Health & Science

Ways to Connect

The Baltimore health system put Robert Peace back together after a car crash shattered his pelvis. Then it nearly killed him, he says.

A painful bone infection that developed after surgery and a lack of follow-up care landed him in the operating room five more times, kept him homebound for a year and left him with joint damage and a severe limp.

"It's really hard for me to trust what doctors say," Peace said, adding that there was little after-hospital care to try to control the infection. "They didn't do what they were supposed to do."

When Marcella Lafayette started having really bad heartburn, she went to her doctor to see if there was anything that might help.

"I was experiencing a lot of chest pain, back pain caused from heartburn," says Lafayette, 62, of Portland, Ore.

Hunger is not the only reason we eat sweets.

Often we eat as a way to celebrate, or sometimes we reach for food when we're sad or bored.

And a study published this month in the journal Environment and Behavior points to another factor that can nudge us to eat: clutter.

In Western culture, it's tradition to wish others a happy New Year. For the Lunar New Year, celebrated this past week, many people with roots in Southeast Asia have another tradition: a dish called Yusheng, which in English translates to "Prosperity Toss" — and which will probably end up on the floor.

This colorful dish, which can also be interpreted as "an increase in abundance," or simply "good luck," comprises raw fish, herbs, spices and fresh and pickled fruits and vegetables. And it is prepared for the specific purpose of throwing up in the air.

As an African-American, John Boyd Jr. might not be what Americans imagine when they think of a typical farmer. But Boyd has been farming his entire life, like his father, grandfather and great-grandfather before him. He grows wheat, corn and soybeans and has cattle at his southwestern Virginia farm.

The Goats and Soda team is playing a game, and one of us pulls out a bright red card with this line: "Angelina Jolie will now be a special envoy for ____."

Each team member shuffles through a handful of white cards and picks an answer to fill in the blank. This is what we get:

"Explaining that Chad is a country, not a person"

"China!"

"Antimalarial-induced hallucinations"

"George Clooney's wife"

Now comes the fun part. Which card do you choose?

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Florida's avocados, papayas, tomatoes, mangoes, peaches, passionfruit and peppers are safe — along with more than 400 other fruits and vegetables.

They'd all been threatened by the Oriental fruit fly, an invasive pest that infested farmlands in Miami-Dade County last fall.

As of Saturday, the state has declared the insect eliminated.

Alice Carter has traveled a long road to get to where she is today. Morocco, that is. Carter, 87, is the oldest current volunteer in the Peace Corps. She says she's been interested in the world for a long time.

This isn't her first adventure. Even in her earlier life, she had more experiences than most. She was involved in the civil rights movement and protested the Vietnam War. She's lived in many places, and she had six children along the way.

As we reported yesterday, the leaking gas well near a Los Angeles neighborhood has been temporarily plugged, ending four months of uncontrolled amounts of methane being released into the atmosphere.

It's a one-day battle in the fight against a tiny enemy: On Saturday, 220,000 Brazilian soldiers are fanning out across the country and knocking on doors to raise awareness about the Zika virus and the mosquito that carries it.

The "Zero Zika" campaign, which The Associated Press calls "unprecedented," aims to reach 3 million homes in 350 cities across Brazil.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff is also hitting the ground to spread information, and the AP reports that Rousseff was planning to send cabinet ministers to each of Brazil's 27 states as well.

Here we are in an election year — once again asking the great see-into-the-future question in politics — who will be the next president?

If you work in a restaurant, marriage proposals are good for business. Happy couples lift the mood in the entire dining room and often turn into lifelong customers. That once-in-a-lifetime experience for them is pretty routine for restaurateurs.

It's been a year since I began serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in northern Ghana — but some of the local lingo still eludes me. I speak a good amount of Dagbani nowadays, but I still can't figure out why everyone's been telling me recently: "You used to be the tall visitor and now you're the small villager." Is that good or bad? I mean, I haven't shrunk as far as I can tell.

The crisis of contaminated water in Flint, Mich., is making a public health message like this one harder to get across: In most communities, the tap water is perfectly safe. And it is much healthier than sugary drinks.

That's a message that Dr. Patty Braun, a pediatrician and oral health specialist at Denver Health, spends a lot of time talking to her patients about.

Chipotle Mexican Grill certainly is not the first company to face lawsuits and subpoenas because its food made people sick. Other companies, in fact, have faced far worse: Companies like Blue Bell, Dole and Earthbound Farms have been linked to disease outbreaks that actually killed people.

But it's difficult to think of another case in which a company's food-safety troubles provoked such schadenfreude in the food industry. The company, it seems, made a lot of enemies while marketing its "food with integrity."

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Find your binoculars and fill up the bird feeders, because the Great Backyard Bird Count starts today.

The annual event invites bird-watchers of all levels to count the birds in their backyards, wherever that may be, and submit the data to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society, which launched the project in 1998.

Tell her how you really feel: Dr. Julie Holland is asking women to embrace their inner "moody bitches."

Let me back up.

The Manhattan-based psychiatrist has noticed a shift in her female patients. Twenty years ago, when Holland started her practice, she says, patients came to her because they were having trouble sleeping, were crying frequently or generally not feeling well — "but not really understanding what was going on with them and not really knowing what to do about it."

On Thursday, researchers announced the discovery of gravitational waves --wrinkles in the very fabric of space-time.

But behind the headlines and news conferences were decades of hard work, hundreds of scientists and more than a billion dollars in taxpayer funds.

In India, Facebook has a program to give people free Internet access — just to use Facebook and a handful of other services. Earlier this week, regulators in that country ruled that the program is discriminatory to other websites and is illegal. A Facebook board member took to Twitter to criticize the ruling. And in so doing, he sparked a global controversy.

It got ugly.

Penalty For Home Birth: A Chicken Or A Cow

Feb 12, 2016

How do you solve a problem like health? That's the question experts from around the globe asked earlier this year in Salzburg, Austria, at Schloss Leopoldskron — where parts of The Sound of Music were once filmed.

If you follow the vast world of fermented grapes, you may have noticed an influx of so-called natural wines. I fell under their spell a few years ago. Apparently, I'm not alone. There's something of a natural wine cult blooming in shops, bars and restaurants around the U.S.

Exactly 15 months after it completed a seemingly impossible journey to land on the surface of a comet, the Philae lander now faces "eternal hibernation," as officials at the European Space Agency say the craft doesn't get enough sunlight to power its batteries.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

One of the world's most famous and oldest spacecraft is revealing some of its past. Apollo 11 was the first mission to land humans on the moon. As Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the lunar surface, Michael Collins circled above in the command module called Columbia.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Dr. Paul Kalanithi was preparing to wrap up his medical residency in neurosurgery when, in 2013, a CT scan revealed tumors throughout his body. He had stage 4 lung cancer.

In his last two years of life, he continued caring for patients. He and his wife became parents. And Kalanithi, a gifted writer, wrote a book, When Breath Becomes Air, a reflection on being a doctor with a terminal illness.

He died March 9, 2015. He was 37 years old.

Pages