Science & Health

All sciences, health & medical news

Where Does Consciousness Come From?

Jul 15, 2016

Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode What Makes Us ... Us

About John Searle's TED Talk

Philosopher John Searle argues that consciousness is what makes us human. He makes the case for studying consciousness and accepting it as a biological phenomenon.

About John Searle

John Searle has contributed to contemporary thinking about consciousness, language, artificial intelligence and rationality.

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode What Makes Us ... Us

About Steven Pinker's TED Talk

Psychologist Steven Pinker describes how far we've come in understanding how both nature and nurture make us ... us.

About Steven Pinker

How Will 'Cut And Paste' Technology Rewrite Our DNA?

Jul 15, 2016

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode What Makes Us ... Us

About Sam Sternberg's TED Talk

Biochemist Sam Sternberg describes how recent developments in gene editing technology may help end many diseases and even control our own evolution.

About Sam Sternberg

Where Did Agriculture Begin? Oh Boy, It's Complicated

Jul 15, 2016

Sometime around 12,000 years ago, our hunter-gatherer ancestors began trying their hand at farming.

First, they grew wild varieties of crops like pea, lentil and barley, and herded wild animals like goat and wild ox. Centuries later, they switched to farming full-time, breeding both animals and plants, creating new varieties and breeds. Eventually, they migrated outward, spreading farming to parts of Europe and Asia.

One day in 2012, a group of policemen in a Danish town were sitting around in the office when an unusual call came in. This town, called Aarhus, is a clean, orderly place with very little crime. So what the callers were saying really held the cops' attention. They were parents, and they were "just hysterical," recalled Thorleif Link, one of the officers. Their son was missing. They woke up one day and he was gone.

A sitting duck. That's what South America was a few years ago when Zika first struck. The continent had never recorded a case of the mosquito-borne virus. And everyone was susceptible.

"So you get this huge raging epidemic that blows through the population, usually very fast and infects a pretty high percentage of the population," says Justin Lessler, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The first time he encountered a tiger shark in the water, marine ecologist Neil Hammerschlag was in the Bahamas conducting research. His team was on a boat and hadn't seen many sharks, so when someone yelled, "Tiger shark!" he grabbed his snorkel gear and camera and jumped into the water.

"One [tiger shark] moved right in toward me and came close," Hammerschlag tells Fresh Air's Dave Davies. "It opened its mouth, and I was looking through its mouth down its gut and seeing its gills from the inside."

For parents concerned that their preschoolers may one day gain excess weight, a study published Thursday suggests one strategy for keeping the little ones on track that isn't related to food: Tuck them in earlier.

Scientists reporting online in The Journal of Pediatrics found, in a study of not quite a thousand U.S. children, that preschoolers who got to bed by 8 p.m. were about half as likely as those who turned in after 9 p.m. to develop obesity in their teenage years.

Letting mice watch Orson Welles movies may help scientists explain human consciousness.

At least that's one premise of the Allen Brain Observatory, which launched Wednesday and lets anyone with an Internet connection study a mouse brain as it responds to visual information.

A quick consultation with Dr. Google will tell you that drinking lots of water — and staying well-hydrated — can help you lose weight.

But is there any truth to this? A new study published in the Annals of Family Medicine adds to the evidence that hydration may play a role in weight management.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Many babies born to mothers who are covered by Medicaid are automatically eligible for that health insurance coverage during their first year of life. In a handful of states, the same is true for babies born to women covered by the Children's Health Insurance Program.

A majority of Americans say they're stressed at work. And it's clear the burden of stress has negative effects on health, including an increase in heart disease, liver disease and gastrointestinal problems.

Now that the nasal spray FluMist is no longer considered an effective vaccine against influenza, parents will have to resort to the old, unpopular standby for their kids: a shot.

You watch hundreds of hours of television, they call you a lazy slob. A computer does it, and it's a technological success story.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Kanyes, Kims, and Donalds—oh my! Narcissism is all around us, and research shows it's on the rise. Millennials are more likely than their parents to claim they're above average in just about every way, from their leadership skills to their academic achievements to their drive to succeed. And while more millennials are getting straight A's and making plans for graduate school than previous generations, there's no evidence that they're actually any more productive or educated than their elders.

The way clouds cover the Earth may be changing because of global warming, according to a study published Monday that used satellite data to track cloud patterns across about two decades, starting in the 1980s.

Clouds in the mid-latitudes shifted toward the poles during that period, as the subtropical dry zones expanded and the highest cloud-tops got higher.

The food processor is, for me, hugely disappointing. Before owning one, I used to see them looking all shiny and powerful in the department store, and I'd fantasize about never chopping a vegetable by hand again. I failed to consider that cookbook authors have particular ideas about how each ingredient should be prepped. The food processor, no matter how many blades it may come with, often doesn't cut it.

There's no denying the Philistines have taken some guff over the past, well, thousands of years. After all, they're one of the Hebrew Bible's most infamous villains, seed of both Delilah's treachery and Goliath's menace — not to mention some ineptness when it comes to slingshots. They're so reviled their very name has wriggled into our dictionaries, paired with some less than flattering definitions.

The story is a familiar one: the saga of a loving parent's quest to save a child. This time it's about the mother of a boy with autism. The mother scours the medical literature in search of any kind of treatment, however far-fetched and experimental. She finds one that seems promising, something involving magnetic fields, and moves mountains to get it for her son as part of a research protocol.

Editor's note: This is an excerpt from the latest episode of the Invisibilia podcast and program, which is broadcast on participating public radio stations.

Until she was 54 years old, Kim was totally unaware that there were things in the world she couldn't see.

"This was the whole problem," Kim says. "I had no clue what the problem was."

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Scientists have created a synthetic stingray that's propelled by living muscle cells and controlled by light, a team reports Thursday in the journal Science.

And it should be possible to build an artificial heart using some of the same techniques, the researchers say.

To the average pedestrian, it was just a curb. To an observant one, perhaps, it was an oddly misaligned curb.

To geologists, it was a snapshot of the earth's shifting tectonic plates — an accidental experiment, a field trip destination for decades.

But to the town of Hayward, Calif., it was just a bit of subpar infrastructure.

The Los Angeles Times sums up what happened next:

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit NPR.

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