Science & Health

The Salt
3:26 pm
Thu September 27, 2012

Health Benefits Of Tea: Milking It Or Not

The Emperor's Himalayan lavender tea is popular at Washington, D.C.'s Park Hyatt Tea Room, but please don't put milk in it.
Courtesy of Park Hyatt

Originally published on Thu September 27, 2012 4:50 pm

The idea that milk may diminish the potential heart-health benefits of tea has been a topic of some debate. Lots of us can't imagine black tea without a little dairy to cut the bitterness. But, according to this research going back to 2007, we might want to at least consider trying, say, a nice cup of green tea sans sugar or cream.

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The Two-Way
2:11 pm
Thu September 27, 2012

Streams Of Water Once Flowed On Mars; NASA Says Photos Prove It

NASA says it has found proof that water shaped the rocks on the left, in a photograph taken by the Mars rover Curiosity (left). For comparison, the agency released an image of rocks from the Earth (right).
NASA

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 3:20 pm

NASA's Curiosity rover has found definitive proof that water once ran across the surface of Mars, the agency announced today. NASA scientists say new photos from the rover show rocks that were smoothed and rounded by water. The rocks are in a large canyon and nearby channels that were cut by flowing water, making up an alluvial fan.

"You had water transporting these gravels to the downslope of the fan," NASA researchers say. The gravel then formed into a conglomerate rock, which was in turn likely covered before being exposed again.

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Shots - Health Blog
1:29 pm
Thu September 27, 2012

Medical Electronics Built To Last Only A Little While

An electronic circuit in its first phases of dissolution.
Fiorenzo Omenetto

Most engineers build things to last.

But a group of mechanical and electrical engineers are working on electronics that will break down in as little as a couple of days. On purpose!

The electronic circuits they're developing don't crash. It's more dramatic than that. They dissolve in liquid.

Sounds a little bit crazy, but circuits that work for a while then disappear could be pretty useful in medical devices implanted in the human body.

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Author Interviews
1:07 pm
Thu September 27, 2012

British Scientist Driven To Find 'Spark Of Life'

W. W. Norton & Company

Originally published on Tue October 2, 2012 2:47 pm

One night in 1984, British scientist Frances Ashcroft was studying electricity in the body and discovered the protein that causes neonatal diabetes. She says she felt so "over the moon" that she couldn't sleep.

By the next morning, she says, she thought it was a mistake.

But luckily, that feeling was wrong, and Ashcroft's revelation led to a medical breakthrough decades later, which now enables people born with diabetes to take pills instead of injecting insulin.

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Shots - Health Blog
4:54 pm
Mon September 24, 2012

Scientists Parse Genes Of Breast Cancer's Four Major Types

Scientists say a new report in the journal Nature provides a big leap in the understanding of how different types of breast cancer differ.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed November 28, 2012 9:46 am

Scientists have known for a while that breast cancer is really four different diseases, with subtypes among them, an insight that has helped improve treatment for some women.

But experts haven't understood much about how these four types differ. A new report, published online in the journal Nature, provides a big leap in that understanding.

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Shots - Health Blog
2:57 am
Mon September 24, 2012

South African Children's Hospital Closed Under Apartheid To Reopen

The Durban Children's hospital opened in 1931, as a facility for all races, but tensions during the apartheid era forced it to close in the 1980s.
Courtesy of KwaZulu-Natal Children's Hospital

Originally published on Tue September 25, 2012 8:08 am

A large children's hospital in Durban, South Africa, is being rebuilt two decades after it closed owing to apartheid. It opened in 1931 as a facility for all races, but racial tensions in the 1980s forced its closure.

Now with Durban and the surrounding province of KwaZulu-Natal extremely hard hit by AIDS and tuberculosis, local leaders are hopeful they can begin reopening the hospital early in 2013.

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Shots - Health Blog
2:22 am
Mon September 24, 2012

Two New Drugs May Help In Fight Against Obesity

Doctors may recommend that obese patients use weight-loss drugs to trick their hunger pangs.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue September 25, 2012 10:59 am

The Food and Drug Administration approved two new medications this year to help obese and overweight individuals lose weight.

Diet drugs have been around in different forms for a while, but now researchers hope one of these two might actually help make a dent in the obesity epidemic.

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Shots - Health Blog
2:20 am
Mon September 24, 2012

Is CrossFit Training Good For Kids?

Evan Ciangiulli, 4, completes a warmup that teaches him the right way to lift weights.
Karen Castillo Farfan NPR

Originally published on Tue September 25, 2012 8:08 am

For thousands of people across the country, going to a regular gym just doesn't cut it. Instead, they prefer CrossFit routines: like swinging kettlebells, flipping tires, and doing squats and dead lifts until they drop. Now kids as young as 4 are taking part.

