Science

youth and tobacco
5:55 pm
Thu June 14, 2012

The kids are still smoking, and we're not doing much about it

“It’s worth recognizing that just about nobody takes up smoking after age 25. And something like 9 of 10 adults who smoke say they started before 18."
Anthony Posey Flickr

Youth smoking is re-emerging as a concern in Washington. The US Surgeon General came to Seattle this week to give a pep talk to anti-smoking campaigners, who are coping with three years of drastic budget cuts.

If it seems like smoking is already on a perpetual decline, that's a mis-perception, said assistant Surgeon General Patrick O’Carroll, in an interview:

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emergency response
9:42 am
Thu June 14, 2012

Emergency crews pushing for more heart-shockers in office buildings

A public AED in a King County office building. Health officials want more of these in office buildings all over. Photo by Keith Seinfeld

How many ways do you know to save someone who's dying?

A good first step is to call 911. If the person's heart has stopped, then it's time for CPR. And, third on your list might be the AED, or automatic external defibrillator.

Emergency responders are hoping this electronic heart-shocking device will become a standard part of the workplace.

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NPR Science
10:06 pm
Wed June 13, 2012

An unexpected discovery: A tropical methane lake on Saturn's Titan

Originally published on Wed June 13, 2012 3:50 pm

Scientists said it was an "unexpected" discovery: There's a liquid methane filled lake near the equator of Saturn's moon Titan.

Scientists had seen lakes on Titan before, but they didn't expect them near the equator because they believed the intensity of the sun at those latitudes would evaporate the liquid.

"This discovery was completely unexpected because lakes are not stable at tropical latitudes," planetary scientist Caitlin Griffith of the University of Arizona, who led the discovery team, told the AP.

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NPR Science
12:09 pm
Wed June 13, 2012

New Research: U.S. Is Warming, But Not Uniformly

In red, are the states that have seen the highest temperature change.
Climate Central

Originally published on Wed June 13, 2012 2:09 pm

New analysis (pdf) of climate data finds that since 1912, the United States has warmed 1.3 degrees. But that warming is concentrated in certain states, some of which have "warmed 60 times faster than the 10 slowest-warming states."

All of that is according to Climate Central, a research and journalism non-profit that seeks to inform the public about climate and energy. The center looked at data from the National Climatic Data Center's U.S. Historical Climatology Network.

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NPR health
8:51 am
Wed June 13, 2012

Traces Of Virus In Man Cured Of HIV Trigger Scientific Debate

Timothy Ray Brown, widely known in research circles as the Berlin patient, was cured of his HIV infection by bone marrow transplants. Now scientists are trying to make sense of the traces of HIV they've found in some cells of his body.
Richard Knox NPR

Originally published on Thu March 27, 2014 6:35 am

Top AIDS scientists are scratching their heads about new data from the most famous HIV patient in the world — at least to people in the AIDS community.

Timothy Ray Brown, known as the Berlin patient, is thought to be the first patient ever to be cured of HIV infection.

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mental health
12:43 pm
Mon June 11, 2012

Learning 'mental' first aid, before the next crisis

There's no first aid kit for mental health, but there are strategies.
renjith krishnan freedigitalphotos.net

In the wake of the recent murder spree at Café Racer, there have been questions about how to get help for someone whose mental health is deteriorating. Social service agencies are filling part of the gap, by training volunteers to provide what they call "mental health first aid."

The idea comes by comparison to CPR – a type of first aid any of us can learn. The mental health version is a 12-hour course for anyone who wants to be better equipped to help someone in a mental health crisis.

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NPR science
7:32 pm
Thu June 7, 2012

UW's new fetal genetics test: Less risk, more controversy

Originally published on Fri June 8, 2012 9:37 am

The full genetic code of a fetus has been cracked. The technique, used by scientists at the University of Washington, could offer parents safer and more comprehensive prenatal testing in the future. It also leaps into a debate over what information parents will eventually have — and use — to decide whether to have an abortion.

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fitness and nutrition
5:45 pm
Thu June 7, 2012

Weight loss for a big prize - is it a gimmick?

Overall, so far in this weight-loss contest, 1,400 contestants in Pierce County lost more than 15,000 pounds.
Allan Foster Flickr

If you’ve ever thought about losing weight, it helps to have a prize, as 1,400 people in Pierce County can tell you. They’re in a contest that ends this week – similar to TV’s Biggest Loser reality show – with winners getting a $10,000 prize.

