Series

Scientists are still developing a better understanding of brain health and maladies from concussions to Alzheimer's disease, but it's clear that all stages of life can have significant consequences for the human body's most complex organ. Brain health plays a role in everyday wellness challenges elderly adults face, and as Wisconsin's overall population ages, research and public-health efforts promoting well-being and quality of life are focusing on issues like degenerative neural diseases and strokes. At the same time, the medical community is becoming more concerned about threats to younger and middle-aged people's brain health, especially when it comes to devastating effects of athletics-related injuries, whether in high-school competitions or professional sports. Whatever the circumstances, the condition of the brain has myriad effects on both physical and mental health.More
Explore this WisContext series
The lack of data in adult literacy
The term "literacy" covers more than just the basic ability to read and write. This concept has evolved to cover a broad continuum of skills people need in their lives. Many adults and children struggle with literacy in its various forms, as they navigate the increasingly complex worlds of health care, finance, and technology. Their needs are difficult to quantify, especially when it comes to adult literacy. But Wisconsinites can turn to many resources and organizations to empower themselves through enhanced literacy skills.More
Explore this WisContext series
Energy is an essential necessity of human life that powers individual everyday needs and the economy as a whole. Its sources span millenia, from draft animals and wood to coal and oil to nuclear fission. Advancing technology continues to transform energy production, and renewable sources like solar, wind and biofuels are increasingly used. A growing number of homeowners, businesses and communities across Wisconsin are considering renewables as part of their own energy portfolios. The backdrop of a changing climate is one motivation for these shifts, as are changing consumer demand, investment opportunities and public policy incentives. As the state's energy landscape adapts to meet new opportunities, researchers are investigating the potential of renewables and evaluating challenges to pursuing sustainable and secure sources.More
Explore this WisContext series
Climate science is complex. Because changes to the global climate span continents and develop over decades, their effects on individual places and weather events are difficult to pinpoint. But with an ever growing body of historical climate data and sophisticated computer modeling, scientists can forecast how climate change is unfolding — and likely continue to play out — in places like Wisconsin with increasing confidence. In coming decades communities around the state are projected to continue experiencing warmer and more extreme weather. These effects are increasingly being recognized, with winter and nighttime temperatures rising, and heavier rainstorms occurring with increasing regularity. From the environment to human health to the economy, gauging the impacts of a changing climate is an urgent scientific endeavor with implications for every Wisconsinite.More
Explore this WisContext series
Most Wisconsinites live in urban and suburban communities, but the state’s landscape is dominated by rural areas where farmland and forest predominate. But what makes a given place rural? What about small towns or exurbs or "up north" tourist destinations? And when is a place even considered small in the first place? Defining the continuum between rural and urban areas is complex and can be a contentious matter. It is also continuously in flux as people grow older, have children and move between places in pursuit of different opportunities. The demographics of rural Wisconsin are changing rapidly, with populations aging and overall numbers decreasing in many areas. These shifts have profound implications for the state as a whole, and will shape its economy, politics and culture.More
Explore this WisContext series