Author Archives: Daniele Patrice Loney

Does Reading Make You Smarter?

Reading has been a part of all of our lives for years, ever since we have been in school of course. There’s no doubt that reading has shaped us into the intelligent individuals that we are today, given the fact that it stimulates our brain and allows us to continually span our knowledge. However, my question is, “Does reading VOLUNTARILY and on a regular basis outside of school assignments improve your mental abilities.”


image found here

To look into this topic, I started searching for sources that discussed reading and how it affects the body. The study that I found explores a correlation between cognitive aspects of literacy. The article points out the fact that this was more of an observational study as opposed to experimental simply because almost every has some level of reading experience, therefor trial groups didn’t need to be clearly set up and defined. Large sample sizes are easy to obtain for the same reason as well. However, a study done by Schribner and Cole (1981) produced data stated that literacy was a repressive force. Because of this, research on the topic has come to a stalemate as no one has initiated many new successful studies that dive further into this question.

The conclusion? There is absolutely no evidence that reading HURTS you, so instead of watching TV or taking a nap with your free time, why not to something a little more stimulating that has the chances (although not specifically proven) of increasing the level of your cognitive development? Happy Reading!


Broken Heart… or Broken Brain?

Well everyone, it’s cuffing season. It is that time of the year as we approach the Holidays when we see many new blossoming relationships that hadn’t previously existed. One of two outcomes happen after cuffing season. Either

  1. The couple stays together and lives happily ever after OR
  2. The relationship ends just as quickly as cuffing season did.

Personally, I’m as single as a Pringe right now. However, everytime I think about breakups, I can’t help but wonder just WHY we feel so emotionally defeated after them– sometimes, you literally feel like your life is falling apart. So, I did some research and starting searching four studies and articles posted that address the topic of heartbreak and how it affects us physically and mentally.

To get a general idea of the science behind heartbreak (because Lord knows I’m not scientifically inclined and needed verbal explanation to help me understand it), check out this video.


image found here

An article published by science alert addressed the issue and explained that long story short, the feelings of “heartbreak” are solely caused by hormones. As a matter affect, these heartbroken feelings are caused by the same hormones that produces extreme happiness when you are falling in love! Ironic, huh? Chemicals such as cortisol and adrenaline have been shown to induce feelings of nausea, breathing difficulties, and even legitimate wearing of the heart muscle. Next time someone tells you to “suck it up” or “you’ll be fine” … hit them with those facts! The human body IS negatively effected by a “broken heart.”

So my next question was “How do we know?.” Well, there’s even more proof in the brain. Studies on the brain done through the use of MRI scans have produced images of brains that belong to people who have recently gone through a breakup. These brains show obvious signs of elevated activity levels in the area of the brain that registers physical pain. Additionally, in 2010, Rutgers University produced a study of 10 women and 5 men who were still in love, but had been broken up with. They were given an MRI while looking at a picture of their recent ex. The null hypothesis of this study was that looking at pictures of their previous significant other wouldn’t affect brain activity. The alternative hypothesis was that brain activity would somehow be affected once the emotions of the subject were affected by heir “broken heart.” The data was crazy, I almost didn’t believe it when I first read over it. The MRI’s showed brain activity that is similar to the scan of an a cocaine addict that is going through withdrawal. Insane, right?! This actually makes a lot of sense, because when you’re falling in love, neurons in your brain are activated and release dopamine… which is why you’d feel the same sensation as withdrawal once this person who made you so happy was removed from your life against your will.

science-of-heartbreak-600x426 image found here

The article goes on to say that within three months, your brain takes one for the team, rewires itself, and helps you move on. It takes time, but you truly will be okay! Long story short, if you’re participating in “cuffing season,” check in with yourself and don’t let your feelings get the best of you! The next couple of months are extremely important for us as students… and we can’t have dopamine interfering with that.

Happy Holidays!!!

Sources: science alert Rutger’s Study

More Than Just “Man’s Best Friend”

As my first semester at Penn State begins to come to a close, i’ve been reflecting back on how many absolutely adorable puppies i’ve seen around campus. However, these aren’t your typical animals. These are dogs that are being raised to positively affect someones life. In one of my previous posts I discussed animal testing and why you could argue that it is a waste. That is definitely a controversial topic, however, the fact that we (as humans) NEED services dogs surely is not. More specifically, I am interested in how animals can help veterans– people who have sacrificed and possibly lost so much from their lives after not having to rely on anyone for anything up to that point.

