Science & Health

Shots - Health Blog
11:05 am
Mon October 15, 2012

Brain Scientists Uncover New Links Between Stress And Depression

Scientists say they're learning more about how to keep stress from damaging mental health.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 12:10 pm

Even extreme stress doesn't have to get you down.

That's the message from brain scientists studying the relationship between stress and problems such as depression, anxiety and post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.

Researchers at the Society for Neuroscience meeting in New Orleans presented studies showing how stress caused by everything from battlefield trauma to bullying can alter brain circuitry in ways that have long-term effects on mental health.

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The Two-Way
9:15 am
Mon October 15, 2012

Mystery Solved: 'Softball-Sized Eyeball' Likely Belongs To A Swordfish

Quite a baby blue.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

We learned two things this morning: First, experts from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission believe that the softball-sized eyeball that washed up in Pompano Beach, Fla. belongs to a swordfish.

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The Salt
8:59 am
Mon October 15, 2012

A Nose Tuned In To Bitter May Help Stave Off Sinus Infection

If you're a supertaster with a nose for bitter flavors, scientists say you might be good at fighting sinus infections.
iStockphoto.com

Supertasters are the Olympic athletes of gastronomy, able to detect subtle differences in flavors that other people never register. That talent may make for more than a discriminating palate, though. It may also warn them about attacking germs, and help them defend themselves against sinus infection.

This notion isn't as bizarre as it may seem. Bitter tastes have long been considered a danger signal in foods, warning about potential toxins in potatoes and other vegetables. If the potato's bitter, don't eat it.

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The Two-Way
7:36 am
Mon October 15, 2012

VIDEO: A Skydive From The Edge Of Space

Pilot Felix Baumgartner of Austria and technical project director Art Thompson celebrate after Baumgartner completed a skydive from the stratosphere Sunday.
Joerg Mitter AP

Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 7:51 am

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The Two-Way
6:41 am
Mon October 15, 2012

Americans Roth, Shapely Win Nobel Prize For Economics

Lloyd S. Shapley.
Nobel Prize

Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 6:42 am

Two Americans took the Nobel prize for economics this morning.

Alvin E. Roth, of Harvard University, and Lloyd S. Shapley, of University of California, Los Angeles, were given the award "for the theory of stable allocations and the practice of market design."

If that doesn't mean anything to you, the Nobel committee explained that their work essentially explained an important economic problem: How can different economic actors find each other.

They explain:

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Around the Nation
5:50 am
Mon October 15, 2012

Chuck Yeager Marks Speed Barrier Record

Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 6:59 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep with low-key congratulations to Chuck Yeager. In 1947, he broke the sound barrier. On Sunday, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports he did it again. At age 89, he climbed in the backseat of an Air Force jet. The plane ripped past the speed of sound 65 years to the minute after Yeager first did it. Afterward, the famously laid back pilot seemed unimpressed. Flying is flying, he said. You can't add a lot to it. You're listening to MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Shots - Health Blog
2:29 am
Mon October 15, 2012

Spray Lights Up The Chemical That Causes Poison Ivy Rash

Urushiol, the chemical in poison ivy, is also harvested from the Japanese lacquer tree to coat lacquerware. Here, a rash caused by lacquerware that likely was not properly cured.
Kenji Kabashima

Originally published on Thu October 18, 2012 1:17 pm

You'd think that someone who is a science correspondent and is as allergic to poison ivy as I am would have heard of urushiol, but no. I didn't recognize the word when I saw it a week or so ago. Now, thanks to my new beat (Joe's Big Idea), I'm allowed to dig a little deeper into stories, and what I learned about urushiol is pretty amazing.

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Shots - Health Blog
2:28 am
Mon October 15, 2012

Doctors Strike Mutating Bacteria In Teen Acne Battle

A tiny bacteriophage virus can cripple the bacteria that cause troublesome acne on teens' skin.
Charles Bowman University of Pittsburgh

Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 6:59 am

Acne, the scourge of many an adolescent life, is getting harder to treat, but 80 percent of teenagers have some form of it.

