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

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  • November 12, 2013
  • 04:46 AM

Walk In The Park Reduces Desire For Immediate Rewards

by Gunnar de Winter in United Academics

Human beings have the strong and universal tendency to prefer immediate gains over longer-term rewards. New experiments show that exposure to nature reduces this future discounting.... Read more »

van der Wal AJ, Schade HM, Krabbendam L, & van Vugt M. (2013) Do natural landscapes reduce future discounting in humans?. Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society, 280(1773), 20132295. PMID: 24197412  

  • November 11, 2013
  • 09:53 AM

You Use Nanoparticles Everyday: 4 Examples

by Chiara Civardi in United Academics

Whatever our opinion on nanotechnology may be, what we don’t realise is that we are exposed to nanoparticles in our everyday life, not only through pollution, but by means of the products we use daily. So, here’s a short list of some of these hidden engineered nanoparticles.... Read more »

Blasco C., Picó Y. (2013) Nanoparticles in Foods, Determination of. Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry. DOI: 10.1002/9780470027318.a9285  

Cristina Buzea, Ivan I. Pacheco, & Kevin Robbie. (2008) Nanomaterials and nanoparticles: Sources and toxicity. Published in Biointerphases Vol. 2, issue 4 (2007) pages MR17 - MR71. arXiv: 0801.3280v1

Mueller M., Nowack B. (2008) Exposure modelling of engineered nanoparticles in the environment. Environmental Science . info:/

Nohynek GJ, Lademann J, Ribaud C, & Roberts MS. (2007) Grey goo on the skin? Nanotechnology, cosmetic and sunscreen safety. Critical reviews in toxicology, 37(3), 251-77. PMID: 17453934  

Peters R, Kramer E, Oomen AG, Rivera ZE, Oegema G, Tromp PC, Fokkink R, Rietveld A, Marvin HJ, Weigel S.... (2012) Presence of nano-sized silica during in vitro digestion of foods containing silica as a food additive. ACS nano, 6(3), 2441-51. PMID: 22364219  

  • November 11, 2013
  • 07:34 AM

Biology of Love: are we made to live happily ever after?

by Koko Beers in United Academics

While we learn from songs, movies and fairy tales that life is all about finding the perfect partner, about romance, soul mates and lifelong relationships; biology tells us otherwise.

Neuroscientists and neurobiologists have looked at the neuronal correlates of love, using brain imaging techniques and animal models. Reviewing various studies, Dutch researchers explain the evolution and neurobiological factors of our romantic love. Learn what evolution, biological substances and the course of relationships tell us about human relationships. Is romance and monogamy nothing but a myth?... Read more »

  • November 8, 2013
  • 09:12 AM

Speaking From the Gut for Immune Health

by Dyani Lewis in United Academics

By listening to the chemical chatter of our microbial lodgers, epithelial cells that line the inner surface of our gut can distinguish friend from foe.It turns out that our microbes are listening to us, just as much as we are listening to them. And according to a team of Finnish researchers, the dialogue between us and our microbes changes the way that both of us behave.... Read more »

  • November 7, 2013
  • 11:10 AM

Wild Spotted Hyaenas Can Do Maths

by Simone Munao in United Academics

According to the researchers, the capacity of counting is used by animals living in societies to understand whether or not for communities it is convenient to fight with other groups, because numerically superior groups can attack at relatively low cost to themselves.... Read more »

  • November 5, 2013
  • 11:33 AM

Does Modern Life Make Us Less Rational?

by Flora Brils in United Academics

If you give a Westerner one of two items randomly and then ask the person whether he or she would like to trade one for the other, there is only 10 percent chance the Westerner trades. This doesn't make sense, or at least it's not rational. There should be a 50 percent chance that participants initially receive the item they like best and thus a 50 percent chance that they will trade. This behavioral bias is called the “endowment effect”. A new interdisciplinary study from the University of Pennsylvania has delved into whether this bias is truly universal... Read more »

Coren L. Apicella, Eduardo M. Azevedo, Nicholas A. Christakis, & and James H. Fowler. (2013) Evolutionary Origins of the Endowment E ect: Evidence from Hunter-Gatherers . THE AMERICAN ECONOMIC REVIEW. DOI: 10.2139/ssrn.2255650  

  • November 4, 2013
  • 06:31 AM

How To End HIV in Africa

by Patrícia Fonseca Pedro in United Academics

South Africa is known to have a major burden of HIV infection cases. As Pieter Fourie put it in 2006: “AIDS is killing South Africans at a rate equivalent to one September 11th attack every three days”. The situation still is as serious as this: life expectancy should have reached 64 years by now, but with the HIV pandemic it has regressed to about 47 years.... Read more »

