Health & Science

You probably know it's against the law in most states to text and drive — but studies suggest that many of us still peek at our smartphones when we're behind the wheel.

This habit, however, contributes to distracted driving. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 3,179 people were killed in car crashes involving a distracted driver in 2014.

Copyright 2016 Oregon Public Broadcasting. To see more, visit Oregon Public Broadcasting.

Accidents happen, and if they are someone else's fault, you can go to court to try to get compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering. If you win, though, the pot of gold you receive may be considerably smaller than you expect. Your health plan may claim some — or all — of the award as reimbursement for money it spent on your medical care.

Michelle Maternowski / WUWM

Barre studios and classes have become very popular over the past few years, but the practice itself has been around since 1959.

Professional ballerina Ladi Burke developed the barre method after injuring her back. Still wanting to be active and conditioned, Burke combined her dance exercises with rehabilitative therapy to maintain greater flexibility, balance and strength.

When orchardist Eliza Greenman walks through a field of apple trees and gazes upon a pocked array of blemished and buckled fruits — scarred from fighting fungus, heat and pests — she feels a little thrill of joy. "I'm absolutely infatuated with the idea of stress in an orchard," says Greenman, who custom grafts and grows pesticide-free hard cider apples in Hamilton, Va. These forlorn, scabbed apples, says Greenman, may actually be sweeter.

Immunotherapy tablets are starting to edge out shots as a treatment for allergies. And it looks like the pills can help reduce the frequency of asthma attacks, too.

Scientists reported Tuesday that immunotherapy tablets for dust mite allergy reduced the risk of an attack in people with moderate to severe asthma. The results were published in JAMA, the journal of the American Medical Association.

When it comes to reversing the obesity epidemic, there have been glimmers of hope that the U.S. might be making headway, especially with young children.

Over the past decade, states have passed laws intended to help women understand the results of their breast cancer screening mammograms if they have dense breasts. But those notifications can be downright confusing and may, in fact, cause more misunderstanding than understanding.

Back in the day, astronomers studied galaxies one at a time.

Data about each metropolis of stars had to be pieced together slowly. These individual studies were then combined so that a broader understanding of galaxies and their histories as a whole could slowly emerge.

Only Human is a new podcast from WNYC Studios. Hosted by Mary Harris, Only Human tells stories we all can relate to. Because every body has a story. Subscribe to Only Human on iTunes or wherever you like to get your podcasts.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

For more than a generation, health experts have hailed China's vaccination program as a success in eliminating preventable diseases like polio and tetanus. Advances in the country's public health have benefited from — and enabled — rapid economic growth.

But since last month, a nationwide scandal involving the illegal resale of vaccines has dented public confidence in the program, ignited public anger at the government and added fuel to ongoing small-scale street protests by parents who believed vaccines have injured or sickened their children.

Charter Communications has bid more than $88 billion to buy its larger rival, Time Warner Cable, and a smaller competitor called Bright House Networks — and it's closing in on the required regulatory approval from federal authorities.

The deal would be yet another major shakeup in the telecom industry: It would form the second-largest Internet provider, behind Comcast, and the third-largest video provider, behind Comcast and the newly merged AT&T/DirecTV.

To wrap up our series on public health in Baltimore, Audie Cornish met up with Baltimore City Health Commissioner Leana Wen in Freddie Gray's neighborhood of Sandtown-Winchester. The health department recently opened a new outpost of its violence prevention program Safe Streets there, employing ex-offenders to mediate conflicts before they erupt in violence.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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