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Top stories: Killer chimps, artificial sweeteners, and the ‘Kardashian Index’

Top stories: Killer chimps, artificial sweeteners, and the 'Kardashian Index'

Ebola vaccine: Little and late

As the Ebola outbreak accelerates, the containment measures that worked in the past clearly have failed. This has spurred hopes that biomedical countermeasures, such as monoclonal antibodies and vaccines, can help save lives and slow spread. But even as President Barack Obama calls for an aggressive ramp up of the U.S. government’s response, resolve is colliding with a grim reality: The epidemic is outpacing the speed with which drugs and vaccines can be produced.

See all of Science’s coverage of the Ebola outbreak, including the U.N. Security Council’s historic resolution to confront the disease, the planned U.S. surge, and the situation on the ground in Liberia.

Why do chimps kill each other?

A major new study of chimp warfare finds that lethal aggression can be evolutionarily beneficial, rewarding the winners with food, mates, and the opportunity to pass along their genes. The findings challenge the idea that chimps fight only if they are stressed by nearby human activity—and could help explain the origins of human conflict as well.

Man in an apparent vegetative state responds to Hitchcock video clip

It can be difficult for doctors to tell whether a patient is truly in a vegetative state—awake but unaware of their surroundings. Now, using a suspenseful video clip, scientists have found signs of awareness in a man who has been in an apparent vegetative state for 17 years. The results may help doctors search for signs of awareness in others who have been misdiagnosed as being in a vegetative state. 

Synthetic sweeteners may contribute to diabetes

New research suggests that artificial sweeteners might not be a great alternative to sugar. In fact, the new study suggests that they could have a negative effect on your gut bacteria and thus lead to a higher risk of diabetes. Don’t put down your Diet Coke quite yet—some scientists say these results fly in the face of previous research and may be wrong.

The top 50 science stars of Twitter

Science compiled a list of some of the most followed scientists on Twitter and calculated their “Kardashian Index”—a comparison of a scientist’s number of Twitter followers with their academic citations. We know we missed a few—tell us who and we'll add them to our updated list, coming soon! 

'Artificial spleen' could help treat sepsis

Sepsis—the body’s over-the-top reaction to an infection—is one of the world's leading killers. Now, researchers have figured out a new way to fight sepsis by filtering microbes from patients’ blood.