Science & Health

Shots - Health News
8:32 am
Wed May 27, 2015

How A Claim That A Childhood Vaccine Prevents Leukemia Went Too Far

Controversy over childhood vaccines may make it too easy to embrace what appear to be new vaccine benefits.
Dmitry Naumov iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri May 29, 2015 7:40 am

Sometimes a story takes odd turns as you report it. Every once in while it goes off the rails. That's what happened as I reported on a new study purporting to explain how a childhood vaccine helps prevent leukemia. The experience reaffirmed the lessons I've learned in my years of reporting on vaccines and other scientific research: Be wary of grand claims, get outside perspectives on new research and never, ever rely only on the press release.

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Goats and Soda
2:32 am
Wed May 27, 2015

As Antibiotic Resistance Spreads, WHO Plans Strategy To Fight It

Patients receive treatment at the Chest Disease Hospital in Srinagar, India. The country has one of the highest rates of drug-resistant tuberculosis in the world, in part because antibiotics for the disease are poorly regulated by the government.
Dar Yasin AP

Originally published on Sun May 31, 2015 8:44 pm

The world is losing some of the most powerful tools in modern medicine. Antibiotics are becoming less and less effective at fighting infections. The problem has gotten so bad that some doctors are starting to ponder a "post-antibiotic world."

Common infections that have been easily treatable for decades could become deadly if the current growth of antimicrobial resistance continues.

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All Tech Considered
3:26 pm
Tue May 26, 2015

Higher-Tech Fake Eggs Offer Better Clues To Wild-Bird Behavior

One of these things is not like the other: A 3-D printed model of a beige cowbird egg stands out from its robin's egg nest mates, though their shape and heft are similar.
Ana Lopez/Courtesy of Mark Hauber

Originally published on Tue May 26, 2015 7:39 pm

Since the 1960s, biologists have made fake eggs for some studies of bird behavior. But Mark Hauber of Hunter College in New York says this kind of scientific handicraft is not exactly his forte.

"I'm a terrible craftsperson," he admits.

That's why Hauber is pioneering the use of 3-D printing technology to quickly produce made-to-order fake eggs, taking a bit of old-school science into the 21st century.

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Research News
4:18 am
Tue May 26, 2015

How Partitioned Grocery Carts Can Help Shoppers Buy Healthier Foods

Originally published on Tue May 26, 2015 2:47 pm

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

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Eating in a healthy way can be time-consuming or expensive. It's hard, but researchers have a new way to get people to do just that. Steve Inskeep got the details from NPR social science correspondent Shankar Vedantam.

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Asia
3:30 pm
Mon May 25, 2015

In Drought-Ridden Taiwan, Residents Adapt To Life With Less Water

Originally published on Mon May 25, 2015 5:45 pm

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

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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Environment
5:12 pm
Sun May 24, 2015

A Home Air Quality Monitor That Can Be Checked Out From The Library

The Speck air quality monitor costs $200, but is available to all through Pittsburgh's public library system.
Carnegie Mellon University CREATE Lab

Originally published on Sun May 24, 2015 5:54 pm

Air pollution comes from many sources — power plants, industrial production and fires, to name a few. In Pittsburgh, the most polluted city east of California, according the American Lung Association, avoiding dirty air while outdoors can be difficult, if not impossible. But a new device, available through the public library system, helps people identify and reduce bad air quality inside their homes.

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The Salt
6:03 am
Sat May 23, 2015

Clean Your Grill, And Other Hot Holiday Tips From Alton Brown

Planning to grill this Memorial Day? Below, Food Network chef Alton Brown has some tips to keep your flavor from going up in smoke.
iStockphoto

Editor's note: A version of this story was originally published in May 2012.

If there's one grilling tip to remember this Memorial Day weekend, it should be this: Flame is bad.

"Flame does nasty things to food," food historian and science guy Alton Brown tells NPR's Scott Simon.

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The Two-Way
12:48 pm
Fri May 22, 2015

Who Let The Dogs In? We Did, About 30,000 Years Ago

Josh Brones walks his hunting dogs, Dollar (from left), Sequoia and Tanner, near his home in Wilton, Calif., in 2012.
Rich Pedroncelli AP

Originally published on Fri May 22, 2015 6:36 pm

It looks like dogs might well have been man's (and woman's) best friend for a lot longer than once thought.

The long-held conventional wisdom is that canis lupus familiaris split from wolves 11,000 to 16,000 years ago and that the divergence was helped along by Stone Age humans who wanted a fellow hunter, a sentry and a companion.

Now, DNA evidence suggests that the split between dogs and their wild ancestors occurred closer to 30,000 years ago.

