Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Australasian Science Magazine Issue January/February 2014

Cover Story: Food Facts & Furphies
New diet fads and furphies seem to appear every day. While some of these have a scientific basis, for others the science has changed in response to new discoveries or the science is just not there yet. This special issue of Australasian Science explores the latest evidence for food and nutrition.
Fad diet
Feature: Are Fad Diets Worth Their Weight?
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.
Feature: Can Diet Be Tailored to Suit Our Genes?
Lifestyle factors such as a eating plenty of fruit and vegetables, getting a good night’s sleep and keeping physically active are the best way to help your genes keep you healthy.
Feature: Does Red Meat Deserve Its Bad Reputation?
Returning to the tradition of eating “meat and three veg” for dinner may improve the eating patterns and nutritional status of Australians, and help to reduce rates of chronic disease.
Feature: The Truth About Carbs
Hardly a week goes by without some new study proclaiming the negative health effects of carbohydrates in our food, but are carbs really that bad for us?
Feature: How Healthy Is a Cup of Your Favourite Brew?
Drinking tea and coffee may be better for you than you realised, but more is claimed than is substantiated.
Feature: How Much Fluid Do You Really Need After Exercise?
The science behind rehydration following strenuous exercise is often lost in market hype.
food addict
Feature: Is Food Addiction Real?
Emerging research suggests that food addiction may be a previously unrecognised factor contributing to the rise in overweight and obesity.
Feature: Can Food Help Our Mood?
There is substantial interest in the role of nutrition in preventing and treating depression.
Feature: Facts and Furphies about Functional Foods
Bioactive ingredients are not magic bullets to fight against chronic diseases but have the potential to alleviate human ailments if their efficacy, bioavailability, appropriate dosage levels and safety in humans can be validated.
Feature: Are Green Tea and Berries the Answer to a Ripe Old Age?
Polyphenols found in plant-based foods may be all we need to live longer.
Australasian Sky: Summer 2014 star chart
Your guide to the night sky this month.
conSCIENCE: Is Tony Abbott Following Canada’s “War on Science”?
Canada’s Prime Minister could be a role model for Australia’s new leader when it comes to science policy.
The Bitter Pill: A Catalyst for Better Science Journalism
In the wake of the controversial Catalyst reports on cholesterol and statins, Rob Morrison provides a checklist for good science journalism.
Cool Careers: The Hunt for the Higgs Boson
Elisabetta Barberio spent the past two decades designing and carrying out experiments that helped to find the Higgs boson.
Directions: Editorial Vision Will Prevail
We’re awash with information, but good editorial teams can inform and amuse you better than any automated keyword search.
Eco Logic: Five Objections to Decision Science in Conservation
What are the main objections to decision science, and why they are wrong?
Eureka!: The Law of Urination
Why do bats, dogs and elephants take the same time to urinate?
Expert Opinion: Chemical Exposure Linked to Preterm Birth Risk
Women exposed to phthalates during pregnancy are at increased risk of preterm birth, according to US research. Phthalates are found in lotions, perfumes, deodorants and plastics such as PVC.
The Fit: Mapping Happiness
Blogs, tweets, news reports and songs can be used to map happiness levels by city, age group and even the day of the week and the time of the day.
Lowe Tech: PM Freezes Out Science
Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s road map for Australia is not being guided by science.
Naked Skeptic: What You See Might Not Be What You Get
DNA barcoding has revealed considerable product substitution in herbal remedies.
Neuropsy: Exercising the Brain
Can physical activity in later life slow the rate of cerebral atrophy?
Out of this World: Galactic Cloud Map Takes Shape
Dave Reneke’s wrap-up of space and astronomy news.
Publish or Perish: The creation of the gap between humans and animals
Why is ours the only surviving lineage in a multitude of human forms?
Quandary: Anti-Love Potions
What are the potential uses and consequences of a pill that could make people fall out of love?
Simon Says: Science Gets a Voice in Canberra
The alternative Prime Minister, Bill Shorten, can use science to win votes by creating a clever and clean energy country.
Up Close: Music and mind: Can Mozart really sharpen your neural connections?
Cognitive psychologist Prof Glenn Schellenberg scrutinises the relationship between music and cognitive development.
Up Close: Stuff the staff: Understanding and treating celiac disease
Gastroenterologist and researcher Dr Jason Tye-Din explains celiac disease, discusses what can be done to manage the illness and discusses ongoing research towards better understanding and treatment.
Up Close: Deferring dementia: Research efforts to keep Alzheimer’s at bay
Neurobiologist Prof Colin Masters explains current medical understanding of Alzheimer’s disease, and discusses ongoing research efforts towards delaying onset of this as yet incurable condition.
Up Close: Gut harmony: Why the right mix of microbes is important to our health
Microbial ecologist Prof Rob Knight explains why we need the millions of microbes that make a home in and on our bodies.
Up Close: Inherited risk: The benefit and burden of genetic testing for heritable diseases
Clinical and research geneticist Prof Ingrid Winship discusses the use of genetic testing to improve the lives of people with inherited diseases and their families, as well as the pitfalls of direct-to-consumer genetic testing.
Up Close: How green is your cloud?: The energy we consume by staying connected
Telecommunications expert Dr Kerry Hinton explains how the growth in consumer and business cloud computing, and the mobile and wireless technologies that support it, is driving massive increases in power consumption.
Online Feature: Whole grains are better for you but they're no panacea
Eating whole grain foods is considered better for your health than refined grain foods, but whole grains may have a role in inflammation.
Online Feature: Informed consent: why some foods should carry a cancer risk warning
It’s time to begin making consumers aware of the cancer risk associated with regular consumption of particular foods and drinks through front-of-pack warning labels.
Online Feature: US set to restrict trans fats, but should Australia follow?
While Australia has few specific regulations around trans fats, US food manufacturers will soon need permission to include them in their products. Should Australia be doing more to remove trans fats from its food supply?
Online Feature: Food for fitness: is it better to eat before or after exercise?
There’s a lot of confusion surrounding food intake and exercise – is it better to eat beforehand or afterwards? And what type of exercise benefits most from eating?
Online Feature: Health Check: are you eating the right sorts of fibre?
Getting enough fibre is important, but getting a combination of fibre is imperative for good digestive health.
Online Feature: Sweet enough? Separating fact from fiction in the sugar debate
What is the scientific evidence for reducing the WHO's recommended maximum sugar intake?
Online Feature: The exclusive on exclusion diets
What is the evidence for diets that focus on food exclusion?
Online Feature: An insider's story of the global attack on climate science
The conclusion of a 4-year saga has cast light on the tactics employed by the climate denial lobby.