Diana is a freelance science journalist based in Berlin, Germany whose work has appeared both in print and online in numerous outlets including Scientific American, The Scientist, and Quartz.
Our relationship with microbes begins early in life. As an infant passes from the womb to the world through her mother’s birth canal, she is exposed to a multitude of bacteria and fungi. Although a handful of studies now suggest that the womb may not be sterile as many once believed, microbes are much more abundant in the outside world.
A growing body of research suggests that for some people, even slight changes in this balance may be linked with panic disorder and other psychiatric conditions. Recent findings provide further evidence that such links are real—and suggest they may extend to schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
With increasing publication fees and a growing shift towards open access, academic institutions across Europe are pushing for better contracts with publishing companies.
For kids in Singapore, the pressure for academic success is intense. After the regular six- to eight-hour school day, many children attend extra classes at private schools and devote long hours to homework in the evening. In recent decades as study hours have expanded, so has the country’s rate of nearsightedness—to epidemic proportions.
Converging evidence has revealed that growing up in the city doubles the risk of developing psychosis later in life. Studies have also begun to find that urban environments may heighten the risk of other mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.
Under certain circumstances, shame may spur positive change, including cooperation and a desire to make amends. Psychologists are finding that there are many shades of shame—some better than others in promoting constructive behavior—and that the way we communicate disapproval to a wrongdoer can lead to drastically different outcomes.