Science & Health

All sciences, health & medical news

American doctors have been noticing an increase in osteoarthritis of the knee. They have suspected two driving forces: more old people and more people who are overweight.

A study published in this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences argues that's far from the whole story. Even correcting for body mass index and age, osteoarthritis of the knee is twice as common now as it was before the 1950s.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

The Trump administration has begun the process of rolling back tough fuel standards for America's car and light truck fleet.

The Environmental Protection Agency and the Transportation Department have opened the public comment period on the rewriting of standards for greenhouse gas emissions for cars and light trucks for model years 2022-2025.

A few years ago, my daughter requested that her nightly lullaby be replaced with a bedtime story.

I was happy to comply, and promptly invented stories full of imaginary creatures in elaborate plots intended to convey some important lesson about patience or hard work or being kind to others.

Anyone who gets to see the total solar eclipse on August 21 will be lucky — and humanity is lucky to live on a planet that even has this kind of celestial event.

Mercury and Venus, after all, don't even have moons. Mars has a couple, but they're too small to completely blot out the sun. Gas giants like Jupiter do have big moons, but they don't have solid surfaces where you could stand and enjoy an eclipse.

And, even with solid land and a moon, Earth only gets its gorgeous total solar eclipses because of a cosmic coincidence.

The Call-In: The Solar Eclipse

Aug 13, 2017

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LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Now it's time for The Call-In.

(SOUNDBITE OF CORDUROI'S "MY DEAR")

Three boys walk through a community forest in the village of Pithauli in southern Nepal. One kicks a soccer ball, the other two carry a goat leg in each hand.

They're on their way to feed white-rumped vulture chicks orphaned after a recent hailstorm.

Vulture "restaurants" have sprung up in Nepal over the past decade to offer safe food to the endangered birds, which lost more than 99 percent of their species population across South Asia over about a decade. The restaurants house and raise rescued vulture babies — and also offer food to wild vultures.

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New evidence is calling into question the reliability of temperament tests widely used to help assess whether it's safe to send a dog home with an adoptive family, according to a fascinating and important article published last week in The New York Times.

Tyler DeWitt: How Do We Get Kids Hooked On Science?

Aug 11, 2017

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode Rethinking School.

About Tyler DeWitt's TED Talk

When a student complained that science textbooks were boring, teacher Tyler DeWitt got thinking about how he can make his lessons fun. DeWitt recounts his quest to make kids care about science.

About Tyler DeWitt

Hospice care is for the dying. It helps patients manage pain so they can focus on spending their remaining time with loved ones. But in recent years, nearly 1 in 5 patients has been discharged from hospice before he or she dies, according to government reports.

The year 2016 was the warmest on record for the planet as a whole, surpassing temperature records that date back 137 years, according to an annual report compiled by scientists around the globe.

For global temperatures, last year surpassed the previous record-holder: 2015.

People generally think that editing human genes might be OK, but most think that there's a clear line that shouldn't be crossed when it comes to changing traits that would be passed down to new generations, according to a survey reported Thursday.

Since President Trump took office in January, enforcement of environmental laws has dropped dramatically, compared with past administrations. A study released by the Environmental Integrity Project finds that $12 million in civil penalties have been collected from violators in 26 cases between January and the end of July.

Ten years ago, Fumiko Chino was the art director at a television production company in Houston, engaged to be married to a young Ph.D. candidate.

Today, she's a radiation oncologist at Duke University, studying the effects of financial strain on cancer patients. And she's a widow.

How she got from there to here is a story about how health care and money are intertwined in ways that doctors and patients don't like to talk about.

Later this month, the moon's shadow will fall on Carhenge.

"Holy cow man, guess what? There's going to be an eclipse," says Kevin Howard, the head of the visitor's bureau for Alliance, Neb., which is home to the Stonehenge replica made of cars.

Franklin, the fifth tropical storm to form in the Atlantic so far this year, has intensified into the first hurricane of the season as it prepares to make landfall on Mexico's Gulf Coast.

The storm, with winds of about 85 mph, was moving west at about 13 mph. It is expected to make landfall Wednesday night north of Veracruz.

Even before media reports and a congressional hearing vilified Valeant Pharmaceuticals International for raising prices on a pair of lifesaving heart drugs, Dr. Umesh Khot knew something was very wrong.

One thing, at least, is not in dispute: Supermarkets in several countries across Europe have pulled eggs from their shelves for fear they were contaminated with Fipronil, an insecticide that's typically used to kill lice and ticks — and that has the potential to harm humans. The contamination became a public scandal earlier this month.

That's about where the agreement ends, however.

A new study may prompt hand wringing among you tuna poke and sushi lovers. When it comes to pollutant levels, researchers now say where your tuna was caught matters.

When it comes to astronomical events, this year's annual Perseid meteor shower is in serious danger of being, shall we say, eclipsed.

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Many believe this dinosaur is the largest to ever walk the Earth.

It would have weighed more than 10 African elephants put together and had a thighbone taller than the man who helped dig it up. And, fair warning, it stands at such a remarkable height that it might take a little scrolling to get through its portrait.

But for years, there was one thing the big guy didn't have: a proper scientific name.

When you think about the Jurassic Period, you probably think of massive, lumbering dinosaurs.

But now scientists say there were also gliders — early relatives of mammals, akin to today's flying squirrels – whizzing through the trees.

Fossils of two glider species, found in the Tiaojishan Formation in northeastern China, are particularly well-preserved, so the impressions left of skin membranes and hairs immediately show they are gliders, University of Chicago Paleontologist Zhe-Xi Luo tells The Two-Way.

Most of us think of jellyfish, when we think of jellyfish, as something to be avoided at the beach (or as the protagonists in that one episode of Friends).

Even marine biologists have historically cast aside these bothersome interlopers when conducting surveys of more "important" ocean species.

People who played action video games that involve first-person shooters, such as Call of Duty and Medal of Honor, experienced shrinkage in a brain region called the hippocampus, according to a study published Tuesday in Molecular Psychiatry. That part of the brain is associated with spatial navigation, stress regulation and memory. Playing Super Mario games, in which the noble plumber strives to rescue a princess, had the opposite effect on the hippocampus, causing growth in it.

I entered the packed cafeteria with tray in hand, searching for the right food to eat.

Around me, hundreds of people of all ages spoke excitedly in dozens of different languages, commenting on each other's ideas, asking questions, and thinking of the next steps in their research programs.

Lunchtime at the United Nations?

Deona Scott was 24 and in her final semester at Charleston Southern University in South Carolina when she found out she was pregnant. She turned to Medicaid for maternity health coverage, and learned about a free program for first-time mothers that could connect her with a nurse to answer questions about pregnancy and caring for her baby.

The nurse would come to her home throughout her pregnancy and for two years after her child's birth.

"My mouth dropped," Scott says. "I was like, 'Thank you, thank you — I can't not take this program.' "

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