Science & Health

All sciences, health & medical news

Back in the day, people paid for routine, primary medical care on their own and used insurance only when something serious came up. Some primary care doctors are betting that model can thrive again through a monthly subscription for routine care and a high-deductible insurance policy to take care of the big stuff.

But the changes raise questions about whether that approach really leads to more effective and efficient health care.

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President Trump has ordered a review of the Waters of the U.S. rule. It's an Obama-era regulation that says which waters the federal government can protect. As NPR's Nathan Rott reports, undoing the rule would be a long and difficult process.

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Updated 5:35 p.m. ET

The Trump administration is moving to roll back an environmental rule intended to define which small bodies of water are subject to federal authority under the Clean Water Act.

It started in late January. At my local grocery store in South London, salad seemed to be just a few pence pricier than usual. But I didn't think much of it.

Later that week, the same market had conspicuously run out of zucchini. I'm not particularly fond of it, but I lamented for the carb-conscious yuppies who depended — and subsisted — on spiralized zucchini spaghetti. How would they cope?

One of the great treats of following an Agatha Christie mystery (my favorite being Hercule Poirot) is that you know there will be an "Aha!" moment at the end. The fastidious, mustachioed detective will pull together all the disparate facts and present a compelling answer.

The private company SpaceX has announced that it plans to send two passengers on a mission beyond the moon in late 2018.

If the mission goes forward, it would be the "first time humans have traveled beyond low Earth orbit since the days of Apollo," as NPR's Nell Greenfieldboyce told our Newscast unit.

The two private citizens approached the company about the idea and have already paid a sizable deposit, CEO Elon Musk told reporters in a conference call. These private individuals will also bear the cost of the mission.

When it comes to climate change, we often think of the cars we drive and the energy we use in our homes and offices. They are, after all, some of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions. But what about the toast you ate for breakfast this morning?

A new study published Monday in Nature Plants breaks down the environmental cost of producing a loaf of bread, from wheat field to bakery. It finds that the bulk of the associated greenhouse gas emissions come from just one of the many steps that go into making that loaf: farming.

Wildfires can start when lightning strikes or when someone fails to put out a campfire. New research shows that people start a lot more fires than lightning does — so much so that people are drastically altering wildfire in America.

Fire ecologist Melissa Forder says about 60 percent of fires in national parks are caused by humans: "intentionally set fires, buildings burning and spreading into the forest, smoking, equipment malfunctions and campfires."

National Geographic contributing photographer Joel Sartore is 11 years into a 25-year endeavor to document every captive animal species in the world using studio lighting and black-and-white backgrounds. So far, he's photographed 6,500 different species, which leaves approximately 6,000 to go.

In my head, a person with the name Danny has a boyish face and a perpetual smile. Zoes have wide eyes and wild hair and an air of mild bemusement.

If you drink more alcohol than you want to or should, you're not alone. A nationwide survey by the National Institutes of Health found that 28 percent of adults in the U.S. are heavy drinkers or drink more than is recommended.

Yet, most heavy drinkers don't get the help they need.

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Why It's Been So Warm On The East Coast

Feb 26, 2017

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This is something that listeners on the East Coast know firsthand. This past week felt less like February and more like the Fourth of July. Temperatures were in the mid-70s here in Washington, D.C.

GRACE SUR: Kind of feels like California.

Firsts can be life changing — think about your first kiss, your first time behind the wheel of a car. But what about the first time you got a prescription for a narcotic?

James Hatzell, from Collingswood, NJ, is now a technology officer for a college addiction treatment program. He didn't realize it at the time, but that spring day of his junior year of high school — seven years ago — was a pivotal moment in his life.

Explaining The Sizzling Sound Of Meteors

Feb 25, 2017

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It was a balmy Sunday evening in early 1999, and Dr. Kaw Bing Chua hadn't had lunch or dinner.

There wasn't time to eat. Chua was chasing a killer. And he thought maybe he had finally tracked it down.

He slid the slide under the microscope lens, turned on the scope's light and looked inside. "A chill went down my spine," Chua says. "The slide lit up bright green, like bright green lanterns."

The notion of dog years stems from the common belief that one year for a dog equals seven years for a human. Although canine aging is more nuanced than a simple formula, any dog lover knows that dogs' lives pass far too quickly.

Even so, America's 70 million dogs, like their human companions, are living longer, on average, because of better medical care and nutrition. Caring for elderly dogs can be heart-wrenching. Many pet owners struggle to understand when to pursue aggressive care and when to stop and help a beloved pet pass on.

When the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un collapsed at a Malaysian airport last week, poisoning was instantly suspected. But on Friday, Malaysian authorities revealed that an autopsy had turned up not just any poison, but a rare nerve agent known as VX.

From humble origins as the daughter of Eastern European immigrants, raised in the Bronx in the depths of the Great Depression, Mildred Dresselhaus scaled to great heights in the scientific community and attained the status of royalty — even if only in nickname.

Many studies designed to try out new drugs simply languish. They don't attract enough patients, and they aren't completed. That slows medical progress.

But here's a story of one study that has bucked that trend — in fact, it is so popular, scientists had to put the brakes on it for a while.

Part 5 of the TED Radio Hour episode The Spirit Of Inquiry.

About Eric Haseltine's TED Talk

Trained as a neuroscientist, Eric Haseltine is always asking questions. He's identified four concepts that lead to scientific breakthrough. One of them: acknowledging we're not the center of the universe.

About Eric Haseltine

Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode The Spirit Of Inquiry.

About Liz Coleman's TED Talk

Former Bennington College President Liz Coleman believes higher education is overly-specialized & complacent. She says we need to encourage students to ask bigger questions & take more risks.

About Liz Coleman

Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode The Spirit Of Inquiry.

About Kevin Jones' TED Talk

Sometimes, doctors just don't have the answers. Surgeon Kevin Jones says having the humility to acknowledge this leads to better medicine.

About Kevin Jones

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode The Spirit Of Inquiry.

About Naomi Oreskes' TED Talk

In school, we're taught we should trust science because the scientific method leads to measurable results and hard facts. But Naomi Oreskes says the process of inquiry doesn't end there.

About Naomi Oreskes

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode The Spirit Of Inquiry.

About Michael Steven's TED Talk

When Michael Stevens is confronted with a quirky question, he responsibly searches for the answer and posts it to YouTube — inviting millions of people to follow his journey of discovery.

About Michael Stevens

Initially, Clint Perry wanted to make a vending machine for bumblebees. He wanted to understand how they solve problems.

Perry, a cognitive biologist at Queen Mary University of London, is interested in testing the limits of animal intelligence.

"I want to know: How does the brain do stuff? How does it make decisions? How does it keep memory?" says Perry. And how big does a brain need to be in order to do all of those things?

Malaysian authorities say initial autopsy results show a chemical weapon — VX nerve agent — was used in the fatal poisoning of Kim Jong Nam, older half-brother of North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un.

VX is an odorless substance that can exist as liquid or gas. It can kill within minutes if it's passed through the skin. It is 10 times more toxic than sarin and classified as a weapon of mass destruction.

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