Current Event March 22, 2018
The Trump administration has proposed changing the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps. The plan would provide people with nonperishable foods that are chosen for them instead of fresh foods they choose themselves. Native Americans recognized this as the same type of food assistance they have historically received, with devastating impacts on their health. Listen to hear more about food assistance in the past and in the possible future.
Current Event December 4, 2017
One in five North Texas children live in poverty and more than a quarter million are hungry. A recent report by Children’s Health, a hospital network in Dallas, found that children living in poverty are seven times more likely to be in poor or fair health. High costs can deter some parents from getting health care. There are other obstacles to success for these children in low-income families. Listen to hear more about the struggles and possible solutions for children living in poverty.
Current Event November 10, 2017
Opioid addiction is killing from 35,000 to 50,000 people every year. Ten states and a number of cities and counties are suing opioid makers accusing them of lying about the addictive nature of the powerful painkiller. Many of those lawsuits involve Mike Moore. When Mike Moore was Mississippi's attorney general, he spearheaded the 50-state lawsuit against tobacco companies and won the biggest civil settlement in U.S. history. Now, he's trying to do the same thing against opioid manufacturers and distributors. Listen to hear more about this deadly and complicated crisis, and then debate: Should the drug companies be sued for creating the opioid epidemic?
Science Middle School
Many schools now have gardens where students grow and harvest food that they cook themselves in class. The “Let's Move Initiative,” a program created by former First Lady Michelle Obama in 2010, has generated awareness about school gardens and teaching cooking skills that enable students to learn about healthy lifestyle habits in an effort to fight the national obesity epidemic. Listen to learn more about how a gardening and cooking project at a school in Maine is a rewarding way to learn about nutrition and healthy lifestyle skills through hands-on class activities.
Current Event October 10, 2017
Everyone has experienced stress, which is your body’s response to a demand made on it. A surge of hormones is released when people are stressed and that helps them deal with the danger or threat, but it also affects the nervous system and can cause health problems. When we experience a lot of stress, our bodies don’t easily return to a relaxed state. Listen to hear more about what stress does to our bodies and what we can do about the impact of stress.
Current Event August 14, 2017
Health care reform has become a major political issue in the United States. There are high costs for patients as well as the consequences of having millions of uninsured Americans. With many recent legislative votes on health care, the national debate is becoming intense. At the center of this debate is Medicare and Medicaid, which provide health care coverage for about 50 million Americans. Listen to an expert breakdown some of the details that make health care such a complicated subject.
Current Event July 12, 2017
The United States is in the middle of an opioid addiction crisis. Millions of Americans are addicted to prescription painkillers, and thousands are dying from overdoses. The increase in addiction is attributed to doctors overprescribing painkillers. Recently doctors have decreased the amount of opioids prescribed as a response to the crisis, but there are still a high number of prescriptions given for these drugs. Listen to hear more about the trends in opioid prescriptions and what might be done about this crisis.
Current Event June 7, 2017
Chronic stress and lack of sleep seem to be the new normal for American teens. Most teens are not getting the 9-10 hours of sleep a night that their bodies require. As a result, some schools are purchasing nap pods—reclining chairs with a dome that blocks out light. The idea is that students can use the pods for 20-minute periods of rest and relaxation. These naps can boost memory and attention and help students perform throughout the day. Listen to learn more about the challenges facing modern teens and how nap pods can help.
Current Event May 31, 2017
China is scheduled to host more than 400 marathons this year as part of the central government’s national campaign to boost tourism and promote exercise. During a period of slowed economic growth, more and more cities in China are signing up to hold marathons. However, the central government has also criticized runners for lack of health awareness and organizers for poor safety practices. Listen to learn more about the growing interest in marathons in China and how organizers are trying to improve the process.
Current Event March 20, 2017
Republicans have released a health care bill that will repeal and replace the 2010 Affordable Care Act. This new bill has been reviewed by the Congressional Budget Office, which states in a report that with this plan as many as 14 million Americans will lose health coverage in the next year, with estimates of 24 million people losing health coverage over the next decade. Many Republicans believe these numbers are overestimated. They are focusing instead on how the Republican plan will reduce the federal budget deficit by over $300 billion over ten years. Listen to learn more about the changes to the U.S. health care system proposed in the Republican plan.
Current Event December 16, 2016
Voters in three cities in California voted to place a one cent-per-ounce tax on sodas and other sugar-sweetened beverages. Proponents of the ballot measure believe the soda tax will help keep kids healthy and cut down on obesity. This movement to tax sugary drinks is becoming popular in other states and worldwide. In Mexico, a tax on sugary beverages resulted in a 20% drop in sales. Listen to this story and debate both sides of a tax on sugary beverages.