Service dogs have been proven to help with physical disabilities such as hearing and vision difficulties in addition to balance and anxiety issues. The The Military Times has even been publishing recent studies that research how dogs may be able to help veterans with PTSD. Marguerite O’Haire, an assistant professor of Human-Animal interaction at Purdue University, is conducting an experiment consisting of 100 post-9/11 veterans split into 50 with dogs and 50 without. Tests to measure different variables will be conducted and will provide the basis of a pilot study that could eventually lead into further exploration of the importance of service animals in relation to veterans.


image found here

The null hypothesis is that dogs used to help veterans cope with PTSD will not be successful and won’t have a positive impact on their lives. The alternative hypothesis is that these animals will positively influence veterans and their overall quality of life by providing them with a constant companion.

For this longitudinal study, O’Haire addresses the fact that non biased data is necessary in order to find a reliable foundation of data to build off of. The study was paused and then restarted in 2012 with a larger sample size. This emotional support service dog study was still ongoing when the article was published, but it is safe to assume that Purdue’s research in pairing veterans with PTSD dogs will be progressive in finding ways to comfort fellow americans who were so selfless that quality of life was lessened upon their arrival.

It is clear to see how much potential this research has. To myself along with so many others that I know, pets are just companions– “extra” things that do make us happy and can arguably make life better, but we don’t necessarily rely on them. But to those who are less fortunate, or who deserve to have some emotional outlet, canines have the potential to be so much more.

Animals in Experimental Research

In our lovely SC200 class, we talk about a lot of new and current research. Of course, I am able to appreciate the fact that sometimes testing on animals is the most beneficial thing for us to do as humans who want to constantly expand our knowledge and improve on what we know, but it has never sat right with me. I will admit, there are many things we know today that we definitely wouldn’t had we not been able to use animals to test on. With them, scientists are able to perform experiments that just wouldn’t be ethical to do on humans such as changing their DNA and genetically modifying species. Take a look back in our class notes if you need examples. All of the times that animal testing has been brought into class has sparked an interest for me to want to understand just how frequently animals are tested on and how people negatively form opinions on it.

Excluding agricultural experiments, one million animals are used in animal testing. This number doesn’t include mice or rats… that’s another 100 million. In other countries such as Canada and the united Kingdom, these numbers are significantly higher. PETA (people for the ethical treatment of animals) feel that animals that are tested on are treated as disposable lab material. To me, the most convincing evidence was produced by The Journal of the American Medical Association and it discusses the fact that some research simply doesn’t translate to humans, and that is something that makes sense to me and I can stand behind. Diseases among animals tend to me different than they are to humans. When it comes to living creatures, little things matter. I agree with animal testing if we are helping ourself as a human population, but if it is nothing that we can relate to ourselves, then that is wasteful in my book. An example of an experiment that fails to produce any progress in what it set out to do was HIV testing on monkeys. In this study, a vaccine was proven to help monkeys fight against HIV/AIDS. However, it did absolutely nothing for humans and some even reported that this treatment made them more susceptible to the deadly disease.


This shows that the 50% of people who oppose animal testing have some real credible reasons behind their opinions. Controversial topics like this are what keep our class going, so it is imperative that everyone takes an effort and is sympathetic to the views and feelings of those that may be different from yours.

For more information on this topic with a more in-depth and specific discussion, visit the PETA website.

What is Marijuana doing to you?

As a freshman in college, I have heard many contradicting opinions on whether marijuana is good or bad for you. Of course there are pros and cons of everything. Some positives that I have been told have included anxiety relief, pain relief, increasing levels of creativity, and minimizing nightmares. Some cons include impairing your memory, negatvely affecting your respiratory system, and becoming a gateway substance into other more serious drugs or habits such as alcohol abuse. (For more pros and cons, see this link.)


I found this image online and thought it was extremely interesting. It is often hard to analyze risk depending on what you’re comparing it to. With marijuana, we aren’t as concerned with death as we are the ways it can affect your everyday life.

Picture found here

It seems to differ among people. However, there comes a point where you can’t argue against science (as long as you account for chance, and have a well-designed study). Personally, I feel that the most important thing to consider as college students when we are making decisions are how they will affect our success as students. College is such an investment, and while I am 100% for trying new things and making the most of your independence and college experience, I think making the most of our investment academically should always be the priority.  Two recent studies (Fergusson DM, Boden JM. Cannabis use and later life outcomes. Addict Abingdon Engl. 2008;103(6):969-976; discussion 977-978. doi:10.1111/j.1360-0443.2008.02221.x.
Brook JS, Lee JY, Finch SJ, Seltzer N, Brook DW. Adult work commitment, financial stability, and social environment as related to trajectories of marijuana use beginning in adolescence. Subst Abuse. 2013;34(3):298-305. doi:10.1080/08897077.2013.775092.) linked the heavy usage of marijuana to many negative habits and outcomes after college including lower income, heavier criminal activity, and even worse, lower satisfaction in life overall. It is very plausible that there were confounding variables in these studies such as family environment and life experiences that could change the way a person made their decisions, habits, and priority choices. However, knowing how serious some of the downsides of becoming addicted to this drug can get, would you really consider the few possible pros worth it? Is it worth risking your future and how you live out the rest of your life?

