Health, Science, Environment

Health, science, and environment news

Heidi de Marco/KHN, resized and recropped


Hugging a baby doll can sometimes soothe even the most upset toddler, and some researchers say it can do the same for adults with dementia. Doll therapy is catching on in nursing homes, but not everyone thinks this is a good idea.


This story was reported by Kaiser Health News — a non-profit, editorially independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation. To read the full article, click here.


Your Call: Resistance at Standing Rock

15 hours ago

On the November 28th edition of  Your Call, we’ll have a conversation about the Dakota Access Pipeline resistance movement.

Audrey Dilling

An unusual scene has been playing out at Ocean Beach over the past few weeks.

New report raises alarms about the health of the Bay

Nov 17, 2016
Angela Johnston

The San Francisco Bay, or more accurately, the San Francisco Estuary, is a place where freshwater that flows from the Sierras, down the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers, and mixes with salty water from the Pacific Ocean.

Can copying plants curb climate change?

Nov 17, 2016
Nano Letters 2015 15 (5

Imagine that cars that are no longer dependent on fossil fuels. Instead of gasoline, they’d run on a new fuel—called butanol—that’s made, with the help of bacteria, from three simple ingredients: sunlight, air and water.

Robert Durell for Kaiser Health News


Substance abuse is a factor in 80 percent of cases where a child is removed from a home. And there are signs that the opioid epidemic is sending more kids into the foster care system.

On the November 7th edition of  Your Call, we’ll have a conversation about Native American youths and their role in the struggle against the Dakota Access oil pipeline.

In most Bay Area grocery stores, you can’t get free plastic bags anymore. San Francisco, all of Alameda County, and many cities in Marin and Contra Costa County have all banned bags. To find a grocery store giving out plastic bags for free, I had to drive to a Lucky in San Ramon.

Rich Wilson


On the November 2nd edition of Your Call, we’ll continue our coverage from Standing Rock.

Your Call: Why Standing Rock matters

Oct 31, 2016

On the November 1st edition of Your Call, we’ll have a conversation about the ongoing protests at Standing Rock. Thousands of Native Americans and their allies have been resisting the construction of the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline since April.

  On the October 31st edition of Your Call, we’ll have a conversation with historian Jill Jonnes about her new book Urban Forests: A Natural History of Trees and People in the American Cityscape.

What do Halloween, Day of the Dead and All Saints Day have in common? They each transform the taboo around talking about death. 

On the October 28th edition of Your Call, it’s our Friday media roundtable. This week, we’ll discuss the forced removal of refugees from the camp in Calais, France. 

On the October 24th edition of  Your Call, we’ll have a conversation with Penn State climate scientist Michael Mann about his new book The Madhouse Effect: How Climate Change Denial Is Threatening Our Planet, Destroying Our Politics, and Driving Us Crazy.

Dying to Talk: Death and multiculturalism

Oct 23, 2016


When we talk about how we want to die, what we are really talking about is what matters most in life. This universal conversation takes on countless nuances when approached from different cultural perspectives.

Dying to Talk: Discover who you are

Oct 14, 2016

For many people, losing a grandparent can feel like the end of an era. What would be possible, if instead, death became an opening to explore where we come from? KALW's own Rose Aguilar, host of Your Call, has discovered just that.

Your Call: The 2016 Brower Youth Award Winners

Oct 12, 2016
Storyline Media

On the October 12 edition of Your Call, we’ll have a conversation with three of this year’s Brower Youth Award winners.

Your Call: Standing up at Standing Rock

Oct 10, 2016

On the October 10th edition of  Your Call, we’ll have a conversation about the ongoing protest over the proposed $3.8 billion Dakota Access oil pipeline. 

Dying to Talk: Reimagining life after death

Oct 7, 2016
Gurusurya Photography

Losing someone we love can change our life, sometimes dramatically. Brad Wolfe became a professional musician and design innovator with IDEO in the wake of his  friend's death.

Heidi de Marco, Kaiser Health News, resized and cropped

Most people get a little anxious before they have surgery, especially kids. Anti-anxiety medicines can help, but anesthesiologists in the Bay Area have come up with an alternative that’s safer, cheaper and a little more fun to.

Your Call: Climate change policies in the US

Oct 3, 2016

On the October 3rd edition of Your Call, we’ll have a conversation about US climate policy. The US recently ratified the Paris climate agreement, aiming to keep temperatures "well below" 2 degrees Celsius, but those obligations will not be met unless new measures to cut greenhouse gases are passed.

Gurusurya Photography

Join us Sunday, October 2 at 8am — When death approaches, an extraordinary thing happens: we become fully present to life.

Rai Sue Sussman

On a rare sunny morning on San Francisco’s Mt. Sutro, I went on a hike with Rupa Bose, webmaster of an organization called Save Sutro. Bose lives in the Forest Knolls neighborhood abutting the eucalyptus forest.

Rachel Wong

One of the first things you hear when you enter the East Bay Vivarium is lots of scratching. It's coming from inside a large cage -- its a giant lizard that’s nearly as long as I am tall. “His name is Elmo, he’s a good guy. People love him,” says Owen Maerks, one of the co-owners here at the Vivarium.

Is Prop 61 the answer to rising drug prices?

Sep 27, 2016

Maybe you’ve seen the billboards for Prop 61, with AARP and the California Nurses Association urging you to “Vote Yes for Lower Drug Prices.” Or the scary TV commercials warning you to vote no on Prop 61, arguing that drug prices will go up if it’s passed.

Your Call: The politics of pleasure

Sep 20, 2016


On the September 20th edition of Your Call, journalist Peggy Orenstein joins us to discuss her book, Girls & Sex, Navigating the Complicated New Landscape.

DIY: How to recycle water in your home

Sep 14, 2016
Patrick Smith

Think about the parts of your home where you can conserve water: there’s the shower, the sink, the toilet, and if you’ve got them, maybe a dishwasher or washing machine. You can reduce the amount of water you use, but what about reusing it? KALW’s Thea Chroman decided to learn how to reuse water spent on cleaning herself – and stuff – in a segment called D.I.Y.

Angela Johnston


When you exit Highway 101 into East Palo Alto, there’s a construction site you just can’t miss. It’s a big, brick, three-story building with huge glass windows. By early next year this building should be home to a company, and the builders hope it’s a tech startup.

Richard Morganstein


On the September 14th edition of Your Call, Mary Ellen Hannibal discusses her new book Citizen Scientist, Searching for Heroes and Hope in an Age of Extinction.

Your Call: Restoring the oceans

Sep 12, 2016

On the Septermber 12th edition of Your Call, we’ll have a conversation about marine sanctuaries. Last month, President Obama created the largest marine protected area on the planet. He expanded the Papahānaumokuākea Marine Monument to include half-a-million-square-miles of waters in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.