Delaware Public Media

Science, Health, Tech

Delaware Public Media's coverage of stories involving, science, health, medicine, technology and the environment.


The auroras and “northern lights” that can be admired towards the North or South Poles are caused by a little-known phenomenon called magnetic reconnection or explosions.

Basically, magnetic fields break apart and rejoin, releasing large amounts of energy. These magnetic explosions play a huge role in space weather, which are patterns of radiation in outer space that can dictate whether space agencies can send astronauts into space or whether satellites should be shut off.

American Cancer Society Action Network

Cancer research advocates gathered on Tuesday in Washington to urge legislators to invest more in cancer research.

The American Cancer Society Action Network and Stand Up To Cancer teamed up to launch the “One Degree” campaign, based on the idea that all of us are connected to someone who has had cancer, to increase funding for cancer research. They demand that Congress put $6 billion dollars into medical research at the National Institute of Health over two years, including $1 billion dollars for the National Cancer Institute.

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Adolescence is a time of critical development, when mental and physical needs grow more complicated and challenging. If help dealing with them can’t be found at home, the school environment can have a powerful impact on teenagers needing assistance to cope.  

That’s the idea behind building school-based health centers. When Middletown High School became the first Delaware school to open a health center in 1985, it was staffed with a clinical social worker, nurse practitioner and registered dietician. At the time, there were only 50 other school-based health centers in the country.

Karl Malgiero/Delaware Public Media

In 2012, following a wave of suicide attempts by young people that swept across Kent and Sussex Counties, Gov. Jack Markell took steps to bolster the mental health services available to teens and adolescents.

His administration helped increase tenfold the number of behavior health consultants placed in public middle schools, vastly improved intervention training and worked to address the shortage of qualified professionals. But faced with limited funds and resources, the Markell administration looked to outside organizations to play a role.

DNREC continues efforts to clean up oil spill

Mar 17, 2015

DNREC’s Emergency Response Team is continuing to oversee the cleanup Monday of a cargo-ship oil spill last week at the Port of Wilmington.

Environmental contractors under DNREC and U.S. Coast Guard supervision will conduct cleanup operations along 1,500 feet of shoreline in New Castle. The spill also affected smaller areas of the Delaware River north and south of Battery Park.

Eli Chen/Delaware Public Media

The Nature Conservancy presented the TEDx Wilmington talks at Winterthur Museum for its 25th anniversary last Friday.

One of the three speakers providing their perspective on conservation was Jim Borel, vice president of DuPont, who spoke about global food security.

Delawareans who missed the deadline to sign up for insurance under the Affordable Care Act Marketplace may still have a chance to avoid a penalty.

The state Department of Health and Social Services says residents who missed the February deadline to avoid a penalty have from March 15 to April 30 to sign up for health coverage.

If you venture along the hiking trails at White Clay Creek State Park in Newark, you come across a long vine with triangular leaves and stems covered with barbs.

This is the invasive mile-a-minute weed. In the 1930s, the vine traveled from Asia to a nursery in Pennsylvania, where in a matter of years, it broke loose and began to conquer the surrounding the environment. The weed has now has invaded 12 states in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the U.S.  In Delaware, the mile-a-minute weed has a patchy presence. In addition to White Clay Creek State Park, it can also be seen in tax ditches downstate.

Delaware Public Media

The state Division of Public Health reported a confirmed case of Vancomycin-resistant  Staphylococcus aureus, or VRSA, in New Castle County Thursday.

DPH says the 67-year old patient had extensive underlying conditions and is currently being treated on an outpatient basis. The patient is expected recover.

VRSA is extremely rare, and no human-to-human transmission has ever been documented in the U.S. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which confirmed the VRSA case, say it is only the 14th recorded case of the infection in the country.

Delaware Public Media

The FDA recommends that we limit our sodium intake to 2,300 milligrams a day. But the average American consumes a daily amount of 3,400 milligrams.

Physicians have long warned us that too much salt can be a lot of trouble when it comes to high blood pressure. But researchers at Christiana Care Health System and University of Delaware say that after reviewing over a hundred studies, the adverse effects of salt can also be seen in our organs.