Science

Shots - Health News
1:20 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

NIH Allows Restart Of MERS Research That Had Been Questioned

A transmission electron micrograph shows Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus particles (colorized yellow).
NIAID

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 2:26 pm

Some researchers who study the virus that causes Middle East respiratory syndrome got an early Christmas present: permission to resume experiments that the federal government abruptly halted in October.

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Shots - Health News
8:47 am
Thu December 18, 2014

Worries About Unusual Botulinum Toxin Prove Unfounded

A culture of Clostridium botulinum, stained with gentian violet.
CDC

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 2:05 pm

Remember that worrisome new form of botulinum toxin we told you about in late 2013, the one that supposedly had to be kept secret out of fear it could be used as a bioweapon that would evade all of our medical defenses?

Well, as it turns out, it's not that scary after all. The antitoxin stored in the government's emergency stockpile works and would neutralize the toxin just fine.

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Research News
4:20 am
Thu December 18, 2014

Research Examines Character Concerns Versus Performance In The NFL

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 11:31 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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NPR Story
4:11 am
Thu December 18, 2014

Citing Health, Environment Concerns, New York Moves To Ban Fracking

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 11:31 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The state of New York has banned fracking. After six years of study, the state says there are too many health and environmental questions involved in the controversial drilling method. NPR's Jeff Brady reports.

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Science
2:36 am
Thu December 18, 2014

Arctic Is Warming Twice As Fast As World Average

A lone polar bear poses on a block of arctic sea ice in Russia's Franz Josef Land.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 11:36 am

The latest word from scientists studying the Arctic is that the polar region is warming twice as fast as the average rise on the rest of the planet. And researchers say the trend isn't letting up. That's the latest from the 2014 Arctic Report Card — a compilation of recent research from more than 60 scientists in 13 countries. The report was released Wednesday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

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Shots - Health News
11:06 am
Wed December 17, 2014

Behind The Scenes At The Lab That Fingerprints Microbiomes

Rob Knight, co-founder of the American Gut Project at the University of Colorado in Boulder, works in the lab where the samples are processed.
The American Gut Project

The gut microbiome may soon reveal important answers to questions about our health. But those answers aren't yet easy to spot or quick to obtain.

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Health
4:02 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Abuse Of Synthetic Drugs Declines Across U.S.

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 1:46 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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Space
4:02 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Methane Bursts On Mars Could Hint At Previous Life

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 1:46 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Something intriguing is happening on Mars. Instruments onboard the rover known as Curiosity are seeing bursts of methane entering the Martian atmosphere and then disappearing. NPR's Joe Palca reports.

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Shots - Health News
12:19 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Scientists Debate If It's OK To Make Viruses More Dangerous In The Lab

The coronavirus responsible for Middle East respiratory syndrome (green particles) seen on camel cells in a scanning electron micrograph.
NIAID/Colorado State University

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 3:26 pm

Imagine that scientists wanted to take Ebola virus and see if it could ever become airborne by deliberately causing mutations in the lab and then searching through those new viruses to see if any spread easily through the air.

Would that be OK?

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Goats and Soda
11:12 am
Tue December 16, 2014

Dengue Fever Strikes Millions. Now Scientists Hope To Strike Back

The dengue virus has an icosahedral shape, similar to the pattern on a soccer ball. Antibodies stop the virus by binding to its surface.
Laguna Design Science Source

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 2:19 pm

Dengue — aka "breakbone fever" — has been a tough nut to crack when it comes to making a vaccine.

The problem is that the mosquito-borne virus comes in four flavors, or strains. Vaccines that work on one strain haven't worked well on the others.

Now scientists at Imperial College London have discovered a potential way around this problem.

Immunologist Gavin Screaton and his colleagues have found molecules — specifically antibodies — in human blood that stop all forms of dengue.

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