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The top science news articles and science news articles and current events, scientific discoveries, studies and research from the past week.
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Breastfeeding may expose infants to toxic chemicals
A widely used class of industrial chemicals linked with cancer and interference with immune function--perfluorinated alkylate substances, or PFASs--appears to build up in infants by 20%-30% for each month they're breastfed, according to a new study co-authored by experts from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

A new virus in liver cancer
More than a cause of a simple infection, viruses are often involved in the development of serious diseases. Such is the case with liver cancer, which often develops in an organ that has been weakened by hepatitis B or C virus.



OU astrophysicist and collaborators find supermassive black holes in quasar nearest Earth
A University of Oklahoma astrophysicist and his Chinese collaborator have found two supermassive black holes in Markarian 231, the nearest quasar to Earth, using observations from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope.

Survey finds many physicians overestimate their ability to assess patients' risk of Ebola
While most primary care physicians responding to a survey taken in late 2014 and early 2015 expressed confidence in their ability to identify potential cases of Ebola and communicate Ebola risks to their patients, only 50 to 70 percent of them gave answers that fit with CDC guidelines when asked how they would care for hypothetical patients who might have been exposed to Ebola.

Four-day school week can improve academic performance, study finds
Shortening the school week to four days has a positive impact on elementary school students' academic performance in mathematics, according to researchers at Georgia State University and Montana State University.

One in four hepatitis C patients denied initial approval for drug treatment
Nearly one in four patients with chronic hepatitis C (HCV) are denied initial approval for a drug therapy that treats the most common strain of the infection, according to a Yale School of Medicine study.

HIV particles do not cause AIDS, our own immune cells do
Researchers from the Gladstone Institutes have revealed that HIV does not cause AIDS by the virus's direct effect on the host's immune cells, but rather through the cells' lethal influence on one another.

Public Release: 20-Aug-2015 Carnegie Mellon-led team identifies structure of tumor-suppressing protein
An international group of researchers led by Carnegie Mellon University physicists Mathias Lösche and Frank Heinrich have established the structure of an important tumor suppressing protein, PTEN. Their findings provide new insights into how the protein regulates cell growth and how mutations in the gene that encodes the protein can lead to cancer.

Harvard's Wyss Institute improves its sepsis therapeutic device
Last year, a Wyss Institute team of scientists described the development of a new device to treat sepsis that works by mimicking our spleen. It cleanses pathogens and toxins from blood circulating through a dialysis-like circuit.

'Brainbow' reveals surprising data about visual connections in brain
Neuroscientists know that some connections in the brain are pruned through neural development. Function gives rise to structure, according to the textbooks. But scientists at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute have discovered that the textbooks might be wrong.

Soaking up carbon dioxide and turning it into valuable products
A molecular system that holds great promise for the capture and storage of carbon dioxide has been modified so that it now also holds great promise as a catalyst for converting captured carbon dioxide into valuable chemical products.

Research identifies a protein that helps determine the fate of RNA
After it is transcribed from DNA, RNA can go on to many fates. While the most familiar path may lead directly to the production of protein, RNA molecules themselves can also become capable of altering the expression of genes.

Surprised? Cholinergic neurons send broadcasts enabling us to learn from the unexpected
When a large combat unit, widely dispersed in dense jungle, goes to battle, no single soldier knows precisely how his actions are affecting the unit's success or failure.

Successful boron-doping of graphene nanoribbon
Physicists at the University of Basel succeed in synthesizing boron-doped graphene nanoribbons and characterizing their structural, electronic and chemical properties.

Physics meets biology to defeat aging
The scientific team of a new biotech company Gero in collaboration with one of the leading academics in the field of aging Prof. Robert J. Shmookler Reis (current world record holder in life extension for model animals - 10 fold for nematodes) has recently brought new insights into biology of aging and age-related diseases, primarily, around the stability and stress resistance of certain gene regulatory networks.

