Health & Science

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More Americans are drinking alcohol, and a growing number of them are drinking to a point that's dangerous or harmful, according to a new study published in JAMA Psychiatry this week.

The study, sponsored by a federal agency for alcohol research, examined how drinking patterns changed between 2002 and 2013, based on in-person surveys of tens of thousands of U.S. adults.

It's always appealing to think that there could be an easy technical fix for a complicated and serious problem.

For example, wouldn't it be great to have a vaccine to prevent addiction?

"One of the things they're actually working on is a vaccine for addiction, which is an incredibly exciting prospect," said Dr. Tom Price, secretary of Health and Human Services.

Seltzer's Popularity Bubbles Up In The U.S.

Aug 10, 2017

We may be in the middle of a seltzer bubble.

Americans are drinking nearly 170 million gallons of the fizzy stuff each year, and sales have gone up 42 percent over the past five years with no signs of slowing down. There's even a restaurant in Boston offering a $40 flight of limited-edition seltzers.

People generally think that editing human genes might be OK, but most think that there's a clear line that shouldn't be crossed when it comes to changing traits that would be passed down to new generations, according to a survey reported Thursday.

President Trump says he is ready to declare the nation's opioid crisis "a national emergency," saying it is a "serious problem the likes of which we have never had." Speaking to reporters at the entrance to his Bedminster, N.J., golf club, where he is on a working vacation, Trump promised "to spend a lot of time, a lot of effort and a lot of money on the opioid crisis."

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When people in several North Carolina precincts showed up to vote last November, weird things started to happen with the electronic systems used to check them in.

"Voters were going in and being told that they had already voted — and they hadn't," recalls Allison Riggs, an attorney with the Southern Coalition for Social Justice.

The electronic systems — known as poll books — also indicated that some voters had to show identification, even though they did not.

In Africa as well as parts of Asia and Latin America, women and babies die when labor takes a complicated turn and there is no one to provide a cesarean section. Young people succumb to accidental injuries for lack of surgical interventions. A child born with a cleft palate or club foot suffers through a lifetime of disability because no team is available to provide routine surgery.

Promising online shows that run from comedy and reality to live sports, Facebook says its new Watch platform will let creators connect with their audiences — and earn money in the process. The social media giant's plan calls for using ads to monetize video.

Since President Trump took office in January, enforcement of environmental laws has dropped dramatically, compared with past administrations. A study released by the Environmental Integrity Project finds that $12 million in civil penalties have been collected from violators in 26 cases between January and the end of July.

Nepal's government has enacted a new law aimed at stopping the practice of forcing a woman who is menstruating, or has just given birth, to sleep outside their home, in a hut or shed.

According to the law, any family member who forces a woman to practice "chaupadi" — the Nepali term used for menstrual isolation — can be punished with a jail sentence of 3 months and/or a fine of 3,000 rupees (about $30).

Toyam Raya, spokesperson for the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare, told NPR that the new law will be implemented within a week.

Ten years ago, Fumiko Chino was the art director at a television production company in Houston, engaged to be married to a young Ph.D. candidate.

Today, she's a radiation oncologist at Duke University, studying the effects of financial strain on cancer patients. And she's a widow.

How she got from there to here is a story about how health care and money are intertwined in ways that doctors and patients don't like to talk about.

Delray Beach's charming downtown, palm trees and waves attract locals, vacationers and, increasingly, drug users who come here to try to get off opioids. In some parts of the small Florida community, there's a residential program for people recovering from addiction — a sober living house or "sober home" — on nearly every block. Sometimes two or three.

To make the Iraqi and Kurdish dumpling soup kubeh, Melanie Shurka dedicates hours. There are the broths to make, such as the beet-based selek or the lemon-infused hamusta enhanced by rounds of zucchini and Swiss chard. But more time is dedicated to making the dumplings themselves.

Think about the last time you were bored — seriously and persistently bored.

Maybe you had to carry out some mind-numbing repetitive task for hours on end, or maybe you were just trapped at the airport or train station, waiting out a lengthy delay without a good conversational partner, book, or movie. You look at a clock and it seems to move at a surreal, glacial pace.

Every day, more than 10 Americans suffer amputations on what is by far the most dangerous woodworking tool: the table saw. Regulators in Washington, D.C., are moving closer to adopting a rule that would make new saws so much safer that they could prevent 99 percent of serious accidents.

Later this month, the moon's shadow will fall on Carhenge.

"Holy cow man, guess what? There's going to be an eclipse," says Kevin Howard, the head of the visitor's bureau for Alliance, Neb., which is home to the Stonehenge replica made of cars.

Franklin, the fifth tropical storm to form in the Atlantic so far this year, has intensified into the first hurricane of the season as it prepares to make landfall on Mexico's Gulf Coast.

The storm, with winds of about 85 mph, was moving west at about 13 mph. It is expected to make landfall Wednesday night north of Veracruz.

Even before media reports and a congressional hearing vilified Valeant Pharmaceuticals International for raising prices on a pair of lifesaving heart drugs, Dr. Umesh Khot knew something was very wrong.

One thing, at least, is not in dispute: Supermarkets in several countries across Europe have pulled eggs from their shelves for fear they were contaminated with Fipronil, an insecticide that's typically used to kill lice and ticks — and that has the potential to harm humans. The contamination became a public scandal earlier this month.

That's about where the agreement ends, however.

A new study may prompt hand wringing among you tuna poke and sushi lovers. When it comes to pollutant levels, researchers now say where your tuna was caught matters.

Update 3:35 pm August 10: Two days after making a few general remarks about the opioid crisis, President Trump on Thursday called it "a national emergency" and said his administration would be drawing up papers to make it official.

"We're going to spend a lot of time, a lot of effort and a lot of money on the opioid crisis," Trump told reporters at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J.

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Now a mystery solved in Arlington, Va. It starts with an unmarked Ford passenger van making its way through suburban streets with an apparently empty driver's seat. Adam Tuss of NBC Washington was on the case.

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Mark Andrew Green, the new head of the U.S. Agency for International Development, kicked off his first day on the job with a speech to hundreds of employees. In his speech on Monday, he focused on what they can expect from him and his vision for USAID.

"I can't tell you what an honor and a relief it is to finally be here with you," said Green, a former Republican congressman from Wisconsin. "Let's get at it. We got work to do."

When it comes to astronomical events, this year's annual Perseid meteor shower is in serious danger of being, shall we say, eclipsed.

Many believe this dinosaur is the largest to ever walk the Earth.

It would have weighed more than 10 African elephants put together and had a thighbone taller than the man who helped dig it up. And, fair warning, it stands at such a remarkable height that it might take a little scrolling to get through its portrait.

But for years, there was one thing the big guy didn't have: a proper scientific name.

With guest host John Donvan.

President Donald Trump has insisted that his 17-day stay at his New Jersey golf course is not a standard vacation:

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