Health+Harvest

NPR Illinois Community Advisory Board identified the subject of food and health as important subjects for coverage in 2012. Health+Harvest provides for community engagement on health and food issues along with reporting on farm, field and fuel.  From seed to plate, from farmer's markets to GMOs, central Illinoisans need to know how to stay healthy and what they are eating.  In 2013, NPR Illinois joined a consortium of public media in the Harvest Public Media network.  The network provides broader coverage to Midwest food issues.

By examining these local, regional and national issues and their implications with in-depth and unbiased reporting, Health+Harvest fills a critical information void.

Support for Health+Harvest coverage comes from Central Illinois Farm Bureaus and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.  If you'd like to support this initiative, please contact Nice Bogdanovich at 217-206-9847.

Kilauea Lava Explosion Injures 23 Tourists

4 hours ago

A basketball-sized lava bomb slammed through the roof of a tour boat near an active fissure of Hawaii's Kilauea volcano early Monday morning, showering the vessel with debris and injuring 23 people, according the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency.

Officials described the incident on Facebook writing that an explosion off the coast of Kapoho hurled several lava bombs onto the boat — called Hotspot — at about 6 a.m. local time.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Voices for Illinois Children

Black kids in Illinois are far more likely to die than their white and Hispanic counterparts, due to issues ranging from maternal stress to disease and homicide. 

The gap in death rates for black children as opposed to other races is the third-largest in the nation, while the gap in the teen death rate is the fourth-highest.

The gap still exists for infants, but is a little narrower than it had been in the past.

The dense network of cables that make up the Internet is likely to be inundated with saltwater as sea levels rise, a new analysis suggests, putting thousands of miles of critical infrastructure along U.S. coastlines underwater in the next 15 years.

Grossed out by that maggot squirming in your apple?

Your ancestors weren't. In fact, they probably would have popped the offending creature into their mouths and relished its savory flavor.

At least, that's what Julie Lesnik thinks. Lesnik is an assistant professor of anthropology at Wayne State University. She studies how people (and their prehistoric relatives) have gathered, farmed, and cooked insects for food.

Two years after China officially ended its one-child policy in order to counter the country's aging society and shrinking workforce, Chinese couples are not having babies fast enough.

In 2017, there were 17.6 million births in China, representing 12.43 births per thousand people. However, that was a drop from 2016, when the one-child policy was first relaxed – a year that saw 12.95 births per 1,000 people.

Can't cool off this summer? Heat waves can slow us down in ways we may not realize.

New research suggests heat stress can muddle our thinking, making simple math a little harder to do.

Every day, Dr. Walter Koroshetz, 65, takes a pill as part of his effort to help keep his brain healthy and sharp.

The pill is his blood pressure medication. And Koroshetz, who directs the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, says controlling high blood pressure helps him reduce his risk of dementia.

He also keeps his blood pressure down by exercising and paying attention to his weight and diet. "I'm a believer," he says.

Ecological statistics pertaining to bees carry a sting: More than 75 percent of the world's 115 primary crops require pollination or thrive better through interaction with pollinators.

Bees are the primary pollinators in the animal kingdom, yet sudden and massive die-offs of these insects began in 2006 and continue now, with a 30 percent annual loss reported by North American beekeepers.

When you go to your doctor's office, sometimes it seems the caregivers spend more time gathering data about you than treating you as a patient.

Electronic medical records are everywhere – annoying to doctors and intrusive to patients.

But now researchers are looking to see if they can plow through the vast amount of data that's gathered in those records, along with insurance billing information, to tease out the bits that could be useful in refining treatments and identifying new uses for drugs.

Pictures Of The Motherland He Never Knew

Jul 15, 2018

For years, artist Mahtab Hussain struggled with how to describe himself. British. British-Pakistani. Kashmiri. British Asian. The 37-year-old was born in Glasgow and grew up mostly in the British city of Birmingham — but from a young age was told he didn't belong.

"Everyone used to say, like, Pakis go home," he says of the racism he faced as a child. "Or 'what did ET do that the Pakis didn't? Go home.'"

"It just made me really hate who I was and made me hate the color of my skin. It made me want to really reject my own culture," he adds.

The photographs are stunning: a giant mountain of ice towers over a tiny village, with colorful homes reminiscent of little doll houses against the stark, blue-gray landscape.

But for the people living in those houses – that beauty could be life-threatening.

