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Allison Aubrey

Allison Aubrey is a correspondent for NPR News, where her stories can be heard on Morning Edition and All Things Considered. She's also a contributor to the PBS NewsHour and is one of the hosts of NPR's Life Kit.

Along with her NPR science desk colleagues, Aubrey is the winner of a 2019 Gracie Award. She is the recipient of a 2018 James Beard broadcast award for her coverage of 'Food As Medicine.' Aubrey is also a 2016 winner of a James Beard Award in the category of "Best TV Segment" for a PBS/NPR collaboration. The series of stories included an investigation of the link between pesticides and the decline of bees and other pollinators, and a two-part series on food waste. In 2013, Aubrey won a Gracie Award with her colleagues on The Salt, NPR's food vertical. They also won a 2012 James Beard Award for best food blog. In 2009, Aubrey was awarded the American Society for Nutrition's Media Award for her reporting on food and nutrition. She was honored with the 2006 National Press Club Award for Consumer Journalism in radio and earned a 2005 Medical Evidence Fellowship by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Knight Foundation. In 2009-2010, she was a Kaiser Media Fellow.

Joining NPR in 2003 as a general assignment reporter, Aubrey spent five years covering environmental policy, as well as contributing to coverage of Washington, D.C., for NPR's National Desk. She also hosted NPR's Tiny Desk Kitchen video series.

Before coming to NPR, Aubrey was a reporter for the PBS NewsHour and a producer for C-SPAN's Presidential election coverage.

Aubrey received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Denison University in Granville, Ohio, and a Master of Arts degree from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

Updated 8:15 p.m. ET

How severe is the spread of COVID-19 in your community? If you're confused, you're not alone. Though state and local dashboards provide lots of numbers, from case counts to deaths, it's often unclear how to interpret them — and hard to compare them to other places.

Millions of Americans have probably had the coronavirus without knowing it.

That's the conclusion of officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and many other experts.

"Our best estimate right now is that for every case that was reported, there actually were 10 other infections," Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the CDC, said during a call with reporters Thursday.

In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the World Health Organization took time at its daily press conference to address another pressing issue: the wave of protests against police violence and racial injustice. The demonstrations began in the U.S. when George Floyd died on May 25 after a police officer had pressed a knee into his neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds while detaining him in Minneapolis.

The protests are now spreading around the world to Europe, Africa and other regions.

Protests against the violent deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and others are emboldening and expanding the movement to fight racism. But to make progress, many of us may need to adjust our thinking — and our actions. We talked to several African American and Hispanic psychologists and leaders for strategies to fight racism.

Updated July 4, 2020 at 3:00 p.m. ET

It has been months of quarantine for many of us. The urge to get out and enjoy the summer is real. But given that coronavirus cases continue to surge in many places, what's safe? We asked a panel of infectious disease and public health experts to rate the risk of summer activities, from backyard gatherings to a day at the pool to sharing a vacation house with another household.

Updated 11:35 a.m. ET

When it comes to testing for COVID-19, there are two competing narratives. The Trump administration claims the U.S. has been doing well and has enough testing capacity, for states to begin to enter the first phase of the White House plan for reopening.

But many public health officials, hospital administrators and state leaders disagree.

Earlier this week, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said during a CNN interview that a lack of testing is a problem and "has been since the beginning of the crisis."

Updated at 8:35 p.m. ET

President Trump said Friday the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now recommends that people wear cloth or fabric face coverings, which can be made at home, when entering public spaces such as grocery stores and public transit stations. It is mainly to prevent those people who have the virus — and might not know it — from spreading the infection to others.

Since the beginning of the global coronavirus pandemic, Americans have been told by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention not to wear masks unless they are sick, caring for a sick person who is unable to wear one or working in health care.

Updated at 4:28 p.m. ET

Three weeks ago, Washington, D.C., resident Rebecca Read Medrano started feeling unwell. She had a dry cough, fatigue, nausea and terrible stomach pains that had her bending over.

There was one more symptom, and it was a bit odd. Medrano had largely lost her sense of taste. "My cousin was cooking, and everything he made tasted weird," she recalls.

The way the world says hello is changing. Quickly.

In lieu of the germ-rich exchange of the handshake, alternative salutations are taking hold.

In Tanzania, President John Magufuli introduced a low-touch greeting when he met with the opposition leader from Zanzibar Seif Sharif Hamad, reports Eyder Peralta, NPR's correspondent in east Africa. It takes the form of a catchy, two-part salute, using both hands and feet.

Updated 7:55 p.m. ET

The Trump administration declared a public health emergency in the U.S. Friday in response to the global coronavirus outbreak.

"Today President Trump took decisive action to minimize the risk of novel coronavirus in the United States," said U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar at a White House press conference.

The risk of contracting the coronavirus is the U.S. is low — something that federal health administration officials emphasized repeatedly. "We are working to keep the risk low," Azar said.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has proposed new rules for school meals aimed at giving administrators more flexibility in what they serve in school cafeterias around the country each day.

More Americans are ordering more rounds, and that's leading to more funerals, according to a new study on alcohol-related deaths.

Looking at data from the National Center for Health Statistics, researchers estimate deaths from alcohol-related problems have more than doubled over the past nearly 20 years.

