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July 9, 2014
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Researchers have discovered 10 proteins in blood that might be able to predict Alzheimer's, and even form the basis for a blood test that could diagnose the disease before symptoms start.

In a study published in Alzheimer's & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer's Association, researchers from King's College London were able to accurately predict Alzheimer's disease nearly nine times out of 10. More than 1,100 people participated in the study, and researchers found that 16 of the 26 proteins associated with Alzheimer's were closely tied to the brain shrinkage found in a person with mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's. Researchers ran more tests, and found that 10 proteins could be markers that mild cognitive impairment will develop into Alzheimer's.

Looking at these protein levels, researchers were able to correctly predict Alzheimer's disease in 87 percent of the cases. The goal now is to use the information gleaned from the study to create a blood test that could diagnose Alzheimer's early, when medications should have the biggest effect, and treat it before symptoms even begin.

"You take a drug, and in effect you would have the clinical symptoms prevented — even if the disease has already started in your brain," Oxford's Simon Loveston, the study's senior author, told CBS News. Such a breakthrough would be huge: 5.1 million Americans have Alzheimer's, and the rates are expected to triple by 2050. Every year, an estimated $215 billion is spent in the U.S. on Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. Catherine Garcia

12:27 p.m. ET
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The Rio Tinto Argyle mine in Western Australia is responsible for turning up most of the world's rare pink diamonds — and now it's made something even rarer. Rio Tinto Diamonds announced Tuesday that its annual showcase this year will feature a massive violet diamond discovered in the mine. The stone was more than twice the size of the next-largest violet diamond found in the mine; in its original state, the diamond was more than 9 carats, and after being cut and polished it stands at 2.83 carats.

While Rio Tinto has not put a fine point on the diamond's worth, its incredible rarity ensures the figure will be high. Pink and red diamonds, which are much less rare than violet diamonds, are worth "about 50 times more than white diamonds," Discovery News reports. (Argyle pink diamonds, for instance, sell for about $1-2 million per carat.) According to Rio Tinto, only 12 carats of polished violet diamonds have been produced for its annual tender in the last 32 years.

The rare violet diamond will go on display beginning with private trade viewings in June. It will then travel to Copenhagen, Hong Kong, and New York with Rio Tinto's annual pink diamonds showcase. Becca Stanek

12:26 p.m. ET
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With a decisive primary looming in Indiana, Ted Cruz didn't mince words when going after Donald Trump on Tuesday, slamming the Republican frontrunner as being a "serial philanderer."

"[He] describes his battles with venereal disease as his own personal Vietnam," Cruz said. "That's a quote, by the way, on The Howard Stern Show."

While Cruz's attack might be too little too late, it's still hilarious (or depressing?) that we've reached this point in the race. Watch the whole uncomfortable rant, below. Jeva Lange

11:17 a.m. ET
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English rock group Radiohead has been acting cryptically all week, blanking out their social media accounts and posting weird claymation videos. It turns out it was all a lead up to their new single, presumably off their forthcoming ninth album.

The track, "Burn the Witch," is a definite departure from Radiohead's last album, 2011's King of Limbs, but certainly only promises more good things to come (and, this being Radiohead, that means they could come at any time). Listen below. Jeva Lange

10:34 a.m. ET
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India is testing out a new tactic to reduce its carbon emissions: making farm animals less flatulent. Scientists at the Cow Research Institute in Mathura, located about 100 miles south of New Delhi, are experimenting with cattle feed that will make cows less gassy; fewer bovine blasts would cut back on the amount of the heat-trapping gas methane released into the atmosphere. Meanwhile, scientists in the southern state of Kerala are working on a more long-term solution, as researchers there have been experimenting with a strain of miniature cattle that would produce just one-tenth the amount of methane produced by the standard Indian cow.

Silly as it may sound, The New York Times reports that they might just be onto something:

Consider the numbers: India is home to more than 280 million cows, and 200 million more ruminant animals like sheep, goats, yaks, and buffalo. According to an analysis of satellite data from the country’s space program, all those digestive tracts send 13 tons of methane into the atmosphere every year — and pound for pound, methane traps 25 times as much heat as carbon dioxide does.

So reducing animal flatulence might actually do some good — especially in India, where there is little chance of cutting back the use of fossil fuels anytime soon. (In fact, the country expects to double its coal production by 2019.) [The New York Times]

Read the full story on cow flatulence over at The New York Times. Becca Stanek

9:51 a.m. ET
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Same-sex adoption became legal in all 50 states Tuesday after the final holdout, Mississippi, failed to appeal a recent federal ruling that deemed its ban on same-sex adoption unconstitutional. Mississippi had until 11:59 p.m. Monday night to appeal the ruling and failed to do so, effectively letting the ban die. "Mississippi was the last state in the nation that prohibited adoption by gay couples, so in all 50 states, gay couples are allowed to adopt kids, as it should be," Roberta Kaplan, one of the case's lead lawyers, told BuzzFeed News. "As far as the state is concerned, gay couples and their kids can't be treated differently than anyone else."

The law, which had been in place since 2000, was initially challenged in 2015 by four same-sex couples who wanted to adopt together or who were already raising children together. The federal court ruled in March that the ban violated the Constitution's equal protection clause. "I've been waiting 16 years to be able to adopt my son," one of the plaintiffs told Buzzfeed News, "so I'm overjoyed." Becca Stanek

9:51 a.m. ET
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Islamic State terrorists in the seaside city of Sirte, Libya, have reportedly taken to selling chickens and eggs by the roadside in an effort to raise money — while still wearing their full military regalia. It's sort of like a kid's lemonade stand, except horrifying.

"When [ISIS] took over Sirte, they seized many properties, including farms, and some of these are very large chicken farms," a former Sirte resident said. "Relatives tell me [ISIS] people can now be seen standing in the streets in their black outfits with their faces covered, selling both the eggs and the chickens. And they are selling the chickens for a very cheap price of just one or two dinars."

The terrorist organization is also demanding rent payments on shops and luxury apartments, including those owned by their occupants, as well as street cleaning and trash collection fees. Bonnie Kristian

9:33 a.m. ET
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Sen. Ted Cruz named Carly Fiorina as his running mate last week in a final gambit to edge out Donald Trump for the GOP nomination. Unfortunately for the Cruz-Fiorina campaign, poll results released Tuesday indicate it didn't help.

Six in 10 voters said the addition of Fiorina to Cruz's ticket had "no impact" on their decision to support or oppose his candidacy, a Morning Consult survey revealed, while 22 percent said the veep pick made them less likely to vote Cruz. Only 18 percent report they are now more likely to be Cruz voters, suggesting the announcement may have slightly decreased Cruz's election success.

The same poll discovered Fiorina still has fairly low name recognition — more than a third of respondents did not know who she is — and among those who are aware of her, most hold an unfavorable opinion. Bonnie Kristian

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