Health & Science

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There has been a lot of progress in the fight against cancer. Cancer death rates have dropped, but the gains haven't been experienced equally.

Cancer death rates remain high for some minorities, including African-Americans. There are geographic differences, too. Death rates for breast and colorectal cancers have declined faster in New England than in other parts of the country. Cancer is also more likely to be fatal for people living in poverty or those without a college degree.

As soon as the sun comes up, Nhia Lee starts working in the garden. Lee tends a half-acre plot overflowing with fresh herbs near her home in Chepachet, R.I. She spends mornings weeding, watering and harvesting fresh lemongrass, lemon balm, lemon verbena and several varieties of mint before heading to a local warehouse to work the 3:30 to 11:30 p.m. shift.

Lee, who came to the United States in 1989 as a refugee from Laos, insists that she doesn't mind the long hours, explaining, "Immigrant people like me want opportunities to reach our goals of having a better life here."

Dr. Nick Nelson walks through busy Highland Hospital in Oakland, Calif., to a sixth-floor exam room, where he sees patients from around the world who say they have fled torture and violence.

Nelson, who practices internal medicine, is the medical director of the Highland Human Rights Clinic, part of the Alameda Health System. A few times each week, he and his team conduct medical evaluations of people who are seeking asylum in the United States.

Have you ever noticed something most virtual assistants have in common? They all started out female.

One of the most famous, Amazon's Alexa, got her name because of CEO Jeff Bezos' preference. "The idea was creating the Star Trek computer. The Star Trek computer was a woman," says Alex Spinelli, who ran the team that created the software for Alexa.

Spinelli is now the chief technology officer of LivePerson. His boss, CEO Robert LoCascio, is bothered by that story about Alexa.

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

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

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

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Most drugs have side effects, but sometimes they're actually good news.

Researchers are now exploring whether some cheap and common drugs have side effects that could help people fight off the flu and other lung infections.

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

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Animator, director, screenwriter, producer, songwriter — Rebecca Sugar is a true Renaissance woman.

The 30-year-old Maryland native is the force behind “Steven Universe,” the first Cartoon Network show created independently by a woman. The show is now in its fifth season and has become something of an empire.

Walla Walla County in Washington state might just be the only place on Earth where you have to brake for bees.

"You can see the signs here," says Mike Ingham, as he drives by a 20 mph speed limit sign with a smaller one below stating "Alkali Bee Area."

"There's actually a county ordinance to slow the cars down who go by here, because a speeding car can kill a lot of alkali bees," Ingham says.

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Starbucks: Goodbye, Plastic Straws

Jul 9, 2018

Starbucks announced on Monday it plans to eliminate plastic straws from its 28,000 stores worldwide by 2020.

The company will broaden the manufacture and use of what some in social media have dubbed the "adult sippy cup." It's a plastic strawless lid that will come to replace single-use plastic straws that now inundate its coffee shops.

This piece combines and updates two posts from spring 2018.

During the summer, it's safe to assume children are using technology more than usual.

There's new evidence to support a decades-old strategy for preventing the tick bites that lead to all sorts of nasty diseases, including Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

The remedy involves spraying your clothing with permethrin — a pesticide that's chemically similar to extracts of the flowering chrysanthemum plant.

Alan Dambach was in his late 50s when he noticed how unsteady his hands had become.

Over the next decade, his tremor got so bad he had difficulty eating with a spoon or fixing equipment at his family's tree farm in Western Pennsylvania.

"I couldn't get nuts and bolts to work," he says.

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

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

From June to September, monsoon rains fall on Mumbai, India's largest city, delivering relief from stifling heat and vital nourishment to surrounding farmland. But they also bring an unwelcome visitor: Tons of garbage wash up on the city's shores.

When Mumbai floods, the water flushes waste out of city streets, storm drains and slums and sends it to the Arabian Sea. Then the tides ebb and blanket the beaches in that trash — most of it, plastic.

And now the government is taking action with a ban on plastics.

There is a moment as heatstroke sets in when the body, no longer able to cool itself, stops sweating. Joey Azuela remembers it well.

"My body felt hot, like, in a different way," he says. "It was like a 'I'm cooking' hot."

Three summers ago, Azuela, then 14, and his father were hiking a trail in one of Phoenix's rugged desert preserves. It was not an unusually hot day for Phoenix, and they had gotten a later start than usual. By the time they reached the top, Azuela was weak and nauseous. They had run out of water.

In this week’s Medical Minute, Dr. Joseph Hobbs, chairman of the Department of Family Medicine at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University, discusses how Viagra may be an effective agent against colorectal cancer. The Medical Minute airs at 8:18 a.m., 1:20 p.m. and 5:18 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday on the 17 GPB radio stations across Georgia. For more Medical Minute episodes, visit the GPB Augusta SoundCloud page.  The Medical Minute is written and produced by The Medical College of Georgia in collaboration with GPB-Augusta.


It started with a rolled ankle during a routine training exercise.

Shannon Hubbard never imagined it was the prologue to one of the most debilitating pain conditions known to exist, called ­­­­­­­complex regional pain syndrome.

It's a condition that causes the nervous system to go haywire, creating pain disproportionate to the actual injury. It can also affect how the body regulates temperature and blood flow.

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