Topic: Life Science

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Science Middle School

Learning to Garden and Cook in School

Life Science Health Nutrition Plants

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.

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Current Event October 31, 2017

The Best and Worst Halloween Candy

Life Science Psychology

On Halloween, many children come home with bags full of candy. Some is eaten right away, some is left in the bag for later, and some is traded for more desirable candy. Some people rank their favorite candy based on texture or according to the proportion of ingredients such as the ratio of chocolate to caramel. What candy would be on your favorite list? Listen to this story to hear about one person’s ranking of Halloween candy based on her preferences.

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Current Event October 26, 2017

Outgrowing Food Allergies

Life Science

An estimated 1 in 13 children have food allergies. Some are potentially life-threatening and avoiding the allergen can be challenging and stressful. The blood tests and skin prick tests rule out specific food allergies but are not as accurate when confirming food allergies. The oral food challenge, where the food is eaten under the supervision of a doctor has become the gold-standard for determining allergies. Listen to this story about allergies as a health concern and the best way to tell if the food allergies have been outgrown.

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ELA Middle School

Jane Goodall Gets Up Close with Animals

Life Science

Jane Goodall is a well known advocate for ecological preservation. Her book "Hope for Animals and Their World" is about her experiences rescuing endangered animal species all over the world. She makes the case for not only saving cute animals like chimpanzees but for preventing rare plants and insects from dying out because it’s vital for sustainability and the proliferation of all kinds of life. Listen to learn more about her experiences with species near extinction and preserving entire ecosystems on our planet.

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Science High School

Clinical Trials Don’t Reflect the Diversity of America

Life Science Race Gender Genetics

American doctors rely on clinical trials to determine which drugs to use in treatment. Researchers have found that clinical trials have not been effective in creating drugs for America’s diverse population. When clinical trials are too homogeneous, they can leave important discoveries undiscovered. Patients who are diverse ethnically and racially can respond differently to medications, leading to dire consequences. Listen to learn how a lack of diversity in clinical trials affects patients and how researchers are trying to fix it.

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Current Event October 17, 2017

Wildfires Devastate Parts of Northern California

Life Science

Forest fires across Montana, Washington, Idaho, Oregon and California have burned over 8 million acres of land this season. In Northern California, fires have killed at least 23 people and destroyed more than 2,000 homes and businesses. The dry conditions and extreme heat, along with high winds, have helped the fires spread quickly. Listen to this story about the destruction caused by the fire in a mobile home park in northern California.

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Current Event October 12, 2017

2017 Nobel Prize Winners in Medicine

Life Science Human body

The Nobel Prize is a set of annual international awards given to people who make outstanding contributions in the areas of science, culture, or academics. This year the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine was given to three U.S. scientists for their discoveries about how internal body clocks govern human biology. Our daily rhythms, our sleep and awake cycles, are related to the cycles of the sun. We typically get tired in the evening and feel awake during the day. Listen to hear more about this discovery about how our internal clocks work.

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Current Event October 10, 2017

How Your Body Responds to Stress

Life Science Health Psychology

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.

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Current Event October 5, 2017

Elephant Seals Have Signature Snorts

Life Science

The sounds of male elephant seals are different and each has a unique rhythm. A new study suggests that alpha males are recognized by their calls during mating season. If other males hear the call, they will scatter. An elephant seal’s call is loud and is also used to signal who they are. Males have unique rhythms and females have calls to threaten and calls to their pups. Listen to hear more about the new discoveries about what the calls of elephant seals mean.

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Current Event September 27, 2017

The Link Between Research and Inventions

Life Science Earth and Space Science Physical Science

Hundreds of billions of dollars are spent each year on basic research. A new study shows that money is not wasted since there is a strong link between basic research and future patented inventions. Researchers studied 4.8 million patents issued by the U.S. Patent Office and 32 million scientific papers and found a strong link between new technologies and research. Listen to hear more about this link.

