Pregnant women suffering from anxiety ailments can rest easy about one thing: it appears that neither anxiety nor panic disorders lead to problems in maternal or fetal health during or after pregnancy. Moreover, early in pregnancy there’s only a slight risk in taking the benzodiazepine commonly used to treat such conditions. A team led by Yale psychiatry researcher Kimberly Yonkers assessed the health of 2,654 moms-to-be, 350 of whom were diagnosed with anxiety disorders. In JAMA Psychiatry, the researchers reported that 67 of them were treated with benzodiazepine, which was associated with modest decreases in birth weight and a pregnancy shortened by an average of 3.6 days.


Millions of years ago, true birds evolved from dinosaurs—acquiring a dramatic increase in the relative size of their brains. That development, Yale researchers have found, was intimately linked to specific changes in the roof of the skull. In Nature Ecology and Evolution, paleontologist Bhart-Anjan Singh Bhullar ’05 and his team explained that the skull morphology of most reptiles and dinosaurs was “markedly similar”—except for that of the dinosaurs in the evolutionary line leading to birds. As their brains began to enlarge, the bones in their skull roofs lengthened. The implication, Bhullar says, is that the brain itself directs skull formation.


Facebook’s attempt to counter inaccurate stories isn’t working, say Yale psychologists David Rand and Gordon Pennycock. Their study (on the Social Science Research Network) found that tagging stories disputed by fact checkers has, at best, a minuscule impact. Tagging “may do more harm than good,” says Rand, “because it’s impossible to tag all, or even most, fake stories. When some posts were tagged, Trump supporters and young people were more likely to believe posts that were not tagged.” 

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