research

Sick Presidents
2:14 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

Dirty Money: A Microbial Jungle Thrives In Your Wallet

Even some euro bank notes may need a good scrubbing. Like dollar bills, these notes are made from cotton and they harbor an array of bacteria.
Thomas Leuthard The Preiser Project/Flickr

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 7:23 am

You may have heard that dollar bills harbor trace amounts of drugs.

But those greenbacks in your wallet are hiding far more than cocaine and the flu. They're teeming with life.

Each dollar bill carries about 3,000 types of bacteria on its surface, scientists have found. Most are harmless. But cash also has DNA from drug-resistant microbes. And your wad of dough may even have a smudge of anthrax and diphtheria.

In other words, your wallet is a portable petri dish.

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Natural Gas Drilling
2:21 pm
Mon April 21, 2014

Documents Show New York's Fracking Health Study Is Ongoing

Originally published on Mon April 21, 2014 2:37 pm

Documents obtained by a group opposed to hydrofracking in New York show that the Cuomo Administration is conducting a thorough and comprehensive health study on the controversial natural gas drilling process. The Finger Lakes-based organization is wondering, why then, the review has been conducted almost entirely in secret.

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Marijuana Use
1:42 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Study Links Casual Pot Use With Brain Abnormalities

(prensa420/Flickr)

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 3:30 pm

Young adults who smoke marijuana at least once a week showed changes in the size and shape of two key brain regions, according to a new study of 20 pot smokers and 20 non-pot smokers between 18 and 25.

This is the first time recreational marijuana use has been connected to significant brain changes.

The findings, a collaboration between Northwestern University and Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School, were published in The Journal of Neuroscience.

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WAMC News
12:04 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Progress Reported On Casino Impact Research Project

Originally published on Tue April 15, 2014 6:41 pm

Thousands of Massachusetts residents are being surveyed as part of multi-year, multi-million dollar research project on the social and economic impacts of introducing casino gambling to the state.

The members of the UMass Amherst led research team say initial results will be reported to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission in September. These findings will be the baseline that will be used to measure changes in problem gambling, domestic violence, housing prices and a host of other socio-economic factors as casinos open over the next one to three years.

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Dinosaurs
3:43 am
Wed April 16, 2014

A T. Rex Treks To Washington For A Shot At Fame

Pat Leiggi (right) of the Museum of the Rockies prepares to move a leg bone of the T. rex at the Smithsonian's Natural History Museum in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday.
Maggie Starbard NPR

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 4:33 pm

This week, scientists at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History will start unpacking some rare and precious cargo. It's something the Smithsonian has never had before — a nearly complete skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus rex.

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Food Psychology
3:22 am
Mon April 14, 2014

Mind Over Milkshake: How Your Thoughts Fool Your Stomach

Bianca Giaever for NPR

Originally published on Mon April 14, 2014 2:58 pm

It was late, almost 9 at night, when Justin Holden pulled the icy pizza box from the refrigerator at the Brookville Supermarket in Washington, D.C.

He stood in front of the open door, scanning the nutrition facts label.

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Brain Science
10:09 am
Thu April 10, 2014

How Yale Scientists Are Trying to Read Minds

New research is using brain data to reconstruct images of facial memories.
Credit digitalbob8/flickr creative commons

New research out of Yale University is claiming clairvoyance. It's called "neuroimaging," a fancy way of saying scientists are reading your mind.

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Cosmos And Culture
2:36 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

Sizing Up Your Children Is A Tricky Business

iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon April 7, 2014 2:25 pm

When I had a second baby earlier this year, my three-year-old suddenly seemed enormous. "Check out the size of those feet!" I marveled. She seemed so heavy, so tall, so substantial.

She even seemed more capable, more robust. Images of airborne cookware and toppling bookshelves faded. The staircase didn't seem quite so treacherous. Instead, I trusted in her basic competence to scale the kitchen stools without incident and to keep (most) sharp-and-pointy things beyond the envelope of her person.

It wasn't just me: my husband reported the same experience.

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Health Disparity
2:59 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Smoking Rates Decline in Connecticut, But Striking Disparities Persist By County

Credit Marius Mellebye / Creative Commons

Although smoking rates in Connecticut decreased between 1996 and 2012, striking disparities persist among counties, according to new research from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.

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Science Education
8:55 am
Wed April 2, 2014

Changing The Face Of Astronomy Research

Students from CUNY's AstroCom NYC program meet for a weekly class at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Dennis Robbins, an associate professor of science education at CUNY's Hunter College, teaches Betsy Hernandez (from left), Jaquelin Erazo, Ariel Diaz and Mario Martin.
Beth Fertig WNYC

Originally published on Wed April 2, 2014 1:04 pm

Shooting for the stars is expensive.

Advanced sciences like astronomy require years of study and graduate degrees. And the soaring cost of college can be a heavy obstacle for low-income and minority students hoping to break into those fields.

