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United Academics
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  • December 8, 2014
  • 05:39 AM
  • 83 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
  • 133 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
  • 118 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
  • 100 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
  • 114 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
  • 115 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
  • 141 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
  • 139 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
  • 138 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
  • 128 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
  • 170 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
  • 152 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
  • 187 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
  • 153 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
  • 251 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 »

  • September 2, 2014
  • 06:46 AM
  • 230 views

How Liked And Disliked Music Influence Our Brain

by Agnese Mariotti in United Academics

What different effects does the music we like elicit in our brain compared to the one we don’t like? Scientists from Wake Forest University in North Carolina looked at our brain’s responses to music.... Read more »

  • August 28, 2014
  • 07:56 AM
  • 344 views

Feminism Not Funny? Women In American Sitcoms

by Nura Rutten in United Academics

Compared to the beginning of the sitcom-area, in the 1950′s/1960′s, the roles of women and men sometimes seem to be reversed. However, in every sitcom, the woman who wants to be funny has only two options.... Read more »

  • August 27, 2014
  • 05:33 AM
  • 261 views

Gaming Against Depression: It Can Really Help

by Katja Keuchenius in United Academics

A meta-analysis of 19 different studies of game-based interventions shows encouraging results. And besides the big amount of games for youngsters, the researchers specifically point out much can be done with with therapeutic gaming for older adults.... Read more »

  • August 22, 2014
  • 05:13 AM
  • 314 views

Is Intelligence Actually Beneficial To Survival?

by Rebekah Morrow in United Academics

Research shows that more intelligent animals might not always be best suited for survival. Some researchers speculate that intelligence may be a trade-off. Fast learning may correlate with other traits, such as being less aggressive, which could weaken chances for survival. Slower learning may indicate that other choices are being made, and this variety could prove advantageous later.... Read more »

  • August 20, 2014
  • 06:06 AM
  • 265 views

How Stress Promotes Atherosclerosis

by Agnese Mariotti in United Academics

There is evidence that chronic stress increases the risk of atherosclerosis, but no mechanism linking the two phenomena has been demonstrated so far. Since stressful emotional states can affect the function of the immune system, Heidt and colleagues of the Massachusetts General Hospital hypothesized that stress increases the activity of inflammatory cells in the plaques facilitating their rupture, as you can read in their recently published article.... Read more »

Heidt T, Sager HB, Courties G, Dutta P, Iwamoto Y, Zaltsman A, von Zur Muhlen C, Bode C, Fricchione GL, Denninger J.... (2014) Chronic variable stress activates hematopoietic stem cells. Nature medicine, 20(7), 754-8. PMID: 24952646  

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