Science

NPR health
6:33 am
Tue July 31, 2012

Distractions Come Naturally To Teenage Drivers

Drivers under 25 are more likely to send text messages and make calls behind the wheel. They're also less able to handle distractions while driving.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue July 31, 2012 5:58 am

Distracted driving is a problem for all drivers, but teens are at higher risk.

Yes, it's true that drivers under 25 are up to three times more likely to send text messages or emails while behind the wheel than older drivers, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

But there's a deeper problem: Teenagers are also at a developmental stage where getting distracted is more problematic than it is for older drivers.

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NPR science
6:28 am
Tue July 31, 2012

Telescope targets black holes' binges and burps

The NuSTAR telescope, seen in this artist's illustration, will soon be sending back data that researchers will use to study black holes.
NASA/JPL-Caltech

Originally published on Tue July 31, 2012 4:45 am

NASA's newest space telescope will start searching the universe for black holes on Wednesday. Scientists hope the NuSTAR X-ray telescope, which launched about six weeks ago and is now flying about 350 miles above the Earth, will help shed some light on the mysteries of these space oddities.

Mission control for the telescope is a small room on the University of California, Berkeley, campus, where about a dozen people with headsets rarely look up from their screens.

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Brain Science
10:30 am
Mon July 30, 2012

How an experiment on blind mice could help blind humans see

The chemical compound - AAQ - that researchers say causes blind mice to behave as if they can see.

A potential new cure for blindness is showing promise in an experiment at the University of Washington and University of California. The study shows that losing your eyesight as you grow older may someday be reversible. 

The experiment used mice – blind mice.

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public health
12:52 pm
Fri July 20, 2012

New clue about whooping cough epidemic from CDC investigators

Young children and babies are the most at risk of serious harm from whooping cough
Hamilton Cty, NY Public Health

Federal health investigators say a new clue has emerged about the whooping cough epidemic in Washington.

The epidemic shows no signs of waning – and the U.S. is on track to have more whooping cough cases than any time in 53 years. Washington and Wisconsin have the biggest outbreaks this year, with 3,000 reported cases each.

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NPR Science
4:49 pm
Wed July 18, 2012

Using Hubble, astronomers spot oldest spiral galaxy ever seen

An artist's rendering of galaxy BX442.
Joe Bergeron Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 3:29 pm

Astronomers made a surprising announcement today: They have found a spiral galaxy that existed very early in the universe — the oldest spiral galaxy ever seen.

The galaxy is special because such a well-formed spiral wasn't thought to have existed this early on, when the universe was tumultuous.

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Men's health
4:47 pm
Wed July 18, 2012

Prostate cancer surgery shows no benefit for many men

Surgery for prostate cancer shouldn't be an automatic choice, a new study says.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 3:03 pm

Finally, the results from a decades-long study that compared surgery for prostate cancer to careful monitoring have been published.

Overall, the researchers found no difference in rates of death from any cause, including prostate cancer, among men who had their prostates surgically removed compared to those who didn't.

Preliminary results were released more than a year ago.

The newly published conclusion:

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NPR Science
10:34 am
Tue July 17, 2012

U.S. lab breaks laser record, delivering 500-trillion-watt beam

The preamplifiers of the National Ignition Facility are the first step in increasing the energy of laser beams as they make their way toward the target chamber.
National Ignition Facility

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 11:32 am

The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has produced a record-breaking laser beam at its National Ignition Facility. The lab's system of 192 beams produced more than 500 trillion watts and 1.85 megajoules of laser light onto a 2-millimeter in diameter target.

And we know, those numbers sound like gibberish. But the laboratory puts it in every-day terms:

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NPR Science
11:17 pm
Mon July 16, 2012

With funding gone, last undersea lab could surface

Researchers Sylvia Earle (left) and Mark Patterson are trying to raise funds to save the Aquarius Reef Base.
Greg Allen NPR

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 9:25 am

While you're enjoying your coffee this morning, half a dozen scientists are already at work. They're not sitting at desks, however, but a few miles off the Florida Keys, 60 feet down on the ocean bottom.

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Shots - Health Blog
1:02 pm
Fri July 13, 2012

Electric Fans May Do More Harm Than Good In A Heat Wave

Researchers say that when temperatures rise above 95 degrees, a fan might make you even hotter, and maybe even sick.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sat July 14, 2012 9:26 am

Assuming you can't spend a heat wave bobbing up and down in some cool body of water, the next best option is to hunker down inside with air blowing on you, right?

Preferably it's from an air conditioner set on arctic chill.

But if there's no AC, then an electric fan would be the next best thing, wouldn't you think?

Well, it turns out health experts aren't so sure about electric fans. And they say using one in a really brutal heat wave can sometimes do more harm than good.

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biotech and life sciences
12:41 pm
Thu July 12, 2012

Health technology has jobs, but walks on shifting sands

The Seattle area biotech and medical device industry is not likely to produce any companies as big as Microsoft or Amazon. But smaller companies, with strange names, keep popping up—like Etubics, Numera, Obenomics, and NanoString.

And, apparently, this sector is adding jobs.

That’s the word at the annual Life Science Innovation Northwest conference, in Seattle this week.

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Health
8:26 am
Thu July 12, 2012

Nightly glass of wine may protect boomer women's bones

Cheers! Moderate drinking might slow age-related bone loss in women.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri July 13, 2012 7:00 am

It's well-known that exercise is good for our bones, even as we age, but how about that nightly glass of wine?

A new study of women in their 50s and early 60s finds that moderate alcohol consumption may help prevent bone loss. The women in the study consumed about 1 1/2 drinks per day.

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Health
12:49 pm
Wed July 11, 2012

Scientist names new species of parasite after Bob Marley

Male gnathiids.
Ann Marie Coile Arkansas State University

Originally published on Thu July 12, 2012 1:00 pm

We're not quite sure what to make of it. Is it an honor? Is it an insult?

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addiction
1:11 am
Wed July 11, 2012

Prescription drug abuse continues decline, but heroin is rising

Not as many people are dying from prescription drug overdoses in Washington – but heroin abuse appears to be spiking higher. Those figures come from an annual report on drug abuse in the state.

Heroin abuse peaked in the 1990s. Since then, it's been a problem primarily for aging drug-addicts. But Caleb Banta-Green of the UW’s Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute says it's making a comeback among younger people:

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NPR Science
7:41 am
Tue July 10, 2012

Listen: You Can Hear The Northern Lights, Researchers Say

The northern lights over Tromsoe, northern Norway, on Jan. 24, 2012.
Rune Stoltz Bertinussen AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 10, 2012 8:21 am

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global health
6:25 pm
Mon July 9, 2012

Melinda Gates claims pushing birth control isn't controversial

“We've made it controversial in the United States, and it doesn't need to be," Melinda Gates said on the Colbert Report.

Melinda Gates is promoting access to contraceptives around the world, and urging everyone to believe it's not a controversial step.

She's co-hosting a global summit on Wednesday in London, along with the British government.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation hopes to overcome religious and cultural resistance by saying birth control is simply one option that women want.

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