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Understanding the architecture of our ‘second brain’

Scientists have made an important step in understanding the organization of nerve cells embedded within the gut that control its function — a discovery that could give insight into the origin of common gastrointestinal diseases, including irritable bowel syndrome and chronic constipation.

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Using seaweed to kill invasive ants

Scientists have developed an inexpensive, biodegradable, seaweed-based ant bait that can help homeowners and farmers control invasive Argentine ant populations.

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Epigenetic program leading to vessel differentiation

Clarification of how human blood vessels are constructed is desperately needed to advance regenerative medicine. Researchers investigated the changes in gene functions that occur when stem cells become vascular cells. They found that the histone code, which alters the transcriptional state of the gene, changes over time as stem cells differentiate into blood vessels in response to a stimulus.

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Herpetologists describe an elf frog from the elfin forests in southern Vietnam

Going under the common name of Elfin mountain toad, a new amphibian is recognized as one of the smallest representative of its group. The new species was identified from the highland wet forests of Langbian Plateau, Southern Vietnam. The discoverers gave it this name that derives from German and Celtic folklore because of the resemblance they found between the tiny delicate amphibians and elves – small magic creatures. Furthermore, their habitat is known as elfin forests.

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Study shows differences in brain activity between men, women who are obese

A new study of obese people suggests that changes in their brains’ reward regions make them more prone to overeating, and that women and men exhibit different brain activity related to overeating.

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Life in the Precambrian may have been much livelier than previously thought

The strange creatures that lived in the Garden of the Ediacaran more than 540 million years ago, before animals came on the scene, may have been much more dynamic than experts have thought.

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Mesothelioma: New trial to fight cancer caused by asbestos

Patients with a hard-to-treat type of cancer are being given new hope in a ground-breaking clinical trial.

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Scientists to test Zika virus on brain tumors

In a revolutionary first, scientists will test whether the Zika virus can destroy brain tumor cells, potentially leading to new treatments for one of the hardest to treat cancers.  

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‘Adopted’ embryo program produces new style extended families

Scientists are researching the emergence of a new style of family creation that sees couples “adopt” embryos and, after the child is born, remain in contact with the donors and in many cases develop a special relationship with them.

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Disrupted fat breakdown in the brain makes mice dumb

A new study opens a new perspective with regard to the development of dementia. The scientists blocked the breakdown of a certain fat molecule in the mouse brain. As a result the animals exhibited learning and memory problems. Also the quantity of Alzheimer-specific proteins in their brains increased significantly. The researchers now have a clue as to why the mice become dumb.

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