Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Australasian Science Magazine Issue May 2016

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Cover Story: A Diet that Calms the Schizophrenic Mind
The ketogenic diet favoured by bodybuilders also normalises schizophrenia-like behaviours.
Feature: Australian sugary drinks tax could prevent thousands of heart attacks and strokes and save 1600 lives
A 20% rise in the price of soft drinks and flavoured mineral waters would save lives and reduce cardiovascular disease in Australia.
Credit: MartesiaBezuidenhout/adobe
Feature: The Stomach as a Target for Obesity
Obesity permanently changes the way our body processes gastrointestinal signals about satiety. While appetite suppressants have had limited success, the identification of an appetite-regulating nerve channel offers a new approach to keeping weight off.
Credit: auremar/adobe
Feature: How Reliable Is an Eyewitness?
Eyewitness identification of criminals is notoriously unreliable, but a new study based on police records has identified factors that can determine which witnesses are accurate and which are guessing.
Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Feature: A Gene for Speed
A gene that may have enabled ancient humans to spread to colder climates may also be the difference between power athletes and the rest of us, and play a role in muscle diseases.
Credit: Juliet Taylor
Feature: About Schmidt
Nobel Prize winner Brian Schmidt discusses global warming, exploding stars, politics and Star Wars.
Credit: Eric Isselée/adobe
Feature: Why Are Bigger Offspring Better?
Bigger offspring have greater energy needs, so why do they survive and reproduce more successfully than their smaller siblings?
Credit: Kaspars Grinvalds/adobe
Feature: Generation Multi
As technology continues to become more richly embedded in our daily lives, so too comes the increased demand and temptation to multitask. But can we improve our ability to do two things at once?
An aphid is tethered by a gold wire
Feature: Plant Viruses Threaten Crops as Climate Warms
Climate change will exacerbate the spread of a virus that reduces the yield of infected wheat by 70%.
Feature: New study: no increase in brain cancer across 29 years of mobile use in Australia
A new study has reported that brain cancer incidence rates have risen only slightly in males but have been stable in females.
Feature: Fishy theories about pain in fish
There's more to sensory perception than the complexity of an animal's brain circuitry.
Australasian Sky: This Month's Star Chart
Your map of the night sky for this month.
conSCIENCE: Mega-Banks Unleash an Infrastructure Tsunami
The rise of investment bank lending for infrastructure projects in developing countries is driving a “feeding frenzy” of developments with lower environmental controls.
conSCIENCE: Stem Cell Industry Must Tread a Fine Line
The emerging stem cell industry needs to be able to fast-track therapies into clinical trials without clearing the way for clinics to offer unproven therapies to vulnerable patients.
The Bitter Pill: An EEG Only Scratches the Surface of the Brain
Chiropractors claim that “functional neurology” can treat conditions ranging from epilepsy and Alzheimer’s disease to autism and stroke, but the technology they use isn’t up to the task.
Directions: Rethinking Australia’s Carbon Abatement Contracts
Australia’s total net CO2 emissions are much lower than are implied by published numbers.
Eco Logic: What’s in a Name?
Inconsistent classification of species introduces systematic bias to ecological studies.
Expert Opinion: Second Genetically Modified Human Embryos Created
A second case of gene editing of human embryos has attempted to introduce resistance to HIV infection, but only four of the 26 embryos were modified successfully.
The Fit: Pure, White, But Maybe Not So Deadly
Is there something uniquely unhealthy about sugar above and beyond the excess calories?
Fossil File: When Will Australia Get Its First Real Mounted Dinosaur?
Australian museums don’t display any dinosaurs mounted from real bones into a life-like position.
Lowe Tech: The Electric Vehicle Challenge
Installations of solar and wind energy will need to maintain their pace to ensure that the coming demand for electric vehicles won’t be powered by fossil fuels.
Naked Skeptic: Smart People, Strange Ideas
Even people who are rational about most matters can hold opinions that aren’t supported by science or even common sense.
Credit: Gage Skidmore
Neuropsy: Deconstructing the Donald
Donald Trump’s appeal to voters may be explained by a preference for authoritarian anti-establishment leaders.
Out of this World: A “Baby Earth” in the Making
Astronomers may have seen a “baby Earth” forming, and have found that Saturn’s moons may be younger than the dinosaurs.
Quandary: Adventures on the Dark Side
Cases of sexual attraction are bound to grow as “genetic orphans” seek out their missing parents.
Up Close: Publish and perish: Science and medical researchers under pressure
Psychiatrist Joeri Tijdink discusses his research into how increasing pressures on science and medical researchers to win funding, achieve positive research results, and publish in highly esteemed journals may be linked to professional burnout and even research misconduct.
Up Front: Obesity Is Winning the Hunger Games
Can a sugar tax save us if obesity has already permanently suppressed the satiety signals that tell us to stop eating?
Odd Spot: Food in Space
This infographic will take you on a journey through the evolution of food in space, show you the challenges of eating in zero gravity, educate you on space food preparation processes, and explain why food is such an important factor in keeping the astronauts sane.
Odd Spot: Trump Dismisses the Montreal Protocol
Donald Trump's hairspray is no longer strong enough, and dodgy science behind the ban on ozone-depleting chemicals is to blame.