Health & Science

Health and Science news

In 2010, Sonia Vallabh watched her mom, Kamni Vallabh, die in a really horrible way.

First, her mom's memory started to go, then she lost the ability to reason. Sonia says it was like watching someone get unplugged from the world. By the end, it was as if she was stuck between being awake and asleep. She was confused and uncomfortable all the time.

"Even when awake, was she fully or was she really? And when asleep, was she really asleep?" says Sonia.

Updated 4:01 PM ET Tuesday

Do you know where your workplace's automated external defibrillator is located? About half of all U.S. employees don't, according to the results of an American Heart Association survey.

Sonia Vallabh saw her mother die at age 52 from a rare disease that causes irreversible brain damage. Then Sonia learned she has inherited the genetic mutation that killed her mother. She and her husband quit their jobs and trained to become scientists. They're now racing against time to come up with a treatment that could save Sonia's life.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Emma Carpita is just 2 weeks old. Her parents, Federico and Loredana, have brought the crying infant to her first medical checkup.

Dr. Patrizia Franco, Emma's pediatrician, hands them a list of vaccine centers in the area. "Do you have any questions or concerns?" she asks.

"No," says Federico. "We think all parents should be obligated to vaccinate their children."

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

At a childbirth class at Doula Love in Portland, Ore., a half-dozen pregnant women lean on yoga balls. Their partners are right behind them, learning how to apply pressure for a pelvic massage. Together, they go over the stages of labor, birthing positions, and breathing techniques.

Cole Cooney, who is expecting his second child, says he can't imagine missing the birth. Not just because he'd miss meeting his child, but because he'd miss the opportunity to help his wife.

"They're not gonna want me to play 'babies in space'," says Greg O'Brien. "You know, where I pick 'em up in my hands and I swirl them around over my head like a rocket ship. I always say 'Babies! In! Spaaaaace!' "

It's October 2016, and he is musing about the latest O'Brien family news. His daughter, Colleen, is due to have a baby in November, and ever since he found out, Greg has been struggling with competing emotions.

Julia Brennan grew up in a family of nearsighted people — so nearsighted that they joked they were blind as bats. She, however, had perfect eyesight.

"Julia can see around corners," her mother would say.

A one-paragraph letter, barely a hundred words long, unwittingly became a major contributor to today's opioid crisis, researchers say.

"This has recently been a matter of a lot of angst for me," Dr. Hershel Jick, co-author of that letter, told Morning Edition host David Greene recently. "We have published nearly 400 papers on drug safety, but never before have we had one that got into such a bizarre and unhealthy situation."

Pages