Author Archives: Samuel Deluca

Eat Smarter

If you ask the average person why they are on a diet or trying to eat clean, they will most likely refer to a desire to shrink their waistlines or lower their cholesterol. These days however, scientists are suggesting you eat healthy for another reason: brain health. Not just your average healthy mind, but a healthy diet may be able to prevent brain disease. So does eating less calories help prevent brain diseases such as dementia? Will turning towards vegetables prevent the chance of you having a stroke?

Best Health Nutritionals suggested that eating healthy led to better memory as you grow older. Their studies looked at 1,200 seniors between the ages of 78 and 89 years old. The group was divided into the amount of calories they consumed averagely and the group who consumed the  the-best-foods-for-your-brain-healthy-life-pakistan most was found to be twice as likely to develop mild cognitive impairment. No mechanism for these findings was provided and one study with 1,200 participants could have produced these results by chance or as a false positive. There could also be a third confounding variable such as a genetic component such as a faster metabolism.

Researcher Mark Mattson also tested this idea on mice. According to The Slate, Mattson noticed that the mice in his lab became large and lethargic as they consumed more than the average mouse and moved less. Mattson then began restricting the food of some of the mice and eventually ran an experiment where he induced strokes in mice on diets and mice that were not restricted. The mice that were on a diet demonstrated that the post stroke brain damage was significantly reduced compared to the larger mice.


A suggested mechanism by Harvard Health Publications is that unhealthy foods not only creates cholesterol build-up in the arteries and damages the heart, but can also really hurt your brain. The formation of Beta-amyloid plaques, which are the cause for the brain damage found during Alzheimer’s, are sped up by fatty diets.


Take Home Message: So how should we as young people look at the suggestion that an unhealthy diets can lead to eventual brain damage? Well there are lists of why choosing vegetables over pizza is better for you. Obviously you can still treat yourself, but trying to keep a balanced diet will not only boost you energy and improve heart health, but also lead to a healthier and sharper brain in the long run.

picture 1

picture 2

Experiments… of mice and men

As I read through the different blogs posted, there are questions being asked that can only be answered through experiments. Often times, these experiments are performed through observational studies and comparing control groups but there is another common forms of experiment that I have noticed in these blogs: Experiments performed on rodents, especially mice. I began to wonder why mice are the subject of many of experiments that are related to humans considering we are so different from these rodents. Mice are small and therefore easy to store. They also are not hard to keep alive and maintain. Mice are also used in experiments when it is not ethical to use humans for the testing. However, I decided that I wanted to look at the science behind why mice make such good test subjects especially in relation to learning about the human body.


According to LiveScience Journal, Mice and rats are not only affordable, but also easily inbred. In fact adult mice can reproduce almost every three weeks. This allows for a large amount of test subjects to have the same genetic makeup, which makes for more accurate test results. Although hard to believe, mice and rats actually do have a lot of similarities to human processes. Their physical bodies are so well understood by scientists that any change in them during experiments is easily detected.

Mice also are commonly found to have an immunodeficiency or an immune system that does not function properly. This allows researchers to grow human tissue on mice and has greatly helped the research in AIDS and certain cancers according to Your Genome Topics. They also are good specimens when scientists are researching human genetic disorders because of how the mice are able to simulate the diseases.


On the contrary, rats may be even better than mice when it comes to science. Not only are rats larger but also The National Institute of Health reports they are better subjects for studying cardiovascular diseases. Rats overall physiology are more similar to humans than the mouse’s physiology is to humans, but are not as manageable or as easily bred as mice. As far as the scientific world knows now and has known for years, mice are the most efficient and accurate substitute for humans when the experiment is unethical.

picture 1

picture 2


It is often said that in college you need to find a way to balance academics, social life, and sleep. However academics and social life typically trump sleep in priority. When sleep is ignored it makes people less efficient socially and academically. So the question is: what is the most efficient way to sleep?