A program at the City University of New York hopes to lift that burden by providing scholarships and one-on-one mentoring to underrepresented students.

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Agriculture
1:16 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

Report: New England Should Develop Locally-Grown Food System

Buttonwoods Farm in Griswold from above.
Chion Wolf WNPR

A new report on sustainable agriculture policy recommends that New England build its own regional food system with locally-grown products. Cris Coffin, New England director of the American Farmland Trust, a co-author of the study, said consumers in the region want to buy local. 

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Here & Now
4:17 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Climate Report Warns of 'Severe' and 'Irreversible Impacts'

Severely damaged corn stalks due to a widespread drought are seen at sunset on a farm near Oakland City, Indiana, August 15, 2012. A new report from the IPCC details the current and future effects of climate change, including droughts and crop shortages. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 4:14 pm

The United Nation’s International Panel on Climate Change released its fifth report on climate change today.

The report details recent impacts of climate-related extremes such as wildfires, droughts and floods and predicts the vulnerability of human and natural resources, including a stress on crops and water resources.

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Climate Change
7:15 am
Mon March 31, 2014

U.N. Report Raises Climate Change Warning, Points To Opportunities

The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's report.
ipcc.ch

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 10:07 am

  • From 'Morning Edition': NPR's Geoff Brumfiel on the U.N. panel's report

"The effects of climate change are already occurring on all continents and across the oceans," and the world is mostly "ill-prepared" for the risks that the sweeping changes present, a new report from the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concludes.

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Healthy Eating
3:31 am
Mon March 31, 2014

Rethinking Fat: The Case For Adding Some Into Your Diet

Nutrition researchers are reaching a new consensus: Cut back on all those refined carbs. And remember that some fat is good.
Stacy Spensley/Flickr

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 3:10 pm

Remember the fat-free boom that swept the country in the 1990s? Yes, we know from the Salt readers who took our informal survey that lots of you tried to follow it. And gave up.

"I definitely remember eating fat-free cookies, fat–free pudding, fat-free cheese, which was awful," Elizabeth Stafford, an attorney from North Carolina, told us in the survey.

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Science Education
2:29 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Physics 101: Why Did the Universe Blow Up?

Credit STILLFX/iStock / Thinkstock

Recent observations of so-called "gravitational waves" are providing astronomers with the strongest confirmation yet of cosmic inflation, a theory that says the universe rapidly expanded following the Big Bang.

Why, exactly, did the universe balloon by 100 trillion trillion times, in less than the blink of an eye, 13.8 billion years ago?

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Child Mental Health
2:03 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

Kids Benefit From Counseling At The Pediatrician's Office

Behavior issues like defiance and aggression are common, and short-term counseling can help parents and kids do better.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue March 25, 2014 2:49 pm

Pediatricians often recommend some mental health counseling for children who have behavior problems like defiance and tantrums. But counseling can be hard to find. Children are much more likely to get help if the counselor is right there in the doctor's office, a study finds.

The children in the study had behavior problems, and many also had attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or anxiety. They were 8 years old, on average, and two-thirds were boys.

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Medicine
8:07 am
Wed March 19, 2014

Cancer Treatments Could Hurt Your Heart

Credit Wikimedia Commons

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for cancer survivors. A relatively new scientific field called "cardio-oncology" is working to change that.

Chemotherapy and radiation may save you from cancer, but they can also do a lot of damage to your heart. 

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Astrophysics
1:16 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

Scientists Announce A Big-Bang Breakthrough

This image released Monday by Harvard-led researchers represents the gravitational waves in the Cosmic Microwave Background in the microsecond after the Big Bang.
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

Originally published on Mon March 17, 2014 4:19 pm

This post was update at 4:00 p.m. ET.

Researchers say they've discovered that gravitational waves rippled through the fabric of space-time in the first sliver of a second after the Big Bang — the first direct evidence for a mysterious, ultrarapid expansion at the dawn of the universe. If confirmed, it would represent one of the most profound insights in decades to emerge from the field of cosmology.

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Way Under Our Feet
7:22 am
Fri March 14, 2014

Rare Diamond Points To Mass Quantities Of Water In Earth's Mantle

Originally published on Thu March 13, 2014 5:53 pm

Impurities found in a pea-sized diamond that came from the (very) deep have bolstered evidence for a vast "wet zone" in the Earth's mantle, scientists publishing in the latest issue of Nature say.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Thu March 6, 2014

What's In A Name?

Credit kaatjevevoort / Flickr Creative Commons

Just last week, a Tennessee judge ruled that the parents of a baby boy they named “Messiah,” must change his name to Martin.

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Spider Venom
11:43 am
Wed March 5, 2014

Could Tarantula Venom Cure Your Aches and Pains?

Researchers at Yale have identified what they say is a more efficient way to screen thousands of spider neurotoxins against different pain receptors in the body. Above, the Peruvian Green Velvet tarantula.
Credit Yale University

Spider venom could be the next big thing to cure pain, according to research reported in the March issue of Current Biology from Yale University.

