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The hidden damage of solitary confinement

Meant to punish or protect, social isolation in prison creates a ripple of unintended effects on the psyche

In adults, and now in teens, poor sleep is linked to cardiovascular risk

A slumber researcher explains why getting enough z’s is crucial to your health

Managing pain in a time of opioid abuse

Other therapies, more training, a new mindset: Can doctors bring relief to patients without putting them at risk for addiction?

Happy hens, happy world

Farmers are recommitting themselves to animal welfare, and that might help the planet, too

Do patents invent innovation?

They're a common index of technological creativity, but research finds they can impede rather than encourage it

Finland’s bold push to change the heart health of a nation

Beginning in its bleak borderlands, the country launched an official — and broadly influential — effort to improve food and lifestyle choices, using everything from cozy fireside chats and reality TV shows to laws and incentives.

Centuries of pondering — and squabbling about — trees

Do forests warm or cool the Earth? What’s their effect on global climate change? A comic narrated by polymath Benjamin Franklin describes the evolution of thought on this issue and what we still don’t know.

How to detect clandestine nuclear weapons programs

A “policy physicist” explores practical ways to sniff out uranium processing from afar

The anti-ads

Countermarketing succeeds by exposing the motives behind the advertising of unhealthy products. It worked for teen smoking — could it do the same for junk food?

Feeling the pressure

How we want to be perceived influences how we act, and that presents persuasion opportunities. But the social factors involved are not easy to unravel.

In promoting health, when to tiptoe — and when to stomp?

Inform, incentivize, legislate: There’s a ladder of escalating approaches for changing citizens’ behavior — and nudges for every rung

Unpersuasive: Why arguing about climate change often doesn't work

In the US, where political parties have increasingly staked claims on one side of the issue or the other, beliefs may be more about belonging than facts

Nudging grows up (and now has a government job)

Ten years after an influential book proposed ways to work with — not against — the irrationalities of human decision-making, practitioners have refined and broadened this gentle tool of persuasion

The science of better beer

Advances in the lab are adding variety, efficiency and precision to age-old brewing traditions

A toast to the Pope

Professor Charlie Bamforth is retiring. But he still fizzes with strong opinions on good beer, solid brewers and – Ptooey! – wine.

Do yourself a favor

Thinking of others enhances your well-being, while selfishness just adds to stress, studies show

Climate change can set the stage for violence

Worsened by global warming, drought and other environmental stressors play a role in fanning the flames of civil conflicts

Making sense of media bias

Just how partisan is the press, and should the public be worried?