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Weight loss surgery also safeguards obese people against cancer

Weight loss surgery might have more value than simply helping morbidly obese people to shed unhealthy extra pounds. It reduces their risk of cancer to rates almost similar to those of people of normal weight. This is the conclusion of the first comprehensive review article taking into account relevant studies about obesity, cancer rates and […]

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Light from huge explosion 12 billion years ago reaches earth

Known as a gamma-ray burst, the intense light captured in the night sky resulted from one of the biggest and hottest explosions in the universe, occurring shortly after the Big Bang. Intense light from the enormous explosion of a star more than 12 billion years ago — shortly after the Big Bang — recently reached earth and […]

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Smokers with gene defect have 1:4 chance of developing lung cancer

Around a quarter of smokers who carry a defect in the BRCA2 gene will develop lung cancer at some point in their lifetime, a large-scale, international study reveals. Scientists announce a previously unknown link between lung cancer and a particular BRCA2 defect, occurring in around 2% of the population, in research published in Nature Genetics […]

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Exciton discovered in metal

University of Pittsburgh researchers have become the first to detect a fundamental particle of light-matter interaction in metals, the exciton. The team will publish its work online June 1 in Nature Physics.   Humankind has used reflection of light from a metal mirror on a daily basis for millennia, but the quantum mechanical magic behind […]

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Australia’s volcanic eruptions caused first mass extinction

A Curtin University researcher has shown that ancient volcanic eruptions in Australia 510 million years ago significantly affected the climate, causing the first known mass extinction in the history of complex life.   Published in the journal Geology, Associate Professor Fred Jourdan from Curtin’s Department of Applied Geology, along with colleagues from several Australian and […]

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Genetics of cleft lip: new findings

Scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, have identified how a specific stretch of DNA controls far-off genes to influence the formation of the face. The study, published today in Nature Genetics, helps understand the genetic causes of cleft lip and cleft palate, which are among the most common congenital malformations in […]

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Robot warriors pose ethical dilemma

With the increasing use of drones in military operations, it is perhaps only a matter of time before robots replace soldiers. Whether fully automated war is on the immediate horizon, one researcher says it’s not too early to start examining the ethical issues that robot armies raise. In her recent thesis on the ethics of […]

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Neurons can use local stores for communication needs

Researchers reveal that neurons can utilize a supremely localized internal store of calcium to initiate the secretion of neuropeptides, one class of signaling molecules through which neurons communicate with each other and with other cells. The study appears in The Journal of General Physiology. Neuropeptides are released from neurons through a process that — like […]

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Immune system precursor cells that fight infection discovered

The innate immune system recognizes infectious agents such as viruses and bacteria. A group of lymphocytes known as “innate lymphoid cells” or ILCs plays a central role in the defense of the human body against infective agents. Professor Andreas Diefenbach of the Research Center Immunology at the Mainz University Medical Center, working in collaboration with […]

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Drug-target database lets researchers match old drugs to new uses

There are thousands of drugs that silence many thousands of cancer-causing genetic abnormalities. Some of these drugs are in use now, but many of these drugs are sitting on shelves or could be used beyond the disease for which they were originally approved. Repurposing these drugs depends on matching drugs to targets. A study recently […]