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Submission + - Has science defeated prostate cancer? (tech-stew.com) 1

techfun89 writes: "Zytiga was approved last year for advanced prostate cancer patients who had already received chemo but whose cancer had still metastasized.

Zytiga is a unique compound which penetrates the cancerous cells and shuts down its testosterone production, which quickly kills off the damaged cells and prevents their spread. Zytiga takes things a step further and also remains effective after the cancer metastasizes where other drugs loose their effectiveness.

In the Zytiga test group, the cancer progressed at only half the speed of the control group with patients reporting less pain and a noticeable delay before chemo was needed. As a result the trial was cancelled to allow every patient to use the drug."


Submission + - Mysterious radiation burst recorded in tree rings (nature.com)

ananyo writes: Just over 1,200 years ago, the planet was hit by an extremely intense burst of high-energy radiation of unknown cause, scientists studying tree-ring data have found.
The radiation burst, which seems to have hit between ad 774 and ad 775, was detected by looking at the amounts of the radioactive isotope carbon-14 in tree rings that formed during the ad 775 growing season in the Northern Hemisphere. The increase in 14C levels is so clear that the scientists conclude that the atmospheric level of 14C must have jumped by 1.2% over the course of no longer than a year, about 20 times more than the normal rate of variation (abstract abstract).
Yet, as the only known events that can produce a 14C spike are supernova explosions or giant solar flares, and neither event was observed at the time, astronomers have a cosmic mystery on their hands.


Submission + - What Struck Earth in 775? (sciencemag.org)

sciencehabit writes: In 775 C.E., while Charlemagne was ruling his Frankish kingdom, something mysterious struck Earth. An analysis of the rings of two Japanese cedar trees reveals that from 774 to 775 C.E., the atmospheric level of radioactive carbon-14 jumped by 1.2%. This indicates that cosmic rays—high-speed, charged particles from space—bombarded our planet and converted some atmospheric nitrogen-14 into carbon-14. The scientists argue against two logical suspects: solar flares are too weak to do the job, and no supernova explosion was seen at the time, nor do any nearby supernova remnants date back to Charlemagne's time. So the cause remains a mystery, but whatever it was, something similar could presumably strike again.

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