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Human health

Why We Itch

Dec 10, 2018
Itch has an important function evolutionarily, though we'd rather live without it.
CDC

We’re all familiar with an itchy bug bite, maybe the torture of poison ivy or chicken pox. But what if that kind of itching went on and on?

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You might want to consider adding a brisk walk to your Thanksgiving plans. The Department of Health and Human Services has released some guidelines for physical activity and finds that approximately 80 percent of teens and adults fail to get a healthy amount of exercise.

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Rural Americans now cite the opioid addiction epidemic on par with jobs and the economy as the most pressing problems facing their communities. That's according to an NPR poll released this past week. A new NOVA special brings viewers face to face with that reality. 

Fall is a beautiful time of year. But it is – unfortunately – also the start of cold and flu season. 

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Sustainability has become a major buzzword in the corporate world. In 2015-2016, eighty percent of Fortune 500 companies produced sustainability reports, and seventy percent reported their carbon footprints last year.

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Each year, more than 450,000 kids show up in the emergency room to be evaluated and treated for head injuries. Now, no parent relishes the idea of taking their child to the hospital with a concussion. But growing concern about the long-term effects of head injuries have made that already stressful situation even more fraught. And the best course of action isn’t always clear.

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It seems like there’s a new study with some sort of dietary health recommendation every week, and often the latest results contradict what we’ve heard before. Just in the past couple of weeks, a study came out claiming that the low-carb diets so many of us have been encouraged to follow may actually be shortening our lives. Another group of researchers announced that their findings suggest moderate alcohol consumption is not the way to go, that there is in fact no safe level of drinking. The examples go on and on.

 

By now, we all know that the food we eat has a huge impact on our health. But producing food requires land, water, nutrients – and in our globalized world – packaging and transportation. And that means that our dietary choices also have a big environmental impact. 

Courtest Will Massey

As kids head back to school, attention is usually on the academics: teachers planning the first lessons, and parents making sure students haven’t lost too much ground over the summer. But a new study draws attention to an often overlooked part of the school day: recess.

credit: Lawrence Berkeley Nat'l Lab - Roy Kaltschmidt, photographer. https://tinyurl.com/y758ayc8

There are many private testing services that will decode your DNA, catalog the foreign chemicals in your blood, or identify the bacteria living in and on your body. So it might come as a surprise that if you sign up for an actual biomedical research study, you might not be privy to what the scientists learn about you.

Courtesy Blue Bus Productions and Ambrosino/Delmenico

For many of us, pain is a daily part of life. Maybe it’s stubbing a toe, maybe it’s chronic back pain. Either way, a lot of money and effort go into finding ways to reduce pain.

But what if you couldn’t feel any pain? It wouldn’t be as great as you might think.

In January of this year, president Trump’s physician announced the results of his annual physical, including a cognitive evaluation. President Trump is thought to be the first sitting president to undergo such a cognitive evaluation, and it grabbed a fair bit of media attention. Many news outlets not only shared the result, but many shared the test, itself, or information about it.

fda.gov

We've all heard that washing your hands is the best way to protect against infectious germs like the cold and flu. Now, new research suggests that it may also help lower your exposure to potentially harmful synthetic chemicals, like flame retardants.

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Drinking coffee could help you live longer, and not by just a little bit.

Experts say FIFA can do better at treating concussions.
Pal Berge, http://bit.ly/2JbjXys

The FIFA men’s World Cup has been a been a tournament full of surprises and upsets. But it’s also been a example of how not to handle concussions, according to experts. And the problems started well before the latest World Cup. 

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