Health & Science

Hospice care is for the dying. It helps patients manage pain so they can focus on spending their remaining time with loved ones. But in recent years, nearly 1 in 5 patients has been discharged from hospice before he or she dies, according to government reports.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai cancelled a company-wide Town Hall that had been organized after an employee was fired for writing a memo that criticized the tech-giant's diversity efforts.

In an email to employees, Pichai said some questions that had been pre-submitted via Google's moderating software "appeared externally this afternoon and on some websites Googlers are now being named personally."

The year 2016 was the warmest on record for the planet as a whole, surpassing temperature records that date back 137 years, according to an annual report compiled by scientists around the globe.

For global temperatures, last year surpassed the previous record-holder: 2015.

More Americans are drinking alcohol, and a growing number of them are drinking to a point that's dangerous or harmful, according to a new study published in JAMA Psychiatry this week.

The study, sponsored by a federal agency for alcohol research, examined how drinking patterns changed between 2002 and 2013, based on in-person surveys of tens of thousands of U.S. adults.

People generally think that editing human genes might be OK, but most think that there's a clear line that shouldn't be crossed when it comes to changing traits that would be passed down to new generations, according to a survey reported Thursday.

It's always appealing to think that there could be an easy technical fix for a complicated and serious problem.

For example, wouldn't it be great to have a vaccine to prevent addiction?

"One of the things they're actually working on is a vaccine for addiction, which is an incredibly exciting prospect," said Dr. Tom Price, secretary of Health and Human Services.

President Trump says he is ready to declare the nation's opioid crisis "a national emergency," saying it is a "serious problem the likes of which we have never had." Speaking to reporters at the entrance to his Bedminster, N.J., golf club, where he is on a working vacation, Trump promised "to spend a lot of time, a lot of effort and a lot of money on the opioid crisis."

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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

When people in several North Carolina precincts showed up to vote last November, weird things started to happen with the electronic systems used to check them in.

"Voters were going in and being told that they had already voted — and they hadn't," recalls Allison Riggs, an attorney with the Southern Coalition for Social Justice.

The electronic systems — known as poll books — also indicated that some voters had to show identification, even though they did not.

In Africa as well as parts of Asia and Latin America, women and babies die when labor takes a complicated turn and there is no one to provide a cesarean section. Young people succumb to accidental injuries for lack of surgical interventions. A child born with a cleft palate or club foot suffers through a lifetime of disability because no team is available to provide routine surgery.

Promising online shows that run from comedy and reality to live sports, Facebook says its new Watch platform will let creators connect with their audiences — and earn money in the process. The social media giant's plan calls for using ads to monetize video.

Since President Trump took office in January, enforcement of environmental laws has dropped dramatically, compared with past administrations. A study released by the Environmental Integrity Project finds that $12 million in civil penalties have been collected from violators in 26 cases between January and the end of July.

Ten years ago, Fumiko Chino was the art director at a television production company in Houston, engaged to be married to a young Ph.D. candidate.

Today, she's a radiation oncologist at Duke University, studying the effects of financial strain on cancer patients. And she's a widow.

How she got from there to here is a story about how health care and money are intertwined in ways that doctors and patients don't like to talk about.

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