The difference between coma and brain death 

By: Abi & Thalia

When someone is in a coma, the person is unconscious and has limited brain activity. The person is still alive but they cannot be woken up and they show no signs of awareness. When a person is in a coma, their eyes will remain closed and they will not respond to their surroundings.

A person can go into a coma for a variety of reasons. The person may have suffered a traumatic head injury, stroke, or brain tumor. A person can even go into a coma from diabetes or an infection. Being in a coma is a medical emergency and quick action is needed to preserve the person’s life and brain function. 

The symptoms of a coma are having closed eyes, depressed brainstem reflexes (meaning that pupils do not contract when light is shunned upon them), no response of limbs – just reflex movements, no response to pain – just reflex movements, and irregular breathing. These symptoms are the most common ones that are seen when a person falls into a coma. 

There is another type of coma called vegetative state coma. A vegetative state coma is when the person’s brain is very damaged and has been deprived of oxygen for a long time. The symptoms include the person looking like they are asleep and unable to wake up or respond to commands.

When in a vegetative state, complications are bound to happen. Some of the most common ones include infections, pneumonia, bed pressure sores, and contracture of the muscles. 

When someone is brain dead, the person’s brain is no longer working in any capacity. The brain has no oxygen nor any blood flow. Other organs, which include the kidneys, heart, or liver, are able to work for a short amount of time if the patient is on a breathing machine, however, when a patient is declared brain dead, they are no longer living.

Brain dead patients often look as they are asleep, however, they are not. The reason for this is because the brain no longer works and is considered dead, this means the parts of the brain that feel, sense, and respond to everything around them no longer function. Brain dead patients have to be put on a ventilator because the brain of the patient no longer tells the patient to breathe. 

Brain death is when: oxygen supply to the brain has fully stopped, there is swelling to the brain, or the death of the tissue in the brain. This can be caused by cardiac arrest, a heart attack, etc.

Some symptoms of brain death include no gag reflex, no oculo-vestibular reflex (ice water in ear), the person doesn’t breathe when taken off of breathing machine/ventilator, no sense of pain, and no brain activity on an electroencephalogram. Symptoms of brain death also have a lot to do with the patients eyes, for example, pupils not responding to light, no blinking while eye surface is being touched, and the eyes don’t move when you move the patients head.

Brain death and coma are similar, whereas both seem to have an effect on the brain. The biggest difference between a coma and a brain dead patient is that some patients in a coma may improve however, once a patient is declared brain dead, there is no cure and they will never be able to improve their health and recover. When someone is considered brain dead they are also considered dead and passed away. A coma is a deep state of unconsciousness and brain death is when the brain is no longer functioning and there is no sign of activity in the brain. 

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Taylor Swift’s career and achievements

By: Ella Tabor

Taylor Alison Swift was born December 13th, 1989, in Reading, Pennsylvania. She is the daughter of Andrea and Scott Swift. Swift began her journey into music when she was only 10 years old and singing for local events. She started writing her own songs and learning guitar at only 12 years old. 

She often performed at the Bluebird Café, located in Nashville, Tennessee, which helped her get a contract with Scott Borchetta’s Big Machine Records. 

In 2006 she released her first single “Tim McGraw” and the song soared to the Top 10 hits on the country music charts. She then released her debut album shortly after. The success of “Tim McGraw” launched Taylor’s career in music and she only grew from there. 

Swift explored the genre ‘Country-pop’ in her albums ‘Fearless’, 2008 and, ‘Speak Now’, 2011. The success of these albums, specifically the songs “You belong with me” and “Love story”, labeled Swift as a crossover artist. 

At this time, Swift had won many awards. Some of them being: The Grammy ‘Album of the Year’ award for ‘Fearless’ in 2010. In 2012, the song off of the album ‘Fearless’ won the BMI pop award ‘Song of the Year’, and in 2014 Swift was named ‘Woman of the Year’ by Billboard Women in Music. 

