Science & Technology

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Athletes Go For Gold With Red Spots Blazing

Aug 8, 2016

Swimmer Michael Phelps won Olympic gold again Sunday while covered in red — red spots, roughly medal-size, all over his shoulders and back.

The marks were the result of an ancient Eastern medicinal therapy known as cupping that is achieving new popularity among some athletes in the United States, including numerous Olympians.

Cupping typically involves treating muscle pain and other ailments with cups that apply suction to skin. Cupping is often combined with other forms of alternative medicine, such as acupuncture and massage.

Worm isn't a scientific term. According to one of the Smithsonian's worm experts, Anna Phillips, a worm is just "an organism that is long and thin ... without legs ... that's not a snake."

Editor's note: This story contains language that some may find offensive.

Federal health regulators have announced plans to crack down on nursing home employees who take demeaning photographs and videos of residents and post them on social media.

This summer, NPR's science desk is thinking about waves, of all kinds — ocean, gravitational, even stadium waves. But what is a wave, anyway? My editor asked me to puzzle that one out. And, to be honest, I was puzzled.

Is a wave a thing? Or is it the description of a thing? Or is it a mathematical formula that produces a curve that gives you the description of a thing?

A few years ago, almost every aspect of Rosanne Mottola's life was governed by the feeling in her gut. Literally.

"I experienced extreme urgency to have to use the bathroom. Pain. Bleeding," says Mottola, who has ulcerative colitis. "A lot of times I would go the whole day without eating," she says, so that she wouldn't have to rush to the bathroom so often.

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