Physically acting out dreams, sometimes violently, is unsettling enough, but this activity can also be an early sign of neurological problems, including Parkinson’s disease. In one of our most-read science stories this week, University of Virginia neurologist Anelyssa D'Abreu provides an overview of REM sleep behavior disorder, a little-understood condition that affects millions of people, with symptoms most often first appearing in people in their 40s and 50s. Although there are no approved therapies, she notes that medications such as melatonin and clonazepam may improve the symptoms.

Tomorrow is the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season, and this year’s forecast is complicated by the expected formation of El Niño conditions in the Pacific Ocean. Iowa State University atmospheric scientist Christina Patricola unpacks the various factors at play in this story, with numerous graphics to demonstrate the effects of sea temperatures and shifting global wind patterns during an El Niño. The good news is that the forecast calls for a near-average hurricane season in the Atlantic and Caribbean, but she notes that “hinges on El Niño panning out.”

In another major environmental story over the past week, the Supreme Court greatly curtailed the definition of waters protected by the Clean Water Act, a decision “that could expose many wetlands across the U.S. to filling and development,” University of California, Davis, legal scholar Albert C. Lin writes. And in another popular story over the past week, University of Michigan anthropologist Raven Garvey considers an often-overlooked food source to argue that both men and women – not only men – hunted in prehistoric times.

Also in this week’s science news:

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Past age 50, men are much more likely to have REM sleep behavior disorder than women. Jose Luis Pelaez/Stone via Getty Images

A little-understood sleep disorder affects millions and has clear links to dementia – 4 questions answered

Anelyssa D'Abreu, University of Virginia

REM sleep behavior disorder is characterized by acting out dreams, which may include shouting, kicking and punching during sleep.

Hurricane Florence, seen from the International Space Station in 2018. Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30. NASA

Atlantic hurricane season 2023: El Niño and extreme Atlantic Ocean heat are about to clash

Christina Patricola, Iowa State University

Current forecasts suggest a warm tropical Pacific will be interfering with what could otherwise be a ferocious Atlantic hurricane season.

What if prehistoric men and women joined forces in hunting parties? gorodenkoff/iStock via Getty Images Plus

‘Man, the hunter’? Archaeologists’ assumptions about gender roles in past humans ignore an icky but potentially crucial part of original ‘paleo diet’

Raven Garvey, University of Michigan

If hunter-gatherers went beyond nose-to-tail eating to include the undigested plant matter in a prey animal’s stomach, assumptions about gendered division of labor start to fall apart.

How can Congress regulate AI? Erect guardrails, ensure accountability and address monopolistic power

Anjana Susarla, Michigan State University

Figuring out how to regulate AI is a difficult challenge, and that’s even before tackling the problem of the small number of big companies that control the technology.

Cytomegalovirus lies dormant in most US adults and is the leading infectious cause of birth defects, but few have heard of it

Laura Gibson, UMass Chan Medical School

Although testing for CMV during pregnancy isn’t routine and there isn’t universal screening for infants, there are steps pregnant people can take to protect themselves and their newborns.

To have better disagreements, change your words – here are 4 ways to make your counterpart feel heard and keep the conversation going

Julia Minson, Harvard Kennedy School

Researchers have identified ways to have more productive conversations – even when you’re talking to someone who holds an opposite view.

2023 hurricane forecast: Get ready for a busy Pacific storm season, quieter Atlantic than recent years thanks to El Niño

Kelsey Ellis, University of Tennessee; Nicholas Grondin, University of Tennessee

El Niño years put Hawaii and the Mexican Riviera on alert for destructive tropical storms and hurricanes.

The Supreme Court just shriveled federal protection for wetlands, leaving many of these valuable ecosystems at risk

Albert C. Lin, University of California, Davis

In Sackett v. EPA, a suit filed by two homeowners who filled in wetlands on their property, the Supreme Court has drastically narrowed the definition of which wetlands qualify for federal protection.

Including race in clinical algorithms can both reduce and increase health inequities – it depends on what doctors use them for

Anirban Basu, University of Washington

Biased algorithms in health care can lead to inaccurate diagnoses and delayed treatment. Deciding which variables to include to achieve fair health outcomes depends on how you approach fairness.