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

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  • August 21, 2013
  • 11:21 AM
  • 166 views

How Plants Smell Smoke

by Sedeer El-Showk in United Academics

n response to my recent post about the dynamic life of plants, reader tmso asked about whether plants can sense and respond to smoke. I still haven’t found anything about an immediate response to smoke, but I’ve learned quite a bit about how smoke and fire affect germination. ... Read more »

Flematti GR, Ghisalberti EL, Dixon KW, . (2004) A compound from smoke that promotes seed germination. . Science (New York, N.Y.), 305(5686). DOI: 10.3410/f.1020027.228427  

Chiwoca, Sheila DS, Dixon, Kingsly W, Flematti, Gavin R, Ghisablerti, Emilio L, Merritt, David J, Nelson, David C, Riseborough, Julie-Anne M, Smith, Steven M, . (2009) Karrikins: A new family of plant growth regulators in smoke. Plant Science. DOI: 10.1016/j.plantsci.2009.06.007  

Guo Y, Zheng Z, La Clair JJ, Chory J, & Noel JP. (2013) Smoke-derived karrikin perception by the α/β-hydrolase KAI2 from Arabidopsis. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 110(20), 8284-9. PMID: 23613584  

  • August 21, 2013
  • 03:55 AM
  • 190 views

New Carnivore Species Discovered in Ecuador

by Alex Reis in United Academics

It’s been seen in the wild and presented in zoos around the world, but yet, a mysterious creature has been victim of mistaken identity for over 100 years!... Read more »

Kristofer M. Helgen, C. Miguel Pinto , Roland Kays, Lauren E. Helgen, Mirian T. N. Tsuchiya, Aleta Quinn, Don E. Wilson . (2013) Taxonomic revision of the olingos (Bassaricyon), with description of a new species, the Olinguito. . Zoo Keys, 1-83. DOI: 10.3897/zookeys.324.5827  

  • August 20, 2013
  • 10:41 AM
  • 376 views

Facebook May Reduce Happiness

by Guillaume Cote-Maurais in United Academics

Online social networks are rapidly changing the way human beings interact. Over a billion people have a Facebook account, and over half of them log in daily. Yet, no research has examined how interacting with Facebook influences subjective well-being over time.... Read more »

Kross E., Verduyn P., Demiralp E., Park J., Lee D.S., Lin N., Shablack H., Jonides J. . (2013) Facebook Use Predicts Declines in Subjective Well-Being in Young Adults. Plos One, 8(8). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0069841  

  • August 20, 2013
  • 08:21 AM
  • 222 views

Family Dinner’s Impact On Smoking, Drinking and Drugs

by Katja Keuchenius in United Academics

If you want to raise your kids drugsfree, just frequently share family meals with them. That is what Columbia University has been telling American families for years. New research sheds more light on the subject.... Read more »

  • August 20, 2013
  • 05:24 AM
  • 157 views

How Small is Too Small to Qualify as a Species?

by Michael D.J. Lynch in United Academics

Categorising small organisms, even defining those categories, is difficult... Read more »

Rossberg AG, Rogers T, & McKane AJ. (2013) Are there species smaller than 1 mm?. Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society, 280(1767), 20131248. PMID: 23884092  

  • August 19, 2013
  • 12:00 PM
  • 162 views

Ostrich Necks and Eating Sauropods

by Gunnar De Winter in United Academics

Remember Jurassic Park? Remember those stately long-necked dinosaurs (aka sauropods)? Necks graciously curved to reach the top leaves of the giant trees, the flexibility of their necks seems to rival that of modern swans.... Read more »

  • August 19, 2013
  • 09:00 AM
  • 173 views

Good To Know: How Old Will You Get?

by Katja Keuchenius in United Academics

The world just celebrated the 116th birthday of Besse Cooper, the currently oldest person in the world. In a few decades 116 probably isn’t that special anymore. What are your chances?... Read more »

