Allison Aubrey | NPR

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.

It has been around two months of quarantine for many of us. The urge to get out and enjoy the summer is real. But 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.

About 1 in 3 people who become sick enough to require hospitalization from COVID-19 were African American, according to hospital data from the first month of the U.S. epidemic released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Even though 33% of those hospitalized patients were black, African Americans constitute 13% of the U.S. population. By contrast, the report found that 45% of hospitalizations were among white people, who make up 76% percent of the population. And 8% of hospitalizations were among Hispanics, who make up 18% of the population.

Updated March 31, 8:25 p.m. ET

A few months ago, it may have seemed silly to wear a face mask during a trip to the grocery store. And in fact, the mainline public health message in the U.S. from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been that most people don't need to wear masks.

But as cases of the coronavirus have skyrocketed, there's new thinking about the benefits that masks could offer in slowing the spread. The CDC says it is now reviewing its policy and may be considering a recommendation to encourage broader use.

By now, you've heard the advice that to slow the spread of the coronavirus in the U.S., we need to practice social distancing. But if you're confused as to what that looks like in practice, we've got some answers.

On Monday, the White House announced new guidelines for the next two weeks, urging Americans to avoid gathering in groups of more than 10 people; to avoid discretionary travel, shopping trips, or social visits; and not to go out to restaurants or bars.

How long can the new coronavirus live on a surface, like say, a door handle, after someone infected touches it with dirty fingers? A study out this week finds that the virus can survive on hard surfaces such as plastic and stainless steel for up to 72 hours and on cardboard for up to 24 hours.

Photo illustration by Max Posner/NPR; Tony Latham/Corbis/Getty Images / Hinterhaus Productions/Digital Vision/Getty Images

As the coronavirus spreads around the globe, there are steps you can take to protect yourself and your family.

"I told my children that while I didn't think that they were at risk right now, we, as a family, need to be preparing for significant disruption of our lives," says Dr. Nancy Messonnier of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Efforts to stem the tide of teen vaping seem to be a step behind the market. By the time Juul pulled most of its flavored pods from the market in October of 2019, many teens had already moved on to an array of newer, disposable vape products.

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.

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.

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?

The shooter who opened fire after a routine traffic stop Saturday in Texas, killing seven people and injuring 22, was fired just hours before the deadly shooting.

Seth Aaron Ator, 36, who lived in the Odessa area, had been fired from his job at Journey Oilfield Services after a disagreement, according to Odessa Police Chief Michael Gerke. The shooting rampage, which appears to have been random, ended when Ator was killed by police.

Humans must drastically alter food production to prevent the most catastrophic effects of global warming, according to a new report from the United Nations panel on climate change.

The panel of scientists looked at the climate change effects of agriculture, deforestation and other land use, such as harvesting peat and managing grasslands and wetlands. Together, those activities generate about a third of human greenhouse gas emissions, including more than 40% of methane.

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

For roughly 40 million Americans, SNAP benefits are a lifeline.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps, delivers about $60 billion in aid each year. And retailers that accept SNAP benefits are required to stock a variety of staple foods — including a minimum number of fruits and vegetables, meat, dairy and grain options.

The Food and Drug Administration is holding its first public hearing on CBD, the cannabis extract that has quickly grown into a billion-dollar industry. Today's hearing will help officials determine how to regulate CBD products.

The compound can be extracted from marijuana or from hemp. It's promoted as a way to ease anxiety and inflammation – and it doesn't get people high because it doesn't contain THC, the psychoactive component of the cannabis plant.

Measles is on the rise again, all around the globe.

Though the number of people affected in the U.S. is still relatively low compared with the countries hardest hit, there are a record number of U.S. measles cases — more than 700, so far, in 2019, according to the CDC — the highest since the disease was eliminated in the U.S. back in 2000.

Sneezing, runny nose, congestion, or irritated eyes? Yes, we hear you: The misery of seasonal allergies is real. A lot of people find temporary relief with over-the-counter medications, but these don't treat the cause.

As we head into grass pollen season over the next few months, here's an option to consider: Many allergists now prescribe immunotherapy tablets, which work in the same way as allergy shots, to some of their patients with grass allergies.

About 11 million deaths a year are linked to poor diet around the globe.

What's driving this? As a planet we don't eat enough healthy foods including whole grains, nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables. At the same time, we consume too many sugary drinks, too much salt and too much processed meat.

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.

When it comes to turning back the clocks on our devices, technology has us covered. Our smartphones automatically adjust.

But our internal clocks aren't as easy to re-program. And this means that the time shift in the fall and again in the spring can influence our health in unexpected ways.

If you peer into Americans' grocery carts, you're unlikely to see a mix of foods and beverages that make for an ideal diet. And this is true for many of the nearly 42 million people who receive food stamps, too.

Ever heard of these food additives? Synthetically-derived benzophenone, ethyl acrylate, methyl eugenol, myrcene, pulegone, or pyridine?

These compounds can help mimic natural flavors and are used to infuse foods with mint, cinnamon and other flavors.

You've likely never seen them on food labels because food manufacturers are permitted to label them simply as "artificial flavors."

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."

Was it hard to concentrate during that long meeting? Does the crossword seem a little tougher? You could be mildly dehydrated.

A growing body of evidence finds that being just a little dehydrated is tied to a range of subtle effects — from mood changes to muddled thinking.

Looking for a diet that is simple to follow? You might want to give the Mediterranean diet a try.

It's not so much a prescriptive meal plan as it is a well-balanced pattern of eating. Think lots of whole grains, vegetables, beans, nuts, olive oil, fish and smaller amounts of dairy, poultry and even a little red wine (if you like).

For some, there's a a glam factor attached to the vegan lifestyle. And these days, there seems to be a growing chorus singing the praises of the environmental and health benefits of a plant-centric diet.

The World Health Organization has deemed that processed meats — such as bacon, sausages and hot dogs — can cause cancer.

In addition, the WHO says red meats including beef, pork, veal and lamb are "probably carcinogenic" to people.

Whole Foods Market has announced that by April of next year it will stop sourcing foods that are produced using prison labor.

The move comes on the heels of a demonstration in Houston where the company was chastised for employing inmates through prison-work programs.

Michael Allen, founder of End Mass Incarceration Houston, organized the protest. He says Whole Foods was engaging in exploitation since inmates are typically paid very low wages.

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