Science & Health

Shots - Health News
1:55 am
Mon June 10, 2013

With Epilepsy Treatment, The Goal Is To Keep Kids Seizure-Free

Barton Holmes, 2, sits with his father, Kevin Holmes, and his mother, Catherine McEaddy Holmes, during an appointment at Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C.
Maggie Starbard NPR

Originally published on Tue June 11, 2013 7:48 am

Barton Holmes was 16 months old when he had his first seizure. "He was convulsing and his eyes were rolling in the back of his head," his mother, Catherine McEaddy Holmes, says. "His lips were blue. I thought he was dying."

The seizure ended in less than a minute. And by the time an ambulance arrived, Barton was back to his old self. Even so, doctors at Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., where the family lives, kept him overnight while they tried, without success, to figure out what had caused the seizure.

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Science
5:03 pm
Sat June 8, 2013

Aquarium Sculptors Create Coral For Conservation Awareness

Projected image of the complete Blacktip Reef exhibit.
Courtesy of the National Aquarium

Originally published on Sat June 8, 2013 9:42 pm

Most aquarium visitors are there to see sharks, sea turtles, fish and other marine life. But at the National Aquarium in Baltimore, there's another star attraction: Coral.

The Aquarium's Blacktip Reef exhibit will open later this summer, and give visitors a look at an Indo-Pacific coral reef. But curators can't just carve a chunk out of a wild reef to put in the vast tank, that would destroy the very ecosystem for which they hope to raise conservation awareness. And corals take hundreds of years to develop into a reef, so the aquarium can't grow its own in-house.

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Law
4:17 pm
Sat June 8, 2013

'Not Fighting For Just Sarah': Rating Transplant Priorities

Sarah Murnaghan, center, on May 30 as she and her parents marked the 100th day of her stay in Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Her father, Fran, is at left. Her mother, Janet, is at right.
Murnaghan family AP

Originally published on Sun June 9, 2013 11:10 am

Sarah Murnaghan's spirit can be summed up by her personalized Monopoly character: a three-legged silver pig that can stand on its own.

"Everybody sort of expects her to decline here, and she does, but she fights back every time," says her mother, Janet.

Sarah, who has cystic fibrosis, has a reason to keep fighting: She's another step closer to getting a lung transplant. Sarah has been waiting for a year and a half, and doctors say she could die soon without a transplant.

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The Two-Way
3:00 pm
Sat June 8, 2013

For London Zoo Patrons, It's A Case Of Once Bitten, Twice Shy

A squirrel monkey at the London Zoo, photographed in December.
Carl Court AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon June 10, 2013 5:02 am

A "walk-through" enclosure at the London Zoo apparently allows visitors to get a little too close to resident squirrel monkeys and several people have the bite marks to prove it, according to details of a report published in a U.K. newspaper.

The Camden New Journal says 15 people suffered bites from the black-and-tan monkeys over a 12-month period last year.

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The Two-Way
4:18 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

Report: Accidents Likely In Environmentally Fragile Seas

The bow of the mine countermeasure ship Guardian is removed in March in the Sulu Sea, Philippines. The Guardian ran aground on the Tubbataha Reef in January.
U.S. Navy Getty Images

Many of the world's most accident-prone waters for shipping are also among the most delicate marine ecosystems, according to a new study released Friday by WWF International.

The fear of something like a major oil spill in environmentally sensitive waters comes as the number of vessels plying the world's oceans has risen 20 percent in the past 15 years, from 85,000 to 105,000, the report, released on World Oceans Day, says.

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Around the Nation
3:54 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

Plug Pulled On California Nuclear Plant, For Good

Originally published on Fri June 7, 2013 7:29 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

In Southern California, a nuclear power plant that supplied energy to more than a million homes is shutting down for good. As NPR's Ina Jaffe reports, the San Onofre nuclear plant has been idle for repair since January of 2012.

INA JAFFE, BYLINE: The twin, white domes at the San Onofre nuclear power plant have been landmarks on the California coast for more than four decades.

(SOUNDBITE OF PROTESTERS CHANTING)

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The Two-Way
12:54 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

California Nuclear Plant Slated For Permanent Shut Down

The San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station at San Onofre State Beach in a 2012 photo.
David McNew Getty Images

California's San Onofre nuclear power plant will be shut down for good amid concerns as to whether it could be safely restarted after being offline since early last year because of a radiation leak.

