MDPI Papers Cited in the News: March 2024

This March, we have an exciting line-up of articles from major news outlets citing the latest MDPI research. In this article, we run through these articles that cover a range of different trending science topics, including the impact of natural disasters on mental health, the revolutionary technology of digital twins, as well as the excellent health benefits of an extra-virgin olive oil-rich Mediterranean diet.


Forbes: Digital Twins in Decision Making: Reaping the Benefits and Overcoming the Challenges

MDPI Article: Sensors – A Digital Twin Case Study on Automotive Production Line

In the world of innovative technology, digital twins have been taking centre stage. Using sensors to pick up real-time information, digital twins work by creating a virtual, 3D replica of any physical system. This includes information such as conditions, performance, and interactions of the systems at any given point in space and time. This mirroring of physical infrastructures is highly useful for businesses and large corporations.

An article in Forbes highlights the exceptional qualities as well as challenges of businesses using digital twins for key decision-making. As digital twins provide key information, including the performance of physical systems in a given scenario, businesses can then use the tool to test changes. But digital twins still require years to refine to ‘yield positive results’. Nonetheless, the tool can be a vital part of the decision-making process and has been shown to yield increases in production efficiency. This is seen in a case study in MDPI’s Sensors, which explored the role of digital twins in production line efficiency.  Research is key in developing and gaining a better understanding of how these systems work to eventually be able to reliably implement them into corporations on a wide scale.

Heath & Environment

CNN Health: Wildfires linked with increases in mental health problems in nearby residents, study finds.

MDPI paper, Behavioral Sciences: The Impact of Wildfires on Mental Health: A Scoping Review   

Climate change is a global issue that has a prominent effect on the environment, wildlife, and human health. Increased frequency of wildfires is one outcome of climate change. An article in CNN Health discusses the effect of wildfires in California on the mental health of residents. They mention how studies have found an increase in anti-psychotic medications prescribed to both men and women in these areas during the times that wildfires took place.

Research analysing the effect of wildfires is further explored in a review in Behavioral Sciences, where they found an increased occurrence of PTSD, anxiety, and depression in individuals post-wildfires. Looking at mental health in the context of natural disasters is becoming more and more vital as the climate becomes more unstable. This research will help in understanding the effects that climate change has on mental health and inevitably in meeting the needs of those who are impacted the most.


The Washington Post: Are All Olive Oils Equally Healthy For You? A look at Research

MDPI article, Nutrients: Is Extra-Virgin Olive Oil the Critical Ingredient Driving the Health Benefits of a Mediterranean Diet? A Narrative Review.

Extra-virgin olive oil is a staple in many diets, including Mediterranean diets. This includes diets from countries such as Italy, France, Algeria and Morocco. But is the diet any good for us? The Washington Post runs through the most current research on extra virgin olive oil-rich diets and their impact on our health. It highlights the multitude of compounds that extra virgin oil has which boosts health, that regular olive oil does not have. This includes polyphenols which may help reduce inflammation.

A narrative review in MDPI’s Nutrients explores the Mediterranean diet in further depth, looking at the role that extra-virgin olive oil has in driving health benefits. The review analyzed thirty-four different articles, which included the effects of the oil on things like blood pressure, cholesterol, weight loss, insulin resistance, and body weight. The study showed that the diet may indeed boost health, and can be effective for patients with high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Research into how different diets around the world can benefit health is interesting and highly valuable from a nutritional standpoint, urging us to look at our own diets and how we can eat better in order to ultimately feel better.

Health & Psychology

Forbes: 3 signs you struggle with Technostress according to research

MDPI article, IJERPH:  Fear of Missing Out as a Predictor of Problematic Social Media Use and Phubbing Behavior among Flemish Adolescents

Technology has been advancing exponentially, with new innovations revolutionizing the way we work and socialize, affecting nearly all parts of our daily life. For some, these changes are seamless and have been relatively easy to adapt to. For others, it can be more difficult, inducing feelings of stress and anxiety as the world becomes increasingly dependent on remaining in an online sphere. As society is only becoming increasingly dependent on technology and virtual spaces, research on their effects on mental and physical health is, now more than ever, highly essential.

An article in Forbes runs through the signs of technostress, and the possible reasons for these negative feelings towards using technology. This includes things like signs of burnout due to an information overload. Furthermore, being excessively online can have effects on our physical health too, triggering things like headaches, and changes to our natural sleep patterns.

The article includes a study published in MDPI’s International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, which looked at the ‘fear of missing out’ phenomenon as a predictor for problematic social media use in Flemish adolescents. New generations of children and adolescents that are raised with social media as a key platform for socializing are highly useful in understanding the effects on psychological and physical health. Understanding this is essential to create frameworks to control things like social media addiction, and mitigate any negative consequences resulting from the stress of using technology.

Environment & Innovation

BBC, Future Planet: From London to New York: Can quitting cars be popular?

MDPI article, Systems: Developing System-Oriented Interventions and Policies to Reduce Car Dependency for Improved Population Health in Belfast: Study Protocol.

Reducing a city’s carbon footprint remains an ongoing challenge when it comes to combating air quality and pollution. A recent BBC articles runs an in-depth piece on the implementation of congestion charges to limit traffic and car-use in favour of using alternative, more eco-friendly modes of transport. With these limitations hitting a wave of initial resistance from residences, in some places, there has been a general acceptance and approval of the framework in the long-run.

The article explores the current car-restriction policies in London and New York, discussing the reasonings behind congestion pricing plans and their implications. The article cites a study in MDPI’s Systems, which uncovers policy that aims to reduce the car dependency of the population in Belfast. Researching how these systems and frameworks are beneficial to both the environment and the population is essential to create greener spaces, and ultimately, keep people healthy.