Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Feature

Feature article

A Fine Balance for Dementia Drugs

The transparent nature of the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans makes it easy for scientists to study its cells. Credit: HoPo/Wikimedia Commons

The transparent nature of the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans makes it easy for scientists to study its cells. Credit: HoPo/Wikimedia Commons

By Yee Lian Chew & Hannah Nicholas

Since too much or too little of a key protein expressed in the brain can accelerate brain ageing, drugs developed to regulate its levels face a fine balancing act.

To view this article subscribe or purchase a yearly pass here.

Out of the Darkness

Out of the Darkness

By Mandy Thoo

Researchers find that light therapy and saffron can protect us against the leading stealers of sight.

To view this article subscribe or purchase a yearly pass here.

Are Fad Diets Worth Their Weight?

Fad diet

Fad diets often encourage short-term changes in eating behaviour rather than encouraging healthy changes that can be sustained.

By Tim Crowe

Fad diets continue to attract public attention with their promises of quick and easy weight loss, but the truth is that these diets are just a large serving size of smoke and mirrors.

To view this article subscribe or purchase a yearly pass here.

Why the Long Face?

Photo: Guy Nolch

Head shape is a good indicator of the predator’s tendency to feed on either small or large prey. Photo: Guy Nolch

By Christopher Walmsley & Colin McHenry

The jaw strength of crocodiles can be predicted by simple linear measurements that could provide new insights into the diets of extinct marine reptiles.

To view this article subscribe or purchase a yearly pass here.

Thief of Time

A bee with a miniaturised transponder attached to its thorax

A bee with a miniaturised transponder attached to its thorax to enable monitoring of its flight after anaesthesia.

By Guy Warman, Craig Millar & James Cheeseman

General anaesthesia alters our perception of time by shifting the expression of clock genes to a new time zone, leading to chemically induced jet lag.

Guy Warman is a senior lecturer and James Cheeseman a lecturer in the Department of Anaesthesiology at the University of Auckland. Craig Millar is a senior lecturer in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Auckland. Eva Winnebeck, Randolf Menzel and Jamie Sleigh were major contributors and authors of this research, which was funded by a Marsden Grant from the Royal Society of New Zealand and by the University of Auckland, and published in Proceeedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

To view this article subscribe or purchase a yearly pass here.

The Curious Story of the Human Backside

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The human backside has been celebrated in art for its beauty and as a sign of fertility in women for centuries, as shown by this painting entitled Love Whispers by the 19th century German painter Heinrich Lossow. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

By Darren Curnoe

The human posterior is rather peculiar compared with the backsides of our close primate cousins. Its unusual form tells the story of our evolution like no other part of the human body.

To view this article subscribe or purchase a yearly pass here.

Volcanoes Sheltered Life through Ice Ages

Mount Erebus is perhaps the most well-known volcano in Antarctica, and is one of the large volcanoes that may have sheltered life through past ice ages. Photo: Steven Chown

Mount Erebus is perhaps the most well-known volcano in Antarctica, and is one of the large volcanoes that may have sheltered life through past ice ages. Photo: Steven Chown

By Ceridwen Fraser

Researchers studying the diversity of life in Antarctica have found surprising evidence that many plants and animals survived past ice ages by huddling close to warm volcanoes.

To view this article subscribe or purchase a yearly pass here.

Shape-Shifters

Tiger snakes on Chappell Island

Tiger snakes on Chappell Island have rapidly evolved large heads, enabling them to swallow whole mutton bird chicks. Photo © Ben Twist, used with permission.

By Michael Lee & Kate Sanders

Genetic analyses reveal that Australia’s land and sea snakes have rapidly evolved different body shapes and sizes to suit the local prey available, from fat muttonbird chicks to eels hiding in narrow crevices.

Michael Lee is a senior research scientist at the South Australian Museum and University of Adelaide. Kate Sanders is an ARC postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Adelaide.

To view this article subscribe or purchase a yearly pass here.

The Biggest Fertility Issue

Credit: Olivier Le Moal/Adobe

Credit: Olivier Le Moal/Adobe

By Tod Fullston, Jemma Evans & Macarena Gonzalez

Emerging evidence indicates that an obese mother or father predisposes their child to obesity via nutritional signals conveyed before birth.

To view this article subscribe or purchase a yearly pass here.

This Little Piggie Went Wee Wee Wee

Credit: dusanpetkovic1/Adobe

Credit: dusanpetkovic1/Adobe

By Jeremy Ayre & Navid Moheimani

Microalgae strains that can survive the extreme conditions in piggery effluent could not only clean up the wastewater but also reduce greenhouse emissions, provide a source of biofuel and even be fed back to the pigs.

To view this article subscribe or purchase a yearly pass here.