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The Two-Way
5:25 pm
Wed December 26, 2012

Toyota Moves To Settle 'Sudden Acceleration' Lawsuits For More Than $1 Billion

Toyota has agreed to spend more than $1 billion to resolve lawsuits stemming from "unintended acceleration" cases. In November, the company displayed new cars at the Los Angeles Auto show.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 7:27 am

Owners of Toyota vehicles that experienced sudden and unintended acceleration have reached a settlement that could require the carmaker to pay as much as $1.4 billion in claims, according to the auto maker and the law firm representing Toyota customers.

U.S. District Court Judge James Selna, at whose direction the many lawsuits over the "runaway car" fears were consolidated in 2010, will review the proposed settlement Friday.

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Shots - Health News
5:02 pm
Wed December 26, 2012

How A Drug Shortage Hiked Relapse Risks For Lymphoma Patients

The number of new drug shortages each year in the U.S., from 2001 through Dec. 21, 2012.
University of Utah

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 7:24 pm

Katie Alonzo was stunned when doctors told her they couldn't get a drug her 10-year-old daughter, Abby, was taking to fight lymphoma.

"When a doctor says, 'This is what you need to take.' And then all of a sudden somebody tells you, 'Well, that is what you need to take but this isn't available so we're going to try this instead,' it's very scary," say Alonzo, who lives in Port St. Lucie, Fla.

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Shots - Health News
3:22 pm
Wed December 26, 2012

Despite Uneven Results, Alzheimer's Research Suggests A Path For Treatment

Brain scans using Amyvid dye to highlight beta-amyloid plaques in the brain. Clockwise from top left: a cognitively normal subject; an amyloid-positive patient with Alzheimer's disease; a patient with mild cognitive impairment who progressed to dementia during a study; and a patient with mild cognitive impairment.
Slide courtesy of the journal Neurology

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 7:24 pm

It's been a mixed year for Alzheimer's research. Some promising drugs failed to stop or even slow the disease. But researchers also found reasons to think that treatments can work if they just start sooner.

Scientists who study Alzheimer's say they aren't discouraged by the drug failures. "I actually think it was a phenomenal year for research," says Bill Rebeck, a brain scientist at Georgetown University.

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World
2:52 pm
Wed December 26, 2012

Brazil's Drug Epidemic: Welcome To 'Crackland'

A member of Rio de Janeiro's Social Work Department speaks with crack addicts in a slum area known as "Crackland," during a police operation in the city in November.
Christophe Simon AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 2:19 pm

Brazilian health officials say an epidemic is taking hold — an outbreak of crack cocaine use nationwide, from the major cities on the coast to places deep in the Amazon.

It's an image at odds with the one Brazil wants to project as the country prepares to host soccer's World Cup in 2014 and the Summer Olympics two years later. But the problem has become too big to ignore.

The Luz district of central Sao Paulo was once grand, with its old train station and opulent buildings. Now, this neighborhood is known as Cracolandia — Crackland.

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The Salt
2:44 pm
Wed December 26, 2012

Smartphone Apps Offer Few Shortcuts For Those With Food Allergies

The iTube platform, left, uses colorimetric assays and a smartphone-based digital reader to detect potential food allergen. A screen capture of the iTube App appears on the right.
UCLA

Originally published on Mon December 31, 2012 3:42 pm

Managing food allergies can be a pain, requiring lots of sleuthing of ingredients in restaurants and supermarkets. But people with potentially lethal allergies to nuts and other foods don't have much choice.

Dozens of smartphone apps offer to make that task easier. Doctors say, though, the apps now on the market just aren't reliable enough.

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U.S.
2:40 pm
Wed December 26, 2012

Airlines Fear Pilot Shortage Amidst New Federal Safety Rules

Starting next summer, aspiring commercial pilots will need 1,500 hours of flight training before they can be hired. This dramatic increase, among other factors, is making airlines worry that there will not be enough pilots to maintain current service.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 8:05 pm

Some airlines — especially the smaller ones — worry they won't have enough pilots. They're a number of factors in play, but they point to new federal safety rules as a big part of the problem.

In February 2009, a Colgan Air commuter jet crashed, killing 50 people. Investigators cited inadequate pilot training; Congress responded with new legislation. Beginning next summer, those who want to pilot commercial jets will need dramatically more hours of flight training before they can be hired.

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It's All Politics
2:36 pm
Wed December 26, 2012

Minorities May Spurn The GOP, But The Party Welcomes Them

Incoming Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who spoke during the Republican National Convention this summer in Tampa, Fla., is among a number of minority politicians seen as rising stars in the GOP.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 1, 2013 12:03 pm

As the nation's first African-American president, Barack Obama benefited from and expanded his party's enormous advantage among minority voters.

But as he prepares to start his second term, Obama hasn't managed to usher in behind him many Democrats who are minorities to top elected office. Conversely, Republicans — despite their highly limited support among non-Anglo voters — have managed to elevate more top politicians from minority backgrounds.

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The Two-Way
2:22 pm
Wed December 26, 2012

'Thunderbirds' TV Show Creator Anderson Dies At 83

Thunderbirds creator Gerry Anderson has died at age 83. Here, he poses with puppets Parker and Lady Penelope from the series, shortly before a 2001 auction in London.
Dave Caulkin AP

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The Two-Way
2:11 pm
Wed December 26, 2012

'Fiscal Cliff' Deadline Looms, But Sense Of Urgency Seems To Be Lacking

Will the lights be on late at the White House for the next few nights, or will talks about the "fiscal cliff" be less than dramatic?
Larry Downing Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 2:49 pm

President Obama is "cutting short" a vacation that he'd already said he would cut short. "See you next week," he told reporters last week before leaving for Hawaii. The president is now due back at the White House on Thursday, which is pretty much what was expected. His family will stay in Hawaii until after the New Year.

Senators are also coming back to Washington, but many aren't likely to get to the Capitol until Thursday evening.

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Middle East
12:54 pm
Wed December 26, 2012

Syria's War Leaves Its Scars On The Children

Maysam Selmo, 8, during her first week at Albashayer School for Syrian Refugee Children in Antakya, Turkey. She and her extended family fled their village in northwestern Syria, and now live in a crowded apartment.
Jodi Hilton for NPR

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 7:57 pm

The war in Syria is taking a huge toll on the children. An international team of researchers that interviewed Syrian kids in a refugee camp in Turkey found that 3 out of 4 have lost a loved one. Almost half have post-traumatic stress disorder and elevated levels of depression.

There are efforts to help, but it's challenging. In the southern Turkish city of Gaziantep, the bell rings at 8 a.m. at the Friendship Elementary School. Syrian kids, in fresh school uniforms, cram into desks, with more than 40 students in every classroom.

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