners / Abstracts - Human Services


Human Services - 1st Place
Bottled Water: Is it Worth it? A Comparison of pH Levels of Various Types of Bottled Water and Tap Water
By Breanna Ford, Stanley Laurent & Roniesia Godfrey, Queensborough Community College

Body fluids are slightly alkaline, ranging from a pH of 7.35 to 7.45, (Kozier, p.1432). Humans generally ingest acidic substances that can lead to increased oxidation of body tissues. It is important that we balance our intake with less acidic fluids. Recent research has focused on bottled water, addressing the lack of fluoride and potentially harmful chemicals from plastic (Jemmott, 2008). This project sought to answer whether there are differences in the pH levels of bottled water and tap water.

The hypothesis is that tap water is more alkaline than bottled water. Samples of tap water and various types of bottled water were tested by pouring similar quantities into plastic containers. An indicator solution was used to determine the pH of each sample. Each sample was tested with a pH meter. There were differences in the pH values obtained with the two methods used. Our results showed that tap water pH was about 7.2, whereas several bottled water samples tested were more acidic. This study provides evidence that tap water may be more beneficial than bottled water in maintaining the body’s normal pH levels.


Human Services - 2nd Place
By Azeezat Azeez, Bronx Community College

Autism is a neurological disorder that effects the social and behavioral interactions of a person. Also known as PPD (Pervasive Developmental Disorder), autism symptoms can range from “classical” (effects 1/1000 children), to a milder form (effects 1/300 children). Autism is rapidly increasing; about 1.5 million Americans have autism. Of all autistic cases, 80% are males. There is no known cure or cause for autism, but if diagnosed early, educational and therapeutic interventions can improve symptoms.


SENIOR DIVISON—(Grades: 11—12)

Human Services - 1st Place
Quantitative Analysis of Mercury Excreted in Head Hair as an Indicator of Autism Spectrum Disorder

By Charles Lamar, SUNY Old Westbury

Questions addressed by this study include: Is cold vapor atomic absorption capable of quantitatively measuring the level of mercury excreted in head hair? Can this data be used in the diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder? Do the values of excreted mercury in autistic subjects correlate to their placement within the autism spectrum as defined by the Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS)?

Hair samples were obtained from control and autistic individuals. Samples were acid extracted and analyzed using a Perkin Elmer cold vapor atomic spectrometer. It was determined, through the repeated analysis (n=20) of a control hair sample (mean = .719 µg Hg/g of hair, Std. dev. = .092), that mercury excreted in head hair can be quantitatively measured by this procedure. There was a significantly higher amount of mercury present in control samples, as compared to the autistic samples. These results support the theory that autistic individuals are unable to excrete mercury as effectively as non-autistic individuals. Currently, participants are being evaluated using a modified version of CARS, to test the possible correlation of mercury excretion and placement of autistic subjects.


Human Services - 2nd Place
Teens are Unaware of Sexually Transmitted Diseases

By Katiana Pierre-Paul, Kingsborough Community College

There are an estimated nine million new cases of sexually transmitted diseases/sexually transmitted infections (STD/STI) infecting adolescents each year. Unfortunately, many young adults are not being given enough educational information to protect or prevent themselves from being infected. This project uses data from an adolescent knowledge survey conducted throughout a New York City high school and neighborhood. This survey sought to find out how well young adults are educated on preventing the transmission of STD’s/STI’s, truths and myths about HIV/AIDS, and how frequently they use condoms.

It is hypothesized that adolescents who are better informed of the truths and myths of these diseases and transmission prevention, are at a lower risk of contracting these diseases. Five hundred surveys were given out; 250 were given to females, and 250 were given to males. Survey data was used to draw conclusions.


Human Services - 3rd Place
Asthma in Adolescents

By Adam Sammons, Sebastian Placide & Shannon Zayas-Sanchez, New York University School of Medicine

Asthma is a rising epidemic in the United States (US) that that has become exceeding prevalent in the New York City area. Almost 8.9 million children in the US have been diagnosed with asthma. Asthma was found to be common in low income housing communities and among economical deprived areas across the US. In New York City, various communities such as East Harlem and the South Bronx have the highest rates of asthma among children due to housing in poor condition and air pollution in these areas.

A survey was developed to assess asthma in low income New York City communities that are believed to be prone to asthma. Some key findings were in line with known asthma causing elements (i.e., the abundance of truck traffic, people living near highways, and the conditions of low income housing.) Through research we have developed a program designed to inform the public about asthma. Our goal is to raise awareness about asthma among children and adults in these communities.



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