top ten research highlights

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


Drug discovery: Designer drugs for diabetes

Nature, September 26, 2019

A potential new treatment for type 2 diabetes has multiple, positive effects on health and metabolism in mice, reports a study in Nature. The new drug might have potential for treating a variety of disorders in addition to type 2 diabetes, such as muscle atrophy, although clinical trials in humans are needed.

An estimated 370 million people currently live with type 2 diabetes, and the...

doi: 10.1038/s41586-019-1601-9

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Palaeontology: New Australian pterosaur may have survived the longest

Scientific Reports, October 4, 2019

The discovery of a previously unknown species of pterosaur, which may have persisted as late as the Turonian period (90 - 93 million years ago), is reported in Scientific Reports this week. The fossil, which includes parts of the skull and five vertebrae, is the most complete pterosaur specimen ever found in Australia. The findings suggest it may be a late-surviving member of the Anhanguera gen...

doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-49789-4

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Geography, not genetics, influences the American pika’s response to climate

Nature Climate Change, September 24, 2019

Geography, not genetics, influences the American pika’s response to climate

Understanding why variability in responses exists within a species, and how it affects that species’ adaptability to a changing climate, is important for conservation efforts. Previously, such variability was thought to be caused by genetic differences between populations. The pika, a small relative of r...

doi: 10.1038/s41558-019-0584-8

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Archaeology: Prehistoric baby bottles

Nature, September 26, 2019

Small, spouted vessels found in Bronze and Iron Age graves of infants in Bavaria were probably used to feed animal milk to babies and small children. Analyses of these artefacts, presented in Nature this week, provide insights into the infant weaning practices of prehistoric human groups.

Pottery vessels with spouts through which liquid could be poured have been found dating back to N...

doi: 10.1038/s41586-019-1572-x

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Health sciences: Mapping inequality in child deaths

Nature, October 17, 2019

A detailed global map of death rates in children under five years of age from low- and middle-income countries, reported in Nature, estimates that 123 million children died between 2000 and 2017. The study explores how a child’s risk of dying before the age of five varies depending on where they are born. Examining the causes of these inequalities could help to inform policies and public heal...

doi: 10.1038/s41586-019-1545-0

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Planetary science: Ancient salty lakes on Mars

Nature Geoscience, October 8, 2019

Salt-bearing sediments within the Gale crater on Mars, detected by NASA’s rover Curiosity, suggest that salty lakes were once present at this location. The findings, presented in Nature Geoscience this week, echo previous inferences from satellite observations that the red planet underwent a transition to arid climates in this time frame, around 3.5 billion years ago.

A diverse ra...

doi: 10.1038/s41561-019-0458-8

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Medical research: Modelling vocal folds in a dish

Nature Communications, September 25, 2019

A system to produce a 3D model of human vocal fold tissue (called mucosa) in the laboratory is reported in a study in Nature Communications. When exposed to cigarette smoke, the tissue replicates the response seen in the human larynx, namely, inflammation. This model could enable the study of drugs and treatments for vocal fold diseases or damage.

The vocal folds are the basis of our ...

doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-12069-w

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Earth sciences: Traffic light system for earthquake classification

Nature, October 10, 2019

A simple traffic light classification system that can be used to indicate the probability of a subsequent larger event following an earthquake is reported this week in Nature. The approach may help with managing responses after an earthquake.

Large earthquakes are often followed by aftershocks that are difficult to predict and can sometimes be bigger than the original event. Curren...

doi: 10.1038/s41586-019-1606-4

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Ecology: Fisheries could help to tackle nutrient deficiencies

Nature, September 26, 2019

Current levels of production from fisheries could improve the nutritional status of some of the most nutrient-deficient countries in the world, suggests a study published online in Nature.

Deficiencies in micronutrients account for approximately one million premature deaths each year. However, a lack of data on the nutritional composition of most fish, and how nutrient yields vary amo...

doi: 10.1038/s41586-019-1592-6

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Keep organs cool for transplantation

Nature Metabolism, October 1, 2019

Rapid cooling of animal and human donor hearts may decrease the accumulation of a chemical that damages the tissue after transplantation, according to a new study in Nature Metabolism. These findings may lead to improved solutions for the storage of the limited pool of donor organs worldwide.

Storage of donor hearts in cold preservation solution is common practice in transplantation m...

doi: 10.1038/s42255-019-0115-y

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