Current Event December 2, 2016
The United Nations set an ambitious goal of ending extreme poverty and fighting disease by 2030. But a lot of governments and international organizations and researchers still aren't collecting basic statistics. For example, currently over 150 million kids in poor countries have stunted growth, largely due to malnutrition, but there isn’t data about which nutrients available in these countries are most needed to prevent malnutrition. The data gap is especially noticeable when it comes to statistics on girls and women. This makes it hard to prioritize health spending. Listen to this story and debate what can be done to improve data on poverty.
Current Event November 16, 2016
Scurvy is an ancient disease that used to prevent long distance sea travel. People need to eat food containing vitamin C to prevent scurvy, so it's rarely seen today because most people have a vitamin rich diet. But recently, cases of scurvy have appeared in some populations. Low-income males and people with mental health issues are especially at risk. Scurvy is easy to treat, and eating more vitamin C is enough to reverse its effects. However, doctors often don’t think to look for scurvy, thinking it’s a disease from the Ancient Egyptians, not today. Listen to hear how doctors are helping their patients deal with the reappearance of this old illness.
Current Event September 26, 2016
Thousands of Native Americans and supporters are protesting the construction of an oil pipeline from North Dakota to central Illinois, that will transport 470,000 barrels of oil per day. They are against it because a section of the pipeline will run near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. The tribe and its supporters have serious concerns about the project affecting their land and water. President Obama has ordered a temporary halt on the construction of the pipeline, but the Sioux tribe wants a permanent halt to the construction. Listen to hear more about this controversy.
Current Event September 2, 2016
New Delhi, India has some of the the most polluted air in the world. Levels of pollution reached hazardous levels many days of the year. For the people of New Delhi, this has meant an increase in health problems such as asthma and other sicknesses. As India’s growth continues, it consumes more energy, which creates pollution. This story illustrates the balance between economic growth and the health threats of pollution produced by all this growth.
Current Event August 8, 2016
Mosquitoes with the Zika virus have infected people in Miami, Florida. The Center For Disease Control (CDC) has issued a travel warning, especially for pregnant women, for a neighborhood of Miami. This is the first time the CDC has issued a travel warning in the continental United States. Zika is a virus spread through mosquitoes that can cause serious birth defects if a pregnant woman is infected. An emergency response team is working to contain the outbreak and stop it from spreading anywhere else in the United States. Listen to the story to hear how the governor of Florida and the CDC are working together to keep people safe from Zika.
Current Event May 17, 2016
Electronic cigarettes, or “e-cigarettes” have become popular in recent years, especially among kids and young people. Like tobacco cigarettes, e-cigarettes expose users to the addictive chemical nicotine. In order to protect kids and other users from these dangers, the Food and Drug Administration is beginning to impose restrictions on the companies that produce and sell e-cigarettes. One restriction is the first nationwide ban on selling e-cigarettes to minors. And companies will now be required to disclose the ingredients and formally apply to the FDA for approval. Listen to hear more about these new regulations and their potential impact on the e-cigarette industry.
Current Event April 26, 2016
A six-year old, Dylan, has a friend with a rare liver disease. When Dylan was told that doctors needed money to find a cure to help his friend, Jonah, he decided to help out. He wrote a book called ‘Chocolate Bar’ and raised money for research. He explained that the phrase ‘chocolate bar’ means ‘awesome’ and coined the phrase ‘so chocolate bar.’ Two years later, book sales were over $1 million. Listen to hear about this friendship and a boy who wanted to make a difference in the lives of children with this disease.
Current Event April 1, 2016
Scientists all over the world are racing to stop the Zika virus epidemic. One solution being tested in Brazil is to release hundreds of thousands of male mosquitoes every day that have been engineered with a “self-destruct” gene. Female mosquitoes are the only ones who bite, so if they mate with these genetically engineered males, all offspring dies before they can spread Zika. This is projected to cut the number of disease-spreading mosquitoes by 70-80 percent. But not everyone agrees that this is the best solution. Engineering the mosquito population may allow other diseases to spread. Other solutions include sterilizing the mosquitoes or using bacteria. Listen and debate what your students think are the best ways to fight the Zika epidemic.
Current Event February 8, 2016
The Zika virus outbreak has been declared a public health emergency by the World Health Organization. Thousands of new cases have been discovered and the virus is spreading rapidly through Brazil and much of Latin America but it’s considered a public health threat to the rest of the world. Even though the symptoms of the virus are mild, if you are pregnant, the virus could damage your unborn child’s brain. The Zika virus is similar to other viruses, so a vaccine could be ready in 3 to 4 years. Listen to hear more about this public health emergency.