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Top 10 Scientific Breakthroughs in 2015

A University of Virginia Health System news release describing the “missing link” between the brain and the immune system was 2015’s most popular – and most shared – science news on EurekAlert!, a science news service operated by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

The discovery of vessels connecting the brain and the lymphatic system “overturns decades of textbook teaching” and will have “profound implications for neurological diseases from autism to Alzheimer’s to multiple sclerosis,” according to the news release, titled “Missing link found between brain, immune system – with major disease implications.” It was among several of the trending releases that announced major scientific breakthroughs – and one of two covering studies published in Naturejournals.

Most popular

The 2015 most popular release received 42% more views than its 2014 predecessor, a release about public official wage disclosures. Overall, the top 10 trending releases of 2015 received 26% more views over 2014.

Similar to 2014, health-related releases outperformed other categories in 2015, occupying seven out of the top 10. Two releases described the effects of cannabis on memory.

News releases describing studies in Cell Press and Nature journals made up the four most popular and three most-shared lists, with a combined 727,000 views and 5,500 shares to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media channels.

In late 2014 EurekAlert! introduced a fully responsive design, which better supports mobile use, multimedia, and social sharing. A staff-curated homepage feature highlighting trending news releases was also rolled out as part of the new design.

The 10 most popular news releases in 2015 are:


  1. Missing link found between brain, immune system — with major disease implications(256,289)University of Virginia Health System;Nature
  1. Sperm carries information about dad’s weight (251,520)
    Cell Press; Cell Metabolism

  2. The infant gut microbiome: New studies on its origins and how it’s knocked out of balance (219,527)
    Cell Press; Cell Host & Microbe

  3. The first ever photograph of light as a particle and a wave (217,262)
    Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne; Nature Communications

  4. The least religious generation (199,104)
    San Diego State University; PLOS ONE

  5. NASA measures India’s deadly flooding rains (100,787)
    NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center; NASA data

  6. Optimistic people have healthier hearts, study finds (90,940)
    University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Health Behavior & Policy Review

  7. Children born in the summer more likely to be healthy adults (77,514)
    Elsevier; Heliyon

  8. Cannabis consumers show greater susceptibility to false memories (69,411)
    Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona; Molecular Psychiatry

  9. Teen cannabis users have poor long-term memory in adulthood (62,712)
    Northwestern University; Hippocampus

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