Why do some people get severely sick from swine flu and others barely feel it? As flu season ramps up, scientists at UCSF's Viral Discovery Center are racing to learn more about the 2009 H1N1 virus, including how it's evolving, and whether our current treatments will remain effective.
We all know that, thanks to our DNA, each of us is a little bit different. Some of those differences are obvious, like eye and hair color, but others are not so obvious, like how our bodies react to medication. Researchers are beginning to look at how to tailor medical treatments to our genetic profiles. Some of the biggest breakthroughs have been in cancer treatment.
Wine grapes are one of the most sprayed crops in California. A growing number of farmers are choosing not to spray and are doing other things for the environment, too. The challenge is there are now so many choices when it comes to green wines, it can be baffling for the eco-conscious consumer. Organic, sustainable, biodynamic, natural… what does it all mean?
As of September 2009, San Francisco residents faced warnings, and even fines, if they failed to recycle, as the city aims to keep ever more garbage out of its landfills. But, after twenty years of curbside recycling and, more recently, composting programs, Californians produce more waste than ever.
In California, nuclear power has long been a subject that's "radioactive." But recent polls suggest that Californians may finally be warming up to the idea and a new study suggests that a clean energy future may not happen without it. Craig Miller reports on the prospects for a "nuclear revival" in the Golden State.
Months after the federal government enacted stricter standards intended to keep lead out of children's toys, a KQED investigation found merchandise that violates the law still sitting on many Bay Area store shelves. In part two of the series, QUEST looks at the challenges of keeping leaded toys out of stores.
Congress recently passed tougher limits on lead levels due to the large number of recalls of imported toys. But the new law, which went into effect in February, doesn't seem to be keeping dangerous items off store shelves, as reporter Oanh Ha found out.
Once they leave your driveway, your discarded bottles, newspapers, and other recyclables become part of a multi-billion dollar global commodities market. Last month's phone bill, for example, might be sent to China to be reincarnated as next month's iPhone packaging.
They've been called "California's Galapagos." Nearly 30 miles west of the Golden Gate Bridge lie the Farallon Islands. This year marks their 100th anniversary as a national wildlife refuge. While the islands are off limits to tourists, reporter Lauren Sommer caught a ride with marine researchers to learn about how changes are affecting life there.
Audio Report on Jul 27, 2009 by from QUEST Northern California
One in six Americans will experience a major episode of depression at some point in their lives. And yet the drugs commonly used to treat the disease have been described as "blunt instruments"
by researchers. Newer approaches use magnets to stimulate some of the neurological signals that underlie depression.
Call it Museum 2.0. One of our most traditional institutions is undergoing a 21st century re-design. In an effort to keep up with changing times, more and more museums are turning to Twitter, Wikis and online communities to ask for the public's help in designing their exhibits.
At UC Davis Veterinary Hospital, competitive performance horses receive stem cell treatments that are still off limits to humans. Veterinarians say their success may pave the way for other animals… like us.
Five years ago, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger announced his vision for the Hydrogen Highway, an ambitious program that promised to launch an alternative energy revolution in California. Right now, that highway is not as smooth as planners had hoped and government funding is in danger of drying up.
How would you like the government to help you buy a newer, more fuel-efficient set of wheels? That's the idea behind a so-called Cash for Clunkers program that Congress is considering. But is it a boon for the environment or just a hand-out to Detroit automakers? The plan is not so novel. California has had a similar program for a decade.
NASA scientists in Mountain View are building a spaceship that they will deliberately crash into the moon in 2009, sending up a 37-mile high cloud of debris. Their goal? To possibly find water in the form of ice buried deep within one of the moon's poles.
Next month, the Marine Mammal Center in the Marin Headlands opens its doors to the public for the first time in four years. The Center treats sea lions, elephant seals, and other marine mammals that run into trouble along our coast. They swallow fishing lines, get hit by boat propellers and, increasingly, come down with a bacterial infection that scientists say they still don't understand.
NASA will soon attempt to launch an unusual satellite. Most satellites are the size of a car, but this one is small enough to fit inside a glove compartment. Mini-satellites are reaching space in increasing numbers, thanks also to a do-it-yourself satellite program at Stanford University.
Sudden Oak Death is devastating oak forests along the coast, killing trees that are key to the ecology of the coastal hills. Researchers have found a way to inoculate individual trees from the disease, but are struggling in their search to find a more sweeping answer to the threat.
Why are health officials so worried about swine flu? A major reason is that against it, we are almost defenseless. Apart from the drugs Tamiflu and Relenza, which must be taken in the first 48 hours, swine flu is untreatable. The swine flu scare is only the latest chapter in an ongoing arms race between humans and viruses. But some scientists believe the end may be in sight.
It's easy to get excited about installing solar panels on our houses, but most of us could significantly cut our energy bills for less with a simple trip to Home Depot. Thanks to the new federal stimulus package, $411 million is coming to California to help the state's buildings become more energy efficient.