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

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  • September 6, 2013
  • 04:06 AM

Getting Science Right: The Effect Of Modern Traffic Control

by Katja Keuchenius in United Academics

Do penalty points and cameras really offer safety?... Read more »

Giuseppe La Torre, Alice Mannocci, Gualtiero Ricciardi. (2006) The immediate impact of the 2003 new law on road safety in Italy: a comparison of mortality and morbility data in the years 2002-2004. Italian Journal of Public Health. info:/

  • September 4, 2013
  • 08:55 AM

Being Obese Doesn’t Always Cause Cardiovascular Diseases

by Patrícia Fonseca Pedro in United Academics

New research shows that metabolically healthy women have the same cardiovascular disease risk regardless of their BMI, according to research presented at the ESC Congress by Dr Søren Skøtt Andersen and Dr Michelle Schmiegelow from Denmark. The findings in more than 260,000 subjects suggest that obese women have a window of opportunity to lose weight and avoid developing a metabolic disorder, which would increase their CVD risk.... Read more »

Søren Skøtt Andersen, Michelle Schmiegelow. (2013) Metabolically healthy women have same CVD risk regardless of BMI. 2013 ESC Congress – Amsterdam. info:/

  • September 4, 2013
  • 06:32 AM

Why Are We So Slow to Recover From a Jet Lag?

by Alex Reis in United Academics

Almost all animals have an internal body clock, keeping several functions, including sleeping and eating, synchronised with the light/dark cycle around a 24-hour day. Humans are no exception. If we have to travel across the globe to a new time zone, our body clock takes about a day to adjust to the new time for every hour the clock moves.

This may result in several days of feeling tired and ‘out-of-tune’, known as jet-lag. Not surprisingly, it’s considered a nuisance, but how much do we really understand about this phenomenon?... Read more »

Jagannath A, Butler R, Godinho SI, Couch Y, Brown LA, Vasudevan SR, Flanagan KC, Anthony D, Churchill GC, Wood MJ.... (2013) The CRTC1-SIK1 Pathway Regulates Entrainment of the Circadian Clock. Cell, 154(5), 1100-11. PMID: 23993098  

  • September 3, 2013
  • 10:30 AM

Moderate Alcohol Consumption May Reduce Incident Depression

by Guillaume Cote-Maurais in United Academics

Most cultures include alcoholic beverages as part of their usual diet. Alcohol intake is different over world regions regarding the habitual type of beverage and the frequency and average intake. In general terms, the consumption of alcoholic beverages is increasing worldwide. Unipolar depression is the most prevalent mental disorder in the world and it is increasing steadily.... Read more »

Gea A, Beunza JJ, Estruch R, Sánchez-Villegas A, Salas-Salvadó J, Buil-Cosiales P, Gómez-Gracia E, Covas MI, Corella D, Fiol M.... (2013) Alcohol intake, wine consumption and the development of depression: the PREDIMED study. BMC medicine, 11(1), 192. PMID: 23988010  

  • September 3, 2013
  • 07:06 AM

Electronic Nose Detects Cancer in Human Poo

by Katja Keuchenius in United Academics

Perhaps it is will to be the future’s way of detecting colorectal cancer in an early stage: sniffing poo with an electronic nose. The medical centre of the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam succesfully tested their new device and published the results yesterday in the International Journal of Cancer.... Read more »

de Meij TG, Larbi IB, van der Schee MP, Lentferink YE, Paff T, Terhaar Sive Droste JS, Mulder CJ, van Bodegraven AA, & de Boer NK. (2013) Electronic nose can discriminate colorectal carcinoma and advanced adenomas by fecal volatile biomarker analysis: proof of principle study. International journal of cancer. Journal international du cancer. PMID: 23959518  

  • September 3, 2013
  • 04:16 AM

Why Ex-smokers Gain Weight: Blame the Bugs in Your Bowel

by Elisabeth Buhl Thubron in United Academics

It may have been more than 2000 years ago, but Hippocrates was not far from the truth when he wrote “all disease begins in the gut”. Gut health is critical to overall health. Colonies of benevolent bacteria reside in your entire digestive tract, predominantly the large intestine. In fact, you are made up of more microbes than human cells. This live-in colony of microbes is your digestion powerhouse, breaking down food into its building blocks so it can absorb the nutrients.... Read more »

