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Science

— Medical

Lab-made liver tissue may be used for drug screening

Laboratory-engineered liver tissue could be extremely useful, helping doctors to screen new drugs, and it could even one day be used for transplants. Unfortunately, it's also very difficult to replicate the organ's complex structure and functions outside of the human body. Now, researchers from China's Northwest A&F University have managed to construct artificial tissue that's proving effective at mimicking the real thing.

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— Medical

Encapsulated cells could free diabetics from insulin injections

Type 1 diabetes patients have to constantly monitor their blood sugar levels, regularly injecting insulin to make sure they stay healthy. Not only is this a burden for patients, but it can also be difficult to get right, often resulting in long-term medical problems. A team of researchers, including scientists from MIT, has been working on a better system. They're developing a transplantable capsule that can carry cells able to replace the patient's lost ability to produce insulin, and that isn't rejected or rendered useless by the host's body.

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— Energy

Lithium-oxygen breakthrough clears the air for boosted batteries

Boasting an energy density similar to that of gasoline, lithium-air (or lithium-oxygen) batteries may one day prove the panacea for the range-anxiety associated with electric vehicles. But first there are a number of challenges that need to be overcome, one of which is the unwanted buildup of lithium peroxide on the electrode which hampers this type of battery's performance. Scientists have now figured out a way that this mess might be avoided – an advance they say could lead to batteries with five times the energy density of those currently available.

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— Science

Flexible pressure sensor could boost breast cancer screening

Pressure sensors in use today are fairly capable, being sufficiently flexible to adhere to uneven surfaces like human skin. However, once they're twisted more significantly, they're unable to accurately keep track of pressure changes. Now, researchers from the University of Tokyo have come up with a much more versatile option, creating a new sensor that's thinner than its rivals, and that can continue to sense pressure even when curved over a tiny radius.

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— Environment

Statistically, humanity is almost certainly responsible for global warming

The world is getting warmer, with 13 out of the 15 warmest years on record occurring in the current century. But just how sure are we that humanity's burning of oil and coal is the key factor in the temperature increase? A new project, led by researchers at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, has answered that very question, working to estimate the likelihood of those temperature trends occurring naturally.

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— Medical

Nanoparticles used to take on late-stage liver cancer

Treating late-stage liver cancer can be extremely difficult, with drugs that prove effective in healthy organs causing high levels of toxicity when introduced to cirrhotic livers. A newly-developed nanoparticle delivery system could improve the situation, with early tests showing it to be effective as a non-toxic treatment in experiments with laboratory mice.

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