Science & Health

Shots - Health News
8:08 pm
Fri July 24, 2015

California Judge Throws Out Lawsuit On Medically Assisted Suicide

Christy O'Donnell, who has advanced lung cancer, is one of several California patients suing for the right to get a doctor's help with prescription medicine to end their own lives if and when they feel that's necessary.
YouTube

Originally published on Mon July 27, 2015 4:35 pm

Three terminally ill patients lost a court battle in California Friday over whether they should have the right to request and take lethal medication to hasten their deaths.

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U.S.
4:09 pm
Fri July 24, 2015

Retracing Ralph Waldo Emerson's Steps In A Now 'Unchanged Eden'

Ralph Waldo Emerson.
George Eastman House Collection via Wikimedia Commons

Originally published on Fri July 24, 2015 7:22 pm

It's high summer, and for a lot of us that means it's time to go camping. This summer, we're celebrating one particular camping trip.

Way back in 1858, Ralph Waldo Emerson, the great philosopher and poet, set out into the Adirondack Mountains in New York. On the famous journey, he took with him some of the most famous artists, scientists and thinkers of his day.

This year, I set out early in the morning in my canoe with a company of my own: environmental activist and writer Bill McKibben and our guide, Mike Carr with the Nature Conservancy.

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The Salt
3:34 pm
Fri July 24, 2015

Salt Is Slowly Crippling California's Almond Industry

Almond orchards across California are dealing with trees showing signs of stress from the drought, such as smaller nuts and salt-burned leaves.
Ezra Romero for NPR

Originally published on Mon July 27, 2015 3:48 pm

As California's drought drags on, its almond industry has come under scrutiny. As you've probably heard by now, almonds use a lot of water — about one gallon per nut. Most growers are relying on groundwater even more this year, because their surface water has been cut off. But that brings a different problem all together: too much salt.

Not the salt added to make roasted almonds savory, but salt in groundwater – which is killing trees.

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The Two-Way
12:08 pm
Fri July 24, 2015

Delaware Gets A Rare Out-Of-State Visitor: A 7-Foot Manatee

A manatee spotted in the Chesapeake and Delaware (C&D) Canal on Thursday. It's very unusual for the Florida native to get so far north.
Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife

A manatee was seen swimming in a northern canal that joins the Chesapeake Bay with the smaller and shallower Delaware Bay just days after the marine mammal was spotted in an estuary of the Potomac River.

The docile "sea cow," is normally found in the warm waters of Florida and is a rare sight so far north.

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The Salt
11:10 am
Fri July 24, 2015

The Gene For Sweet: Why We Don't All Taste Sugar The Same Way

"It now pays to get a lot of pleasure out of a little bit of sugar," says Danielle Reed, a scientist at the Monell Chemical Senses Center.
Ryan Kellman NPR

Originally published on Mon July 27, 2015 4:56 pm

Sugar gives the human brain much pleasure. But not everyone revels in cupcakes with an inch of frosting, or milkshakes blended with candy bars, though these crazily sugary treats are increasingly the norm.

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Shots - Health News
9:39 am
Fri July 24, 2015

Well-Off Baby Boomers Know How To Binge Drink, Too

Originally published on Mon July 27, 2015 4:35 pm

Youngsters aren't the only ones who have an affinity for consuming a lot of alcohol in a short amount of time – in other words, harmful drinking. It turns out, the parents and grandparents of millennials know how to binge drink, too.

Adults over age 50 who are healthy, active, sociable and well-off are more at risk for harmful drinking than their peers, according to a study published in the BMJ on Thursday.

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The Two-Way
6:08 pm
Thu July 23, 2015

Maine Fisherman Catches His Second Rare Lobster

Fisherman Bill Coppersmith named the rare lobster "Captain Eli" after his grandson.
Robert F. Bukaty AP

Originally published on Thu July 23, 2015 7:23 pm

Bill Coppersmith, a fisherman in Maine, might want to buy a lottery ticket. He's gotten pretty lucky lately. This week he caught a rare orange lobster while fishing with his sternman Brian Skillings, writes the Portland Press Herald.

