Health & Science

Flip the faucets and lather up — October 15 is Global Handwashing Day, brought to you by UNICEF and other public and private groups.

Hygiene-related illnesses like diarrhea and infectious diseases like pneumonia, which could often be prevented by hand-washing, kill almost 1.8 million children before the age of 5 annually, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Scientists are one step closer to understanding a mystery of the Milky Way.

In 2007, data showed that a young star about 400 light years away from our solar system was blinking. It was being covered, uncovered and covered again in what astronomers call a "series of complex eclipses."

The eclipses told astronomers that something was orbiting the young star, and that the something was very large.

The news this week.

For that reason, we're bringing you this photo of a baby elephant named Jotto cuddled up to an ostrich named Pea.

Conservationists with the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Kenya came across Pea two years ago today, while they were rescuing a different infant elephant. The trust is well-known for its rescue and rehabilitation program for orphaned elephants.

Scientists have discovered a new kind of spidey sense.

We already knew that jumping spiders have exceptional vision. We knew that they are great at perceiving vibrations. We even knew that they can "hear" at extremely close range.

But in research published in Current Biology, researchers at Cornell University found that a common species of jumping spider called Phidippus audax can actually hear from much farther away than we thought — at distances of 10 feet away, or more.

Suppose I take the candy from the cabinet where you left it and put it someplace else. Where will you look for it when you get home?

Organ Donations Spike In The Wake Of The Opioid Epidemic

Oct 14, 2016

On the final day of June 2015, Colin LePage rode waves of hope and despair. It started when LePage found his 30-year-old son, Chris, at home after an apparent overdose. Paramedics rushed Chris by helicopter to one of Boston's flagship medical centers.

Doctors revived Chris' heart, but struggled to stabilize his temperature and blood pressure. At some point, a doctor or nurse mentioned to LePage that his son had agreed to be an organ donor.

"There was no urgency or, 'Hey, you need to do this.' I could see genuine concern and sadness." LePage says, his voice quavering.

Florida officials say there's a new area in Miami where Zika has been transmitted locally. Health officials have identified two women and three men who appear to have contracted Zika within an area that includes Miami's Little Haiti neighborhood. Officials say three live in the area; two others work there or have visited.

Self-driving cars have been getting a lot of attention lately: Uber's self-driving taxis in Pittsburgh, Tesla's semi-autonomous Model S and the driverless Google rides that look like a cross between a Cozy Coupe and a golf cart. But quietly and without much fanfare, researchers and entrepreneurs are working on self-driving trucks — big rigs, tractor trailers.

The World Health Organization says global governments are not on track to meet their goals for reducing tuberculosis deaths and infections.

At the World Health Assembly in 2014, leaders from around the world agreed to the twin goals of reducing deaths from the respiratory infection by 90 percent and cases by 80 percent by 2030, compared to 2015 levels.

There is a man who is a thorn in the side of Facebook — a problem that just won't go away. In 2008, Facebook sued him, saying he was a hacker and a spammer who was putting users at risk. But in a truly bizarre plot twist, he stood up to the Internet giant — and he has become the unlikely protagonist in a battle for your rights online.

Our protagonist

Steven Vachani and I are sitting at a Starbucks because, he doesn't want to say it, but: He doesn't have an office or a home in Silicon Valley anymore.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit


We've been talking with working parents for our series Stretched. They face a lot of challenges, chief among them child care.


UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #1: There are wait lists for every reputable day care.

It sounds like a typical melodrama of a movie — a saga about a big family with issues galore. There's the widowed grandfather who desperately misses his wife. The sensitive younger son who dreams of being a musician. And the daughter who's dipping into the family's stash of cash to pay a con artist who pretends to be a faith healer.

Women are less likely to die of breast cancer than they were a decade ago, but not all women are benefiting from that trend.

White women saw more of a drop in death rates than black women — 1.9 percent a year from 2010 to 2014, compared to a 1.5 percent decrease for black women, according to a report published Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Twelve years ago, a car wreck took away Nathan Copeland's ability to control his hands or sense what his fingers were touching.

A few months ago, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center gave Copeland a new way to reach out and feel the world around him. It's a mind-controlled robotic arm that has pressure sensors in each fingertip that send signals directly to Copeland's brain.