Science & Health

Traffic Deaths
9:04 am
Sun February 3, 2013

Ala. Agency Says Trauma Care Has Cut Crash Deaths

Officials say an expanded trauma network has reduced the rate of traffic deaths drastically since 2007
Credit Wikimedia Commons

A new report by Alabama health officials says the rate of traffic deaths has fallen drastically since the state established a trauma network in 2007.

The numbers released by the Alabama Department of Public Health and the Alabama Hospital Association show deaths from vehicle crashes dropped from 27.64 per 100,000 people in 2006 to a rate of 18.05 per 100,000 people in 2011.

Dr. John Campbell, the retired state emergency services medical director, says the results show spending on trauma care has paid off for Alabama.

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Science & Health
4:42 am
Sun February 3, 2013

In China, A Breath Of Fresh Air (In A Can)

Chinese businessman Chen Guangbiao (center) gives cans of fresh air produced by his factory to passersby for free in a financial district in Beijing.
Mark Wong EPA /LANDOV

In response to the growing concern over China's air pollution, a theatrical Chinese entrepreneur is selling cans of fresh air.

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Science & Health
3:49 pm
Sat February 2, 2013

FDA Challenges Stem Cell Companies As Patients Run Out Of Time

Scientists have seen promise in the potential of stem cells, but not everyone agrees stem cell replacement therapy is ready for prime time.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Originally published on Sun February 3, 2013 9:30 am

Americans seeking stem cell replacement therapy hope the process can heal them of myriad diseases, and a 2011 report by the Baker Institute estimated the industry could bring in $16 billion in revenue by 2020.

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Animals
5:54 am
Sat February 2, 2013

Did You Hear That? I Think It Was A Walrus

claumoho flickr

Originally published on Sat February 2, 2013 9:15 pm

Stand aside Beyonce, there's a new sound in town. More than 9,000 sounds, to be more precise. The Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology has just finished digitizing its huge archive of wildlife sounds and made it available online.

"It represents the voice of the world — all the voices of the world," Greg Budney, audio curator for the archive, tells NPR's Scott Simon. Among the vast collection are birds, mammals, insects and amphibians, Budney says, all made available "to anyone who has an interest in nature, in conservation and in the world around them."

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Animals
4:17 pm
Fri February 1, 2013

Birds May Use 'Sound Maps' To Navigate Huge Distances

Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 6:17 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Now the curious case of the homing pigeon and the mystery of just how they do what they do: navigate over huge distances to find their way home. We know they use the sun and the Earth's magnetic field. Well, Jonathan Hagstrum of the U.S. Geological Survey believes the birds also use sound maps. His study was recently published in the Journal of Experimental biology. And he joins us now to explain how he thinks this works. Welcome to the program.

DR. JONATHAN HAGSTRUM: Thank you.

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Environment
12:03 pm
Fri February 1, 2013

Are We Losing The Race Against Climate Change?

Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 12:46 pm

China burns nearly as much coal as the rest of the world combined--and has 300 more coal plants in the works. But China also leads the world in solar panel exports and wind farms, and has a national climate change policy in place. Is the U.S. falling behind on climate? Ira Flatow and guests discuss how the world is tackling global warming--with or without us--and what it might take to change the climate on Capitol Hill.

The Salt
11:33 am
Fri February 1, 2013

Pig Out In The Winter Or When Money's Tight? Blame Evolution

When times are tough, that prehistoric urge to splurge on high-calorie treats like M&Ms still kicks in.
Daniel M.N. Turner NPR

Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 4:39 pm

Has the recession made you fat?

To the long and growing list of risk factors known to increase the risk of obesity, scientists recently added a new one: scarcity.

People given subtle cues that they may have to confront harsh conditions in the near future choose to eat higher-calorie food than they might do otherwise, a response that researchers believe is shaped by the long hand of evolution.

