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I am a social scientist based at the University of Oxford . My research applies Self-Determination Theory , a macro-theory of human motivation, created by my collaborators Ed Deci and Richard Ryan , to study a wide range of psychological processes. My primary interests are focused on the role of motivation for people when they are engaged with virtual and real-life environments.

In particular, I am interested in what makes electronic games and social media motivating and what leads people to vary in the degree to which they succeed in regulating their engagement.

If you have questions about my work or do not have access to any of the journals in which my research is published, please contact me and I will be happy to see if I can help.


Scientists create pill that tricks the body to lose weight

The pill makes the body believe that calories consumed, allowing you to burn fat, slow weight gain, help reduce cholesterol and control blood sugar.

A group of US scientists has developed a pill, tested so far in mice, that “fools the body” into believing that consumed calories, which makes burn fat, curb weight gain and helps reduce cholesterol and controls blood sugar.

“This pill is like an imaginary food,” said the director of the Laboratory of gene expression Salk in the United States, Ronald Evans, author of the study published today in the journal Nature Medicine Pill “It sends the same type of signals that normally occur when you eat a lot of food, so the body starts to make room for storage, but no calories or changes in appetite,” he said.

The research team is already working to start human clinical trials to test the effectiveness of the Pastillas para Bajar de Peso Rapido new compound in the treatment of obesity and metabolic diseases.

Fexaramina compound does not dissolve in the blood as appetite suppressants medications or diet based caffeine, but remains in the intestine, which causes less side effects, as is study.

Evans lab devoted nearly two decades to study the fernesoide X receptor (FXR), a protein involved in the release of bile acids in the liver, digestion of food and storage of fats and sugars.

The human body activates FXR at the beginning of the meal to prepare for the arrival of food, so that not only triggers the release of bile acids for digestion, but modifies the levels of blood sugar and causes the body to burn some fats.

Pharmaceutical companies have already developed systemic drugs that activate FXR to treat obesity, diabetes, liver disease and other metabolic, but such drugs affect various organs and cause side effects, according to the article.

Evans considered whether activate FXR only in the intestine rather than in intestine, liver, kidneys and adrenal glands while, could have a different result.

Thus, they developed a compound that fexaramina be administered orally in the gut acted alone, without reaching into the bloodstream, so that decreased side effects and made it more effective to curb weight gain.

When scientists administered to obese mice a daily pill for five weeks, they failed to gain weight, lose fat and lowered their blood sugar levels and cholesterol, compared to untreated animals.

Since the compound of fexaramina does not reach the bloodstream it may be safer in humans than other medicines that aims to activate FXR, adds the study.

The UNC declares institutional interest a scientific survey of the university student population about alcohol and other substances

La UNC declara de interés institucional una encuesta científica a la población estudiantil universitaria sobre consumo del alcohol y otras sustancias

The National University of Cordoba said institutional interest an initiative by a research team at the Faculty of psychology to carry forward the project of Longitudinal Best Survey Sites on Alcohol (ELSA), and thus identify groups with risk of problematic consumption patterns.

The scientific work will be applied on a sample of at least 4000 students from UNC, aged between 18 and 25 years, belonging to different races, and perpetrators are researchers of CONICET and the Faculty of psychology, Angelina Pilatti and Ricardo Pautassi.

What will seek to know are paths of college students drinking from your income and years of education. In addition, the factors that have greater effect on the forecast of consumption of alcohol and other substances, as well as the problems associated with these practices will be identified.

In this sense, different questionnaires investigate the socio-demographic information of the subjects (age, sex, socioeconomic status, etc.); consumption of alcohol and other substances; tobacco and drugs; problems associated with alcohol (occupational, academic, interpersonal problems, conduct of risk, etc.); perception of parents of students consumption; and it will also seek to gather information to build a family history of alcohol abuse.

Pioneering research

The UNC scientists aims to follow participants for approximately five years studied. Had already made a first preliminary work from the cohort who started in 2014.

The ELSA, Angelina Pilatti, project director explains: “substance use is a behavior with characteristic and changing patterns that require frequent and regular measurements. The systematic measurement of substance use behaviours is fundamental for, on the one hand, know what the status of this problem and, on the other hand, identify changes or trends in the use of these substances over time.”

