Science & Health

Medicaid Announcement
4:57 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

New Medicaid System Endorsed By Governor Bentley

Gov. Robert Bentley announced his support for the Medicaid Advisory Commission's recommendations to change Alabama's Medicaid system.
Credit dyn.politico.com

Governor Robert Bentley has announced his support for changes to Alabama's Medicaid system that would impact one out of every five Alabamians.


The Medicaid Advisory Commission advocates changing the basic operating model from a fee-for-service system to a managed care program. Under the proposal, private-sector contractors would develop care networks in eight newly-created regions across the state.


The new framework would aim to offer better service to patients through regional operations that are responsive to local needs, according to the governor.

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Animals
3:55 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

Quick Brown Fox Can't Find Camouflaged Quail Eggs

Researchers wanted to know if Japanese quail were aware of the colors and patterns on their eggs.
Courtesy of Lovell et al.

Originally published on Wed March 13, 2013 12:57 am

It's almost spring, and for many animals, warmer weather means it's time to find a mate. If you're a bird, finding that mate means a new clutch of eggs won't be far behind.

But keeping those eggs safe until they hatch can be a challenge, especially if you're a Japanese quail — a small ground-nesting bird that counts foxes among its predators.

The eggs of Coturnix japonica are tiny — not much bigger than a quarter. They're off-white or tan in color, with darker speckles.

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Science & Health
2:09 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

Can Kidney Transplants Ease Strain On Gaza's Health System?

A Palestinian dialysis patient is treated at the Shifa hospital in Gaza City in 2010. Many kidney patients in Gaza struggle to get proper dialysis therapy because machines are often overbooked.
Khalil Hamra AP

Originally published on Sun March 17, 2013 8:54 am

It's no picnic being a kidney patient even in the best conditions. But coming in for dialysis in a place like the Gaza Strip calls for a special kind of patience.

Years of war have placed a constant stress on the health system there. Thanks to a host of factors, Gaza's main hospital, Shifa Hospital, regularly faces supply shortages of medications that kidney patients need to manage nausea and other symptoms.

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Science & Health
1:36 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

NASA: Rover Data Indicates Ancient Mars Could Have Supported Life

This image from NASA's Curiosity rover shows the first sample of powdered rock extracted by the rover's drill.
NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Originally published on Tue March 12, 2013 5:50 pm

The group of scientists working with NASA's Curiosity rover made a big announcement during a press conference today: "We have found a habitable environment that is so benign" if there was water there, "you be able to drink it," John P. Grotzinger, professor of geology at Caltech, said summing up the rover's latest findings.

That is, at one point Mars had the right conditions to support living microbes.

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The Two-Way
5:26 pm
Mon March 11, 2013

Claims Of A Meteorite's Ancient Aquatic Fossils Spark Debate

Images show what researchers say could be a "hystrichosphere," a fossilized dinoflagellate cyst.
Journal of Cosmology

A meteorite that lit the sky over Sri Lanka with a yellow and green flame when it fell to earth on Dec. 29, 2012, contains "fossilized biological structures," according to researchers in Britain, Sri Lanka, and the United States. Elaborating on claims they first made in January, the scientists are also seeking to answer critics who are skeptical of their findings.

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Research News
4:36 pm
Mon March 11, 2013

Mummy Study Shows Heart Disease Could Be A Natural Human Condition

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Ever wonder why mummies always sound like they're suffering from serious indigestion?

(SOUNDBITE OF SCOOBY DOO SEGMENT)

CARTOON CHARACTER #1: Golly, look.

CARTOON CHARACTER #2: That's a mummy and it's moving.

CORNISH: A little "Scooby Doo" for you there. But that mummy sounds like a cry for some Tums, right?

(SOUNDBITE OF A GROWL)

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The Two-Way
11:21 am
Mon March 11, 2013

International Convention Moves To Limit Shark 'Finning' Trade

Indonesian fishermen unload their catch, including sharks and baby sharks, in Lampulo fish market in Banda Aceh last week.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 11, 2013 1:33 pm

Delegates to an international species conservation conference in Bangkok, Thailand, this week have agreed to limit the trade of shark fins and meat.

