Science & Environment

The Salt
6:38 pm
Fri October 11, 2013

Shutdown Leaves Some Seniors Worried About Their Next Meal

Seniors around the country depend on weekly deliveries of nutritionally balanced food from the USDA's supplemental nutrition program.
tmarvin iStockPhoto.com

Originally published on Fri October 11, 2013 7:27 pm

You've no doubt heard of Senior Meals on Wheels preparing hot meals delivered to the elderly. But there's a different meal program that's been put on hold because of the partial government shutdown. It's the USDA's Commodity Supplemental Food Program.

In Michigan's western Kent County alone, more than 1,300 low-income seniors depend on the program. For them, it's a nutrition lifeline: They can't just go to a food pantry for similar assistance.

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Shots - Health News
4:50 pm
Fri October 11, 2013

Why A Peanut Butter Test For Alzheimer's Might Be Too Simple

University of Florida researcher Jennifer Stamps administers the peanut butter sniff test to a volunteer.
Jesse S. Jones University of Florida

Originally published on Tue October 15, 2013 12:47 pm

Alzheimer's disease can be tough to diagnose, especially early on. Doctors can order brain scans and assay spinal fluids. But existing tests are imperfect and some can be invasive.

So you might understand the appeal of an alternative that researchers at the University of Florida in Gainesville tried. They had asked patients to sniff a dab of peanut butter during a routine test of cranial nerve function. Later, the team wondered if it could help them figure of it someone might be in the early stages of Alzheimer's.

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Health
2:38 pm
Fri October 11, 2013

A Trade-off Between Skin Protection and Testicular Cancer Risk

A genetic variation that protects skin against sun damage may also increase the risk of testicular cancer, at least in mice. Researcher Gareth Bond discusses why this relationship may have evolved and how the findings could help to create personalized cancer treatments for humans.

Books
2:36 pm
Fri October 11, 2013

'Brave Genius': A Tale of Two Nobelists

In Brave Genius: A Scientist, a Philosopher, and Their Daring Adventures from the French Resistance to the Nobel Prize, Sean B. Carroll tells the story of biologist Jacques Monod and philosopher Albert Camus--two men who made significant contributions to their respective fields, and who shared an enduring friendship.

Science
2:35 pm
Fri October 11, 2013

Nobel Prize Roundup: 'God Particle' Strikes Gold

This week a handful of scientists got the wakeup call of a lifetime: news they had won the Nobel Prize. This year's recipients predicted the existence of the Higgs boson, figured out how cells transport materials, and used computer programming to map chemical reactions. Winners and experts discuss the research behind this year's awards, and what comes next.

Sports
2:35 pm
Fri October 11, 2013

Baseball Postseason Predictions

Many baseball fans have a love affair with two things: their favorite team and statistics. Bruce Bukiet, an associate professor of mathematical sciences, shares his predictions and mathematical models for this year's Major League Baseball playoff standings.

The Salt
11:09 am
Fri October 11, 2013

Drinking With Your Eyes: How Wine Labels Trick Us Into Buying

When the Hahn Family switched their Pinot Noir to this label, the wine started flying off the shelves.
Tucker & Hossler Courtesy of CF Napa Brand Design

Originally published on Fri October 11, 2013 6:34 pm

We're all guilty of it. Even if we don't want to admit it, we've all been suckered into grabbing a bottle of wine off the grocery store shelf just because of what's on the label. Seriously, who can resist the "see no evil" monkeys on a bottle of Pinot Evil?

But the tricks that get us to buy a $9 bottle of chardonnay — or splurge on a $40 pinot noir — are way more sophisticated than putting a clever monkey on the front.

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Shots - Health News
6:57 am
Fri October 11, 2013

What Humans Can Learn From A Simple Kiss

Katherine Streeter for NPR

Originally published on Tue October 15, 2013 1:14 pm

At a basic level, kissing is a biohazard. What is love then, if not the willingness to expose yourself to a host of nasty diseases lurking in your partner's mouth?

But could kissing also be a tool with a purpose?

Psychology graduate student Rafael Wlodarski, from the University of Oxford, wanted to find out. Results from his experiments supported two of the existing hypotheses about why we kiss. First, we kiss to assess potential mates. Second, we kiss the mate we've found to maintain attachment.

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Shots - Health News
6:14 pm
Thu October 10, 2013

Shutdown Imperils Costly Lab Mice, Years Of Research

Bob Adams is a lab animal veterinarian at Johns Hopkins University.
Maggie Starbard NPR

Originally published on Thu October 10, 2013 8:33 pm

The government shutdown is likely to mean an early death for thousands of mice used in research on diseases such as diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer's.

Federal research centers including the National Institutes of Health will have to kill some mice to avoid overcrowding, researchers say. Others will die because it is impossible to maintain certain lines of genetically altered mice without constant monitoring by scientists. And most federal scientists have been banned from their own labs since Oct. 1.

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Shots - Health News
12:32 pm
Thu October 10, 2013

Our Skin's Sense Of Time Helps Protect Against UV Damage

Your skin knows the time.
iStockphoto.com

We all feel the biological master clock, ticking deep within our brains, that tells us when to sleep and when to wake.

Well, it turns out that our skin cells have a circadian rhythm of their own. Researchers have found that depending on the time of day, our skin's stem cells busy themselves with different types of tasks.

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