Biedermann L, Zeitz J, Mwinyi J, Sutter-Minder E, Rehman A, Ott SJ, Steurer-Stey C, Frei A, Frei P, Scharl M.... (2013) Smoking cessation induces profound changes in the composition of the intestinal microbiota in humans. PloS one, 8(3). PMID: 23516617  

  • September 2, 2013
  • 12:59 PM

Good To Know: Are High Performers More Stressed Out?

by Katja Keuchenius in United Academics

Who report more stress: low or high achieving students? Malaysian researchers put it to the test. They also looked at reported levels of depression and anxiety.... Read more »


  • September 2, 2013
  • 07:25 AM

Sip on This: Do Diet Drinks Make You Fatter?

by Joseph Proietto in United Academics

Diet drinks are no help in the fight against obesity and may actually encourage over-eating, according to a US academic who recently argued this point in the journal Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism.

Susan Swithers reviewed studies that suggest normal or mildly overweight people who consumed artificially-sweetened drinks were more likely to gain weight when compared to those who did not.

The studies showed that, in two separate groups of adolescents, drinking artificially-sweetened drinks was associated with increased body mass index and body fat.... Read more »

  • September 2, 2013
  • 05:35 AM

Five Edible Insects You Really Should Try

by Joost van Itterbeeck in United Academics

Edible insects are great alternatives to conventional sources of meat as they’re cheap, plentiful and excellent sources of protein and fat, as well as vitamins and minerals.

In many countries, eating insects doesn’t raise eyebrows. How palatable they appear to a person is largely determined by culture.

Analyses of insects also show huge variation in nutritional value and composition – between species, their stages of development and even due to the insects’ diet.

With around 2000 edible insect species worldwide, the below are some of the better alternatives to eat... Read more »

  • August 30, 2013
  • 09:02 AM

Europe’s Ambitions Of Becoming the Innovation Union

by Katja Keuchenius in United Academics

Forget natural resources and cheap labor, argues Rus Mircea-Iosif in his recently published paper Annals of the University of Oradea : Economic Science. In the future it is all about intellectual capital. With this same vision, EU is investing no less than 80 billion in becoming an Innovation Union. Is it working?... Read more »

Rus Mircea-Iosif. (2013) "THE KNOWLEDGE TRIANGLE" IN A KNOWLEDGE-BASED SOCIETY. Annals of the University of Oradea : Economic Science. info:other/1222569X 15825450

  • August 30, 2013
  • 08:27 AM

Unfriend: Facebook Oversharers Lose Out in Real Relationships

by Josephine Lethbridge. in United Academics

We all have that Facebook contact (if not, in the old sense of the word, friend) who is subject to oversharing. Incessant updates about relationships, jobs, holidays; very public demonstrations of affection; insistent “liking”: the site is full of serial offenders. But for most, this generally amounts to a minor annoyance or something to laugh about. A recent study, however, has argued that sharing photographs on Facebook can, and does, have a direct impact on our personal relationships offline too.... Read more »

David Houghton, Adam Joinson,, & Nigel Caldwell and Ben Marder. (2013) Tagger's Delight? Disclosure and liking behaviour in Facebook: The effects of sharing photographs amongst multiple known social circles. Birmingham Business School. info:/

  • August 29, 2013
  • 05:00 PM

Getting Science Right: Romantic Facebook Advice

by Katja Keuchenius in United Academics

Bingo, another study on Facebook behavior. This time it is about various personalities and romance on Facebook. Is the social network really that interesting? Is it not just another, slightly different, form of every day communication?... Read more »

  • August 29, 2013
  • 11:14 AM

Understanding the Basis of Human Intelligence

by Sedeer El-Showk in United Academics

From Siri answering our questions and Watson advising nurses to smart apps that aggregate information to help us out (or spy on us), artificial intelligence is transforming our world. Despite incredible advances, somehow these amazingly “intelligent” systems sometimes seem profoundly stupid. Hector Levesque, a professor of computer science at the University of Toronto, likens them to savants. He was recently awarded the Research Excellence Award at the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Beijing; he used his acceptance speech to highlight important questions about our approach to artificial intelligence and what it can tell us about ourselves.... Read more »

Rahman, Altaf and Ng, Vincent. (2013) Resolving Complex Cases of Definite Pronouns: The Winograd Schema Challenge. Proceedings of the 2012 Joint Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and Computational Natural Language Learning. info:/

