Science & Health

All sciences, health & medical news

When a wildfire starts, whether by lightning or human hand, it is almost always smothered.

Firefighters and aircraft are dispatched at the first sign of smoke. Ground crews build tight containment lines, contouring where they can with the fire's edge. Helicopters douse hot spots and flames with deluges of foamy water.

The public and media extol their efforts. The headline reads, "Brave firefighters tame destructive fire."

Mike Hayes and I are sitting on the patio of Blue Bank Resort, the business he owns on Reelfoot Lake, in Tennessee. The sun is going down. It's beautiful.

What really catches your eye here is the cypress trees. They line the lake, and thousands of them are standing right in the water. Hayes tells me that they are more than 200 years old.

In the past few years, consumer advocacy groups have pressed restaurant chains to offer healthier kids' meals and more nutritious side options like milk and fruit, and the restaurants have responded.

Updated at 8:57 p.m. ET

Millions of years before the brontosaurus roamed the Earth, a massive relative was lumbering around South Africa.

Scientists think this early Jurassic dinosaur was, at the time, the largest land creature ever to have lived. And unlike the even bigger creatures that came later, they think it could pop up on its hind legs.

It took more than 10 minutes for paramedics to arrive after a housekeeper found a man collapsed on the floor of a bathroom in a Boston Veteran Affairs building.

The paramedics immediately administered naloxone, often known by its brand name Narcan, to reverse the man's opioid overdose. But brain damage can begin after just a few minutes without oxygen.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This week, in New York City for the first time, the United Nations General Assembly is hosting a high-level meeting on tuberculosis, or TB.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

Beluga Charms British With Impromptu Visit

Sep 26, 2018

Dave Andrews couldn't believe what he was seeing. And then he couldn't believe what he was tweeting.

"Can't believe I'm writing this, no joke - BELUGA in the Thames off Coalhouse Fort," the Norfolk, England, resident posted on Twitter Tuesday.

The ecologist and ornithologist, as described on his Twitter account, had spotted a beluga whale swimming in the River Thames east of London, far from its normal habitat.

A beluga swimming in the Thames is undoubtedly rare, and a social media frenzy ensued.

In the 19th century, milk containing substantial quantities of formaldehyde (yes, the stuff that preserves dead bodies) killed thousands of children every year. The rise of industrial chemistry meant the decline of food safety in the United States.

This wasn’t an oversight. Food manufacturers had quickly learned they could profit by selling harmful products with long shelf lives. Even modest regulations of the industry couldn’t get traction.

Updated at 3:45 pm ET

The Department of Health and Human Services says it is reviewing all medical research involving human fetal tissue.

The fall of a prominent food and marketing researcher may be a cautionary tale for scientists who are tempted to manipulate data and chase headlines.

Fuel Efficiency And Smog In Arizona

Sep 26, 2018

Copyright 2018 KJZZ. To see more, visit KJZZ.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

The Trump administration has been holding public hearings this week on its plan to undo Obama era regulations. States like California are threatening to go to court. There is also concern in Arizona. Will Stone of member station KJZZ in Phoenix reports.

The controversial herbicide Roundup has been accused of causing cancer in humans and now scientists in Texas argue that the world's most popular weed killer could be partly responsible for killing off bee populations around the world.

Archaeologists have uncovered what they say is a 'huge' ancient building in what was once Egypt's capital city, the country's Antiquities Ministry announced Tuesday.

The city of Memphis was founded circa 2925 B.C. by Menes, a king who is said to have united the prehistoric kingdoms of Upper and Lower Egypt. The city was originally called the White Walls, a term that may have come from the king's palace of whitewashed brick.

A scientist in Australia has come up with an insecticide-free way to control a particularly pesky species of mosquito.

The approach involves two things: deploying a decidedly low-tech mosquito trap called a GAT and getting to know your neighbors.

GAT stands for Gravid Aedes Trap. Aedes is short for Aedes albopictus, known colloquially as the Asian tiger mosquito, which bites aggressively night and day.

Starting this semester, the Colorado School of Mines is offering the world's first degree programs in Space Resources — essentially mining in outer space.

