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Yesterday โ€” January 16th 2019NPR Research

Daily Movement โ€” Even Household Chores โ€” May Boost Brain Health In Elderly

By Patti Neighmond
Even something as simple as chopping up food on a regular basis can be enough exercise to help protect older people from showing signs of dementia, a new study suggests.

Whether it's exercise or housework, older Americans who move their bodies regularly may preserve more of their memory and thinking skills, even if they have brain lesions and other signs of dementia.

(Image credit: BSIP/UIG/Getty Images)

  • January 16th 2019 at 22:17

Bacteria In Worms Make A Mosquito Repellent That Might Beat DEET

By Jonathan Lambert
An image, from a scanning electron micrograph, of Heterorhabditis megidis nematode worms (colored blue). These parasitic worms harbor a bacteria that repels mosquitoes.

An insect-killing bacteria that lives inside a parasitic worm might hold the key to developing a powerful new repellent.

(Image credit: Steve Gschmeissner/Science Source)

  • January 16th 2019 at 20:00
Before yesterdayNPR Research

From Couch Potato To Fitness Buff: How I Learned To Love Exercise

By Maria Godoy
"Feeling better isn

Creating an exercise habit doesn't mean you have to spend hours sweating on a treadmill. Start small, build up slowly and remember that all movement counts — even vacuuming, if you do it vigorously.

(Image credit: Saviour Giyorges / EyeEm/Getty Images/EyeEm Premium)

  • January 14th 2019 at 11:00

Report: Americans Are Now More Likely To Die Of An Opioid Overdose Than On The Road

By Ian Stewart
Americans now have a 1 in 96 chance of dying from an opioid overdose, according to new analysis from the National Safety Council.

Americans now have a 1 in 96 chance of dying from an opioid overdose, according to new analysis from the National Safety Council.

(Image credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

  • January 14th 2019 at 06:01

Severe Flu Raises Risk Of Birth Problems For Pregnant Women, Babies

By Patti Neighmond
Babies of moms who are in the ICU with severe flu have a greater chance of being born premature and underweight.

Pregnant women in intensive care with severe cases of the flu have a higher risk of giving birth to babies prematurely. The risk of breathing problems for the baby is also substantially higher.

(Image credit: Nenov/Getty Images)

  • January 10th 2019 at 22:24

Should Hyping Edible Bugs Focus On The Experience Instead Of The Environment?

By Berly McCoy
People were more likely to try mealworms — such as these mealworm chocolate truffles sprinkled with coconut — when the ad focused on taste and experience, a study showed.

A new study shows that when ads made hedonistic marketing claims, such as "exotic" or "delicious," rather than targeting environmental interests, more people were willing to try eating insects.

(Image credit: Oliver Brachat/for NPR)

  • January 10th 2019 at 17:49

A Blue Clue In Medieval Teeth May Bespeak A Woman's Artistry Circa A.D. 1000

By Nell Greenfieldboyce
A bit of lapis lazuli — a rich blue pigment — is trapped within a central tooth

Analysis of fossilized dental tartar of a medieval woman buried in a German monastery reveals specks of blue to be lapis lazuli — a luxurious pigment used to create gorgeous illuminated manuscripts.

(Image credit: Christina Warinner/Science Advances)

  • January 9th 2019 at 20:05

Why Consumers Systematically Give Inflated Grades For Poor Service

By Shankar Vedantam

A study shows that rating systems for online marketplaces are prone to inflation, because raters feel pressured to leave high scores.

(Image credit: Kiyoshi Hijiki/Getty Images)

  • January 8th 2019 at 10:58

Scientists Have 'Hacked Photosynthesis' In Search Of More Productive Crops

By Dan Charles
Scientists have re-engineered photosynthesis, the foundation of life on Earth, creating genetically modified plants that grow faster and bigger. Above, scientists measure how well modified tobacco plants photosynthesize compared to unmodified plants.

Scientists have re-engineered photosynthesis, a foundation of life on Earth, creating genetically modified plants that grow faster and bigger. They hope it leads to bigger harvests of food.

(Image credit: Haley Ahlers/RIPE Project)

  • January 3rd 2019 at 22:38

Why Millions Of Kids Can't Read, And What Better Teaching Can Do About It

By Emily Hanford
Cristina Scholl, first-grade teacher at Lincoln Elementary, uses a curriculum that mixes teacher-directed whole-class phonics lessons with small-group activities.

