Science news

It's often a split-second decision.

You're in the produce aisle, and those organic apples on display look nice. You like the idea of organic — but they're a few bucks extra. Ditto for the organic milk and meat. Do you splurge? Or do you ask yourself: What am I really getting from organic?

Good afternoon, you’re listening to Spotlight Health on Aspen Public Radio. This is the final episode in our series on critical health issues.

Today we’ll hear about something called Doctor in a Box.

“It’s telemedicine that you can have in the privacy of your own home, or you can actually take the kit with you while you’re traveling and have consistent access to health care.”

The idea comes from a firm who also came up with a bike you probably saw on facebook or twitter last year. Yes, we’ll hear where the Denny Bike is now.

Good afternoon, you’re listening to Spotlight Health on Aspen Public Radio. This is the fifth episode in our series on critical health issues.

Today, we sit down with a recently retired FDA commissioner.

As part of her tenure, Dr. Margaret Hamburg focused on how the U.S. can make sure food and medicine coming from other countries is safe.

Later in the program we’ll hear the argument in favor of hospital mergers and some of the results from one in New York City.

That’s coming up, here on Spotlight Health.

Good afternoon you’re listening to Spotlight Health on Aspen Public Radio. This is the fourth episode in our series on critical health issues.

Today we’ll hear from a health expert who noticed patients spend a lot of time in hospitals without much to do and how that changes when there is art and music in the building.

“I witnessed moments where patients would listen to the concert, and that could be the last beautiful thing they’ve heard.”

This is Spotlight Health on Aspen Public Radio.

This is the first episode in our series on critical health issues.

Today we’ll check in with the world of prosthetics and light therapy, and how medical technology is changing.

We’ll also examine why healthcare is so expensive in the United States, even though the quality of care isn’t always that great.

That’s this hour on Spotlight Health.

Guests: Krista Donaldson, CEO D-Rev & Elizabeth Bradley, Director of the Yale Global Health Initiative.

Today on CrossCurrents - a rebroadcast of a talk by heart expert Dr. Robert Eckel, moderated by Dr. Ann Mass. Dr. Eckel served on the panel that issued the new guidelines on statins and other cholesterol lowering drugs.

Bio from the Anschutz Medical Campus Website:

It's a special hour long CrossCurrents. This week, the Ebola outbreak with Dr. Ann Mass and Aspenite and Doctors Without Borders volunteer Frank Peters who just returned from two months in Liberia.

About Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF):

We help people worldwide where the need is greatest, delivering emergency medical aid to people affected by conflict, epidemics, disasters or exclusion from health care.

Elise Thatcher

   Scientists are still examining some of the mammoth bones found at a big dig in Snowmass.  The discovery took place more than three years ago-- but the painstaking review of the ice age fossils means that it could take years to thoroughly examine everything that was found. The Ice Age Discovery Center recently unveiled a mammoth tusk that’s been wrapped up in a protective jacket.

Dr. Robert Eckel served on the panel which issued new guidelines on heart health and spoke at The Aspen Meadows last weekend. The evening was moderated by Dr. Ann Mass.

Recorded live at the Red Brick Center for the Arts in Aspen, Colorado on Tuesday January 28th, 2014.

Two new guidelines from the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology, on cardiovascular risk assessment and cholesterol management, have caused considerable controversy. Dr. Robert Eckel, who chaired the guidelines section on lifestyle management lead the panel.

Hosted by Dr. Ann Mass featuring Aspen area cardiologists Dr. Gordon Gerson and Dr. Marcus Howell & Dr. Robert Eckel.

Apple Co-Founder's Old Mouse Dug Up in Aspen

Sep 20, 2013

A crew from the National Geographic Channel show “Diggers” says they have unearthed a time capsule in Aspen containing a piece of tech history – a mouse to Apple’s LISA computer placed by Steve Jobs.

