Science & Health

Shots - Health Blog
10:02 am
Tue September 4, 2012

More Employers' Health Plans Include Benefits For Transgender People

A growing number of companies are changing their health insurance plans to include benefits for transgender employees.

Yet even though professional groups such as the American Medical Association recommend coverage of services for transgender people —who identify with a gender other than the one they were born as—many companies continue to hold back. One of their big worries is cost.

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The Salt
2:22 am
Tue September 4, 2012

Why Organic Food May Not Be Healthier For You

A shopper surveys the produce at Pacifica Farmers Market in Pacifica, Calif., in 2011.
AP

Originally published on Wed September 19, 2012 3:13 pm

Yes, organics is a $29 billion industry and still growing. Something is pulling us toward those organic veggies that are grown without synthetic pesticides or fertilizers.

But if you're thinking that organic produce will help you stay healthier, a new finding may come as a surprise. A new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine finds scant evidence of health benefits from organic foods.

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The Two-Way
2:35 pm
Thu August 30, 2012

Using NASA's Infrared Telescope, Scientists Uncover Millions Of Black Holes

With its all-sky infrared survey, NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, has identified millions of quasar candidates. This image zooms in on one small region of the WISE sky, covering an area about three times larger than the moon. The WISE quasar candidates are highlighted with yellow circles.
NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA

This paragraph from NASA worried us:

"In one study, astronomers used WISE to identify about 2.5 million actively feeding supermassive black holes across the full sky, stretching back to distances more than 10 billion light-years away. About two-thirds of these objects never had been detected before because dust blocks their visible light. WISE easily sees these monsters because their powerful, accreting black holes warm the dust, causing it to glow in infrared light."

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The Salt
2:19 am
Thu August 30, 2012

Subtracting Calories May Not Add Years To Life

A rhesus monkey eats watermelon, provided by zookeepers, at the Kamla Nehru Zoological Gardens in India in May 2012.
Sam Panthaky AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 9:34 am

Scientists have known for decades that lab rats and mice will live far longer than normal if they're fed a super-low-calorie diet, and that's led some people to eat a near-starvation diet in the hopes that it will extend the human life span, too.

But a new study in monkeys suggests they may be disappointed.

The long-awaited results of this study, which started back in 1987, show that rhesus monkeys fed a diet with 30 percent fewer calories than normal did not live unusually long lives.

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The Two-Way
7:59 am
Wed August 29, 2012

Plaquemine Parish President: Damage Is Just As Bad As Katrina

A Plaquemines Parish vehicle rides through rising floodwater behind the levee as Isaac approaches on Tuesday.
Gerald Herbert AP

Originally published on Wed August 29, 2012 6:08 pm

The eye of Isaac made its first landfall at Plaquemines Parish, a stretch of thin land southeast of New Orleans that extends into the Gulf from Louisiana.

According to the parish president, the damage there is just as bad, perhaps even worse, than what happened during Katrina.

In an interview with Morning Edition's Steve Inskeep, Billy Nungesser said the parish's levee had been overtopped and parts of the parish that had never flooded during a hurricane were under 5 feet of water.

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NPR Story
5:26 am
Wed August 29, 2012

Hurricane Isaac Cuts Off Power To Gulf Coast Residents

Originally published on Thu August 30, 2012 3:04 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene. Good morning.

The water rose so quickly along the coast of Louisiana, that it trapped two men whose job it was to keep it down.

INSKEEP: Two water pump operators were on the job in Plaquemines Parish near the mouth of the Mississippi River. The ocean spilled over a levee and surrounded them with water before they could get away.

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The Salt
2:18 am
Wed August 29, 2012

Boomer Women Prove They Can Dine Out And Still Lose Weight

Older women on a diet don't need to stop eating out; they just may need to make wiser food choices to keep weight off.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 9:35 am

When women go on a diet, we tend to avoid our favorite restaurants because they are filled with temptations — bread, booze and desserts. But are we doomed to sit in our kitchens eating salad alone while everyone else is headed out on the town if we want to keep the weight off?

Take heart, ladies. A new study of women in their 50s and early 60s finds they could eat out and still succeed at long-term weight loss.

