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It's no secret that movie theaters are trying to preserve the theatrical experience as something special — something you can't replicate, even in your tricked-out living room with your home theater system. Theater design is one of the ways they're trying to add value, as consultants and Shark Tank competitors might put it.

But at a recent screening of Blade Runner 2049, I experienced a technology that isn't new but was new to me, and with it, the need to make a plea that I never expected to make. Theaters, I beg you: don't manhandle my physical being.

Insurers, hospitals and health advocates are waiting for Gov. Jerry Brown to deal the drug lobby a rare defeat, by signing legislation that would force pharmaceutical companies to justify big price hikes on drugs in California.

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After the Food and Drug Administration inspected a Massachusetts bakery, they made some objections about allergens and cleanliness, proper precautions with bread dough and the listing of one particular ingredient in the granola.

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Today, three scientists won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for developing a new way to image biological molecules. NPR's Nell Greenfieldboyce has more on the winners.

The Living Wounded

Oct 4, 2017

In the days to come, the victims whose lives were taken in the Las Vegas shooting massacre will be honored and remembered. But many who survived the tragedy with serious injuries are just coming to terms with difficult days ahead.

Kerri De Nies received the news this spring from her son's pediatrician: Her chubby-cheeked toddler has a rare brain disorder.

She'd never heard of the disease — adrenoleukodystrophy, or ALD — but soon felt devastated and overwhelmed.

"I probably read everything you could possibly read online — every single website," De Nies says as she cradles her son, Gregory Mac Phee. "It's definitely hard to think about what could potentially happen. You think about the worst-case scenario."

When you push through the pumpkin-orange door into the cozy, diner-shaped Florence Pie Bar, you're likely to find a table of new moms with their babies or another of old friends: Groups delighting in neighborly conversation, old-fashioned community and a slice of comfort.

Dr. Christopher Fisher was working at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center just off the Las Vegas strip on Sunday evening when the patients starting arriving.

"It did look a bit like a war zone, can't say that it didn't," he remembers. "Frantic families, blood in the hallways."

People came in so grievously injured and so many at a time that Fisher, who is the medical head of trauma services for the hospital, and his colleagues used markers, writing directly on patients, to do triage.

This past weekend, basketball players from island nations across the Indian Ocean converged in Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar, to face off in the regional championships. But no one was to cheer on the teams. The bleachers were empty — because of the plague.

Ben & Jerry's and Vermont dairy farmworkers have come to an agreement on a program they say will ensure "just and dignified working conditions" on the Vermont farms that supply milk for the ice cream company.

Representatives from the Vermont farmworker advocacy group Migrant Justice and Ben & Jerry's CEO Jostein Solheim came together Tuesday in front of Ben & Jerry's Burlington ice cream shop to sign the agreement.

Pixabay / Ben Reiss and Chris Ehlen

This week a group of scientists were awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine for their discoveries related to our circadian rhythms. Emory University professor Ben Reiss joined us in May to talk about his latest exploration of sleep patterns, “Wild Nights: How Taming Sleep Created Our Restless World.” We revisit that conversation, then we’re joined in the studio by Assistant Professor of Neuroscience for Morehouse School of Medicine, Chris Ehlen.

Would Aliens Look Like Us?

Oct 4, 2017

The universe is teeming with earth-like planets.

In February, three were discovered circling a star, Trappist-1, 40 light years away. Last November, one even closer yet was found — four light years away — orbiting our next-door neighbor, Proxima Centauri. By one estimate, there are as many as 40 billion planets similar to Earth just in our Milky Way galaxy.

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It is Nobel Prize week. And so far, Nobels have been handed out in physics and medicine. Today it's chemistry.

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The 2017 Nobel Prize in chemistry has been awarded to researchers Jacques Dubochet, Joachim Frank and Richard Henderson for their work that developed cryo-electron microscopy, which the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences says "both simplifies and improves the imaging of biomolecules."

In a tiny hamlet in Tanzania, children who have never been to school, and can't recognize a single letter in any language, are about to start learning basic math and reading. They'll do this with the help of a cutting-edge, artificially intelligent "tutor" who can hear what they are saying in Swahili and respond meaningfully.

In the slums of Bogota, Colombia, children play with special board games, dominoes and dice games that can teach them math and reading in a matter of months. Youth volunteers in the community help bring the games to younger children.