  • November 3, 2013
  • 04:29 AM

Masculine Men Experience Greater Sexual Satisfaction

by Eva de Lozanne in United Academics

Initially, researchers S. Daniels and S.K. Bridges hypothesized that masculinity would relate negatively to sexual satisfaction. The ideal of masculinity, the researchers explain, teaches men that they should be directive, dominant, assertive and independent. They assumed that higher levels of these “masculine traits” would get in the way of men’s subjective and emotional satisfaction during sex.... Read more »

  • November 1, 2013
  • 05:14 AM

New Aids therapy works on monkeys

by Agnese Mariotti in United Academics

New therapy for Aids seems to work on rhesus monkeys. Nature just published two studies about the results of a treatment that uses antibodies to reduce the blood concentration of the virus.... Read more »

  • October 30, 2013
  • 04:00 PM

Serious Gaming, Serious Fun?

by Nura Rutten in United Academics

Serious gaming is big business. Many organizations – companies, schools, NGO’s – use games for training purposes, to engage customers, to advertise and to simulate important and critical situations. It is likely that you have been playing a game that was designed with the purpose of teaching you something, getting you to drink more milk or training your cooperative skills.

Researchers Liu, Li, and Santhanam have studied the way in which different digital games impact the behavior and emotion responses of the players. Their study addresses one key element of gaming: competition. Players seem to favor opportunities to compete with each other and games where there is a challenge. Therefore, their research attempts to analyze the influence of competition on the effort that participants put into their play and their enjoyment.... Read more »

Liu, D., Li, X., & Santhanam, R. (2013) Digital Games and Beyond: What Happens When Players Compete?. MIS Quarterly. info:/

  • October 28, 2013
  • 07:55 AM

5 Crazy Cures that Actually Work

by Jeffrey Daniels in United Academics

Ginger a sailor's best friend? An apple a day keeps the docter away? All kinds of health benefits of seawater, seaweed and silver? I decided to find out if actual peer-review concurs in any way to these claims. Turns out there is some agreement.... Read more »

Nezamoddin Berjis, Seyyed Mehdi Sonbolastan, Seyyed Hanif Okhovat, Ali Asghar Narimani, & Jaleh Razmjui. (2011) Normal Saline Versus Hypertonic 3% Saline: It’s Efficacy in Non-Acute Rhinosinusitis . Iranian Journal of Otorhinolaryngology. info:/

G. Thirumurugan and M. D. Dhanaraju. (2011) Silver Nanoparticles: Real Antibacterial Bullets. Antimicrobial Agents . DOI: 10.5772/32450  

Jun Sung Kim, DVM, PhD,a Eunye Kuk, MS,b Kyeong Nam Yu, MS,a Jong-Ho Kim, MS,g, Sung Jin Park, BS,a Hu Jang Lee, DVM, PhD,c So Hyun Kim, DVM, PhD,d, Young Kyung Park, DVM, MS,d Yong Ho Park, DVM, PhD,d, Cheol-Yong Hwang, DVM, PhD,e Yong-Kwon Kim, PhD,f Yoon-Sik Lee, PhD,g, Dae Hong Jeong, PhD,b,, & Myung-Haing Cho, DVM, PhD. (2007) Antimicrobial effects of silver nanoparticles. Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology, and Medicine. DOI: 10.1016/j.nano.2006.12.001  

  • October 26, 2013
  • 06:11 AM

Good News: Dating Success for the Underdog

by Nura Rutten in United Academics

In the recently published research titled ‘The attractive underdog: When disadvantage bolsters attractiveness’, Kenneth Michniewicz and Joseph Vandello found that unfairly disadvantaged people are perceived as more physically attractive and more suitable for dates.... Read more »

  • October 25, 2013
  • 12:18 PM

Beauty Sleep: Giving Our Brain a Detox

by Agnese Mariotti in United Academics

We all need our regular beauty sleep, but how exactly does sleep produce its regenerative effects? Scientists have uncovered a mechanism by which sleep helps eliminate toxic substances from the brain and thus critically contributes to maintaining our good health.... Read more »

Xie L, Kang H, Xu Q, Chen MJ, Liao Y, Thiyagarajan M, O'Donnell J, Christensen DJ, Nicholson C, Iliff JJ.... (2013) Sleep drives metabolite clearance from the adult brain. Science (New York, N.Y.), 342(6156), 373-7. PMID: 24136970  

