top ten research highlights

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


Health: Sleep duration in middle age associated with dementia risk

Nature Communications, April 21, 2021

Regularly sleeping six hours or fewer per night during middle age is associated with a greater risk of dementia, according to a new study of nearly 8,000 British adults followed over 25 years, published this week in Nature Communications. These findings cannot establish cause and effect, but suggest a link exists between sleep duration and dementia risk.

Nearly 10,000,000 new cas...

doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-22354-2

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Engineering: Inflatable origami structures stand up to pressure

Nature, April 22, 2021

An origami-inspired approach to produce inflatable structures, such as arches or shelters, that lock into place after deployment is described in Nature this week. The research may pave the way to using large origami structures for engineering.

Structures that are compact enough for transportation but can transform into large configurations can have multiple applications, from bou...

doi: 10.1038/s41586-021-03407-4

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Environmental science: Assessing the impact of hazardous waste sites on human health

Nature Communications, April 14, 2021

Living in close proximity to a superfund site (an area contaminated with hazardous substances) in the United States may decrease average life expectancy by 0.2 years, according to a new study in Nature Communications. These impacts could be further exacerbated by sociodemographic disadvantage and the impacts of climate change, the research suggests.

Millions of people across the United ...

doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-22249-2

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Genetics: Deciphering the ancestry of the Pacific region

Nature, April 15, 2021

A detailed analysis of the population history of the Pacific region is revealed in this week’s Nature. The genomic study sheds light on human evolution, mixing between species of hominins, and the adaptations that occur in response to living in island environments.

The Pacific region can be divided into Near Oceania, which includes Papua New Guinea, the Bismarck archipelago and...

doi: 10.1038/s41586-021-03236-5

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Climate change: Accelerated global glacier mass loss in the twenty-first century

Nature, April 29, 2021

Global glacier mass loss during the past two decades has accelerated, according to a study published in Nature. The estimates, based on high resolution mapping of over 200,000 glaciers (nearly all glaciers on Earth), have notably reduced uncertainties compared to the latest IPCC report and recent global studies. Understanding how glaciers melt over time, and how this modifies regional hy...

doi: 10.1038/s41586-021-03436-z

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Agriculture: Wake up and smell the more climate-resilient coffee

Nature Plants, April 20, 2021

A rare and little-known species of wild coffee from West Africa is shown to have a similar flavour profile to high-quality Arabica coffee, but with greater tolerance for higher temperatures and rainfall variability. The findings, published in Nature Plants, could aid the development of more climate-resilient coffee crops that also satisfy the flavour attributes required for widespread co...

doi: 10.1038/s41477-021-00891-4

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Family socioeconomic status may be correlated with intelligence test scores and brain development

Communications Biology, April 30, 2021

Family socioeconomic status during childhood appears to correlate with intelligence test scores and measures of brain development, according to a study published in Communications Biology. The study involved over 200 Japanese children and took place over a 3-year period.

The socioeconomic status of a child’s family—measured as family income and the length of time parents had ...

doi: 10.1038/s42003-021-01974-w

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Scientific community: Affirmative action can achieve gender equity in Australian astronomy by 2050

Nature Astronomy, April 20, 2021

Gender equity in the Australian astronomy workforce is attainable only through affirmative action, but it would still take 25 years to achieve, according to a study published in Nature Astronomy.

Discussions around the representation of women in astronomy have been picking up over recent years, as part of — and often leading — the broader discussion about discrimination and e...

doi: 10.1038/s41550-021-01341-z

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Sustainability: 72% of the world’s population lacks resource security

Nature Sustainability, April 26, 2021

In 2017, 72% of people around the world lived in countries with both natural resource deficits and below world-average income, according to a study published in Nature Sustainability. These findings highlight the vulnerability of national economies exposed to natural resource constraints, and may explain how such countries end up in ecological poverty traps.

To maintain progress ...

doi: 10.1038/s41893-021-00708-4

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Ecology: Understanding the make-up of central Africa’s forests

Nature, April 22, 2021

A map of the make-up of central Africa’s forests highlights the vulnerability of key regions in response to potential future climate and anthropogenic changes. The map, revealed in this week’s Nature, provides a benchmark for scientists and policymakers drawing up strategies to protect this vital resource.

Central Africa is home to the world’s second largest rainforest, but as the...

doi: 10.1038/s41586-021-03483-6

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