Science & Health

NPR Story
4:05 am
Thu January 24, 2013

Wolves Starchy Diet Led To Domesticated Dogs

Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 8:37 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It took a very long time for this...

(SOUNDBITE OF WOLF HOWLING)

MONTAGNE: ...to evolve into this:

(SOUNDBITE OF DOG BARKING)

MONTAGNE: But the gray wolf is the ancestor of all domesticated dogs, including that Jack Russell terrier we just heard. Just how wolves came to live with people isn't really known. But as NPR's Veronique LaCapra reports, a new study suggests that food may have played a role.

VERONIQUE LACAPRA, BYLINE: Most dogs will eat just about anything.

(SOUNDBITE OF DOG EATING)

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Research News
2:37 am
Thu January 24, 2013

Shall I Encode Thee In DNA? Sonnets Stored On Double Helix

William Shakespeare, depicted in this 17th century painting, penned his sonnets on parchment. Now his words have found a new home ... in twisting strands of DNA.
Attributed to John Taylor National Portrait Gallery

Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 12:19 pm

English critic Samuel Johnson once said of William Shakespeare "that his drama is the mirror of life." Now the Bard's words have been translated into life's most basic language. British scientists have stored all 154 of Shakespeare's sonnets on tiny stretches of DNA.

It all started with two men in a pub. Ewan Birney and Nick Goldman, both scientists from the European Bioinformatics Institute, were drinking beer and discussing a problem.

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Shots - Health News
2:35 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

Scientists Put An End To Moratorium On Bird Flu Research

Health workers in Nepal culled chickens and destroyed eggs following an outbreak of bird flu in Kathmandu in October 2012.
Prakash Mathema AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 7:53 pm

Controversial experiments on bird flu could resume within weeks because leading influenza researchers around the world have finally called a halt to an unusual moratorium that has lasted more than a year.

The voluntary pause in the research started back in January 2012. Scientists had genetically altered the bird flu virus H5N1, changing it in ways that allowed it to spread through the coughs and sneezes of ferrets — the lab stand-in for people.

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The Salt
11:13 am
Wed January 23, 2013

How The Sweet Potato Crossed The Pacific Before Columbus

A well-traveled root: A vendor sells sweet potatoes at a market near Manila in 2011. The Portuguese brought the root to the Philippines all the way from the Caribbean.
Ted Aljibe AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 28, 2013 10:15 am

When it comes to spreading food around the world, Christopher Columbus and his European compatriots get most of the credit.

Yes, they introduced some quintessential ingredients into European and Asian cuisine. Who could imagine Italian food without the tomato? Or Indian and Chinese dishes without the spicy kick of chili peppers?

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Politics
4:23 am
Wed January 23, 2013

Obama Wants To Build On Climate Accomplishments

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 7:13 am

President Obama vowed in this week's inaugural speech to address climate change. The comments recevied a chilly reception in Congress. There are, however, steps the administration can take on its own.

Shots - Health News
2:39 am
Wed January 23, 2013

Rules Would Retire Most Research Chimps

Two chimps groom each other at the Save the Chimps facility in Florida. The National Institutes of Health owns about 360 chimpanzees that aren't yet retired and that are living at research facilities; new guidelines say most of its chimps should be retired.
Save the Chimps

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 2:56 pm

The National Institutes of Health should retire most of its chimps that are currently living in research facilities, according to a working group put together by the NIH to look at the future need for biomedical research on chimps.

The group did recommend keeping a small number of chimps in reserve in case they are needed for studies later on. But it also laid out a detailed description of the kind of living conditions that would be needed for those chimps, and said any proposed research should go through a review committee that includes members of the public.

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Science & Health
3:57 pm
Tue January 22, 2013

Growing Pains As Doctors' Offices Adopt Electronic Records

Patient William Wishart, age 4 months, looks on as Dr. Melanie Walker uses a portable computer to enter information from his exam into an electronic medical records system, in North Raleigh, N.C., in November.
Chris Seward MCT /Landov

Originally published on Tue January 22, 2013 7:48 pm

Information technology has transformed much of the American economy, but its use in health care still lags, especially when it comes to electronic medical records.

Here's an example: The state of Colorado runs a computerized registry where any provider who gives a child a vaccine can report that information. The system should help kids stay current with their immunizations.

