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Brain-injured patients need therapies based on cognitive neuroscience

Patients with traumatic brain injuries are not benefiting from recent advances in cognitive neuroscience research – and they should be, scientists report in a special issue of Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences.

Gene mapping reveals soy's dynamic, differing roles in breast cancer

Scientists have mapped the human genes triggered by the phytonutrients in soy, revealing the complex role the legume plays in both preventing and advancing breast cancer.

Bridging nanotube gaps enhances performance

A more effective method for closing gaps in atomically small wires has been developed by University of Illinois researchers, further opening the doors to a new transistor technology.

The phthalate DEHP undermines female fertility in mice

Two studies in mice add to the evidence that the phthalate DEHP, a plasticizing agent used in auto upholstery, baby toys, building materials and many other consumer products, can undermine female reproductive health, in part by disrupting the growth and function of the ovaries.

Study: Amygdala encodes 'cooties' and 'crushes' in the developing brain

Scientists have found a signal in the brain that reflects young children’s aversion to members of the opposite sex (the “cooties” effect) and also their growing interest in opposite-sex peers as they enter puberty. These two responses to members of the opposite sex are encoded in the amygdala, the researchers report.

Two ancient human fossils from Laos reveal early human diversity

An ancient human skull and a jawbone found a few meters apart in a cave in northern Laos add to the evidence that early modern humans were physically quite diverse, researchers report in PLOS ONE.

New drug targets estrogen receptor-positive cancers

An experimental drug rapidly shrinks most tumors in a mouse model of human breast cancer, researchers report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. When mice were treated with the experimental drug, BHPI, “the tumors immediately stopped growing and began shrinking rapidly,” said University of Illinois biochemistry professor and senior author David Shapiro. “In just 10 days, 48 out of the 52 tumors stopped growing, and most shrank 30 to 50 percent.”

Report: Photosynthesis hack needed to feed the world by 2050

Using high-performance computing and genetic engineering to boost the photosynthetic efficiency of plants offers the best hope of increasing crop yields enough to feed a planet expected to have 9.5 billion people on it by 2050, researchers report in the journal Cell.

Choosy fish females may boost biodiversity

A new study offers insight into a process that could lead one species to diverge into two, researchers report in The American Naturalist.

Cultivated papaya owes a lot to the ancient Maya, research suggests

A genetic study of papaya sex chromosomes reveals that the hermaphrodite version of the plant, which is of most use to growers, arose as a result of human selection, most likely by the ancient Maya some 4,000 years ago.