Science & Health

The Salt
12:07 pm
Wed March 25, 2015

Meet The Cool Beans Designed To Beat Climate Change

These beans, grown on test plots at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture in Colombia, can thrive in temperatures that cripple most conventional beans.
Courtesy of CIAT/Neil Palmer

Originally published on Wed March 25, 2015 4:16 pm

A planet that is warming at extraordinary speed may require extraordinary new food crops. The latest great agricultural hope is beans that can thrive in temperatures that cripple most conventional beans. They're now growing in test plots of the International Center for Tropical Agriculture, or CIAT, in Colombia.

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Shots - Health News
7:29 am
Wed March 25, 2015

Affordable Care Act Makes This Tax Season Painful For Many

Tax preparation software doesn't always calculate the complexity of Affordable Care Act subsidies and credits properly.
Daniel Acker Bloomberg via Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 26, 2015 4:08 pm

This tax season, for the first time since the Affordable Care Act passed five years ago, consumers are facing its financial consequences.

Whether they owe a penalty for not having health insurance, or have to figure out whether they need to pay back part of the subsidy they received to offset the cost of monthly insurance premiums, many people have to contend with new tax forms and calculations.

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Goats and Soda
6:03 am
Wed March 25, 2015

Superslick Coatings Conquer Ketchup, But What About Ebola?

No thumping required: Ketchup easily slides out of a glass bottle treated with LiquiGlide.
Screengrabs from LiquiGlide

Originally published on Tue April 7, 2015 10:19 am

The videos are almost unbelievable. Ketchup slides out of the jar and you don't even have to give it a thump. Glue slips out of the bottle without a molecule left inside. And what about getting that last smidgen of toothpaste from a used tube? No problem.

Welcome to the world of LiquiGlide.

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NPR Story
4:14 am
Wed March 25, 2015

Safer Anthrax Test Aims To Keep The Bioweapon From Terrorists

Safe and small: The credit-card-sized test for anthrax destroys the deadly bacteria after the test completes.
Courtesy of Sandia Nation

Originally published on Thu April 2, 2015 2:48 pm

Engineers at Sandia National Laboratory have come up with what they think is a safer diagnostic test for anthrax bacteria — a test that would prevent the "bad guys" from getting their hands on this dangerous pathogen.

Sandia is home to the International Biological Threat Reduction Program. "Our interest is in safety and security of pathogens," says Melissa Finley. Finley isn't a bioweapons expert. She's a veterinarian.

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The Salt
3:00 pm
Tue March 24, 2015

A Top Weedkiller Could Cause Cancer. Should We Be Scared?

Central Illinois corn farmer Jerry McCulley refills his sprayer with the weedkiller glyphosate on a farm near Auburn, Ill. A new assessment of the chemical finds that the (uncertain) risks mainly affect the people who work with it or who come in direct contact with areas where it's applied.
Seth Perlman AP

An international committee of cancer experts shocked the agribusiness world a few days ago when it announced that two widely used pesticides are "probably carcinogenic to humans." The well-respected International Agency for Research on Cancer published a brief explanation of its conclusions in The Lancet and plans to issue a book-length version later this year.

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The Salt
12:01 pm
Tue March 24, 2015

Why There's A Big Battle Brewing Over The Lean Meat In Your Diet

Originally published on Tue March 24, 2015 12:22 pm

Never underestimate the power of a footnote.

When a panel of nutrition scientists tasked with updating the government's guidelines on healthy eating released its 500-plus-page tome on Feb. 19, one particular 52-word footnote threw a wrench into the conventional wisdom on lean meat. It caught the meat industry's eye, and it's created a controversy.

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Shots - Health News
10:22 am
Tue March 24, 2015

Quality-Testing Legal Marijuana: Strong But Not Always Clean

Andrey Saprykin iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed March 25, 2015 3:52 pm

Recreational marijuana has been legalized in four states, but that doesn't mean it's a tested consumer product. Some of those potent buds are covered in fungus while others contain traces of butane, according to an analysis of marijuana in Colorado.

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Research News
4:14 am
Tue March 24, 2015

How Money Managers' Personal Lives Affect Your Investments

Originally published on Tue March 24, 2015 9:10 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Shots - Health News
2:42 am
Tue March 24, 2015

Many Doctors Who Diagnose Alzheimer's Fail To Tell The Patient

When combined with results of other neurological tests, and in the context of a thorough medical history, atrophy of the brain (shown here in an MRI scan) sometimes indicates Alzheimer's.
Simon Fraser Science Source

Originally published on Tue March 24, 2015 12:01 pm

Doctors are much more likely to level with patients who have cancer than patients who have Alzheimer's, according to a report released this week by the Alzheimer's Association.

