Science & Health

All sciences, health & medical news

Oil operations in Alaska are specially designed for freezing conditions. But as the climate changes, the state is warming twice as fast as the rest of the country. That poses a challenge for the oil industry, and a boon for Alaska businesses that are creating products to help it cope.

Brian Shumaker is one such entrepreneur who knows how tricky it can be to operate in the Arctic, where he once did some engineering work for oil companies.

On New Year's Eve, back in 2012, Savannah Eason retreated into her bedroom and picked up a pair of scissors.

"I was holding them up to my palm as if to cut myself," she says. "Clearly what was happening was I needed someone to do something."

Her dad managed to wrestle the scissors from her hands, but that night it had become clear she needed help.

"It was really scary," she recalls. "I was sobbing the whole time."

Savannah was in high school at the time. She says the pressure she felt to succeed — to aim high — had left her anxious and depressed.

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Experts will tell you that if you want to raise a kid who eats just about everything, you should feed them what you eat — assuming you're eating a varied, healthy diet. It's what most cultures have done for most of human history.

But American culture sends parents a very different message. Kids menus full of so-called "kid foods" like chicken nuggets, pizza and french fries are everywhere. There's good reason why salty, sweet and fatty foods appeal to kids: It's basic biology.

It was a close encounter in 2012 that made microbiologist John Jelesko take an interest in poison ivy.

The story has a semi-biblical tone: A man and woman together in a garden come across a serpent. The serpent awakens them to their own mortality and their lives are changed forever.

But that's where the similarities end, because in this story, the man grabbed a shovel to decapitate the snake — a 4-foot-long Western diamondback rattlesnake — after it spooked his wife. And when he went to pick up the severed head, it sank its fangs into his flesh and released a near deadly dose of venom.

For the first time, scientists say they have clear evidence that the chemical building blocks of life exist on Mars.

What they can't say yet is whether there is, or ever was, life on the Red Planet.

Honeybees understand that "nothing" can be "something" that has numerical meaning, showing that they have a primitive grasp of the concept of zero.

That's according to a newly published study in Science, which shows that bees possess a mathematical ability once thought to exist only in dolphins, primates, birds and humans who are beyond the preschool years.

The debate over the health risks of Juul, vaping and e-cigarettes is now spilling into the public square. In one of the most restrictive measures nationwide, San Francisco voters in June upheld by a large majority — nearly 70 percent — a ban on the sale of flavored vaping products, as well as conventional menthol cigarettes.

Hurricanes are moving more slowly over both land and water, and that's bad news for communities in their path.

In the past 70 years, tropical cyclones around the world have slowed down 10 percent, and in some regions of the world, the change has been even more significant, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature.

That means storms are spending more time hanging out, battering buildings with wind and dropping more rain.

Around 80 sopping wet, black plastic bags lined the floor of an operating room in Thailand last week after they were pulled from the stomach of a whale found stranded on a beach.

In a clinic on a side street in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, doctors are doing something that, as far as is publicly known, is being done nowhere else in the world: using DNA from three different people to create babies for women who are infertile.

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Yesterday's primary election results in eight states helped to set the stage for November.

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Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft is scheduled to blast off Wednesday morning with its three-member crew to begin what is billed as Expeditions 56-57 at the International Space Station.

But new NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, this week is talking openly about a very different future the International Space Station and space travel in general. The big idea is less government and more private investment.

A wide, slow-moving river of lava from Kilauea volcano has claimed hundreds of additional homes in the southeastern corner of Hawaii's Big Island, officials say, marking what could be the most destructive day of the now monthlong volcanic eruption.

Officials are still working to get an accurate count of damaged structures, but a flight by the U.S. Geological Survey shows blackened lava inundating a section of coastline that was once covered with lush forest and dotted by homes. The flow's forward edge is now pouring into the sea, filling the once-popular Kapoho Bay.

A new study released Sunday says that many women with early-stage breast cancer may not necessarily need chemotherapy as part of their treatment.

As The Washington Post Reports:

Recent years have been among the warmest on record, with a spike in record-high temperatures. Heat waves are also projected to become more frequent, more severe and longer.

NPR is working on a series of stories on what happens when people, animals and plants can't cool down. We would like to know how rising temperatures are affecting your life, business or community.

Bullying takes many forms, but when it involves a food that triggers severe allergies, it could be potentially deadly.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Doctors at the National Institutes of Health say they've apparently completely eradicated cancer from a patient who had untreatable, advanced breast cancer.

The case is raising hopes about a new way to harness the immune system to fight some of the most common cancers. The methods and the patient's experience are described Monday in a paper published in the journal Nature Medicine.

Canadian Government To Buy Oil Pipeline

Jun 3, 2018

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LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

On Tuesday, 50-year-old swimmer Ben Lecomte will push off from a beach in Choshi, Japan, wearing a shark repellent bracelet and an armband to track radiation in the ocean. He hopes to reach San Francisco in six months as the first person to swim across the Pacific Ocean.

For many breast cancer patients, one of the most difficult treatment decisions is whether or not to go through chemotherapy.

Now, the choice is getting easier for some patients. A study published Sunday finds that many women with early-stage invasive breast cancer could safely forgo chemotherapy, if they score in the midrange or lower for risk that their cancer will recur, as measured by a commonly used genomic test

Bob Fitzgerald lives on the edge of a flat field that's just a few feet above sea level. It's the same spot on Maryland's Eastern Shore where his ancestors settled before the U.S. became a country.

"The land grant came into the family in 1666," he says.

When he was a child his parents grew tomatoes, cucumbers and string beans. Now nearing 80, Fitzgerald plants corn and soybeans to supply local chicken farms.

Did you know that kids growing up in poverty hear 30 million fewer words by age 3?

A large-scale clinical trial launched by the National Institutes of Health in May could pave the way for more HIV-positive patients with kidney disease to receive life-saving transplants.

Slurping up smoothies, sodas and slushies through disposable plastic straws could one day become a thing of the past.

The call to toss plastic straws out of our food system is growing louder and louder. On Thursday Bon Appétit, a large food service company, announced it is banning plastic straws in all 1,000 of its cafes in 33 states, including locations like AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants. The company says it plans to complete its transition to paper straws by September 2019.

It's the latest salvo in a growing war against straws.

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There is one question parents rarely answer truthfully. Do you play favorites with your kids? Overwhelmingly, parents say no. But what does the research say? Our co-host Steve Inskeep talked about it with NPR's Shankar Vedantam.

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