It may seem like a gimmick. But scientists say it has a solid foundation.

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Washington volcanoes
3:23 pm
Wed June 6, 2012

When Rainier blows, volcanic mudflow could cost us $6 billion

Section of the map produced by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources showing lahar flows.

“It’s not a question of if, but when, the next volcanic event will occur”

When it blows, Mount Rainier might produce “Lahar,” or volcanic mudflow, that could cause property losses of up to $6 billion in the Puyallup Valley, a new study by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources shows.

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NPR Diversions
7:33 am
Tue June 5, 2012

Hairy, scary, biting spiders - and they travel in packs

A spider suspected to be a new species of tarantula is displayed
AP

Originally published on Tue June 5, 2012 6:37 am

Here's a nightmare come true: a group of Indian villagers were gathered for a festival last month when they were attacked by a swarm of large, biting spiders. They're hairy, have fangs, and apparently latch on when they sink their teeth into their prey.

Calling Peter Parker.

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earthquake research
12:13 pm
Mon June 4, 2012

Cruising the coast for signs of where 'the big one' will hit

The R/V Langseth will be studying the sea floor this summer off Washington's coast.
Columbia University/Earth Institute

One of the world’s most advanced research ships will be cruising along the Washington and Oregon coasts this month – to look for clues about giant earthquakes. 

A zone that runs parallel to the coast – but deep beneath the sea – is known to have unleashed mega-quakes in the past, similar to the one that caused the giant tsunami last year in Japan. The Cascadia fault zone runs about 700 miles alongside Vancouver Island, Washington and Oregon.

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NPR tech news
12:41 pm
Sat June 2, 2012

'Flame' Virus Fuels Political Heat Over Cyber Threats

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sat June 2, 2012 10:51 am

New information about computer viruses shows how countries may be lining up to fight a cyberwar. The New York Times reported that former President George W. Bush and President Obama both authorized computer attacks against Iran, culminating in the Stuxnet virus, which targeted Iranian nuclear facilities.

Meanwhile, a United Nations agency raised alarms about another virus, dubbed "Flame," which may also have been designed for use against Iran.

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health insurance
5:50 pm
Tue May 29, 2012

Want to pay less for medical care? ... find a better deal online

Not all MRIs cost the same -- and now some insurance companies help you compare costs and save.
The Bs Flickr

If you have high-deductible health insurance – possibly paying $2,000 or more out of pocket – the price of every test or procedure matters a lot. In theory, you should shop around.

But, that’s easier said than done, as Seattle real estate broker Steven Wayne discovered: He ran through his $3,800 deductible, pretty quickly, after a recent series of fainting spells.

Now, new online tools can help you compare real costs.

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Health
3:35 pm
Fri May 25, 2012

State audit finds unexplained gaps in children's mental health care

Oregon auditors have found that girls under age 13 and Hispanic youth are using using mental health services at a disproportionately low rate. Photo by HHS.gov

Originally published on Fri May 25, 2012 3:11 pm

SALEM, Ore. – Oregon needs to do a better job at making sure that low-income children are getting the mental health services they’re eligible for. That's the finding of a new audit by the Oregon Secretary of State's office.

The report applauds the Oregon Health Authority for bringing tens of thousands of additional children into the Medicaid-funded Oregon Health Plan over the past three years.

But auditors found that some groups of children were using mental health services at a disproportionately low rate. They include girls under age 13, and Hispanic youth of all ages.

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Health news
7:54 am
Fri May 25, 2012

Dispatchers' CPR coaching saves lives when every minute counts

Becky Cole was eight months pregnant with her son Ryan when she passed out. Her husband performed CPR for six minutes with the help of a dispatcher before medics arrived.
Courtesy of Medic One Foundation

Originally published on Fri May 25, 2012 7:09 am

Your chances of surviving a sudden heart attack may depend on where you live; some American cities have survival rates five times higher than others. One difference can be 911 dispatchers.

If they coach someone over the phone to give CPR, the chance of surviving goes up. There's now a push to make it universal, but some cities are slow to implement the necessary training.

Becky Cole was eight months pregnant with her fourth child when she collapsed against the bathroom door. It was January 2011 in the Seattle suburb of Woodinville.

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