Science & Health

Science & Health
1:37 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

We're Living Longer, But Not All That Healthier

Average life expectancy around the world has ticked up over the past twenty years. Here it's shown for men in 2009. The extremes are in dark green and dark red, which represent 78 to 82 years old and less than 66 years old, respectively.
Courtesy of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 3:52 pm

People around the world are living longer than they did two decades ago, but many people aren't very healthy during those extra years.

That's a key finding from a large-scale study estimating what makes people sick worldwide.

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Science & Health
1:59 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

A Polio Outbreak In Pakistan Reveals Gaps In Vaccination

A child is inoculated with the polio vaccine at a traffic checkpoint just outside Pakistan's capital, Islamabad. Roadside vaccinations help health workers reach children in mobile populations.
Jackie Northam NPR

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 8:55 am

Pakistan has made a lot of progress this year in wiping out polio. There are signs that one type of poliovirus is gone and transmission of other strains seems to be slowing.

But a recent outbreak of polio there has health officials concerned about the overall effectiveness of the effort to eliminate polio in that country.

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Flu Season
4:58 pm
Mon December 3, 2012

US Flu Season Starts Early, Could Be Bad, CDC Says

Health officials say the flu season is off to its earliest start in 10 years.
Credit Centers for Disease Control and Prevention / Wikimedia Commons

Health officials say flu season is off to its earliest start in nearly 10 years — and it could be a bad one.


The primary strain circulating is one that tends to cause more severe illness, especially in the elderly.


But officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the nation seems to be fairly well prepared. More than a third of Americans have been vaccinated, and the vaccine is well matched to the strains of flu so far.

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Science & Health
6:42 am
Fri November 30, 2012

NASA Demolishing Old Rocket Test Stand at Marshall

Credit NASA

The nation's space agency is tearing down a rocket test stand in Huntsville that was once used by engineers working to send astronauts to the moon.


The National Aeronautics and Space Administration says workers will use explosives to demolish the concrete towers of Test Stand 4696 at Redstone Arsenal near Huntsville on Friday.

The 239-foot-tall tower was built in 1962 to test F-1 engines, which helped power Saturn V rockets to the moon. Documents show it hasn't been used since 1969, the year astronauts first landed on the lunar surface.

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Science & Health
4:11 pm
Thu November 29, 2012

Greenland, Antarctic Ice Is Melting Faster

An iceberg that likely calved from Jakobshavn Isbrae, the fastest glacier in western Greenland.
Ian Joughin Science/AAAS

Originally published on Thu November 29, 2012 4:44 pm

Superstorm Sandy sparked a lot of interest in rising sea levels when it swept across the Northeast last month and flooded parts of the coast. Over the next century, more water — and higher sea levels — could come from melting ice in Greenland and Antarctica. How much has been unclear.

But now scientists have developed a much clearer view of how quickly that ice has been melting over the past two decades. And that will help researchers forecast the rate of sea-level rise in the years to come.

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Science & Health
1:05 pm
Thu November 29, 2012

Space Probe Finds Ice In Mercury's Craters

Researchers say they have identified traces of ice in craters on Mercury, seen here in this Oct. 8, 2008, image from the Messenger spacecraft.
NASA

Originally published on Thu November 29, 2012 4:37 pm

Mercury is not the first planet to come to mind if you were searching for ice in the solar system. After all, the surface temperature across most of the planet is hot enough to melt lead.

But at the poles on Mercury it's a different story. Almost no sun reaches the poles, and as a result, temperatures can drop to less than -100 degrees Fahrenheit. Now, three papers in the journal Science suggest there really is ice at the bottom of craters near the poles on Mercury.

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Science & Health
7:59 am
Thu November 29, 2012

Key To E. Coli-Free Spinach May Be An Ultrasonic Spa Treatment

Spinach has lots of opportunities to pick up E. coli and other bugs during harvest and growing. Here, a Mexican migrant worker cuts organic spinach during the fall harvest at Grant Family Farms in Wellington, Co.
John Moore Getty Images

Salad producers haven't succeeded in banishing E. coli and other dangerous microbes from fresh greens, though they've tried hard. As we've reported before, it's a major challenge to both growers and the environment. But one scientist thinks he's making progress – with a spinach spa that zaps bad bugs with ultrasound.