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Science High School

Editing Human Genes

Life Science DNA Biotechnology Cells

We live in an age when genetic engineering has the capacity to affect the course of human evolution. Scientists can edit human DNA, which could have profound benefits for society, but they also come with dangers. Editing human DNA can allow for the treatment and prevention of disease, but edited DNA can also be passed down from generation to generation, becoming a permanent part of human genes. The scientific community met to discuss these issues and clearly stated that creating a baby with edited DNA is dangerous and unsafe, but supported the basic research to see what is possible before taking any next steps. Listen to hear more about this issue and what scientists have concluded.

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Current Event September 20, 2017

Why Some Animals Are Faster Than Others

Life Science Animals Evolution

Animals with long limbs and lots of muscle should be faster than other animals. In reality, even though a giraffe has much longer legs than a cheetah, it runs only about half as fast. This is because there are other factors involved in acceleration and speed of animals, such as how much energy they have to burn. Listen to learn about how new research on animal speeds can give scientists clues about the lives of prehistoric animals.

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Current Event September 5, 2017

How Zebra Finches Learn to Sing

Life Science Education KERA

Humans and baby birds appear to be very different creatures, but scientists are studying certain birds because they learn their songs in a similar way that humans learn speech. A new study from University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center has shown similarities between how both species develop language. Listen to the lead scientist as he explains how a network of neurons in the brains of zebra finches could provide insight into how humans learn to speak.

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Current Event August 16, 2017

Tricky Spiders Avoid Predators

Life Science Evolution

Animals employ all sorts of techniques to avoid becoming prey. This is a story about one species of spider that have learned to mimic the movement of ants to avoid detection by predators. Listen to learn more about the life of a professional insect impersonator.

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Current Event July 17, 2017

Bed Bugs are an Expensive Pest Problem for Renters

Life Science KERA

An infestation of bed bugs is horrible, along with being costly to treat. They search for blood, mostly at night when people sleep, and their bites leave red welts and itchy skin. They spread easily and hide during the day, making them difficult to find. Getting rid of bed bugs is expensive and creates difficulties for low-income renters. Many tenants do not realize that their leases have sections that put the responsibility of getting rid of the bed bugs on them and not on their landlords. Listen to hear one family’s story and the options available to you when there is a bed bug infestation.

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Current Event July 12, 2017

Opium Prescriptions Still Too High

Life Science Health

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.

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Current Event July 5, 2017

Learning about Brain Science from Phineas Gage

Life Science Psychology

In the mid 1800s our understanding of the brain was radically changed as a result of a freak accident. Phineas Gage survived an accident that drove an iron rod through his head, but he had some changes in his personality. This case highlighted the relationship between the structural parts of the brain and changes in behavior. Listen to hear more about what this case can tell us about the brain and personality.

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Current Event June 6, 2017

Bird Flu Worries Scientists

Life Science Viruses

Doctors around the world are worried about the threat of the global spread of bird flu, or avian influenza. In Hong Kong, scientists studying the virus are also concerned about how quickly the virus is evolving. The latest mutation of the virus is able to kill chickens in the lab within 24 hours. A leading scientist worries that a future mutation could be transmitted more quickly between humans, leading to a global pandemic. Listen to learn more about this research and the threat of bird flu.

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Current Event May 30, 2017

A Hero Bug Helps Scientists Develop Drugs

Life Science

Scientists have found a new bacteria in a cave 1,000 feet underground. The bacteria is resistant to 70% of antibiotics used to fight disease in humans. The fact that the bacteria is resistant to these antibiotics, despite never having been exposed to them, tells scientists that antibiotic resistance is genetically hardwired rather than developed as a result of exposure. Scientists are calling the bacteria a “hero bug” because it is not harmful to humans, and they hope that this new knowledge will lead to even more effective antibiotics. Listen to learn more about the “hero bug” and antibiotic resistance in bacteria.

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