Research News New advances in science, medicine, health, and technology.Stem cell research, drug research, and new treatments for disease.

Research News

These human embryo-like structures (top) were synthesized from human stem cells; they've been stained to illustrate different cell types. Images (bottom) of the "embryoids" in the new device that was invented to make them. Yi Zheng/University of Michigan, Ann Arbor hide caption

toggle caption
Yi Zheng/University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Scientists Create A Device That Can Mass-Produce Human Embryoids

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/757072996/759899470" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

The EPA says it aims to eliminate the testing of chemicals and pesticides in animals by 2035. filo/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
filo/Getty Images

EPA Chief Pledges To Severely Cut Back On Animal Testing Of Chemicals

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/759435118/759554295" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Joe Bay (center), coach of a New York City "Bootcamp for New Dads," instructs Adewale Oshodi (left) and George Pasco in how to cradle an infant for best soothing. Jason LeCras for NPR hide caption

toggle caption
Jason LeCras for NPR

A gas flare from the Shell Chemical LP petroleum refinery illuminates the sky on Aug. 21 in Norco, La. Drew Angerer/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Opinion: Earth Has Survived Extinctions Before, It's Humans Who Are Fragile

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/758448991/758578075" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

UK Biobank has granted 10,000 qualified scientists access to its large database of genetic sequences and other medical data, but other organizations with databases have been far more restrictive in giving access. KTSDESIGN/Getty Images/Science Photo Library hide caption

toggle caption
KTSDESIGN/Getty Images/Science Photo Library

How Should Scientists' Access To Health Databanks Be Managed?

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/755402750/758199447" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

The New York State Department of Health said Thursday that it is looking at vitamin E acetate as a potential cause of severe pulmonary illness cases in the state that have been associated with vaping. Daniel Becerril/Reuters hide caption

toggle caption
Daniel Becerril/Reuters

The sounds of pleasant, relaxed bird chatter made eastern grey squirrels resume foraging more quickly after hearing the sounds of a predator, researchers found. Mike Kemp/In Pictures via Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Mike Kemp/In Pictures via Getty Images

The Other Twitterverse: Squirrels Eavesdrop On Birds, Researchers Say

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/757530544/757626273" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Bags of heroin, some laced with fentanyl, picked up in a 2016 New York City drug bust. "Basically, [fentanyl] is so cheap to produce and it's so powerful, that drug dealers began realizing it was a way to increase their profits," Fentanyl, Inc. author Ben Westhoff says. But miscalculations of the amount used can be deadly. Drew Angerer/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Fentanyl As A Dark Web Profit Center, From Chinese Labs To U.S. Streets

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/757089868/757585981" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Researchers in the U.K. say a teen has suffered vision loss after years of eating a highly limited diet consisting of snacking on Pringles potato chips, as well as French fries, white bread and some processed pork products. Bloomberg via Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Bloomberg via Getty Images

Blind From A Bad Diet? Teen Who Ate Mostly Potato Chips And Fries Lost His Sight

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/757051172/757220158" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

The measles virus is highly contagious. If someone with measles coughs or sneezes, the virus in those droplets can survive for two hours afterward — infecting about 90% of the people lacking immunity who pass through that space. Erik Witsoe/EyeEm/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Erik Witsoe/EyeEm/Getty Images

Millennial And Gen-X Travelers: Need Another Measles Shot?

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/753141174/756679353" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Macrobdella mimicus, the first new species of medicinal leech discovered in over 40 years. The Smithsonian Institution hide caption

toggle caption
The Smithsonian Institution

A New Bloodsucking Leech Species Found Hiding Outside Washington, D.C.

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/755895313/756427986" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Even if optimism doesn't come naturally, it can be taught, researchers say. Therapists can help you practice reframing your expectations, to cultivate a sunnier outlook. Roy Scott/Ikon Images via Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Roy Scott/Ikon Images via Getty Images

Optimists For The Win: Finding The Bright Side Might Help You Live Longer

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/755185560/756679359" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

UK Biobank, based in Manchester, England, is the largest blood-based research project in the world. The research project will involve at least 500,000 people across the U.K., and follow their health for next 30 years or more, providing a resource for scientists battling diseases. Christopher Furlong/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

UK Biobank Requires Earth's Geneticists To Cooperate, Not Compete

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/755097434/756200324" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

The Australian federal government has downgraded its long-term outlook of the Great Barrier Reef to "very poor," and it says that climate change is the most significant threat. William West /AFP/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
William West /AFP/Getty Images

Scientists say pea-size organoids of human brain tissue may offer a way to study the biological beginnings of a wide range of brain conditions, including autism, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Alysson Muotri/UC San Diego Health Sciences hide caption

toggle caption
Alysson Muotri/UC San Diego Health Sciences

After Months In A Dish, Lab-Grown Minibrains Start Making 'Brain Waves'

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/755410121/755555566" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Among patients age 12 and older in a study of people with mild, persistent asthma, more than half did just as well, or better, on a placebo as they did on a steroid inhaler used twice per day to prevent symptoms. hsyncoban/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
hsyncoban/Getty Images

Study Questions Mainstay Treatment For Mild Asthma

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/752815573/754266298" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Naked mole rats are eusocial, which means they live all crowded together, in a colony underground. Gregory G Dimijian/Getty Images/Science Source hide caption

toggle caption
Gregory G Dimijian/Getty Images/Science Source

Astrocyte cells like these from the brain of a mouse may differ subtly from those in a human brain. David Robertson, ICR/Science Photo Library/Science Source hide caption

toggle caption
David Robertson, ICR/Science Photo Library/Science Source

Subtle Differences In Brain Cells Hint at Why Many Drugs Help Mice But Not People

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/753121107/753493995" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

A 15-year-old in Cambridge, Mass., shows off her vaping device in 2018. Schools and health officials across the U.S. are struggling to curb what they say is an epidemic of underage vaping. Steven Senne/AP hide caption

toggle caption
Steven Senne/AP

Though not the same as actually jumping into the waves, a virtual reality program like this one that let a headset-wearing patient "swim with dolphins" was enough of an immersive distraction to significantly reduce pain, a study found. Courtesy of Cedars Sinai/Screenshot by NPR hide caption

toggle caption
Courtesy of Cedars Sinai/Screenshot by NPR

Got Pain? A Virtual Swim With Dolphins May Help Melt It Away

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/751495463/752292670" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

A Harvard research team's prototype of a portable exosuit is made of cloth components worn at the waist and thighs. A computer that's built into the shorts uses an algorithm that can sense when the user shifts between a walking gait and a running gait. Wyss Institute at Harvard University hide caption

toggle caption
Wyss Institute at Harvard University

These Experimental Shorts Are An 'Exosuit' That Boosts Endurance On The Trail

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/751096093/751561831" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript