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United Academics Magazine publishes popular science news on a daily basis.

United Academics
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  • January 29, 2015
  • 06:56 AM
  • 65 views

Religion And War: “It’s Complicated”

by Shai Simpson-Baikie in United Academics

When was the last time you read the news and didn’t read about religious war? My guess: you can’t remember. The world around us seems to be saturated with religious conflict.How and why religion exactly leads to violence remains undiscovered. Up until now.... Read more »

Neuberg SL, Warner CM, Mistler SA, Berlin A, Hill ED, Johnson JD, Filip-Crawford G, Millsap RE, Thomas G, Winkelman M.... (2014) Religion and intergroup conflict: findings from the Global Group Relations Project. Psychological science, 25(1), 198-206. PMID: 24264940  

  • January 28, 2015
  • 06:22 AM
  • 30 views

Was Lucy A Riveter? News On Tool Use

by jeffrey daniels in United Academics

British researchers were looking at the trabecular bones of several Australopithecus africanus fossils, and comparing them to the known bone shapes of chimpanzees and humans. Their results seems to suggest that A africanus was at the very least making much use of stone tools, and there could even be a possibility that they were creating their own tools as well.... Read more »

Skinner MM, Stephens NB, Tsegai ZJ, Foote AC, Nguyen NH, Gross T, Pahr DH, Hublin JJ, & Kivell TL. (2015) Human evolution. Human-like hand use in Australopithecus africanus. Science (New York, N.Y.), 347(6220), 395-9. PMID: 25613885  

  • January 8, 2015
  • 05:41 AM
  • 157 views

One Protein To Rule Them All?

by jeffrey daniels in United Academics

Just like the One Ring was key to controlling the other rings of J. R. R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth, a protein known as GRP78/Dna K may hold the key to inhibiting the expression of several diseases in at least the human species.... Read more »

Booth, L., Roberts, J., Cash, D., Tavallai, S., Jean, S., Fidanza, A., Cruz-Luna, T., Siembiba, P., Cycon, K., Cornelissen, C.... (2014) GRP78 / BiP / HSPA5 / Dna K is a universal therapeutic target for human disease. Journal of Cellular Physiology. DOI: 10.1002/jcp.24919  

  • December 24, 2014
  • 07:22 AM
  • 171 views

Hate Brussels Sprouts? Then You Could Be A Supertaster!

by Elisabeth Buhl Thubron in United Academics

A Supertaster is someone who has more taste-buds than the average person. Perhaps picky eaters are simply more sensitive to taste sensations of certain foods. You can find out how you fair on the taste-bud scale by doing this simple experiment.... Read more »

  • December 22, 2014
  • 06:25 AM
  • 172 views

Statistics Show: Males Do More Stupid Things Than Women

by Chiara Civardi in United Academics

There’s one prestigious honor, the Darwin Award, which is given to people that helped improving the human gene pool. However, nobody is really keen on receiving this noble recognition: Darwin Award winners eliminate themselves (or anyway lose their reproductive abilities) in such stupid ways that ensure there’s an idiot less on Earth.... Read more »

Lendrem BA, Lendrem DW, Gray A, & Isaacs JD. (2014) The Darwin Awards: sex differences in idiotic behaviour. BMJ (Clinical research ed.). PMID: 25500113  

  • December 8, 2014
  • 05:39 AM
  • 139 views

Mind-blowing Brain Cases: The Man Who Hears Colours

by elisabeth buhl thubron in United Academics

The human brain has been described as ‘the most complex thing we have yet discovered in the universe’. In this series neuroscientist Elisabeth Buhl Thubron takes a closer look at intriguing brain cases that revolutionised the field. This week: Neil Harbisson... Read more »

  • December 5, 2014
  • 06:12 AM
  • 202 views

Why Our Western Diet Is A Ticking Time Bomb

by Agnese Mariotti in United Academics

The Western diet places our bodies and environment under untenable pressure. By 2050, scientists predict, this lifestyle will not only constitute two thirds of overall diseases, but it also lays an untenable pressure on our environment.... Read more »

  • December 3, 2014
  • 02:58 AM
  • 206 views

5 Best Places To Look For Life Outside Earth

by jeffrey daniels in United Academics

Where in our Solar System most of the ingredients for life have been found, and thus stand a good chance of harbouring life that evolved completely separate from Earth?... Read more »

McKay, C. (2010) An Origin of Life on Mars. Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Biology, 2(4). DOI: 10.1101/cshperspect.a003509  

Waite JH Jr, Combi MR, Ip WH, Cravens TE, McNutt RL Jr, Kasprzak W, Yelle R, Luhmann J, Niemann H, Gell D.... (2006) Cassini ion and neutral mass spectrometer: Enceladus plume composition and structure. Science (New York, N.Y.), 311(5766), 1419-22. PMID: 16527970  

