Science & Health

All sciences, health & medical news

Research investigating a popular form of surgery aimed at easing chronic shoulder pain doesn't fix the problem, a careful, placebo-controlled study suggests.

In the condition known as shoulder impingement, certain movements, such as reaching up to get something off a shelf, for example, or even scratching your own back can be painful and get worse during a night of tossing and turning.

Dogs shower their owners with affection and demand walks on a regular basis. And according to medical researchers, a corresponding link between dog ownership and heart health — previously called "probable" by experts — is supported by Swedish data.

An examination of Sweden's national records — spanning more than 3.4 million people and 12 years — found that registered dog owners had a lower rate of cardiovascular disease and a lower risk of death.

After Hurricane Harvey, some Texas residents, politicians and scientists are wondering whether the whole U.S. system for predicting floods is any good.

The storm's deluge flooded parts of southeast Texas that had rarely, or never, been underwater before. Some areas got more than 50 inches of rain in a few days. "When the numbers started coming in it was a little scary," says Matt Zeve, the director of operations for the Harris County Flood Control District, which includes Houston.

How Much Hotter Is It In The Slums?

6 hours ago

When Nairobi gets hot, its slums get even hotter.

That's what a new study published in PLOS ONE has found. In 2015, researchers put dozens of thermometers in poor communities and monitored them during Nairobi's warmest months of December, January and February — during what turned out to be the capital's hottest summer in 30 years.

They found that slums were 5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit higher than the city's official weather station less than half a mile away.

In The Devil's Dictionary, Ambrose Bierce describes the mind as "a mysterious form of matter secreted by the brain," engaged in a futile attempt to understand itself "with nothing but itself to know itself with."

The Keystone XL pipeline, an $8 billion project that has attracted significant protest from environmental groups, has cleared a major regulatory hurdle on its path to completion. On Monday, the Nebraska Public Service Commission certified the pipeline to run through the state.

Spit Test May Help Reveal Concussion Severity

9 hours ago

A little spit may help predict whether a child's concussion symptoms will subside in days or persist for weeks.

A test that measures fragments of genetic material in saliva was nearly 90 percent accurate in identifying children and adolescents whose symptoms persisted for at least a month, according to a study published Monday in JAMA Pediatrics.

That's in contrast to a concussion survey commonly used by doctors that was right less than 70 percent of the time.

If Houston's record deluge during Hurricane Harvey highlighted the dangers of unchecked, sprawling development, then Tulsa — another city built on oil — is a showcase for the opposite.

The Western U.S. is just starting to recover after a prolonged, 16-year drought. A lack of water can force people to take a hard look at how they use it, and make big changes. That's what happened in southern Colorado, where farmers have tried a bold experiment: They're taxing themselves to boost conservation.

Colorado's San Luis Valley is a desperately dry stretch of land, about the same size as New Jersey.

The tiny nation of Denmark has just three stations for monitoring atmospheric radiation. Each week, scientists change out air filters in the detectors and take the used ones to a technical university near Copenhagen.

There, Sven Poul Nielsen and other researchers analyze the filters. They often snag small amounts of naturally occurring radioactivity, radon for example.

In the Spring of 2009, the H1N1/09 virus — dubbed "swine flu" — made the jump from pigs to people and began claiming its first victims.

Fearing the beginning of a global swine flu pandemic, terrified health officials began planning for the worst. Shutting down the world's major airports became the nuclear option of their arsenal — the last hope for halting the virus from reaching unstoppable thresholds of contagion.

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode Simple Solutions

About Mileha Soneji's TED Talk

When designer Mileha Soneji's uncle got Parkinson's, his quality of life deteriorated rapidly. Mileha couldn't cure her uncle's disease, so she designed simple ways to improve his everyday life.

About Mileha Soneji

Part 5 of the TED Radio Hour episode Simple Solutions

About Amos Winter's TED Talk

In many countries, uneven and unpaved roads make it hard to get around in a standard wheelchair. MIT engineer Amos Winter describes his design for an affordable, lever-powered, all-terrain wheelchair.

About Amos Winter

Johannes Selbach's family has made wine in Germany's Mosel Valley for four centuries, and he spares little of the history on a tour of his vineyards. He has had three soil profiles extracted from the ground and mounted on the wall of his winery.

