KERA Breakthroughs

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Close Listening: How Sound Reveals The Invisible


Over the years, scientists have mostly interpreted the world through what they can see. But in the past few decades, a culture of listening has blossomed, especially among biologists who seek to understand how animals communicate. This week NPR's Morning Edition embarks on a weekly summer series called Close Listening: Decoding Nature Through Sound. We begin with an innovation that transformed medicine by searching sounds for clues to illness and health. Read More

A Sense Of Self: What Happens When Your Brain Says You Don’t Exist


Science journalist Anil Ananthaswamy thinks a lot about "self" — not necessarily himself, but the role the brain plays in our notions of self and existence. In his new book, The Man Who Wasn't There, Ananthaswamy examines the ways people think of themselves and how those perceptions can be distorted by brain conditions, such as Alzheimer's disease, Cotard's syndrome and body integrity identity disorder, or BIID, a psychological condition in which a patient perceives that a body part is not his own. Read More

Pot Dabbing: The Risks Some Take For A Buzz


Many just roll up pot and light a match. But  a growing  number of people are going to dangerous lengths to get a greater buzz.  It involves extracting the active ingredient from marijuana and turning it into a wax-like substance. You then heat a small bit or “dab” of it and inhale the vapor. In this edition of Vital Signs, Dr. Ashley Haynes of the North Texas Poison Center explained to why pot dabbing is a bad idea.

Read more at KERA News
More than 60 submissions have been entered in the Connect Ability Challenge. The project is a three-month global software development competition leveraging mobile and wireless technologies to improve the lives of people living with disabilities.

A Tech Challenge To Empower People With Disabilities


The Americans with Disabilities Act opened up services and opportunities for people with disabilities. Twenty-five years later, North Texas developers are testing new technologies with the disabled community in mind.

They’re taking their projects to a national competition with an award of $100,000.

*Update on winners below Read More

Why Doctors Are Warning About Sunburn Art


In this edition of Vital Signs, a growing trend in social media called sunburn art: Using various materials and deliberate overexposure in the sun to create patterns on the body.Dr. Travis Vandergriff is an attending Dermatologist with Parkland Hospital System and an Assistant Professor in the Dermatology department of UT Southwestern Medical Center. He explained how sunburn art works and why he considers it dangerous.

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Meet the Team

KERA News

Lauren Silverman

Lauren Silverman

Reporter/Blogger

Lauren Silverman came to KERA this spring to cover health, science and technology after three years with NPR’s Weekend All Things Considered in Washington D.C. Lauren produced national stories on everything from the politics of climate change to the future of online education, including a piece on neighborhood farms in Compton, Calif., that won a National Association of Black Journalists Salute to Excellence Award. She’s written and recorded stories in English and Spanish for a variety of news outlets, including American Public Media’s Marketplace and NPR’s Morning Edition, All Things Considered and Latino USA.

Sam Baker

Sam Baker

Senior Editor/Morning Edition Host

Sam Baker worked in commercial television for six years before moving to public broadcasting. The Beaumont native was News Director and Morning Edition host at KWGS-FM in Tulsa, Okla., for three years before joining KERA in 1991. He hosts and produces the station’s Vital Signs series, edits radio commentaries and has produced KERA versions of the NPR series This I Believe and StoryCorps. He also was the longtime host of KERA-TV’s Emmy Award-winning public affairs program On the Record. He won a 2008 regional Emmy for KERA’s Sharing the Power: A Voter’s Voice Special, and also has earned honors from the Texas Associated Press Broadcasters and the Public Radio News Directors.


Dallas stock photography provided by Justin Terveen

General stock photography provided by Shutterstock

ABOUT THIS BLOG

“Breakthroughs” is a KERA News project devoted to the latest innovations in health, science and technology — with a North Texas accent. We’ll focus on medical breakthroughs rooted in hospitals, clinics and labs throughout North Texas. We’ll explore the science labs and tech centers that anchor the region. And we’ll have some fun. You’ll find stories on everything from doctors using proton beams to treat cancer to patients using iPhone apps to monitor eye disease to a boat made of recycled water bottles that crossed the Pacific and landed for good in downtown Dallas. You have a key role in this blog: Share your stories, suggestions and questions – tweet #KERAbreakthroughs.

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