  • August 29, 2013
  • 10:58 AM

Human Gut Micro Flora Gives an Index of Obesity

by Geetanjali Yadav in United Academics

With easy access to energy-rich junk food and modern living with a sedentary lifestyle, more and more people are becoming slaves to excessive fat consumption. Yet being a couch potato is dangerous for our health. Studies on the human genome variation show there are significant differences in the genome of bacteria that live in our intestine. A latest research published in Nature reveals that the bacterial population in the intestine varies significantly from obese to thin bodies. This indicates that people with fewer bacterial species in their intestine are more likely to develop complications, such as cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.... Read more »

Emmanuelle Le Chatelier, Trine Nielsen, Junjie Qin, Edi Prifti, Falk Hildebrand, Gwen Falony, Mathieu Almeida, Manimozhiyan Arumugam, Jean-Michel Batto, Sean Kennedy, Pierre Leonard, Junhua Li, Kristoffer Burgdorf, Niels Grarup, Torben Jørgensen, Ivan Br. (2013) Richness of human gut microbiome correlates with metabolic markers. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature12506  

  • August 28, 2013
  • 05:26 AM

Why Is the Mediterranean Diet Good for You?

by Samantha Gardener in United Academics

A recent study published by Italian researchers shows that adhering to a Mediterranean-style diet can offer protection against type 2 diabetes. The paper is just the latest in a long line of research pointing out the wonders of this diet – so what are we to take from these latest findings?... Read more »

  • August 27, 2013
  • 04:41 AM

Language Learning Begins in the Womb

by Josephine Lethbridge in United Academics

New research from the University of Helsinki suggests that humans begin to distinguish between sounds before they are even born. Eino Partanen and colleagues explored how prenatal experiences influence learning. “We wanted to find out what kind of material foetuses can learn in the womb, what kind of neural representations they form,” he said.... Read more »

Eino Partanen et al. (2013) Learning-induced neural plasticity of speech processing before birth. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1302159110  

  • August 26, 2013
  • 09:30 AM

Hikikomori: Japanese Teens Stay In Room For Years

by Katja Keuchenius in United Academics

It is one of these weird things we hear about Japan and makes us wonder if it is true. Do Japanese teenagers really lock themselves up in their room for years? Why? Does this only happen in Japan? And is this an official psychological disorder?... Read more »

  • August 26, 2013
  • 05:23 AM

Five Misconceptions About the Benefits of Antioxidants

by Guillaume Cote-Maurais in United Academics

Antioxidants are part of our daily diet in fruits, vegetables, spices, and herbs, and their intake is the focus of increasing attention. More recently, designer foods have been enriched with antioxidants, and antioxidants are commonly taken as supplements. Here is five misconceptions about the benefits of antioxidants.... Read more »

Bast, A. . (2013) Ten misconceptions about antioxidants. Trends in Pharmacological Sciences . DOI: 10.1016/j.tips.2013.05.010  

  • August 24, 2013
  • 05:00 AM

Hot chili peppers burn fat: a new hope to treat obesity?

by Agnese Mariotti in United Academics

Body fat is composed of white/beige adipose tissue (WAT) and brown adipose tissue (BAT). While WAT is mainly used to store energy, BAT is important for heat production when the body is exposed to cold, and for this reason it’s abundant in infants who are more susceptible to cold than adults.... Read more »

Yoneshiro, T., Aita, S., Matsushita, M., Kayahara, T., Kameya, T, Kaway, Y., Iwanaga, T., and Saito, M. (2013) Recruited brown adipose tissue as an antiobesity agent in humans” . J ClinInvest 123: 3404, DOI: 10.1172/JCI67803. info:/

  • August 22, 2013
  • 08:41 AM

Getting Science Right: Is IQ Nurture or Nature?

by Katja Keuchenius in United Academics

IQ predicts, to a certain extent, your social and occupational status, your educational and job performance and your health as an adult. But, other than the popular believe, IQ does not only statically predict your life course. IQ is in turn also influenced by that life course.... Read more »

Brant AM, Munakata Y, Boomsma DI, Defries JC, Haworth CM, Keller MC, Martin NG, McGue M, Petrill SA, Plomin R.... (2013) The Nature and Nurture of High IQ: An Extended Sensitive Period for Intellectual Development. Psychological science, 24(8), 1487-95. PMID: 23818653  

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