Elizabeth A.S. Brooke

Crafting, traveling and everything in between.

Back to the drawing board

It appears the data I have on sleep quality and cognition aren’t showing an association. At least not one strong enough that’ll qualify the paper for print. I think it’s pretty lame that a lack of association will keep a paper from print. Journals should also be willing to print papers that show no association. These papers have just as much value, in my opinion.

What that means for me is that I may not have a paper. My mentor has requested another analysis from the statistician. If that shows an association, then I can move forward. If not, I’m working on some alternative hypotheses. I spent the majority of yesterday doing that. Most of the background doesn’t look too promising as potential support  for an argument or I’m having trouble locating full articles. It’s almost like starting all over.

A friend likened it to writing an article for the paper and then it falling through after half the story is written — times 100. That’s exactly like it. Oh, well. It happens.

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Current project

Hello! Popping in to give a quick update. I do have a couple more Small Travels and Musings posts about state parks, but those have been put on hold for a week or so.

I’ve got a few things I’m working on and those take priority. Sorry! Not that y’all aren’t important or anything.

Though I haven’t posted here, I have been a busy bee writing essays for applications, a paper prospectus and, now, my paper. I’ve been interning at a local medical school since June, which includes reading background information on various topics. For my project, I selected how sleep quality affects cognition, specifically Hispanic farmworkers and manual laborers. A statistician has started analyzing the data and has begun turning out some numbers, which I’ve started to look over.

For several weeks I read through a lot of papers and found some really eye-opening information. For instance, check this out:

  • Half of migrant and seasonal farmworkers earn less than $7,500 per year. Farmworker families earn less than $10,000 per year. (1)
  • Average life expectancy of migrant and seasonal farmworkers is 49 years. The national average is 75 years. (1)
  • Children of farmworker families experience more frequent respiratory, parasitic and skin infections; vitamin deficiencies; and dental problems than other children. (1)
  • Farmworkers experience 150-300% more teeth decay than their peers. (1)
  • African-Americans and Latinos report poorer sleep compared to Caucasians. (2)
  • When education, employment and marital status are included, there is a sleep disadvantage among poorer groups, especially Caucasians. (2)
  • Poor health is associated with a 4-fold increased chance for poor sleep. (Poor sleep can affect health and vice versa.) (2)

Did your jaw drop? Mine does every time I read the first few facts. Appalling. I included the last bit of information because I’m looking at sleep and I thought you’d find it interesting, too.

It’s really exciting to think of changes that could occur as a result of such research. Imagine what good could be accomplished with some elbow grease and cooperation.


  1. Hansen, Eric and Martin Donohoe. “Health Issues of Migrant and Seasonal Farmworkers.” Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved (2003). 14(2): 153-164.
  2. Patel, Nirav P. et al. “Sleep disparity in the population: poor sleep quality is strongly associated with poverty and ethnicity.” BMC Public Health (2010). 10: 475.

The word “humble”

Spending some time over the next couple of weeks thinking and writing in response to essay prompts.

For the last two days I’ve been contemplating the word “humble.” One essay wants me to describe a “humbling experience.” To me, life is full of humbling moments. Narrowing it down to just one or two isn’t easy.

Do you focus outwardly and describe a time when you were reminded of how blessed you are? I find being reminded of how things could have been or could be as humbling. It’s always good to remember you have it better than you think and that you shouldn’t take what you have for granted because good things in your life aren’t permanent. Life is change and there are good changes and bad.

Or, do you focus inwardly and share intimate moments when you were faced with challenges or down and out? Everyone could share something along those lines, I think. Like a time you didn’t get picked for the project you surely thought you’d get or a period when you struggled to find work or times when you struggled to pay the bills. These can be humbling experiences.

Where would you focus to answer this prompt — outwardly or inwardly? What in your life makes you or made you feel humble?