top ten research highlights

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


Planetary science: Mineral dust may increase habitability of exoplanets

Nature Communications, June 10, 2020

Atmospheric mineral dust may increase the potential habitability of exoplanets suggests a study this week in Nature Communications. The findings highlight the need to consider the potential effects of dust when studying terrestrial exoplanets.

The so-called ‘habitable zone’ is the region around a star where an Earth-like planet may host liquid water at its surface. As such...

doi: 10.1038/s41467-020-16543-8

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Drug discovery: A new candidate for HIV treatment

Nature, July 2, 2020

A new, long-acting antiretroviral agent that shows potential for the treatment of HIV infection is described in Nature this week. Preliminary clinical studies demonstrate a reduction in the viral load in patients with HIV after a single dose of the agent, which can remain active in the body for more than six months after administration.

Daily oral doses of antiretroviral drugs...

doi: 10.1038/s41586-020-2443-1

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Neuroscience: Identifying a mammalian ‘snooze button’

Nature, June 11, 2020

Neuronal circuits that can trigger a state similar to hibernation in rodents are identified in two studies published in Nature this week. Artificial induction of a hibernation-like state could eventually have potential medical applications for humans, although this effect has not been tested in people.

Hibernating animals can lower their body temperature to reduce energy expen...

doi: 10.1038/s41586-020-2163-6

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Palaeontology: Ancient footprints may belong to two-legged crocodile, not giant pterosaur

Scientific Reports, June 12, 2020

The discovery of large well-preserved footprints belonging to an ancestor of modern-day crocodiles from the Lower Cretaceous Jinju Formation of South Korea is reported this week in Scientific Reports. The study suggests that footprints found previously, thought to have been made by giant pterosaurs walking on two legs, may have instead been made by ancient crocodile relatives.

doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-66008-7

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Technology: A pocket-sized device that can help prevent methanol poisoning

Nature Food, June 16, 2020

A palm-sized portable testing device paired with a smartphone app that can test methanol levels in alcoholic drinks is reported in a paper published in Nature Food. This system can allow consumers, distillers, law enforcement and healthcare workers to easily check alcoholic beverages for poisonous amounts of methanol, and potentially avoid lethal methanol poisoning.

Alcoholic b...

doi: 10.1038/s43016-020-0095-9

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Neuroscience: Restoring lost brain cells in neurodegenerative disease

Nature, June 25, 2020

A single-step method to convert non-neuronal brain cells into functional neurons, demonstrated in isolated human cells and in mice, is reported in Nature this week. The technique is shown to reverse symptoms of Parkinson’s disease in a mouse model of the disease, and may represent a new approach to explore for the treatment of neurodegenerative conditions./p>

A major goal of reg...

doi: 10.1038/s41586-020-2388-4

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Quantum physics: Exotic matter on the International Space Station

Nature, June 11, 2020

The generation of the fifth state of matter, Bose–Einstein condensates, onboard the International Space Station is reported in Nature this week. Exploiting the microgravity environment of space will allow scientists to explore fundamental physics in this exotic form of matter.

A Bose–Einstein condensate is a state of matter formed when a gas of bosons (such as rubidium atoms)...

doi: 10.1038/s41586-020-2346-1

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Palaeontology: Hard evidence for the evolution of soft eggs

Nature, June 18, 2020

Two studies that shed light on the evolution of amniote eggs are published in Nature this week. One study suggests that the first dinosaurs may have laid soft-shelled eggs, a finding at odds with the prevailing view that dinosaurs laid hard-shelled eggs. The second study describes a large, soft-shelled egg from Antarctica, the first known fossil egg ever to have been found in the contin...

doi: 10.1038/s41586-020-2412-8

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Veterinary medicine: Risk factors for heatstroke in UK dogs

Scientific Reports, June 19, 2020

Dogs that are older and heavier than their breed average or that have flat faces are at higher risk of heat-related illness, according to a study in Scientific Reports.

Emily Hall and colleagues investigated the incidence of heatstroke in dogs, using anonymized electronic records from 905,543 dogs under veterinary care in the UK in 2016, including 395 (0.04%) confirmed instance...

doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-66015-8

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Cancer: A 'fasting mimicking' diet may aid chemotherapy

Nature Communications, June 24, 2020

A 'fasting mimicking' diet may enhance the effects of initial rounds of chemotherapy in patients with breast cancer, according to a randomized, controlled phase 2 clinical trial published in Nature Communications. Fasting mimicking diets are low-calorie, low-protein diets developed to elicit similar metabolic responses to those caused by water-only fasting.

Preclinical evidence ...

doi: 10.1038/s41467-020-16138-3

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