The instruction many students get is not based on the overwhelming scientific evidence about how kids turn spoken sounds into letters and words on a page.

(Image credit: Emily Hanford/APM Reports)

  • January 2nd 2019 at 12:00

Could Exercising In Frigid Temperatures Make Us Healthier?

By Paul Chisholm
Winter swimmers enjoyed an icy dip in Poland

As a freezing winter drives many of us indoors, some extreme athletes embrace the cold as a great way to burn calories and retrain the immune system while working out. Not so fast, physiologists say.

(Image credit: NurPhoto/Getty Images)

  • January 1st 2019 at 11:00

Research Supports Claims That Teeth Worsen Without Fluoridated Water

By Jeremy Hsieh

Using Medicaid payment data from towns in Alaska that have rejected fluoride in recent years, a new study supports dentists' claims that teeth get worse when the water supply is not fluoridated.

  • January 1st 2019 at 10:58

When Too Cute Is Too Much, The Brain Can Get Aggressive

By Jon Hamilton
Researchers say human brains can become overwhelmed by cute traits, such as large eyes and small noses, embodied by movie characters like Bambi.

Adorable babies and cute puppies can make us happy. But researchers say their cuteness can be so overwhelming that it unleashes some ugly thoughts.

(Image credit: Disney Junior/Disney Channel via Getty Images)

  • December 31st 2018 at 11:02

How To Help Kids Overcome Their Fear Of Doctors And Shots

By Juli Fraga
Half of the parents of young children in a recent survey said their kids fear going to the doctor, and dome admit skipping vaccines and needed appointments.

Half of the parents of young children in a recent survey said their kids fear going to the doctor. Some admit skipping vaccines and needed appointments. Here's how to nip medical anxiety in the bud.

(Image credit: Ryan Johnson for NPR)

  • December 29th 2018 at 13:00

What Gifts Are The Best? Social Science Researchers Investigate

By Shankar Vedantam

A study shows gift-givers and gift-recipients differ on ideas about best gifts. Whereas recipients prefer sentimental gifts, gift-givers tend to opt for presents that match the recipients' interests.

  • December 25th 2018 at 10:58

Bad Vibes: How Hits To The Head Are Transferred To The Brain

By Jon Hamilton
Research inspired by soccer headers has led to fresh insights into how the brain weathers hits to the head.

A question about heading soccer balls inspired a series of experiments to understand how the brain changes shape when someone's head takes a hit.

(Image credit: Photo illustration by David Madison/Getty Images)

  • December 24th 2018 at 11:01

If You Feel Thankful, Write It Down. It's Good For Your Health

By Maanvi Singh
A growing body of research shows that writing down what you are thankful for can lower stress, help you sleep better and could even reduce the risk of heart disease.

A growing body of research shows keeping a log of what you are thankful for can lower stress, help you sleep better, and may even reduce the risk of heart disease. But it's not for everyone.

(Image credit: Kristen Uroda for NPR)

  • December 24th 2018 at 11:01

Researchers Show Parachutes Don't Work, But There's A Catch

By Richard Harris
A study found that parachutes were no more effective than empty backpacks at protecting jumpers from aircraft. There was just one catch.

A study found parachutes were no more effective than backpacks in preventing harm to people jumping from aircraft. The researchers' tongue-in-cheek experiment makes a deeper point about science.

(Image credit: Michael Htten/EyeEm/Getty Images)

  • December 22nd 2018 at 14:01

Huge Martian Crater 'Korolev' Appears Topped With Miles Of Pristine Snow

By Denise Couture
The Korolev Crater in the northern lowlands of Mars is nearly 51 miles across and filled with ice. The photo was created from several images captured by the Mars Express spacecraft as it orbited the planet in April.

The European Space Agency's new images show a 51-mile-wide ice-filled depression in the surface of Mars caused by the impact of a meteorite or other celestial body.

(Image credit: Björn Schreiner/ESA/DLR/FU Berlin)

  • December 22nd 2018 at 00:06

The World Has A New Largest-Known Prime Number

By Joe Palca

The Mersenne prime was discovered by a computer in Ocala, Fla., on Dec. 7. Mathematicians have spent the past two weeks verifying the calculations.

  • December 21st 2018 at 22:30
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