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People currently speak 7,000 languages around the globe. Michael Gavin

Why do human beings speak so many languages?

There's little research into origins of the geographic patterns of language diversity. A new model exploring processes that shaped Australia's language diversity provides a template for investigators.
The skyline of Doha, Qatar. Gregory Hawken Kramer

Why have other Gulf states cut ties with Qatar?

Qatar has used its wealth to adopt policies sometimes rivaling Saudi Arabia’s. Think, for example, of the popular Al-Jazeera. Now the Saudis seem determined to limit Qatari influence as much as possible.
A mosque in Herat, Afghanistan was attacked on Aug. 1, 2017. Mohammad Shoib/Reuters

What is the Shia-Sunni divide?

There have been several attacks on Shia mosques in several parts of the world. At its heart is the centuries'-old sectarian Shia-Sunni divide.
Volume rendered image of the external morphology of the foot bone shows the extent of expansion of the primary bone cancer beyond the surface of the bone. Patrick Randolph-Quinney (UCLAN)

What can a 1.7-million-year-old hominid fossil teach us about cancer?

Cancer is a deadly disease and would have been particularly lethal before the recent development of effective treatments. So why didn’t it – or our susceptibility to it – die out long ago?
Visitors walk past a field of United States flags displayed by the Massachusetts Military Heroes Fund on the Boston Common. The 37,000 flags are planted in memory of every fallen Massachusetts service member from the Revolutionary War to the present. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Sometimes the best medicine for a veteran is the company of another veteran

The culture all veterans share may provide the best support for those struggling with mental health issues.
Civilian doctors might not know that their patients have served in the military. In this photo Marines march around the World Trade Center memorial after participating in a memorial run in 2012. MarineCorps NewYork/Flickr

Veterans’ health care: doctors outside the VA need to know more about the veterans they treat

Asking 'Have you served in the military?' may seem like a minor issue, but it's actually much more important than you might think. And it's a question that few doctors make a point of asking.
While we search for a cure, we are still searching for cause. A volunteer hangs bras during a promotion against breast cancer in Switzerland in 2008. Ruben Sprich/Reuters

The mystery of breast cancer

Major causes have been identified for most common cancers, like liver and lung. But we still haven't identified one for breast cancer.
One suggestion is that menopause enables women to provide for their grandchildren. Image from shutterstock.com

Explainer: why do women go through menopause?

Menstruation is a reproductive quirk that humans share with only a few other mammals. But even stranger is the fact that women stop menstruating when they have a whole third of their lives left to live…

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