Science & Health

All sciences, health & medical news

The remains of two gigantic dinosaurs discovered in Australia may shed light on how dinosaurs spread across the globe. The dinosaurs are both titanosaurs , massive plant-eaters with long necks and thick limbs. The first, a new species known as Savannasaurus elliottorum , was about half the length of a basketball court and lived about 95 million years ago during the Cretaceous period. Paleontologists also found the skull of a Diamantinasaurus matildae , which grew longer than a city bus and...

The Schiaparelli Mars lander got very close to the red planet before something went wrong. It entered the planet's atmosphere, managed not to burn up as it hurtled down and unfurled its parachute. It's unclear what happened in the final minute of descent, but it wasn't what the European and Russian space agencies had planned. Scientists working on the ExoMars mission say the lander let go of its parachute early. Then, the thrusters that were supposed to help slow its descent — from a crazy...

Snakes used to wander the Earth on legs about 150 million years ago, before they shifted from strut to slither. Now, two scientists have pinpointed the genetic process that caused snakes to lose their legs. What's more, they say the "molecular machinery" for leg development still persists in snakes after these millions of years — it's simply switched off. Some snakes, such as pythons, retain tiny vestiges of legs in the form of two small bumps on either side of their pelvis. The scientists at...

Whether it's jet lag, a new work schedule, daylight saving time or just a Monday morning, shifting sleep schedules takes a toll. But scientists think they might have found a way to reset our internal timers that's more than hot air. At least, it works if you're a mouse. The solution, it seems, is thin air. A study published Thursday in the journal Cell Metabolism found that decreasing oxygen levels for a short period of time helped mice recover from jet lag faster. According to Dr. Gad Asher ...

Giant panda Bao Bao, born at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., in August 2013, will be heading to China this winter. Bao Bao's parents, Mei Xiang and Tian Tian, are on loan from China, and the agreement calls for any pandas born to the breeding pair to be sent to the Chinese breeding program before they turn 4. Bao Bao's older brother, Tai Shan, made the journey in 2010 . Now it will be Bao Bao's turn. FedEx will be flying her to Chengdu "within the first few months of 2017," the National...

Will Medicaid expansion save the country money as people stop using expensive emergency rooms for primary care? Not yet, suggest the latest findings from a landmark study published online Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine . The study of Medicaid patients in Oregon who got Medicaid in 2008 found their ER use stayed high two years after they gained the health insurance coverage — even as they also increased their visits to doctors' offices. All eyes have been on Oregon to answer...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: Often when animals are mentioned in the news, it's because they're either dangerous or endangered. Our next story, though, is about turtles that seem to be doing just fine. And that's why a group of researchers is traveling the country to study them. They were recently in Austin, Texas, and that's where Mose Buchele from member station KUT caught up with them. MOSE BUCHELE, BYLINE: By the end of this story, three...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. KELLY MCEVERS, HOST: The European and Russian Space Agencies tried to land a probe on Mars today, but things did not go as planned. It lost contact just minutes before touchdown. European Space Agency officials are working through the night to understand what happened. Here is ESA Director General Johann Woerner. JOHANN WOERNER: Cross your fingers still, and maybe we have some better results, even some positive results during the...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPkBpaPtDuA A stone tool found in the sand has always been considered the handiwork of early humans and their ancestors. But a remarkable discovery in a Brazilian forest suggests that might not be so. Scientists saw a group of capuchin monkeys making stone flakes, an important type of early tool. It's not clear the monkeys knew what they were making, but nonetheless, it might prompt researchers to be more cautious when they come across ancient sites where...

Don't Look Now! How Your Devices Hurt Your Productivity

Oct 19, 2016

I'll admit it. I even take my phone with me when I head to the restroom, to fire off a few texts. Or I'll scroll through my email when I leave the office for lunch. My eyes are often glued to my phone from the moment I wake up, but I often reach the end of my days wondering what I've accomplished. My productivity mystery was solved after reading The Distracted Mind: Ancient Brains in a High Tech World , by Dr. Adam Gazzaley , a neuroscientist at the University of California, San Francisco,...

