Couples awaiting the birth of a child face a lot of unknowns. Boy or girl? Will they be healthy? Advances in genetic testing allow parents to know more than ever. But current tests generally target a single medical condition. It's only recently that the genes of a fetus have been completely genotyped.
Each week, Weekend Edition Sunday brings listeners an unexpected side of the news by talking with someone personally affected by the stories making headlines.
Iqbal al-Juboori is well acquainted with the ethnic tensions coming to a head in her home country of Iraq right now. In 2005, her family, who is Sunni, was attacked in their home and her brother was kidnapped simply because of his ethnicity, Juboori believes.
Hospitals across the country are struggling with a shortage of one of their essential medical supplies.
Manufacturers are rationing saline solution — essentially pharmaceutical-grade saltwater. The stuff is used all around hospitals to clean wounds, mix medications or treat dehydration. Now drug companies say they won't be able to catch up with demand until next year.
Barbershops are a traditional gathering place for African-American men — a place to talk politics, sports and gossip. Now, some doctors in Los Angeles are hoping to make the barbershop a place for combating high blood pressure among black men.
Death rates from hypertension are three times higher in African-American men than in white men of the same age, says Dr. Ronald Victor, the director of Cedars-Sinai Center for Hypertension in Los Angeles.
By our measure, Ari Goldman is a successful man. A former New York Times reporter turned college professor, he is deeply religious and a happily married husband and father. But for all of that, there was something missing in his life. Goldman yearned to play a musical instrument.
ARI GOLDMAN: The cello is sort of the music of my soul. It's the instrument that speaks most directly to me. I never thought that I would be able to play a cello.
We're continuing our weekend reads recommendations with author Alexander Chee, whose novel Edinburgh won multiple literary awards. Chee's pick for you this weekend is Astonish Me, by Maggie Shipstead — the tale of a ballerina who leaves the dance world to have a baby. Chee tells NPR's Rachel Martin that he appreciates Shipstead's prose, which he calls excellent but not flashy. "I think of it as having a transparent quality which is to say that you're drawn into the story more than you are made to consistently pay attention to the style of it.