Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.


Each year, excessive drinking accounts for one in 10 deaths among U.S. adults aged 20-64 years (1), and approximately 90% of adults who report excessive drinking* binge drink (i.e., consume five or more drinks for men or four or more drinks for women on a single occasion) (2). In 2015, 17.1% of U.S. adults aged ≥18 years reported binge drinking approximately once a week and consumed an average of seven drinks per binge drinking episode, resulting in 17.5 billion total binge drinks, or 467 total binge drinks per adult who reported binge drinking (3). CDC analyzed 2011-2017 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data to assess trends in total annual binge drinks per adult who reported binge drinking in the United States overall and in the individual states. The age-adjusted† total annual number of binge drinks per adult who reported binge drinking increased significantly from 472 in 2011 to 529 in 2017. Total annual binge drinks per adult who reported binge drinking also increased significantly from 2011 to 2017 among those aged 35-44 years (26.7%, from 468 to 593) and 45-64 years (23.1%, from 428 to 527). The largest percentage increases in total binge drinks per adult who reported binge drinking during this period were observed among those without a high school diploma (45.8%) and those with household incomes <$25,000 (23.9%). Strategies recommended by the Community Preventive Services Task Force§ for reducing excessive drinking (e.g., regulating alcohol outlet density) might reduce binge drinking and related health risks.


Helping others to obtain benefits, even at a cost to oneself, poses an evolutionary puzzle [1]. While kin selection explains such “selfless” acts among relatives, only reciprocity (paying back received favors) entails fitness benefits for unrelated individuals [2]. So far, experimental evidence for both prosocial helping (providing voluntary assistance for achieving an action-based goal) and reciprocity has been reported in a few mammals but no avian species [3]. In order to gain insights into the evolutionary origins of these behaviors, the capacity of non-mammalian species for prosociality and for reciprocity needs to be investigated. We tested two parrot species in an instrumental-helping paradigm involving “token transfer.” Here, actors could provide tokens to their neighbor, who could exchange them with an experimenter for food. To verify whether the parrots understood the task’s contingencies, we systematically varied the presence of a partner and the possibility for exchange. We found that African grey parrots voluntarily and spontaneously transferred tokens to conspecific partners, whereas significantly fewer transfers occurred in the control conditions. Transfers were affected by the strength of the dyads' affiliation and partially by the receivers' attention-getting behaviors. Furthermore, the birds reciprocated the help once the roles were reversed. Blue-headed macaws, in contrast, transferred hardly any tokens. Species differences in social tolerance might explain this discrepancy. These findings show that instrumental helping based on a prosocial attitude, accompanied but potentially not sustained by reciprocity, is present in parrots, suggesting that this capacity evolved convergently in this avian group and mammals.


Multiple genetically distinct influenza B/Victoria lineage viruses have cocirculated in the United States recently, circulating sporadically during the 2018-19 season and more frequently early during the 2019-20 season (1). The beginning of the 2019-20 influenza season in Louisiana was unusually early and intense, with infections primarily caused by influenza B/Victoria lineage viruses. One large pediatric health care facility in New Orleans (facility A) reported 1,268 laboratory-confirmed influenza B virus infections, including 23 hospitalizations from July 31 to November 21, 2019, a time when influenza activity is typically low. During this period, Louisiana also reported one pediatric death associated with influenza B virus infection. An investigation of the influenza B virus infections in Louisiana, including medical and vaccine record abstraction on 198 patients, primarily from facility A, with sporadic cases from other facilities in the state, found that none of the patients had received 2019-20 seasonal influenza vaccine, in part because influenza activity began before influenza vaccination typically occurs. Among 83 influenza B viruses sequenced from 198 patients in Louisiana, 81 (98%) belonged to the recently emerged B/Victoria V1A.3 genetic subclade. Nationally, to date, B/Victoria viruses are the most commonly reported influenza viruses among persons aged <25 years (2). Of the 198 patients in the investigation, 95% were aged <18 years. Although most illnesses were uncomplicated, the number of hospitalizations, clinical complications, and the reported pediatric death in Louisiana serve as a reminder that, even though influenza B viruses are less common than influenza A viruses in most seasons, influenza B virus infection can be severe in children. All persons aged ≥6 months should receive an annual influenza vaccination if they have not already received it (3). Antiviral treatment of influenza is recommended as soon as possible for all hospitalized patients and for outpatients at high risk for influenza complications (including children aged <2 years and persons with underlying medical conditions) (4).


With dengue virus (DENV) becoming endemic in tropical and subtropical regions worldwide, there is a pressing global demand for effective strategies to control the mosquitoes that spread this disease. Recent advances in genetic engineering technologies have made it possible to create mosquitoes with reduced vector competence, limiting their ability to acquire and transmit pathogens. Here we describe the development of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes synthetically engineered to impede vector competence to DENV. These mosquitoes express a gene encoding an engineered single-chain variable fragment derived from a broadly neutralizing DENV human monoclonal antibody and have significantly reduced viral infection, dissemination, and transmission rates for all four major antigenically distinct DENV serotypes. Importantly, this is the first engineered approach that targets all DENV serotypes, which is crucial for effective disease suppression. These results provide a compelling route for developing effective genetic-based DENV control strategies, which could be extended to curtail other arboviruses.


