Health & Science

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Two years ago, a mental health advocate named Steve McCaffrey stood at a lectern in the Indiana statehouse, testifying in favor of an addiction treatment bill. After years of rising overdose rates, lawmakers in the health committee were taking action to combat the opioid epidemic. And they often turned to McCaffrey, who leads Mental Health America of Indiana, to advise them.

His brief testimony appeared straightforward. "We rise in support, urge your adoption," said McCaffrey. He said the legislation would move the state "toward evidence-based treatment."

Neuroscience isn't on many elementary school lesson plans. But this spring, a second grade class at Fairmont Neighborhood School in the South Bronx is plunging in.

Sarah Wechsler, an instructional coach with wide eyes and a marathoner's energy, asks the students to think about the development and progress that they've made already in their lives.

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

For the second time this year, David, one very outspoken Russian dissident is calling for mass demonstrations.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Yeah. It's Alexei Navalny. He has organized what he calls anti-corruption protests.

When Maisha Watson heard about baby boxes, her first reaction was: "Why would I want to put my baby in a box?"

She was talking with Marcia Virgil — "Miss Marcia" to her clients — a family support worker with the Southern New Jersey Perinatal Cooperative.

There's no doubt about it: Zika is on the retreat in the Americas.

In Brazil, cases are down by 95 percent from last year. Across the Caribbean, outbreaks have subsided. And in Florida, the virus seems to have gone into hiding. Health officials haven't investigated a new Zika case for more than 45 days in Miami-Dade County.

Gerry Realin says he wishes he had never become a police officer.

Realin, 37, was part of the hazmat team that responded to the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando on June 12, 2016. He spent four hours taking care of the dead inside the club. Now, triggers like a Sharpie marker or a white sheet yank him out of the moment and back to the nightclub, where they used Sharpies to list the victims that night and white sheets to cover them.

Zika may have fallen from headlines, especially with everything going on in politics these days, but the threat remains.

And recommendations for pregnant women haven't changed: Pregnant women — and those trying to get pregnant — should not travel to places where the Zika virus is circulating.

It's just too risky because Zika can cause birth defects.

But what about babies? Or kids? Is it safe to travel with them?

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LAKSHMI SINGH, HOST:

Just as class lets out for the summer across the country, a new one has just been announced.

NASA has chosen 12 people from a pool of more than 18,300 applicants for two years of training before giving them the title of "astronaut."

The space agency received a record number of applicants after announcing an open application in December 2015.

Jasmin Moghbeli, one of the dozen candidates, spoke with NPR's Lulu Garcia-Navarro from Houston's Johnson Space Center, where she'll undertake the training program starting in August.

How Climate Data Is Collected

Jun 11, 2017

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LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Republicans in both the House and the Senate are considering big cuts to Medicaid. But those cuts endanger addiction treatment, which many people receive through the government health insurance program.

During the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which we're in the middle of right now, it's traditional to break the fast in mosques and homes. In fact, you're supposed to be in congregation with others.

"It's almost like the Christmas for Muslims," jokes Omar Salha. "When you have on Christmas day everyone gathered with family members—it just doesn't seem right that during Ramadan you're breaking fast alone."

John T. Edge is a man who knows how spin a good yarn. Listening to him talk can feel like falling under the spell of your favorite college professor. He's wickedly smart, funny, warm and welcoming.

And for years, the tale he's been telling is all about Southern food: about its central role in Southern identity, and about what it owes to the African-American and immigrant cooks who have historically been left out of the standard narratives the South tells about itself.

Note: Given the subject this story explores, the discussion includes some explicit language.

For years, people with addiction have wondered when the media would recognize our condition as a medical problem, not a moral one — when they would stop reducing us to mere "addicts" and speak of us in the more respectful and accurate "person first" language that has become common for people with other diseases and disorders.

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Eight miles down a dirt road through the swamps of southwest Alabama, Lane Zirlott has 1.8 million oysters in the water at his family's farm in Sandy Bay.

"What we've been doing is trying to redefine what people are thinking of a Southern gulf oyster," Zirlott says.

The Murder Point oyster farm covers about two and half acres in the bay. The name changed from "Myrtle Point" in 1929, after a deadly dispute over oyster territory.

A recent report from Save the Children documents what many people have known for a long time — a baby is far better off being born in Europe than in sub-Saharan Africa.

I am a man of science. Okay, perhaps not of science, but certainly near it. As a science journalist, I'm science-adjacent. But I consider myself to be bound by logic and facts.

Which is why it was weird when I took my infant son in for his first vaccines and started peppering his pediatrician with questions. I inspected the boxes, telling myself that I was concerned about a recent bad batch of vaccines in Chiapas, Mexico, that made a bunch of kids sick. But really, I was looking for a label that read "not the autism kind of vaccine."

The National Park Service announced it will drain and clean the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool, after a water-borne parasite killed approximately 80 ducks there since May 20.

Bald eagles and red-tailed hawks are not typically friends — in fact, they have been known to fight each other to the death.

That's why Canadian bird watchers were so surprised when they spotted a pair of bald eagles sharing a nest with and caring for a baby red-tailed hawk, in addition to their own three eaglets.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

While Uber says you can "be your own boss" — that's their viral tagline — hundreds of drivers tell NPR it's not true. They say Uber feels more like a faceless boss — setting strict rules and punishments, but eerily hard to reach, even in emergencies.

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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Grant Blankenship / GPB

 

 

The numbers are in after four months of a six month experiment in promoting coyote hunting in Georgia. The results are mixed.

 

Trappers have turned in 176 coyotes to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources since March in what DNR is calling the Coyote Challenge. Jennifer Wisniewski, communications manager for the DNR Wildlife Resources Division, says that may sound like a lot until you consider what deer hunters do every fall.

 

If you were worried you had cancer, who would you call for information? Chances are a federally-funded cancer helpline isn't the first place that pops into your mind.

But for 40 years, a helpline funded primarily by the National Cancer Institute has been answering people's questions about cancer.

Authorities in Mozambique say bald men are being killed, allegedly because of the belief that their heads contain gold.

So far five bald men have been killed, all in central Mozambique: two in May in Milange district close to the border with Malawi and three this month in the district of Morrumbala.

Bald men across the country are afraid of exposing their scalps. Some stay indoors. Others hide their baldness with caps.

Judging by the headlines Friday morning, Taylor Swift's music has finally returned to streaming services. But that's not exactly the case.

For years, Canada's tech industry has watched in frustration as Microsoft and Google hired the country's top computer science grads for high-paying jobs in Seattle and Silicon Valley. Now Canada believes it has found a new way to lure American and international tech workers.

Canadian tech companies are eager to capitalize on anxiety among international visitors and would-be immigrants following President Trump's travel ban and other immigration policies. Meanwhile, the Canadian government is making it easier for highly skilled workers to move there.

While many Americans are familiar with dishes like egg foo young, there are Chinese-American and Chinese immigrant communities throughout the country where foods like ma po tofu and congee are also on menus.

And Panda Express, America's biggest Chinese fast-food chain, hopes to make those more traditional dishes mainstream. "Panda Express ... has the opportunity to be the ambassador of Chinese food to many people," says Andrea Cherng, the company's chief marketing officer.

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