Valerie Green is still waiting to be cured.

The Delaware resident was diagnosed with hepatitis C more than two years ago, but she doesn't qualify yet for the Medicaid program's criteria for treatment with a new class of highly effective but pricey drugs.

The recent approval of a less expensive drug that generally cures hepatitis C in just eight weeks may make it easier for more insurers and correctional facilities to expand treatment.

Tesla gets more than its fair share of media hype, but it appears to be stumbling in the spotlight.

Citing "production bottlenecks," Tesla reported this week that it delivered only 220 Model 3 sedans and produced 260 in September. That's far below some pretty ambitious goals set out by its CEO, Elon Musk.

Every user who had a Yahoo account in August 2013 was likely affected by its massive hack, the company's parent, Verizon, said Tuesday.

This latest disclosure triples the number of accounts compromised by the major 2013 data breach that the company disclosed late last year. At the time, Yahoo said hackers had stolen data associated with 1 billion user accounts; the new disclosure escalates that number to 3 billion.

Of the 56 million annual abortions performed around the world, nearly half, or 25 million, posed some threat to the health or life of the woman. The vast majority of unsafe abortions – 97 percent — were performed in developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Fresh evidence that the body's immune system interacts directly with the brain could lead to a new understanding of diseases from multiple sclerosis to Alzheimer's.

A study of human and monkey brains found lymphatic vessels — a key part of the body's immune system — in a membrane that surrounds the brain and nervous system, a team reported Tuesday in the online journal eLife.

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Dr. Graham Chelius has delivered hundreds of babies. But when a woman comes into his family medicine practice in Waimea, Hawaii, seeking an abortion, he can only advise her to buy a plane ticket.

"There are no abortion providers on our island," Chelius said, "so if one of my patients wants to end her pregnancy, she has to fly to a different island 150 miles away to get this care."

Most people have had some exposure to mercury. Fish is one source. So are mercury vapors from workplaces and factories. That's what the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say.

At very low levels, the mercury isn't likely a problem (although it's hard to say exactly how low is "safe.")

Across the United States, more than one out of every 10 people is "food insecure," which means they don't know where their next meal is coming from. In Trinity County, a sparsely populated area in northwestern California, that number is closer to one in five.

Jeff England, director of the Trinity County Food Bank, is trying to change that.

The sun has barely come up in the tiny town of Douglas City, Calif. England and two other men are almost done packing a couple of trucks with food.

In 1915, Albert Einstein concluded his General Theory of Relativity, a theory that would revise our understanding of gravity in radical ways.

Before Einstein, the dominant description of gravitational phenomena was based on Isaac Newton's theory, proposed in 1687. According to Newton, every two objects with mass attract one another with a force proportional to their masses and inversely proportional to the square of their distance: double the distance, the attraction falls by a factor of four.

For social media editors, the worst nightmare is accidentally posting something personal on the work account.

On Monday night, NPR swing editor Christopher Dean Hopkins lived that nightmare when he posted about Ramona, on NPR's Facebook account:

Twelve minutes later, after realizing his mistake, he edited that post and replaced it with this:

"We don't generally delete posts, so I tried to do it in a way that would be transparent," Hopkins says. "My job is to promote our good work, and I catastrophically failed in that last night."

Congress finally seems ready to take action on the Children's Health Insurance Program after funding lapsed Sept. 30.

Before the deadline, lawmakers were busy grappling with the failed repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

CHIP covers 9 million children nationwide. But until Congress renews CHIP, states are cut off from additional federal funding that helps lower- and middle-income families.

Sam Chereskin and Whit Rigali want to redefine what it means to get trashed. The pair discovered that the sugars in almost-stale bread, bagels and cakes destined for the landfill could be distilled into premium vodka, turning imbibing into an act of social responsibility.

Three colleagues, Rainer Weiss, Barry C. Barish, and Kip S. Thorne, have won the 2017 Nobel Prize in physics, for their contributions to work that led to the observation of gravitational waves — something that happened for the first time in 2015.

Speaking of decades of trial and error that preceded their discovery, Weiss said Tuesday, "It's very, very exciting that it worked out in the end."

Weiss spoke by phone to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, roughly one hour after he had been woken up by Secretary General Göran K. Hansson.

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