This paper is part of the American College of Physicians' policy framework to achieve a vision for a better health care system, where everyone has coverage for and access to the care they need, at a cost they and the country can afford. Currently, the United States is the only wealthy industrialized country that has not achieved universal health coverage. The nation’s existing health care system is inefficient, unaffordable, unsustainable, and inaccessible to many. Part 1 of this paper discusses why the United States needs to do better in addressing coverage and cost. Part 2 presents 2 potential approaches, a single-payer model and a public choice model, to achieve universal coverage. Part 3 describes how an emphasis on value-based care can reduce costs.


Human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-independent, T cell-mediated targeting of cancer cells would allow immune destruction of malignancies in all individuals. Here, we use genome-wide CRISPR-Cas9 screening to establish that a T cell receptor (TCR) recognized and killed most human cancer types via the monomorphic MHC class I-related protein, MR1, while remaining inert to noncancerous cells. Unlike mucosal-associated invariant T cells, recognition of target cells by the TCR was independent of bacterial loading. Furthermore, concentration-dependent addition of vitamin B-related metabolite ligands of MR1 reduced TCR recognition of cancer cells, suggesting that recognition occurred via sensing of the cancer metabolome. An MR1-restricted T cell clone mediated in vivo regression of leukemia and conferred enhanced survival of NSG mice. TCR transfer to T cells of patients enabled killing of autologous and nonautologous melanoma. These findings offer opportunities for HLA-independent, pan-cancer, pan-population immunotherapies.


Pachacamac is the name of the 15th-16th century Inca sanctuary on the Peruvian coast as well as the name of one of the principal oracles of Inca divinities. This effigy would have been destroyed by Pizarro in 1533 during his visit to the great monumental complex, and as such the originality and antiquity of the wooden statue-the so-called Pachacamac Idol-have been the subject of much controversy and debate. We present here previously unpublished dates that confirm its manufacture during the Middle Horizon (AD 500-1000), as well as evidence of its original polychromy. Traces of colors were observed on its different sections with portable microscopy and analyses with two different X-Ray Fluorescence spectrometry techniques, leading to identification of yellow, white, and red mineral pigments, including the presence of cinnabar. Dated between the 8th and 9th centuries, the statue would have been worshipped for almost 700 years, from the time of its creation to the time of the Spanish conquest, when Pachacamac was a major place of pilgrimage. These data not only offer a new perspective on Pachacamac’s emblematic sacred icon, but also on the colorful practices of the Pre-Hispanic Andes.


Synaptic dysfunction is hypothesised to play a key role in schizophrenia pathogenesis, but this has not been tested directly in vivo.  Here, we investigated synaptic vesicle glycoprotein 2A (SV2A) levels and their relationship to symptoms and structural brain measures using [11C]UCB-J positron emission tomography in 18 patients with schizophrenia and 18 controls. We found significant group and group-by-region interaction effects on volume of distribution (VT). [11C]UCB-J VT was significantly lower in the frontal and anterior cingulate cortices in schizophrenia with large effect sizes (Cohen’s d = 0.8-0.9), but there was no significant difference in the hippocampus. We also investigated the effects of antipsychotic drug administration on SV2A levels in Sprague-Dawley rats using western blotting, [3H]UCB-J autoradiography and immunostaining with confocal microscopy, finding no significant effects on any measure. These findings indicate that there are lower synaptic terminal protein levels in schizophrenia in vivo and that antipsychotic drug exposure is unlikely to account for them.


The emergence of artificial intelligence (AI) and its progressively wider impact on many sectors requires an assessment of its effect on the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Using a consensus-based expert elicitation process, we find that AI can enable the accomplishment of 134 targets across all the goals, but it may also inhibit 59 targets. However, current research foci overlook important aspects. The fast development of AI needs to be supported by the necessary regulatory insight and oversight for AI-based technologies to enable sustainable development. Failure to do so could result in gaps in transparency, safety, and ethical standards.


Wildfires, exacerbated by extreme weather events and land use, threaten to change the Amazon from a net carbon sink to a net carbon source. Here, we develop and apply a coupled ecosystem-fire model to quantify how greenhouse gas-driven drying and warming would affect wildfires and associated CO2 emissions in the southern Brazilian Amazon. Regional climate projections suggest that Amazon fire regimes will intensify under both low- and high-emission scenarios. Our results indicate that projected climatic changes will double the area burned by wildfires, affecting up to 16% of the region’s forests by 2050. Although these fires could emit as much as 17.0 Pg of CO2 equivalent to the atmosphere, avoiding new deforestation could cut total net fire emissions in half and help prevent fires from escaping into protected areas and indigenous lands. Aggressive efforts to eliminate ignition sources and suppress wildfires will be critical to conserve southern Amazon forests.