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NPR Story
10:57 am
Fri February 1, 2013

How Owls Turn Heads

Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 12:03 pm

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

Up next, Flora Lichtman is here with Video Pick of the Week, fresh from being the recent winner of the Cyberscreen Film Festival. Well, congratulations, Flora.

FLORA LICHTMAN, BYLINE: Oh, thank you, Ira.

FLATOW: It was for optical illusion piece.

LICHTMAN: Yes. Step into an optical illusion was the winner. Thank you. But, really, I mean, I'm still stuck on dung beetles.

(LAUGHTER)

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NPR Story
10:57 am
Fri February 1, 2013

Dung Beetles Use Cosmic GPS to Find Their Way

Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 12:03 pm

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

Now for a surprising find from the insect world. The dung beetle, that insect known for sculpting little balls of animal feces that they roll around and later feast on. Well, it turns out that these beetles have a built-in cosmic GPS that helps them navigate around. Dung beetles use light - listen to this - use light from the Milky Way to orient themselves at night. It's all in a paper published earlier this month in the journal Current Biology.

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NPR Story
10:57 am
Fri February 1, 2013

Preserving Science News in an Online World

Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 12:49 pm

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY, I'm Ira Flatow. When you read a news article online, how much attention do you pay to the comments that follow at the bottom? What about how many times the story has been re-tweeted or how many Facebook likes it has? Do you pay attention to those?

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Science & Health
5:10 pm
Thu January 31, 2013

Salmonella Undermines Hedgehogs' Cuteness Overload

We have no reason to think this little guy isn't clean as a whistle, but some hedgehogs carry salmonella.
Flickr

Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 3:19 pm

Salmonella is one of the most common illnesses people get from food. Undercooked ground beef is risky. And some of the biggest recalls ever involved eggs potentially contaminated by the bacteria.

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Shots - Health News
2:27 pm
Thu January 31, 2013

How Owls Spin Their Heads Without Tearing Arteries

How does a great gray owl do that? Now we know.
Martin Meissner AP

Originally published on Mon February 4, 2013 6:56 am

The human neck is a delicate stem. Torque it a bit too much, and the carotid and vertebral arteries can rip, causing deadly strokes. People have torn their neck arteries riding roller coasters, doing yoga, going to the chiropractor, being rear-ended in the car – even leaning back for a beauty-parlor shampoo.

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The Two-Way
11:37 am
Thu January 31, 2013

Portugal's Monster: The Mechanics Of A Massive Wave

American surfer Garrett "GMAC" McNamara rides what could be, if confirmed, the biggest wave conquered in history as a crowd watches Monday in Nazare, Portugal.
To Mane Barcroft Media /Landov

Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 10:07 am

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Red Couch Campaign
10:48 am
Thu January 31, 2013

Heart Attack Survivors, Loved Ones Share Stories on Red Couch

The campaign's signature red couch will travel to several locations in Birmingham throughout February.
Facebook: American Heart Association-Birmingham

The American Heart Association of Birmingham is taking a unique approach to heart disease this month. Starting February 1, the Red Couch Campaign encourages survivors and those impacted by the disease to sit on a red couch and share their stories. Matt Hooper is with the American Heart Association in Birmingham. He says some participants are reluctant to share their stories.

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Shots - Health News
4:36 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

Gut Microbes May Play Deadly Role In Malnutrition

Researchers followed 300 sets of twins in Malawi for the first three years of their life. In many cases, only one twin developed severe malnutrition, while the other remained healthier.
Photograph courtesy of Tanya Yatsunenko

Originally published on Mon September 9, 2013 9:44 am

There's a part of our body that's only now getting mapped: the trillions of microbes, mostly bacteria, that live in our guts.

Some scientists describe this community as a previously unnoticed vital organ. It appears to play a role in how quickly we gain weight and how well we fight off disease.

A study published in the journal Science suggests that changes in this community of microbes also may cause kwashiorkor, a kind of deadly malnutrition.

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