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Science & Health
3:53 pm
Tue January 22, 2013

Energy Drinks Blamed For Boost In Emergency Room Visits

Originally published on Tue January 22, 2013 4:37 pm

Should emergency rooms track the number of people who get hurt or sick after drinking coffee? That's what the maker of Monster Energy drinks suggests in response to a recent report that emergency room visits involving caffeine-laced energy drinks doubled from 2007 to 2011.

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Krulwich Wonders...
3:02 pm
Tue January 22, 2013

Nature Has A Formula That Tells Us When It's Time To Die

Courtesy of Yunfun Tan

Originally published on Sat January 26, 2013 9:19 pm

Editor's Note: Robert has added a postscript to this post. Scroll down or click here to read it.


We wax, we wane. It's the dance of life.

Every living thing is a pulse. We quicken, then we fade. There is a deep beauty in this, but deeper down, inside every plant, every leaf, inside every living thing (us included) sits a secret.

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Science
1:18 pm
Tue January 22, 2013

Explorers Reflect On 125 Years Of National Geographic

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Back in 1999, I went along with Robert Ballard on a radio expedition to the Black Sea, where he hoped to find evidence that what's now a vast inland ocean was once a small freshwater lake. A controversial theory holds that thousands of years ago, the waters of the Mediterranean Sea suddenly burst through in a flood that may have inspired the story of Noah.

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Science & Health
5:37 pm
Sat January 19, 2013

Auburn researcher names spider for U-2 singer Bono

istockphoto

JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. (AP) — It appeared Bono and arachnids didn't mix when his "Spider-Man" musical had a rough Broadway run, but that didn't keep a biologist from naming an actual spider species after the U2 singer. Jason Bond of Alabama's Auburn University has identified 33 new species of trapdoor spider, including three of them in the California desert at Joshua Tree National Park.

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Cancer Center Grant
5:12 pm
Fri January 18, 2013

Ala. Cancer Center To Receive $550,000 Donation

The University of Alabama Comprehensive Cancer Center is set to receive a $550,000 donation from the Breast Cancer Research Foundation of Alabama.
Credit sunsets_for_you / Flickr

The University of Alabama Comprehensive Cancer Center is set to receive a $550,000 donation from the Breast Cancer Research Foundation of Alabama.


The foundation has donated nearly $4 million to the center since 1996.


Officials say the money will be used to help recruit and retain researchers in hopes of obtaining more high-profile grants.


The University of Alabama Comprehensive Cancer Center employs more than 330 physicians and researchers who help treat more than 5,000 patients annually.


Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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Science & Health
5:12 pm
Tue January 15, 2013

Fitness Boot Camps May Get The Boot In Santa Monica, Calif.

City officials say Palisades Park in Santa Monica, Calif., is being overrun by people participating in fitness training, including boot camps, yoga classes and massage therapy sessions.
Jae C. Hong AP

Originally published on Wed January 16, 2013 12:10 pm

If you haven't been to Palisades Park — the famous oceanfront park in Santa Monica, Calif. — chances are you have seen its swaying palm trees and sweeping ocean vistas in movies and commercials.

Running up the wooden stairs that plunge to the beach is the workout to do in this city where it seems like you have to be fit to fit in. In fact, most early mornings before work hours, this park seems more like an outdoor gym than anything else, with running clubs, weight training and kickboxing classes.

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Teen Pregnancy
5:01 pm
Tue January 15, 2013

Ala. Teen Pregnancy Rate Drops To Historic Low

The Alabama Department of Public Health says teen pregnancy has dropped to a historic low.

The Alabama Department of Public Health has announced the state's teen birth rate has reached a historic low.


Officials say the teen birth rate in 2011 fell to a low of 20.9 per 1,000 women ages 10 to 19. State health officials say the figure translates to about 6,700 births to teen mothers.


State health officials say babies born to teenage mothers account for about 11.3 percent of all births in the state. The 2011 rate is a 58 percent decline from the state's peak in teen births in 1973, and a 32 percent decrease since 2000.

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Science & Health
4:47 pm
Tue January 15, 2013

Colleges Try To Curtail Flu Risk For Students

Dr. Tom Nary is the director of health services at Boston College.
Tovia Smith/NPR

Originally published on Tue January 15, 2013 6:54 pm

As college students return to class from winter break this week, campuses around the nation are bracing for the possibility of a flu outbreak.

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