The Science of Sustainability

Health

Next Meal: Engineering Food

Next Meal: Engineering Food

Are the benefits of genetically engineered foods worth the risks? This half-hour QUEST Northern California special explores the pros and cons of genetically engineered crops, and what the future holds for research and regulations.

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In Search of the Bacterial Garden of Eden

In Search of the Bacterial Garden of Eden

Now that scientists are starting to get a handle on what kinds of microbes live in the human body and, roughly, how those populations differ from one individual to another, a key question will be whether there is such a thing as an “ideal” microbiome.

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The Human Microbiome: A Rogue's Gallery

The Human Microbiome: A Rogue's Gallery

Get to know some of the microbes that may be in your gut.

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Air Pollution Lurks Inside Your Home

Air Pollution Lurks Inside Your Home

Californians spend over 45 billion dollars each year on health impacts due to indoor air pollution. Scientists at Berkeley Lab have identified the indoor air pollutants with the greatest health consequences, and they are now looking for ways to improve indoor air quality.

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Brain Mapping: From the Basics to Science Fiction

Brain Mapping: From the Basics to Science Fiction

Obama's BRAIN Initiative directs $100 million in public money toward basic brain research. But what's the goal?

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Fire Safety without Harm

Fire Safety without Harm

Last week, scientists and regulators from more than 20 countries gathered in San Francisco to discuss the latest research on flame retardants. The conference lasted four days, but the theme of the meeting was clear from just a few talks: Do we need toxic chemicals to achieve fire safety?

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Bay Area Biotech Industry Braces for Gene Patenting Court Case

Bay Area Biotech Industry Braces for Gene Patenting Court Case

The Supreme Court is hearing a case on a key question: can you patent a human gene?

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Richard Misrach’s Cancer Alley: Documenting the Poisoning of America’s Wetland

Richard Misrach’s Cancer Alley: Documenting the Poisoning of America’s Wetland

In the new exhibition on display at Stanford's Cantor Arts Center, "Revisiting the South: Richard Misrach's Cancer Alley," the Berkeley photographer takes a hard look at the environmental consequences of our dependence on petroleum.

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Nerve-Stimulating Headband May Prevent Migraines

Nerve-Stimulating Headband May Prevent Migraines

Migraines affect about 30 million Americans, but anti-migraine medications are often ineffective or cause unpleasant side effects. New research indicates that migraines may be prevented by wearing a headband that stimulates the nerves around the eyes and forehead.

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Yes, Your Cell Phone Conversation Does Drive People Mad

Yes, Your Cell Phone Conversation Does Drive People Mad

It's well known that talking on your cell phone compromises your ability to perform simple tasks like walking and driving. Now it turns out cell phones impact cognition in bystanders as well: listening to another person talk on their cell phone isn't just incredibly annoying, it also interferes with your memory and concentration.

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Arsenic and Old Wells

Arsenic and Old Wells

Six years after the EPA's new arsenic rule for drinking water went into effect, poor communities in the San Joaquin Valley—who can’t afford the costs of complying with the stricter standard—face the highest risk of exposure to unsafe arsenic levels.

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The Science of Nudity: The Skinny on Showing Skin

The Science of Nudity: The Skinny on Showing Skin

News flash – as of February 1st, 2013 – public nudity is illegal in San Francisco. But well before the law went into effect, it generated a tremendous amount of debate.

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Are Sleeping Aids Effective or Just A Placebo Effect?

Are Sleeping Aids Effective or Just A Placebo Effect?

Insomnia has become a major health concern worldwide. In the US, 60 million prescriptions for sleeping pills are issued each year and non-benzodiazepines are the most commonly prescribed type. However, recent scientific journal articles have raised concerns about using these sleep aids.

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Comments Do Matter (So Get Talking!)

Comments Do Matter (So Get Talking!)

Back in December I wrote a blog post asking scientists to comment online more often.

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Pregnancy and Paternity: New Fetal DNA Testing

Pregnancy and Paternity: New Fetal DNA Testing

Imagine you are a woman in a committed relationship. The worst happens and you are raped and become pregnant. What are your options?

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Think Before You Drink Grapefruit Juice

Think Before You Drink Grapefruit Juice

You should discuss with your doctor or pharmacist whether ingesting grapefruit could cause an unintentional drug overdose. Eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice affects how the body metabolizes certain drugs, and the number of drugs that adversely interact with grapefruit has increased according to new research results.

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Stanford Investigates the Hits that Cause Concussions

Stanford Investigates the Hits that Cause Concussions

It's no secret that concussions are endemic in American football at every level, from peewees to the pros, but little is known about the hits that cause them. Stanford University is searching for answers.

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Should I or Shouldn't I? Wrestling with Giving Genetic Tests as Gifts

Should I or Shouldn't I? Wrestling with Giving Genetic Tests as Gifts

When 23andMe offered their DNA test for just $99, I started to think about giving it for Christmas presents.

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Think Tiny: The Science of New Year's Resolutions

Think Tiny: The Science of New Year's Resolutions

Want to keep a New Year's resolution? One Stanford researcher says to give up on lofty goals. Instead, focus on tiny habits.

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Conquering Fungophobia

Conquering Fungophobia

Late fall rains signal the start of mushroom season, which can last until spring in the Bay Area. Though only experts should forage and eat wild mushrooms (following park rules about harvesting), anyone can appreciate the rich diversity of these ephemeral fruits of the forest.

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