In a research review U.K. researchers last year challenged the long-held belief that people with depression suffer from a chemical imbalance in the brain, kicking off a broader debate about treatment for depression.

University of Michigan’s Elissa H. Patterson and Jay Kayser note the clinical status quo, with its heavy emphasis on medication, is not very effective. Nearly three out of four people who take antidepressants do not get complete relief from their symptoms, which can lead to people’s conditions being categorized as “treatment-resistant depression.” They detail many alternatives to medications, some of which may sound familiar but, they contend, have not been integrated into the profession. “The things we do on a day-to-day basis, called lifestyle factors, function as building blocks for a life without depression,” they write.

People who live in the Northeast U.S, as I do, know what a mild winter we’ve had. The lab of Boston University biologist Richard Primack has been researching how climate change affects annual rhythms such as the arrival of leaves and migration of birds in the springtime, using the extensive records of Henry David Thoreau in Concord, Massachusetts, for many studies. In his latest article for us, Primack and his colleagues looked more broadly and found that “as temperatures warm, deciduous trees across eastern North America are advancing their leaf-out timing faster than native wildflowers are responding.” This mismatch can mean that in some regions native wildflowers are more likely to be shaded out by trees.

One of the most well-read science stories last week was a study on the advanced communication abilities of bees, which teach younger bees with a “waggle dance” where to forage. Our editors also uncovered a study on widely inconsistent EPA enforcement of pollution laws by state, and an ethicist makes the case that the biggest risk from generative AI such as ChatGPT is people’s tendency to attach human characteristics to our tools and machines.

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A diagnosis of treatment-resistant depression can lead to a sense of hopelessness and despair in some patients. Maria Korneeva/Moment via Getty Images

Depression too often gets deemed ‘hard to treat’ when medication falls short

Elissa H. Patterson, University of Michigan; Jay Kayser, University of Michigan

An overreliance on medication as the first-line treatment for depression can lead some people to be labeled with treatment-resistant depression when there are other viable alternatives for relief.

Native wildflowers, such as these Dutchman’s breeches (Dicentra cucullaria) that bloom early in spring are losing access to sunlight as trees leaf out earlier. Katja Schulz/Flickr

Climate change threatens spring wildflowers by speeding up the time when trees leaf out above them

Richard B. Primack, Boston University; Benjamin R. Lee, University of Pittsburgh; Tara K. Miller, Boston University

Many beloved wildflowers bloom in early spring, while trees are still bare and the flowers have access to sunlight. Climate change is throwing trees and wildflowers out of sync.

A series of atmospheric rivers in early 2023 covered the Sierra Nevada in snow. Mario Tama/Getty Images

Why rain on snow in the California mountains worries scientists

Keith Musselman, University of Colorado Boulder

Another atmospheric river is hitting the state, raising flood risks as rain falls on deep snowpack. Rain on snow is also a growing problem as the planet warms.

Smell is the crucial sense that holds ant society together, helping the insects recognize, communicate and cooperate with one another

Laurence Zwiebel, Vanderbilt University; Stephen Ferguson, Vanderbilt University

Researchers explore what happens when ants can’t properly use smell to detect friend from foe.

Are you a rapid ager? Biological age is a better health indicator than the number of years you’ve lived, but it’s tricky to measure

Aditi Gurkar, University of Pittsburgh

Aging is a major risk factor for many chronic diseases. Figuring out what influences longevity and how to identify rapid agers could lead to healthier and longer lives for more people.

Pi gets all the fanfare, but other numbers also deserve their own math holidays

Manil Suri, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Pi gets a lot of attention this time of year, but there are plenty of other mathematical constants just as deserving of recognition.

How to use free satellite data to monitor natural disasters and environmental changes

Qiusheng Wu, University of Tennessee

Time-lapse animations that once took days to create are now easy to build with publicly available satellite images and free online tools.

AI isn’t close to becoming sentient – the real danger lies in how easily we’re prone to anthropomorphize it

Nir Eisikovits, UMass Boston

Our tendency to view machines as people and become attached to them points to real risks of psychological entanglement with AI technology.

What exactly is the internet? A computer scientist explains what it is and how it came to be

Fred Martin, UMass Lowell

Almost everybody uses the internet just about every day. But do you really know what the internet is?

Body dysmorphic disorder is more common than eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia, yet few people are aware of its dangers

Eva Fisher, Colorado State University Global; Fugen Neziroglu, Hofstra University; Jamie Feusner, University of Toronto

About a quarter of those with body dysmorphic disorder attempt suicide or struggle with ideas of suicide. Fortunately, medication and therapy have proved highly effective at treating the disorder.

Unlocking secrets of the honeybee dance language – bees learn and culturally transmit their communication skills

James C. Nieh, University of California, San Diego

Honeybees possess one of the most complex examples of nonhuman communication. New research suggests that it is learned and culturally passed down from older to younger bees.