Exploding the drug deadlock: Repurposing nitroglycerin for anti-cancer treatments
For over a century, nitroglycerin has been used medically - particularly in the treatment of angina, or chest pain.

Fish oil-diet benefits may be mediated by gut microbes
Diets rich in fish oil versus diets rich in lard (e.g., bacon) produce very different bacteria in the guts of mice, reports a study published August 27 in Cell Metabolism.

CWRU researchers efficiently charge a lithium-ion battery with solar cell
Consumers aren't embracing electric cars and trucks, partly due to the dearth of charging stations required to keep them moving.

Antibiotic use linked to type 2 diabetes diagnosis
People who developed Type 2 diabetes tended to take more antibiotics in the years leading up to the diagnosis than people who did not have the condition, according to a new study published in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

21-gene recurrence score and receipt of chemotherapy in patients with breast cancer
Use of the 21-gene recurrence test score was associated with lower chemotherapy use in high-risk patients and greater use of chemotherapy in low-risk patients compared with not using the test among a large group of Medicare beneficiaries, according to an article published online by JAMA Oncology.

Circadian genes go to sleep every day at the periphery of the nucleus
Mobility between different physical environments in the cell nucleus regulates the daily oscillations in the activity of genes that are controlled by the internal biological clock, according to a study that is published in the journal Molecular Cell. Eventually, these findings may lead to novel therapeutic strategies for the treatment of diseases linked with disrupted circadian rhythm.

Researchers use brain scans to predict response to antipsychotic medications
Investigators at The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research have discovered that brain scans can be used to predict patients' response to antipsychotic drug treatment. The findings are published online in the latest issue of The American Journal of Psychiatry.

Glial cells use lipids to direct neuron organization in the spinal cord
Healing spinal cord damage is an incredibly difficult problem because neurons have to be reconnected in a precise fashion, and there are still many mysteries surrounding how this occurs.

Study provides hope for some human stem cell therapies
An international team of scientists headed by biologists at UC San Diego has discovered that an important class of stem cells known as human "induced pluripotent stem cells," or iPSCs, which are derived from an individual's own cells, can be differentiated into various types of functional cells with different fates of immune rejection.

Short bouts of activity may offset lack of sustained exercise in kids
Brief intervals of exercise during otherwise sedentary periods may offset the lack of more sustained exercise and could protect children against diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer, according to a small study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health.

New theory leads to radiationless revolution
Physicists have found a radical new way confine electromagnetic energy without it leaking away, akin to throwing a pebble into a pond with no splash.

Study links air pollution to children's low GPAs
A University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) study on children's health has found that fourth and fifth graders who are exposed to toxic air pollutants at home are more likely to have lower GPAs.

Evidence suggests subatomic particles could defy the standard model
The Standard Model of particle physics, which explains most of the known behaviors and interactions of fundamental subatomic particles, has held up remarkably well over several decades.

Interrupting sitting with walking breaks improves children's blood sugar
Taking 3-minute breaks to walk in the middle of a TV marathon or other sedentary activity can improve children's blood sugar compared to continuously sitting, according to a new National Institutes of Health (NIH) study published in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM).

15 percent of cigarettes sold in NYC have illegal tax stamps, study finds
Licensed tobacco retailers throughout New York City are selling a substantial number of cigarette packs carrying either counterfeit or out-of-state tax stamps, finds an investigation by NYU public health researchers.

Humus depletion induced by climate change?
The yields of many important crops in Europe have been stagnating since the 1990s. As a result, the input of organic matter into the soil - the crucial source for humus formation - is decreasing.

A detector shines in search for dark matter
Results of the XENON100 experiment are a bright spot in the search for dark matter.

Study aims to reproduce 100 published journal papers
Following one of the largest-scale scientific reproducibility investigations to date, a group of psychology researchers has reported results from an effort to replicate 100 recently published psychology studies; though they were able to successfully repeat the original experiments in most all cases, they were able to reproduce the original results in less than half, they report.

