Science & Health

Infant Mortality
5:15 pm
Wed September 19, 2012

Ala. Infant Mortality Rate Reaches Low, Still High

Alabama's infant mortality rate reaches record low.
David Herholz Flickr

Alabama's infant mortality rate has reached an all-time low, but it's still high nationally.


Figures released by the state health agency on Thursday show Alabama's infant death rate was 8.1 infant deaths for every 1,000 births last year.


The figure is a record low, but it's high compared to the most recent national average. The U.S. rate was 6.1 deaths per 1,000 births in 2010, the latest year available.

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Krulwich Wonders...
8:44 am
Wed September 19, 2012

U.S. Explodes Atomic Bombs Near Beers To See If They Are Safe To Drink

National Technical Information Service via Alex Wellerstein

Originally published on Wed September 19, 2012 3:34 pm

So you're minding your own business when all of a sudden, a nuclear bomb goes off, there's a shock wave, fires all around, general destruction and you, having somehow survived, need a drink. What can you do? There is no running water, not where you are. But there is a convenience store. It's been crushed by the shock wave, but there are still bottles of beer, Coke and diet soda intact on the floor.

So you wonder: Can I grab one of those beers and gulp it down? Or is it too radioactive? And what about taste? If I drink it, will it taste OK?

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Obesity Study
4:39 pm
Tue September 18, 2012

Report: Alabama Is 6th-Fattest State In Country

A new survey finds that Alabama is the sixth-fattest state in the nation.

A new survey by a group campaigning against obesity finds that Alabama is the sixth-fattest state in the nation.


A study by the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found that 32 percent of Alabama's adult residents are obese. It says 63 percent of the state's residents will be obese by 2030.


The survey found that neighboring Mississippi is the fattest state in the nation, with a current obesity rate of 35 percent. The report predicts 67 percent of Mississippi's adult population would be obese by 2030.

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Shots - Health Blog
3:59 pm
Tue September 18, 2012

Link Between BPA And Childhood Obesity Is Unclear

Canned food is a source of BPA exposure, but researchers aren't sure whether it causes childhood obesity. Above, the soup isle at a grocery store in Washington, D.C.
Maggie Starbard NPR

Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 7:23 pm

BPA could be making kids fat. Or not.

That's the unsatisfying takeaway from the latest study on bisphenol A — the plastic additive that environmental groups have blamed for everything from ADHD to prostate disease.

Unfortunately, the science behind those allegations isn't so clear. And the new study on obesity in children and teens is no exception.

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Flood Watch
5:34 pm
Mon September 17, 2012

North Alabama Under Flood Watch

Heavy rains across the state brings the threat of floods to some areas Monday night and Tuesday morning.
http://www.srh.noaa.gov/bmx/ National Weather Service

Alabama's northern counties are under a flood watch as potentially heavy rains move into the state.

The National Weather Service says storms crossing into the Tennessee Valley will bring rainfall totals from 1 to 3 inches by Tuesday, as some areas could receive as much as 5 inches of rain.

The heaviest precipitation is expected to fall overnight Monday. Forecasters say northeastern Alabama should receive the heaviest rains.

The weather service says streams along the Tennessee River will rise because of runoff from the storms.

Browns Ferry Jobs
4:58 pm
Thu September 13, 2012

TVA To Add About 100 Jobs To Browns Ferry

TVA plans to add around 100 jobs at its Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant in the next year.
tva.com Tennessee Valley Authority

The Tennessee Valley Authority plans to add around 100 jobs at its Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant in the next year.

The plan, announced Wednesday, is part of an effort to improve performance and safety.

TVA chief nuclear officer Preston Swafford says officials will probably start the hiring process in a couple of months.

Keith Polson, Browns Ferry site vice president, says the new jobs will involve various specialties such as engineering, maintenance, radiation protection, chemistry, work control and emergency planning.

Shots - Health Blog
3:54 pm
Thu September 13, 2012

Death Toll Climbs In Congo Ebola Outbreak

A medical worker from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention works at the laboratory in Uganda where Ebola specimens were tested at the start of the latest outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Stephen Wandera Associated Press

As health workers try to contain an Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the death toll has increased to 31.

