top ten research highlights

The following highlights are the top ten most viewed research highlights on the English website of during the past month.


Climate Change: Hot temperatures and early childbirth

Nature Climate Change, December 3, 2019

An average of 25,000 infants per year were born earlier as a result of hot weather, with a loss of more than 150,000 gestational days annually in the United States from 1969 to 1988, suggests a paper published in Nature Climate Change. Hot weather can cause an increase in deliveries on the day of exposure, with births occurring up two weeks early.

Increased exposure to hot weather du...

doi: 10.1038/s41558-019-0632-4

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Evolution: New species of Early Cretaceous dino-bird shook its tail feather

Communications Biology, November 15, 2019

The fossil of a previously unknown species of bird found in Japan is reported in a paper in Communications Biology. This specimen, which lived during the Early Cretaceous around 120 million years ago, may increase our understanding of early bird evolution.

The Archaeopteryx from the Late Jurassic (around 160 to 140 million years ago) found in Germany is generally considered to be the ...

doi: 10.1038/s42003-019-0639-4

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Physics: A sound design for 3D displays

Nature, November 14, 2019

A system that can generate a 3D image that can also emit sound and provide a tactile response when ‘touched’ is reported in Nature. The prototype, which resembles displays seen in science-fiction movies such as Star Wars, may have applications in biomedical and computational-fabrication fields.

Ryuji Hirayama and colleagues created the Multimodal Acoustic Trap Display, which can...

doi: 10.1038/s41586-019-1739-5

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Engineering: New virtual-reality device has skin in the game

Nature, November 21, 2019

A wireless, touch-sensitive interface that can softly layer over skin is reported in a paper published this week in Nature. This apparatus can communicate information through mechanical vibrations and can be used as a virtual-reality (VR) synthetic skin with applications in social media, prosthetic control and video gaming.

Many previous approaches to create a communicative VR ‘skin...

doi: 10.1038/s41586-019-1687-0

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Environment: Value of national parks’ impact on mental health estimated

Nature Communications, November 13, 2019

National parks could provide an economic value of around US $6 trillion per year globally in the improved mental health of their visitors according to initial estimates in a Perspective published in Nature Communications. The findings are based on calculations from pilot studies and more detailed analysis is required to refine the estimates.

The economic costs of poor mental healt...

doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-12631-6

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Astronomy: The first global geological map of Titan

Nature Astronomy, November 19, 2019

The first global geological map of Saturn’s moon Titan is presented in a paper in Nature Astronomy this week. This map, drawn using data from Cassini, will add to our understanding of the history and evolution of Titan.

Titan is the only moon of the Solar System with a dense atmosphere and a full, methane-based hydrological cycle, which has a significant impact on its surface and ev...

doi: 10.1038/s41550-019-0917-6

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Climate Change: Environmental stress negatively impacts women in climate hotspots

Nature Climate Change, November 26, 2019

Environmental stress negatively affects women’s agency - the ability to make meaningful choices and strategic decisions - in climate hotspots in Africa and Asia, suggests a paper published in Nature Climate Change. Such stressors can lead to household adaptation strategies that increase the responsibilities and burdens women face.

Entrenched social structures, reinforced at househo...

doi: 10.1038/s41558-019-0638-y

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Ecology: Lost deer-like species ‘rediscovered’

Nature Ecology & Evolution, November 12, 2019

A species of deer-like ungulate that was thought lost to science has been discovered living in the wild in Vietnam, reports a study in Nature Ecology & Evolution. Previously, the last known record of the silver-backed chevrotain was a hunter-killed specimen from 1990, but researchers have now photographed the species alive for the first time in 30 years.

The Greater Annamites Ecoregio...

doi: 10.1038/s41559-019-1027-7

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Environment: Levels of lithium in waterways of Seoul assessed

Nature Communications, December 4, 2019

Lithium from electronics and batteries may be entering rivers and contaminating tap water in Seoul, South Korea, suggests a paper in Nature Communications. The study suggests that lithium concentrations in waterways are correlated with population density, and that waste-water treatment plants appear to be ineffective at removing this element.

The popularity and demand for mobile p...

doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-13376-y

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Biomedical engineering: Neuron on a chip

Nature Communications, December 4, 2019

A method to produce silicon chips that reproduce the electrical behaviour of biological neurons is presented in Nature Communications this week. The approach could lead to the development of bionic chips to repair biological circuits in the nervous system when regulation of functions is lost as a result of disease.

Alain Nogaret and colleagues designed microcircuits modelling ion ch...

doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-13177-3

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