There are so many ways we can enhance our sleep and therefor our daily cognition. Circadian rhythm is the key to efficient sleep and production when were awake. Circadian Rhythm dictates when we are tired and when we have our most energy based on our bodies biological 24 hour cycle. Night and day play great roles in circadian rhythm. This is because light inhibits sleep. So at night, when it is dark, the melatonin, a biological hormone, in your body is released more freely, inducing sleep. The optic nerve, the sensory nerves around the eyes, detects light. Melatonin is optimally produced when the optic nerve does not detect any light. Whenever we sleep with the lights on or the blinds open light suppresses the melatonin causing us to not reach a deep sleep. This shows making your room as dark as possible before sleeping will improve the quality and efficiency of our sleep.

Seven to nine hours of sleep per night is typically recommended by sleep experts. However, recent studies show that seven hours of sleep may be more effective then getting eight or nine hours sleep. One study was a observational cancer study. It followed 1.1 million people over the course of six years, watching how much each person slept per night. Surprisingly, the study found that people who slept 6.5 to 7.4 hours a night lived longer on average then those who slept outside of that range. The vast number of people in the study makes the results more impressive, but there is still room for confounding variables. Everyone in the study has different ages, types of cancer, and is in different stages of cancer. These could all heavily effect a study participants mortality regardless of the sleep they get. Another study tracked peoples scores on Lumosity, a website that tests mental cognition, in relation to the hours of sleep each participant reported. The study showed that as hours of sleep rose so did the participants Lumosity average scores until the average of scores peaked at seven hours of sleep. The flaw in both of these studies is that self reporting data is not always accurate. Although there have been many other recent studies also supporting seven hours of sleep is the most efficient amount of time. As college student who have a hard time finding time to sleep, knowing the most efficient amount of hours to sleep can help one build a schedule to work around.

USA, New Jersey, Jersey City, Man sleeping in bed


If you are looking to get the best and most efficient sleep possible seven hours of sleep in complete darkness is incredibly effective. In order to balance academics, social life, and sleep you must sleep efficiently so you can perform at the highest cognition academically and socially.

picture 1

picture 2


Growing up I knew of Adderall because one of my brothers has Attention Deficit Hyper Disorder (A.D.H.D.) and the other has Attention Deficit Disorder(A.D.D.), but since high school I have seen it used by people without A.D.H.D. or A.D.D.. I already had some knowledge on the drug. I knew that it helped my brothers focus and be more mellow during the day. I also knew that it caused a huge loss in appetite and random mood swings, but it seemed as if it effected my brothers more than it effects people who do not have A.D.D. or A.D.H.D.. This made me curious to learn more of the benefits and disadvantages of taking Adderall although unsubscribed.


Adderall is a drug that stimulates the central nervous system. Aside from the disorders it is meant to treat Adderall is used by people who do not need it subscribed to them to improve their cognition. Adderall activates the dopamine and norepinephrine that aroused the body allowing higher concentration. Students typically use it to stay up late studying and doing homework without crashing or losing focus. What student would not want that right? Wait one second. There are negatives to cognitive enhancing drugs. If you take too much Adderall you will experience shakiness, stomach pain, twitching, and more. In worse cases young adults have been hospitalized due to Adderall. A study shows that emergency room visits due to stimulants in 2011 was three times more like then it was 6 years previous in 2005. Which is not surprising because the use of unsubscribed Adderall nearly doubled from 2008 to 2013, going from 1.5% to 2.8%.  However, if one uses Adderall responsibly  many experts find the drug to be more positive then negative. If handled properly there are not many dangers in the use of Adderall other than adderallslight sleep deprivation if you are a college student trying to stay up through the night catching up on homework and studying As long as people do not get out of control the use of Adderall is of more benefit than it is of disadvantage to students.

picture 1

picture 2


Dipping Tobacco

As a class we have discussed in great detail the effects of smoking cigarettes. The negative effects of smoking cigarettes can be seen on the television and on social media almost everyday. This publicity is obviously a good thing for society, but it sparked a question in my head. Why is there no advertising against dipping tobacco. I have seen the negative effects of dipping tobacco first hand, as a close friend’s father developed mouth cancer after being a long time dipping tobacco user. Also, in my perspective, see dipping tobacco used just as frequently as cigarettes around the Penn State University Campus. All of this begged me to ask the question; is dipping tobacco any healthier than smoking cigarettes?



