Science & Environment

Shots - Health News
2:46 pm
Thu April 30, 2015

Expanding Medicaid Trims Hospitals' Costs Of Caring For Uninsured

St. Agnes Hospital in Baltimore is one of the 131 hospitals run by Ascension Health. It's a not-for-profit, Catholic health care system that treats many low-income patients.
St. Agnes Hospital

Originally published on Thu April 30, 2015 4:42 pm

When patients show up in the hospital without health insurance, they often receive charity care — the hospital treats the person and then swallows some or all of the costs.

It's central to the mission of many nonprofit hospitals, particularly those serving low-income areas.

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Environment
2:37 pm
Thu April 30, 2015

Drought In Calif. Creates Water Wars Between Farmers, Developers, Residents

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross.

(SOUNDBITE OF NEWS MONTAGE)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER #1: California going back to the drawing board to deal with their drought.

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Shots - Health News
2:13 pm
Thu April 30, 2015

Small Plague Outbreak In People Tracked To Pit Bull

Rod-shaped specimens of Yersinia pestis, the bacterial cause of plague, find a happy home here in the foregut of a flea. Fleas can transmit the infection to animals and people, who can get pneumonic plague and transmit the infection through a cough or kiss.
Science Source

Originally published on Fri May 1, 2015 2:14 pm

For the first time in 90 years, U.S. health officials say they have diagnosed a case of the plague that may have spread in the air from one person to another. Don't be alarmed — the plague these days is treatable with antibiotics and is exceptionally rare (just 10 cases were reported nationwide in 2014).

And if the plague has become mostly a curiosity in the United States, this case is more curious than most.

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The Salt
1:58 pm
Thu April 30, 2015

How British Farmers Are Making Rapeseed (Canola) Posh And Flavorful

Algy Garrod's rapeseed in bloom in Norfolk, England.
Anne Bramley for NPR

Originally published on Thu April 30, 2015 4:23 pm

Rapeseed, an oilseed known in North America as canola, has a mild reputation as a cooking oil. Maybe that's because the version that most consumers know is a pale, neutral-flavored oil used for frying and baking.

But in the U.K., a more colorful and flavorful version has made its way onto store shelves: cold-pressed rapeseed that goes for £5-7 per 500 milliliters (about $9-12 for 17 fluid ounces).

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The Two-Way
11:41 am
Thu April 30, 2015

Kill The Messenger: NASA Orbiter Crashes Into Mercury

This image of a "red spot" on Mercury, which is thought to be the result of a volcanic explosion, was sent to Earth by the Messenger probe in 2011.
NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington

Originally published on Thu April 30, 2015 5:36 pm

After 4,104 orbits of Mercury and billions of miles of space travel, NASA's Messenger orbiter ended its mission with a quiet bang on Thursday. Messenger crashed into the planet it has been orbiting for four years.

NASA says the orbiter began the process of lithobraking at 3:26 p.m. ET — meaning that Messenger essentially scraped to a stop after hitting the planet's surface traveling at thousands of miles an hour. The Oxford English Dictionary reminds us that litho is the combining form for the Greek word for "stone."

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Shots - Health News
11:28 am
Thu April 30, 2015

The Great Success And Enduring Dilemma Of Cervical Cancer Screening

Dr. George Papanicolaou discovered that it was possible to detect cancer by inspecting cervical cells. The Pap smear, the cervical cancer screening test, is named after him.
American Cancer Society AP

Originally published on Tue May 5, 2015 1:30 pm

Cervical cancer, which still kills about 4,000 American women every year, is almost entirely preventable. Proper screening can catch early warning signs that could lead to cancer without the right treatment. But how often women should get screened and which tests should be used has been hotly debated by women, doctors and medical researchers for the past decade.

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Goats and Soda
10:21 am
Thu April 30, 2015

Safe Surgery Is A Dream In The Developing World

A surgeon and nurse anesthetist a baby by emergency cesarean section at a hospital in Rwanda.
Amber Lucero Dwyer/Courtesy Lifebox Foundation

Originally published on Thu April 30, 2015 2:21 pm

As you're wheeled down to surgery, nervously waving goodbye to loved ones, it's unlikely that one of your fears is whether your surgeon will have to double up as your anesthesiologist.

But at a hospital in Kenya, Dr. David Barash remembers watching an obstetrician perform a cesarean section while at the same time instructing a nurse on how to deliver anesthesia.

Then at another hospital in Nigeria, Barash saw women left unattended, lying on beds in the hallway, to recover on their own after C-sections.

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The Two-Way
2:32 pm
Wed April 29, 2015

Welcome To The Neighborhood: 2 Super-Earths Discovered

An artist's rendition of the HD 7924 planetary system — just 54 light-years away from Earth — shows newly discovered exoplanets c and d, which join Planet b.
Karen Termaura, BJ Fulton UH IfA

Originally published on Thu April 30, 2015 8:53 am

Using telescopes in Hawaii and California, astronomers have found two super-Earth-size planets orbiting a star a mere 54 light-years away.

This brings to three the total number of exoplanets around the star HD 7924.

The discovery is important for two reasons. NASA's Kepler telescope has shown that giant rocky planets orbiting close to their stars are fairly common for distant stars. The new finding confirms that such planets exist around local stars, as well.

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Shots - Health News
9:38 am
Wed April 29, 2015

Why The Urologist Is Usually A Man, But Maybe Not For Long

Originally published on Wed April 29, 2015 11:48 am

If you need to see a urologist, the odds are very good that your doctor will be a man. Only about 8 percent of the practicing urologists are female, according to a poll from WebMD that includes gender distribution among medical specialties.

The fact that there are few female urologists might not seem shocking – urologists spend a lot of time looking at penises. But they also treat a wide variety of urinary tract and kidney health problems in both men and women.

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Shots - Health News
3:55 am
Wed April 29, 2015

Florida's House Quits Early, At Impasse Over Medicaid Expansion

Florida state Senate president Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, was applauded by his fellow senators Tuesday, after expressing his disappointment with the Florida House for ending its session three days early, instead of working through the budget clash.
Steve Cannon AP

Originally published on Wed April 29, 2015 2:22 pm

The Republican-controlled Florida legislature — at odds over the question of whether to expand Medicaid — abruptly ended its session three days early on Tuesday, leaving hundreds of bills that are unrelated to health care unfinished.

Andy Gardiner, president of Florida's state Senate, says he's disappointed with the House's decision to stop negotiating and leave town.

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