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

7:27am

Mon November 11, 2013
Shots - Health News

Sweat Your Way To A Healthier Brain

Originally published on Tue November 12, 2013 6:14 am

He feels smarter already.
iStockphoto.com

Moving your body may be the best way to protect your brain.

Physical exercise can ease depression, slow age-related memory loss and prevent Parkinson-like symptoms, researchers reported at the Society for Neuroscience meeting underway in San Diego.

The findings — some in animals, some in people — suggest that people may be making a mistake if they're relying primarily on crossword puzzles and brain-training games for mental wellness.

Read more

3:13pm

Mon November 4, 2013
Shots - Health News

Childhood Maltreatment Can Leave Scars In The Brain

Originally published on Tue November 5, 2013 10:21 am

Girls are particularly vulnerable to brain changes caused by stress or trauma, researchers say.
Allen Johnson iStockphoto.com

Maltreatment during childhood can lead to long-term changes in brain circuits that process fear, researchers say. This could help explain why children who suffer abuse are much more likely than others to develop problems like anxiety and depression later on.

Read more

1:48pm

Mon October 28, 2013
Shots - Health News

Eeek, Snake! Your Brain Has A Special Corner Just For Them

Originally published on Wed October 30, 2013 3:17 pm

Illustration by Daniel Horowitz for NPR

Anthropologist Lynne Isbell was running through a glade in central Kenya in 1992 when something suddenly caused her to freeze in her tracks. "I stopped just in front of a cobra," she says. "It was raised with its hood spread out."

Isbell, who is at the University of California, Davis, says she has spent the past couple of decades trying to understand how she could have reacted before her conscious brain even had a chance to think — cobra!

Read more

2:59pm

Thu October 17, 2013
Shots - Health News

Brains Sweep Themselves Clean Of Toxins During Sleep

Originally published on Fri October 18, 2013 3:35 pm

Katherine Streeter for NPR

While the brain sleeps, it clears out harmful toxins, a process that may reduce the risk of Alzheimer's, researchers say.

During sleep, the flow of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain increases dramatically, washing away harmful waste proteins that build up between brain cells during waking hours, a study of mice found.

Read more

6:33pm

Thu October 10, 2013
Shots - Health News

Shutdown Imperils Costly Lab Mice, Years Of Research

Bob Adams is a lab animal veterinarian at Johns Hopkins University.
Maggie Starbard NPR

The government shutdown is likely to mean an early death for thousands of mice used in research on diseases such as diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer's.

Federal research centers including the National Institutes of Health will have to kill some mice to avoid overcrowding, researchers say. Others will die because it is impossible to maintain certain lines of genetically altered mice without constant monitoring by scientists. And most federal scientists have been banned from their own labs since Oct. 1.

Read more

Pages