Health & Science

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has decided that organic food companies can keep using an emulsifier called carrageenan in foods like ice cream and high-protein drinks, despite a vote by an influential organic advisory committee to ban the ingredient.

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MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

When people send away samples for DNA testing they're often hoping the results can help them trace the lineage of their families over centuries and across continents. But when Kelli Rowlette received her results from Ancestry.com she discovered a much closer connection — about 500 miles away from where she lives — dating back to May 20, 1981. Her own birthday.

The Department of Homeland Security says it has seen activity in Washington, D.C., of what appear to be rogue surveillance devices that could be used to hijack cellphones, listen to calls and read texts.

But it says it's not able to actually track down where they are, because that would require more funding.

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MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Updated at 6:40 p.m. ET

Personal information of up to 87 million people — mostly in the United States — may have been "improperly shared" with Cambridge Analytica, a data analytics firm used by the Trump campaign that has recently come under fire.

The supermassive black hole lurking at the center of our galaxy appears to have a lot of company, according to a new study that suggests the monster is surrounded by about 10,000 other black holes.

For decades, scientists have thought that black holes should sink to the center of galaxies and accumulate there, says Chuck Hailey, an astrophysicist at Columbia University. But scientists had no proof that these exotic objects had actually gathered together in the center of the Milky Way.

When the newborn piglets first started getting sick in October 2016, farmers in China's Guangdong province suspected porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) — a disease they'd seen in the pigs before. And, at first, the tests did come back positive for PEDV. But then something strange happened. By January 2017, the pigs stopped testing positive for that virus — but kept getting sick.

Don't mess with other civilizations.

That's the "prime directive" in Star Trek and countless other sci-fi works. Of course, visitors to other planets get it wrong — a lot. Sometimes, they meddle in inappropriate ways and disaster ensues.

So what does this have to do with global health?

Well, here on Earth, doctors and medical students are flocking to programs where they spend a couple of weeks to months volunteering in what's called a "low-resource" country. In these places, medical expertise and technology may lag behind richer nations.

Citing salmonella concerns, the Food and Drug Administration has issued a mandatory recall for kratom products made by a Las Vegas company — and the federal agency says it's the first time it has ever taken such an action after a company ignored a federal request for a voluntary recall.

There is a paradox with living as a human nowadays.

A 2014 article from the United Nations states that about 54 percent of the human population lives in urban areas (more by now), a proportion that is projected to increase to 66 percent by 2050. By 2045, the report says, more than six billion people will crowd cities.

There is a red light flashing in professor Albert Ponce's cubby-sized office. The light comes from an old-fashioned answering machine.

Lately, he doesn't like to listen to the messages by himself. When he presses play, it's obvious why:

"Albert Ponce, you are a piece of s*** f****** gutter slug that needs his neck snapped, OK? Call me if you need me. I'll do it for ya."

"F****** race-baiting f****** piece of trash."

Following its successful public listing yesterday, the music streaming service Spotify is now worth around $25 billion, making it the largest music company in the world — but when Spotify first débuted, back in 2008, it was reasonable to think it would fail.

Atlanta Struggles To Fulfill MLK's Legacy In Health Care

Apr 4, 2018

While public safety commissioner Bull Connor's police dogs in 1963 attacked civil rights protesters in Birmingham, Ala., leaders in Martin Luther King Jr.'s hometown of Atlanta were burnishing its reputation as "the city too busy to hate."

Yet 50 years after the civil rights leader was killed, some public health leaders in Atlanta wonder whether the city is failing to live up to King's call for justice in health care. They point to substantial disparities, particularly in preventive care.

Updated at 8:30 p.m. ET

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will testify on Capitol Hill on April 10 and 11 before the a joint hearing of the Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees, followed by one before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, to answer questions about how the company protects its users' data.

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