The deaths from the hemorrhagic fever outbreak doubled in the past week. World Health Organization spokesman Tarik Jasarevic tells Shots that's because they have discovered more people who were originally infected.

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NPR Story
3:32 pm
Thu September 13, 2012

Stealth Changes To Fast Food May Combat Obesity

Originally published on Thu September 13, 2012 10:19 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

Fast food giant McDonald's announced a big move yesterday to begin posting calories on menu boards. It's also making smaller changes designed to help Americans make healthier choices; smaller changes you might not even notice.

But NPR's Allison Aubrey reports they can make a real difference.

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Shots - Health Blog
2:47 pm
Thu September 13, 2012

Infection Risk Prompts New York City To Regulate Ritual Circumcision

Originally published on Thu September 13, 2012 4:25 pm

There's no ready euphemism for this, so be warned.

The New York City Board of Health voted unanimously today in favor of a new regulation that would require parents of young boys who undergo ritual circumcisions involving "direct oral suction" to sign a consent form first.

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Shots - Health Blog
10:23 am
Thu September 13, 2012

Whooping Cough Vaccine's Protection Fades Quickly

Nurse Fatima Guillen (left) gives 4-year-old Kimberly Magdeleno a whooping cough booster shot at a health clinic in Tacoma, Wash., in May.
Ted S. Warren AP

Originally published on Thu September 13, 2012 10:24 am

To protect children against whooping cough, doctors recommend five shots of vaccine before they turn 7.

But what happens after that? How long does the protection last?

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NPR Story
4:45 am
Thu September 13, 2012

McDonald's To Post Calories On Menu Boards

Beginning next week, McDonald's plans to add calorie counts to its menu boards — both at drive-thrus and restaurant counters. Studies suggest that calorie boards alone don't change consumers' purchasing patterns. But consumers do seem to take note, and public health experts say it's one tangible step to helping consumers make healthier choices.

Shots - Health Blog
4:30 pm
Wed September 12, 2012

Worst Of West Nile Epidemic Appears To Be Over

Technicians with the Contra Costa County Mosquito and Vector Control District spray insecticide in Brentwood, Calif., last month. Workers fogged areas of the county that had an increase in the numbers of mosquitoes carrying the West Nile virus.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

The numbers for West Nile virus cases continue to rise, up 35 percent in the last week. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is confident the nation has turned the corner on its worst-ever epidemic of West Nile virus disease.

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Science
4:52 pm
Tue September 11, 2012

'Astonishing' Arctic Ice Melt Sets New Record

Norman Kuring NASA/GSFC/Suomi

Originally published on Tue September 11, 2012 8:57 pm

Arctic sea ice has melted dramatically this summer, smashing the previous record. The Arctic has warmed dramatically compared with the rest of the planet, and scientists say that's what's driving this loss of ice.

To be sure, ice on the Arctic Ocean always melts in the summer. Historically, about half of it is gone by mid-September. But this year, three-fourths of the ice has melted away, setting a dramatic new benchmark.

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Alabama Beaches
4:05 pm
Tue September 11, 2012

Tests Confirm Link Between BP Oil, Post-Isaac Tar

Tar balls collected from Alabama's beaches after Hurricane Isaac have been linked to the 2011 BP oil spill.
Ben Raines/Press-Register The Press-Register

Scientific testing has confirmed a link between oil from the massive BP spill and tar found on Alabama beaches after Hurricane Isaac.

Auburn University researcher Joel Hayworth said Tuesday a chemical analysis showed that tar balls collected after Isaac were associated with the type of oil spilled after the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig in 2010.

Auburn researchers collected about 15 pounds of tar balls after the storm, and officials from Gulf Shores and Orange Beach picked up still more.

Concussion Funding
3:48 pm
Tue September 11, 2012

NFL Awarding $1.5 Million In Medical Grants

NFL Charities has given money to 15 organizations including UAB for sports-related medical research.
nfl.com

NFL Charities is awarding more than $1.5 million in grants for sports-related medical research at 15 organizations, with nearly two-thirds of the money going to study concussion prevention and treatment.

This year's grants include research on stem cells and nervous system injuries; MRI methods after concussions; and the effect of temperature on the severity of potential brain injuries.

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