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U.S. warns meningitis cases could rise

AFP - US authorities have managed to contact most of the thousands of people exposed to the tainted drug blamed for a meningitis outbreak that has killed 14, but warned the number of infections could rise. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it had contacted 12,000 of the nearly…

HPV vaccination does not lead to increased sex in girls: study

Adolescent girls are not more likely to engage in sexual activity after receiving a human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination, according to a new study. Last year, a Catholic school in Canada made headlines when it banned free HPV vaccinations for girls on orders from Bishop Frederick Henry. The bishop said giving…

Astronomers discover planet covered in graphite and diamond

WASHINGTON — Twinkling stars are not the only diamonds in the sky. Scientists Thursday reported the existence of a “diamond planet” twice the size of Earth, and eight times its mass, zooming around a nearby star. In fact, this is not the first diamond planet ever discovered, but it is…

U.S. panel calls for greater privacy controls on genetic information

Laws to keep genetic information private are not strong enough — a situation that could hinder progress in important research, according to a new high-level study Thursday on medical ethics. As human genome sequencing becomes more and more affordable, researchers are finding new and important ways to use the data…

Researcher: More chocolate consumption linked with more Nobel prizes

The more chocolate people in a country eat, the more Nobel prize winners the country produces per capita, according to a note published Thursday in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine. Flavonoids, antioxidants found in cocoa, green tea, red wine and some fruits, appear “to be effective in slowing…

Astronomers find rare spiral shell of cosmic dust with powerful Chile telescope

Astronomers using a powerful Chile-based telescope on Wednesday released a rare image of a spiral shell of cosmic dust and gas surrounding a red giant star. The discovery marks the first time that scientists have found such a structure and obtained full three-dimensional information about the spiral. Researchers said a…

Study shows that some bacteria produce their own viral bio-weapons

In a paper published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, scientists say that bacteria in the gut can manufacture and use viruses as weapons against other rival bacteria in what the website LiveScience.com calls “intestinal shootouts.” Scientists hope to find a way to use this process…

‘Phone for you’: Nobel winners remember getting the call from Sweden

Some Nobel laureates find out while on a plane, others think it’s a hoax, and some don’t even hear the phone ring. On Tuesday, French physicist Serge Haroche was out walking with his wife when his cell phone rang. He saw the 46 country code on the display and recognised…

China plans to collect Mars samples by 2030

China is planning to collect samples from the surface of Mars by 2030, according to the chief scientist of the country’s lunar orbiter project, state media reported Wednesday. Ouyang Ziyuan said the mission would have three stages — remote sensing, soft-landing and exploration, and return after automatic sampling, Xinhua news…

Fossil reveals complex brains evolved earlier than previously thought

A 520-million-year-old, three-inch (7.6-centimetre) fossil has yielded evidence that complex brains evolved much earlier than previously thought, scientists said Wednesday. The preserved external skeleton of Fuxianhuia protensa, an extinct type of arthropod, is the earliest known fossil to show a complex brain, according to a study published in the journal…

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