If you're finding it harder to remember where you put the car keys, the culprit could be a brain protein with a name that's easy to forget: RbAp48.
A shortage of this protein appears to impair our ability to remember things as we age, researchers report in the current issue of Science Translational Medicine. And boosting levels of RbAP48 in aging brains can reverse memory loss, at least in mice, they say.
I don't remember when I first realized that books could go away, that they could — and did — pass into obscurity or out of print. Myra Breckinridge by Gore Vidal, AllAbout H. Hatterr by G.V. Desani, Speedboat by Renata Adler, the sublime An Armful of Warm Girl by W.M. Spackman. Each of them, snuffed out. It seemed a scandal. But I vividly recall becoming aware that particular books were prone. To take chances with language or form was to court extinction.
California's pioneering law that prohibits treating young gay people with psychotherapy in an attempt to change their sexual orientation has cleared a constitutional challenge in federal appeals court. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled that the ban does not violate essential rights.
Originally published on Fri August 30, 2013 1:26 pm
The Obama administration said Wednesday that it is moving ahead with a rule that would requiring health plans to accommodate households that don't have traditional bank accounts.
One in four of the uninsured people eligible for federal insurance subsidies doesn't have a bank account, according to a report released earlier this year by the tax preparation firm Jackson Hewitt. The report dubbed people without connections to traditional financial institutions the "unbanked."
Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 2:59 pm
Spice may be nice, but spices also can carry very bad bugs. About 7 percent of spices tested by Food and Drug Administration researchers were contaminated with salmonella, which can cause serious illness and death. Because of this finding and others, the FDA and international food safety organizations are putting more effort into how to reduce the risk.
Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 1:16 pm
The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service announced on Thursday that when it comes to federal tax purposes, same-sex couples who have legally married will be treated the same as straight married couples, no matter what state they reside in now.
Originally published on Fri August 30, 2013 1:29 pm
There's no question that dealing with mortgages, car payments and other bills takes up time and energy. But having a tight budget may also zap our ability to think clearly, scientists report Thursday in the journal Science.
In a series of clever experiments involving farmers in India and shoppers in New Jersey, scientists found that people are worse at solving puzzles — similar to those on the IQ test — when they're first reminded of money problems.
The Washington Post on Thursday reports on U.S. spy agencies' $52.6 billion secret budget for fiscal year 2013, a document that reveals significant "blind spots" obscuring the intentions and motives of U.S. friends and foes alike.
Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 1:26 pm
The author is a Syrian citizen in Damascus who is not being further identified for safety reasons.
In a west Damascus neighborhood Thursday, a drumbeat all too rare drew people to their windows and balconies. Passersby stopped to investigate. Traffic came to a halt. Some drivers honked to the beat.
They were the drums of a wedding, a tradition known in Damascus as an arada. It involves a troupe of professional drummers, along with dozens of members of a wedding party, that picks up the groom from home.
A third friend of accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has now been indicted on a charge related to what authorities say were attempts by the trio to mislead investigators or dispose of evidence that linked Tsarnaev to the bombings.
The office of the U.S. Attorney in Massachusetts posted this statement on Twitter early Thursday afternoon:
Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 12:11 pm
In perhaps the largest nationwide fast-food strike in history, the employees who make your 99-cent burgers and tacos were planning strikes in 50 U.S. cities Thursday. Workers are calling for a $15 minimum wage and hoping to raise attention to the fast-food industry's low pay and limited prospects. The current federal minimum wage standard is $7.25 per hour.
Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 5:58 pm
Federal prosecutors are being told by Attorney General Eric Holder to focus on cartels, criminal enterprises and those who sell the drug to children, not on casual marijuana users, a Justice Department official tells NPR's Carrie Johnson.
Holder today informed the governors of Washington and Colorado — two states that recently legalized the sale of marijuana for personal use — about the new guidelines for prosecutors, the official adds.
Bu the new guidelines will apply to all states, not just Washington, Colorado and those where "medical marijuana" is legal.
Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 12:45 pm
The NFL and more than 4,500 retired players have reached an agreement calling for the league to contribute $765 million to a fund that will pay "medical and other benefits, as well as compensation" to those who suffered concussions and related injuries during their careers.
Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 12:41 pm
A U.S. bankruptcy judge on Thursday indicated that he's leaning in favor of a allowing American Airlines to emerge from bankruptcy, clearing a major obstacle to the carrier's planned merger with US Airways.
Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 11:12 am
The White House says President Obama will issue two new executive orders on guns — one to curb the import of military surplus weapons and another that closes a loophole allowing some felons to get around background checks.
The two actions — to be announced by Vice President Joe Biden at the swearing-in of Todd Jones, the new director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives — will join 23 others that the president has issued in an effort to reduce gun violence.
They are part of a set of recommendations from the vice president unveiled in January.
The Tomatina Festival, the famous free-for-all in which partiers pelt one another with ripe tomatoes, was held in Bunol, Spain, Wednesday. The big party that has become an international sensation in recent years was smaller than usual in 2013 — for the first time, the town sold a limited number of tickets for 10 euros (about $13.25) to indulge in the huge food fight.
It's late-night week on FRESH AIR. One of the big late-night changes scheduled for early next year is Seth Meyers moving to NBC's "Late Night," replacing Jimmy Fallon when Fallon moves to "The Tonight Show." Seth Meyers has been the head writer and co-anchor or anchor of "Weekend Update" since the fall of 2006.
Tighter lending standards for certain student loans have left many people looking for other ways to pay for school. Critics say historically black colleges and universities are hit particularly hard. Host Michel Martin speaks with David Wilson, President of Morgan State University, about the situation.
When President Obama asked Americans to examine their own racial biases, photographer Jane Critchlow took that to heart. She approached black men in her neighborhood and asked to take photos with them. Host Michel Martin talks with Critchlow about her project, and the men's reactions.
As thousands of people gathered in the nation's capital to mark the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, many more activists participated online. Host Michel Martin talks about social justice in the digital age with Michael Skolnik of Global Grind and Corey Dade of The Root.
Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 12:11 pm
NPR's Larry Abramson is traveling with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who is in Brunei's capital, Bandar Seri Begawan, for a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Plus, or ASEAN Plus. Larry sent us this dispatch:
You cannot hear the drums of war here in Brunei, but you can hear the surf from the Brunei coast, or the sounds of splashing from the humongous pools here at the Empire Hotel and Country Club.
Originally published on Wed October 9, 2013 3:51 pm
The Netherlands is a famously tolerant and welcoming place. But the Dutch social affairs minister says he's worried about too many immigrants coming from Bulgaria and Romania, and he's tapped into wider fears in the European Union about foreign workers.