In our lectures, this is something we have considered a lot. Whether or not something is immediately bad for you is one thing, but the possible risks, although not always extremely likely, sometimes aren’t even worth taking the chance.

The idea of this blog post caught my attention because it is something a lot of college students can relate to. Whether you smoke marijuana yourself or if you know someone who does, as long as you are aware of the risks then don’t stress too much about anything. What is important is that you take responsibility for your actions and understand what you could be getting yourself into.


What’re you putting in my Ramen?

I’ve already seen a few blog posts about Ramen Noodles, but I feel the need to express my own thoughts and the problem I see. My last blog post discussed the sugar problem we have in the United States and how basically everything we consume has way too much added sugar than needed, which is bad because it leads to serious health problems.

Now, my main focus is salt. This site explains why his levels of salt can actually be good for you because of correlations between high-salt diets and some healthy outcomes of it. However, it is important to be aware that the type of salt matters (unrefined is the healthiest).

Anything that you consume that is processed in any way should scream “unhealthily” to you! The sugar and especially salt levels are high in order to preserve the food, and that is completely the case with ramen noodles. As I mentioned earlier, everything in moderation is okay, but you have to be sure you’re eating the RIGHT type of salt. Justifying a pack of Ramen noodles a day just because that is getting sodium into you diet is not the right way to approach the situation.

One of the most harmful ingredients in Ramen noodles is actually found in many common foods such as Reese peanut butter cups and Wheat thins. This article explains what TBHQ does to your digestion and what it looks like. It is actually a preservative, and as I mentioned before, so is salt. This just goes to show how the wrong type of salt can be extremely harmful you internally. Studies have even shown that there are correlations between this nasty ingredient, TBHQ, and cancerous tumors.

In conclusion, RAMEN NOODLES ARE NOT THE WAY TO GO! And honestly, if you think about all of this information as you eat them… they don’t even seem that appealing anymore. There are many other ways to make cheap, yet healthy food in your dorm room! Do your research and make your health a priority.


picture found here

Everything in moderation, people!


What’s so bad about sugar?

Sugar. Even the word itself satisfies me. Don’t we all love the sweet, tasty treats that we are constantly encountering throughout our days? You can’t walk into a supermarket or go out to eat anywhere without seeing a yummy dessert. Everything in moderation is alright, but how do we regulate the amount of sugar we are putting in our bodies if the sugar industry is EVERYWHERE?

Think for a moment about your daily diet and what it consists of. For me, it looks a little something like this:

For breakfast, maybe i will have some coffee with creamer and a bagel with cream cheese. moving on to lunch, i’ll get a salad from the salad bar in Findlay dining commons. For dinner, who knows? Maybe I go to the Pollock buffet and get a sandwich from the deli with a bowl of soup on the side, and since I’m going to treat myself… I HAVE to get a bowl of ice cream since it’s included in the buffet.

That honestly doesn’t seem so bad on the surface. But I’m going to state a scary thought: almost everything we consume in America is low quality and unhealthy, and has far too much sugar in it. Why? Because it’s cheaper! There isn’t a way to avoid that, however, I do recommend watching how much sugar you are consuming

Back to my diet: the creamer in my coffee is is flavored, and actually has 5 grams of sugar per serving (one tablespoon) and I definitely put way more than one serving in. I don’t even want to know how much sugar is in my cream cheese… I already know it is way too much because of how processed cream cheese is. Processed = sugar. Remember that. Lunchtime: am I really being healthy by getting a salad? It honestly depends! The dressing on top of my salad probably throws me way over the daily amount of sugar I should consume (less than 30g a day for both men and women). The lunchmeat on my sandwich from the deli that I got for dinner? PROCESSED.

It isn’t a surprise that so many americans are overweight. It is difficult to eat healthily in this country, and the main problem of our diets as American’s is sugar, just because is a gateway to so many health problems like diabetes, for example. My advice to you is to educate yourself. Keep track of how much sugar is in each of your meals, and don’t go overboard with the desserts. The sugar industry is sneaky and doesn’t have to put the percentage of your daily allowance that that specific food or drink product has in it on the nutrition label, and that is because it is most likely over 100% of what you should be having per day!

Make your health a priority. Don’t obsess over every gram of sugar you eat or drink, but be aware of the fact that if you are careless, there may be some very negative conseuquences. When you read a food label, look out for these tricky alternate ways of saying that a product has sugar in it:


picture found here.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post about sugar! I hope it motivates you to educate yourself on the risks of high-sugar diets.

