Cerro Coso Community College (CCCC) Chandler Petrovich– The 23rd Annual University of California, Irvine (UCI)-Community College Honors Research Conference is back in-person for the first time since the pandemic. Cerro Coso Community College is represented this year by three students. This multidisciplinary conference, sponsored by the UCI and the Honors Transfer Council of California (HTCC), showcases outstanding faculty-mentored research by students from California community colleges, focusing on honors students.
Jessica Cliff’s presentation entitled “Mind Games – Cognitive Benefits of Video Gaming on Older Adults” reviewed studies that showed that playing video games can prevent cognitive decline in older adults. The beneficial mental effects of regular daily gaming were not only demonstrated by subjective observational assessments such as cognitive and memory tests but also were followed by structural changes in the gray matter volume in the hippocampus and cerebellum. Interestingly, unlike younger adults, the beneficial effects in older adults lasted longer and persisted up to at least four weeks after training. Professors who mentored Cliff were Guck Ooi and Claudia Sellers.
Fatima Anwar researched the use of melatonin to treat schizophrenia. Her presentation, “Benefits of Melatonin in Treating Schizophrenia,” discussed a study in which a rat model of schizophrenia was used to test melatonin efficacy compared to the standard drug olanzapine, either by itself or in combination. Although the study showed that melatonin by itself was not effective, it has potent effects in mitigating the inflammatory side effects of olanzapine, indicating that melatonin may be helpful when used in combination with olanzapine. Anwar was also mentored by Sellers and Ooi.
Lacy Roberts participated in the conference as a moderator in a session that discussed health-related issues among women and under-represented groups. Each presentation in the session focuses on a different aspect of health, including neglect in women’s healthcare, obesity, and psychological well-being, and the susceptibility of certain ethnicities to specific diseases.
Presenting their work at the HTCC Student Research Conference makes these Cerro Coso students eligible for monetary awards and to submit their work for publication in the HTCC anthology Building Bridges, published through the University of California, Irvine.
CCCC is a member of the Honors Transfer Council of California and sends honors students to participate in the Building Bridges Honors Conference every year.