Science & Health

All sciences, health & medical news

Placebos can't cure diseases, but research suggests that they seem to bring some people relief from subjective symptoms, such as pain, nausea, anxiety and fatigue.

The National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP, is called The Nation's Report Card for good reason; the tests are administered the same way year after year, using the same kind of test booklets, to students across the country.

If you want to feel virtuous the next time you chug a brewski, consider the Long Root Ale. This new beer, mildly fragrant and with a rye-like spiciness, is the first to use Kernza, a kind of wheat that could make agriculture more sustainable, especially in the face of climate change.

Public health authorities and infectious disease specialists now say we may not be able to rid the U.S. of the Zika virus. Despite months of intense work — including house to house inspections and aggressive mosquito control — federal, state and local officials have not been able to stop the spread of Zika in Miami.

West Virginia residents have settled part of a civil lawsuit over a chemical spill that contaminated drinking water for thousands of people in 2014, according to The Associated Press.

It's one of the biggest medical mysteries of our time: How did HIV come to the U.S.?

By genetically sequencing samples from people infected early on, scientists say they have figured out when and where the virus that took hold here first arrived. In the process, they have exonerated the man accused of triggering the epidemic in North America.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Cori Bargmann's new job description includes "to help cure, prevent or manage all diseases by the end of the century." That's quite a lofty goal.

Bargmann is a neuroscientist and president of science for the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the joint venture of pediatrician Priscilla Chan and Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg. The couple pledged $3 billion to solve major medical problems by helping scientists and engineers collaborate long term, over 25, 50, even 80 years.

When scientists want to know what our ancient ancestors ate, they can look at a few things: fossilized animal bones with marks from tools used to butcher and cut them; fossilized poop; and teeth. The first two can tell us a lot, but they're hard to come by in the fossil record. Thankfully, there are a lot of teeth to fill in the gaps.

Antarctica's ice has been melting, most likely because of a warming climate. Now, newly published research shows the rate of melting appears to be accelerating.

Antarctica is bigger than the U.S. and Mexico combined, and it's covered in deep ice — more than a mile deep in some places. Most of the ice sits on bedrock, but it slowly flows off the continent's edges. Along the western edge, giant glaciers creep down toward the sea. Where they meet the ocean, they form ice shelves.

The Amorphophallus titanum is a striking plant even before you get close enough to smell it. Its scientific name means giant, misshapen phallus and it is not hard to see why. A giant column called a spadix rises 7 feet into the air from the center of a pleated funnel.

Parents can reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome by keeping their child's crib in the same room, close to their bed, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

New research finds little lies pave the way for big ones.

It's one thing to appreciate a 20-year-old fine wine. It is something else to brew up a 2,500-year-old alcoholic beverage.

While sifting through the remains of an Iron Age burial plot dating from 400 to 450 B.C. in what is today Germany, Bettina Arnold, an archaeologist and anthropologist at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and others uncovered a cauldron that contained remnants of an alcohol brewed and buried with the deceased.

When scientists recently announced that they had discovered a new planet orbiting our closest stellar neighbor, Proxima Centuri, they also released an artist's conception of the planet.

The picture of a craggy canyon, illuminated by a reddish-orange sunset, looked like an image that could have been taken on Mars by one of NASA's rovers. But the alien scene was actually completely made-up.

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It's no secret that this presidential campaign season has been tense, with disagreement and rancor even louder than usual.


Astronauts used the International Space Station's robotic arm to grapple the Cygnus cargo spacecraft early Sunday morning, starting the process of bringing more than 5,100 pounds of supplies and research equipment aboard. The cargo's experiments include one thing astronauts normally avoid: fire.

"The new experiments include studies on fire in space, the effect of lighting on sleep and daily rhythms, collection of health-related data, and a new way to measure neutrons," NASA says.

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Can Mental Illness Be Prevented In The Womb?

Oct 22, 2016

Every day in the United States, millions of expectant mothers take a prenatal vitamin on the advice of their doctor.

The counsel typically comes with physical health in mind: folic acid to help avoid fetal spinal cord problems; iodine to spur healthy brain development; calcium to be bound like molecular Legos into diminutive baby bones.

Instead of drifting gently onto Mars' surface, the Schiaparelli Mars lander hit the planet hard — and possibly exploded. That's the word from the European Space Agency, which says new images taken by NASA show the possible crash site.

The NASA images, taken on Oct. 20, show two recent changes to the landscape on Mars' surface — one dark blotch, and one white speck — which are being interpreted as Schiaparelli's parachute and its crash site.

Can A Place Still Be Home Even After Becoming Toxic?

Oct 21, 2016

Part 6 of the TED Radio Hour episode Toxic

About Holly Morris's TED Talk

Even thirty years after the devastating nuclear accident in Chernobyl, there are still people who call the place home. Filmmaker Holly Morris tells the stories of the mostly elderly women who decided to stay despite the toxicity.

About Holly Morris

How Does Our Brain Get Rid Of Toxins?

Oct 21, 2016

Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode Toxic

About Jeff Iliff's TED Talk

Neuroscientist Jeff Iliff talks about his research, which explores how the brain naturally flushes out toxins during sleep.

About Jeff Iliff

How Can Your Home Make You Sick?

Oct 21, 2016

Part 5 of the TED Radio Hour episode Toxic

About Rishi Manchanda's TED Talk

When Dr. Rishi Manchanda worked in a clinic in South Central Los Angeles, he saw that patients were getting sick because of toxic living conditions — so he tried a unique treatment approach.

About Rishi Manchanda

Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode Toxic

About Emily Penn's TED Talk

Ocean advocate Emily Penn has seen first hand how much plastic ends up in the oceans. She explains how the toxins from plastic makes their way into our food chain and how we might be able to stop it.

About Emily Penn

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode Toxic

About Tyrone Hayes's TED Talk

Biologist Tyrone Hayes talks about the concerning effects of the herbicide atrazine, which is part of a group of chemicals that are found in everyday food and household products.

About Tyrone Hayes

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode Toxic

About Holly Morris's TED Talk

Filmmaker Holly Morris talks about her time with the "Babuschkas of Chernobyl" — the elderly women who decided to stay in Chernobyl, Ukraine, after the worst nuclear accident in history.

About Holly Morris

If there's one rule that most parents cling to in the confusing, fast-changing world of kids and media, it's this one: No screens before age 2.

As of today, that rule is out the window.

Whether your kid is 3 and obsessed with Daniel Tiger videos or 15 and spending half her conscious hours on Snapchat, you are probably somewhat conflicted about how to think about their media habits.

How much time? What kind of media? What should our family's rules be?

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