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Science & Health
4:29 pm
Tue November 27, 2012

HIV Infections Rise Among Young Black Men In U.S.

A young man places an oral swab into a solution to complete an HIV test during a free screening event in Washington, D.C.
Brendan Smialowski Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 29, 2012 3:11 pm

The latest data on HIV rates in American teenagers and young adults offer a sobering message.

While the number of new infections in the U.S. is relatively stable — at about 50,000 people each year — HIV is on the rise in young people under 25.

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Science & Health
3:58 pm
Tue November 27, 2012

A Risky Mix: Grapefruit And Quite A Few Drugs

Grapefruit can make for a tasty addition to breakfast. But it can also interfere with some medications.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu November 29, 2012 2:44 pm

Grapefruit sprinkled with a little sugar has just the right amount of kick for a morning meal. But when the bitter fruit is mixed with medication, things can get a bit tricky.

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Science & Health
11:42 am
Tue November 27, 2012

Momentum Builds For Hepatitis C Testing Of Baby Boomers

Hospitals began testing blood for hepatitis in 1992, so anyone who received a blood transfusion before then is at an increased risk for contracting the disease.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue November 27, 2012 2:01 pm

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, an influential and often controversial panel of doctors, is moving toward a recommendation for testing that could apply to all baby boomers.

The group issued draft advice to doctors saying they should consider giving a hepatitis C test to people born between 1945 and 1965, regardless of their risk factors for having the disease.

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Science & Health
9:57 am
Tue November 27, 2012

Taking Aim At Restrictions On Medical Questions About Gun Ownership

Should a talk about guns be off-limits in the exam room?
iStockphoto.com

The way some doctors see it, asking patients whether they own a gun is no more politically loaded than any other health-related question they ask.

So when a Florida law that prohibited them from discussing gun ownership with patients passed last year, they moved to fight it. A federal judge issued a permanent injunction blocking enforcement of the law in July.

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Science & Health
9:41 am
Tue November 27, 2012

Rare Meat Allergy Caused By Tick Bites May Be On The Rise

The Lone Star tick, common to the southeastern U.S., is responsible for inducing meat allergies in some people, scientists say.
CDC Public Health Image Library

Originally published on Thu November 29, 2012 9:23 am

Some people are allergic to peanuts, others to shellfish, fruits, or wheat. But this rare allergy is a carnivore's worst nightmare: A tick bite that can cause a case of itchy red hives every time you eat meat. Yup, get bit by one of these buggers and you may be saying farewell to your filet Mignon.

For some people around the country, this is no nightmare, it's a reality – and it may be coming to your neck of the woods.

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Science & Health
4:36 am
Wed November 21, 2012

Fixing Health Care Waste Would Trip Deficit

Originally published on Wed November 21, 2012 8:49 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

In Washington, lawmakers are trying to work out a deal to keep the economy from going over the fiscal cliff. Many economists predict those automatic tax hikes combined with deep spending cuts set to go into effect on New Year's Day would throw the economy back into recession.

A group of top CEOs has been urging lawmakers to reach a deal to keep that from happening. Mark Bertolini is one of them. He's CEO of the health insurer Aetna and he said tax increases are as important as spending cuts. We called him to talk more.

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Science & Health
2:36 am
Wed November 21, 2012

Patients With Online Access To Doctors May Make More Office Visits

New research suggests that doctors who communicate online with their patients may not see a drop in office visits.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed November 21, 2012 8:49 am

Uncle Sam wants you to email your doctor. A federal law passed in 2009 says that physicians have to start offering their patients online communication, or Medicare will start docking how much it pays them in the future.

Some patients hope that having online access to their doctors will mean they can cut down on how often they have to go to the doctor's office. But fresh research suggests that patients with online access actually schedule more office visits.

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Science & Health
2:33 am
Wed November 21, 2012

Why Greek Yogurt Makers Want Whey To Go Away

Most of the gleaming steel tanks outside Fage's yogurt factory hold milk. One, however, holds the yogurt byproduct whey.
Dan Charles NPR

Originally published on Mon November 26, 2012 12:45 pm

A few months ago, I let you in on a little secret about Greek yogurt. Not all of this extra-thick, protein-rich yogurt is made the old-style way, by straining liquid out of it it. Some companies are creating that rich taste by adding thickeners, such as powdered protein and starch.

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