Chris Stephens, 28, who has been battling depression all of his life, plays with his dogs at home in Concord, Calif., on Friday. After a dose of ketamine, Stephens says, "I actually wanted to do things. I wanted to live life."
A club drug called "Special K" is generating a lot of buzz among researchers who study depression.
That's because "Special K," which is actually an FDA-approved anesthetic named ketamine, can relieve even suicidal depression in a matter of hours. And it works on many patients who haven't responded to current antidepressants like Prozac.
Those traditional drugs, which act on the brain's serotonin system, can take more than a month to kick in, and don't work for up to 40 percent of people with major depression.
Nearly one in five Floridians is retired. And a survey conducted by AARP predicts that as many as 60 percent of those who cast ballots in Tuesday's Republican primary — 6 out of 10 voters — will be retirees.
If that number is surprising, AARP Florida director Jeff Johnson says it helps to remember that primaries typically have a low turnout.
The U.S. is insisting that Egypt establish a full-fledged democracy and move away from military rule. Here, an Egyptian woman covers her head in a national flag as she demonstrates in a pro-democracy rally in Cairo's Tahrir Square on Jan. 27.
For many years, top Egyptian officials coming to Washington could expect a warm welcome, with few points of contention.
But for a group of Egyptian generals now in the U.S., several points of friction are likely to dominate the agenda between the longtime allies.
Egypt doesn't like the new conditions U.S. lawmakers have placed on American aid. And the U.S. is furious with the way Egypt has been treating U.S. groups that promote democracy. At least three Americans have taken shelter in the U.S. Embassy in Cairo.
At least 100 people were killed across Syria today by security forces loyal to President Bashar Assad, activists said. The Local Coordination Committees, which organize protests on the ground and document the killings, said 76 people were killed in the restive central region of Homs.
The past five days have been some of the bloodiest since the uprising began last March, with about 387 people killed since Thursday, activists said.
Grade-schoolers are supposed to be riding in booster seats. But anyone who's ever chauffeured a bunch of second-graders can tell you that the day will come when you don't have enough boosters to go around. Faced with this obvious safety risk, most parents (including this one) buckle up the kids without boosters, and pray.
Freddie Mac is a gatekeeper in the mortgage market. In many cases, the taxpayer-owned mortgage company controls who qualifies to refinance a mortgage and who doesn't. Well, NPR has learned that Freddie Mac has been making financial wagers, betting against American homeowners being able to refinance. And now some lawmakers want to put a stop to it. NPR's Chris Arnold has been reporting this story in partnership with ProPublica.org. He has this report.
One of the biggest antitrust investigations in the nation's history has led to fines of $470 million against one Japanese auto parts manufacturer and $78 million against another, the U.S. Justice Department announced today.
The contest for the seat held by Sen. Jon Tester, a Montana Democrat, is one of the potentially close 2012 races that could ultimately decide whether Democrats maintain control of Congress' upper chamber.
As such, the battle is attracting attention from outside groups hoping their financial assistance will make a difference for both the first-term Democrat and his Republican challenger, Rep. Denny Rehberg, the state's sole House member and a former lieutenant governor.
Mitt Romney starts the week having undergone a transformation.
For almost a year, he tried to portray himself as the grown-up in the Republican race for the presidential nomination. Now, over the course of two debates and countless Florida campaign stops, the buttoned-up businessman is showing that he can get tough.
This shift has upended the yin-yang dynamic that has been playing out for weeks between the passionate, fiery Newt Gingrich and the staid, steady Romney.
One of the guests in the congressional gallery at last week's State of the Union address was Roxana Delgado, an advocate for soldiers returning home with traumatic brain injuries. Her husband, an army sergeant who NPR profiled in June, 2010, had been dramatically affected by the concussion he received from a roadside blast in Iraq.
Many investors are expecting Facebook to file papers for an initial public offering sometime later this week. The company, which was founded in a Harvard dorm room less than a decade ago, is expected to be valued at nearly $100 billion by Wall Street.
And if these early reports are true this is shaping up to be the biggest Internet IPO ever.
Spanish judge Baltasar Garzon (center) arrives at the Supreme Court in Madrid, Spain, on Jan. 24. The crusading human-rights judge is on trial for his attempt to investigate the more than 100,000 disappearances during Spain's civil war in the 1930s and the subsequent dictatorship of Francisco Franco.
Credit Juan Medina / Reuters/Landov
Spanish judge Baltasar Garzon (center) arrives at the Supreme Court in Madrid, Spain, on Jan. 24. The crusading human-rights judge is on trial for his divisive attempt to investigate the more than 100,000 disappearances during Spain's civil war and the subsequent dictatorship of Francisco Franco.
Credit Susana Vera / Reuters /Landov
Garzon supporters gather during a demonstration outside the Supreme Court in Madrid, Jan. 24.
While talking with the media outside the Exciting Idlewild Baptist Church in Lutz, Fla., on Sunday, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich called for a commission to look at new rules for clinics that perform in vitro fertilization.
Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich is changing another of his positions in an effort to woo socially conservative voters.
Over the weekend he told churchgoers in Florida that as president he'd work to ban research using stem cells derived from human embryos.
Gingrich has long been a strong backer of federal funding for scientific research. In 2001 his support extended to research on stem cells derived from human embryos left over from in vitro fertilization efforts.
If creatures from another planet are listening in on what our politicians and pundits have to say, they might think Democrats and Republicans are about as far apart politically as possible.
But there's new research that supports what many people already suspect: Most "real" Republicans and Democrats (that is, average Americans who have busy lives and aren't running for office or talking on TV), aren't that different when it comes to politics.
Originally published on Mon January 30, 2012 2:26 pm
With Mitt Romney poised to win the Florida Republican primary, and maybe by a significant margin if the latest polls are correct, it's worth asking: how did the former Massachusetts governor manage to stop Newt Gingrich's surge coming out of South Carolina?
Originally published on Mon January 30, 2012 2:56 pm
As reports come in about an escalation in fighting around Damascus and the deploying of army troops in the city's suburbs, the State Department just announced that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will go to the United Nations on Tuesday to join other nations in condemning the Assad regime's use of violence.
Farmed salmon, that ubiquitous pink fish decorated with ribbons of fat, can thank the forage fish of the southern Pacific ocean – like anchovy and jack mackerel – for their calorie-rich diet. Indeed, more than 5 pounds of jack mackerel typically can go towards raising one pound of farmed salmon.
Violence persists around Damascus as protesters continue to urge President Bashar al-Assad's to step down. The Arab League has suspended its monitoring mission and the United Nations Security Council is considering a resolution condemning al-Assad's regime.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Paywall skeptic Clay Shirky long maintained that barriers to newspaper websites were counterproductive and self-defeating, that online readers accustomed to getting the news for free would find another way or another source of news.
A report by NPR and ProPublica finds that Freddie Mac bet billions of dollars against homeowners' ability to refinance their mortgages. Public documents show Freddie Mac sought to make gains through complex securities which would make money for Freddie Mac, but homeowners with high-interest rate loans would not be able to qualify for refinancing. This is not illegal, but it does raise questions about a conflict of interest within a federally-owned company that is supposed to make getting a mortgage easier.
In this photo provided by the German Government Press Office, Italy's Prime Minister Mario Monti, France's President Nicolas Sarkozy and Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel speak at a meeting at the European Council in Brussels ahead of the European Union leaders summit on Monday.
European Union leaders are meeting in Brussels today to discuss the monetary union's ongoing economic crisis. According to The New York Times, the countries will decide that austerity is not enough to curb the sovereign debt crisis.
An artist on Rio de Janeiro's Copacabana beach puts the final touches on a sand sculpture of the assassin bug, which spreads Chagas disease. The sculpture was part of an event in 2009 commemorating the 100th anniversary of the discovery of the disease.
Credit Uniting to Combat Neglected Tropical Diseases
Originally published on Mon January 30, 2012 2:31 pm
Tropical diseases that have long been overlooked are getting their due.
An ambitious new push to eradicate, eliminate or control 17 scourges over the next eight years was just unveiled in London. The initiative brings together some of the world's largest drugmakers, health-oriented foundations and nongovernmental organizations. Governments from the developed world and the countries most affected by the diseases are also on board.
Nonnative pythons, like this one, are invading the Florida Everglades. As a top predator, the snakes have crippled the populations of rabbits, raccoons and other animals.
Credit Joe Raedle / Getty Images
Joseph Wasilewski, a wildlife biologist, captures a wild python on the side of the Tamiami Trail road that cuts through the Florida Everglades on Sept. 16, 2009. The number of invasive pythons in the Everglades has exploded since the 1990s.
Credit Lori Oberhofer / National Park Service
Unlike this alligator, many animals native to the Everglades didn't evolve to take on a giant python. As a result, the snakes have become top predators in the environment, decimating populations of raccoons, opossums and other mammals.
Scientists are reporting that aliens are wiping out the animals in Florida's Everglades.
The aliens are Burmese pythons from Asia. They've been slithering around south Florida for decades. But scientists now say the constrictors are so bad, they're eating their way through the swamps. And the federal government has decided to take action to prevent their spread.
Originally published on Mon January 30, 2012 11:30 am
While the United States has mostly escaped winter, the opposite has been true in Eastern Europe. The AP reports that an intense freeze has killed at least 36 people throughout eastern Europe. In some places, temperatures dropped to negative 4 degrees Fahrenheit.
In my family, we referred to them as "the brisket brigade" — those single ladies of a certain age who began bombarding my brother-in-law with casseroles and commiseration soon after my sister-in-law died. It's a cruel fact of life that nobody plies widows with months of home-cooked meals and baked goods; as Jonathan Swift might have modestly proposed, widows might as well eat each other — there's a surplus supply of them, anyway. But, a new widower gets the Crock-Pots and the romantic fantasies all fired up.