Swift did not stop there. The next album by the country pop star transitioned her to a pop artist. That album is ‘Red’. Released in 2012, ‘Red’ was ranked the third best selling album from Swift. 

Swift explains the meaning behind the title in an interview with Billboard as “Pure, absolute, to the core, heartbreak”. She says, “I look back on this as my true breakup album, every other album has flickers of different things”. 

Some of the awards won by ‘Red’ include: ‘Top selling Album’ by the Canadian Country Music Association in 2013, ‘Top Billboard 200 Album’ and ‘Top Country Album’ by Billboard Music Awards in 2013, and BMI Pop Awards named songs “22” and “Everything Has Changed” as Award Winning Songs in 2015. 

October 27, 2014 the fifth studio album by Taylor Swift was released. ‘1989’.

The title refers to Swift’s year of birth, 1989. She describes the reasoning behind this as a way to make the music more her own. Stepping out of country pop and moving into, what she describes as, “synth-driver 80s pop”

Topping the Billboard 200 for 11 non-consecutive weeks, ‘1989’ would become Swift’s top selling album. Winning awards like: The Grammy ‘Album of the Year’ award in 2016 and ‘Best Music Video’ for “Bad Blood” in the same year. The ‘1989’ tour also won ‘Best Tour’ in 2016 by the iHeartRadio Music Awards.

The sixth studio album by Taylor Swift was a game changer. Released November 10th, 2017, ‘Reputation’s’ purpose was to shred Swift’s good-girl image. 

Facing some personal challenges with the press, and her heart, between ‘1989’ and ‘Reputation’, Swift made her way back into the limelight with the edgy album. 

In 2014, Swift became the subject of brutal public scrutiny. With the press constantly prodding into her personal life and critiquing her moves, it’s no wonder Swift disappeared into herself for 3 years.

‘Reputation’ differs from Swift’s other albums for many reasons. Firstly, Swift did not engage the press at all before releasing the album. “There will be no further explanation, there will just be reputation,” writes Swift on Instagram. She wanted the work to speak for itself. 

The album heavily features a new side of the singer that has been born by the negative press and rumors. The track, “Look what you made me do”, features lyrics that imply Swift’s change into a new persona. 

Needless to say, the album was a groundbreaking success. It hit number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 and had the biggest sales and streams of the year. 

The American Music Awards of 2018 named Swift as ‘Artist of the Year’ in 2017, and named ‘Reputation’ as the ‘Favorite pop/rock Album’ the same year. 

August 23, 2019, ‘Lover’, the seventh studio album by Swift was released. Featuring a bright and colorful array of tracks, Swift’s ‘Reputation’ era had emerged into “Daylight” (the 18th track off of ‘Lover’).

Swift says she created the album from an “Open, free, romantic, whimsical place,” comparing it to ‘Reputation’s’ description, “All cityscape, darkness, full swamp witch.”

She spoke to Entertainment Weekly about the song “Soon You’ll Get Better,” being about her mother’s battle with cancer. She says that it was “Really, really hard to write.” Swift spoke about the song being a decision she made with her family to put it on the album. 

‘Lover’ was named one of the best albums of 2019 by many publications and critics. 

The next album to be released was during the chaos of the COVID-19 pandemic. ‘Folklore’ became Swift’s eighth studio album in July-August of 2020. 

Swift conceived the songs off ‘Folklore’ during quarantine. She describes this time and the songs as “A collection of songs and stories that flowed like a stream of consciousness.” Swift gave the world a peaceful album during such an unprecedented time. 

On this album, Swift worked with many collaborators, of whom she was very open about sharing the names of. She worked with longtime musical collaborator Jack Antonoff. Swift describes him as a “Musical family”.

Interestingly enough, a man by the name of “William Bowery” owns songwriting credits on the album as well. Later, it was revealed that William Bowery is a pen name for Joe Alwyn, Swift’s boyfriend. 