Oeppen J, & Vaupel JW. (2002) Demography. Broken limits to life expectancy. Science (New York, N.Y.), 296(5570), 1029-31. PMID: 12004104  

  • August 18, 2013
  • 12:16 PM
  • 225 views

Being Hangry: The Science behind Hunger and Mood

by Caitlin Kirkwood in United Academics

What happens to our mood when our body is running low on glucose a.k.a. sugar? Researchers at the University of Kentucky were interested in the link between low glucose levels and aggressive behavior, so they designed a devious study to investigate the sugar-mood association.... Read more »

  • August 16, 2013
  • 11:34 AM
  • 164 views

Possible New Treatment for Bone Fractures in the Elderly

by Rebekah Morrow in United Academics

As people age, they are more likely to break bones and suffer from osteoporosis. The elderly who have broken bones also take longer to heal than younger patients. Part of the reason for this is that bones change as we age. Bone marrow contains many cell types, including those that form new bone. As age increases, these cells shift from an osteogenic (bone forming) type and toward an adipogenic (fat forming) type. Bone grafts are used to replace missing bone when the fractures are complex, or fail to heal properly. Bone marrow from the patient is preferred, but because the marrow of elderly patients has become more adipogenic, healing may be slowed.... Read more »

Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. (2013) Wnt3a reestablishes osteogenic capacity to bone grafts from aged animals. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2013;95:1278-88. The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. info:/

  • August 16, 2013
  • 09:28 AM
  • 174 views

How Our Society Stimulates Eating Disorders

by Katja Keuchenius in United Academics

Eating disorders like anorexia nervosa and anorexia bulimia have been on the rise for decades in Western countries and now start popping up in Non-Western countries as well. Psychologist Francisco Martín Murcia argues how our more and more complicated concept of self stands in the way.... Read more »

Francisco Martín Murcia. (2009) Personality disorders and modern culture. Psychology, Society, . info:/

  • August 16, 2013
  • 08:04 AM
  • 186 views

Researchers Discover New Strategy to Prevent Influenza Infection

by Geetanjali Yadav in United Academics

Research shows microRNA based strategy to fight against viral pathogens.... Read more »

Langlois, RA, Albrecht, RA, Kimble, B, Sutton, T, Shapiro, JS, Finch, C, Angel, M, Chua, MA, Gonzalez-Reiche, AS, Xu, K.... (2013) MicroRNA-based strategy to mitigate the risk of gain-of-function influenza studies. . Nature Biotechnology. DOI: 10.1038/nbt.2666  

  • August 15, 2013
  • 11:41 AM
  • 217 views

Skinny Jeans and Cocaine: Why cocaine users tend to be skinny and why it won’t last forever

by Patrícia Fonseca Pedro in United Academics

“I’ve heard stories that some modeling agents encourage girls to do speed and cocaine in order to speed up metabolism and eat less,” Russian model Kira Dikhtyar told Fox News.

It’s an alarming phenomenon that many models and socialites use cocaine to stay thin. And this is not just a lady thing. Nowadays, prevailing beauty standards also influence men in a way some opt to use the same method to lose weight.... Read more »

  • August 15, 2013
  • 10:01 AM
  • 184 views

Getting Science Right: ‘Constant Internet Causes Depression’

by Katja Keuchenius in United Academics

Too much internet is bad for your health, media say. It would even cause sleeping disorders and depression. But the actual research report reveals something else.... Read more »

  • August 14, 2013
  • 05:07 AM
  • 205 views

Cutting Out the Middleman In BioHydrogen

by Q Dragon in United Academics

Hydrogen is one of the most promising alternative fuels being investigated. Not only because burning it only produces water but because it can act as a sort of chemical storage for more intermittent sources of energy. While there are many ways to chemically produce hydrogen gas, most involve expensive metals like platinum as a catalyst to make the process at all economical. Another approach borrows from biology, and in particular the enzyme hydrogenase. As with many things borrowed from nature it’s extremely good at what it does, the issue is extracting the enzyme from a living organism for use on its own. Fortunately some researchers from Germany (Ruhr-Universität Bochum) have managed to do the next best thing.... Read more »