NPR's Christopher Joyce reports that government representatives to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, or CITES, have agreed to put the porbeagle, oceanic whitetip, three kinds of hammerhead shark and two kinds of manta ray on its Appendix II list, which places restrictions on fishing but still allows limited trade.

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Author Interviews
10:56 am
Mon March 11, 2013

'Frankenstein's Cat': Bioengineering The Animals Of The Future

Cover of Frankenstein's Cat

Originally published on Mon March 11, 2013 12:52 pm

In her new book, Frankenstein's Cat: Cuddling up to Biotech's Brave New Beasts, science journalist Emily Anthes talks about how the landscape of bioengineering has expanded since Dolly the Sheep was cloned in 1996. Scientists, she says, are now working to create pigs that can grow organs for human transplant, goats that produce valuable protein-rich milk, and cockroaches that could potentially serve as tiny scouts into danger zones for the military.

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Shots - Health News
10:49 am
Mon March 11, 2013

Hardening Of Human Arteries Turns Out To Be A Very Old Story

A 3-D reconstruction of Mummy 38's CT scans shows calcification in her aorta and iliac arteries.
Courtesy of The Lancet

Originally published on Wed March 13, 2013 12:23 pm

Going "paleo" may not be the answer to heart disease, after all.

A few years ago, a team of researchers challenged our understanding of heart disease as a modern affliction. They found evidence of hardened arteries in the CT scans of ancient Egyptian mummies.

It was a little surprising since our predecessors didn't have fried chicken or cars.

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Shots - Health News
3:41 am
Mon March 11, 2013

New Voices For The Voiceless: Synthetic Speech Gets An Upgrade

Samantha Grimaldo was born with a rare disorder, Perisylvian syndrome, and has never been able to speak.
Ellen Webber for NPR

Originally published on Wed March 13, 2013 12:23 pm

Ever since she was a small child, Samantha Grimaldo has had to carry her voice with her.

Grimaldo was born with a rare disorder, Perisylvian syndrome, which means that though she's physically capable in many ways, she's never been able to speak. Instead, she's used a device to speak. She types in what she wants to say, and the device says those words out loud. Her mother, Ruane Grimaldo, says that when Samantha was very young, the voice she used came in a heavy gray box.

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Education
4:22 pm
Sun March 10, 2013

Are There Too Many Ph.D.s And Not Enough Jobs?

Originally published on Mon March 11, 2013 7:50 am

Our country needs more people with science, math and engineering degrees — at least, that's the common refrain among politicians and educators.

American students lag behind the rest of the world when it comes to math and science test scores, and the president and others have called for a change in immigration laws that would make it easier for people who come to the U.S. to get technical degrees to stay in the country permanently.

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Science
4:11 pm
Sat March 9, 2013

Scientists Make Plans To Blast Threatening Asteroids

Originally published on Sat March 9, 2013 6:41 pm

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "ARMAGEDDON")

STANLEY ANDERSON: (as the President) What is this thing?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: It's enormous.

BILLY BOB THORNTON: (as Dan Truman) It's an asteroid, sir.

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

In the 1998 film "Armageddon," the character played by Bruce Willis saves the Earth by knocking aside an asteroid headed straight for us. Pure fiction, right? Well, maybe not.

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Animals
3:43 pm
Fri March 8, 2013

Adult Prairie Dogs Dig Living In Mom's Burrow

John Hoogland of the University of Maryland's Center for Environmental Science holds up a female prairie dog to check for signs of pregnancy, nursing or injury.
Courtesy of Elaine Miller Bond

Originally published on Fri March 8, 2013 8:47 pm

Like many humans, most young animals approaching adulthood tend to leave their parents and siblings and strike out on their own. They want to avoid competing with relatives. They want to avoid incest. In certain species, they want to avoid nagging.

But a new paper published in Thursday's Science shows there's at least one species that bucks this trend. Prairie dogs, especially female prairie dogs, stay home. They tend to only leave their native territories when all of their relatives are gone.

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Author Interviews
12:59 pm
Fri March 8, 2013

Al Gore Envisions 'The Future'

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

My next guest really needs almost no introduction. He's former vice president of the United States. He's one of the most well-known communicators of the risks of climate change. He shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for those efforts. I'm guessing a lot of you have read his book, "An Inconvenient Truth," or you've seen the movie.

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