The time capsule was buried on the grounds of the Aspen Institute as part of the 1983 International Design Conference according to a release from the National Geographic Channel.  

Climate Change and Conflict and the Media

Aug 9, 2013
Solomon Hsiang, et al / Science, 2013

ROGER ADAMS, HOST: Global temperatures on are the rise, and scientists predict that that will make for more extreme weather events—things like higher temperature spikes, drought, and more intense storms. And a team of researchers has made headlines by quantifying how much increased violence comes from extreme shifts in climate.

Aspen Public Radio’s science reporter Ellis Robinson, joins us on Valley Roundup. Hey Ellis.


Glenda Greenwald, founder Aspen Brain Forum and Kevin Ward, president of Aspen Strategy Center on the Aspen Brain Lab: Explore your Creative, Healthy, Impaired and Future Brain featuring 15 experts, Saturday August 10 from 8:30am-4:30pm at the Aspen Institute.

The Water Delivery Man Problem

Aug 6, 2013
Bill Cook / In Pursuit of the Traveling Salesman

There is a problem that has vexed mathematicians for the greater part of the past century. Currently, there is no solution, and nobody knows for certain whether or not one exists. But cracking the code would be a huge breakthrough both in theoretical mathematics and practical everyday applications. Ellis Robinson brings the story, starting with a description of the problem from physicist Eddie Farhi.

Study: River Forecasting in Rockies Needs Dusting

Aug 1, 2013

Snow in the Upper Colorado River Basin provides water for seven states.  Farmers, factories, and families alike depend on this water, and a considerable amount of effort goes into understanding and forecasting how much melt is going to come from the snowpack, and when.  

Kathleen Smith / Lawrence Livermore National Lab

You may have missed it, but last week national headlines read, “the CIA wants to control the weather.”  Those headlines came on the heels of the media learning the CIA was funding a report on geoengineering. It’s an idea that’s akin to a man-made thermostat for the globe.  Aspen Public Radio’s Science Reporter explains what geoengineering is, why you need to know about it, and why the CIA is involved.

Cassini space-probe / NASA

A billion miles from the Roaring Fork Valley, there’s a satellite orbiting Saturn. This afternoon, from that planet’s shadow, the NASA space probe will take a historic photograph of Earth.  It’s the first time people down here will know exactly when the earth is going to get its picture taken... and they can look up at the cosmos and smile. Ellis Robinson has the story.

  UPDATE (July 22, 9:01 AM): The Friday July 19, 2013 photograph of the earth and our moon, taken by Cassini, was released this past weekend.

What Can Marmots Teach Us About Plastics?

Jul 18, 2013
John Breitsch / flickr user - breitschbirding

At the Rocky Mountain Biological Lab in Gothic, just over the Maroon Bells from Aspen, a number of long-term field studies are pumping out reams of scientific data. In part two of our report on the laboratory, science reporter Ellis Robinson looked at a study on marmots that raises questions about the abundance of plastics in human society.

The Marmots of RMBL

Jul 18, 2013
Ellis Robinson, Aspen Public Radio

A colony of small mammals lives high above Crested Butte, just on the other side of West Maroon Pass from Aspen.  And, for more than fifty years, the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory there has been watching the daily lives of these yellow-bellied marmots.  It’s one of the longest running animal studies in the world.  Our science reporter Ellis Robinson spent several days hanging out with the marmots and the “marmot-teers” who study them.  In the first of two reports, Ellis explores what data the researchers are collecting.

LANL (China, S, Mazzoleni, C, Gorkowski, K, Aiken, AC, Dubey, MK; Nature Communications, 2013)

As the country recovers from the worst wildland firefighting accident in years, there’s more attention on fire crews and the homes they’re trying to protect. But an often invisible result of wildfire can have a big effect on human health and climate... even after the flames die down. Science correspondent Ellis Robinson takes a look at the effects of wildfire smoke on air quality. And that means understanding something called a “tarball.”