NPR Blogs

Shots - Health News
3:40 am
Thu January 24, 2013

Female Smokers Face Greater Risk Than Previously Thought

Women smoke in New York City's Times Square.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 1:19 pm

There's still more to learn about the risks of smoking and the benefits of quitting.

Studies in this week's New England Journal of Medicine show that the risk for women has been under-appreciated for decades. New data also quantify the surprising payoffs of smoking cessation — especially under the age of 40.

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The Two-Way
6:44 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

White House Will Move Forward With Gen. John Allen NATO Nomination

The White House said today that it would move forward with the nomination of Gen. John Allen to become NATO commander.

Allen's nomination was put on hold after he became ensnared in the extramarital affair scandal that led to the resignation of CIA Chief David Petraeus. As we reported, the Pentagon's Inspector General exonerated Allen of any wrong doing yesterday.

NPR's Tom Bowman filed this report for our Newscast unit:

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The Two-Way
5:57 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

Transportation Secretary: Duration Of Dreamliner Review Is Unknown

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood speaks during a news conference at the Transportation Department in Washington in January.
Susan Walsh AP

If you were dreaming of flying soon in a Boeing 787 Dreamliner, you have to wake up: Federal Aviation Administration isn't rushing its review of the grounded aircraft.

"We need to get to the bottom of the recent issues with the batteries in the 787 and ensure their safety before these aircraft can be put back in service," U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said today at an Aero Club luncheon in Washington.

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The Two-Way
5:13 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

Stunning Photos: In Chicago, Firefighters Battle Huge Flames In Arctic Cold

Firefighters spray down hot spots on an ice covered warehouse that caught fire Tuesday night in Chicago.
John Gress Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 6:24 pm

Firefighters in Chicago responded to the largest fire in years last night. According to The Chicago Tribune, at one point a third of the city's firefighters were battling the blaze at a vacant warehouse.

Luckily no one was hurt, but the arctic temperatures the area is experiencing meant the firefighters faced issues like frozen hydrants.

The pictures of the action, however, are made simply stunning because of the ice.

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Shots - Health News
5:02 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

Ob-Gyns Told To Look for 'Reproductive Coercion'

When an intimate partner interferes with contraception, doctors should know about it.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 6:30 pm

Womens' doctors should be on the lookout for patients whose partners are unduly pressuring them to become pregnant — or even sabotaging their efforts to use contraception.

That's the advice from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which just published recommendations for doctors about reproductive and sexual coercion.

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The Salt
4:15 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

When Spilled Food Makes A Huge Mess (In A Tunnel Or On A Road)

Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 9:42 am

Rarely do we consider the trucks, trains and tankers that transport our food around our cities — and around the world. It's not until an accident happens, and the food inside these vessels comes pouring out, that we remember all this food in motion around us, and how damaging it can be when it spills.

The truth is, a lot of food is extremely sticky, bulky — and sometimes, flammable. And apparently, the people who move it around are just as accident prone as the rest of us.

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Shots - Health News
3:35 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

Scientists Put An End To Moratorium On Bird Flu Research

Health workers in Nepal culled chickens and destroyed eggs following an outbreak of bird flu in Kathmandu in October 2012.
Prakash Mathema AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 8:53 pm

Controversial experiments on bird flu could resume within weeks because leading influenza researchers around the world have finally called a halt to an unusual moratorium that has lasted more than a year.

The voluntary pause in the research started back in January 2012. Scientists had genetically altered the bird flu virus H5N1, changing it in ways that allowed it to spread through the coughs and sneezes of ferrets — the lab stand-in for people.

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The Two-Way
3:30 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

Panetta Lifts Ban On Women In Combat Roles

In a May 9, 2012 photo, Capt. Sara Rodriguez, 26, of the 101st Airborne Division, carries a litter of sandbags during the Expert Field Medical Badge training at Fort Campbell, Ky. Female soldiers are moving into new jobs in once all-male units as the U.S. Army breaks down formal barriers in recognition of what's already happened in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Kristin M. Hall AP

Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 8:04 am

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has decided to lift a ban that prohibited women from serving in combat, a congressional source tells NPR's Tom Bowman. The move opens up thousands of front-line positions.

Panetta is expected to announce the decision along with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Thursday.

Citing "senior defense officials," the AP adds:

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The Two-Way
2:58 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

Junior Seau's Family Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against NFL

Junior Seau, seen here playing for the New England Patriots toward the end of his career, suffered from a degenerative brain disease, scientists say.
Otto Greule Jr. Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 6:40 pm

The family of former NFL linebacker Junior Seau has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the NFL, the Associated Press is reporting.

According to the wire service, Seau's family accuses the NFL of "acts or omissions" that "hid the dangers of repetitive blows to the head."

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The Two-Way
1:47 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

A Tennis Tale: Once Famous, 'Gorgeous Gussie' Dies In Obscurity

Gertrude Moran, "Gorgeous Gussie," playing at Wimbledon in 1949. Her attire, which included a bit of lace, shocked some.
George W. Hales Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 10:10 am

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The Two-Way
1:42 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

London Police Arrest Two In 'Muslim Patrol' Incidents

A screen grab taken from a video posted on YouTube.
YouTube

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 5:58 pm

Over the past week, London has been hit by a series of incidents in which a group of self-styled vigilantes have accosted Londoners for not adhering to what they say are Islamic standards.

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Shots - Health News
1:23 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

Why Some Hospices Turn Away Patients Without Caregivers At Home

Some hospices require patients to have a caregiver at home. But for many families, that's just not an option.
Guven Demir iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 7:56 am

Choosing hospice care is never an easy decision. It's an admission that the end is near, that there will be no cure.

But even after a family has opted for this end-of-life care, some still face an unexpected hurdle: Twelve percent of hospices nationwide refuse to accept patients who don't have a caregiver at home to look after them, according to a recent survey of nearly 600 hospice providers published in Health Affairs.

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The Two-Way
12:38 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

House Passes GOP's Debt-Ceiling Plan; Senate Democrats Offer Their Support

The House of Representatives (Jan. 3 file photo).
Kevin Lamarque Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 2:01 pm

Update at 1:25 p.m. ET: By a vote of 285-144, the House just passed a Republican plan that postpones for three months the federal government's next bump up against the so-called debt ceiling.

As we said earlier, the measure would head off another big battle over raising the government's borrowing authority — such as the one in 2011 that almost led to a government shutdown.

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The Two-Way
12:24 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

Union Membership Continues Decline; Now At Lowest Level Since 1930s

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 12:34 pm

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says union membership continues to decline in the United States.

In 2012, American Union membership rate dropped to 11.3 percent from 11.8 percent in 2011. As The Washington Post reports, that's the lowest level since the 1930s.

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The Salt
11:55 am
Wed January 23, 2013

How The Sweet Potato Crossed The Pacific Before Columbus

A well-traveled root: A vendor sells sweet potatoes at a market near Manila in 2011. The Portuguese brought the root to the Philippines all the way from the Caribbean.
Ted Aljibe AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 28, 2013 11:15 am

When it comes to spreading food around the world, Christopher Columbus and his European compatriots get most of the credit.

Yes, they introduced some quintessential ingredients into European and Asian cuisine. Who could imagine Italian food without the tomato? Or Indian and Chinese dishes without the spicy kick of chili peppers?

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