Science & Health

Shots - Health News
2:53 am
Wed April 1, 2015

Tobacco Firm Seeks Softer Warning For Cigarette Alternative

Will this maker of snus, an alternative to cigarettes, be allowed to claim it is less harmful?
Swedish Match

Originally published on Thu April 2, 2015 4:50 pm

The Food and Drug Administration is weighing whether to allow a tobacco company to do something it's never done before — claim that one of its products is less risky than cigarettes.

The company, Swedish Match of Stockholm, has applied to the FDA to designate its General brand of snus (rhymes with "loose") as safer than other versions of tobacco.

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Shots - Health News
1:36 pm
Tue March 31, 2015

Hackers Teach Computers To Tell Healthy And Sick Brain Cells Apart

The Allen Institute for Brain Science hosted its first BigNeuron Hackathon in Beijing earlier this month. Similar events are planned for the U.S. and U.K.
Courtesy of Allen Institute for Brain Science

Originally published on Wed April 8, 2015 10:17 am

Brain researchers are joining forces with computer hackers to tackle a big challenge in neuroscience: teaching computers how to tell a healthy neuron from a sick one.

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The Two-Way
10:52 am
Tue March 31, 2015

U.S. Promises To Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions Up To 28 Percent By 2025

President Obama, seen here inspecting solar panels on the roof of the Department of Energy, has submitted a U.S. pledge to reduce greenhouse gases.
Kevin Lamarque Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue March 31, 2015 6:57 pm

The Obama administration is pledging that the U.S. will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 26 percent to 28 percent of 2005 levels over the next 10 years. The new target was submitted today to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change.

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Shots - Health News
10:19 am
Tue March 31, 2015

Meet The Bacteria That Make A Stink In Your Pits

While you're resting, your armpit bacteria are hard at work pumping out stinky thioalcohols.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu April 2, 2015 4:51 pm

The human armpit has a lot to offer bacteria. It's moist, it's warm, and it's usually dark.

But when the bacteria show up, they can make a stink. That's because when some kinds of bacteria encounter sweat they produce smelly compounds, transforming the armpit from a neutral oasis to the mothership of body odor. And one group of bacteria is to blame for the stink, researchers say.

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Shots - Health News
3:58 am
Tue March 31, 2015

No Easy, Reliable Way To Screen For Suicide

About twice a year, statistics suggest, a pilot somewhere in the world — usually flying alone — deliberately crashes a plane. The Germanwing flight downed last week may be one such case. But most people who fit the psychological profile of the pilots in these very rare events never have problems while flying.
Patrik Stollarz AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 1, 2015 5:57 pm

Even a careful psychiatric examination of the co-pilot involved in last week's Germanwings jetliner crash probably would not have revealed whether he intended to kill himself, researchers say.

"As a field, we're not very good at accurately predicting who is at risk for suicidal behavior," says Matthew Nock, a psychology professor at Harvard. He says studies show that mental health professionals "perform no better than chance" when it comes to predicting which patients will attempt suicide.

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National Security
3:58 am
Tue March 31, 2015

After Snowden, The NSA Faces Recruitment Challenge

Originally published on Tue March 31, 2015 9:16 am

Daniel Swann is exactly the type of person the National Security Agency would love to have working for it. The 22-year-old is a fourth-year concurrent bachelor's-master's student at Johns Hopkins University with a bright future in cybersecurity.

And growing up in Annapolis, Md., not far from the NSA's headquarters, Swann thought he might work at the agency, which intercepts phone calls, emails and other so-called "signals intelligence" from U.S. adversaries.

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Joe's Big Idea
1:34 pm
Mon March 30, 2015

Want To Do A Little Astrophysics? This App Detects Cosmic Rays

Smart phones contain a silicon chip inside the camera that might be used to detect rare, high energy particles from outer space.
J. Yang/Courtesy of WIPAC

Originally published on Tue March 31, 2015 10:40 am

Scientists in California are hoping to use your smart phone to solve a cosmic mystery. They're developing an app to turn your phone into a cosmic ray detector. If enough people install the app, the scientists think they'll be able to figure out once and for all what's producing the very energetic cosmic rays that occasionally hit the Earth.

