top ten research highlights

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

26 March 2019 ~ 25 April 2019

  • Environment: Increase in plastics in North Atlantic Ocean since 1990s confirmed

    Nature Communications, April 17, 2019

    There has been a significant increase in the amount of plastic in the North Atlantic Ocean and adjacent seas since the 1990s according to a paper published in Nature Communications. Using records of plastic entanglement on a marine sampling instrument, the study provides data on the occurrence of oceanic plastic from 1957 to 2016. It also presents some of the earliest records of plastics in the...

    Original article doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-09506-1

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  • Engineering: A cool new way to refrigerate

    Nature, March 28, 2019

    Plastic crystals may be a promising material for the development of new refrigeration technologies with reduced energy use and environmental impact, suggests a paper in Nature this week. Novel approaches to cooling are desirable, as current refrigeration technologies are estimated to consume around 25-30% of the world’s electricity.

    Most conventional refrigeration systems use vapour c...

    Original article doi: 10.1038/s41586-019-1042-5

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  • Animal behavior: Sun bears mimic their playmates’ facial expressions

    Scientific Reports, March 22, 2019

    Sun bears produce facial expressions that mimic with precision those of their playmates, according to an initial study published in Scientific Reports. This facial mimicry, which seems to allow the bears to communicate in an efficient, effective and precise way, had previously not been observed in non-domesticated, non-primate species.

    Marina Davila-Ross and colleagues studied the fac...

    Original article doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-39932-6

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  • Neuroscience: Can dogs sniff out seizures?

    Scientific Reports, March 29, 2019

    Dogs may be able to detect a specific scent associated with epileptic seizures in humans, according to a small study in Scientific Reports. The preliminary results suggest that seizures may be anticipated in the future, using their odour characteristics.

    Previous research has shown that diseases such as breast or lung cancer are associated with specific changes in bodily odours. However...

    Original article doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-40721-4

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  • Climate science: China's ability to meet Paris Agreement targets evaluated

    Nature Communications, March 27, 2019

    China’s carbon emissions are likely to peak before 2030, suggests an analysis of current emission-reduction policies published in Nature Communications. However, the modelling study concludes that China’s commitments, as laid out in the Paris Agreement, will only be met if there is full and effective implementation of all current policies, successful conclusion of power-sector reform, and f...

    Original article doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-09159-0

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  • Ecology: Status of Britain’s wild pollinating insects assessed

    Nature Communications, March 27, 2019

    An assessment of changes in the areas of Britain occupied by wild pollinator bee and hoverfly species between 1980 and 2013 is presented in Nature Communications. The study reports that a third of the species experienced declines. However, key bee species responsible for crop pollination increased.

    Pollinator loss is a widespread concern with implications for food production and threats...

    Original article doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-08974-9

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  • New neurons develop in the human brain into old age

    Nature Medicine, March 26, 2019

    New neurons continuously develop in the healthy human brain up to the ninth decade of life, according to a paper published online this week in Nature Medicine. The study also finds that the formation of new neurons drops considerably in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

    The majority of neurons in the brain are already in place by the time of birth. The formation of new neurons in a...

    Original article doi: 10.1038/s41591-019-0375-9

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  • Ageing: Mechanism underlying youthful and ageing skin in mice

    Nature, April 4, 2019

    Competition between stem cells, driven by a specific collagen protein (COL17A1), is critical to maintain ‘youthful’ skin in mice, but with time also causes the skin to age, reports a paper published online in Nature this week. The work also identifies compounds that could potentially represent a new anti-ageing intervention.

    Aged skin is characterized by thinning, fragility and de...

    Original article doi: 10.1038/s41586-019-1085-7

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  • Microplastics travel on the breeze

    Nature Geoscience, April 16, 2019

    Microplastics can travel through the atmosphere and end up in regions far from their original emission source, reports a paper published online this week in Nature Geoscience.

    Microplastics are very small pieces of plastic waste that have been found in rivers, oceans and pristine polar regions. Previous research has suggested that microplastics have reached oceans by traveling long dist...

    Original article doi: 10.1038/s41561-019-0335-5

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  • Animal behaviour: How mice adapt to life in space

    Scientific Reports, April 12, 2019

    The first detailed behavioural analysis of mice flown in the NASA Rodent Habitat on the International Space Station (ISS) is reported in a study in Scientific Reports. This animal study could help us to understand more about how exposure to a weightless space environment for extended durations might affect humans.

    April Ronca and colleagues recorded videos of 20 female mice (16 and 32 w...

    Original article doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-40789-y

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