Science

Goats and Soda
2:24 am
Fri January 2, 2015

Where Could Ebola Strike Next? Scientists Hunt Virus In Asia

Ecologists found signs of Ebola in a Rousettus leschenaultii fruit bat. These bats are widespread across south Asia, from India to China.
Kevin Olival/EcoHealth Alliance

Originally published on Sat January 3, 2015 11:45 am

A few years ago, disease ecologist David Hayman made the discovery of a lifetime.

He was a graduate student at the University of Cambridge. But he spent a lot of that time hiking through the rain forest of Ghana, catching hundreds of fruit bats.

"We would set large nets, up in the tree canopies," he says. "And then early morning, when the bats are looking for fruit to feed on, we'd captured them."

Hayman didn't want to hurt the bats. He just wanted a few drops of their blood.

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Science
3:38 pm
Thu January 1, 2015

These Froggies Went A Courtin' And Gave Birth To Live Tadpoles

The newly described L. larvaepartus (male, left, and female) from Indonesia's island of Sulawesi. Odd, sure, but at least they don't use their stomachs as breeding chambers, as some other frogs do.
Jim McGuire UC Berkeley

Originally published on Thu January 1, 2015 9:34 pm

When Jim McGuire and some colleagues recently cut open a frog that they'd collected and euthanized on an Indonesian island, they got quite a shock.

"Out came the tadpoles, and they were alive!" recalls McGuire, a herpetologist at the University of California, Berkeley.

The researchers had just found the first frog known to give birth to live tadpoles.

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Shots - Health News
2:49 am
Thu January 1, 2015

Ebola Aid Workers Still Avoiding New York And New Jersey

Last fall's state-ordered quarantine of nurse Kaci Hickox (shown here with her boyfriend, Theodore Michael Wilbur, in late October) started at the airport in Newark, N.J., then followed her home to Fort Kent, Maine. Hickox treated Ebola patients in Africa but never had the illness.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 1, 2015 9:40 am

Sara Back, a nurse practitioner at a public hospital in the Bronx, is not the kind of person to turn down a tough assignment. This month she's heading to Sierra Leone to work a short stint caring for Ebola patients.

"I am beyond ready," she says.

Back is passionate about treating patients suffering from the deadly disease. But she's not so keen on the mandatory 21-day quarantine she faces when she gets home.

"It's definitely a pain in the tush," she says. "I mean, jokingly, my colleagues say, 'Well, we'll see you in, like ... June.' "

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The Salt
12:45 pm
Wed December 31, 2014

Food Psychology: How To Trick Your Palate Into A Tastier Meal

Environmental cues — like the color, size and shape of the dinnerware, the music playing in the background and the lighting in the dining room — can alter how we experience food and drink. For example, research suggests that serving food on a red plate tends to reduce the amount diners eat.
Ariel Zambelich NPR

What makes the perfect meal?

Most of us might envision a specific dish, or a certain ingredient — a fine steak cooked medium-rare, grandma's chicken curry or mom's hearty ratatouille.

Charles Spence thinks about the food, for sure. But he also thinks about everything else: the color and size of the dinnerware, the music playing in the background and the lighting in the dining room.

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Shots - Health News
2:28 am
Wed December 31, 2014

Potent Powdered Caffeine Raises Safety Worries

One teaspoon of pure caffeine powder delivers about the same jolt as 25 cups of coffee.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest

Originally published on Fri January 2, 2015 6:32 am

Wade Sweatt thought he had found a healthier way to get himself going in the morning. Instead of getting his daily jolt of caffeine from a cup of coffee or a Coke, Sweatt decided last summer to try mixing some powdered caffeine he'd bought via the Internet with some water or milk.

"Wade was very health-conscious, a very healthy person," says Sweatt's father, James. "His idea was, this was healthier than getting all the sugar and the sodium and ... artificial sweeteners from drinking Coca-Colas and diet Cokes."

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Space
3:20 pm
Tue December 30, 2014

Scientists Bring The Sun Down To Earth To Learn How It Works

Originally published on Wed December 31, 2014 10:30 am

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

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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Politics
3:20 pm
Tue December 30, 2014

2014 Brought Lasting Action On Climate Change Policy

Water vapor, which looks like smoke, is seen rising from a power plant near Hengshui in China's Hebei province. In November, President Obama announced a landmark carbon-cutting deal with China — the world's leading producer of greenhouse gases. And the Chinese government has announced plans to cap the use of coal within five years.
Fred Dufour AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 31, 2014 10:30 am

Some of the stories that gripped our attention in 2014 will probably be forgotten in a few years — if not a few weeks. But there's one story that President Obama argues we'll be living with for decades to come.

"There's one issue that will define the contours of this century more dramatically than any other. And that is the urgent and growing threat of a changing climate," he said in September, addressing the United Nations Climate Change Summit.

Even as Obama struggled with other big challenges this year, climate was one area where he managed to get some traction.

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Goats and Soda
2:06 pm
Tue December 30, 2014

Tribute: The Man Who Linked Climate Change To Global Health

Tony McMichael has written more than 300 papers on how erratic weather and climate can cause health problems. He died in September.
James Giggacher Courtesy of Australian National University

Originally published on Fri January 2, 2015 7:50 am

When I asked climate change expert Tony McMichael back in March how he thought the world would deal with climate change, he said, "It's likely to be an extraordinary century and we're going to have to have our wits about us to get through it."

But the legions of scientists he inspired will have to go on without him. McMichael died in September in his native Australia from complications of pneumonia, leaving behind the fledgling field he founded — determining the health effects of climate change.

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Research News
4:03 pm
Mon December 29, 2014

Same-Sex Couples May Have More Egalitarian Relationships

Originally published on Mon December 29, 2014 5:35 pm

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

Medical Treatments
3:13 pm
Mon December 29, 2014

Doctors Not Cutting Back On Radiation For Breast Cancer Patients

Originally published on Mon December 29, 2014 5:35 pm

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

Transcript

LOURDES GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

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