‘Folklore’s’ woodsy, grayscale image, and melodies, set the mood for this album. She credits other fellow artists as inspiration for the album. Singers Lana Del Rey and Phoebe Bridges both received credit for the melodies of ‘Folklore’. 

Swift has received countless praise for ‘Folklore’. Some awards and nominations for the artist include: ‘Album of the Year,’ in 2021 by the Gold Derby Music Awards, Grammy Nomination for ‘Best Pop Vocal Album’, and the iHeart Music Award for ‘Pop Album of the Year’.

Soon after ‘Folklore’, five months later, Swift released her ninth studio album ‘Evermore’. The albums are often referred to as “Sister Albums” given their similarity in aesthetic and name. 

Swift speaks with Zane Lowe, on Apple Music Tuesday, on all things ‘Evermore’. She reveals that she felt as though the songs she was writing felt “Very diaristic” and when she released ‘Folklore’, realized that people are into the style which then gave her the green light to release ‘Evermore’. 

This past Grammy’s, ‘Evermore’ won the Grammy award for ‘Album of the Year’. 

The works done by Swift after ‘Evermore’ include 2 re-recordings. ‘Fearless (Taylor’s Version)’ released April 9th, 2021, and ‘Red (Taylor’s Version)’ released November 12, 2021. 

Swift re-recorded these albums because she changed record labels. Big Machine Records was purchased by Scooter Braun in 2019. Swift refused to sign a non-disclosure agreement which would’ve not let the artist speak out against Braun; who Swift has feuded with in the past. 

Braun then sold her albums to the investment firm, Shamrock Holdings, which prevents Swift from making any profit off of the albums. Swift then partnered with Universal Music Group and is now working to reclaim her work by re-recording any album released before ‘Lover’. 

‘Fearless (Taylor’s Version)’ and ‘Red (Taylor’s Version)’ both feature songs Swift cut out from the original albums, “Vaulted” songs by the artist. The new ‘Fearless’ includes 6 new songs, and ‘Red’ features 10 vault tracks including a 10-minute version of the song “All Too Well”. 

Swift plans to re-record and re-claim the rest of her albums, meanwhile fans are decoding the singer’s Easter Eggs as to which album is next up. 

Keep an eye out for either ‘Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)’ or ‘1989 (Taylors Version)’. 

The challenges and criticisms she’s faced only have made her stronger throughout the years and she continues to persevere through all.

Taylor Swift has had, and continues to have, an amazing career filled with creativity and songs that have touched the hearts of Swifties all over the world.

Hardest quarter for high school students

By: Mila Hart

High school can be very stressful for students. With all of the assignments, projects, and presentations, all quarters can be a generally overwhelming time for students. But some factors make some quarters more difficult than others.

Some juniors at Highland Park Senior High say that the third quarter has been the most stressful, and hardest to get through, for them. They say this for many different reasons including, studying and taking the ACTs; many are affected by seasonal depression as well.

A sophomore at Highland Park Senior High said that the first quarter was the easiest. They said this because they believe that they start off the year with the most motivation and it’s easier to stay on top of things.

Many students that I talked with agreed that the weather and seasons have an impact on how well they do in school. When it’s warmer and brighter they tend to be much more motivated to do school work and the school work doesn’t seem so hard anymore. Based on this take, that would make the second and third quarter the most difficult overall.

Some students also agreed that the third quarter is hard to get through because it’s the only quarter that doesn’t start right after a break and doesn’t have a break in the middle of it. When a quarter begins after a break (first and fourth quarter) students have a bit more motivation after having a chance to fully relax without any school work. And the same goes for second quarter, that has winter break in the middle of it.

An English teacher at Highland Park Senior High says that she notices that the fourth quarter tends to be one of the hardest for students to get through, especially for juniors and seniors. She says this because at this point in the year juniors have taken the ACTs and are burnt out. And after four years of high school, seniors are especially burnt out and just want to focus on all of their lasts of high school instead of doing school work.