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Can A Fruit Fly Help Explain Autism?

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.
NPR

Iowa Opens The Doors To Medicaid Coverage, On Its Own Terms

Iowa initially chose not to expand Medicaid to thousands of beneficiaries under the Affordable Care Act. But it's come up with a plan that uses federal money to pay for expansion, while writing its own rules. Beneficiaries will have to pay a small premium, for instance.
NPR

Experimental Tool Uses Light To Tweak The Living Brain

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.
NPR

Common Knee Surgery May Help No More Than A Fake Operation

Surgery to repair a damaged knee meniscus is very common, but it may not help a lot of people, a study finds. That may be because some people benefit more than others, and doctors still don't know who is going to get the most out of surgery.
NPR

Struggling Food Banks Find New Ways To Fight Hunger

Food banks are struggling to provide dwindling supplies to a bigger base of recipients. Guest host Celeste Headlee talks with Bloomberg Businessweek contributor Roben Farzad about how food banks are coming up with new ways to feed the hungry.
NPR

A Texas Social Worker Weighs Her Insurance Options

Going without insurance would be a gamble. But the high deductibles of Affordable Care Act plans make them a hard sell for Tammy Boudreaux. If her health holds up, she could skip insurance, pay a penalty and still save a couple of hundred dollars a month.
NPR

Diabetes Gene Common In Latinos Has Ancient Roots

Scientists have found a gene that helps to explain why Mexicans are prone to Type 2 diabetes. The disease gene, like many others we humans carry, dates back to the time when humans and Neanderthals had sex thousands of years ago.
NPR

When Is Cinnamon Spice Not So Nice? The Great Danish Debate

Cinnamon swirls are beloved in Denmark, but recent testing by the Danish government found many of these rolls had more of the spice than allowed by European health guidelines. Now bakers may have to change their time-tested recipes. Too much cinnamon? Yes, there is such a thing.
NPR

Why We Hold Tight To Our Family's Holiday Food Traditions

We asked for stories of the holiday food traditions your family cherishes. And we learned that many of you are reviving special dishes this year to pay tribute to your heritage and ancestors.
NPR

After A Cancer Diagnosis, Lessons In Priorities

Teaching high school English came naturally to David Menasche but a terminal brain cancer diagnosis forced him to leave the classroom. So he visited some of his former students to see what impact he's had on them. He writes about the experience in his forthcoming book, The Priority List.

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