Richard Harris http://kanw.com en Feds Tighten Lab Security After Anthrax, Bird Flu Blunders http://kanw.com/post/feds-tighten-lab-security-after-anthrax-bird-flu-blunders In the course of trying to understand a laboratory accident involving anthrax, officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stumbled upon another major blunder — involving a deadly flu virus.<p>The flu incident apparently posed no health risk, but it went unreported to top brass for six weeks. Those officials now recognize a <a href="http://www.npr.org/2014/07/09/330038131/researchers-aghast-over-discovery-of-smallpox-vials">pattern of problems</a> in their world-class laboratory. Fri, 11 Jul 2014 22:06:00 +0000 Richard Harris 45812 at http://kanw.com Feds Tighten Lab Security After Anthrax, Bird Flu Blunders Declining Domestic Sales Speed Talks For Tobacco Mega-Merger http://kanw.com/post/declining-domestic-sales-speed-talks-tobacco-mega-merger Transcript <p>MELISSA BLOCK, HOST: <p>From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block. The U.S. tobacco industry could be in for a shakeup. Reynolds American, the maker of cigarette brands such as Camel and Pall Mall, confirmed today that it's in talks to buy its smaller rival, Lorillard. As NPR's Yuki Noguchi reports, the potential merger comes as the industry feels the pinch of declining sales.<p>YUKI NOGUCHI, BYLINE: The U.S. Fri, 11 Jul 2014 20:11:00 +0000 Richard Harris 45796 at http://kanw.com Like All Animals, We Need Stress. Just Not Too Much http://kanw.com/post/all-animals-we-need-stress-just-not-too-much Ask somebody about stress, and you're likely to hear an outpouring about all the bad things that cause it — and the bad things that result. But if you ask a biologist, you'll hear that stress can be good.<p>In fact, it's essential.<p>For example, the adrenal glands of all animals have evolved to pump out <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3079864/">stress hormones</a> in unexpected situations — the hormones spur action and increase fuel to the brain, helping the animal react to danger appropriately. Wed, 09 Jul 2014 07:32:00 +0000 Richard Harris 45638 at http://kanw.com Like All Animals, We Need Stress. Just Not Too Much Smallpox Virus Found In Unsecured NIH Lab http://kanw.com/post/smallpox-virus-found-unsecured-nih-freezer Scientists cleaning out an old laboratory on the National Institutes of Health campus in Bethesda, Md., last week came across a startling discovery: vials labeled "variola" — in other words, smallpox.<p>Under international convention, there are supposed to be only two stashes of this deadly virus: one at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and another at a similar facility in Russia.<p>The CDC swooped in to collect the vials and carted them off to a secure lab at its Atlanta headquarters.<p>In a statement Tuesday, the agency said scientists did indeed find smallp Tue, 08 Jul 2014 17:29:00 +0000 Richard Harris 45605 at http://kanw.com Smallpox Virus Found In Unsecured NIH Lab Quick DNA Tests Crack Medical Mysteries Otherwise Missed http://kanw.com/post/quick-dna-tests-crack-medical-mysteries-otherwise-missed Researchers are developing a radical way to diagnose infectious diseases. Thu, 05 Jun 2014 21:17:00 +0000 Richard Harris 44219 at http://kanw.com Quick DNA Tests Crack Medical Mysteries Otherwise Missed Once A Year, Cancer Research News Comes In A Flood, Not A Trickle http://kanw.com/post/once-year-cancer-research-news-comes-flood-not-trickle News about cancer therapies usually comes out in medical journals with the regular rhythm of an IV drip. But every now and then information comes out in a flood.<p>That's the case this weekend. The <a href="http://www.asco.org/">American Society of Clinical Oncology </a>is holding its 50<sup>th</sup> annual meeting in Chicago. The convention typically attracts 30,000 attendees, making it one of the biggest cancer meetings of the year. Sun, 01 Jun 2014 11:31:00 +0000 Richard Harris 43988 at http://kanw.com Once A Year, Cancer Research News Comes In A Flood, Not A Trickle Measles Hits Amish Communities, And U.S. Cases Reach 20-Year High http://kanw.com/post/measles-hits-amish-communities-and-us-cases-reach-20-year-high Members of Amish communities in Ohio traveled to the Philippines for heartfelt reasons: They were there on service projects to help less fortunate people. Unfortunately, they came home with unwelcome hitchhikers: measles viruses.