Originally published on Tue October 15, 2013 12:14 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.
Originally published on Fri October 11, 2013 9:58 am
California opted to run its own health insurance exchange under the Affordable Care Act. That makes it one of only 16 states and Washington, D.C. to do so. Enrollment is going well, but some trained outreach workers are still waiting to be put to work.
JEFFREY HESS, BYLINE: I'm Jeffrey Hess in Jackson, Mississippi which is one of the 34 states letting the federal government take the lead in establishing a health insurance exchange. Heavy web traffic and software problems have made it nearly impossible to use the new web site since it opened last week.
MEREDITH STARK: Why I keep trying is because this is something we need.
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.
Originally published on Tue October 15, 2013 2:17 pm
Most Americans don't get the 4 to 6.5 cups of fruits and vegetables we're supposed to consume every day, per government guidelines. But companies that make juice, especially high-end, "fresh" juice, are ready to come to our rescue.
Originally published on Thu October 10, 2013 4:12 pm
Fast-food giant McDonald's is set to become a publishing giant as well — at least temporarily. For two weeks next month, McDonald's says it will oust the toys that usually come in its Happy Meals and replace them with books it has published itself.
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.
Originally published on Fri October 11, 2013 10:17 am
Update: Friday, Oct. 11, 2013:
At 9:00 pm Thursday night, the USDA told us that Foster Farms had submitted and implemented immediate changes to their slaughter and processing systems to allow for continued operation.
"FSIS inspectors will verify that these changes are being implemented in a continuous and ongoing basis," Aaron Lavallee of USDA's FSIS told us. Additionally, to ensure that the Salmonella Heidelberg has been controlled, the agency says it will continue intensified sampling at Foster Farms facilities for at least the next 90 days.
The state health insurance marketplaces that opened Oct. 1 give consumers who are looking for coverage on the individual market a whole new way to shop for health plans. At the same time, health insurance brokers and insurers will also continue to sell plans directly to customers. Sorting out who's selling what can be a challenge.
Having even a small stroke can be a scare. Some people recover well, while others struggle to talk, move or live as they did before.
Quality of life in the years after a stroke is something that's gotten surprisingly little attention, even though so-called quality-adjusted life years are a common measure for the cost-effectiveness of medical treatments.
Originally published on Thu October 10, 2013 7:32 am
Human rights activists are suing the United Nations on behalf of five Haitian families afflicted by cholera — a disease many believe U.N. peacekeeping troops brought to Haiti in the aftermath of the devastating 2010 earthquake there.
Originally published on Wed October 9, 2013 1:40 pm
Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki warned lawmakers on Wednesday that the partial government shutdown means that about 3.8 million veterans will not receive disability compensation next month.
Shinseki, in testimony before the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs, said pensions to more than half a million vets or surviving spouses will also be derailed if the stalemate over a temporary spending measure drags on into late October.
Classical mechanics, represented by Isaac Newton, typically doesn't play nicely with quantum mechanics, represented by Schrodinger's cat. But the 2013 Nobel laureates for chemistry figured out a way to get the two to work together.
This micrograph shows a single mitochondrion (yellow), one of many little energy factories inside a cell.
Credit Courtesy of Lori Martin
Will Martin, with his mother, Lori. Will was 2 when Lori learned he was born with Leigh's syndrome, a progressive genetic condition. So far it's given him low muscle tone and some difficulty with speech.
The federal government is considering whether to allow scientists to take a controversial step: make changes in some of the genetic material in a woman's egg that would be passed down through generations.
A bomb exploded Monday near a group of polio vaccinators in Peshawar, killing at least two policemen, The New York Timesreported. Since December, at least 20 polio workers have been killed in similar assaults.
Such violence has threatened the global effort to stamp out the disease in the three countries where the virus is still endemic — Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has issued a health alert warning that an estimated 278 illnesses caused by Salmonella Heidelberg are associated with raw chicken produced by Foster Farms at three facilities in California.
Suzanne Cloud, that jazz musician we just heard, lives in Pennsylvania, one of the majority of states using the federal government's system for the new health insurance marketplace. And as we've just heard, the federal system has been plagued with problems. But what about the 16 states and District of Columbia that decided to set up their own insurance exchanges? How are they doing?
Almost 1 in 10 high school and college-aged people have forced someone into sexual activity against his or her will, a study finds. The majority of those who have done it think that the victim is at least partly to blame.
The results come from a multiyear study funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that was designed to look for the roots of adult sexual violence. Most adult perpetrators say they first preyed on another while still in their teens.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up in money coach - look, you're a college student, you're hard-pressed for some cash and one of your classmates invites you to a, quote, amazing business opportunity. Is there a way to tell if it's the real deal and not just a scam? We'll take a closer look at some of these schemes or scams that seem to target college students in just a few minutes.
Originally published on Tue October 8, 2013 1:53 pm
Dr. Douglas Aspros says the federal health law is increasing his costs to buy medical equipment, which he has no choice but to pass onto his patients — most of whom are uninsured.
None of Aspros' patients, though, will benefit from the Affordable Care Act's expansion of coverage. Aspros, you see, treats dogs, cats, birds, hamsters, parrots and other small animals at his veterinary center in Pound Ridge, N.Y.
A malaria vaccine studied in more than 15,000 African children has been found to reduce the number of cases of disease by 27 to 46 percent.
That's only modest efficacy compared to most accepted vaccines. But this would be the first anti-malarial immunization on the market, and its developers emphasize that it still prevents a lot of cases. Its main sponsor, GlaxoSmithKline, says it's good enough to justify seeking regulatory approval in 2014.
Curing cancer and eliminating heart disease has been the holy grail of medical research. But there could be even greater benefits if aging itself could be delayed, a study finds.
This is not quite as farfetched as it sounds. While the anti-aging "cures" being marketed these days are largely snake oil, in the laboratory scientists have managed to extend the lives of laboratory animals. And they have a better understanding of the mechanisms of biological aging.
It's always a bit sad to say goodbye to summer corn and tomatoes, and settle into fall.
There are consolations, though — like the new crop of pears. Over 80 percent of America's fresh pears are grown in the Pacific Northwest, and this year's harvest is slated to be one of the biggest on record.
But some of the fruit is rotting in the orchards because there aren't enough workers to pick them.
From left: Randy Schekman, Thomas Suedhof and James Rothman shared the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
Credit Courtesy of the Nobel Prize
The three winners of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2013 discovered how cells package and ship material, like insulin and dopamine, to other cells.
Credit Courtesy of the Nobel Prize
How does insulin get into the blood? The hormone (dark blue) is carried to the cell surface in a bubble-like compartment, called a vesicle. When the vesicle binds with the cell membrane, it pops open and releases the insulin.
Originally published on Mon October 7, 2013 11:01 am
The three scientists who shared this year's Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine all made discoveries that illuminate how the body's cells communicate.
The research has sweeping implications for our understanding of how nerves in the brain transmit signals, how the immune system attacks pathogens and how hormones, like insulin, get into the bloodstream.
Bioengineers have already harnessed the discoveries to manufacture new vaccines and improve the quality of insulin for diabetics.