Health & Science

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KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Diarrhea is not only a topic that makes people a bit squeamish, it turns out to be a difficult disease to put into numbers.

But two trends are clear, says an author of a new report: The number of deaths from diarrheal diseases is dropping dramatically in low-income countries – and ticking upward in wealthy nations.

In 2010, Sonia Vallabh watched her mom, Kamni Vallabh, die in a really horrible way.

First, her mom's memory started to go, then she lost the ability to reason. Sonia says it was like watching someone get unplugged from the world. By the end, it was as if she was stuck between being awake and asleep. She was confused and uncomfortable all the time.

"Even when awake, was she fully or was she really? And when asleep, was she really asleep?" says Sonia.

Updated 4:01 PM ET Tuesday

Do you know where your workplace's automated external defibrillator is located? About half of all U.S. employees don't, according to the results of an American Heart Association survey.

Emma Carpita is just 2 weeks old. Her parents, Federico and Loredana, have brought the crying infant to her first medical checkup.

Dr. Patrizia Franco, Emma's pediatrician, hands them a list of vaccine centers in the area. "Do you have any questions or concerns?" she asks.

"No," says Federico. "We think all parents should be obligated to vaccinate their children."

Sonia Vallabh saw her mother die at age 52 from a rare disease that causes irreversible brain damage. Then Sonia learned she has inherited the genetic mutation that killed her mother. She and her husband quit their jobs and trained to become scientists. They're now racing against time to come up with a treatment that could save Sonia's life.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

At a childbirth class at Doula Love in Portland, Ore., a half-dozen pregnant women lean on yoga balls. Their partners are right behind them, learning how to apply pressure for a pelvic massage. Together, they go over the stages of labor, birthing positions, and breathing techniques.

Cole Cooney, who is expecting his second child, says he can't imagine missing the birth. Not just because he'd miss meeting his child, but because he'd miss the opportunity to help his wife.

"They're not gonna want me to play 'babies in space'," says Greg O'Brien. "You know, where I pick 'em up in my hands and I swirl them around over my head like a rocket ship. I always say 'Babies! In! Spaaaaace!' "

It's October 2016, and he is musing about the latest O'Brien family news. His daughter, Colleen, is due to have a baby in November, and ever since he found out, Greg has been struggling with competing emotions.

Nate Kramer was a tall, quiet college swimmer when he was diagnosed with leukemia. His dad, Vince, says it was the beginning of four difficult years.

Nate battled through chemotherapy, a fungal infection of the sinuses, 30 operations, bone marrow transplants, a lung infection and the removal of his spleen. Vince says his son kept rallying back.

War-torn Yemen is now being convulsed by cholera.

Over the past six weeks, more than 124,000 suspected cholera cases have been reported. To put this in perspective, there were only 172,000 cases reported globally to the World Health Organization for all of 2015. To be fair, many cholera cases go unreported each year, but by any standard the current outbreak in Yemen is huge.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Amazon said today it's buying the supermarket Whole Foods in a deal valued at nearly $14 billion. This is by far the largest acquisition Amazon has ever made. It also means big changes are ahead for the grocery business. NPR's Alina Selyukh reports.

There's a provocative interview with the philosopher Daniel Dennett in Living on Earth.

The topic is Dennett's latest book — From Bacteria to Bach and Back: The Evolution of Minds — and his idea that Charles Darwin and Alan Turing can be credited, in a way, with the same discovery: that you don't need comprehension to achieve competence.

It is hard to imagine Africans would record and release an album of music with the name White African Power.

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