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FDA approves weight-loss drug for the first time in 13 years

The US Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday approved the first drug to treat obesity in 13 years, a drug called lorcaserin, marketed as Belviq and made by Arena Pharmaceuticals. “The US Food and Drug Administration today approved Belviq (lorcaserin hydrochloride), as an addition to a reduced-calorie diet and exercise,…

Google teaching computers to mimic human brain

Google said it was dabbling with getting computers to simulate the learning process of the human brain as one of the unusual projects for researchers in its X Lab. Computers programmed with algorithms intended to mimic neural connections “learned” to recognize cats after being shown a sampling of YouTube videos,…

Students set new human-powered helicopter flight record

Students set new human-powered helicopter flight record (via The Christian Science Monitor) A team of engineering students from the University of Maryland broke a new flight record in a human-powered aircraft. Pilot Kyle Gluesenkamp lifted his gymnasium-sized helicopter, Gamera II, about a foot off the ground for 50 seconds. Their…

Study: The way you count on your fingers may influence how your brain works

Put down your coffee for a moment. Now, without thinking about it too much, use your hands to count to 10. How did you do it? Did you start with the left hand, or the right? Did you begin counting on a thumb, or with a pinkie? Maybe you started…

U.S. appeals court upholds pollution limits

A US federal court of appeals on Tuesday upheld the right of environmental regulators to curb harmful carbon emissions via clean car standards and limit industrial pollution from new power plants. The court rejected a series of lawsuits that had been filed against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by the…

German court outlaws circumcision for infant boys

Circumcising young boys on religious grounds causes grievous bodily harm, a German court ruled Tuesday in a landmark decision that the Jewish community said trampled on parents’ religious rights. The regional court in Cologne, western Germany, ruled that the “fundamental right of the child to bodily integrity outweighed the fundamental…

Swine flu likely claimed quarter of a million lives: study

The A(H1N1) “swine flu” 2009 pandemic probably claimed over a quarter of a million lives — 15 times more than the 18,500 reported, a paper in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal said Tuesday. The elevated toll underlined the need for better planning and vaccine distribution, said a team of epidemiologists…

Care centers deny elderly the right to sex: medical journal

Care facilities often deny elderly people the basic right, and one of their few remaining pleasures, to continue having sex, according to a paper published on Tuesday. Many older people, including those with early stage dementia, enjoy sex while they live at home, but this changes once they move into…

California condor faces ‘epidemic’ of lead poisoning

The endangered California condor faces an “epidemic” of lead poisoning from scavenging carcasses contaminated by lead bullets despite years of costly conservation efforts, scientists said Monday. The rare birds were reduced to a population of just 22 in 1982, and have since recovered to number about 400, with half of…

Study: Math-heavy research cited half as often

Artistic types are not the only ones whose eyes glaze over when confronted with too many numbers, according to research out Monday that suggests scientists, too, find lots of equations hard to read. The study by researchers at the University of Bristol analyzed nearly 650 studies on ecology and evolution…

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