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Whether a family attends religious services has as much of an impact on a teen's grade point average as whether the student's parents earned a college degree, a University of Iowa study indicates.

Researchers found that on average, students whose parents received a four-year college degree average a GPA .12 higher than those whose parents only completed a high school education. Students who attend religious services weekly average a GPA .144 higher than those who never attend services, said Jennifer Glanville, a sociologist in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences who led the study.

Other studies have noted a link between religious service attendance and positive educational outcomes, but this is one of the first to look at why.

Cocoa flavanols may increase blood flow to the brain, according to new research published in the Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment journal. The researchers suggest that long-term improvements in brain blood flow could impact cognitive behavior, offering future potential for debilitating brain conditions including dementia and stroke.

In a Mars, Inc. study of healthy, older adults ages 59 to 83, Harvard medical scientists found that study participants who regularly drank a cocoa flavanol-rich beverage made using the Mars Cocoapro process had an eight percent increase in brain blood flow after one week, and 10 percent increase after two weeks.

The summer games in Beijing are not the only place where the United States can claim gold medal bragging rights. The sixth International Linguistics Olympiad ended Friday in Slanchev Bryag, Bulgaria, and U.S. high school students captured 11 out of 33 awards, including gold medals in individual and team events. This was only the second time the U.S. has ever competed in the event. Their achievement brings a new focus on computational linguistics.

This year's Olympiad featured 16 teams from around the world, including Bulgaria, Estonia, Germany, Latvia, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Sweden, South Korea and Slovenia. Each problem presented clues about the sounds, words or grammar of a language the students had never studied, such as Micmac, a Native American language spoken in Canada, the New Caledonia languages of Drehu and Cemuhi, as well as several historical Chinese dialects. They were then judged by how accurately and quickly they could untangle the clues to figure out the rules and structures of the languages to solve the problem.

Tetra-Amido Macrocyclic Ligands (TAMLs) are environmentally friendly catalysts with a host of applications for reducing and cleaning up pollutants, and a prime example of "green chemistry."

Carnegie Mellon University's Terry Collins, the catalyst's inventor, believes that the small-molecule catalysts have the potential to be even more effective than previously proven. Collins will discuss how iron-TAMLs (Fe-TAMLs) work and areas for further research, citing evidence from mechanistic and kinetic studies of the catalyst on Monday, Aug. 18 at the 236th national meeting of the American Chemical Society in Philadelphia.

An international team of researchers led by Monash University has used chemicals found in plants to replicate a key process in photosynthesis paving the way to a new approach that uses sunlight to split water into hydrogen and oxygen.

The breakthrough could revolutionise the renewable energy industry by making hydrogen – touted as the clean, green fuel of the future – cheaper and easier to produce on a commercial scale.

Professor Leone Spiccia, Mr Robin Brimblecombe and Dr Annette Koo from Monash University teamed with Dr Gerhard Swiegers at the CSIRO and Professor Charles Dismukes at Princeton University to develop a system comprising a coating that can be impregnated with a form of manganese, a chemical essential to sustaining photosynthesis in plant life.

Organic semiconductor or “plastic” LEDs are much cheaper and easier to fabricate than existing inorganic LEDs now used in traffic signals, some building lighting and as indicator lights on computers, TVs, cell phones, DVD players, modems, game consoles and other electronics.

A new study by University of Utah physicists suggests it will be more difficult than thought to make highly efficient light-emitting diodes (LEDs) using organic materials. Their findings hint such LEDs would convert no more than 25 percent of electricity into light rather than heat, contrary to earlier estimates of up to 63 percent.