Dr. Renna’s Neuroscience Class in The Biology Department at The University of Akron Takes the Ice Bucket Challenge

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Given the popularity of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, it seemed only fitting for our Neuroscience students, their professor Dr. Jordan Renna, and the Biology Department Chair, Dr. Monte Turner to take part. Over 100 liters of ice cold water were dumped on the students and professors. The entire spectacle was filmed by the UA Media Relations Department, and posted to Youtube here. Dr Renna also encouraged Kent State’s students to take the challenge. Over $330 was raised by the students, which will be matched by UA Biology Faculty and Staff.

A little bit of Biology to go with the challenge – similar to if you were to fall through thin ice in the winter, the icy cold water hitting your body sends your body into “cold shock phenomenon.” This phase can last one to three minutes, if prolonged exposure to ice water occurs, but in our case, the cold water only lasted a few seconds. Cold shock phenomenon is characterized by gasping for air (which we saw!) and a huge expenditure of energy by your body as it attempts to thermoregulate. As soon as the water hit, everyone jumped, and began moving around. The blood vessels vasoconstrict, and the heart pumps faster to move blood throughout the body. Thankfully, there is no chance of hypothermia, which takes over 30 minutes of cold water exposure. Here is a great article about body physiology and cold water exposure (think: distance swimmers who exercise in the cold).

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