<p>Those travelers hadn't been vaccinated against this highly contagious disease, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday. Thu, 29 May 2014 18:28:00 +0000 Richard Harris 43885 at http://kanw.com Measles Hits Amish Communities, And U.S. Cases Reach 20-Year High Experimental Malaria Vaccine Blocks The Bad Guy's Exit http://kanw.com/post/experimental-malaria-vaccine-blocks-bad-guys-exit <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IrNL27eWKOI</p> Thu, 22 May 2014 18:16:00 +0000 Richard Harris 43584 at http://kanw.com Experimental Malaria Vaccine Blocks The Bad Guy's Exit Medicine Needs More Research On Female Animals, NIH Says http://kanw.com/post/medicine-needs-more-research-female-animals-says-nih Many potential new drugs look like they could be big winners — at least when judged by how well they work in mice or other lab animals. Over the years, there have been a number of promising cancer "cures," possible Alzheimer's treatments, and candidate drugs for holding back the ravages of various degenerative diseases.<p>But, time after time, these great promises fade away once the potential treatments are tried in people. There are lots of reasons for that. Thu, 15 May 2014 18:11:00 +0000 Richard Harris 43255 at http://kanw.com Medicine Needs More Research On Female Animals, NIH Says If Polar Bears Can Eat A Ton Of Fat And Be Healthy, Why Can't We? http://kanw.com/post/if-polar-bears-can-eat-ton-fat-and-be-healthy-why-cant-we If you were a bear and wanted to make a go of it in the frozen North (think polar bear, of course), what would you need to survive?<p>White fur would help, to help you sneak up on prey. Also plenty of body fat to stay warm. Thu, 08 May 2014 16:44:00 +0000 Richard Harris 42946 at http://kanw.com If Polar Bears Can Eat A Ton Of Fat And Be Healthy, Why Can't We? Even Penguins Get The Flu http://kanw.com/post/even-penguins-get-flu When you think of bird flu, you may conjure up images of chickens being slaughtered to stem an outbreak, or of migrating ducks, which can carry flu viruses from one continent to the next. Well, it's time to add penguins to your list of mental images.<p>Yes, <a href="http://www.penguinworld.com/types/adelie.html">Adelie penguins</a>, which breed in huge colonies on the rocky Antarctic Peninsula, also harbor a version of the avian influenza virus, according to a <a href="http://mbio.asm.org/">study published</a> in the journal, <em>mBio</em>.<p>Fret not. Tue, 06 May 2014 04:03:00 +0000 Richard Harris 42833 at http://kanw.com Even Penguins Get The Flu Family Tree Of Pertussis Traced, Could Lead To Better Vaccine http://kanw.com/post/family-tree-pertussis-traced-could-lead-better-vaccine Whooping cough was once one of the leading killers of babies around the world. Now that it's largely controlled with a vaccine, scientists have had a chance to figure out how the disease came into being in the first place.<p>That story is told in a <a href="http://mbio.asm.org/content/5/2/e01074-14.full?sid=b438c0ee-50da-448f-8c94-4f7d08dd7700">study</a> published online this week in the journal <em>mBio</em>. Fri, 25 Apr 2014 20:04:00 +0000 Richard Harris 42421 at http://kanw.com Family Tree Of Pertussis Traced, Could Lead To Better Vaccine First Embryonic Stem Cells Cloned From A Man's Skin http://kanw.com/post/first-embryonic-stem-cells-cloned-mans-skin Eighteen years ago, scientists in Scotland took the nuclear DNA from the cell of an adult sheep and put it into another sheep's egg cell that had been emptied of its own nucleus. The resulting egg was implanted in the womb of a third sheep, and the result was Dolly, the first clone of a mammal.<p>Dolly's birth set off a huge outpouring of ethical concern — along with hope that the same techniques, applied to human cells, could be used to treat myriad diseases.<p>But Dolly's birth also triggered years of frustration. Thu, 17 Apr 2014 18:14:00 +0000 Richard Harris 42032 at http://kanw.com First Embryonic Stem Cells Cloned From A Man's Skin Ebola Drug Could Be Ready For Human Testing Next Year http://kanw.com/post/ebola-drug-could-be-ready-human-testing-next-year The <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2014/04/08/300509073/the-ebola-outbreak-three-weeks-in-dire-but-not-hopeless">Ebola outbreak</a> in West Africa is terrifying because there's no drug to treat this often fatal disease. But the disease is so rare, there's no incentive for big pharmaceutical companies to develop a treatment.