Vaccines don't always make it into the people who need them the most. Many require a syringe and a needle to enter the bloodstream and create immunity. And that means a doctor or nurse has to do the job.
In order to improve the quality of health care and reduce its costs, researchers need to know what works and what doesn't. One powerful way to do that is through a system of "registries," in which doctors and hospitals compile and share their results. But even in this era of big data, remarkably few medical registries exist.
Freeman Dyson is one of the most famous names in science, and sometimes one of the most controversial. Dyson is 91 and was one of the British scientists who helped win World War II. He spent most years since as a professor of physics at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. He has won the Max Planck Medal and the Templeton Prize, and written important, oft-quoted books including Disturbing the Universe and The Scientist as Rebel, and newspaper articles that inspire both admiration and debate.
In August 1992, Christopher McCandless died in an abandoned bus in the Alaska wilderness after living mostly on squirrels, birds, roots and seeds for 113 days. Hunters found his body months later. Alaska state coroners declared starvation as the cause of death.
But a mystery lingered: What exactly did him in? A scientific paper published this spring by the journalist who'd been doggedly following the story offers another big clue.
You might think it's easy to guess if a person is at risk of becoming overweight or developing diabetes. The behavioral traits are pretty clear – that person might exercise less or eat more. He or she might have high blood pressure, or might have gained weight.
But now there's another place to find evidence of those risk factors: in a person's pee.
Researchers are finding clues about the metabolism in human urine – most recently in more than 2,000 samples kept frozen in the basement of Imperial College, in London.
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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
A famous fictional conflict in children's literature has a happier ending. Tomorrow is the day "Harry Potter" fans know as the date of the Battle of Hogwarts. And there is evidence the boy wizard's power might extend beyond the book.
It took 15 years and hundreds of millions of vaccines. But North America and South America have officially eradicated rubella, health authorities said Wednesday. Rubella is only the third virus eradicated from people in the Western Hemisphere.
Also known as German measles, rubella causes only a mild illness in children, with a rash and sometimes a fever.
Chipotle is trumpeting its renunciation of ingredients derived from genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. The company says that using GMOs — mainly corn in its tortillas and soybean oil for cooking — "doesn't align" with its vision of "food with integrity." According to Chipotle spokesman Chris Arnold, it represents "our commitment to serving our customers the very best ingredients we can find."
For the first time in 90 years, U.S. health officials say they have diagnosed a case of the plague that may have spread in the air from one person to another. Don't be alarmed — the plague these days is treatable with antibiotics and is exceptionally rare (just 10 cases were reported nationwide in 2014).
And if the plague has become mostly a curiosity in the United States, this case is more curious than most.
Originally published on Thu April 30, 2015 3:23 pm
Rapeseed, an oilseed known in North America as canola, has a mild reputation as a cooking oil. Maybe that's because the version that most consumers know is a pale, neutral-flavored oil used for frying and baking.
But in the U.K., a more colorful and flavorful version has made its way onto store shelves: cold-pressed rapeseed that goes for £5-7 per 500 milliliters (about $9-12 for 17 fluid ounces).