The plant's operator, Southern California Edison, said in a statement Friday that San Onofre's twin reactors "had served the region for over 40 years" but that the 16 months of uncertainty about whether they would or wouldn't go back online "was not good for our customers, our investors or the need to plan for our region's long-term electricity needs."

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Medical Treatments
12:33 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

Promising Results In Early Trial of Novel MS Treatment

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. In the disease multiple sclerosis, the body's own immune cells stage a mutiny. Those cells, white cells, normally go after foreigners in the body like bacteria or other invaders that make us sick. But in MS, the immune cells go after the body itself, attacking the myelin covering that wraps around nerve cells. As that myelin gets degraded, nerve signals don't get transferred properly, and that's what leads to the symptoms of MS.

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Space
12:33 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

Comet Shines Light on Sun Dynamics

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

Flora Lichtman is here with our Video Pick of the Week. Hi, Flora. What have you got for us today?

FLORA LICHTMAN, BYLINE: Ira, today we have the story of a comet that has a tale to tell.

FLATOW: Comets...

(LAUGHTER)

LICHTMAN: Get it?

FLATOW: I get it. Straight pun.

LICHTMAN: It's even better, Ira, because actually the part of - what the comet is telling us comes from its tail. OK, so let me...

FLATOW: Go for it.

(LAUGHTER)

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Krulwich Wonders...
10:49 am
Fri June 7, 2013

The Boomerang Graffito (Or Bad, Bad, Luther B!)

Francis Frith Library of Congress

Originally published on Fri June 7, 2013 1:30 pm

I was standing in New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art the other day, where there's a full-sized Egyptian temple, called Dendur. It's housed under a glass roof ...

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NPR Story
10:44 am
Fri June 7, 2013

Tracing The Origins Of French Winemaking

Originally published on Fri June 7, 2013 12:33 pm

Many people associate France today with the production of great wines. But winemaking isn't native to the French. Patrick McGovern, an archaeologist of fermented beverages, has dated the beginning of viniculture in France to around 500 B.C. and contact with the Etruscans.

NPR Story
10:44 am
Fri June 7, 2013

How To Survive A Mass Extinction

Originally published on Fri June 7, 2013 12:33 pm

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. Up next, surviving the big one, and I mean a really big one. As any fan of dinosaurs knows, extinction happens. The Earth isn't immune to assaults. You've got your asteroids, your volcanic eruptions, events that cause so much disruption to the environment that eventually life or most of life is wiped out.

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NPR Story
10:44 am
Fri June 7, 2013

Strengthening Buildings In Tornado Alley

Originally published on Fri June 7, 2013 12:33 pm

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY, I'm Ira Flatow. Powerful storms this spring: tornadoes like the ones in Oklahoma have caused damage estimated in the billions of dollars and dozens of deaths. But does the destruction have to be so devastating? What are the engineering challenges to designing and building stronger, more tornado-resistant structures and providing better protection for the people who live there?

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NPR Story
10:44 am
Fri June 7, 2013

Whole Genome Scans Could Reveal Too Much

Originally published on Fri June 7, 2013 12:33 pm

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY; I'm Ira Flatow. If you're thinking about getting married or having children or just contemplating your health care options, you or your doctor may decide to have your DNA analyzed, looking for genes that may indicate possible trouble ahead. Maybe there's a telltale mutation hiding there or a recognizable pattern of genes.

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The Two-Way
5:32 pm
Thu June 6, 2013

Justin Bieber Destined For Outer Space

Singer Justin Bieber performs during the 2013 Billboard Music Awards on May 19.
Ethan Miller Getty Images

Singer Justin Bieber is the latest celebrity to score a booking on Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo, destined for its first suborbital test flight sometime this year.

The Bieb and manager Scooter Braun join the likes of Ashton Kutcher, Leonardo DiCaprio and Angelina Jolie on the elite passenger list of those willing and able to pay $250,000 for a seat on Richard Branson's commercial space-flight venture.

Sir Richard tweeted the news Thursday:

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