Science & Health

All sciences, health & medical news

Monthly premiums for California's 1.3 million Covered California customers will rise a modest 4 percent, on average, officials with the agency said Monday. This increase is slightly less than last year's increase of 4.2 percent for consumers who bought policies on the state's health insurance marketplace.

Some consumers could even achieve a reduction in their premium, of an average of 4.5 percent, if they choose to shop around.

Lihong Wang creates the sort of medical technology you'd expect to find on the starship Enterprise.

Wang, a professor of biomedical engineering at Washington University in St. Louis, has already helped develop instruments that can detect individual cancer cells in the bloodstream and oxygen consumption deep within the body. He has also created a camera that shoots at 100 billion frames a second, fast enough to freeze an object traveling at the speed of light.

Deaths from lightning strikes are up sharply this year, according to the National Weather Service. Here are some myths about lightning, or avoiding it, and tips on how to actually stay safe.

This story initially aired on July 17, 2015 on Morning Edition.

In this installment of NPR's series Inside Alzheimer's, we hear from Greg O'Brien about losing his sense of taste and smell, and how he's learning there's much more to a good meal than food. O'Brien, a longtime journalist in Cape Cod, Mass., was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's disease in 2009.

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

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

Three terminally ill patients lost a court battle in California Friday over whether they should have the right to request and take lethal medication to hasten their deaths.

It's high summer, and for a lot of us that means it's time to go camping. This summer, we're celebrating one particular camping trip.

Way back in 1858, Ralph Waldo Emerson, the great philosopher and poet, set out into the Adirondack Mountains in New York. On the famous journey, he took with him some of the most famous artists, scientists and thinkers of his day.

This year, I set out early in the morning in my canoe with a company of my own: environmental activist and writer Bill McKibben and our guide, Mike Carr with the Nature Conservancy.

As California's drought drags on, its almond industry has come under scrutiny. As you've probably heard by now, almonds use a lot of water — about one gallon per nut. Most growers are relying on groundwater even more this year, because their surface water has been cut off. But that brings a different problem all together: too much salt.

Not the salt added to make roasted almonds savory, but salt in groundwater – which is killing trees.

A manatee was seen swimming in a northern canal that joins the Chesapeake Bay with the smaller and shallower Delaware Bay just days after the marine mammal was spotted in an estuary of the Potomac River.

The docile "sea cow," is normally found in the warm waters of Florida and is a rare sight so far north.

Sugar gives the human brain much pleasure. But not everyone revels in cupcakes with an inch of frosting, or milkshakes blended with candy bars, though these crazily sugary treats are increasingly the norm.

Youngsters aren't the only ones who have an affinity for consuming a lot of alcohol in a short amount of time – in other words, harmful drinking. It turns out, the parents and grandparents of millennials know how to binge drink, too.

Adults over age 50 who are healthy, active, sociable and well-off are more at risk for harmful drinking than their peers, according to a study published in the BMJ on Thursday.

Bill Coppersmith, a fisherman in Maine, might want to buy a lottery ticket. He's gotten pretty lucky lately. This week he caught a rare orange lobster while fishing with his sternman Brian Skillings, writes the Portland Press Herald.

The paper talked to Robert Bayer, executive director of The Lobster Institute at the University of Maine, who said that the actual odds of catching an orange lobster would just be a guess. But "it's one in several million, there's no doubt about that," he said.

The Department of Defense says that the Army's Dugway Proving Ground in Utah failed to completely kill samples of anthrax in May before it shipped them to dozens of other labs around the world.

NPR's Geoff Brumfiel reports that the samples of anthrax the Pentagon thought were dead, were still alive:

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

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Chemotherapy given to patients at the end of life often does more harm than good, according to a study that calls into question this common practice.

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