Science & Health

All sciences, health & medical news

Three Dimensions, Endless Possibilities

Jul 19, 2018

Five years ago, Cody Wilson fired the world’s first fully 3-D-printed gun at a range in central Texas. Then he shared the blueprint online, where it was downloaded over 100,000 times in the first few days.

Dr. Elliot Tapper has treated a lot of patients, but this one stood out.

"His whole body was yellow," Tapper remembers. "He could hardly move. It was difficult for him to breathe, and he wasn't eating anything."

The patient was suffering from chronic liver disease. After years of alcohol use, his liver had stopped filtering his blood. Bilirubin, a yellowish waste compound, was building up in his body and changing his skin color.

Disturbing to Tapper, the man was only in his mid-30s – much younger than most liver disease patients.

The Terminator's killer robots may seem like a thing of science fiction. But leading scientists and tech innovators have signaled that such autonomous killers could materialize in the real world in frighteningly real ways.

During the annual International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Stockholm on Wednesday, some of the world's top scientific minds came together to sign a pledge that calls for "laws against lethal autonomous weapons."

When people think of particle accelerators, they tend to think of giant structures: tunnels many miles long that electrons and protons race through at tremendous speeds, packing enormous energy.

But scientists in California think small is beautiful. They want to build an accelerator on semiconductor chips. An accelerator built that way won't achieve the energy of its much larger cousins, but it could accelerate material research and revolutionize medical therapy.

First of all, what is an accelerator?

Archaeologists Find 14,500-Year-Old Bread

Jul 18, 2018

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How To Be A Savvy Consumer Of Science News

Jul 17, 2018

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The news overload we all feel can extend to the world of science. Our friend from the world of astrophysics, Adam Frank, has offered to provide some tools to help make us all savvier consumers of science news. Adam Frank, welcome back. It's good to talk to you.

CTE has been part of the national lexicon in the U.S. since the 2015 movie Concussion dramatized the discovery of this degenerative brain disease among football players.

Most teens today own a smartphone and go online every day, and about a quarter of them use the internet "almost constantly," according to a 2015 report by the Pew Research Center.

Now a study published Tuesday in JAMA suggests that such frequent use of digital media by adolescents might increase their odds of developing symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

More than 400 years after Galileo Galilei discovered the first of Jupiter's moons, astronomers have found a dozen more — including one they've dubbed "oddball" — orbiting the planet. That brings the total number of Jovian moons to 79.

Patients whose blood cancers have failed to respond to repeated rounds of chemotherapy may be candidates for a new type of gene therapy that could send their cancers into remission for years. But the two approved therapies, with price tags of hundreds of thousands of dollars, have roiled the insurance approval process, leading to delays and, in some cases, denials of coverage, clinicians and analysts say.

A basketball-sized lava bomb slammed through the roof of a tour boat near an active fissure of Hawaii's Kilauea volcano early Monday morning, showering the vessel with debris and injuring 23 people, according the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency.

Officials described the incident on Facebook writing that an explosion off the coast of Kapoho hurled several lava bombs onto the boat — called Hotspot — at about 6 a.m. local time.

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The dense network of cables that make up the Internet is likely to be inundated with saltwater as sea levels rise, a new analysis suggests, putting thousands of miles of critical infrastructure along U.S. coastlines underwater in the next 15 years.

A mob in Indonesia has slaughtered nearly 300 crocodiles at a wildlife sanctuary in retaliation for a local man who was reportedly killed by one of the reptiles.

The incident occurred in Sorong, on the far western tip of West Papua province.

Can't cool off this summer? Heat waves can slow us down in ways we may not realize.

New research suggests heat stress can muddle our thinking, making simple math a little harder to do.

Ecological statistics pertaining to bees carry a sting: More than 75 percent of the world's 115 primary crops require pollination or thrive better through interaction with pollinators.

Bees are the primary pollinators in the animal kingdom, yet sudden and massive die-offs of these insects began in 2006 and continue now, with a 30 percent annual loss reported by North American beekeepers.

The photographs are stunning: a giant mountain of ice towers over a tiny village, with colorful homes reminiscent of little doll houses against the stark, blue-gray landscape.

But for the people living in those houses, that beauty could be life-threatening.

"It's kind of like, if you lived in the suburbs, and you woke up one morning and looked out, and there was a skyscraper next to your house," says David Holland, an oceanographer at New York University who does research in Greenland during the summer months. "I'd be the first to get out of there."

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Crop Marks Reveal Ancient Structures

Jul 14, 2018

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A drone flight and a lingering dry spell have exposed a previously unknown monument in Ireland's Boyne Valley, forgotten for thousands of years and long covered by crops — which, struggling to cope with a lengthy drought, finally revealed the ancient footprint.

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Could the tick that just bit you carry a pathogen that causes Lyme disease or another ailment? If you're worried, you could ship the offending bug to a private testing service to find out. But between August 2016 and January 2017, you could have gotten a free analysis by sending it to Nathan Nieto's lab at Northern Arizona University. You'd get back info on the critter that bit you and, if applicable, a pathology report.

Watch Your Mouth

Jul 12, 2018

If you're bilingual or multilingual, you may have noticed that the different languages you speak will make you stretch in different ways.

Languages like Spanish or French require you to remember the gender assigned to every noun, even inanimate objects. Uttering a sentence as simple as "I read the book" in Russian requires you to indicate whether you finished the book or merely read a few pages. If you're toggling between English and a language like Arabic, you have to swap which side of the page you look at first.

Scientists for the first time have been able to pinpoint the source of an extremely powerful version of a neutrino, a ghostly particle that can travel virtually unimpeded through space.

It's an achievement that opens a whole new way of looking at the universe.

The neutrino was detected by a South Pole observatory called IceCube that was specifically designed to catch the particles. It consists of a cubic kilometer of ice festooned with more than 5,000 detectors.

A government watchdog agency wants NASA to come up with a contingency plan for getting American astronauts to the International Space Station.

The recommendation is one of the major takeaways in a 47-page report from the Government Accountability Office on what is known as the Commercial Crew Program.

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If there's one thing we're grateful for on Shots, it's our passionate, engaged audience. Our stories often prompt a lively response from readers and people who hear us on the radio. This was definitely the case with Monday's look at the use of permethrin-treated clothing to prevent tick bites, which can cause a lot of nasty diseases.

Fresh Starts

Jul 11, 2018

In 2006, Derek Amato suffered a major concussion from diving into a shallow swimming pool. When he woke up in the hospital, he was different. He discovered he was really good a playing piano.

This week, we're tackling questions from readers who are worried about health insurance roadblocks in the face of a serious illness or medical crisis.

Q: I think genetic testing could be a great tool for physicians. My fear is what the insurance industry will do with the information, especially in today's political climate. Could they decide that you have a pre-existing condition and charge a higher rate, or not cover you at all?

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