Esselborn J, Lambertz C, Adamska-Venkatesh A, Simmons T, Berggren G, Noth J, Siebel J, Hemschemeier A, Artero V, Reijerse E.... (2013) Spontaneous activation of [FeFe]-hydrogenases by an inorganic [2Fe] active site mimic. Nature chemical biology. PMID: 23934246  

  • August 13, 2013
  • 11:31 AM
  • 187 views

Explainer: What Are Surgical 'Never Events'?

by Jane Reid in United Academics

The point of surgical procedures is to save or improve the quality of our lives, but things can and do go wrong because of system or human errors. In too many cases patients are failed because of so called “never events” – serious incidents that should never happen because they’re entirely preventable.

The official list of never events in surgery includes operating on the wrong part of the body, performing the wrong procedure, leaving instruments or swabs inside the body, or having the wrong prosthesis or medical device implanted.

Never events, such as having the wrong testicle removed, can be devastating, while others prove fatal.... Read more »

Mehtsun, WT, Ibrahim, AM, Diener-West, M, Pronovost, PJ, & Makary, MA. (2012) Surgical never events in the United States. Surgery, 153(4). DOI: 10.1016/j.surg.2012.10.005  

  • August 13, 2013
  • 07:27 AM
  • 199 views

Scientists Love Facebook: 8 Effects They Found

by Katja Keuchenius in United Academics

Blaming Facebook is a popular train of thought, also for scientists. They already conducted many studies on the, mostly negative, psychological effects of the social network. Here are 8 findings, some of them contradictive.... Read more »

Clayton RB, Nagurney A, & Smith JR. (2013) Cheating, Breakup, and Divorce: Is Facebook Use to Blame?. Cyberpsychology, behavior and social networking. PMID: 23745615  

Nitzan U, Shoshan E, Lev-Ran S, & Fennig S. (2011) Internet-related psychosis−a sign of the times. The Israel journal of psychiatry and related sciences, 48(3), 207-11. PMID: 22141146  

  • August 13, 2013
  • 05:37 AM
  • 154 views

Objectively Evaluating the Taste of Food – It’s Possible

by Guillaume Cote-Maurais in United Academics

Objective quantification of taste intensity would be extremely useful for product development and quality control in the food industry. The tastes of industrial food products in development are still usually discriminated by trained food panelists that sense and score the tastes of foods by tasting the products themselves. Therefore there is a limit number of products that can be evaluated in a single sitting, and this limitation poses a crucial disadvantage in the case of quality control in an industrial production area.... Read more »

  • August 12, 2013
  • 09:21 AM
  • 172 views

The Truth About Sexting: Who Does It?

by Katja Keuchenius in United Academics

In the news we only hear about teenagers and politicians ruining their reputation by sexting. But how about the other part of society? Who else is sending nude photo’s or sexually explicit messages via the phone or social networks? To whom? And how often? Researchers of the University of Indiana looked at the demographics of sexting.... Read more »

  • August 12, 2013
  • 07:54 AM
  • 145 views

Scientists Make ‘Impossible Material’ … by Accident

by Andrew Bissette in United Academics

Researchers in Uppsala, Sweden accidentally left a reaction running over the weekend and ended up resolving a century-old chemistry problem. Their work has led to the development of a new material, dubbed Upsalite, with remarkable water-binding properties. Upsalite promises to find applications in everything from humidity control at home to chemical manufacturing in industry.... Read more »

  • August 12, 2013
  • 04:39 AM
  • 150 views

Migraines with Aura: Caused by Impaired Circulation in the Brain?

by Shefali Sabharanjak in United Academics

Migraine headaches are recurrent, painful and debilitating headaches. Estimates from the World Health Organization (WHO) suggest that ~47% of the world’s adult population suffers from headaches. Women are more prone to migraine attacks as compared to men.... Read more »

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