After a seven-month voyage through space and a three-day cruise to approach Mars, the European Space Agency's Schiaparelli lander is getting ready for the final leg of its journey: a six-minute trip through the red planet's atmosphere. It's the make-it-or-crash-land-it moment for the probe, which is designed to collect data on Mars' atmosphere and dust storms. If it succeeds, it would be Europe's first successful Mars landing. Schiaparelli was expected to enter the atmosphere at 10:42 a.m. ET...

Nobody loves pesticides, exactly. But one kind of pesticide, called neonicotinoids, is provoking a particularly bitter debate right now between environmentalists and farmers. The chemicals are highly toxic to bees. Some scientists think they are partly to blame for the decline in pollinators. For the past year, the province of Ontario, in Canada, has responded to the controversy with a novel experiment. Ontario's government is asking farmers to prove that they actually need neonicotinoids,...

The Obama administration is announcing a series of recommendations for ensuring the safety of the nation's more than 400 underground natural gas storage wells. The report comes as a result of the natural gas leak in Porter Ranch, a Los Angeles neighborhood, one year ago. It says the leak at the Aliso Canyon plant was the largest methane release from a natural gas storage facility in U.S. history. Some 8,000 families were displaced after complaining of headaches, nosebleeds and nausea. The...

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

On Election Day this November, about 1 in 4 Americans will vote using a device that never lets the voter see a copy of his or her vote on paper. The idea of relying on such machines has troubled some security experts for years. And this year the stakes may be even higher, because one candidate is charging that the election is rigged , and government officials have warned that state election systems have been targeted by foreign hackers with ties to Russia. Five states exclusively use voting...

For a decade, people who study Europe's bison population have been baffled by a genetic mystery. The animals, which are a protected species , seemed to have appeared out of thin air about 11,000 years ago. "There's something very fishy in the history of European bovids," says Alan Cooper of the University of Adelaide, one of the lead authors of a paper published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications . Before 11,000 years ago, all the bison in Europe were thought to be of a variety...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. STEVE INSKEEP, HOST: Here's a question - why is this nation of immigrants so concerned about immigration? The presidential campaign has certainly laid bare those concerns. NPR's social science correspondent Shankar Vedantam is here with some insights from history. Hi, Shankar. SHANKAR VEDANTAM, BYLINE: Hi, Steve. INSKEEP: You know, this notion of a nation of immigrants, I hear this when I talk with voters who are on one side, who...

Fewer than 1 in 5 members of Congress are women. At Fortune 500 companies, fewer than 1 in 20 CEOs are women. And if you look at all the presidents of the United States through Barack Obama, what are the odds of having 44 presidents who are all men? If men and women had an equal shot at the White House, the odds of this happening just by chance are about 1 in 18 trillion. What explains the dearth of women in top leadership positions? Is it bias, a lack of role models, the old boy's club? Sure...

Nearly 1 in 5 children each year suffers a psychiatric illness, according to research estimates. But a national shortage of medical specialists and inpatient facilities means that many still go untreated — despite national efforts to improve mental health care. New research is driving home the consequences. Scientific abstracts presented Monday in Las Vegas, at the annual meeting of the American College of Emergency Physicians, offer insights into how frequently patients with mental health...

Last summer, I went on Morning Edition to talk about the quest for a great-tasting tomato. And at the very end of the conversation, I confidently declared that no one should ever put tomatoes in the refrigerator. It kills the taste, I said. That's what I'd heard from scientists and tomato growers alike. Afterwards, I heard from several friends. It seems I'd taken sides in a domestic dispute that has long divided husbands and wives. Someone on Twitter also pointed out a blog post that seemed...

