Happy Sunday – and welcome to the best of The Conversation.

First, here are a couple of our recently published stories:

As a nonscientist, I’m intrigued by the notion of a meta-analysis. This type of study gives researchers the opportunity to read and evaluate a large number of studies on a specific topic and analyze the evidence collected by their peers. It’s a tool that can help scientists zoom out and get the big picture, and the results can sometimes support emerging science in a way that one-off studies can’t.

This week we had a story about a meta-analysis performed at Boston University by Shrey Grover and his colleagues at the Reinhart Lab. The memory and cognition researchers compiled and reviewed data from over 100 studies on transcranial alternating current stimulation. Known as tACS, this therapy involves wearing a cap embedded with electrodes that send weak, oscillating electrical currents to the scalp. Whether it has the capacity to change mental function by altering electrical pulses in the brain has been a topic of debate for decades.

So what did the meta-analysis reveal? The researchers found that tACS can enhance a person’s mental capacity, especially when it comes to executive function. It’s a big-picture perspective that lends support to the potential of this therapy.

Later this week, we’ll bring you stories about the upcoming Atlantic hurricane season, how hip-hop challenged racism in Europe and how to raise a spelling bee champion.

Also: We just launched a newsletter series on artificial intelligence explaining what you need to know about AI and how it’s changing society. Sign up here to receive four emails over the course of a week.

Emily Costello

Managing Editor

Readers' picks

While blue, Democratic states are becoming bluer, red, Republican-leaning states are becoming more conservative. Matt Champlin

Americans are increasingly moving to red, Republican-leaning states – where life is cheaper, but people also die younger

Robert Samuels, University of California, Santa Barbara

Idaho, Montana and Florida had the highest population growth among US states between 2020 and 2022.

Editors' picks

Former President Donald Trump’s many missteps made him an easy target for amateur jokesters. Ron Adar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Not all political comedy is equal – how comics can either depress turnout or activate voters in 2024

Sophia A. McClennen, Penn State

While derision and mockery permeate airwaves and social media feeds, satire holds the key to creating a more informed, engaged electorate.

News Quiz 🧠

  • The Conversation U.S. weekly news quiz

    Test your knowledge with a weekly quiz drawn from some of our favorite stories. Questions this week about late greats Tina Turner and Jim Brown, Coca-Cola and corn dogs, farmers, unions, the Chinese, and chatbots

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