"The places where the sun melts the snow first have been known for thousands of years," he says. "The good spots are known for generations."

Astronomers in California are building the largest digital camera in the world. It will go on a giant telescope taking shape in Chile called the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope.

LSST is different from most large telescopes. Instead of staring at a tiny patch of the sky and taking essentially one snapshot in time, LSST will take a panorama of every part of the sky...and it will do so over and over and over. The idea is to see what's moving or changing in the heavens.

Ask people in Canada what they make of U.S. health care, and the answer typically falls between bewilderment and outrage.

Canada, after all, prides itself on a health system that guarantees government insurance for everyone. And many Canadians find it baffling that there's anybody in the United States who can't afford a visit to the doctor.

It's tough getting old, and that goes as much for giant pandas as people.

Veterinarians at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., say Tian Tian, an adult male panda, received laser treatment and acupuncture for what they initially thought was a touch of arthritis in his left shoulder.

During the exam earlier this week while the 20-year-old Tian Tian (pronounced t-YEN t-YEN) was under anesthesia, vets also took blood and urine samples and performed X-rays.

Updated at 8 p.m. ET

TransCanada, the company that owns and operates the Keystone Pipeline, says that an estimated 210,000 gallons, or 5,000 barrels, of oil have spilled near the small town of Amherst, S.D.

Would you be curious and excited if, out on a walk near your home, you came face-to-face with a young owl, not yet a confident flyer?

Scientists believe they may have new insights into why passenger pigeons went extinct, after analyzing DNA from the toes of birds that have been carefully preserved in museums for over a century.

Governments are wrapping up a meeting in Bonn, Germany, to figure out how to implement a global climate agreement.

The conference has focused on the pledges to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which nations made two years ago in Paris. But even as negotiators debate the details, scientists are warning that carbon dioxide levels are again on the rise, and the efforts in Paris may not be enough.

Hurricane Harvey as a ball of swirling sea salt. Hurricane Irma scooping up the sands of the Sahara. Hurricane Ophelia, bizarrely, taking smoke from Portugal and pulling it up to the coast of Ireland.

A new visualization from NASA shows the hurricanes from 2017 season from a new perspective — that is, their impact on particles carried in the wind.

The gap between rich and poor is one of the great concerns of modern times. It's even driving archaeologists to look more closely at wealth disparities in ancient societies.

"That's what's so fun about it," says Timothy Kohler, at Washington State University. "It widens our perspective, and allows us to see that the way things are organized now is not the only way for things to be organized."

'Leaf Wonder' In A World Of Changing Forests

Nov 15, 2017

In Autumn, the receptors in our primate eyes revel in the red and gold of trees.

Our ability to perceive red color is an oddity, one shared by our cousins the Old World monkeys and apes, but not by most other mammals. Evolution endowed our ancestors with an extra type of light-sensing cone cell that helped them see fruit and edible young foliage against a background of mature dark green leaves.

Jeff Stevens decided to give up alcohol when he was 24.

He's 50 now — and he's had no regrets about going sober for the sake of his health. Except for one thing: He has really missed good beer.

"If you're drinking, you have an infinite amount of things you can drink," Stevens says. Shelves are full of craft IPAs, stouts and bitters. "Whereas only about half the bars I've been to have a non-alcoholic beer. And if they do, it's usually just one choice."

Think "renewable energy" and the wind and sun come to mind, but someday it may be possible to add ocean energy to that list.

At MedStar Washington Hospital Center, doctors and nurses are moving as many patients as they can from intravenous medications to the same drugs in pill form.

A study published Tuesday in the journal Clinical Psychological Science finds that increased time spent with popular electronic devices — whether a computer, cell phone or tablet — might have contributed to an uptick in symptoms of depression and suicidal thoughts over the last several years among teens, especially among girls.

Since my last post was on Earth's hosting of life, it's natural to follow with a discussion of life elsewhere.

From the outset, we must state two essential facts: first, that we have no concrete evidence that intelligent aliens have ever visited our planet; and, second, that we have no evidence that there is life outside Earth, intelligent or not.

Let's look into the alien visitation question first — and leave the question of life elsewhere for another time.

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