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February eNews

Top 5 January 2021

1. Diamond celebrates 10,000th paper – A breakthrough in chiral polymer thin films research, published by Diamond Light Source Ltd on 20/01/21

This breakthrough in chiral polymer thin films research could fundamentally change the technology landscape by enabling a new generation of electronic devices. Published in Nature Communications by an international team of collaborative researchers, the paper marks the 10,000th published as a result of innovative research at Diamond Light Source, the UK's national synchrotron. The research presents disruptive insights into chiral polymer films, which emit and absorb circularly polarised light, and offers the promise of achieving important technological advances, including high-performance displays, 3D imaging and quantum computing.

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2. Reducing traps increases performance of organic photodetectors, published by Technische Universitaet Dresden on 22/01/21

Physicists at the Dresden Integrated Center for Applied Physics and Photonic Materials (IAPP) discovered that trap states rule the performance of organic photodetectors, ultimately limiting their detectivity. These highly promising results have now been published in the renowned scientific journal Nature Communications.

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3. New perspectives challenge the idea that saturated fats cause heart disease, published by University of Bergen on 22/01/21

In a new article published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, three scientists have raised a question that challenges the diet-heart-hypothesis: Why do saturated fats increase blood cholesterol, and why should this be dangerous? After all, saturated fats occur naturally in a wide variety of foods, including breast milk.

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4. EuMC Microwave Prize to 6G researchers from the University of Oulu, published by the University of Oulu on 22/01/21

The EuMC Microwave prize for the best contributed paper to the conference was awarded to researchers from the Centre for Wireless Communications ( and the Circuits and Systems research group at the University of Oulu, Finland. This was the third time that the award came to Finland and the first to the University of Oulu.

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5. Un nuevo manual ‘receta’ ejercicio físico para personas con enfermedad renal crónica frente al sedentarismo por la Covid-19, published by Asociación RUVID on 22/01/21

La asociación ALCER Castalia publica y distribuye las recomendaciones de la profesora de Fisioterapia de la CEU UCH Eva Segura, coordinadora del proyecto europeo GoodRenal, cuyo objetivo es promover estilos de vida saludables entre los pacientes en diálisis, combinando ejercicio, nutrición y bienestar psicológico

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Editors' picks

Disposable Helmet Retains Cough Droplets, Minimizes Transmission to Dentists, Otolaryngologists published by American Institute of Physics (AIP) on 07/01/21

The risk of infection of COVID-19 is high for medical specialists who come in contact with symptomatic or asymptomatic patients. Dentists and otolaryngologists are at particular risk, since they need direct access to the mouth, nose, and throat of patients. The current solutions, which include wearing N95 masks and face shields, clinic room evacuation, negative pressure rooms, and special air filtration systems, are expensive, not highly effective, and not very accessible. In Physics of Fluids, by AIP Publishing, researchers at Cornell University discuss their design of an open-faced helmet for patient use that is connected to a medical-grade air filtration pump from the top that creates a reverse flow of air to prevent cough droplets from exiting the helmet.

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Image caption: Visualization of the helmet design. The top port is connected to an air filtration pump, which is not shown in the image. CREDIT: Image by Dongjie Jia

Depression in new fathers connected to relationship insecurities, published by Lund University on 22/01/21

Becoming a parent often brings great joy, but not always. Parenthood also entails challenges, stress and, for some people, it can trigger depression. A new study from Lund University in Sweden shows that male postnatal depression is more common in men who are insecure in their relationship with their partner.

Depression affects around 10-12 per cent of new mothers, and at least 8 per cent of new fathers. The figures are even higher when looking at depressive symptoms; as many as one in five new fathers experience troublesome symptoms, according to the new study conducted by Elia Psouni, registered psychologist and associate professor of psychology at Lund University in Sweden, and Anna Eichbichler, clinical psychologist.

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Special Feature: Anti-vaxxers: who are they and what they do?

By Kosta Stefanov, AlphaGalileo

A new report by the Centre for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) has lambasted social media companies for allowing the anti-vaccine movement to remain on their platforms. The report's authors noted that social media accounts held by so-called anti-vaxxers have increased their following by at least 7·8 million people since 2019. “The decision to continue hosting known misinformation content and actors left online anti-vaxxers ready to pounce on the opportunity presented by coronavirus”, stated the report. The CCDH warned that the growing anti-vaccine movement could undermine the roll-out of any future vaccine against COVID-19.

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Image of the month

Image Caption: Male Guinea baboon at Niokolo-Koba National Park in Senegal. Photo: Peter Maciej/German Primate Center

Musical masterworks as the Queen of the Night's Aria from Mozart's The Magic Flute, are examples of the sounds trained human voices can produce. The precondition for vocal virtuosity as well as for any spoken word is vocal learning, the ability to imitate auditory input. Some songbirds and bats can do this, but humans excel. We can acquire new languages into old age. To shed light on the evolution of vocal learning, a team led by Julia Fischer from the German Primate Center (DPZ) – Leibniz Institute for Primate Research has analyzed the sound structures of Guinea baboons and was able to show that the grunts of baboons belonging to the same social group were more similar to each other than between the social groups. The changes were modest, however, and can best be conceived as an accent rather than a different language (Proceedings of the Royal Society B).

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Latest image of the month

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