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Shots - Health News
4:31 pm
Sun March 29, 2015

Videos On End-Of-Life Choices Ease Tough Conversation

Hawaii ranks 49th in the nation for use of home health care services during the last six months of someone's life. Videos from ACP Decisions show patients what their options are at the end of life.
ACP Decisions

Originally published on Mon April 27, 2015 1:24 pm

Lena Katakura's father is 81. He was recently diagnosed with esophageal cancer and doctors don't expect him to survive the illness. Katakura says a nurse at their Honolulu hospital gave them a form to fill out to indicate what kind of treatment he'd want at the end of life.

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Animals
6:39 am
Sat March 28, 2015

Birder Finds Panama Packed With Species, But No Harpy Eagles

Originally published on Sat March 28, 2015 9:56 am

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

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Time now for some talking birds.

(SOUNDBITE OF RADIO SHOW, "RAY BROWN'S TALKIN' BIRDS")

UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER: Ray Brown's Talkin' Birds.

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Shots - Health News
6:39 am
Sat March 28, 2015

Indiana's HIV Spike Prompts New Calls For Needle Exchanges Statewide

Needle exchange programs, like this one in Portland, Maine, offer free, sterile syringes and needles to drug users. The programs save money and lives, health officials say, by curtailing the spread of bloodborne infections, such as hepatitis and HIV.
Robert F. Bukaty AP

Originally published on Sat March 28, 2015 9:56 am

Shane Avery practices family medicine in Scott County, Ind. In December, a patient came to his office who was pregnant, and an injection drug user.

After running some routine tests, Avery found out that she was positive for HIV. She was the second case he had seen in just a few weeks.

"Right then, I kind of realized, 'Wow, are we on the tip of something?' " Avery says. "But you just put it away. ... It's statistically an oddity when you're just one little doctor, you know?"

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The Two-Way
6:39 am
Sat March 28, 2015

A Day's A Day The World Around — But Shorter On Saturn

Saturn has a rocky surface, but it's deep beneath the clouds. That makes it hard to tell exactly how long the day is.
NASA

Originally published on Tue April 14, 2015 3:38 pm

Researchers have answered a question that has been nagging them for years: Exactly how long is a day on the planet Saturn? The result (10 hours and 32 minutes or so) was published this week in the journal Nature, and could teach scientists more about the giant, ringed planet.

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The Salt
5:05 pm
Fri March 27, 2015

Calif. Governor Can't Make It Rain, But Can Make Relief Money Pour

A worker kicks up dust as he drives a tractor at a farm on Aug. 22, 2014 near drought-stricken Firebaugh, Calif.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Can you spend your way out of an historic drought? Not really, but the consensus in Sacramento these days seems to be that money certainly helps.

Just days after it was introduced, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed his sweeping $1.1 billion emergency drought relief bill today.

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Goats and Soda
8:47 am
Fri March 27, 2015

Is There Any Way To Screen The World's Pilots For Suicidal Tendencies?

Flight crew in cockpit, rear view (zoom effect).
Tom Sheppard Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 27, 2015 2:45 pm

The crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 into the French Alps earlier this week appears to have been a deliberate act carried out by a co-pilot.

It is too soon to put the label "suicide" on the co-pilot's actions. Not enough is known yet about his state of mind or what his motivation might have been. But as investigations continue, the incident raises questions about whether better mental health screening can prevent a person with suicidal tendencies from taking charge in the cockpit in the first place.

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TED Radio Hour
7:53 am
Fri March 27, 2015

How Can Video Games Improve Our Real Lives?

Game designer Jane McGonigal says we need to harness the beneficial aspects of video games.
James Duncan Davidson Courtesy of TED

Originally published on Fri March 27, 2015 10:50 am

Part 5 of the TED Radio Hour episode Press Play

About Jane McGonigal's TED Talk

When Jane McGonigal was bedridden after a concussion, she gave herself a prescription: play a game. She says games helped her get better, and for many of us, virtual games can improve our real lives. Here's her first TED Talk about using games to solve real world problems:

About Jane McGonigal

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