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Top stories: A monster black hole, how to prevent allergies, and naming animals
(Left to right) Zhaoyu Li/Shanghai Astronomical Observatory; Roland Brookes/The Maritime Trust; Britta Pedersen/dpa/Newscom

Top stories: A monster black hole, how to prevent allergies, and naming animals

This week’s quiz: How well do you know science’s most famous animals? Test your knowledge!

Common ingredient in packaged food may trigger inflammatory disease

Here's another reason to avoid packaged foods—the ingredients that make them stable may promote chronic inflammatory diseases. A new study suggests these ingredients mess with the barrier between our immune system and our gut bacteria.

Eating peanuts prevents allergy

Want to avoid a peanut allergy? Eat peanuts. A new study finds that eating peanuts slashes the chance of developing a peanut allergy, at least in kids at high risk of developing one. The findings support a long-standing theory that ingesting potential food allergens can actually prevent allergies.

Should research animals be named?

Scientists once shied away from naming research animals. Now, except for rats and mice, most research animals have proper names. But is this practice good or bad for research? Have your say!

Indian grad students take to streets over miserable pay

Indian postgraduate students have taken to the streets nationwide by the thousands over the past week to protest overdue hikes to government stipends. Unless demands are met soon, protest leaders promise to take more drastic action, such as a attempting a countrywide lab shutdown.

Monster black hole born shortly after big bang

Astronomers have discovered a monstrous black hole in a barely newborn galaxy, just 875 million years after the big bang. The monster is 3000 times the size of our Milky Way’s black hole, and to have grown so big so quickly, it must have been munching matter at close to the maximum physically possible rate for most of its life.

Sound of mom’s voice boosts brain growth in premature babies

Babies born prematurely are more than twice as likely to have difficulty hearing and processing words than those carried to full-term. Now, an unusual study with 40 preemies suggests that recreating a womblike environment with recordings of a mother's heartbeat and voice could potentially correct these deficits.

DNA recovered from underwater British site may rewrite history of farming in Europe

A new study of ancient DNA from a now submerged hunter-gatherer camp off the British coast suggests that wheat made its way to the far edge of Western Europe 2000 years before farming was thought to have taken hold in Britain. In fact, hunter-gatherers may have brought agricultural products to the British Isles by trading wheat and other grains with early farmers from the European mainland.