Altmetric’s High Five – Human Health Scares and Origin of Species (June 2017)
Welcome to the Altmetric High Five in association with the Science Council. On a monthly basis, the High Five posts examine a selection of the most popular research outputs Altmetric has seen attention for that month.
The original post can be found on the Altmetric blog. Links to all papers included can be found in the Reference section at the end.
1. Obesity and health
Our first High Five paper is “Health Effects of Overweight and Obesity in 195 Countries over 25 Years,” published in The New England Journal of Medicine in June 2017. The study analyses data from over 68 million people to “assess the trends in the prevalence of overweight and obesity among children and adults between 1980 and 2015” and quantify disease related to high body-mass index (BMI).
Nearly 200 news outlets covered the study, which was also tweeted by the thousands.
2. This is your brain on alcohol
Our second High Five paper is “Moderate alcohol consumption as risk factor for adverse brain outcomes and cognitive decline: longitudinal cohort study,” published in BMJ in June.
The researchers found effects of moderate alcohol consumption on hippocampal function. Contrary to previous scientific research hinting that moderate alcohol consumption can protect people against some negative health impacts, Topiwala and colleagues in the UK found no such protective effects of alcohol consumption. Instead, they found declines in hippocampus size and function over time, as well as cognitive function in terms of being able to remember information based on spelling.
Over 200 news outlets covered the study.
Papers #3 and #4: The origin of our species
Our next High Five paper is twofer. The first is “New fossils from Jebel Irhoud, Morocco and the pan-African origin of Homo sapiens,” published in Nature in June. In the second paper, published in Nature at the same time, “The age of the hominin fossils from Jebel Irhoud, Morocco, and the origins of the Middle Stone Age,” researchers “report the ages, determined by thermoluminescence dating, of fire-heated flint artefacts obtained from new excavations at the Middle Stone Age site of Jebel Irhoud, Morocco, which are directly associated with newly discovered remains of H. sapiens.”
The authors of the first study report newly discovered human fossils from Jebel Irhoud, Morocco, and evidence that this fossil site is the “oldest and richest African Middle Stone Age hominin site that documents early stages of the H. sapiens clade in which key features of modern morphology were established.”
Over 200 news outlets and 25 blogs covered these studies.
5. Increases in deadly heat waves
Our next High Five paper is a letter in Nature Climate Change on the “Global risk of deadly heat.” While heat waves descended upon the western United States in June, over 130 news outlets covered this study.