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Animals
2:40 am
Tue March 24, 2015

Sea Turtles Test Urban Waters In Southern California 'Jacuzzi'

A recently rescued sea turtle recovering on the banks of the San Gabriel River.
Sanden Totten Southern California Public Radio/KPCC

Originally published on Wed April 1, 2015 7:00 pm

The green sea turtle typically lives in tropical waters, like the shores of Mexico or Hawaii.

But recently, scientists have discovered a population swimming year-round in a river just south of Los Angeles. It's the northernmost group of these turtles known to science.

Visit the 3-mile stretch of the San Gabriel River in Long Beach, wait a few a minutes, and Cassandra Davis says you'll usually see their heads above the water.

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Shots - Health News
2:38 am
Tue March 24, 2015

How 2 Children With Leukemia Helped Transform Its Treatment

Both James Eversull (left) and Pat Patchell were treated with experimental chemotherapy and radiation for leukemia as children in the 1960s. Together, they're now some of the country's oldest leukemia survivors..
Courtesy of James Eversull; Courtesy of Pat Patchell

Originally published on Wed March 25, 2015 8:50 am

When children are diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia now, they have more than a 90 percent chance of survival.

But when James Eversull was told he had leukemia in 1964, there wasn't much hope.

He was just 18 months old when his parents discovered what was wrong.

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Shots - Health News
5:58 pm
Mon March 23, 2015

States That Expand Medicaid Detect More Cases Of Diabetes

Johnny Reynolds ignored diabetes symptoms and put off going to the doctor for years when he didn't have health insurance. He was afraid he couldn't afford treatment.
Anders Kelto/NPR

Originally published on Mon March 23, 2015 7:18 pm

Johnny Reynolds knew that something was wrong as far back as 2003. That's when he first started experiencing extreme fatigue.

"It was like waking up every morning and just putting a person over my shoulders and walking around with them all day long," says Reynolds, 54, who lived in Ohio at the time.

In addition, Reynolds was constantly thirsty and drank so much water that he would urinate 20 or 30 times per day. "And overnight I would probably get up at least eight or nine times a night," he says.

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Animals
5:00 pm
Mon March 23, 2015

Former Orca Trainer For SeaWorld Condemns Its Practices

John Hargrove, a trainer who spent 14 years working with orcas, mostly at SeaWorld, eventually became disillusioned with the company's treatment of its killer whales.
Courtesy of Palgrave Macmillan Trade

Originally published on Sat March 28, 2015 8:12 pm

Last year 4 million people visited SeaWorld's theme parks, where the top shows feature orcas, also known as killer whales. For years, activists have charged that keeping orcas in captivity is harmful to the animals and risky for the trainers who work with them, a case that gained urgency in 2010 when Dawn Brancheau, a veteran orca trainer, was dragged into the water and killed by a whale at the SeaWorld Park in Orlando, Fla. When Brancheau died, there was some dispute as to whether the whale's intent was aggressive and whose fault the incident was.

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Shots - Health News
4:07 pm
Mon March 23, 2015

Why The War On Cancer Hasn't Been Won

Vidhya Nagarajan for NPR

Originally published on Tue March 24, 2015 11:26 am

When President Richard Nixon declared a war on cancer in 1971, there were high hopes that scientists were close enough to understanding the underlying causes that many cures were within reach.

We obviously haven't won the war.

In fact, a prominent cancer biologist argues that the conceptual framework for understanding cancer has come full circle over the past 40 years.

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The Salt
4:03 pm
Mon March 23, 2015

Even Neil DeGrasse Tyson Is Now Munching On Bugs

Neil deGrasse Tyson with a Cambodian cricket rumaki canape, wrapped in bacon. "I have come to surmise, in the culinary universe, that anytime someone feels compelled to wrap something in bacon, it probably doesn't taste very good," he said skeptically before taking a bite.
Carole Zimmer for NPR

Originally published on Mon April 6, 2015 5:08 pm

More than 1,000 guests in gowns and tuxedos crowded into a two-story hall on Saturday night at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.

Standing among a pack of well-preserved African elephants, they sampled the delicacies offered by waiters wending their way through the throngs. They had come for the annual dinner of the Explorers Club — and the cocktail-hour fare certainly required an adventurous palate: All of it was made of insects.

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