Iess L, Stevenson DJ, Parisi M, Hemingway D, Jacobson RA, Lunine JI, Nimmo F, Armstrong JW, Asmar SW, Ducci M.... (2014) The gravity field and interior structure of Enceladus. Science (New York, N.Y.), 344(6179), 78-80. PMID: 24700854  

  • November 21, 2014
  • 04:41 AM
  • 151 views

Non-Sticky Nano Bullets Targeting Cancer

by Agnese Mariotti in United Academics

Researchers describe the use of traceable nanoparticles constructed to specifically target tumors. These drug loaded nano particles could function as ‘intelligent’ bullets, leaving body in 72 hours.... Read more »

Phillips E, Penate-Medina O, Zanzonico PB, Carvajal RD, Mohan P, Ye Y, Humm J, Gönen M, Kalaigian H, Schöder H.... (2014) Clinical translation of an ultrasmall inorganic optical-PET imaging nanoparticle probe. Science translational medicine, 6(260). PMID: 25355699  

  • November 19, 2014
  • 06:21 AM
  • 159 views

Why Cancer Doesn’t Favor Large Animals

by Gunnar de Winter in United Academics

Most cancers have their origin in the buildup of harmful mutations, so every active cell is at risk of unwittingly transforming into a murderer. Stands to reason then, that long-living animals with lots of cells should be more prone to succumb to the blight of cancer.... Read more »

  • November 12, 2014
  • 05:40 AM
  • 170 views

Optical Illusion: Can You See Vase And Faces Simultanuously?

by RAZ Rebecca A. Zarate in United Academics

The vase-face optical illusion is an ambiguous bi-stable image, that has been used in perceptual experiments for years. What can these images teach us about the brain?... Read more »

  • October 31, 2014
  • 06:37 AM
  • 210 views

Mind Blowing Brain Cases: The Man With A Hole In His Head

by Elisabeth Buhl Thubron in United Academics

In this series neuroscientist Elisabeth Buhl Thubron takes a closer look at intriguing brain cases that revolutionised the field. Part I: The Man With A Whole In His Head... Read more »

Harlow JM. (1999) Passage of an iron rod through the head. 1848. The Journal of neuropsychiatry and clinical neurosciences, 11(2), 281-3. PMID: 10334003  

Ratiu P, Talos IF, Haker S, Lieberman D, & Everett P. (2004) The tale of Phineas Gage, digitally remastered. Journal of neurotrauma, 21(5), 637-43. PMID: 15165371  

Van Horn JD, Irimia A, Torgerson CM, Chambers MC, Kikinis R, & Toga AW. (2012) Mapping connectivity damage in the case of Phineas Gage. PloS one, 7(5). PMID: 22616011  

  • October 27, 2014
  • 12:30 PM
  • 203 views

Exercise Fights Chronic Stress-Dependent Depression

by Agnese Mariotti in United Academics

It is known that physical exercise improves the symptoms of depression. Several hypotheses have been formulated to explain how this occurs, but no clear biochemical mechanism had so far been demonstrated.... Read more »

Agudelo LZ, Femenía T, Orhan F, Porsmyr-Palmertz M, Goiny M, Martinez-Redondo V, Correia JC, Izadi M, Bhat M, Schuppe-Koistinen I.... (2014) Skeletal Muscle PGC-1α1 Modulates Kynurenine Metabolism and Mediates Resilience to Stress-Induced Depression. Cell, 159(1), 33-45. PMID: 25259918  

Wrann CD, White JP, Salogiannnis J, Laznik-Bogoslavski D, Wu J, Ma D, Lin JD, Greenberg ME, & Spiegelman BM. (2013) Exercise induces hippocampal BDNF through a PGC-1α/FNDC5 pathway. Cell metabolism, 18(5), 649-59. PMID: 24120943  

  • October 24, 2014
  • 06:49 AM
  • 189 views

Blocking Key Gene To Stop Malaria Transmission

by Pieter Carrière in United Academics

Earlier this week Pieter wrote about a key gene in the transmission of Malaria. Now he explains more about blocking this gene to prevent spreading.... Read more »

Kafsack BF, Rovira-Graells N, Clark TG, Bancells C, Crowley VM, Campino SG, Williams AE, Drought LG, Kwiatkowski DP, Baker DA.... (2014) A transcriptional switch underlies commitment to sexual development in malaria parasites. Nature, 507(7491), 248-52. PMID: 24572369  

Kåhrström CT. (2014) Parasite development: master regulator of sex. Nature reviews. Microbiology, 12(4), 233. PMID: 24608336  

Rovira-Graells N, Gupta AP, Planet E, Crowley VM, Mok S, Ribas de Pouplana L, Preiser PR, Bozdech Z, & Cortés A. (2012) Transcriptional variation in the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. Genome research, 22(5), 925-38. PMID: 22415456  

Gardner, M., Hall, N., Fung, E., White, O., Berriman, M., Hyman, R., Carlton, J., Pain, A., Nelson, K., Bowman, S.... (2002) Genome sequence of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. Nature, 419(6906), 498-511. DOI: 10.1038/nature01097  