Rodents are generally the last things most restaurant owners want in their kitchen. But in the larger cities of Peru, chefs are practically fighting over guinea pigs in a restaurant craze that is bringing financial stability — if not exactly wealth — to small farmers in the Andes Mountains. People have eaten this furry rodent for centuries in the high country of Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia. Called cuyes in Spanish, guinea pigs were traditionally fried or grilled and eaten for special occasion...

An experimental lander from the European Space Agency is making its final descent toward Mars, preparing for a controlled landing on Wednesday. The Schiaparelli probe detached from its mothership, the Trace Gas Orbiter, on Sunday. There was a moment of alarm when, after separating from the ship, Schiaparelli didn't send the expected signals back to scientists on earth. It did send back a "carrier signal" to show it was operational, but didn't communicate any telemetry data about its status or...

Yana Shapiro is a partner at a Philadelphia law firm with an exhausting travel schedule and two boys, ages 9 and 4. When she feels run-down from juggling everything and feels a cold coming on, she books an appointment for an intravenous infusion of water, vitamins and minerals. "Anything to avoid antibiotics or being out of commission," the 37-year-old says. After getting a 100-milliliter drip of a liquid the clinic calls immune protection pumped directly into her bloodstream via a needle in...

Sex with someone new has always made me nervous. Now, TV is making it even worse. I keep seeing scary ads featuring young people asking their parents why they didn't get the vaccine to protect against the human papillomavirus — HPV. If you're unfamiliar with HPV, it's a sexually transmitted infection that has been linked to various cancers, including cervical cancer in women. I didn't get vaccinated. So lately I've been wondering: Now that I'm 29, is it too late for me to get the vaccine? I...

A pair of storms brought strong winds and heavy rain to parts of Washington state and Oregon this weekend. The National Weather Service reported the remnants of a typhoon caused wind gusts around 50 mph on Saturday evening in Washington state, and heavy rain flooded some roads. More than 25,000 people lost power . The weather service predicts more rain in the region on Sunday. Sunday morning, Puget Sound Energy, the major electrical utility for the Seattle region, said crews were still...

West Virginia Grapples With High Drug Costs

Oct 15, 2016

Skyrocketing prices for essential medicines like the EpiPen, are generating public outcry, congressional hearings and political promises for policy fixes. In the meantime, the increases continue to hit pocketbooks — even of people who don't rely on these expensive drugs. In a state like West Virginia, where dire budget shortfalls have been a problem over the last few years, the problem is especially pronounced. Kimberly Earl, of Charleston, W.Va., is feeling the pinch. She has four children,...

About one-third of all the food produced globally is either lost or wasted. Pests and infections destroy fruits and vegetables. Grains often rot in storage or during transport. And then there's food in consumers' kitchens and refrigerators that doesn't get eaten, and eventually discarded. Such losses amount to more than $900 billion globally , according to the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization. Reducing this wastage could save money and help meet the world's growing demand for food. And...

Counting all the galaxies in the universe is hard. So hard, it seems, that it's possible to miss billions of them. A new analysis of Hubble Space Telescope data finds there are almost 10 times more galaxies in the universe than we once thought there were — about 2 trillion of them, up from about 200 billion. It's the first major revision to the number since 1995, when scientists turned Hubble's gaze on one section of sky for 10 days and created an image, unveiled in 1996, that NASA called ...

Scientists are one step closer to understanding a mystery of the Milky Way. In 2007, data showed that a young star about 400 light years away from our solar system was blinking. It was being covered, uncovered and covered again in what astronomers call a "series of complex eclipses." The eclipses told astronomers that something was orbiting the young star, and that the something was very large. Eric Mamajek first saw the 2007 data on Dec. 11, 2010, when he was a young professor of physics and...

The news this week. For that reason, we're bringing you this photo of a baby elephant named Jotto cuddled up to an ostrich named Pea. Conservationists with the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Kenya came across Pea two years ago today, while they were rescuing a different infant elephant. The trust is well-known for its rescue and rehabilitation program for orphaned elephants. Pea and her brother, Pod, were brought back to its Nairobi nursery to be raised as part of the elephant herd. Pod...

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