"It's kind of like, if you lived in the suburbs, and you woke up one morning and looked out, and there was a skyscraper next to your house," says David Holland, an oceanographer at New York University who does research in Greenland during the summer months. "I'd be the first to get out of there."

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Huddled at a computer screen at the Denver Recovery Group, counselor Melissa McConnell looks at the latest urinalysis results for her client, Sara Florence.

Last fall, it lit up like a Christmas tree. Now it's all clean. Florence says she stopped using heroin five months ago; she stopped using methamphetamine not long after that.

"Shooting it, smoking it, snorting it," Florence says. "It's horrible, just made me feel like crap, you know. But I'd still did it. Just makes no sense, you know. It's just really addicting."

Afghan Saffron Coming To U.S. Stores

Jul 14, 2018

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

At Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kan., track and cross country coach Aaron Yoder spends a lot of time on the treadmill. That's not so unusual, until you watch what what he's doing — running backward.

The Heart And Soul Of Armenia Lives In A Slab Of Wood

Jul 14, 2018

Wood has a special place in Vahagn Amiryan's heart. It can bring Armenia's ancient past into the modern day.

The act of carving wood into traditional Armenian furniture and decor — and amulets to ward off the "evil eye" — is "a way to connect with the roots," he explains through an interpreter at this summer's Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, D.C.

Health officials are investigating an outbreak of intestinal illness that has sickened dozens and is "likely linked" to salads at McDonald's.

McDonald's said Friday it's voluntarily pulling salads from about 3,000 locations in 14 states, primarily in the Midwest, until it can switch to a different lettuce supplier.

A drone flight and a lingering dry spell have exposed a previously unknown monument in Ireland's Boyne Valley, forgotten for thousands of years and long covered by crops — which, struggling to cope with a lengthy drought, finally revealed the ancient footprint.

People who use injection drugs in Vancouver, British Columbia, can do so, if they choose, under the watchful eyes of someone trained to help them if they overdose.

This is the idea behind supervised injection sites, and it's an approach that over a dozen U.S. cities or states are considering to prevent drug overdose deaths and the spread of disease.

The long-running breast milk vs. formula debate made headlines earlier this week.

The New York Times reported that the Trump administration had tried to remove language from a WHO resolution that would, according to reporter Andrew Jacobs, "promote and protect breastfeeding around the world, especially in developing countries" and limit the promotion of infant formula.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is telling people not to eat Kellogg's Honey Smacks cereal, which has been linked to an outbreak of salmonella infections now numbering at least 100 people in 33 states.

"Do not eat this cereal," the agency declared on Twitter.

Johnson & Johnson has been ordered to pay nearly $4.7 billion in damages to 22 women and their families who say asbestos found in the company's talcum powder contributed to their ovarian cancer.

The St. Louis Circuit Court jury awarded $4.14 billion in punitive damages and $550 million in compensatory damages to the plaintiffs, who said the company failed to warn about the cancer risks.

Considering that Mexico is one of the spiritual homelands for high-quality chili peppers, it’s unfortunate to see that in Mexican restaurants in the U.S. chiles rellenos, the dish where the pepper is the star, is often underappreciated and poorly executed. Bricia Lopez wants to change that. She and her family own Guelaguetza in Los Angeles, which has been called the best Oaxacan restaurant in the country. Host Francis Lam says they make the greatest chiles rellenos he’s ever had.

Photo: Chili peppers growing on a farm in rural Thailand.

The Republic of Ireland took a crucial step Thursday toward becoming the first country in the world to divest from fossil fuels. Lawmakers in the Dail, the lower house of parliament, advanced a bill requiring the Irish government's more than $10 billion national investment fund to sell off stakes in coal, oil, gas and peat — and to do so "as soon as practicable."

Seven national fast-food chains have agreed, under pressure, to eliminate a practice that limits their workers' ability to take jobs at other restaurants in the same chain, the Washington state attorney general announced Thursday.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Farmers are entering their 5th year of low crop prices and now soybeans have reached a 10-year low, in part due to Chinese tariffs. Economists say this could be a pivotal year for farmers in Illinois and across the country. 

Could the tick that just bit you carry a pathogen that causes Lyme disease or another ailment? If you're worried, you could ship the offending bug to a private testing service to find out. But between August 2016 and January 2017, you could have gotten a free analysis by sending it to Nathan Nieto's lab at Northern Arizona University. You'd get back info on the critter that bit you and, if applicable, a pathology report.

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