For those of you who do not know dipping tobacco is a substance(in the picture above) that you typically place between your gums and your lower lip. Through “dipping” the user experiences a relaxed feeling caused by the chemical release nicotine causes. People often think because dipping tobacco does not go any farther through their body than their mouth so it can not be nearly as harmful as cigarettes. That is not the case. Tobacco works very similarly to cigarettes in the aspect of addiction, since they both contain nicotine. However, the area people often do not consider is the various types of cancer that dipping tobacco can cause. As you probably know cigarettes can cause lung cancer, but dipping tobacco can cause mouth, gum, cheeks, and lip cancer. What causes the cancer is 30 chemicals that are recognized to be a cause of cancer. The chemical in any smokeless tobacco product that is the greatest cause of cancer to users is tobacco-specific nitrosamines which is also found in cigarettes.

Worldwide, around 250,000 people die per year due to smokeless tobacco; 62,000 of those cancer related. While around 480,000 people die per year due to smoking cigarettes in the United States alone; 41,000 of those cancer related.


This does not prove smokeless tobacco is more dangerous than cigarettes because it is hard to find accurate statistics as to how many users there are of each product each year. In fact about 25 percent of smokeless tobacco deaths are cancer related, while only about 8.5 percent of deaths due to cigarettes are cancer related. However, it is safe to say cigarettes are a greater concern to our national and global society. My hypothesis that dipping tobacco is just as harmful was derived from what I saw around me at a college campus, but that did not correlate with the rest of the world.


picture 1

picture 2


Cancer in the Turf?

While trying to think of a blog post I thought of an interesting story I heard on ESPN about the turf beads on turf soccer fields correlation to cancer. Not many people know but the turf beads on turf fields comes from used rubber tires that are then broken down into little rubber crumbs. The use of the rubber crumbs on synthetic turf fields was a solution to the build up of used tires with no where to put them.

The institution of turf has been great for the sporting world. Personally, as someone who played football on both a grass field and a turf field, a turf field has every advantage. Turf fields are softer, flatter, and dry fifa-turf-sexist-kat-mcgrail1more quickly then almost any grass field. However, recently, a disadvantage may have been discovered.

Amy Griffin is the goalkeeping coach for the University of Washington’s women’s soccer team. More importantly, she seems to have picked up on a scary correlation. Griffin noticed a significant number of athletes who had once constantly practiced and played on synthetic turf fields were diagnosed with some form of cancer in their later lives. The even more shocking discovery was that many of these players were goalies. Since this discovery Amy Griffin has sought out to find more cases of athletes who once played on synthetic turf and have been diagnosed with any type of cancer. The results were consistent with her hypothesis. She made a list of 200 of athletes who fit the mold she was looking for. Of those 200 athletes with cancer, 101 were soccer goalies. Used tires are toxic if burned and thats why they can not be put in landfills, but now there is fear breathing in or exposure to the toxicity maybe be causing cancer, primarily lymphoma. It is suspected that the crumb rubber getting on open cuts, in the eye, in the mouth, and other exposed areas may lead to health concerns. Although many toxologists suggest there is not enough evidence for concern that the fields are causing cancer, the statistics definitely call for attention to this subject.  here


Throughout my life I have always just assumed any type of food that was modified from being completely organic is not good for me. However, one day while sitting in lunch last year an argument erupted between Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). On one side of the argument my friend was saying he refuses to eat any GMOs because they are bad for him and on the other side was the valedictorian of my high school saying not all GMOs are bad, in fact, some GMOs are better for you then organic food. It was hard to believe the valedictorian based on the tiny amount knowledge I had on the subject, but I was curious to find out if he was right.


