Jon Hamilton

Jon Hamilton has served as a correspondent for NPR's science desk since 1998. His current beat includes neuroscience, health risks, behavior, and bioterrorism. Recent pieces include a series on the chemical perchlorate, which is turning up in California's water supply; a government effort to find out just how many autistic children there are in the U.S.; and an exploration of "neuromarketing."

Before joining NPR in 1998, Hamilton was a media fellow with the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation studying health policy issues. He completed a project on states that have radically changed their Medicaid programs for the poor by enrolling beneficiaries in private HMOs.

From 1995-1997, Hamilton wrote on health and medical topics as a freelance writer, after having been a medical reporter for both The Commercial Appeal and Physician's Weekly.

Hamilton graduated with honors from Oberlin College in Ohio with a B.A. in English. As a student, he was the editor of the Oberlin Review student newspaper. He earned his master's degree in journalism from Columbia University where he graduated with honors, won the Baker Prize for magazine writing, and earned a Sherwood traveling fellowship.

Pages

2:31pm

Wed March 19, 2014
Health

Alzheimer's Diagnosis Expanding To Catch Early Warning Signs

Originally published on Thu March 20, 2014 6:17 am

Doctors may eventually be able to diagnose "preclinical" Alzheimer's in patients who have abnormal brain scans but who aren't yet showing behavioral symptoms of the disease.
iStockphoto

Alzheimer's disease isn't what it used to be. After 30 years of having doctors diagnose the disease by symptoms alone, researchers and advocacy groups are calling for new diagnostic criteria that recognize changes in the brain as well as changes in behavior.

The goal is to eventually allow doctors to diagnose "preclinical" Alzheimer's in patients who do not have problems with memory or thinking, but who do have an abnormal brain scan or some other sign that the disease may be developing.

Read more

12:04pm

Sun March 9, 2014
Shots - Health News

Alzheimer's Blood Test Raises Ethical Questions

Originally published on Mon March 10, 2014 7:59 am

Scientists have long sought a way to detect Alzheimer's before symptoms appear.
iStockphoto

An experimental blood test can identify people in their 70s who are likely to develop Alzheimer's disease within two or three years. The test is accurate more than 90 percent of the time, scientists reported Sunday in Nature Medicine.

Read more

3:24pm

Wed February 26, 2014
The Salt

Maybe That BPA In Your Canned Food Isn't So Bad After All

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 10:08 am

Should you fear a chemical inside metal food containers like the ones that hold beans? Government scientists say no.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Maybe BPA isn't so bad after all.

The plastic additive has been vilified by environmental advocacy groups. But the chemical had no effect on rats fed thousands of times the amount a typical person ingests, government scientists are reporting in the journal Toxicological Sciences.

Read more

1:35am

Mon February 24, 2014
Shots - Health News

Orphans' Lonely Beginnings Reveal How Parents Shape A Child's Brain

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 10:07 am

In the Institute for the Unsalvageable in Sighetu Marmatiei, Romania, shown here in 1992, children were left in cribs for days on end.
Tom Szalay

Parents do a lot more than make sure a child has food and shelter, researchers say. They play a critical role in brain development.

Read more

6:01pm

Wed February 5, 2014
Shots - Health News

Seeing Less Helps The Brain Hear More

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 8:23 pm

iStockphoto

A few days in the dark can improve an animal's hearing, scientists report this week in the journal Neuron. This temporary loss of visual input seems to trigger favorable changes in areas of the brain that process auditory information, they say.

Read more

Pages