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Novel material takes 3D ‘invisibility cloak’ a step closer

PARIS — Scientists in the United States reported a further step towards a celebrated “invisibility cloak” by masking a large, free-standing object in three dimensions. The lab work is the latest advance in a scientific frontier that uses novel materials to manipulate light, a trick that is of huge interest…

Lifetime heart risks are higher than thought: study

WASHINGTON — A person’s lifetime risk of getting heart disease may be much higher than previously thought, according to a major US study published on Wednesday. A single risk factor — such as smoking, having diabetes, high blood pressure or elevated cholesterol — can significantly boost one’s likelihood of having…

Flights rerouted as massive solar storm slams Earth

WASHINGTON — Solar radiation from a massive sun storm — the largest in nearly a decade — collided with the Earth’s atmosphere, prompting an airline to reroute flights and skywatchers to seek out spectacular light displays. US carrier Delta Air Lines said it had adjusted flight routes for transpolar journeys…

First patients shown to improve with embryonic stem cells

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Before treatment, the 51-year-old graphic artist was legally blind, unable to read a single letter on a standard eye chart. She has suffered from Stargardt’s disease, the most common form of macular degeneration in young patients, since she was a teenager, and it was getting progressively worse. A…

Sumatra elephant ‘faces extinction in 30 years’: WWF

Sumatran elephants in the wild face extinction in less than 30 years unless there is an “immediate moratorium” on destruction of the animals’ habitat, environmental group WWF warned on Tuesday. There are now between 2,400 and 2,800 of the elephants left in the wild on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, which means the…

Mental trauma takes huge toll in Afghan war

Mohammad Qasim, a 58-year-old butcher, is traumatised, depressed and anxious — like 50 percent of his fellow Afghans after 30 years of war, according to government figures. Qasim saw his wife, daughter-in-law and two grandsons aged five and six die in a horrific suicide bombing in Kabul last month. More…

Study confirms groundbreaking advance in stem cells

PARIS — The first use of embryonic stem cells in humans eased a degenerative form of blindness in two volunteers and showed no signs of any adverse effects, according to a study published by The Lancet on Monday. Publication in the peer-reviewed journal marks an important step for embryonic stem…

Magic mushroom trips point to long-acting antidepressant drugs

LONDON (Reuters) – The brains of people tripping on magic mushrooms have given the best picture yet of how psychedelic drugs work and British scientists say the findings suggest such drugs could be used to treat depression. Two separate studies into the effects of psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic…

Consumers demand insurers cover experimental drugs

NEW YORK (Reuters) – When your health insurance provider denies an experimental treatment or a high-cost drug, how much are you willing to pay for the care you believe you need? Barby Ingle, a former cheerleading and dance coach at Washington University who now lives in a Phoenix suburb, has…

Anxiety, other disorders more common in autism

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Autism tends to go hand in hand with a variety of other mental andbehavioral conditions in kids, suggests a new study that highlights the fuzzy nature of autism diagnoses themselves. Researchers said that other disorders that often go along with autism — such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or…

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