Give For Good:

Jon Hamilton

Jon Hamilton is a correspondent for NPR's Science Desk. Currently he focuses on neuroscience, health risks, and extreme weather.

Following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, Hamilton was part of NPR's team of science reporters and editors who went to Japan to cover the crisis at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant.

Hamilton contributed several pieces to the Science Desk series "The Human Edge," which looked at what makes people the most versatile and powerful species on Earth. His reporting explained how humans use stories, how the highly evolved human brain is made from primitive parts, and what autism reveals about humans social brains.

In 2009, Hamilton received the Michael E. DeBakey Journalism Award for his piece on the neuroscience behind treating autism.

Before joining NPR in 1998, Hamilton was a media fellow with the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation studying health policy issues. He reported on states that have improved 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 Bachelor of Arts degree 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 During his time at Columbia, Hamilton was awarded the Baker Prize for magazine writing and earned a Sherwood traveling fellowship.

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4:49am

Mon April 27, 2015
History

The Shipwreck That Led Confederate Veterans To Risk All For Union Lives

Originally published on Mon April 27, 2015 8:53 am

On April 27, 1865, the steamboat Sultana exploded and sank while traveling up the Mississippi River, killing an estimated 1,800 people.

The event remains the worst maritime disaster in U.S. history (the Titanic killed 1,512 people). Yet few know the story of the Sultana's demise, or the ensuing rescue effort that included Confederate soldiers saving Union soldiers they might have shot just weeks earlier.

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11:15am

Thu April 23, 2015
Shots - Health News

Thoughts Can Fuel Some Deadly Brain Cancers

Originally published on Thu April 23, 2015 6:03 pm

A color-enhanced cerebral MRI showing a glioma tumor.
Scott Camazine Science Source

The simple act of thinking can accelerate the growth of many brain tumors.

That's the conclusion of a paper in Cell published Thursday that showed how activity in the cerebral cortex affected high-grade gliomas, which represent about 80 percent of all malignant brain tumors in people.

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2:45pm

Tue April 14, 2015
Shots - Health News

No Rest For Your Sleeping Brain

Originally published on Wed April 15, 2015 1:12 pm

There's new evidence that the brain's activity during sleep isn't random. And the findings could help explain why the brain consumes so much energy even when it appears to be resting.

"There is something that's going on in a very structured manner during rest and during sleep," says Stanford neurologist Dr. Josef Parvizi, "and that will, of course, require energy consumption."

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5:12pm

Wed April 8, 2015
Shots - Health News

Sushi Science: A 3-D View Of The Body's Wasabi Receptor

Originally published on Wed April 8, 2015 6:33 pm

The same nerve receptor that responds to the green paste on your sushi plate is activated by car exhaust, the smoke of a wildfire, tear gas and other chemical irritants.
iStockphoto

Researchers have discovered the exact structure of the receptor that makes our sensory nerves tingle when we eat sushi garnished with wasabi. And because the "wasabi receptor" is also involved in pain perception, knowing its shape should help pharmaceutical companies develop new drugs to fight pain.

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2:11pm

Tue March 31, 2015
Shots - Health News

Hackers Teach Computers To Tell Healthy And Sick Brain Cells Apart

Originally published on Wed April 8, 2015 10:17 am

The Allen Institute for Brain Science hosted its first BigNeuron Hackathon in Beijing earlier this month. Similar events are planned for the U.S. and U.K.
Courtesy of Allen Institute for Brain Science

Brain researchers are joining forces with computer hackers to tackle a big challenge in neuroscience: teaching computers how to tell a healthy neuron from a sick one.

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