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Shots - Health News
9:46 am
Fri May 22, 2015

Covered California Votes To Cap What Patients Pay For Pricey Drugs

Retired California school teacher Mikkel Lawrence sits with his cat, Max. Lawrence has hepatitis C and has struggled to afford the medicine he needs to treat it.
April Dembosky KQED

Originally published on Wed June 24, 2015 4:30 am

In recent years, expensive specialty medicines used to treat cancer and chronic illnesses have forced some very ill Americans to choose between getting proper treatment and paying their rent.

To ease the financial burden, the California agency that governs the state's Obamacare plans issued landmark rules Thursday that will put a lid on the amount anyone enrolled in one of those plans can be charged each month for high-end medicine.

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The Two-Way
8:04 am
Fri May 22, 2015

Pipeline Operator: Possibly Months To Determine Cause Of Calif. Spill

A bird covered in oil flaps its wings at Refugio State Beach, north of Goleta, Calif., on Thursday. More than 9,000 gallons of oil have been raked, skimmed and vacuumed from a spill that stretched across 9 miles of California coast, just a fraction of the sticky, stinking goo that escaped from a broken pipeline, officials said.
Jae C. Hong AP

Originally published on Fri May 22, 2015 5:35 pm

It could be months before investigators can determine what caused a pipeline leak that has fouled a stretch of coast in Southern California, the company that operates the oil conduit says.

Since the leak was discovered earlier this week, more than 9,000 gallons of oil have been raked, skimmed or vacuumed from a 9-mile stretch of California shoreline near Santa Barbara, officials say.

"We have not even uncovered the pipe yet," said Patrick Hodgins, senior director of safety for Texas-based Plains All American, according to The Associated Press.

The AP reports:

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TED Radio Hour
8:01 am
Fri May 22, 2015

How Could Technology Change The Way We Evolve?

Medical ethicist Harvey Fineberg says "neo-evolution" is on the horizon.
James Duncan Davidson Courtesy of TED

Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode The Fountain Of Youth

About Harvey Fineberg's TED Talk

Medical ethicist Harvey Fineberg says "neo-evolution" is on the horizon. When it becomes easier to eliminate disease through gene therapy, will we change the trajectory of evolution?

About Harvey Fineberg

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TED Radio Hour
8:01 am
Fri May 22, 2015

How Do You Make An Elderly Worm Feel Young Again?

"We can harness our bodies' own abilities that are kind of kept under wraps to allow the aging process to be slowed down." - Biochemist Cynthia Kenyon
James Duncan Davidson Courtesy of TED

Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode The Fountain Of Youth

About Cynthia Kenyon's TED Talk

What controls aging? Biochemist Cynthia Kenyon has found a genetic mutation that can more than double the lifespan of a tiny worm, which points to how we might one day significantly extend human life.

About Cynthia Kenyon

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Goats and Soda
6:36 am
Fri May 22, 2015

How Do You Motivate Kids To Stop Skipping School?

Hanna Barczyk for NPR

It seems like a no-brainer: Offer kids a reward for showing up at school, and their attendance will shoot up. But a recent study of third-graders in a slum in India suggests that incentive schemes can do more harm than good.

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The Salt
2:55 am
Fri May 22, 2015

Revealed: The Ocean's Tiniest Life At The Bottom Of The Food Chain

Plankton collected in the Pacific Ocean with a 0.1mm mesh net. Seen here is a mix of multicellular organisms — small zooplanktonic animals, larvae and single protists (diatoms, dinoflagellates, radiolarians) — the nearly invisible universe at the bottom of the marine food chain.
Christian Sardet/CNRS/Tara Expeditions

Originally published on Fri May 22, 2015 4:54 pm

What's at the bottom of the bottom of the food chain? Well, think small ... smaller than you can see.

Tiny life forms in the ocean, too small for the naked eye to see.

There are (and scientists have done the math) trillions of microorganisms in the ocean: plankton, bacteria, krill (they're maybe bigger than "micro," but not by much), viruses, protists and archaea (they're like bacteria, but they aren't bacteria).

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The Salt
3:31 pm
Thu May 21, 2015

Chew On This: The Science Of Great NYC Bagels (It's Not The Water)

Steaming-hot bagels are scooped out of the water in which they were boiled and dumped onto a stainless steel drain board at a bagel bakery in Queens, New York City, 1963. Traditionally, bagels were boiled, but bakers who use the modern method skip this step.
Dan Grossi AP

Originally published on Tue May 26, 2015 9:55 am

One of the first life lessons I picked up in college was this: The secret to the shiny crust and chewy bite prized in New York bagels is boiling. Any other way of cooking them, my Brooklyn born-and-raised, freshman-year roommate told me, is simply unacceptable.

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