Health & Science

Over the past century, Louisiana has lost more than 2,000 square miles of coastline, leaving it more vulnerable to storms, flooding and sea level rise. State officials have been fighting back, building levees, artificial marshes and barrier islands. Now they want to harness the muddy Mississippi River, diverting its sediment-rich waters into shrinking marshes and wetlands.

Vision Care Lags, With Blind Spots In Insurance Coverage

May 15, 2018

Every day, a school bus drops off as many as 45 children at a community eye clinic on Chicago's South Side. Many of the kids were referred to the clinic after failing vision screenings at their public schools.

Clinicians and students from the Illinois College of Optometry give the children comprehensive eye exams, which feature refraction tests to determine a correct prescription for eyeglasses and dilation of their pupils to examine their eyes, including the optic nerve and retina.

Bababababa, dadadadada, ahgagaga. Got that?

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Pedestrian deaths in 2016 were the highest they've been since 1990. And SUVs were responsible for a growing number of those fatalities.

A new study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that between 2009 and 2016, pedestrian fatalities increased in nearly every circumstance examined. But among all types of vehicles, SUVs had the biggest spike in single-vehicle fatal pedestrian crashes, and crashes were increasingly likely to involve high-horsepower vehicles.

James Harrison, an Australian man whose blood contains a rare antibody that can create a treatment that saves babies' lives, has donated plasma one last time.

Harrison, 81, is now over the age limit for donors — in fact, he hit the cap months ago.

But the Australian Red Cross Blood Service let him donate one last time on Friday. The service estimates that over the course of his life, he has helped save some 2.4 million babies.

Women who become pregnant face an unexpected danger in the U.S.: maternal mortality. Complications from pregnancy, labor and childbirth result in the death of an estimated 700 to 900 women each year — a rate higher than any other developed Western nation.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar has this pen. It's not all that remarkable looking, but he held it up multiple times Monday at a briefing with reporters.

"This pen," he said, "has a lot of power."

And he said he is prepared to use it.

Azar was making the point that in the area of drug prices, the head of HHS — which runs the Medicare and Medicaid programs and buys about $130 billion in prescription drugs each year — can make a lot of changes in the pharmaceutical market. And he doesn't need congressional approval to do it.

Google's 'Duplex' Raises Ethical Questions

May 14, 2018

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MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

As robots continue their relentless march towards doing all kinds of things better than humans, we consider this question. Should a bot sound like a human? It's time for All Tech Considered.

(SOUNDBITE OF ULRICH SCHNAUSS' "NOTHING HAPPENS IN JUNE")

As sunrise paints the lower Delaware Bay's intertidal zone, the mudflats take on a metallic shimmer near Cape May, N.J. As visual poetry, it's arresting. But the tide is out — and the clock is ticking.

The receding water has revealed Sweet Amalia Oysters, so oyster farmer Lisa Calvo and her team get to work.

Scientists have new evidence that there are plumes of water erupting from the surface of Jupiter's icy moon Europa — plumes that could, maybe, possibly contain signs of life.

The evidence comes from data collected by the now-defunct Galileo spacecraft. Although the data has been available since it was collected in 1997, it's only now that an analysis confirms the existence of water plumes.

A short man with a ponytail peeks through a crack in a sheet-metal fence, calling out to see if anybody's home. His name is Dario Garcia and he's checking on some people with HIV to make sure they're taking their meds.

Garcia walks through the muddy yard, past chickens and scrawny dogs to the cinder block house.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

STEVE INSKEEP, BYLINE: There are more volcanic eruptions in Hawaii, and then there is Kenya, where the earth seemed to crack open recently. NPR's Eyder Peralta investigated.

Sherry Young just wanted to be able to walk without pain.

About three years ago, she began to experience sharp pain in her left foot. Her big toe had become crooked and constantly rubbed up against the adjacent toe, making it painful to run, walk or even stand. "I could not walk without intense pain unless I had a pad underneath my toes for cushioning," Young said.

An orthopedic surgeon told her that he could fix her problem for good. "He thought my foot was hitting the ground too hard and causing pain," said Young. "That's what he was trying to correct."

Updated at 4:21 p.m. ET

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross says he will explore other ways to punish a Chinese cellphone manufacturer, after a surprising tweet from President Trump that said the original penalty was too harsh.

Trump tweeted on Sunday that smartphone giant ZTE was losing "too many jobs in China" as a result of U.S. sanctions. He said he was working with Chinese President Xi Jinping to find a solution.

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