State numbers on autism probably don't accurately reflect children's health status, researchers say.
March 27, 2014 The number of children diagnosed with autism keeps rising, but researchers warn that it may be just because we're getting better at recognizing and treating the disorder.
Researchers say intervention in early childhood may help the developing brain compensate by rewiring to work around the trouble spots.
March 26, 2014 The organization of certain brain cells in children with autism seems already different from that of typical children by the sixth or seventh month of fetal development, a study hints.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/294446735/294899882" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
Doctors may eventually be able to diagnose "preclinical" Alzheimer's in patients who have abnormal brain scans but who aren't yet showing behavioral symptoms of the disease.
March 19, 2014 The approach would recognize changes in behavior and in the brain. Right now there are no treatments that slow down the disease, but identifying high-risk patients early on could help with prevention.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/291475129/291475130" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
Scientists have long sought a way to detect Alzheimer's before symptoms appear.
March 9, 2014 A new blood test for people in their 70s can detect who will develop Alzheimer's disease. A positive result could help people prepare. But since there's no treatment, will people really want to know?
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/286881513/288492940" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
Should you fear a chemical inside metal food containers like the ones that hold beans? Government scientists say no.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
February 26, 2014 There's been lots of debate about whether tiny amounts of the chemical have the potential to cause health problems. A new FDA study supports a previous conclusion that the chemical is safe for people.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/283030949/283066749" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
In the Institute for the Unsalvageable in Sighetu Marmatiei, Romania, shown here in 1992, children were left in cribs for days on end.
February 24, 2014 Izidor Ruckel lived in a Romanian orphanage where children were neglected. Scientists say that lack of attention can damage a child's brain. But Ruckel thinks his adoptive parents' love saved him.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/280237833/281916804" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
February 5, 2014 People who are blind from birth are often better than sighted people at processing certain aspects of sound. A mouse study hints at why: Even a few days in the dark helped "rewire" the auditory center of an adult animal's brain.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/272092118/272100095" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
January 30, 2014 To understand speech, the brain has to quickly recognize the sounds used to form words. Researchers say that process involves groups of highly specialized brain cells that respond to individual sounds produced by the human vocal tract.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/268432705/268964646" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
Clinical specialist Catey Funaiock took notes while observing a 5-year-old boy at the Marcus Autism Center, part of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, in September.
January 27, 2014 Researchers say changes rolled out last May are likely to have a bigger effect on government statistics than on the care of the nation's children. Still, advocates worry that narrower definitions could lead to a loss of coverage for some children.
A baby born too soon continues to develop and grow inside an incubator at the neonatal ward of the Centre Hospitalier de Lens in Lens, northern France.
Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images
January 22, 2014 Scientists have shown that damage to the brain's "white matter" is responsible for many of the developmental problems that very premature infants often face. Now researchers have also demonstrated that it's possible to prevent that sort of damage in mice.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/265067479/265070339" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
The round stingray is native to the eastern Pacific coast and is notorious for injuring swimmers and surfers.
January 21, 2014 These cousins of the shark send thousands of waders and surfers yelping for medical help each year. A powerful toxin in the barb of the ray's tail triggers a "knifelike pain" that can last for hours. Best prevention? Do the "stingray shuffle."
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/260803538/264399978" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
A newly discovered neural circuit in the brain of the common fruit fly seems to serve as a sort of "volume control," turning up and down the perception of sound and light.
December 27, 2013 Scientists hope to solve mysteries of the human brain by studying much simpler neural networks — like the brain circuits of fruit flies and mice. Already such research is turning up clues to why many people with autism are easily overwhelmed by bright lights and loud sound.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/256904807/257542533" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
A technique called optogenetics is being used in the laboratory to observe and control what brain circuits are doing in real time.
Henning Dalhoff/Getty Images/Science Photo Library RM
December 26, 2013 An experimental technique called optogenetics is starting to change the way researchers look at the brain. The tool allows them to switch entire brain circuits on and off using light, and may help figure out what's going wrong in brain ailments from epilepsy to depression.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/256881128/257394321" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
There's data to support the notion that pot, or a drug based on its active ingredient, could help ease the fears of PTSD.
Ted S. Warren/AP
December 24, 2013 The use of marijuana for PTSD has gained national attention in the past few years as thousands of traumatized veterans who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan have asked the federal government to give them access to the drug. Marijuana's active ingredient has been shown to calm the brain's fear circuits. Of course, there are drawbacks and side effects to contend with.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/256610483/256890187" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
November 29, 2013 Forecasters expected the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season to be really busy — the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration told Americans to expect between seven and 11 hurricanes. But this year has been one of the quietest on record. Why were the predictions so far off?
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/247825778/247825791" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
NPR thanks our sponsors
Become an NPR sponsor