Health & Science

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Whether it's food production, medical microbiology or alcohol-fermentation, one yeast genus holds a near monopoly on research: Saccharomyces.

It's "the most well-studied organism in history," according to Indiana University's Matthew Bochman, a microbiologist specializing in the research of new bacteria and yeast for beer-brewing.

Teens and children struggling with anxiety are often prescribed medication or therapy to treat their symptoms. For many, either drugs or therapy is enough, but some young people can't find respite from anxious thoughts. For them, a study suggests that using both treatments at once can help.

Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael W. Young are the joint winners of the 2017 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine, winning for their discoveries about how internal clocks and biological rhythms govern human life.

The three Americans won "for their discoveries of molecular mechanisms controlling the circadian rhythm," the Nobel Foundation says.

For most people, buying a "fragrance-free" or "hypoallergenic" moisturizer that turns out to be neither might be frustrating, but not harmful. But for people with sensitive skin or conditions like eczema or psoriasis, it can be a big problem.

"I will start to itch and I have to get it off my body right away," says 62-year-old Kathryn Walter, who lives in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Walter has a severe case of eczema and chooses moisturizers that claim to be free of fragrance and allergy-causing additives. But more often than not, Walter ends up with a product that clearly isn't.

Health organizations are emphasizing that myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome is a serious long-term illness, not a psychological disorder, and that standard forms of exercise do not help. Instead, they're acknowledging that exercise can make the disease much worse unless doctors and patients are very careful.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has already revised its patient guidelines on ME/CFS and is currently revising guidelines for physicians.

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

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

This is Lulu's log, stardate October 1, 2017, where we consider matters of space, the stars and the universe.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

More than a week after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, most of the island remains without electricity, food and drinkable water. On Sunday, President Trump criticized the U.S. territory's pleas for help and tweeted that Puerto Ricans "want everything to be done for them."

But before that, one famous New York break dancer took it upon himself to do something for his people on the island.

When Chris Tuan was a Department of Defense contractor in the early 1990s, the Air Force asked him to think of something that could de-ice its airfields around the world.

Heavy cargo aircraft were landing on icy runways and skidding off, he says, "so they wanted to find out some innovative way to de-ice the runway."

The challenge? He couldn't use any salt or de-icing chemicals because of the damage they can do to concrete.

Inviting a cat to live in a distillery is like offering a child free room and board at a Disney World theme park. In a distillery, there are tall stacks of shipping pallets to climb, oak barrels to jump on, pipes to nimbly tightrope-walk across and — of course — a steady supply of rodents to hunt.

There's an idea percolating up from the anthropology world that may make you rethink what makes you happy.

The idea is not new. It surfaced in the popular consciousness back in the late 1960s and helped to galvanize a growing environmental movement.

And now several books are bringing it back into the limelight.

College involved "many anxiety attacks and many trips home" for Daniel Share-Strom, an autistic 27-year-old motivational speaker in Bradford, Ontario. It wasn't just the challenge of organizing his assignments and fighting the disability office for the extra time he needed for tests. It was also managing all the aspects of daily life that most people not on the autism spectrum take for granted.

"Relationships are so much harder to understand or initiate when by default you don't really know what certain facial expressions mean or what certain actions mean," Share-Strom says.

The Golden Record is basically a 90-minute interstellar mixtape — a message of goodwill from the people of Earth to any extraterrestrial passersby who might stumble upon one of the two Voyager spaceships at some point over the next couple billion years.

But since it was made 40 years ago, the sounds etched into those golden grooves have gone mostly unheard, by alien audiences or those closer to home.

A few years ago, suddenly jobless and homeless, Emily Nunn set out on what she sardonically calls her "journey back from madness." It would culminate in her new memoir, The Comfort Food Diaries: My Quest for the Perfect Dish to Mend a Broken Heart.

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

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This year marks the 100th anniversary of Marshmallow Fluff — peanut butter's second most famous sandwich co-star.

An estimated 20,000 Fluff fans celebrated the centennial in sticky style last Saturday, in the New England neighborhood where the confection was first concocted — Union Square in Somerville, Mass., just outside of Boston.

Editor's note: The original version of this story said that the iguanas on the U.S. Virgin Islands feed on mosquitoes and that Hurricane Irma decimated the iguana population, which would most likely result in a proliferation of mosquitoes. In fact, iguanas do not feed on mosquitoes and there is no correlation between their reduced number and the mosquito population. We have updated this story.