Read more about the correlations between sugar and health problems. Different hypotheses and mechanisms exist to explain each problem depending on what it is… but eating healthy has no negative consequences, so you might as well do the best you can 🙂

Physics on Skates?

Everyone has something that they are passionate about, and mine just happens to be figure skating. I first stepped on the ice when I was 5 years old. A local figure skating club in the area caught my older sister’s attention, so we decided to join together! This passion of mine grew exponentially every year as I learned new tricks and jumps and attended more and more competitions. My skating career ended abruptly during my sophomore year of high school, the year my coach moved out of state and my family decided that the sport wasn’t worth the priciness of it without such an amazing coach to make it all worthwhile. So here I am now, finding a reason to blab on about my favorite sport in the world by relating it to physics!

First, lets talk about friction. To put it simply, friction can be defined as the resistance, or lack thereof, of two things as they touch each other. The beautiful thing of skating on ice is that there is hardly any friction because of the smooth ice that your blade glides straight through.


picture found HERE

Therefore, it is easy to understand why physics can explain every aspect of figure skating and why the blades perform differently on ice than they would on other surfaces such as wood, for example. You don’t have to be a science fanatic to be able to identify the fact that it surround us and is all around the world we live in. Personally, I’ve never taken a single physics class in my life, so I found this article from NASA incredibly helpful as I was researching about this science and how it could be applied to such an amazing sport.

Newton’s first law of motion deals with an object remaining in its current state unless an outside force causes that state to change. Every time your muscles propel your legs forward and backward and up and down, the state of your body is changing because of all of these forces. Literally every movement can be explained by this first law. However, I find Newton’s third law to be the most interesting way to apply his studies to figure skating because it accounts for something that isn’t usually considered when describing all of the complex movements involved in the sport. According to NASA, Newton stated, “For every action, there is an equal and opposite re-action.” Think about the blades on ice again and the force produced by your legs as you glide through the ice. Key word: THROUGH. A zamboni has to resurface the ice every few hours in order to maintain a smooth and enjoyable surface for the figure skaters– this goes for hockey players as well. This is because the action of forcing your blade through the ice creates the opposite reaction of that same ice becoming cut up from absorbing the forces you’ve imposed upon it. The cuts are a result of the ice “pushing” back and therefore allowing the skater to move in the desired direction. This is something no one typically considers or thinks about, but it all makes sense! If physics didn’t exist, then figure skating wouldn’t exist and that would be quite tragic.

Next topic: momentum. Why am I able to spin for a sustained period of time and not lose all of my speed? img_3482 Well, the answer is angular momentum conservation, and it can be related back to Newton’s laws. Without a force to slow a spinning skater down, momentum will be conserved! (Samuel Hokin)

There are so many other aspects of figure skating that can be explained by physics and all of the other impressive findings that scientist have discovered at this point in our lifetime, and this is just one sport! I am willing to bet that students’ interests in physics would be increased dramatically if the science was related to something they were passionate about, which isn’t hard to do! Science IS in our world, we just need to acknowledge it.

Now, I would like to conclude with a video to prove that what goes up must come down, featuring myself. Enjoy 🙂


Too Fab for a Lab

Hello, everyone! My name is Daniele Loney and I’m from Erie, PA. I’m in the Smeal College of Business and I’m hoping to study Finance, which is why I ended up in this class. I needed a science gen. ed. that was manageable and interesting, since my GPA needs to be a 3.5 by junior year for me to be admitted into my desired major. I am all about challenging myself, but I figured I should take a safer academic route and not include chem and bio labs in my freshman year of college…. especially if it wasn’t mandatory.


Throughout high school, I had always thought that I would be a science FREAK in college and study Pharmacy. Clearly, this didn’t end up happening. I tried to set myself up for success by taking AP Chem my junior year of high school so that by my senior year I could be in organic chem. Long story short, organic chem never happened because I have absolutely no patience. Let me explain: throughout AP Chem labs, I realized that in order to do experiments correctly, you must have precise attention to detail. Additionally, formal lab reports take a while to compose, and in order to have the right data, you have to be able to follow directions… which also doesn’t appeal to me much (I promise I’m a good person). About halfway through that school year I decided I would never be a pharmacist if it meant I had to go through 5+ more years of chem labs and reports… and that was honestly okay with me. So, in summary, I am blaming AP chemistry for giving me the idea that I don’t want to study science in college. I definitely enjoy it and learning how everything around us is related to science, though, and that is why I am so excited to be in SC200 with all of you!

HERE you can see the type of scientist I wish I would put enough work into being…. but for now, I guess SC200 will suffice… I guess it isn’t so bad. Have a great week everyone!!!!!!