Top Stories: Animal Extremists Changing Tactics, Elephants Understand 'Human,' and an Alzheimer's Blood Test

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Top Stories: Animal Extremists Changing Tactics, Elephants Understand 'Human,' and an Alzheimer's Blood Test

A Blood Test for Alzheimer's Disease?

A research team has discovered a group of molecules in the blood that they say can predict with 90% accuracy whether older people will develop Alzheimer's disease over the course of 2 to 3 years. Early diagnosis of Alzheimer's opens up the possibility that doctors will be able to treat the condition more effectively.

Animal Rights Extremists Increasingly Targeting Individuals

According to a new report, animal rights activists have dramatically shifted their tactics over the last decade, targeting individual researchers and the businesses that support them, instead of going after their universities.

Elephants Have Learned to 'Understand Human'

Researchers have discovered that African elephants can tell certain human languages apart and even determine our gender, relative age, and whether we’re a threat just by listening to us. The discovery illustrates how elephants sometimes try to protect themselves from human actions.

Crohn's Disease Marked by Dramatic Changes in Gut Bacteria

Crohn’s disease causes painful intestinal inflammation and affects about half a million people in the United States. Now, the largest clinical study of its kind has revealed that patients with Crohn's seem to have an imbalance of good and bad gut bacteria. The study could lead to new, less invasive diagnostic tests; it also shows that antibiotics—which are often given when patients first present with symptoms—may actually make the disease worse.

The Key to the Next Energy Revolution?

Natural gas is great at heating our houses, but it’s not so good at fueling our cars—at least not yet. Researchers have discovered a new and more efficient method for converting the main components in natural gas into liquids that can be further refined into either common commodity chemicals or fuels. The work opens the door to displacing oil with abundant natural gas—and reducing both carbon emissions and society’s dependence on petroleum in the process.

FIRST at Last: Controversial Bill Introduced to Guide U.S. Science Policies

A proposal to reshape a major chunk of the U.S. government’s science funding enterprise has finally been formally introduced. The Frontiers in Innovation, Research, Science, and Technology (FIRST) Act  has already met with a lot of opposition from university groups and Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives. The Republican proposal is the latest salvo in a yearlong battle with Democrats over the nature of federal support for basic research that clearly exposes the differences between the two parties. The full House science committee is expected to take up the legislation in early April.