To get girls more interested in computer science, make classrooms less 'geeky'
Women lag behind men in the lucrative computer science and technology industries, and one of the possible contributors to this disparity is that they're less likely to enroll in introductory computer science courses.

Probiotics show no impact preventing gastrointestinal colonization with drug-resistant bugs
Probiotics show no benefit for preventing or eliminating gastrointestinal colonization with drug-resistant organisms in patients in the intensive care unit compared to standard care, according to new research published online today in Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology, the journal of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America.

Afatinib: Added benefit in certain mutations confirmed
Afatinib (trade name: Giotrif) has been approved since September 2013 for the treatment of adult patients with locally advanced or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with activating EGF receptor mutations who have not been treated with an EGF receptor tyrosine-kinase inhibitor (EGFR TKI).

Pitt team identifies cause of resilience to tinnitus, potential drug therapy
Researchers have identified in an animal model the molecular mechanisms behind resilience to noise-induced tinnitus and a possible drug therapy that could reduce susceptibility to this chronic and sometimes debilitating condition.

New technique could enable design of hybrid glasses and revolutionize gas storage
A new method of manufacturing glass could lead to the production of 'designer glasses' with applications in advanced photonics, whilst also facilitating industrial scale carbon capture and storage.

Parkinson's disease brain cells at risk of burnout, like an overheating motor
The death of brain cells in Parkinson's disease may be caused by a form of cellular energy crisis in neurons that require unusually high quantities of energy to carry out their job of regulating movement, researchers at the University of Montreal reported today.

Searching for ingredients of dark matter and dark energy
Two new reports advance efforts to identify components of dark matter and energy, which together comprise about 95% of the universe yet leave much to scientists' imaginations.

Scientists turn oily soil into fertile ground
Rice University scientists are cleaning soil contaminated by oil spills in a way that saves energy and reclaims the soil's fertility.

Covert and overt forms of sexism are equally damaging to working women
Frequent sexist wisecracks, comments and office cultures where women are ignored are just as damaging to women as single instances of sexual coercion and unwanted sexual attention, according to a new study out today in The Psychology of Women Quarterly (a SAGE Journal).

The DNA damage response goes viral: A way in for new cancer treatments
Every organism--from a seedling to a president--must protect its DNA at all costs, but precisely how a cell distinguishes between damage to its own DNA and the foreign DNA of an invading virus has remained a mystery.

Cervical pessary doesn't reduce rate of preterm birth or neonatal complications in twin gestatations
Having twins accounts for only 1.5% of all births but 25% of preterm births, the leading cause of infant mortality worldwide.

In diabetic eye disease, peripheral lesions in the retina point to risks of progression
For decades, clinicians have detected and monitored diabetic eye disease with standard retinal photographs that cover about a third of the retina. In recent years, an emerging class of ultrawide field (UWF) cameras has given a substantially larger view of the retina, providing new insight on the presentation and natural history of retinal disease.

How the mind sharpens the senses
A study conducted with experienced scholars of Zen-Meditation shows that mental focussing can induce learning mechanisms, similar to physical training. Researchers at the Ruhr-University Bochum and the Ludwig-Maximilians-University München discovered this phenomenon during a scientifically monitored meditation retreat.

Researcher develops cheaper, better LED technology
A Florida State University engineering professor has developed a new highly efficient and low cost light emitting diode that could help spur more widespread adoption of the technology.

In very ill, probiotics don't prevent 'superbugs' from colonizing intestinal tract
Compared with routine medical care, probiotics administered to critically ill patients in intensive care units showed no benefit in preventing the colonization of drug-resistant microbes in the intestinal tract, according to new research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Caltech chemists solve major piece of cellular mystery
Not just anything is allowed to enter the nucleus, the heart of eukaryotic cells where, among other things, genetic information is stored.

Study examines breast cancer mortality after ductal carcinoma in situ diagnosis
Researchers estimate the 20-year breast cancer-specific death rate for women diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ to be 3.3 percent, although the death rate is higher for women diagnosed before age 35 and for black women.

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