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Hurricane Isaac
5:35 pm
Tue August 28, 2012

Gulf Coast Residents Seek Safety In Ala. Shelters

As Hurricane Isaac zeroes in on Louisiana, Gulf Coast residents seek shelter in Alabama.
noaa.gov National Hurricane Center

Several hundred people are staying in shelters in Mobile and Baldwin counties during Hurricane Isaac.

Juana Castillo said she drove with her mother, stepdad and brother from Metairie, La., to a shelter in Theodore. She said her dad lived through Katrina and he urged the family to leave Louisiana.

A 75-year-old Mobile man, Tom Rowan, said he had the boat he calls home pulled out of the water and then went to a shelter. He said the water at Turner Marina where he docks his boat is up about a foot, but Isaac has been unimpressive so far.

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Shots - Health Blog
9:10 am
Tue August 28, 2012

An Unloved Subject During Doctor Visits: Men's Sexual Health

We need to talk.
George Peters iStockphoto.com

If men could become pregnant, they'd probably visit the doctor more often.

But without a compelling inducement like contraception to get them in the door, they often miss out on sexual and reproductive health services that could protect not only them but also their partners.

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Shots - Health Blog
2:27 am
Tue August 28, 2012

Can You Learn While You're Asleep?

Research suggests basic forms of learning are possible while snoozing.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri August 31, 2012 8:44 am

If you're a student, you may have harbored the fantasy of learning lessons while you sleep. Who wouldn't want to stick on a pair of headphones, grab some shut-eye with a lesson about, say, Chinese history playing in his ears — and wake up with newly acquired knowledge of the Ming Dynasty?

Sadly, it doesn't work. The history lesson either keeps you from going to sleep, or it doesn't — in which case you don't learn it.

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NPR Story
3:43 am
Mon August 27, 2012

Astronaut Neil Armstrong 'Embodied Our Dreams'

Originally published on Mon August 27, 2012 9:56 am

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED AUDIO)

NEIL ARMSTRONG: That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Let's remember the man who spoke those words on the moon. Neil Armstrong died on Saturday after a lifetime that inspired many people, including Neil DeGrasse Tyson, director of New York's Hayden Planetarium who is on the line. Good morning. Welcome back to the program.

NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON: Yeah, good morning. Thanks for having me back.

INSKEEP: So how did you meet Neil Armstrong?

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Shots - Health Blog
2:26 am
Mon August 27, 2012

Pediatricians Decide Boys Are Better Off Circumcised Than Not

Social worker Shannon Coyne and her husband decided against circumcision for their son, now 11 months old. The nation's most influential pediatricians group says the health benefits of circumcision in newborn boys outweigh any risks and that insurance companies should pay for it.
Matt Rourke AP

Originally published on Fri August 31, 2012 11:35 am

The American Academy of Pediatrics on Monday announced its first major shift on circumcision in more than a decade, concluding that the health benefits of the procedure clearly outweigh any risks.

"There is clear evidence that supports the health benefits of circumcision," said Susan Blank, who led the 14-member task force that formulated the new policy being published in the journal Pediatrics.

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Science & Health
3:09 pm
Sun August 26, 2012

Alabama vote on Medicaid considered critical

Science & Health
7:34 am
Sun August 26, 2012

NOAA: Current forecast path for Isaac includes Mississippi

NHC--NOAA

KEY WEST, Fla. (AP) — Forecasters say a strengthened Tropical Storm Isaac is bearing down on the Florida Keys. The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said Isaac was centered about 135 miles (220 kms) east-southeast of Key West at 8 a.m. EDT Sunday. The storm has top sustained winds of about 65 mph (100 kph) and is moving toward the west-northwest at 20 mph (31 kph). Hours earlier, Isaac's winds were clocked at about 60 mph (95 kph).

The Two-Way
2:51 pm
Sat August 25, 2012

Neil Armstrong, First Man To Walk On The Moon, Dies

Armstrong in the lunar module after the historic moonwalk.
AP NASA

Originally published on Sun August 26, 2012 4:28 pm

Former astronaut Neil Armstrong, known for his words, "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind," has died. The first man ever to walk on the moon was 82.

Update at 5:15 p.m. ET:

Armstrong's family has released a statement, saying he died following cardiovascular procedures. NASA published it here. They say, "Armstrong was also a reluctant American hero who always believed he was just doing his job."

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