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Top stories: A surprising Alzheimer’s suspect, why scientific societies are worried about ‘Plan S,’ and more

Scientific societies worry Plan S will make them shutter journals, slash services

Scientific societies supported by journal subscriptions worry Plan S could bankrupt them. Introduced in September 2018 by European research funders and endorsed by others since then, the plan would require that grantees’ papers be immediately available free of charge. All publishers that charge subscriptions will be affected, but scientific societies fear they could be hit especially hard.

The surprising reason why some Latin Americans have light skin

A new study of the genes of more than 6000 people from five Latin American countries undercuts the simplistic racial assumptions often made from skin color. An international team discovered a new genetic variant associated with lighter skin found only in Native American and East Asian populations. That means that in Latin America, lighter skin can reflect Native American as well as European ancestry.

Expert witness David Egilman wins billions—and makes enemies—as he fights companies over public health

David Egilman, a professor of family medicine at Brown University, has served as an expert witness in more than 600 cases of occupational or environmental disease. He has helped win billions of dollars for injured or sick workers or consumers, or for the families of those who have died. Egilman believes corporations have minimized their costs at the expense of their employees’ health and that of the public and the environment.

Gum disease–causing bacteria could spur Alzheimer’s

Poor oral health is a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. What’s not clear is whether gum disease causes the disorder. Now, a privately sponsored study has confirmed that the bacteria that cause gum disease are present in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s, not just in their mouths. The study also finds that in mice, the bacteria trigger brain changes typical of the disease.

New remains discovered at site of famous Neanderthal ‘flower burial’

Shanidar Cave, in the Zagros Mountains of northern Iraq, once sheltered at least 10 Neanderthals, who were unearthed starting in the 1950s. In 2014, researchers re-excavated the cave and found additional Neanderthal bones. Then, last fall, they unearthed another Neanderthal with a crushed but complete skull and upper thorax, plus both forearms and hands.