Health & Science

Copyright 2019 MPR News. To see more, visit MPR News.

If civilizations are remembered for what they leave behind, our time might be labeled the Plastic Age. Plastic can endure for centuries. It's everywhere, even in our clothes, from polyester leisure suits to fleece jackets.

A Silicon Valley startup is trying to get the plastic out of clothing and put something else in: biopolymers.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Spinal surgery made it possible for Liv Cannon to plant her first vegetable garden.

"It's a lot of bending over and lifting the wheelbarrow and putting stakes in the ground," the 26-year-old says as she surveys the tomatillos, cherry tomatoes and eggplants growing in raised beds behind her house in Austin, Texas. "And none of that I could ever do before."

For the first 24 years of her life, Cannon's activities were limited by chronic pain and muscle weakness.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., says one of his "highest priorities" is to take on the leading cause of preventable death in the United States: smoking.

McConnell has sponsored a bill, along with Virginia Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine, that would increase the tobacco purchase age from 18 to 21.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Many new cars sold today can take preemptive action to help prevent crashes — hitting the brakes before a collision, steering around obstacles or alerting drivers to hazards in their blind spots.

Those safety features — collectively known as advanced driver-assistance systems, or ADAS — reduce the risk of crashes. It might seem logical to assume that as a result, they'd reduce the cost of car insurance.

People have been smoking pot to get high for at least 2,500 years. Chinese archaeologists found signs of that when they studied the char on a set of wooden bowls from an ancient cemetery in western China.

The findings are some of the earliest evidence of cannabis used as a drug.

Bald eagles are typically known for their elegant flying, skilled hunting and having such majestic strength and beauty that they became the U.S. national bird. But they also possess a lesser-known talent: swimming.

Yes, bald eagles are really good at swimming, a fact some of us learned this week from a viral video published by New Hampshire TV station WMUR.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The appearance of Ebola in Uganda prompted the World Health Organization to hold a special meeting today. The question before them - does the spread of Ebola beyond the Democratic Republic of Congo constitute an international health emergency?

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Two people got very sick, and one died, during a trial of an experimental procedure known as fecal transplant, according to a statement issued Thursday from the Food and Drug Administration. As a result, the agency is suspending several clinical trials investigating the procedure until safety standards can be assured.

The countdown has begun. It's T-minus a month or so until the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 — and humanity's first and famous steps on another world.

Updated at 5:30 p.m. ET

The Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo "does not meet the criteria for a Public Health Emergency of International Concern," the World Health Organization said Friday. The agency said that while the outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo constitutes a health emergency for that country and the region, the risk of it spreading beyond that region is low.

This is a story about a fussy baby.

But don't worry, it has a happy ending.

On April 29, Mahjabeen Sheran of Balochistan, Pakistan, faced a problem familiar to every working mom.

She had a child care crisis.

The family member who usually watches her 8-month-old son wasn't able to come to Sheran's home. And Sheran had a pressing work obligation. In 2018, she was elected to the parliament in Balochistan, the poorest province in Pakistan with the worst statistics for maternal and child health.

Pages