Science & Health

All sciences, health & medical news

Menopause is a mystery to evolutionary biologists, but new insights could come from a long-term study of killer whales.

In these whales, the explanation may lie in a combination of conflict and cooperation between older and younger females, according to a report published Thursday in the journal Current Biology.

It has spent some 175 years homeless, wandering many paths of taxonomy without a single branch to call its own. In the time since it was first described, this now-extinct, cone-shaped sea creature has known a number of presumed families — from mollusks to designations much more nebulous — but the tiny hyolith never quite fit in any of them.

Oklahoma lawmakers are staring into a budget hole that's nearly $900 million deep — and they might not be able to cut their way out of it. Legislators are considering tax increases to help fund state government, and one idea is gaining traction: Hiking taxes on gasoline and diesel.

It's no secret that American children have gotten heavier in recent decades.

What stands out upon entering Mai Dang's nail salon, located on a busy street in Berkeley, Calif., is what's missing — the stinging smell of polish, remover and other nail products. That wasn't always the case. For a decade, Dang suffered from the effects of the chemicals she used at work every day.

"When you do nails, workers get itchy skin and watery eyes," says Dang, 40. She also used to have frequent headaches, and one of her workers developed asthma. So when she heard about an opportunity to improve the safety at her salon, she signed up.

The Affordable Care Act brought the rate of uninsured Americans to a record low 9 percent in 2015. It's the major achievement of the controversial health care law and one the Obama administration likes to tout whenever it can.

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell did just that in an interview with NPR on Tuesday.

There's a new jungle Jedi out there.

Scientists who discovered a new primate, which lives in eastern Myanmar and southwestern China, are such big Star Wars fans, they named the ape after Luke Skywalker.

They also chose the name, skywalker hoolock gibbon, because the Chinese characters mean "Heaven's movement," according to the BBC. The new species is also known as the Gaoligong hoolock gibbon, named for Mt. Gaoligong on the border between China and Myanmar.

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Fitness tracking is all the rage right now. If you want to, you can monitor your heart rate, count your footsteps and calories burned, and even monitor your sleep patterns, all by using devices that can fit around your wrist or in your pocket. But that's if you're human. Fresno Chaffee Zoo, in Fresno, Calif., is taking fitness tracking to a mammoth new level — part of a national project to guard the health and happiness of zoo elephants.

The nightshade family has some of the most economically important and useful crops on Earth. That includes, of course, deadly nightshade or belladonna, which produces the medicine atropine, as well as potatoes, tomatoes, chili and bell peppers, tobacco and eggplant.

West Coast crab fishermen just ended an 11-day strike over a price dispute. But a more ominous and long-term threat to their livelihood may be on the horizon. A new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has found a link between warming ocean conditions and a dangerous neurotoxin that builds up in sea life: domoic acid.

NPR's YouTube channel, Skunk Bear, answers your science questions. This week, we picked one in honor of David Bowie.

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Scientists predict that a pair of stars in the constellation Cygnus will collide in 2022, give or take a year, creating an explosion in the night sky so bright that it will be visible to the naked eye.

If it happens, it would be the first time such an event was predicted by scientists.

When South Korea's mountain town of PyeongChang hosts the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games next year, a white tiger and a black bear, respectively, will serve as mascots. They've been introduced as cuddly icons of Korean history and folklore.

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When I told my coworker that I was participating in a study that involved fasting, she laughed until she nearly cried.

My boyfriend, ever supportive, asked hesitantly, "Are you sure you want to try this?" Note the use of "try" instead of "do."

When I told my father over the phone, the line went silent for a moment. Then he let out a long, "Welllllll," wished me luck, and chuckled.

Turns out, luck might not be enough.

Last October, Matt Herich was listening to the news while he drove door to door delivering pizzas. A story came on the radio about a technology that sends an electric current through your brain to possibly make you better at some things — moving, remembering, learning. He was fascinated.

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If you've never laid eyes on a dogfish — or tasted one — you're not alone.

Yep, it's in the shark family. (See those telltale fins?) And fisherman Jamie Eldredge is now making a living catching dogfish off the shores of Cape Cod, Mass.

They Never Told Her That Girls Could Become Scientists

Jan 7, 2017

By many standards, Mireille Kamariza is at the top of the world.

She's a graduate student at one of the world's top universities, working on her Ph.D. with one of the world's top chemists. And she's tackling a tough problem — tuberculosis — that sickens nearly 10 million people a year.

Right now, a big chunk of Antarctic ice is hanging on by a frozen thread.

British researchers monitoring the crack in the Larsen C ice shelf say that only about 12 miles now connect the chunk of ice to the rest of the continent.

North Korea got 2017 off to a menacing start. In his New Year's address, supreme leader Kim Jong Un warned that the nation was in the "final stage" of preparations to test an intercontinental ballistic missile.

A day later, President-elect Donald Trump said the North would never develop a nuclear weapon capable of striking the U.S. "It won't happen!" Trump tweeted.

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The vaquita is a small porpoise found only in the northern Gulf of California, in Mexico. Today, the species is critically endangered, with less than 60 animals left in the wild, thanks to fishing nets to catch fish and shrimp for sale in Mexico and America. The animal is an accidental victim of the fishing industry, as are many other marine mammals.

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