Science & Health

All sciences, health & medical news

Medicare recipients who have arthritis, cancer or other complex conditions may find they have to pay thousands of dollars a year for their medications, even if their insurance plan covers most prescriptions.

For more than 20 years, world leaders have been trying to craft a solution to global warming, without a lot of success. During that time, the U.S. government has been like the big-ticket movie star who has been offered the lead role, but won't commit.

President Obama, though, thinks he has figured how the United States can once again star, even without the support of the U.S. Congress.

Just over a decade ago, Iran had a multi-faceted research program to develop a nuclear warhead that would fit on top of a ballistic missile. That's the bottom line of a new report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The coordinated program ended in 2003, but some sporadic work continued until 2009, the new report says.

Women who have an abnormal mammogram should stay vigilant for cancer for for the next decade, even when follow-up tests fail to detect cancer, a study released Wednesday finds.

That's because there's a "modest" risk that cancer will develop during the next decade, says lead author Louise M. Henderson of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill.

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Most people visit the Isle of Skye off the west coast of Scotland for the beautiful scenery or historic castles or maybe the Talisker Distillery.

Not Stephen Brusatte. He goes to Skye for the dinosaurs. And he's pretty jazzed about what he and his team discovered on a recent field trip. "What we found is the biggest dinosaur site that's ever been found in Scotland," he says.

Coffee lovers may have noticed a new offering in their local cafés. Cascara is a tea-like drink with a fine, fruity flavor and plenty of caffeine, and it's popping up everywhere. For this new addition to chalkboards nationwide, credit Aida Batlle.

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"If I'm allowed to have a favorite forger, which I know sounds a little bit funny, it would be Eric Hebborn, who's really the prince of art forgers," Noah Charney says. "He's the only one of over sixty that I look at in my book who I think is at the same level as the artists he forged."

This week on Hidden Brain, Shankar Vedantam explores how we tell real from fake, when it comes to fine art and fine wine. As Noah Charney, author of The Art of Forgery explains, the primary motivation for many of the forgers he studied is not money, but revenge.

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As diplomats argue in Paris over a new global agreement to fight climate change, their work is driven by scientists' dire predictions of how unchecked warming will transform our planet decades and centuries from now.

But how can researchers be so sure of what will happen that far off?

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The United States and 19 other countries on Monday promised to work toward doubling their spending over five years to support "clean energy" research.

At the same time, 28 private investors, including Microsoft's Bill Gates, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and Amazon's Jeff Bezos, pledged their own money to help build private businesses based on that public research.

There's a building in Mountain View, Calif., where energy-saving technologies of the future are being tried on for size.

Step inside, and the first thing you notice is the building is dead quiet: no noisy air whooshing through louvers.

That's because the building uses passive cooling instead of traditional air conditioning. Cool ground water passes through a system of small tubes running below the ceiling.

Leaders from around the world are converging on Paris for the 2015 U.N. Climate Change Conference. The two-week event is designed to allow countries the chance to come to an agreement on stifling climate change.

Below are 10 questions and answers that should better prepare you for the conference and what to expect during and after its completion.

Click the audio link at the top of this page to listen to "Heating Up," NPR's special on climate change, hosted by Ari Shapiro. Share it, download it, take it with you.

Kate and Scott Savett were trying to be responsible when they needed some medical care. They live about an hour north of Philadelphia with their dog, Frankie. Scott, 43, is a chemist and designs software for labs; Kate, 37, works in life insurance.

They buy their health insurance through Scott's job, and to keep their premiums affordable, they chose a high-deductible plan. They understood from the beginning that this would mean shopping carefully when they needed care, because costs can vary a lot among doctors and hospitals.

Delegates from nearly 200 nations are in Paris to negotiate a new agreement to curb global warming.

The first such meeting took place 18 years ago in Kyoto, Japan — a conference that produced the first international treaty aimed at slowing climate change. That attempt failed.

Scientists say the planet is closer than ever to a climate catastrophe. So this time, the climatocracy has devised a radically new approach, requesting all countries to come up with voluntary limits on greenhouse gasses. The new plan also offers poorer countries cash to help offset their costs.

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MICHEL MARTIN: One of the casualties of the drought that may not come to mind immediately - the California soundscape. Bernie Krause is one person who appreciates these sounds. He's a soundscape ecologist.

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There's a common misconception that science is purely about cold, hard facts — concrete evidence, mathematical models and replicable experiments to explain the world around us.

It's easy to forget that there are people behind the data and equations. And when people are involved, there is always room for human error.

Loneliness has been linked to everything from heart disease to Alzheimer's disease. Depression is common among the lonely. Cancers tear through their bodies more rapidly, and viruses hit them harder and more frequently. In the short term, it feels like the loneliness will kill you. A study suggests that's because the pain of loneliness activates the immune pattern of a primordial response commonly known as fight or flight.

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And now it's time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

While others are thinking about the holidays, in Florida November is the beginning of citrus season. Grower Jeff Schorner sells citrus fruit gift boxes by mail order and at his store, Al's Family Farm in Fort Pierce.

"We began our harvest about three weeks ago," he says. "And we'll harvest all the way about until the beginning of June." Right now, it's navel oranges. Next come tangerines, ruby red grapefruit and the popular honeybell tangelos.

The rate of deforestation in Brazil has increased by 16 percent over the past year, the country's Environment Ministry announced.

Brazil has often declared progress in reducing the rate of deforestation in the Amazon, but the government's own figures, released Thursday, show the challenges still facing the country.

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