No. 1 news release on EurekAlert!’s 2020 Trending List smashes previous all-time record for visits

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IMAGE: The sixth most popular release in 2020 is also the first from China and described a newly unearthed prehistoric mammal whose ear bones helped scientists understand how they…
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The most-visited news release on EurekAlert! in 2020 racked up just under 1 million hits – the most in the site’s near 25-year history.

The University of California, Riverside release is one of three about brain health on the 2020 Trending list in a year when COVID-19 dominated headlines across the globe. It described a mouse study that showed soybean oil induced negative changes to genes affecting neurological conditions like autism and Alzheimer’s disease. The news release registered an unprecedented 987,050 visits, surpassing the previous record set in 2017 for yearly total views of a single release by almost 10%.

EurekAlert! is an editorially independent, nonprofit news release distribution platform operated by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) as a free resource to journalists and the public. News releases hosted on EurekAlert! are produced and submitted by research institutions and journal publishers and must meet eligibility guidelines for acceptance.

In the fourth most-visited release, Swiss and Italian scientists proved a link between low gut microbial diversity and Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers from Tokyo Metropolitan University found a new enzyme mutation that impacts how proteins cluster in the brain and cause Alzheimer’s disease in the ninth most popular release.

Three COVID-19-related news releases appear on the list, starting with the second trending release. It described a research review that pointed to a relationship between cardio exercise and protection against COVID-19 respiratory symptoms. Potential coronavirus mitigation strategies also featured in the third and seventh news releases, in the form of an anti-parasitic drug and vitamin supplements, respectively. Overall, approximately 13% of news releases accepted by EurekAlert! in 2020 were COVID-related.

Half of the 2020 Trending releases originated outside the United States and, for the first time, a news release from China, by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, made the top 10. It describes the bones of a small prehistoric rodent, unearthed in northeast China, that clarified the evolution of mammalian ear bone structure. Another paleontology release detailed a specimen of the carnivorous Allosaurus, discovered in Utah, that became the oldest known of its species in North America.


The unexpected (and undeniably cute) observation of wolf pups playing fetch was the topic of the fifth trending release about a study in iScience, a journal published by the release’s submitter, Cell Press.

Trends described in the eighth trending release reflected men’s shifting awareness and attitudes toward sexual health problems over the last 10 years, as presented at the 35th European Association of Urology annual congress.

2020 Trending News Releases

Most Visited

1. America’s most widely consumed oil causes genetic changes in the brain (987,050)

University of California – Riverside, Endocrinology

2. COVID-19: Exercise may protect against deadly complication (566,881)

University of Virginia Health System, Redox Biology

3. Possible coronavirus drug identified by Australian scientists (268,174)

Monash University, Antiviral Research

4. Link between Alzheimer’s disease and gut microbiota is confirmed (195,976)

Université de Genève, Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease

5. Scientists unexpectedly witness wolf puppies play fetch (175,187)

Cell Press, iScience

6. New Cretaceous Jehol fossil sheds light on evolution of ancestral mammalian middle ear (159,221)

Chinese Academy of Sciences, National Science Review

7. Dietary supplements an important weapon for fighting off COVID-19 (158,526)

Oregon State University, Nutrients

8. Male sexual worries: What has changed in the post-Viagra age? (152,361)

European Association of Urology, 35th European Association of Urology Annual Congress

9. Cause of Alzheimer’s disease traced to mutation in common enzyme (141,793)

Tokyo Metropolitan University, Journal of Biological Chemistry

10. New species of Allosaurus discovered in Utah (135,110)

University of Utah, PeerJ

Most Shared

Four news releases from the top 10 most visited list were also among the most shared, with the No. 1 release taking the top spot on both lists. COVID-19-related content, however, ruled the most-shared lineup overall, taking up four out of five spots with three news releases and one infographic. Facebook and Twitter were the two social platforms users preferred for sharing, accounting for 45,932 and 32,595 of 2020’s total shares, respectively.

1. America’s most widely consumed oil causes genetic changes in the brain (3,614)

University of California – Riverside, Endocrinology

2. Possible coronavirus drug identified by Australian scientists (3,243)

Monash University, Antiviral Research

3. COVID-19: Exercise may protect against deadly complication (2,132)

University of Virginia Health System, Redox Biology

4. Dietary supplements an important weapon for fighting off COVID-19 (960)

Oregon State University, Nutrients

5. Image: What Protects against COVID-19 Infection or Transmission (668)

The Lancet, The Lancet

More than 34,000 news releases were accepted to EurekAlert! in 2020, making it the highest volume submission year in the platform’s history. Research institutions, universities, journal publishers, and government agencies author and submit the news releases hosted on EurekAlert!. EurekAlert!’s editorial team reviews submissions against a set of longstanding eligibility guidelines prior to acceptance and dissemination to EurekAlert! reporter-members and the public.

The swell in news release submissions to EurekAlert! in 2020 partly resulted from coronavirus research. As a service to reporters and the public, EurekAlert! launched a COVID-19 online newsroom in April to house all pandemic-related news releases and multimedia. So far this year, more than 4,000 COVID-19-related news releases have been accepted, and the COVID-19 online newsroom has seen on average 19,600 visits per month since launching.

The 2020 Trending List was based on the number of views received by news releases accepted between December 16, 2019 and December 15, 2020.

Trending Lists from previous years

2019

2019 EurekAlert! Trending Release List the most international ever

2018

News releases about health, Earth science and social sciences make up EurekAlert!’s 2018 trending news list

2017

2017 top science news release breaks EurekAlert!’s all-time record

2016

Animal biology, human health dominate 2016 EurekAlert! trending news list

2015

2015 trending news releases recount a year of scientific breakthroughs

2014

EurekAlert! 2014 most popular news releases revealed

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About EurekAlert!

Established in 1996, EurekAlert! is an editorially independent, nonprofit news-release distribution platform operated by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) as a resource for journalists and the public. EurekAlert! hosts news releases produced by universities, journal publishers, medical centers, government agencies, corporations, and other organizations engaged in all disciplines of scientific research. News releases must meet EurekAlert!’s longstanding eligibility guidelines in order to be accepted and hosted on the website. Credentialed reporters gain free access to EurekAlert! services. Institutions must pay a fee to submit news releases to EurekAlert!. Payment of submission fees does not guarantee acceptance of news releases. For more information, visit http://www.eurekalert.org.

AAAS is the world’s largest multidisciplinary scientific society and publisher of the Science family of journals. AAAS was founded in 1848 and includes nearly 250 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals. Science has the largest paid circulation of any peer-reviewed general science journal in the world. The nonprofit AAAS is open to all and fulfills its mission to “advance science and serve society” through initiatives in science policy, international programs, science education, public engagement, and more. For more information, visit http://www.aaas.org.