Conventional treatment includes topical and oral antibiotics. Studies are now finding the bacteria that cause acne are increasingly resistant to antibiotic treatment. Alternatively, there are effective laser treatments. But these are costly and typically not covered by insurance.

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The Two-Way
6:22 pm
Sun October 14, 2012

Jumping From The 'Top Of The World,' Skydiver Breaks Sound Barrier

Pilot Felix Baumgartner of Austria and technical project director Art Thompson celebrate after Baumgartner completed a skydive from the stratosphere Sunday.
Joerg Mitter AP

"I know the whole world is watching now, and I wish the world could see what I see."

Those were the words of Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner as he plummeted toward Earth faster than the speed of sound. He jumped 24 miles from the stratosphere and landed gracefully just more than nine minutes later in a desert in Roswell, N.M., Sunday.

His plunge was record-breaking on three fronts: the highest jump, the longest distance of a free fall and the fastest vertical velocity. Baumgartner's free fall was seconds shorter than the record set by Joe Kittinger in 1960.

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Science
5:45 am
Sun October 14, 2012

A Human-Powered Helicopter: Straight Up Difficult

Kyle Glusenkamp pilots Gamera, a human-powered helicopter.
Maggie Starbard NPR

Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 9:00 am

"I grew up wanting to fly," says Graham Bowen-Davies. "I guess I just settled for being an engineer."

He's standing on an indoor track in southern Maryland, watching a giant helicopter take flight. At the end of each of its four spindly arms — arms he helped design and build — a giant rotor churns the air. In the cockpit sits the engine: a 0.7-horsepower, 135-pound graduate student named Kyle Gluesenkamp.

Gluesenkamp is pedaling like crazy to keep the rotors spinning and the craft aloft.

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From Our Listeners
5:17 am
Sat October 13, 2012

The Antidote To Your Burning Health Care Questions

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sat October 13, 2012 2:14 pm

As we approach the presidential election in November, Weekend Edition is seeking your questions about issues and candidates in a new segment called Reporter Hotline. This week, we answer inquiries about health care.

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Space
4:44 pm
Fri October 12, 2012

For Sale: A Chunk Of Mars

A fragment of the meteor that crashed into Tissint, Morocco.
Mark Mauthner Heritage Auctions

Originally published on Tue October 23, 2012 1:31 pm

Few things are as rare as a piece of rock that falls from outer space and crashes onto Earth.

Among the most prized of these meteorites are from Mars. Friday, scientists describe the latest one discovered: It's called Tissint, and this weekend you can buy a piece of it.

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Shots - Health Blog
4:28 pm
Fri October 12, 2012

Where You Live May Determine What Lives Inside Your Mouth

Scientists examined bacteria in the mouths of twins, and found that it's not as similar as they thought it would be.
Sharon Dominick iStockphoto

Lately, we've been learning more and more about the teeming masses of bacteria inside our bodies - essentially trillions of tiny organisms that make us sick and keep us healthy.

Now two scientists at the University of Colorado have dared to ask what kinds of bacteria lives inside our mouths. And they're finding some pretty surprising things in there.

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Space
4:01 pm
Fri October 12, 2012

Space Shuttle Endeavour Rolls To Its Resting Place

Originally published on Fri October 12, 2012 4:59 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel. They're calling it Mission 26. After 25 trips in orbit, Space Shuttle Endeavour is making its final journey, this one through the streets of Los Angeles. For the next two days, the shuttle will be towed from Los Angeles International Airport to the California Science Center in downtown L.A. where it will become a museum piece. NPR's Carrie Kahn caught up with Endeavour along its route today.

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The Two-Way
1:58 pm
Fri October 12, 2012

New Regulations Aimed At Black Lung Disease Appear To Be Stalled

Originally published on Sat October 13, 2012 11:37 am

Reporting by the Charleston Gazette this week suggests that the Obama administration's efforts to impose tough new limits on miners' exposure to coal dust have stalled.

The United Mine Workers Union suggests election year politics may be the reason.

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