Health & Science

Ways to Connect

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

President Trump and congressional Republicans are one step closer to fulfilling their campaign pledge to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The House voted along party lines today to advance a bill to get rid of major parts of the law.

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Yesterday afternoon, an email went out to all NPR employees. It was marked with one of those red exclamation points to indicate that you'd better read it.

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A court in Ontario, Canada, has cleared an animal rights activist charged with criminal mischief for giving water to pigs en route to the slaughterhouse.

The case against Anita Krajnc, who founded the animal rights group Toronto Pig Save, has garnered international attention. She faced the possibility of jail time and thousands of dollars in fines.

Updated at 10:34 a.m. ET Friday with Amazon's statement

The European Commission announced Thursday that it is concluding its antitrust investigation of Amazon over e-books, citing key changes to the contracts that inspired the probe in the first place.

The executive arm of the European Union had been wary of clauses that required publishers to alert Amazon about terms offered by the company's competitors — clauses that Amazon has now promised to modify.

There are thousands of parks, refuges and wilderness areas in the U.S. that are kept in something close to their natural state. But one form of pollution isn't respecting those boundaries: man-made noise.

New research based on recordings from 492 protected natural areas reveals that they're awash in noise pollution.

Jasson Garcia's daily travels look maddening. The sidewalks of Mexico City are broken and cars block pedestrian crossings. In the subway station, there's no elevator, so he has to labor down the stairs. Busy commuters push to get past him.

But you don't see this in Jasson's demeanor. The skinny 15-year-old seems totally unfazed.

"It just feels normal now," he says. "I can go basically anywhere I want without a problem."

Two weeks ago, a hashtag began going viral in India: #LahuKaLagaan. It literally means the tax on blood.

That would be India's tax on sanitary napkins — 12 to 15 percent on top of the 40 to 80 rupees (.60 cents to $1.25) for a package of eight. (Typically sold in an unmarked black plastic bag because India is not big on talking about menstrual topics.)

The House of Representatives is debating the GOP bill to repeal and replace the key pillars of President Obama's health care law. This is the same bill that was pulled from the House floor just over a month ago when it was clear Republicans didn't have the votes to pass it. Now, they think they do, and the House is on track to vote on the bill early Thursday afternoon.

You've probably heard the phrase "it takes a village" to get things done. Many clinics across the U.S. are finding that's true for effectively controlling their patients' high blood pressure.

Updated at 3:45 p.m. ET

Republicans finally got their health care bill.

After seven years of repeal-and-replace rhetoric against the Affordable Care Act, two presidential campaigns waged for and against it and a recent high-profile failure, House Republicans passed their bill.

The trouble is this bill is unlikely to ever become law — at least in its current iteration.

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The making of boudin is a visceral, bloody and time-consuming process in the French Caribbean territory of Guadeloupe. Boudin — a name that comes from an Anglo-Saxon word meaning "sausage" — was first recorded in ancient Greece by a cook named Aphtonite. A variation of it was mentioned in Homer's Odyssey as a stomach filled with blood and fat roasted over a fire.

Twitter, Google and Facebook have been sued for knowingly supporting the Islamic State by relatives of some of the victims killed in the terrorist attack in San Bernardino, Calif.

In the lawsuit, the families say the tech giants have allowed the Islamic State to build a vast online presence and spread its extremist beliefs — as well as enlist recruits and promote attacks such as the shooting at the Inland Regional Center on Dec. 2, 2015.

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Oklahoma Congressman Tom Cole is on the line. He's a member of the House Republican leadership team. He's a deputy whip, which means his job is to help round up votes as Republicans are trying to do again today for a repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act.

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Here's your first word on the day's news, starting with Republicans trying one more time.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

A little spit may help predict whether a child's concussion symptoms will subside in days or persist for weeks.

A test that measures fragments of genetic material in saliva was nearly 90 percent accurate in identifying children and adolescents whose symptoms persisted for at least a month, a Penn State team told the Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting in San Francisco, Calif. In contrast, a concussion survey commonly used by doctors was right less than 70 percent of the time.

For the first time in history, federal researchers report that a majority of U.S. homes rely on cellphones alone for a telephone connection, without a landline.

The number of cellphone-only households predictably has been climbing over the years, surpassing the households with both a landline and a mobile phone and now reaching almost 51 percent. And it's tracked by — of all agencies — the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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There's a decent chance you — or someone you know — just got an odd email inviting you to edit a document in Google Docs. The email could be from a stranger, a colleague or a friend, but it's addressed to a contact that boasts a whole string of H's in its name.

In other words, it looks a little something like this:

Or, if you're looking at the invite in Gmail, it likely looks more like this:

Either of these look familiar to you? Here's a handy tip: Don't open the link.

Health officials in Minnesota have been scrambling to contain a measles outbreak that has sickened primarily Somali-American children in the state. So far health officials have identified 34 cases, still mostly in Hennepin County, and they're worried there will be more.

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All four of Anab Gulaid's children have received their vaccinations on the recommended schedule. As Somali-American residents of Minneapolis, that puts them in the minority.

Fewer than half of Minnesota children of Somali descent have received the MMR shot that protects against measles, mumps and rubella, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Health, which is now working to combat a growing measles outbreak in the Twin Cities.

Get ready for a new kind of apple. It's called Cosmic Crisp, and farmers in Washington state, who grow 70 percent of the country's apples, are planting these trees by the millions. The apples themselves, dark red in color with tiny yellow freckles, will start showing up in stores in the fall of 2019.

Scott McDougall is one of the farmers who's making a big bet on Cosmic Crisp.

"It goes back to believing in the apple," he says.

"You believe?" I ask.

"I believe!" he says, and chuckles.

Faced with a recent spate of violent videos and hate speech posted by users on its network, Facebook has announced plans for a heap of hires: 3,000 new employees worldwide to review and react to reports of harm and harassment.

"Over the last few weeks, we've seen people hurting themselves and others on Facebook — either live or in video posted later. It's heartbreaking, and I've been reflecting on how we can do better for our community," CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Wednesday in a Facebook post.

On an afternoon a few weeks ago, Faithe Craig noticed that her temperature had spiked to just above 100 degrees F. For most people, the change might not be cause for alarm, but Craig is being treated for stage 3 breast cancer, and any temperature change could signal a serious problem.

She called her nurse at the hospital clinic where she gets care, at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, who told her to come in immediately for cancer urgent-care services at the hospital's hematology oncology clinic.

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We've been hearing stories about people adapting to a changing economy for our series Brave New Workers.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: Do I still see myself as a cowboy? Yeah, I do, and I hope I always do.

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