When Boyd Coble heard the sheriff's deputy pounding on his door in Houston in the middle of the night, he rolled over and went back to sleep. Coble, who lives alone, except for his Australian sheepdog, Wally, knew all about Hurricane Harvey. He just didn't think his own home would flood. It never had before, and even if a little water did trickle in, Coble was pretty sure he and Wally could ride it out.

On Florida's Marathon Key, lobster boats pull up to the docks in the afternoon, same as they would on any September day.

But this year, instead of hauling in thousands of valuable spiny lobsters, most are unloading the few traps they can find, and maybe a quarter of the usual catch.

Boat captain Carlos Moreira is tired after a long day at sea searching for lost traps.

"Well you gotta start somewhere, so you just look for one," says Moreira.

Manuel Perez is a veterinarian who specializes in caring for cattle, and he knows many of Puerto Rico's dairy farmers.

Yesterday, he got in his truck and went to visit one of them, Jose Antonio Lopez. The route he took, along the island's northern coast, winds past forests. Until a week ago, when Hurricane Maria ripped through, it was beautiful.

"I tell you, it's just gone. It's all gone," Perez says. "A lot of the trees are down, and the trees that are standing don't have any leaves at all."

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

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Philosophers have long worried whether it is ever really possible to know how things are, internally, with another.

After all, we are confined to the external — to mere behavior, or perhaps to behavior plus measurements of brain activity. But the thoughts, feelings, images, sensations of another person, these are always hidden from our direct inspection.

The situation of doctors facing unresponsive victims of brain injury is a terrifying real-world example of the fact that we our locked out of the minds of another.

The charity World Vision International is a major provider of disaster relief across the globe. So when Hurricane Harvey hit Texas, the group's office in the United States revved up its fundraising big-time.

"We've raised just under $4 million in cash donations," says Drew Clark, senior director of emergencies at World Vision's U.S. office.

Two weeks later Hurricane Irma roared through the Caribbean and Florida. This time World Vision brought in $900,000.

Title IX is often credited with getting more girls involved in sports, but there's another, more intimate milestone in the women-in-sports story that deserves some recognition: This year, the Jogbra turns 40.

In 1977, Hinda Miller had just started working at the University of Vermont and had taken up jogging. But she found she had a problem: What to do with her breasts? "I used two bras," she says. "You know, everyone has their stories of what they did."

Hurricane Harvey flooded more than a dozen Superfund toxic waste sites when it devastated the Texas coast in late August. An EPA report predicted the possibility of climate-related problems at toxic waste sites like those in Texas, but the page detailing the report on the agency's website was made inactive months before the storm.

Drink Up! Volunteers Swallow Bacteria That Causes Typhoid

Sep 29, 2017

If somebody asked you to drink a solution filled with live bacteria that can cause typhoid, you'd probably say ... no.

How Yom Kippur Fasts Became All About The Feasts

Sep 29, 2017

On Yom Kippur — which begins Friday night — over half of American Jews will fast (according to a recent survey). Whether in temple or at their workday desk, many will use the opportunity to reflect on their individual and collective actions over the past year, and their hope for the coming year. After the sun sets, they'll break their fast. And a lot of people will really break their fast.

It started with a casual text conversation around Thanksgiving. Or maybe it was a Twitter poll about which zodiac sign to go on a date with that night. It depends who you ask.

Either way, New York City-based poets Dorothea Lasky and Alex Dimitrov — the voices behind the viral Twitter account "Astro Poets" — aim to change the way the Internet sees the zodiac.

Becoming a mother is often portrayed as a magical and glorious life event. But many women don't feel joyful after giving birth.

Many companies are investing money in social media to advertise new products. But they could be paying a hidden price for those ads.

Read more:

Wang, Shuting and Greenwood, Brad N. and Pavlou, Paul A., Tempting Fate: Social Media Posts by Firms, Customer Purchases, and the Loss of Followers (July 10, 2017). Fox School of Business Research Paper No. 17-022.

Let's say you're a scientist, and you've invented what you think is a useful treatment for pain. But you have a problem. You don't have the money to go through the regulatory approval process. Should you try to sell it to consumers anyway, and run the risk of being accused of selling snake-oil?

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