It is generally assumed that because an organism is genetically modified it has been tampered with to either look better, taste better, or both. In that assumption there is no way GMOs can be healthier than regular food, right? Wrong. As it turns out there can actually be a lot of nutritional benefits to genetically modifying a product. Many scientists are actually trying to improve the eating conditions through genetically modified organisms. With the sophisticated work scientists have been doing with GMOs they will be able to modify food that can help ward off illness and disease. For example, scientists have genetically modified rice to contain more Vitamin A which could save people in third world countries from becoming blind. However, this genetically modified rice is not unable to reach any third world country and its not due to lack of resources. It is because of people like  my friend who refuses to eat genetically modified organisms and think it is unethical to release food that is not organic into the world. As someone who is now slightly educated on the topic I can not understand that people would oppose something with so much positive scientific evidence backing it. It is almost like what we discussed with the realization that cigarettes are unhealthy. People need to see the results in order to change their opinions. I think over time the majority of people will come to realize the benefit GMOs can have on society, but for now the highly debated argument continues.


Life After Concussions

As someone who has never had a concussion, my knowledge and experience is limited. My ignorance has made me curious to find out more about the topic of concussions, specifically the long term effects. I’ve seen the Sports Center stories on NFL players who deal with horrible things after many concussions and I wanted to find out what caused the long term trauma.

The common long term result of severe concussions is Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy or CTE. CTE is a disease that cause brain tissue to begin to slowly break down. Clearly that can have serious effects. There are many effects such as memory loss and depression, but the ultimate and most hindering result of CTE is Dementia. The NFL is where CTE is the most relevant. A study was done by scientists in which they examined 91 brains of former NFL players who had passed away for CTE. The results were shocking. Of the players examined 87 of them were diagnosed with CTE.

One of the scariest parchronic_traumatic_encephalopathyts of this disease is the symptoms effects on the victims mindset. Several former players in the NFL who were once normal, functioning human beings took their own lives due to the depression and impulsiveness that CTE causes. The majority of players who end up being diagnosed with CTE are offensive lineman, defensive lineman, linebackers, and running backs because they consistently knock heads play after play.

The question is now what can we do to prevent CTE. Every level of football, from elementary school to professional, has made steps to make the game safer. In practice hitting is limited and in some instances, like the Ivy League, tackling in practice has been completely eliminated. The most important advance in head protection has been the helmet. Every year a new and more sophisticated helmet is engineered to help ease future head trauma. Of course it is impossible to completely stop head injuries in football, it is just a part of the game, but with the new information on CTE this will expedite the process on making football more safe.

I am Ignorant to Science

Hey everyone. My name is Sam DeLuca and I am from Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. I am currently enrolled in the Division of Undergraduate Studies at Penn State, but I aspire to be a business major at Smeal.

I will start off by saying I never was a great science student so I may be somewhat biased toward the subject. Ever since grade school science has been nothing more to me other than a class to memorize irrelevant information. Whether it was the periodic table, the gravitational constant, or the steps of photosynthesis; I just had no interest.  So heading to college I had my mind more than made up that I would not be majoring in anything science.


When it came time to pick a science gen-ed I was not interested in anything I saw. Then my advisor suggested a science that most business majors take about science in the media. This was actually something that caught my attention and was curious to learn more about. It was a no brainer to add SC 200 to my schedule.

Something I’m passionate about is Villanova basketball and I am sure many of you know they won the NCAA national championship on one of the most exciting game winning shots of all time. The analytics of Villanova’s Kris Jenkin’s game winning shot fascinates me. If you have interest in the analytics of this shot click here.