Science & Health

All sciences, health & medical news

An African bird called the Greater honeyguide is famous for leading people to honey, and a new study shows that the birds listen for certain human calls to figure out who wants to play follow-the-leader.

The finding underscores the unique relationship that exists between humans and this wild bird.

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

When you got up this morning, did you dress for the weather? Your wife? Throw on your lucky socks?

NPR's show and podcast Invisibilia has been taking a long look at what we wear — from sunglasses to artist's frocks and hoodies — and asking how much our clothes affect us, sometimes in ways we're not aware of, or might not even like.

Toddlers make their fair share of noise. But they also have a lot of noise to contend with — a television blaring, siblings squabbling, a car radio blasting, grownups talking.

Amid all that clatter, toddlers must somehow piece together the meanings of individual words and start to form their own words and sentences.

Patients may go to rehabilitation hospitals to recover from a stroke, injury or recent surgery. But sometimes the care makes things worse.

In a government report published Thursday, 29 percent of patients in rehab facilities suffered a medication error, bedsore, infection or some other type of harm as a result of the care they received.

In the Banda district of west-central Ghana, July is the hungry season. This year's sorghum, yams and millet are still young and green in the rain-fed fields, and for most farmers, last year's harvest is long gone.

Scientists have tried all sorts of strategies for stopping the blacklegged tick, the carrier of Lyme disease, from biting us.

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that affects an estimated 300,000 people in the United States each year, primarily in the Northeast and upper Midwest.

An Old Trick Holds New Promise For Tastier Tomatoes

Jul 20, 2016

Scott Stoddard is an expert when it comes to tomatoes. He plants rows and rows of tomatoes outdoors on farms across central California for the University of California Cooperative Extension.

They're the kind of tomatoes that "end up on sandwiches at Subway," Stoddard says. "Also, at any of your common hamburger places, In-N-Out, McDonald's, you name it."

Delegates at the Republican convention in Cleveland have approved the strongest anti-abortion platform in the party's history. But groups that oppose abortion — groups that lobbied for the strong language — are far from unified.

In fact, following last month's Supreme Court decision reaffirming a woman's right to abortion, leaders of a movement known for speaking largely with one voice are showing some surprising disagreement.

If you think it's been hot this year, you're right. The latest temperature numbers from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration say the first six months of 2016 were the hottest on record around the planet.

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

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

California's Obamacare premiums will jump 13.2 percent on average next year, a sharp increase that is likely to reverberate nationwide in an election year.

The increase, announced by the Covered California exchange Tuesday, ends the state's two-year respite from double-digit rate hikes.

The announcement comes as the presidential candidates clash over the future of President Obama's landmark health law and as major insurers around the country seek to announce even bigger rate increases during the open enrollment period this fall.

The Smoggy Seas: Cargo Ships Bring Pollution, Health Risks

Jul 19, 2016

"Made in China" labels have multiplied over the past decades — and so have the trade ships docking in East Asian ports.

More shipping containers go through Shanghai than any other port in the world — and most of the world's 10 busiest ports are in China. Asian ports loaded or unloaded almost 50 percent of shipped goods in 2013, according to a U.N. report.

Big data has been considered an essential tool for tech companies and political campaigns. Now, someone who's handled data analytics at the highest levels in both of those worlds sees promise for it in policing, education and city services.

For example, data can show that a police officer who's been under stress after responding to cases of domestic abuse or suicide may be at higher risk of a negative interaction with the public, data scientist Rayid Ghani says.

In the summertime, the air is thick with the low humming of bees delivering pollen from one flower to the next. If you listen closely, a louder buzz may catch your ear.

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

When Sarah Gardner was 34, she started getting worried about whether she'd ever have a baby. So she took a test that aims to measure a woman's fertility.

The results terrified her. They indicated she had the fertility of a woman a decade older — a woman in her mid-40s.

"I was devastated," Gardner says. The news hit her especially hard because she was in the midst of breaking up with her longtime boyfriend.

Summer vacations: We wait for them all year. We pour time, energy and money into planning them. Expectations can run unreasonably high.

On this week's show, a summer edition of Stopwatch Science with Daniel Pink that explores what social science research has to say about vacations: How to make them better and what pitfalls to avoid.

Stopwatch Science

If you're a woman who gets screening mammograms, you may have received a letter telling you that your scan was clear, but that you have dense breasts, a risk factor for breast cancer. About half of U.S. states require providers to notify women if they fall into that category.

It's been thought that the Zika virus spreads only through mosquito bites or sexual contact. But someone in Utah appears to have caught Zika another way — while caring for an elderly family member infected with the virus.

"The new case in Utah is a surprise, showing that we still have more to learn about Zika," Erin Staples, a medical epidemiologist at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reported Monday.

More than 2 tons of supplies and gear are speeding toward the International Space Station, after a SpaceX Falcon rocket launched early Monday from Cape Canaveral, Fla. The cargo includes a new port that will standardize how spacecraft connect to the station.

Stress has long been shown to increase the risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes and a number of mental health problems.

When Mario Oikonomides was 38 years old he had a massive heart attack. About a month later, after he'd recuperated from the emergency, his doctors sent him to a cardiac rehabilitation program where he learned about the role physical activity can play in reducing cardiac risk.

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

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

A Chemist Accidentally Creates A New Blue. Then What?

Jul 16, 2016

Mas Subramanian wasn't expecting blue.

In 2009, as part of his lab at Oregon State University, Subramanian — a professor of materials science — was working with students to manufacture new materials that could be used in electronics. They would mix and grind chemicals, then heat them to over 2000 degrees Fahrenheit.

One grad student, Andrew E. Smith, took a particular mix out of the furnace to find it had turned a surprising, bright blue color.

"You know what Louis Pasteur said?" Subramanian asks. "Luck favors the alert mind."

New Research Debunks The Dinosaur's Roar

Jul 16, 2016
Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Don't Do What I Do: How Getting Out Of Sync Can Help Relationships

Jul 16, 2016

"Whatever! Just leave me alone!"

Tammy stomps her feet up the stairs to the bedroom. A few moments later she slams the door, leaving for work. Jack is exasperated, angry and hurt. He wanted to rush outside and demand that Tammy treat him with respect. He imagined giving her the silent treatment until she apologized. But he knew this would prolong the fight and compound the resentment.

He goes upstairs, tidies their room and does her laundry. He arranges some flowers on their nightstand and goes to work.

Some people in the Faroe Islands really want Google to include the archipelago's byways in its Google Street View function.

The Faroe Islands tourism board has launched a campaign called Sheep View 360, shot by attaching body cameras to a handful of the archipelago's many sheep. The sheep wander around the self-governed Danish territory in the North Atlantic, showing off the summertime greenery.

What they do not show off is the roads, but as the tourist board sees it, that's where Google comes in.

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