Top findings from the past month.
This month, NYU researchers found that specific brain cell signals underlie a mother's "basic mammalian instinct" to grab her wandering offspring and return them to the next, that we'll pay a premium for the junk food that we crave, and that people with diabetes visit the dentist less frequently than others, despite the link between diabetes and periodontal disease.
Environmental studies researchers showed that, contrary to a common accusation, the news media are not all "doom and gloom" when it comes to reporting on climate change: In fact, optimistic language appeared in more than a quarter of analyzed articles about the state of the oceans, with more than half the stories suggesting potential solutions to problems described.
Computational biologists developed an algorithm that can "align" multiple sequencing datasets with single-cell resolution—a method that could lead to better understanding of how different groups of cells change during disease progression, in response to drug treatment, or across evolution.
Psychologists showed that the process of phrase building in sign language engaged the same parts of the brain as phrase building in spoken language, and with similar timing.
Crescent dunes and meandering rivers can "forget" their original shapes as they are carved and reshaped by wind and water, while other landforms keep a "memory" of their their past shape, a new laboratory analysis by a team of mathematicians found.
An NYU College of Dentistry study identified effective school-based cavity prevention programs, while School of Medicine researchers showed that, when compared to non-drinkers, men and women who had one or more alcoholic drinks per day had an overabundance of oral bacteria linked to gum disease, some cancers, and heart disease.
Tandon chemical and biomolecular engineer Jin K. Montclare developed a protein-engineered triblock copolymer that can self-assemble into hydrogels, absorbent networks of natural or synthetic polymer chains. These can be used to get drugs to a targeted body part, such as a knee, or be used in regenerative medicine to improve or replace human cells, tissues, or organs.