There's new evidence out today that's raising questions about whether women in their 40's and 50's should routinely undergo mammography to detect breast cancer. A new analysis of a big Canadian study found no evidence that regular mammograms save lives. The study even suggests that for many women, regular breast X-rays may do more harm than good.
NPR's Rob Stein joins us now to talk about this report. It appears in the British medical journal BMJ.
Originally published on Wed February 12, 2014 8:32 pm
For many Americans it's been a harsh, disruptive winter, from the country's Northern edges to the Deep South.
When cold snaps and blizzards shutter schools, kids miss more than their daily lessons. Some miss out on the day's nutritious meal as well.
This recently became apparent to school administrators in rural Iowa, where extreme cold delayed openings two days in a row at Laurens-Marathon Community School, where 59 percent of students who eat school lunch qualify for free or reduced-price meals.
The numbers show Americans are getting more comfortable with online dating — a recent Pew survey found at least 11 percent of us have tried to find a match on the Internet. And the places to cyberdate are proliferating. No fewer than 1,500 dating sites are available in the U.S. to help singles connect, many for a fee.
But these days, we're not just online dating; we're niche online dating, with specific sites for singles of all stripes.
The dinosaurs were killed during the Fifth Extinction — which scientists suspect was caused by an asteroid. Now, we are living through an epoch that many scientists describe as the Sixth Extinction, and this time, human activity is the culprit. As one scientist put it: We're the asteroid.
Elizabeth Kolbert is the author of the new book The Sixth Extinction. It begins with a history of the "big five" extinctions of the past, and goes on to explain how human behavior is creating a sixth one — including our use of fossil fuels and the effects of climate change.
Originally published on Wed February 12, 2014 2:39 pm
A Pennsylvania county judge has thrown out an assisted suicide case against a 58-year-old nurse named Barbara Mancini, who was accused of homicide last year for allegedly handing her 93-year-old father a bottle of morphine.
Researchers at a laboratory in California say they've had a breakthrough in producing fusion reactions with a giant laser. The success comes after years of struggling to get the laser to work and is another step in the decades-long quest for fusion energy.
Omar Hurricane, a researcher at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, says that for the first time, they've produced significant amounts of fusion by zapping a target with their laser. "We've gotten more energy out of the fusion fuel than we put into the fusion fuel," he says.
Originally published on Wed February 12, 2014 11:42 am
If only ... if only, instead of that noisy, bawling, crying little person, you could have produced an antelope baby — and oh, the quiet! The blissful, total silence. When pronghorn antelopes have babies, nobody hears anything for weeks and weeks — which is the whole point.
Originally published on Wed February 12, 2014 4:11 pm
Fifteen years ago an unwelcome viral visitor entered the U.S., and we've been paying for it ever since.
The U.S recorded its first case of West Nile virus back in 1999. Since then, the disease has spread across the lower 48 states and cost the country around $800 million, scientists reported this week in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.
This week Belgium is expected to become the first country in the world to allow terminally ill children to choose euthanasia.
Belgium legalized euthanasia in 2002 for those 18 and over, and the number of adults choosing a doctor-assisted death has been rising annually, reaching 1,432 in 2012.
But a bill before Parliament would lift age restrictions and allow terminally ill children to ask to be euthanized if they are in unbearable pain and treatment options are exhausted. In addition, their parents and medical team would have to agree.