Published: Saturday 04 July 2015

sun's twin: Astronomers from the US-based Villanova University have found a Sun-like star. They have termed it as 18 Scorpii. It is located in the constellation Scorpio, which is 46 light years from Earth. In cosmic terms, 46 light years is considered quite close. Sun and 18 Scorpii have a lot in common -- they have similar radius and surface temperature. Their age is also the same -- four to five billion years.

low sperm count: The sperm count of men in the UK has fallen by as much as 29 per cent over the past 12 years, according to a study by researchers from the UK-based Aberdeen University. As per Siladitya Bhattacharya, the lead author, exposure to toxins such as pesticides is mainly responsible for the low count. These chemicals impair the normal functioning of sperms.

miscarriage indicator: A protein can help predict the chances of a pregnancy ending in miscarriage, researchers from Australia-based Monash University have found. As per their study, the levels of MIC1 -- an immune system protein found in women during pregnancy -- drop by 70 per cent almost three weeks before a miscarriage.

no nano threat: Scientists from the University College London, UK, have found that particles of nanomaterials can lodge in the brain. Their research on rats shows that the particles can even move into lungs. Humans already breathe in considerable numbers of nanoparticles present in traffic fumes, which can trigger asthma or cardiovascular problems. The particle of nanomaterials, touted as the best communication device, might trigger more severe reactions.

erroneous us standards: The air Americans breathe contains more ozone from pollution than the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates. To calculate standards for ozone, EPA distinguishes between the natural amount of ozone and the levels resulting from pollution. "Our study shows that EPA is overestimating the background level, and as a result is underestimating the health risk from polluting ozone," says Arlene Fiore, a scientist of the Harvard University, USA.

smelling a rat: Researchers from the UK-based University of Reading have detected chemicals of deodorants in breast cancer tumours. "Their detection is alarming, as parabens mimic the action of the female hormone oestrogen, which can initiate the growth of tumours," says Philippa Darbre, the lead author.

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