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These 10 questions captivated readers in 2016

Science is all about big questions: How did life begin on Earth? Could we live even longer? What makes us happy? Each day brings more answers, from tentative clues to breakthrough discoveries.

The following ten questions reflect the most popular stories published on Futurity in 2016. Thank you for reading and happy new year!

10. Do transposons cause us to age?

unhappy birthday
(Credit: Getty Images)

A new study increases and strengthens the links that have led scientists to propose the “transposon theory of aging.”

“In this report the big step forward is towards the possibility of a true causal relationship,” says Stephen Helfand of Brown University. “So far there have been associations and suggestions that to all of us make sense, but the difference in science is that you need the data to back up your opinion.”

9. Should I pick a doctor based on politics? 

red and blue stethoscopes
(Credit: Getty Images)

“The evidence suggests that doctors allow their political views to influence their professional decisions in the medical exam room,” says Eitan Hersh of Yale University.

8. Does trauma affect boys and girls the same way?

boy and girl eyes
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“By better understanding sex differences in a region of the brain involved in emotion processing, clinicians and scientists may be able to develop sex-specific trauma and emotion dysregulation treatments,” write Stanford University researchers.

7. Why does my mom keep calling me by the dog’s name?

dog licks boy's face
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“It’s a cognitive mistake we make, which reveals something about who we consider to be in our group,” says Duke University psychology and neuroscience professor David Rubin. “It’s not just random.”

6. What did dinosaurs sound like?

dino silo on red
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“Not only were dinosaurs feathered, but they may have had bulging necks and made booming, closed-mouth sounds,” says Julia Clarke of the University of Texas Jackson School of Geosciences.

5. Why can’t we just vote online?

polling station
(Credit: Elliott Stallion/Unsplash)

“From the perspective of election trustworthiness, internet voting is a complete disaster,” says David Dill, professor of computer science at Stanford University.

4. There’s no harm in a calcium supplement, right?

pill on woman's tongue
(Credit: Getty Images)

“When it comes to using vitamin and mineral supplements, particularly calcium supplements being taken for bone health, many Americans think that more is always better,” says Erin Michos of Johns Hopkins University. “But our study adds to the body of evidence that excess calcium in the form of supplements may harm the heart and vascular system.”

3. Could social media be giving me anxiety?

scared lego emoji
(Credit: Iain Heath/Flickr)

People who report using seven to 11 social media platforms had more than three times the risk of depression and anxiety than their peers who use zero to two platforms, report researchers at the University of Pittsburgh.

2. Can I learn to disregard distractions?

find the T
(Credit: Corbin A. Cunningham/JHU)

“Individuals who explicitly ignore distracting information improve their visual search performance…” says Corbin A. Cunningham of Johns Hopkins University. Test yourself in the video.

1. How many more elements will scientists discover?

periodic table
(Credit: iStockphoto)

“Each successive element becomes more and more difficult to synthesize and increasingly difficult to measure,” says Paul Karol of Carnegie Mellon University.

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