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In recent years, the notion of an insect apocalypse has become a hot topic in the conservation science community and has captured the public’s attention. Scientists who warn that this catastrophe is unfolding assert that arthropods – a large category of invertebrates that includes insects – are rapidly declining, perhaps signaling a general collapse of ecosystems across the world.

As time passes, our fertility declines and our bodies start to fail. These natural changes are what we call ageing.

In recent decades, we’ve come leaps and bounds in treating and preventing some of the world’s leading age-related diseases, such as coronary heart disease, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

But some research takes an entirely unique view on the role of science in easing the burden of aging, focusing instead on trying to prevent it, or drastically slow it down. This may seem like an idea reserved mainly for cranks and science fiction writers, but it’s not.

It’s a common assumption that exercise in older people is difficult and dangerous, so it’s perhaps best avoided. But this is often not the case – even if these ideas are ingrained in society. Research has repeatedly shown that exercise in older adults is linked with lower disease risk, reduced risk of falls, and better overall health.

What does a pandemic smell like? If dogs could talk, they might be able to tell us.

We’re part of an international research team, led by Dominique Grandjean at France’s National Veterinary School of Alfort, that has been training detector dogs to sniff out traces of the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) since March.

Most adults will remember spending much of their childhood playing outdoors without much parental supervision. But fears for children’s safety plus the demands of modern life mean many parents don’t allow their children the same freedoms.

Scientific publishing is not known for moving rapidly. In normal times, publishing new research can take months, if not years. Researchers prepare a first version of a paper on new findings and submit it to a journal, where it is often rejected, before being resubmitted to another journal, peer-reviewed, revised and, eventually, hopefully published.

All scientists are familiar with the process, but few love it or the time it takes. And even after all this effort – for which neither the authors, the peer reviewers, nor most journal editors, are paid – most research papers end up locked away behind expensive journal paywalls. They can only be read by those with access to funds or to institutions that can afford subscriptions.