Thu March 26, 2015
Goats and Soda

Ebola Is Not Mutating As Fast As Scientists Feared

Originally published on Thu March 26, 2015 5:31 pm

In November, the Ebola virus found in Mali was surprisingly similar to strains circulating in Sierra Leone six months earlier.
Courtesy of NIAID

Back in August, scientists published a worrisome report about Ebola in West Africa: The virus was rapidly changing its genetic code as it spread through people. Ebola was mutating about twice as fast as it did in previous outbreaks, a team from Harvard University found.

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Thu March 26, 2015
Shots - Health News

A Single Gene May Determine Why Some People Get So Sick With The Flu

Originally published on Thu March 26, 2015 5:07 pm

The H1N1 swine flu virus kills some people, while others don't get very sick at all. A genetic variation offers one clue.
Centre For Infections/Health Pro Science Photo Library/Getty Images

It's hard to predict who will get the flu in any given year. While some people may simply spend a few days in bed with aches and a stuffy nose, others may become so ill that they end up in the hospital.

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Thu March 26, 2015
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

What Drove Neanderthals To Extinction? Maybe Us.

Stevica Mrdja iStockphoto

Imagine that in a discussion with friends, the talk turns to invasive species and the cascading changes they cause in the ecosystems they colonize.

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Wed March 25, 2015

'Super-Termite' Could Be Even More Destructive Than Parent Species

Originally published on Mon March 30, 2015 3:19 pm

The male Asian subterranean termite (brown abdomen) and the female Formosan subterranean termite (orange abdomen) are surrounded by their hybrid offspring (eggs, larvae, workers, soldiers) in an eight-month-old colony.
Thomas Chouvenc University of Florida

Termites are among the world's most destructive pests, causing more than a billion dollars in damage each year in the U.S. alone. Scientists in Florida have tracked the development of a new hybrid species of termite — one whose colonies grow twice as fast as the parent species.

Researchers say the new "super-termite" is even more destructive than other species and may carry a significant economic cost.

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Wed March 25, 2015
Goats and Soda

Mosquitoes Can Smell Inside Your Blood

Originally published on Wed March 25, 2015 5:10 pm

Hanna Barczyk for NPR

Garlic lovers: You can smell them before you see them. Some people would say they even stink!

Hours after you eat garlic, your breath can still smell bad, as your body digests compounds in the plant and releases them into your blood.

Now scientists say a similar process might explain why people infected with malaria attract more mosquitoes than those not infected.

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Wed March 25, 2015
Shots - Health News

University And Biotech Firm Team Up On Colorblindness Therapy

Originally published on Wed April 8, 2015 7:23 pm

A simulation from the Neitz lab of what colorblindness looks like, with normal color vision on the left and red-green colorblindness on the right.
Courtesy of Neitz Laboratory

More than 10 million Americans have trouble distinguishing red from green or blue from yellow, and there's no treatment for colorblindness.

A biotech company and two scientists hope to change that.

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Wed March 25, 2015
The Two-Way

Scientists Discover A New Form Of Ice — It's Square

Originally published on Wed March 25, 2015 8:00 pm

Water molecules between two layers of graphene arranged themselves in a lattice of squares — unlike any other known form of ice.
NPG Press via YouTube

Scientists recently observed a form of ice that's never been seen before, after sandwiching water between two layers of an unusual two-dimensional material called graphene.

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Wed March 25, 2015
The Salt

Meet The Cool Beans Designed To Beat Climate Change

Originally published on Wed March 25, 2015 5:16 pm

These beans, grown on test plots at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture in Colombia, can thrive in temperatures that cripple most conventional beans.
Courtesy of CIAT/Neil Palmer

A planet that is warming at extraordinary speed may require extraordinary new food crops. The latest great agricultural hope is beans that can thrive in temperatures that cripple most conventional beans. They're now growing in test plots of the International Center for Tropical Agriculture, or CIAT, in Colombia.

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Wed March 25, 2015
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Should You Trust That New Medical Study?

Originally published on Thu March 26, 2015 7:36 pm

Alexander Raths iStockphoto

News of medical studies fill the headlines and airwaves — often in blatant contradiction. We've all seen it: One week, coffee helps cure cancer; the next, it causes it.

From a consumer's perspective, the situation can be very confusing and potentially damaging — for example, in a case where someone with a serious illness believes and follows the wrong lead.

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Wed March 25, 2015
Shots - Health News

Affordable Care Act Makes This Tax Season Painful For Many

Originally published on Thu March 26, 2015 5:08 pm

Tax preparation software doesn't always calculate the complexity of Affordable Care Act subsidies and credits properly.
Daniel Acker Bloomberg via Getty Images

This tax season, for the first time since the Affordable Care Act passed five years ago, consumers are facing its financial consequences.

Whether they owe a penalty for not having health insurance, or have to figure out whether they need to pay back part of the subsidy they received to offset the cost of monthly insurance premiums, many people have to contend with new tax forms and calculations.

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