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Shots - Health Blog
2:47 pm
Thu July 19, 2012

How You Move Your Arm Says Something About Who You Are

Researchers studying brains want to know what's happening in an area called the premotor cortex — the place in the brain that gears up for something the body is about to do, like swimming. Above, Michael Phelps dives off the starting blocks in the final heat of the men's 400-meter individual medley during the 2012 U.S. Olympic Swimming Team Trials in Omaha, Neb., on June 25.
Jamie Squire Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 9, 2012 11:47 am

When Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps steps onto a starting block a few days from now, a Stanford scientist named Krishna Shenoy will be asking himself a question: "What's going on in Michael Phelps' brain?"

Specifically, Shenoy would like to know what's happening in an area called the premotor cortex. This area doesn't directly tell muscles what to do. But it's the place where the brain gears up for something the body is about to do, like swimming.

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Shots - Health Blog
2:24 pm
Thu July 19, 2012

South African Doctors Uneasy About HIV Prevention Pill

Longtime AIDS activist Dr. Ashraf Grimwood says South Africa has made huge strides in confronting HIV. But he worries that giving anti-retroviral drugs to healthy people could have negative consequences in the long term.
Jason Beaubien NPR

Originally published on Thu July 19, 2012 7:54 pm

The news that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration this week approved the use of Truvada, an AIDS drug, to prevent infections in people who are HIV-negative is being greeted with skepticism, derision and even worry by some doctors in South Africa.

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The Two-Way
2:20 pm
Thu July 19, 2012

As Fighting In Syria Intensifies, U.S. Worries About Chemical Weapons

Syrian President Bashar Assad waves at supporters during a rare public appearance in Damascus on Jan. 11.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 19, 2012 2:49 pm

"Deathly afraid."

That's what one U.S. official says about the prospect that Syria's vast stockpile of chemical weapons might be used against rebel forces. From a U.S. national security standpoint, an even worse outcome would be for those weapons to fall into the hands of terrorists.

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Books
2:01 pm
Thu July 19, 2012

Terrible Virus, Fascinating History In 'Rabid'

Originally published on Thu July 19, 2012 4:38 pm

Here's your vocabulary word for the week: zoonosis. It describes an infection that is transmitted between species. For example, the disease that the husband and wife team of Bill Wasik and Monica Murphy have written about in their new book, Rabid: A Cultural History of the World's Most Diabolical Virus.

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Opinion
1:56 pm
Thu July 19, 2012

Wish You Were Here: Sunrise In Laos

A sunrise ritual draws Pam Houston to Luang Prabang, Laos.
Allie Caulfield

Originally published on Thu July 19, 2012 4:38 pm

Pam Houston directs the Creative Writing Program at U.C. Davis. Her most recent novel is Contents May Have Shifted.

Luang Prabang, Laos, is so close to the equator that daybreak happens at the same time each day. Also each day, a few dozen women set up rice cookers on small collapsible tables on street corners next to the more than 30 monasteries that grace this riverside town. If you get up with them and walk the silent streets in the misty Mekong predawn, you smell, under the sweetness of the frangipani blossoms, the thick odor of cooked starch.

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