There are a lot of different components in venom. And here’s a cheery thought: not every part is out to kill you. 

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Screenings
3:46 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Mammogram Uncertainty Gives Patients, Doctors More Reason To Talk

Katherine Streeter for NPR

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 7:46 am

I am 51 years old and have had a yearly mammogram, more or less, since the age of 40.

I got them despite the fact that there is no history of breast cancer in my family. I did it because that was what my doctor and others, including the American Cancer Society, recommended.

Three years ago, I was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma in situ breast cancer after a screening mammogram. I underwent a mastectomy and chemotherapy. The doctors say my prognosis is good.

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Parenting
3:35 am
Mon February 24, 2014

Orphans' Lonely Beginnings Reveal How Parents Shape A Child's Brain

In the Institute for the Unsalvageable in Sighetu Marmatiei, Romania, shown here in 1992, children were left in cribs for days on end.
Tom Szalay

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 12:07 pm

Parents do a lot more than make sure a child has food and shelter, researchers say. They play a critical role in brain development.

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Drug Data
7:08 am
Mon February 17, 2014

Johnson and Johnson to Share Massive Amounts of Clinical Trial Data

Drug company Johnson & Johnson has agreed to share clinical trial data with Yale University.
Credit Fuse / Thinkstock

Drug companies like operating in the shadows, but a recent move by Johnson and Johnson may change all that. In collaboration with Yale University's Open Data Access Project (YODA), the pharmaceutical giant will now share its clinical trial data with researchers. 

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The Colin McEnroe Show
11:46 am
Wed February 12, 2014

Living With Multiple Sclerosis

Dr. Peter Wade is a neurologist at St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center and Medical Director of the Mandell Multiple Sclerosis Center at Mt. Sinai Rehabilitation Hospital
Chion Wolf

  

The actresses Teri Garr and Annette Funicello, the television hosts Montel Williams and Neil Cavuto, the writer Joan Didion, Ann Romney, the wife of the presidential candidate Mitt Romney, the comedian Richard Pryor. These are some of the people that you quote-unquote know that have, or in Pryor's case had, Multiple Sclerosis.

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Transplant Technology
2:20 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

'Lung In A Box' Keeps Organs Breathing Before Transplants

The Organ Care System keeps lungs warm, breathing and nourished while outside the body.
MediCommConsultants

Originally published on Wed February 12, 2014 8:57 am

When doctors rush a lung to a hospital for a transplant, the precious cargo arrives in the operating room in a container that seems more appropriate for Bud Light — a cooler filled with ice.

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Inpatient Care
4:14 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Are Hospital Stays Getting Safer?

Credit scantaur/iStock / Thinkstock

A new study published in The New England Journal of Medicine says that hospital stays may be getting safer, at least if you're admitted for a heart condition. 

Researchers used medical record data for more than 61,000 patients from 2005 to 2011. They studied more than 20 common problems patients typically encounter after admission to a hospital -- things like drug reactions, bed sores, and infection.

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Memory
2:22 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Our Brains Rewrite Our Memories, Putting Present In The Past

The brain edits memories of the past, updating them with new information. Scientists say this may help us function better in the present. But don't throw those photos away.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 8:04 am

Think about your fifth-birthday party. Maybe your mom carried the cake. What did her face look like? If you have a hard time imagining the way she looked then rather than how she looks now, you're not alone.

The brain edits memories relentlessly, updating the past with new information. Scientists say that this isn't a question of having a bad memory. Instead, they think the brain updates memories to make them more relevant and useful now — even if they're not a true representation of the past.

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Amputee Science
2:22 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

An Artificial Arm Gives One Man The Chance To Feel Again

Dennis Aabo Sorensen tests a prosthetic arm with sensory feedback in a laboratory in Rome in March 2013.
Patrizia Tocci/Lifehand 2

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 8:43 pm

Ten years ago Dennis Sorensen was setting off fireworks to celebrate New Year's Eve with his family in Denmark when something terrible happened.

"Unfortunately one of the rockets we had this evening was not good and when we light it then it just blew up and, yeah, my hand was, was not that good anymore," says Sorensen.

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Prescription Drugs
4:09 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

Over-the-Counter Drugs: A Prescription for Confusion

Credit Fuse / Thinkstock

At Able Care Pharmacy and Medical Supplies in Enfield, Ashraf Moustafa often tries to avert disasters involving drugs displayed on his store’s shelves. 

Moustafa, the pharmacy manager, recently spoke to an elderly woman seeking ways to treat dark blue patches on her arms. Instead of suggesting any remedies, he asked the woman what medicines she was taking, and discovered that she was dangerously mixing over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs with aspirin and the prescription blood thinner Plavix. He sent the woman to the hospital, fearing that she was suffering from internal bleeding.

“People have the impression that if a drug is approved for over-the-counter use, then it must be much safer than prescription medicine,” Moustafa says. “That’s when trouble happens.”

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