<p>Even so, some small companies, given government incentives, are stepping into that breach. The result: More than half a dozen ideas are being pursued actively.<p>And these are boon days for drugs that can treat viruses. Fri, 11 Apr 2014 20:06:00 +0000 Richard Harris 41805 at http://kanw.com Ebola Drug Could Be Ready For Human Testing Next Year How Mouse Studies Lead Medical Research Down Dead Ends http://kanw.com/post/how-mouse-studies-lead-medical-research-down-dead-ends Most experimental drugs fail before they make it through all the tests required to figure out if they actually work and if they're safe. But some drugs get fairly far down that road, at the cost of hundreds of millions of dollars, based on poorly conducted studies at the outset.<p>Medical researchers reviewing this sorry state of affairs say the drug-development process needs serious improvement.<p>Consider drugs that are being developed to treat <a href="http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/amyotrophiclateralsclerosis.html">ALS</a>, or Lou Gehrig's disease. Tue, 08 Apr 2014 07:44:00 +0000 Richard Harris 41603 at http://kanw.com How Mouse Studies Lead Medical Research Down Dead Ends Simple Blood Test To Spot Early Lung Cancer Getting Closer http://kanw.com/post/simple-blood-test-spot-early-lung-cancer-getting-closer One of these days, there could well be a simple blood test that can help diagnose and track cancers. We aren't there yet, but a burst of research in this area shows we are getting a lot closer.<p>In the latest of these studies, scientists have used blood samples to identify people with lung cancer.<p>At the Stanford School of Medicine, <a href="http://stemcell.stanford.edu/about/Laboratories/diehn/index.html">Dr. Maximilian Diehn</a> spends some of his time as a radiation oncologist treating patients with cancer, and some of his time delving into the world of DNA. Sun, 06 Apr 2014 17:22:00 +0000 Richard Harris 41548 at http://kanw.com Simple Blood Test To Spot Early Lung Cancer Getting Closer Custom Chromo: First Yeast Chromosome Built From Scratch http://kanw.com/post/custom-chromo-first-yeast-chromosome-built-scratch Using the labor of dozens of undergraduate students, scientists have built a customized yeast chromosome from scratch.<p>It's a milestone in the rapidly growing field of synthetic biology, where organisms can be tailored for industrial use. In this case, the near-term goal is to understand the genetics of yeast, and eventually the genetics of us.<p>This was quite an undertaking. Yeast have about 6,000 genes packed in 16 tidy bundles called chromosomes. Thu, 27 Mar 2014 20:55:00 +0000 Richard Harris 41143 at http://kanw.com Custom Chromo: First Yeast Chromosome Built From Scratch Fewer People Are Getting Infections In Hospitals, But Many Still Die http://kanw.com/post/1-25-hospital-patients-picks-infection-there Hospital-acquired infections continue to be a big problem in health care, with 4 percent of patients getting a new infection while hospitalized, a study finds. And 11 percent of those infections turn deadly.<p>It's the first time that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has attempted to catalog all hospital infections, not just the infections with germs on their watch list. Wed, 26 Mar 2014 16:01:00 +0000 Richard Harris 41069 at http://kanw.com Fewer People Are Getting Infections In Hospitals, But Many Still Die Never Mind Eyesight, Your Nose Knows Much More http://kanw.com/post/never-mind-eyesight-your-nose-knows-much-more The human eye can distinguish more than 2 million distinct colors. But scientists studying smell now say they have their vision colleagues beat: The human nose, they say, can distinguish more than a trillion different smells.<p>Yes, trillion with a T.<p>That new figure displaces a much more modest estimate. Thu, 20 Mar 2014 21:10:00 +0000 Richard Harris 40823 at http://kanw.com Never Mind Eyesight, Your Nose Knows Much More Google's Flu Tracker Suffers From Sniffles http://kanw.com/post/googles-flu-tracker-suffers-sniffles If you want to know what's up with the flu at the moment, you have a few choices: You can get the latest information at <a href="https://www.google.org/flutrends/us/#US">Google Flu Trends</a>. Thu, 13 Mar 2014 20:23:00 +0000 Richard Harris 40520 at http://kanw.com Google's Flu Tracker Suffers From Sniffles