  • October 22, 2014
  • 07:29 AM
  • 173 views

Crucial gene for Malaria Transmission

by Pieter Carrière in United Academics

A new step in battling Malaria: making transmission its weakest link. Scientists could prevent the development of gametocytes.... Read more »

Kafsack BF, Rovira-Graells N, Clark TG, Bancells C, Crowley VM, Campino SG, Williams AE, Drought LG, Kwiatkowski DP, Baker DA.... (2014) A transcriptional switch underlies commitment to sexual development in malaria parasites. Nature, 507(7491), 248-52. PMID: 24572369  

Kåhrström CT. (2014) Parasite development: master regulator of sex. Nature reviews. Microbiology, 12(4), 233. PMID: 24608336  

Rovira-Graells N, Gupta AP, Planet E, Crowley VM, Mok S, Ribas de Pouplana L, Preiser PR, Bozdech Z, & Cortés A. (2012) Transcriptional variation in the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. Genome research, 22(5), 925-38. PMID: 22415456  

Gardner, M., Hall, N., Fung, E., White, O., Berriman, M., Hyman, R., Carlton, J., Pain, A., Nelson, K., Bowman, S.... (2002) Genome sequence of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. Nature, 419(6906), 498-511. DOI: 10.1038/nature01097  

  • October 21, 2014
  • 06:22 AM
  • 227 views

An Om A Day Keeps The Doctor Away

by Chiara Civardi in United Academics

Several studies show how meditating positively influences our minds and bodies. Read which medicines could be partially substituted or helped by a regular meditation practice.... Read more »

Anderson JW, Liu C, & Kryscio RJ. (2008) Blood pressure response to transcendental meditation: a meta-analysis. American journal of hypertension, 21(3), 310-6. PMID: 18311126  

Davidson, R., Kabat-Zinn, J., Schumacher, J., Rosenkranz, M., Muller, D., Santorelli, S., Urbanowski, F., Harrington, A., Bonus, K., & Sheridan, J. (2003) Alterations in Brain and Immune Function Produced by Mindfulness Meditation. Psychosomatic Medicine, 65(4), 564-570. DOI: 10.1097/01.PSY.0000077505.67574.E3  

Delizonna, L., Williams, R., & Langer, E. (2009) The Effect of Mindfulness on Heart Rate Control. Journal of Adult Development, 16(2), 61-65. DOI: 10.1007/s10804-009-9050-6  

Epel E, Daubenmier J, Moskowitz JT, Folkman S, & Blackburn E. (2009) Can meditation slow rate of cellular aging? Cognitive stress, mindfulness, and telomeres. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 34-53. PMID: 19735238  

Gaylord, S., Palsson, O., Garland, E., Faurot, K., Coble, R., Mann, J., Frey, W., Leniek, K., & Whitehead, W. (2011) Mindfulness Training Reduces the Severity of Irritable Bowel Syndrome in Women: Results of a Randomized Controlled Trial. The American Journal of Gastroenterology, 106(9), 1678-1688. DOI: 10.1038/ajg.2011.184  

  • October 20, 2014
  • 05:38 AM
  • 195 views

Removing Disease from the Genome

by Gunnar de Winter in United Academics

Using agenetic cut-and-paste system, scientists have removed and replaced the gene causing muscular dystrophy in mice.... Read more »

Long C, McAnally JR, Shelton JM, Mireault AA, Bassel-Duby R, & Olson EN. (2014) Prevention of muscular dystrophy in mice by CRISPR/Cas9-mediated editing of germline DNA. Science (New York, N.Y.), 345(6201), 1184-8. PMID: 25123483  

  • October 17, 2014
  • 06:13 AM
  • 242 views

Large Sized Men Disadvantaged In Relationships

by Rangina Barakzai in United Academics

For decades men have been diffident and self-doubting about the size of their phallus. Well, luckily for the holders of the pocket rocket, there is a twist.... Read more »

  • October 16, 2014
  • 07:40 AM
  • 197 views

Linking RAGE in Lung Transplants To Traumatic Brain Injury

by Rebekah Morrow in United Academics

Lung transplants are the least successful type of organ transplant. Now a group of scientists in Indiana has identified a possible cause of organ failure in lung transplants.... Read more »

Whitson BA, & Hayes D Jr. (2014) Indications and outcomes in adult lung transplantation. Journal of thoracic disease, 6(8), 1018-23. PMID: 25132968  

  • September 3, 2014
  • 08:01 AM
  • 299 views

The Kanisza Triangle: You Can’t Believe Your Eyes

by Rebecca A. Zarate in United Academics

How does the brain decide what the larger, gestalt picture is? From this demonstration, Kok and De Lange concluded it is “an interactive process between higher-order visual areas and V1, wherein activity in V1 is modulated in a highly specific way according to the perceptual hypothesis provided by higher-order areas.” In essence, higher areas of the brain (top-down processes) are making gestalt type guesses, expectations, and assumptions that affect what your senses perceive... Read more »

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