Health & Science

Health and Science news

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Old rocks found in the Australian Outback have some weighty implications, scientists say: They hint at the environment in which life on Earth originated and suggest a location to search for life on Mars.

Scientists in Australia say they have found biological signatures of life in rocks that also show the presence of a hot spring, lending weight to a theory that the earliest life on Earth might have originated in freshwater hot springs on land rather than in deep-sea hydrothermal vents.

Meet Beibeilong sinensis, the most recently identified dinosaur species.

The name means "baby dragon from China." The dinosaur had massive feathered wings and a birdlike skull. It probably looked most like a cassowary, flightless birds slightly smaller than an ostrich.

The United States spends a lot of money taking care of the health needs of old people.

In 2010, for example, each person 65 and older received $18,424 in health care services. That's five times more than the $3,628 in spending per child under 18, and three times more than the $6,125 per working-age adult, according to the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services.

The Food and Drug Administration is under pressure from the Trump administration to approve drugs faster, but researchers at the Yale School of Medicine found that nearly a third of those approved from 2001 through 2010 had major safety issues years after the medications were made widely available to patients.

If you hear rock star Rod Stewart's husky voice in a radio spot imploring you to get your thyroid checked for cancer, don't be seduced.

An industry-backed foundation has been putting out that message, with Stewart as a celebrity spokesman, but it's not based on sound science. No major medical organization recommends mass screening for thyroid cancer.

Casey Raub can easily deadlift over 100 pounds — not thanks to the gym, but from his work as a bartender at ever-packed Brooklyn brunch hotspot Five Leaves. Raub, 35, regularly hoists heavy boxes of liquor and massive buckets of ice for an endless stream of gin gimlets and grapefruit margaritas. Two and a half years ago, he was injured in a cycling accident, and his work routine only compounded his back pain.

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

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Almost 100 hospitals reported suspicious data on dangerous infections to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services officials, but the agency did not follow up or examine any of the cases in depth, according to a report by the Health and Human Services inspector general's office.

Most hospitals report how many infections strike patients during treatment, meaning the infections are likely contracted inside the facility. Each year, Medicare is supposed to review up to 200 cases in which hospitals report suspicious infection-tracking results.

Magic.

That's what it feels like when you bump into your childhood friend on the first day of college ... or meet someone at a party in Paris, only to discover she lives in your dad's childhood home in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. But mathematician Joseph Mazur says these coincidences are not as extraordinary as we might think.

"People think that their address book is essentially the people they know, and it turns out any address book is about one percent of the people they know in some way," Mazur explains.

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