Health & Science

How Worm Warriors Are Beating An Unbeatable Worm

Aug 11, 2016

How do you get rid of river blindness? It's all about the worm.

Specifically, about "breaking the life cycle" of onchocerca volvulu, the parasitic worm that causes the disease, says Dr. Frank O. Richards Jr., who directs the Carter Center's river blindness elimination and other tropical disease programs.

How Weight Training Can Help Women Stay Strong

Aug 11, 2016

For years I was a totally lopsided exerciser.

I did aerobic workouts until the cows came home, easily meeting the government's recommendation of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise per week. But I rarely picked up a dumbbell or did a pushup. I definitely didn't follow the government's advice to work out all my major muscle groups with resistance training at least twice a week.

Researchers in Brazil who are trying to help people with spine injuries gain mobility have made a surprising discovery: Injured people doing brain training while interacting with robot-like machines were able to regain some sensation and movement.

A few months ago, when Dr. Thomas Lee logged in to his patients' electronic medical records to renew a prescription, something unexpected popped up. It was a notice that one of them had died.

Lee, a primary care doctor at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, was scheduled to see the patient in three days.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Australia launched its first online census this week but was quickly forced to shut it down after what the government said were multiple denial-of-service attacks, which purposefully inundate websites with automated requests to cause shutdowns.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics said it closed down the online census form out of precaution after a fourth attack on Tuesday.

Night owls and stargazers, get ready for something spectacular on Thursday.

The annual Perseid meteor shower, already one of the most reliably impressive celestial events, promises to be especially good this year.

The Perseid shower happens every year in August "when Earth ventures through trails of debris left behind by an ancient comet," according to NASA.

Large employers expect health costs to continue rising by about 6 percent in 2017, a moderate increase compared with historical trends that nevertheless far outpaces growth in the economy, two new surveys show.

"These cost increases, while stable, are both unsustainable and unacceptable," said Brian Marcotte, CEO of the National Business Group on Health, a coalition of very large employers that got responses from 133 companies.

Puerto Rico is in the midst of one of the worst Zika outbreaks of any region in the northern hemisphere. The island has been reporting roughly 1,500 new cases of Zika each week. Hundreds of pregnant women are already infected, and public health officials say the outbreak in Puerto Rico probably won't start to subside until September or October.

Yet health officials also say efforts to stop the spread of the virus are being hampered by mistrust, indifference and fatigue among residents, over what some view as just the latest tropical disease to hit the island.

When tennis star Maria Sharapova admitted in March to having taken the heart drug meldonium, the public got a rare glimpse of a common practice that's often called "legal doping."

For the past few years, the world has been on the edge of one of the biggest medical triumphs of modern history: Wiping out a horrific parasite from the face of the Earth.

In the early '80s, there were 3.2 million cases of Guinea worm — a two-feet long worm that emerges slowly — and excruciatingly — from a blister on the skin.

A massive campaign, led by President Jimmy Carter, has eradicated the worm from all but four countries. And this year, there have been only seven cases, the Carter Center reports.

A study of drinking water supplies throughout the U.S. shows that numerous sources are contaminated with firefighting chemicals.

A team of scientists examined government data from thousands of public drinking water supplies. The water samples had been collected by the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

The scientists were looking for several types of chemicals from a class of fluorinated substances used commonly in firefighting foam.

Delta canceled about 530 flights on Tuesday in addition to about 1,000 canceled a day earlier after a power outage in Atlanta brought down the company's computers, grinding the airline's operation virtually to a halt.

Seth Kaplan, who follows the airline industry, asks the question on everyone's mind: "If every small business on the corner can manage to keep its website running through a cloud-based server and all those sorts of things, why can't Delta Air Lines with all its resources manage to do that?"

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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