The paper talked to Robert Bayer, executive director of The Lobster Institute at the University of Maine, who said that the actual odds of catching an orange lobster would just be a guess. But "it's one in several million, there's no doubt about that," he said.

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The Two-Way
5:33 pm
Thu July 23, 2015

Live Samples Of Anthrax Were Sent Worldwide In May Due To Ineffective Procedure

The lab at Dugway Proving Ground in Utah failed to completely kill live samples of anthrax before sending it around the world.
Jim Urquhart AP

The Department of Defense says that the Army's Dugway Proving Ground in Utah failed to completely kill samples of anthrax in May before it shipped them to dozens of other labs around the world.

NPR's Geoff Brumfiel reports that the samples of anthrax the Pentagon thought were dead, were still alive:

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Space
4:53 pm
Thu July 23, 2015

NASA Announces Discovery Of Earth-Like Planet Around Distant Star

Originally published on Thu July 23, 2015 5:14 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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Health
4:51 pm
Thu July 23, 2015

What If Chemo Doesn't Help You Live Longer Or Better?

For best quality of life, many cancer patients who can't be cured might do best to forgo chemo and focus instead on pain relief and easing sleep and mood problems, a survey of caregivers suggests.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri July 24, 2015 10:10 am

Chemotherapy given to patients at the end of life often does more harm than good, according to a study that calls into question this common practice.

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Space
4:51 pm
Thu July 23, 2015

Looking For Earth-Like Planets Provides Clues For Finding 'Life Like Ours'

Originally published on Thu July 23, 2015 5:14 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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The Two-Way
12:35 pm
Thu July 23, 2015

Kepler Telescope Introduces Earth To A Very Distant Cousin

Artist's concept compares Earth (left) to the new planet, called Kepler-452b, which is about 60 percent larger in diameter.
NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle

Originally published on Thu July 23, 2015 3:24 pm

NASA's planet-hunting Kepler Telescope has spotted the first roughly Earth-sized world orbiting in the "Goldilocks zone" of another star – offering perhaps the best bet so far for life elsewhere in the universe.

A year on Kepler-452b, which is about 1,400 light years from us in the constellation Cygnus, is 385 days, meaning its orbit is just a bit farther away from its star than the Earth is from the sun. That places it squarely within what planetary scientists call the habitable zone, or "Goldilocks" zone — not too cold and not too hot.

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Shots - Health News
2:47 am
Thu July 23, 2015

Younger Adults With Alzheimer's Are Key To Drug Search

Giedre (left) and Tal Cohen in March 2013, while Giedre was still healthy. Since then, she's begun having symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. In Giedre's case, the illness is tied to a rare genetic mutation she inherited.
Courtesy of Tal Cohen

Originally published on Thu July 23, 2015 3:42 pm

The face of Alzheimer's isn't always old. Sometimes it belongs to someone like Giedre Cohen, who is 37, yet struggles to remember her own name.

Until about a year ago, Giedre was a "young, healthy, beautiful" woman just starting her life, says her husband, Tal Cohen, a real estate developer in Los Angeles. Now, he says, "her mind is slowly wasting away."

People like Giedre have a rare gene mutation that causes symptoms of Alzheimer's to appear before they turn 60.

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Shots - Health News
6:00 pm
Wed July 22, 2015

Leprosy From An Armadillo? That's An Unlikely Peccadillo

Public health threat, or just a very odd animal you're likely to see in the southern United States?
Richard Heathcote Getty Images

Originally published on Fri July 24, 2015 2:16 pm

Armadillos. Leprosy. Florida. It's hard to ignore news reports that fit all three words in the first sentence.

So when we heard that state health officials in Florida have reported nine people with leprosy and suggested that people avoid armadillos, we here at Team Shots just had to check it out.

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The Salt
4:33 pm
Wed July 22, 2015

Eggs Go AWOL, And Bakers Scramble For High-Tech Substitutes

The hard part of making an egg replacement product is coming up with a substitute for the protein in egg whites.
Wilson Hui Flickr

Originally published on Thu July 23, 2015 8:11 am

Strolling through the annual meeting of the Institute of Food Technologists the other day, I saw several signs offering to solve an urgent problem American bakers face. The signs advertised "egg replacement."

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