Health & Science

Like Thanksgiving, Friendsgiving is a time for coming together with loved ones – only the focus is on friends.

The Friendsgiving dinner – usually a potluck affair with plenty of booze — has taken off in recent years, especially among millennials. (Thank the gang from television's Friends for helping to popularize the concept.)

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit



A kind of salmon that's been genetically modified so that it grows faster may be on the way to a supermarket near you. The Food and Drug Administration approved the fish on Thursday — a decision that environmental and food-safety groups are vowing to fight.

In recent days, presidential candidates and even the American Medical Association have griped about rising drug prices, pointing to brand-name blockbusters with splashy ad campaigns.

When it comes to patient satisfaction, however, there isn't much difference between brands and generics, according to data collected by the website Iodine, which is building a repository of user reviews on drugs.

UnitedHealth Group, the nation's largest health insurance company, says it's considering dropping out of the public exchanges that are an integral part of the Affordable Care Act, because it's losing money on them.

"We cannot sustain these losses," CEO Stephen Hemsley said in an investor call Thursday morning. "We can't really subsidize a marketplace that doesn't appear at the moment to be sustaining itself."

Vocal cords are small and complex — and, when badly damaged, they're difficult to treat.

Now, scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have engineered lab-grown vocal cord tissue for the first time.

The tissue appears to be functional, the researchers report, although so far it has only been tested outside of an animal's body.

Cancer patients shopping on federal and state insurance marketplaces often find it difficult to determine whether their drugs are covered and how much they will pay for them, the advocacy arm of the American Cancer Society says in a report that also calls on regulators to restrict how much insurers can charge patients for medications.

You'd think that everyone on the planet would know how to use a flush toilet: Flip open the cover, assume the position and go.

But for many people, the flush toilet is a UFO — an unfamiliar flowing object.

After retiring hundreds of research chimpanzees in 2013, the NIH says 50 remaining chimps will no longer be used for medical studies.

The 50 chimpanzees were kept in case they were needed in a public health emergency, but now they will be moving into a federal sanctuary as soon as there is room.

The mosquito-borne Zika virus has spread quickly in the past two years through the Pacific Islands and South America. Although there have been no reported deaths from the illness, a spate of recent outbreaks is cause for concern.