Count down the top 10 Futurity posts of 2021

Happy new year and thank you for reading Futurity! To say goodbye to 2021, we’re counting down our top 10 posts of the year.

This year, we published more than 1,750 stories on Futurity and just under 6.5 million users have visited the site.

Whether you’re a new reader or a long-time fan, we hope you’ve been able to find useful, entertaining, thought-provoking research news on the site in 2021.

Here are the 10 most popular posts on the site from the past year:

10. How mRNA and adenovirus vaccines work

Though this story comes from the end of 2020, COVID vaccines have defined so much of 2021. Here’s a primer on how mRNA vaccines like those that work against COVID-19 actually work.

9. Drug relieves chronic pain without the addiction risk

“Low-dose naltrexone begins to address the cause of pain and not just mask it, which allows us to better target diseases causing chronic pain, as well as potentially consider pain control outside of opioid use,” says Elizabeth Hatfield, a clinical lecturer in the oral and maxillofacial surgery department and hospital dentistry at the University of Michigan.

8. Algorithm takes the grunt work out of quilting

“…we wanted to produce a digital tool that lets people design the patterns that they want to design without having to think through all of the geometry, ordering, and constraints,” says Stanford University computer science graduate student Mackenzie Leake.

7. Humans may have set foot in North America way earlier than thought

The first humans may have arrived in North America more than 30,000 years ago—nearly 20,000 years earlier than originally thought, researchers report.

6. Green tea discovery upends ideas about its health benefits

This research cast doubt on previous assumptions about how ingredients in green tea work to promote health.

5. Lonely older adults live fewer years and not as well

“Besides being the year associated with the coronavirus disease, 2019 was also when the number of adults aged over 30 made up half the total global population for the first time in recorded history, marking the start of an increasingly aging world,” says Angelique Chan, associate professor and executive director of at Duke-NUS’ Centre for Aging Research and Education (CARE). “In consequence, loneliness among seniors has become an issue of social and public health concern.”

4. 500 sourdough starters from 4 continents yield surprises

With the rise of baking during the pandemic, this research digs into the environmental factors that contribute to each sourdough starter’s microbial ecosystem.

3. Sleep ‘sweet spot’ may mean less cognitive decline

Like so many other good things in life, sleep is best in moderation, this research suggests.

2. Why is there a shortage of lumber in the US?

An expert explains the causes of the mid-2021 lumber shortage in the United States.

1. Dark matter map shows hidden ‘bridges’ connect galaxies

“Having a local map of the cosmic web opens up a new chapter of cosmological study,” says Donghui Jeong, associate professor of astronomy and astrophysics at Penn State.

Thank you again for reading Futurity this year. Here’s to a happy and healthy new year! We’ll see you in 2022 for more fascinating and useful research news!

– The Futurity Team