What may be the oldest fossil found on Earth was uncovered in a recently melted area of Greenland, according to findings published in Nature. The stromatolites found in rock, typically left behind by microbes, are about 3.7 billion years old, and the age suggests that life formed earlier and more rapidly than previously thought, researchers say.
A young galaxy cluster 11.1 billion light-years from Earth is the most distant ever observed, astronomers say. Multiple space telescopes were used to spot CL J1001+0220, where nine of its 11 galaxies are furiously giving birth to stars, according to a study published online in The Astrophysical Journal.
The trend of ever-lower levels of sea ice in the Arctic during melt season is becoming what NASA scientists are calling the new normal. "Even when it's likely that we won't have a record low, the sea ice is not showing any kind of recovery," said NASA sea-ice scientist Walt Meier.
A new medication is showing promise in clearing amyloid plaques from the brains of patients with early Alzheimer's disease, slowing the progression of mental function problems, a study in Nature reports. The success of the drug aducanumab in a small clinical trial suggests that removing amyloid plaques from the brain could prevent or even reverse Alzheimer's if treatment is started early, researchers say.
Researchers have seen a steep increase in cases of temporary paralysis associated with the Zika virus in seven countries. The findings, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, suggest that Zika infection may trigger Guillain-Barre syndrome, a form of temporary paralysis, in some patients.
LSD may affect how the brain processes language, allowing more distantly related word associations, according to a study published in Language, Cognition and Neuroscience. "Our results do hint toward having access to further-away associations under the influence of psychedelics," said Neiloufar Family, who led the study.
The NIH's National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has awarded Bothell, Wash.-based Novuson Surgical a Phase 2 Small Business Innovation Research grant worth $1.47 million to advance the development of its direct therapeutic ultrasound energy device for use in alleviating the effects of perioperative bleeding to surgically reconstructed great vessels in newborns. The University of Washington spinout's device is intended for hemostatic control and cauterization.
NASA is providing funds to Connecticut-based Infinity Fuel Cell and Hydrogen to help the firm continue developing special fuel cells that could be used in a Space Launch Systems vehicle. The money will go toward fuel cells to power NASA's Exploration Upper Stage launch vehicle, which is expected to be used for deep space exploration.
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