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
Rural Wisconsin faces a broad array of economic challenges. Many communities are experiencing a decrease in population and struggling to retain young people and attract newcomers. As the workforce ages, additional factors including limited infrastructure, agricultural and manufacturing business woes, and the dictates of distance and cost can combine to frustrate entrepreneurial and job opportunities. At the same time, the distinct attributes of rural areas can encourage economic development, and both public and private efforts to revitalize individual communities and broader regions are being pursued around the state. One particularly notable element is access to broadband internet, which is sparse in many rural areas but has the potential to be transformational for both work and lifestyle. Rural Wisconsin's economy is changing, but its future course has yet to be charted.More
Brown marmorated stink bug
The brown marmorated stink bug is an invasive species in the United States, arriving from Asia in the late 1990s. It has damaged tens of millions of dollars of apples and other crops in eastern states, and struck Michigan in the 2015 growing season. Wisconsin might be next. The insect hasn't yet started preying on crops here, but it has established a breeding population in the state, and it's known to eat many of the things Wisconsin farmers grow — especially apples. However, entomologists are researching the bug's behavior and how to control it.More
The deer herd at the heart of Wisconsin's beloved hunting tradition faces a growing threat in the form of chronic wasting disease, caused by an infectious type of protein called prions. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources began testing for CWD in 1999, detecting more than 100,000 infected deer since, mostly in southern areas of the state. As DNR policies for monitoring CWD shift amid changing political priorities for wildlife management, hunters and scientists remain concerned about the disease's threat to the health of the deer herd.More
A holiday dinner staple across the United States, cranberries are one of Wisconsin's signature agricultural products. The state's cranberry industry produces over half the world's supply of this tart and tiny fruit, generating nearly $1 billion in annual revenue. Wisconsin currently exports 35 percent of its cranberry yield, which has grown tenfold since the beginning of the 20th century. But an uptick in international production and abundant harvests in recent years have added financial stress on Wisconsin's producers, and falling cranberry prices have forced some growers out of the industry. At the same time, scientists are experimenting to expand the variety of cranberries available, and the industry is exploring new markets abroad.More