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Thomasians harvest awards in biology forum



Biology students win first prize in Young Systemic Biologists Forum. Photo grabbed from the UST Website.

Students from the College of Science reaped awards in the Young Systematic Biologists Forum held at the University of St. La Salle in Bacolod City last May 28 to 31.

Biology students Neil Joseph Lee, Christian Alvin Arca, Ana Maria Rosella Carreon, Ricardo Jalipa III, and Nina Kathryn Alfeche clinched the top plum for their study titled “Molecular phylogeny of selected Philippine Ophiorrhiza L. [Ophiorrhizeae-Rubiaceae] including two new endemic species”.

Moreover, Thomasians also bagged the top two spots in the research poster contest. Elfritzson Peralta won first place with the study, “Taxonomic Sufficiency: Implications from ecological studies on aquatic insects in Philippine watersheds.”

Joe Alvin Chua, Tim Eric Bautista, Alyssa Lola, Marie Macalino, Jay Edneil Olivar, and Hidenori Tomimatsu were awarded the second prize on their study titled “Utilization of high performance liquid chromatography [HPLC] and barcoding for the authentication of Ehretia microphylla Lam [tsaang gubat] and Blumea balsanifera L. [sambong] derived products”.

The forum was held in cooperation with the 35th Symposium and Annual Meeting of the Association of Systematic Biologists of the Philippines (ASBP).

The ASBP is a union of Filipino biologists and researchers aiming to advance and represent the science and practice of taxonomy, systematics, and natural history in the Philippines.

by Carisse Nicole Dumaua



Mental health must be treated like physical health, advocate urges



A mental health advocate encouraged Thomasians on Thursday to treat mental health as important as physical health.

Kenneth Aranas, vice chairperson for education and research of the Youth for Mental Health Coalition, said that mental health problems are “not just in the mind” and they should be treated like physical illnesses.

“It only takes a little bit of understanding to really understand what people with mental health problems are going through.” Aranas said. “Mental health is not bound to a certain group of people. mental health problems can affect anyone.”

Aranas also pointed out the importance of family support in battling mental health disorders.

“Your first line of defense is your family, because they’re the ones that truly understand you. And if your family is already discriminating you or stigmatizing you, because of a mental health problem, then your whole support system crumbles, if your family is not supportive of you,” he said.

He said the stigma of mental illnesses is the “biggest blocking factor” in the progress when it comes to discussion of mental health.

Moreover, he encouraged everyone to break the stigma and to advocate for Mental Health.

“Advocacy on mental health is something each and every one of you can advocate for. You don’t have to be a mental health professional to advocate mental health.”

The seminar titled “Sonder: A Mental Health Seminar” was organized by the UST Faculty of Pharmacy Student Council. — H. Amoroso


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Mental illness is not a weakness, psychiatrists say



Psychiatrists from The Medical City discussed the matters concerning the mental health of the youth. Photo courtesy of Genelaine Urbano/TomasinoWeb.

Psychiatrists from The Medical City urged the public not to look at mental illness as a weakness because it discourages young people from seeking help.

“Hindi siya yung kahinaan ng loob. Hindi ‘yan yung ‘mawawala rin ‘yan.’ And finally, hindi ‘yan yung kahinaan ng ability niyo to cope,” said Dr. Ronaldo Elepaño III during the Youth Mental Health Caravan last Friday, Sept. 15.

In one of his presentations, he pointed out that depression is a medical condition as he compared positron emission tomography (PET) scans of a normal brain and a brain experiencing depression.

“The PET scan is a diagnostic technique where makikita mo kung active yung brain mo. The more orange [the] yellow parts of your brain you have, ibig sabihin, the more active it is…that is a normal brain. What do you notice doon sa depressed brain […] kita niyo ba yung kulay? Anong nakikita sa depressed brain — mostly blue,” Elepaño said.

Another psychiatrist also agreed that the stigma prevents students from seeking help even there are free services offered.

“There’s an element of hesitance, because at the back of your mind, you think of what other people might think — and you want to make sure that there is that confidentiality. So, we really have to raise the understanding that mental health problems are just like physical health problems. So they need the same attention and care that they deserve,” Dr. Geraldine Divino-Lobo told TomasinoWeb in an interview.

Moreover, she encouraged everyone to help young people develop positive ways of coping stress.

“Kids are going through a lot of stress right now, so there’s that difficulty in how they cope. What we need to do is to help them develop more positive coping skills,” Lobo said.

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“At the same time, we need to identify them, who among these students have mental health problems that require intervention. Not just helping them as colleagues or as friends, but to help them connect with the proper and necessary help that they need.”

Dr. Maria Imelda Batar, director of the hospital’s Department of Psychiatry, suggested that there should be mental health programs and policies even in workplaces.

“It (Mental Health Act of 2017) necessitates employers to raise awareness on mental health issues; correct the stigma and discrimination associated with mental health conditions; identify and provide support for individuals at risk; and facilitate access of individuals with mental health conditions to treatment and psychosocial support,” she said.

The Youth Mental Health Caravan was organized by the Central Student Council in line with Suicide Prevention Week.

by Wynona Nicole Orlina


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Nutrition graduates harvest awards in nutrition research seminar



Recent graduates of the University’s Nutrition and Dietetics program reaped awards in the 43rd Food and Nutrition Research Seminar of the Department of Science and Technology’s Food and Nutrition Research Institute last July 3 to 5.

From left to right: Shaira Carandang, Arianne Sherie Agustin, College of Education Dean Allan de Guzman, Roniel Rose Barrientos, Gabrieleene Viray. Photo from the UST website.

Thomasian nutritionists Arianne Sherie Agustin, Roniel Rose Barrientos, Shaira Carandang, and Gabrieleene Viray bagged first place in the poster category, and second place in the oral category.

They worked on the study titled, “What predicts malnutrition among a select group of Filipino elderly in institutionalized setting? A Partial Least Square (PLS) Study”, under the supervision of the College of Education Dean Allan De Guzman.

Barrientos, who represented the group in the oral division, said that their preparation for the competition involved a routine of recap on the research study.

“We have discussed what we have done and experienced while we were making the research to refresh our minds, in line with the preparation for the Q&A portion,” she said in an online interview with TomasinoWeb.

In 2015, the BS Nutrition and Dietetics program of UST received Level IV accreditation from the Philippine Association of Colleges and Universities Commission on Accreditation, alongside three other programs of the College of Education.

ni Carisse Nicole Dumaua


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