The idea behind CrossFit Kids, says co-founder Jeff Martin, is to pair fitness and fun. Since he started the program with his wife Mikki in 2004, it has taken off. There are hundreds of CrossFit Kids classes across the U.S., and more in cities across the world.

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Shots - Health Blog
3:15 pm
Sun September 23, 2012

The Next Frontier For Elite Med Schools: Primary Care

Mount Sinai Medical student Demetri Blanas wants to specialize in family medicine. It is a new specialty offered by his medical school.
Jenny Gold Kaiser Health News

Originally published on Sun September 23, 2012 4:51 pm

Johns Hopkins, Yale, Harvard, Columbia and Cornell. What do these medical schools have in common?

Beyond their first-rate reputations, they're also on the short list of top U.S. med schools that don't have departments of family medicine. Elite schools have long focused on training specialists and researchers, but with the federal health law's emphasis on primary care, some schools are looking harder at family medicine.

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U.S.
4:38 am
Sun September 23, 2012

At School, Overweight Children Carry A Heavy Burden

Originally published on Sun September 23, 2012 4:42 pm

One in three children in the United States is overweight or obese. Significant numbers of those young people are grappling with health problems like heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.

Those conditions can be difficult for children to manage in any setting, but they can pose particular challenges for children during the school day.

Dr. Yolandra Hancock used to be an elementary school teacher, and it shows. She's patient, encouraging and has an endearing way of ending her sentences with "my love" and "my sweet."

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Gulf Oil Spill
4:56 pm
Thu September 20, 2012

Study: Virtually All Ala. Tar Balls From BP Spill

Study says virtually all tar balls now washing up on Alabama's coast come from 2010 BP oil spill.
Ben Raines/Press-Register The Press-Register

A new chemical analysis shows that virtually all the tar balls now washing on to the Alabama coast are directly linked to the BP oil spill more than two years ago.


The report released Thursday by Auburn University says that tar balls caused by the spill are hundreds to thousands of times more common than another type of asphalt-like tar deposit that's been in the Gulf for years.

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Shots - Health Blog
3:33 pm
Thu September 20, 2012

Who's Next In Line For A Kidney Transplant? The Answer Is Changing

Surgeons transplant a kidney in 8-year-old Sarah Dickman at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta in 2008. The proposed changes in the transplant list attempt to maximize kidney life in young patients.
John Bazemore AP

Originally published on Fri September 21, 2012 8:38 am

There's some big news out today about one of the most sensitive issues in medicine: Who's next in line for a transplant?

The United Network for Organ Sharing, or UNOS, a nonprofit in charge of distributing organs, wants to revamp the system for distributing the most sought-after organ — kidneys — for the first time in 25 years.

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Shots - Health Blog
3:29 pm
Thu September 20, 2012

Challenges To Health Law Just Keep Coming

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, seen at a news conference in early 2011 before he took office, promised to file a lawsuit soon after he was sworn in. He did.
Sue Ogrocki AP

The Affordable Care Act survived a near-death experience at the Supreme Court earlier this year. And the overhaul law's fate again hangs in the balance come Election Day. Mitt Romney has vowed to work for its repeal, if he's elected president.

Meanwhile, the law continues to take its hits.

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The Salt
1:34 pm
Thu September 20, 2012

Billionaires Fund A 'Manhattan Project' For Nutrition And Obesity

Billionaires John and Laura Arnold are betting that the country's top nutrition researchers can get to the bottom of the obesity epidemic.
Courtesy of the John and Laura Arnold Foundation

Originally published on Fri September 21, 2012 8:46 am

Why would a billionaire energy trader-turned-philanthropist throw his foundation's dough behind a new think tank that wants to challenge scientific assumptions about obesity?

John Arnold, 38, whose move from Enron to a spectacularly successful hedge fund got him on the list of wealthiest Americans, isn't crazy about talking to the press. But certainly his decision with his wife Laura to back a newly launched operation called the Nutrition Science Initiative, or NuSI, is an intriguing one.

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Shots - Health Blog
2:33 am
Thu September 20, 2012

New Experimental Drug Offers Autism Hope

Andy Tranfaglia, 23, who has Fragile X syndrome, rides a horse with his mother, Katie Clapp.
Katie Clapp

Originally published on Thu September 20, 2012 9:10 am

An experimental drug that helps people who have Fragile X syndrome is raising hopes of a treatment for autism.

The drug, called arbaclofen, made people with Fragile X less likely to avoid social interactions, according to a study in Science Translational Medicine. Researchers suspect it might do the same for people with autism.

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