Death certificates spanning 2017 indicate nearly 73,000 people died in the U.S because of liver disease and other alcohol-related illnesses. That is up from just under 36,000 deaths in 1999.

The extreme cases of lung injury caused by vaping have raised awareness of the potential harms of electronic cigarettes.

Since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began tracking the problem last March, there have been 52 confirmed deaths and about 2,400 hospitalizations.

There's a lot of enthusiasm for intermittent fasting — a term that can encompass everything from skipping a meal each day to fasting a few days a week.

Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say there has been a breakthrough in the investigation into the outbreak of vaping-related lung injuries that has led to the deaths of 39 people and sickened more than 2,000 others.

Investigators announced Friday that they have detected a chemical compound called vitamin E acetate in all the samples of lung fluid collected from 29 patients who were hospitalized after vaping, suggesting a possible culprit for the spate of lung injuries that has swept across the U.S.

A new set of analyses published Monday in the Annals of Internal Medicine challenges the widespread recommendations to cut back on red and processed meats.

The mystery of the outbreak of vaping-related lung illnesses is still not solved.

But investigators in Illinois and Wisconsin have found some clues, they announced Friday in a press briefing.

Investigators in these two states conducted detailed interviews with 86 patients — mostly young men — and 66% said they had vaped THC products labeled as Dank Vapes. THC is the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis.

What are Dank Vapes and how could they be fueling the outbreak?

A 14-year-old boy goes to the doctor with complaints of tiredness. He's an extremely picky eater. (Think a daily diet of French fries, plus snacking on Pringles potato chips, white bread and some processed pork.) But overall, he appears OK. He's not overweight and takes no medications.

Tests show he has anemia and low levels of vitamin B12, so he's given B12 injections and diet advice. But a year later, he has begun to lose his vision. Then, by age 17, he's legally blind.

Emphysema is considered a smoker's disease. But it turns out, exposure to air pollution may lead to the same changes in the lung that give rise to emphysema.

Sun exposure is the leading risk factor for developing melanoma. And there's evidence that alcohol consumption is linked to an increased risk of skin cancer, too.

Part of the explanation is that when people drink, they tend to be more lackadaisical: They're less likely to apply sunscreen and more likely to spend too much time in the sun, be it at the beach or pool. But this isn't the whole story.

Some who have given up booze altogether join "sober sometimes" friends to enjoy nonalcoholic drinks at Sans Bar in Austin, Texas.
Julia Robinson for NPR

If you like this article, check out Life Kit, NPR's family of podcasts for navigating your life — everything from finances to diet and exercise to raising kids. Sign up for the newsletter to learn more and follow @NPRLifeKit on Twitter.

It's trendy to go low-carb these days, even no carb. And, yes, this can lead to quick weight loss.

You've likely heard the idea that sitting is the new smoking.

Compared with 1960, workers in the U.S. burn about 140 fewer calories, on average, per day due to our sedentary office jobs. And, while it's true that sitting for prolonged periods is bad for your health, the good news is that we can offset the damage by adding more physical activity to our days.

There are a lot of misconceptions out there about the flu shot.

But following a winter in which more than 80,000 people died from flu-related illnesses in the U.S. — the highest death toll in more than 40 years — infectious disease experts are ramping up efforts to get the word out.

"Flu vaccinations save lives," Surgeon General Jerome Adams told the crowd at an event to kick off flu vaccine awareness last week at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. "That's why it's so important for everyone 6 months and older to get a flu vaccine every year."

Matt Arteaga, 51, is one of about 500 people who got sick this summer in an outbreak linked to McDonald's salads. The cause was a parasite, cyclospora.

Arteaga fell ill on a Thursday afternoon in June. He was in his office in Danville, Ill., when he says the symptoms came on quickly. "The chills, and body aches, severe cramping, sharp pain in my stomach," Arteaga recalls.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a marijuana-derived drug for the treatment of two rare and serious forms of epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome, that begin in childhood but can persist in adulthood.

The drug is made from purified cannabidiol, or CBD, a compound found in the cannabis plant. The drug will be marketed under the brand name Epidiolex.

CBD has medicinal effects, but it does not cause the mind-altering high that comes from THC, the primary psychoactive component of marijuana.

Tick bites can cause all sorts of nasty afflictions. And if you're bitten by a Lone Star tick, here's one more to add to the list: a red meat allergy.

Laura Stirling, 51, a Realtor who lives in Severna Park, Md., was diagnosed with the allergy last year. She got a tick bite while walking on a trail with her dog, Gunner, near her home.

"I found [the tick] 3 or 4 inches to the left of my hip bone," Stirling recalls. At the time, she say, she didn't think much of it. "I just took it off and threw it away."

When it comes to feeding kids a healthy diet, "it's not politics, it's parenting," Michelle Obama said Friday.

And then she got a little fired up.

Without ever naming President Trump, the former first lady took aim at changes the administration announced last week that weaken some of the school nutrition standards she championed.

If you drink more alcohol than you want to or should, you're not alone. A nationwide survey by the National Institutes of Health found that 28 percent of adults in the U.S. are heavy drinkers or drink more than is recommended.

Yet, most heavy drinkers don't get the help they need.

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