World’s oldest vertebrate is a shark that lives for 500 years

Species: Greenland shark (Somniosus microcephalus)
Habitat: deep in the North Atlantic and the cold surface waters of the Arctic

Fish that were alive during the Age of Enlightenment are still swimming strong. A Greenland shark has lived at least 272 years, making the species the longest-lived vertebrate in the world – smashing the previous record held by a 211-year-old bowhead whale. But it may have been as old as 500 years.

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Paralysed patient walks again in astonishing medical breakthrough

In an astonishing breakthrough, patients left paralysed by severe spinal cord injuries have recovered the ability to move their legs after training with an exoskeleton linked to their brain – with one even able to walk using two crutches.

Scientists developed the Walk Again Project, based in Sao Paulo, Brazil, thinking that they could enable paraplegics to move about using the exoskeleton controlled by their thoughts.

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The first asthma pill in 20 years shows “massive promise” in reducing symptoms

The first new asthma pill in two decades has just completed its third phase of clinical trials, and not only did patients report instant relief – the pill actually started to repair the lining of their airways.

Taken twice daily, the pill was shown to reduce inflammation by 80 percent in people with moderate-to-severe asthma.

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Students who play online games actually get better academic results

Despite the old stereotypes about video games rotting your brain, a new study provides the latest evidence to the contrary, with the data showing that gaming every day is linked to improvements in academic performance.

Research in Australia involving more than 12,000 high school students found that, when it came to internet usage, students who regularly played online video games scored higher in maths, reading, and science tests than their peers who didn’t

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Discovery of key component of HIV virus yields new drug target

Scientists from the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge and University College London have discovered an essential feature of the HIV virus that it uses to infect cells whilst avoiding detection by the immune system. This discovery, published inNatureopens in new window, presents a new drug target and the opportunity to re-evaluate existing treatments for HIV to improve their efficacy

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Mystery object in weird orbit beyond Neptune cannot be explained

I hope everyone has buckled their seatbelts because the outer solar system just got a lot weirder.” That’s what Michele Bannister, an astronomer at Queens University, Belfast tweeted on Monday.

She was referring to the discovery of a TNO or trans-Neptunian object, something which sits beyond Neptune in the outer solar system. This one is 160,000 times fainter than Neptune, which means the icy world could be less than 200 kilometres in diameter. It’s currently above the plane of the solar system and with every passing day, it’s moving upwards – a fact that makes it an oddity.

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Venus may have been habitable

Venus may have had a shallow liquid-water ocean and habitable surface temperatures for up to two billion years of its early history, according to NASA computer modeling of the planet’s ancient climate.

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Researchers ‘reprogram’ network of brain cells in mice with thin beam of light

Neurons that fire together really do wire together, says a new study, suggesting that the three-pound computer in our heads may be more malleable than we think.

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Researchers demonstrate acoustic levitation of a large sphere

When placed in an acoustic field, small objects experience a net force that can be used to levitate the objects in air. In a new study, researchers have experimentally demonstrated the acoustic levitation of a 50-mm (2-inch) solid polystyrene sphere using ultrasound—acoustic waves that are above the frequency of human hearing.

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Study links global warming to rise in waterborne illnesses

Rising global temperatures are clearly linked to increasing waterborne food poisoning, particularly from eating raw oysters, along with other nasty infections, a new study shows.

About a dozen species of vibrio (VIB’-ree-oh) bacteria make people sick from eating raw or undercooked seafood or drinking or swimming in tainted water. It also causes cholera, although that was not the focus of the research.

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