In this way, through the use of questionnaires, each year will collect new information from the sample “to create an observatory that register and identify the behaviour of consumption of this population. “We plan to follow the participants from 2016 to 2020, and so on”, says Pilatti.

According to the team, in Argentina there are no epidemiological studies focusing on the University population and no longitudinal research – which are studying a group of people over a period of time – that allow analyzing trajectories of consumption and develop theoretical models. This information is necessary to identify people at risk of becoming dependent and develop prevention plans.

“We will improve our understanding of the behaviour of consumption and its consequences, and risk factors,” says Pilatti.

“We will be able, for example, generate profiles who are freshmen at the UNC that with risk of developing problems with alcohol.” These profiles can be used in screenings socio-health to detect individuals and thus to guide clinical decisions or public policy. “In short: you can make decisions and develop plans based on scientific evidence”, complete the researcher.

Alcohol and college students
According to the international scientific literature, the excessive consumption of alcohol among college students is an important public health problem in several countries, such as United States, Italy and Sweden. In the country’s North, for example, research indicates that half of the students exhibit consumption “binge” (when swallowed, once same, 56/70 grams of alcohol in women and in men). 20% of U.S. students, moreover, have abuse and suffer from dependency. This last group is more likely to experience negative consequences including failures of academic performance, fainting, unplanned and unsafe sex, sexual, physical aggressions and accidents. The consequences are also long-term, since some students keep this pattern of problematic use throughout the race. We found that 43% of young people aged 18-19 who were diagnosed with alcohol abuse disorder continued to maintain that diagnosis seven years later, that is, when they were 25 years old.

10 films for fans of science

The cinema has always nourished daily life to make his best films. One of the points most commonly used is the science: from cloning to super – technological inventions, science is part of the seventh art. The following is a list of 10 (and some more) films for science lovers. Not for its cinematic style criticize or judge here theirsuccesses and scientific errors , let ‘s face it : none of that matters. The cinema and science is the best combination of all … especially for a rainy day and visiting movie25.

No. 10 Jurassic Park (1993)

In this classic science fiction , although some it may seem a movie without much sense, because it raises an important fact about cloning: problems bring to mind some extinct species . If we consider that today is talk of cloning a mammoth,Jurassic Park was not so wrong.

No. 9 A Beautiful Mind (2001)

This film is based on the life of John Nash  who was one of the most important men of the contemporary economy through the development of game theory.Nash had schizophrenia , and despite his illness he managed to become a globally recognized academic prestigious . Nash died on May 23, 2015 with his wife in atraffic accident .

No. 8 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

A classic among science fiction films and lovers of science in general, Kubrick made a film in which scientists try a lot of problems about human evolution and artificial intelligence. In the film there is a buried beneath the surface of the moon object, and with the intelligent computer HAL 9000 aboard embark on a mission to discover what it is. It takes no great analysis: Stanley Kubrick was a visionary of what would be many years later, technology and space exploration missions .

No. 7 Contact (1997)

In this film, Ellie Arroway Dr. checks extraterrestrial life existence through radio contact. The aliens send him to build a mysterious machine that will have consequences for all mankind. While it has a caliper more science fiction than science impossible – that a satellite orbiting earth man – made could be used to simulate a sign of a star- poses something today scientists ask themselves : there extraterrestrial life ? It is also based on the only novel written by  Carl Sagan .

No. 6 Wall-E (2008)

This animated film Pixar is led by two robots will be responsible for changing the history of mankind. Not only the issue of robots in question but also to live on other planets, pollution and climate change . It is one of those movies that seem to guys but actually have a great message for adults; something that Pixar always knew how to handle very well.

No. 5 The Truman Show (1998)

Today we can not live without technology, and gradually we realize that we are at the mercy of no privacy. What is different about this film starring Jim Carrey , where his whole life is a sham filmed and televised?

This film takes the form of an Orwellian dystopia type in which the main character is a victim of the evolution of an increasingly dehumanized society. If you doubt this film is itself a reference to the work 1984 , by George Orwell in which there is aBig Brother all – seeing, all – knowing. In turn, it is impossible not to relate Carrey’s character with the Wild Brave New World , the literary work of Aldous Huxley .

