Early diagnosis of dyslexia, a reading disability that affects roughly a fifth of school-age children, can be key for helping kids compensate. Using data from 414 children tested each year in the Connecticut Longitudinal Study, dyslexia experts Sally E. Shaywitz and Bennett A. Shaywitz, along with their colleagues, showed that even as early as the first grade, there was a significant reading gap between typical and dyslexic readers. In the November Journal of Pediatrics, the team advocated identifying dyslexic children as early as possible, rather than waiting till third grade or later. They added that early implementation of “effective reading programs” can “close the achievement gap.”

Your parents were right: a great way to avoid getting sick is to stay away from people and places likely to be infected. Using data from the federal American Time Use Survey on how people went about their business between 2003 and 2012, School of Forestry and Environmental Studies assistant professor Eli P. Fenichel and his team found that survey respondents spent an average of 22.11 more minutes at home during the peak of the 2009 swine flu epidemic than they did at other times. The voluntary isolation known as “social avoidance behavior” reduced flu cases by between 13 and 33 percent. The findings appeared in the November Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Galaxies have a kind of measurable heartbeat. Astronomers have long regarded them as steady light-beacons, but astronomy professor Pieter van Dokkum and his colleagues have shown that M87, a giant elliptical galaxy nearly 54 million light years away from us, has a “beat” in its visual brightness level about once every 270 days. The researchers reported in the November 16 online edition of Nature on their examination of a series of Hubble Space Telescope images of M87. “Cardiac arrest is not expected until a trillion years from now,” said van Dokkum.

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