  • October 24, 2013
  • 07:48 AM

Saving Face: The Psychology Of Sunglasses And Facial Moisturizer

by Katja Keuchenius in United Academics

Always wondered why some people just love moisturizing cream and those enormous sunglasses? A new study shows it could be embarrassment. People that are temporarily suffering from this unpleasant feeling are more likely to use a product that could help to ‘save their face’.... Read more »

  • October 23, 2013
  • 07:01 AM

Prospecting for Gold? Trees Will Show You the Way

by Shefali Sabharanjak in United Academics

Want to find gold underground? Plant a tree. No, I mean literally plant a tree. Then come back after a few years, pluck a leaf and chuck it under a microscope. If there is gold underneath the ground, the leaves will have some of the glittering metal in their cells.... Read more »

  • October 22, 2013
  • 10:05 AM

True or False: Birth Control Pills Sabotage Sexual Attraction

by Elisabeth Buhl Thubron in United Academics

Studies exploring the infamous pill are coming to the same conclusion: the Pill affects women’s mate preferences and could ultimately affect the quality and outcome of long-term relationships. Should we be worried or are researchers jumping to conclusions?... Read more »

  • October 21, 2013
  • 08:06 AM

Trouble Understanding Others? Read More Literature

by Chiara Civardi in United Academics

Madame Bovary was a keen reader, but she empathised so deep with the characters of the books that she lost her sense of reality and ended up with a profound dissatisfaction. However, what a recent study shows is that she could have actually become a good psychologist.... Read more »

Kidd DC, & Castano E. (2013) Reading literary fiction improves theory of mind. Science (New York, N.Y.), 342(6156), 377-80. PMID: 24091705  

  • October 18, 2013
  • 10:40 AM

Scientists Detect Alzheimer’s In Patient’s Blood

by Rebekah Morrow in United Academics

A group of Japanese scientists have recently discovered another biomarker for Alzheimer’s disease: a group of seven microRNAs found in the blood. There are several advantages to this newest Alzheimer’s biomarker. ... Read more »

Kumar P, Dezso Z, MacKenzie C, Oestreicher J, Agoulnik S, et al. (2013) Circulating miRNA Biomarkers for Alzheimer’s Disease. PLoS ONE . DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0069807  

Podlesniy P, Figueiro-Silva J, Llado A, Antonell A, Sanchez-Valle R, Alcolea D, Lleo A, Molinuevo JL, Serra N, & Trullas R. (2013) Low cerebrospinal fluid concentration of mitochondrial DNA in preclinical Alzheimer disease. Annals of neurology. PMID: 23794434  

Doecke JD, Laws SM, Faux NG, Wilson W, Burnham SC, Lam CP, Mondal A, Bedo J, Bush AI, Brown B, De Ruyck K, Ellis KA, Fowler C, Gupta VB, Head R, Macaulay SL, Pertile K, Rowe CC, Rembach A, Rodrigues M, Rumble R, Szoeke C, Taddei K, Taddei T, Trounson B, A. (2012) Blood-based protein biomarkers for diagnosis of Alzheimer disease. Arch Neurol. . DOI: 10.1001/archneurol.2012.1282  

  • October 18, 2013
  • 06:57 AM

Researchers Discover Link Between Itch And Pain

by Geetanjali Yadav in United Academics

When you have an itch on the skin, what is the first thing you do? Obviously, our first immediate and natural response would be to scratch the spot of the itch with our fingernails. But, do you have any idea what is happening under your skin when you have an itch?... Read more »

Zhau ZQ, Huo FQ, Jeffry J, Hampton L, Demehri S, Kim S, Liu XY, Barry DM, Wan L, Liu ZC, Li H, Turkoz A, Ma K, Cornelius LA, Kopan R, Battey JF, Zhong J, Chen ZF. (2013) Chronic itch development in sensory neurons requires BRAF signaling pathways. The Journal of Clinical Investigation. DOI: 10.1172/JCI70528  

  • October 17, 2013
  • 06:40 AM

6 Reasons to Take Vitamin D Supplementation

by Guillaume Cote-Maurais in United Academics

Vitamin D is now considered to have several extraskeletal effects, and deficiency in vitamin D is associated with several conditions. Therefore, vitamin D supplementation is being considered as a prevention agent for several health conditions. There are 6 important effects of vitamin D.... Read more »

Christakos S,, Hewison M,, Gardner DG,, Wagner CL,, Sergeev IN,, Rutten E,, Pittas AG,, Boland R,, Ferrucci L, & Bikle DD. (2013) Vitamin D: Beyond Bone. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences . DOI: 10.1111/nyas.12129  

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