# 4 Back to the Future (1985)

It is a classic film of time travel in which Marty McFly back to the past to meet their parents, help them fall in love and try to go home. Is very well travel in time, though probably not accept a DeLorean as a time machine strictly scientific.

No. 3 Minority Report (2002)

Based on a short story by Phillip K. Dick, the film presents a future in which crimes are seen by psychics and held back by police before committing the act. Although it may sound good in principle, the film shows it has some bugs that are impossible to overcome. Something similar was approached by the TV seriesPerson of Interest .

# 2 The Man from Earth (2007)

This film is about a university professor John Oldman- who is interrogated after an impromptu farewell party because tests have shown that this is a Cro-Magnonbearing on earth fourteen thousand years. The film is a constant pose and intellectual discussion among scientists. Highly recommended.

No. 1 Interstellar (2014)

Perhaps the best film of this list, at least from the point of view of scientific successes. Interstellar is the first science fiction film that is acclaimed and approved unanimously by the scientific community. Touch sensitive issues such a precise and careful so that nothing escapes the script. Space-time singularities,wormholes , black holes, planetary exploration, extraterrestrial life … everything!This movie has it all! And  Matthew McConaughey , of course, that always makes everything much more attractive.

# Bonus: Gravity (2013)

With Sandra Bullock and George Clooney nothing can go wrong, right? Well, actually, this film itself took many flowers, but also a lot of criticism for his scientific errors. Personally I think it is one of the most interesting and creative films of recent times. Photography, special effects and the level of the cast were able to overcome any scientific inaccuracies, at least from my point of view.

Meteorite through the roof of a house in Uruguay

Came from the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter

A meteor crossed at an estimated 250 kilometers per hour the roof of a house in the Uruguayan city of Maldonado (southeast), a fact that speed there have been fewer than 15 cases in the last 100 years, said Tuesday the Faculty of Sciences of the University of the Republic of Uruguay.

The meteorite, 712 grams of weight and a density of 3.4 grams per cubic centimeter, higher than most terrestrial rocks according to sources, crossed the wooden roof construction and roofing slate at a speed estimated at 250 km per hour and broke the mattress of a bed and a television.

As explained by the director of the Department of Astronomy at the Faculty of Science at the Matrix Roofing Melbourne, Gonzalo Tancredi, the meteorite comes from the ” main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter .”

“There are some objects that escape from the area and come to cross the orbit of the Earth and can impact against our planet,” he added based on scientific studies that have been done on these objects.

The incident took place on 18 September and the family of the affected house investigators contacted the Department of Astronomy at the Faculty of Udelar to study the piece.

From the analysis, which helped researchers at the National Museum of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) and the Institute of Astronomical Sciences, Earth and Space San Juan (Argentina), the meteorite was originally classified as “Rocky . type gap ”
Tancredi said there are basically two types of meteorites: metallic and rocky.

The first are denser and are composed mainly of iron and nickel, while rock silicates and have a lower proportion of iron and nickel.

As to what “type gap , ” the scientist said that is because its internal structure is “totally fragmented.”
Is currently underway chemical and petrological analysis of the object in order to establish a more specific classification of the piece , which provide more information about its’ origin and age. ”

The fragment presents a “slight magnetism to be attracted by a magnet” -due to the presence of iron and has a black crust on the surface, the result of high temperatures when entering the atmosphere over 11 kilometers per second and be air braking, which produced the fusion of rock.

Furthermore, other characteristics, the surface has similar markings to fingerprints, called ‘regmaglypts’, which are produced by molding hot air flows over the rock.

According to the Faculty of Sciences Udelar in the last 100 years there have been fewer than 15 cases worldwide where a meteorite affects construction, as the case happened in the city of San Carlos, in the town of maldonado.

The characteristics of the rock is expected to be part of a larger rock that broke up upon entering the atmosphere, so an initial search of more fragments was performed within three or four kilometers around the house, though so far not found more, it indicates the text submitted by the academic center.