Science & Health

All sciences, health & medical news

It has become a rite of summer. Every year, a "dead zone" appears in the Gulf of Mexico. It's an area where water doesn't have enough oxygen for fish to survive. And every year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration commissions scientists to venture out into the Gulf to measure it.

An earthquake of preliminary magnitude 4.2 hit central Oklahoma on Wednesday night, the U.S. Geological Survey said, the sixth earthquake to affect the area in just over 24 hours.

Four hours later, a less intense earthquake of a preliminary magnitude 3.5 struck the area in the early hours of Thursday.

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As a climate change activist, former Vice President Al Gore is used to speaking in front of both hostile and friendly audiences. But there is one individual he has all but given up on.

"I have no illusions about the possibility of changing Donald Trump's mind," Gore says. "I think he has made it abundantly clear that he's throwing his lot in with the climate deniers."

Rising carbon dioxide levels could have an unexpected side effect on food crops: a decrease in key nutrients. And this could put more people at risk of malnutrition.

Scientists have been tinkering with the DNA in humans and other living things for decades. But one thing has long been considered off-limits: modifying human DNA in any way that could be passed down for generations.

If you're lucky enough to be in the path of totality for the Aug. 21 solar eclipse over North America, you will get at best about 2 ½ minutes to view "totality" – when the moon almost completely covers the disc of the Sun.

When someone posts a photo of food on social media, do you get cranky? Is it because you just don't care what other people are eating? Or is it because they're enjoying an herb-and-garlic crusted halibut at a seaside restaurant while you sit at your computer with a slice of two-day-old pizza?

Maybe you'd like to have what they're having, but don't know how to make it. If only there were a way to get their recipe without commenting on the photo.

There is comfort in distance, especially when the distance is in time.

Things that will happen far in the future seem not to bother us much, given that we will, most likely, be out of the picture.

Drug Puts A $750,000 'Price Tag On Life'

Aug 1, 2017

Jana Gundy and Amanda Chaffin, who live within two hours of each other in Oklahoma, each have a child with the same devastating disease.

The genetic condition, spinal muscular atrophy, robs its sufferers of muscle strength, affecting their ability to sit, stand or even breathe.

So both moms were ecstatic when the Food and Drug Administration approved the first treatment for the condition two days before Christmas in 2016. It seemed the gift they had been waiting for — a chance to slow the heartbreaking decline of their young sons.

When Ralph Chou was about 12 years old, he took all the right precautions to watch his first solar eclipse.

"I did other stupid things, but when it came to looking at that eclipse, I was being very careful," says Chou, a professor emeritus of optometry and vision science at the University of Waterloo, who's a leading authority on eye damage from eclipse viewing.

Human civilization began about 10,000 years ago with dawn of agriculture (give or take a millennia or so). This seems like such a long time that it can be hard to reconcile with the short span of our lives.

But there is another way to look at it that puts not just civilization, but the whole of your ancestry, in a different light.

Imagine feeling horribly sick, day after day, yet doctors repeatedly tell you they can't find anything wrong. That typically happens to people with the mysterious illness commonly known as chronic fatigue syndrome. Research findings from Stanford University released Monday could point the way to a long-sought diagnostic laboratory test for the condition, and possibly a first-ever treatment.

The Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tenn., is country music's Holy Land. It's home to the weekly radio show that put country music on the national map in 1925. And it's where this summer, 30 people with Williams syndrome eagerly arrived backstage.

It's the end of only the first week of the official Atlantic sturgeon fishing season on the St. John River in New Brunswick, Canada. But the two fishermen who supply Cornel Ceapa's Acadian Sturgeon and Caviar company have already landed close to half of the season's catch.

Why We All Scream When We Get Ice Cream Brain Freeze

Jul 31, 2017

Ah, the brain freeze — the signature pain of summer experienced by anyone who has eaten an ice cream cone with too much enthusiasm or slurped down a slushie a little too quickly.

But have you ever stopped mid-freeze to think about why our bodies react like this?

Well, researchers who study pain have, and some, like Dr. Kris Rau of the University of Louisville in Kentucky, say it's a good way to understand the basics of how we process damaging stimuli.

But first, a lesson in terminology.

Keith Flaugh is a retired IBM executive living in Naples, Fla., and a man with a mission. He describes it as "getting the school boards to recognize ... the garbage that's in our textbooks."

Flaugh helped found Florida Citizens' Alliance, a conservative group that fought unsuccessfully to stop Florida from signing on to Common Core educational standards.

Sperm counts appear to be plummeting throughout the Western world, according to a large study of men around the world.

An international team of scientists analyzed data from nearly 43,000 men in dozens of industrialized countries and found that sperm counts dropped by more than half over nearly four decades.

This spring, 16 state patrol officers from Colorado and Wyoming took a couple days off their usual work schedule to do something special. They assembled in a hotel conference room in Denver. As instructed, they wore street clothes for their first assignment: going shopping at nearby marijuana dispensaries.

"It's a brave new world," said instructor Chris Halsor, referring to the years since Colorado legalized recreational marijuana.

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The human brain knows what it knows. And so, it appears, does a rat brain.

Rats have shown that they have the ability to monitor the strength of their own memories, researchers from Providence College reported this month in the journal Animal Cognition.

Brain scientists call this sort of ability metacognition. It's a concept that became famous in 2002, when then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld explained to reporters:

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A close-up of ice melting in brilliant sunshine is the first thing you see in An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power. It's gorgeous — snow crystals glistening, moisture dripping from them into a pool of water so pure and clear it makes you thirsty.

Sea levels are rising and climate scientists blame global warming. They predict that higher seas will cause more coastal flooding through this century and beyond, even in places that have normally been high and dry.

But mapping where future floods will strike has barely begun.

How To Keep Friends And Influence Yourself

Jul 27, 2017

Can facts change beliefs?

Research is still being done on the topic. But, the fact that it’s unclear if that’s the case says a lot about how firmly held our opinions can be. If an army of fact-checkers can’t move a mind, what can?

In a vast, dimly lit barn near Frankford, Delaware, surrounded by tens of thousands of young chickens, about a dozen people in ghostly white coveralls are considering future options for the poultry industry.

The European slug is average in every way: slimy, brownish, shorter than a credit card.

But Arion subfuscus has a minor superpower: When it's scared, it can glue itself to wet surfaces very well, and do so while remaining bendy.

Japanese scientists have genetically engineered a chrysanthemum flower that is "true blue" — a color that has long eluded flower breeders and researchers.

Blue has proved a challenge to produce in many other popular flowers, including roses, carnations and lilies.

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