It's not just academic institutions like the School of Mines taking note; a small but growing number of startups expect this to be very big business sooner than a lot of us might think.

From the ramp tower 120 feet above the runway, it's clear Philadelphia International Airport is surrounded by water. There is wetland, a network of creeks and, just a couple hundred yards away, the tidal Delaware River leading out to the bay. As with many airports, the original idea was to build on a large tract of land convenient to a city but far enough away from homes and tall buildings. Often, that meant coastal wetlands and landfill.

Now, such airports are threatened.

A federal judge has restored Endangered Species Act protections for grizzly bears living around Yellowstone National Park.

In his ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Dana Christensen said the federal government didn't use the best available science when it removed the bears from the threatened-species list last year.

Monday's ruling puts a stop to proposed grizzly hunts in Wyoming and Idaho, which were on hold while Christensen mulled his decision.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

The National Park Service has embarked on a three- to five-year plan, in collaboration with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and the National Forest Service, to remove all mountain goats from Olympic National Park in Washington state.

As part of that plan, more than 75 mountain goats arrived in Washington's North Cascade mountains by refrigerated truck — to keep the goats cool — in recent weeks, before they were transferred to helicopters for the ride of their lives.

For the first time, scientists have demonstrated that a controversial new kind of genetic engineering can rapidly spread a self-destructive genetic modification through a complex species.

If you've ever tried to ripen a piece of fruit by sticking it in a bag with a banana, you've harnessed the power of ethylene.

Ethylene is an important plant hormone. In bananas and many other fruits, production of ethylene surges when the fruit is ready to ripen. This surge triggers the transformation of a hard, green, dull fruit into a tender, gaudy, sweet thing that's ready-to-eat.

About a hundred years ago, something devious started happening in our homes and offices, in our cars and at restaurants — and our backs have never been the same.

For hundreds — even thousands — of years, chairs were made of wood. Maybe the seat was covered with cord or cattail leaves, and if you were rich, you could afford some padded upholstery, which began to take off in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Within three days of starting high school this year, my ninth-grader could not get into bed before 11 p.m. or wake up by 6 a.m. He complained he couldn't fall asleep but felt foggy during the school day and had to reread lessons a few times at night to finish his homework. And forget morning activities on the weekends — he was in bed.

When Katharine Briggs — a mother and homemaker — began what she called a "cosmic laboratory of baby training" in her Michigan living room in the early 1900s, she didn't know she was laying the groundwork for what would one day become a multi-million dollar industry. Briggs was just 14 years old when she went to college, and ended up graduating first in her class, explains author Merve Emre. She married the man who graduated just behind her at No. 2 — and while he became a scientist, she was expected to take care of the home.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Walter Mischel, a revolutionary psychologist with a specialty in personality theory, died of pancreatic cancer on Sept. 12. He was 88.

Carmen Lugo has lived in Puerto Rico her whole life, and her whole life she has feared the water that comes out of her tap.

"When I was a child, we used filters," she says, leaning on the doorjamb with her 11-year-old in front of her and two teenage sons sleepy-eyed behind her on a morning in July.

"The water here," she says, pausing as she purses her lips in a tight smile. She chooses her words carefully. "We want to be in good health," she finally says. "My husband, he buys water from the Supermax," referring to a local grocery store.

Scientists say they have taken a potentially important — and possibly controversial — step toward creating human eggs in a lab dish.

A team of Japanese scientists turned human blood cells into stem cells, which they then transformed into very immature human eggs.

The eggs are far too immature to be fertilized or make a baby. And much more research would be needed to create eggs that could be useful — and safe — for human reproduction.

Experiments with two gambling monkeys have revealed a small area in the brain that plays a big role in risky decisions.

When researchers inactivated this region in the prefrontal cortex, the rhesus monkeys became less inclined to choose a long shot over a sure thing, the team reported Thursday in the journal Current Biology.

The psychoactive drug known as ecstasy can make people feel extra loving toward others, and a study published Thursday suggests it has the same effect on octopuses.

Pages