Véronique LaCapra

Science Reporter

Véronique LaCapra first caught the radio bug while writing commentaries for NPR affiliate WAMU in Washington, D.C. After producing her first audio pieces at the Duke Center for Documentary Studies in N.C., she was hooked! She has done ecological research in the Brazilian Pantanal; regulated pesticides for the Environmental Protection Agency in Arlington, Va.; been a freelance writer and volunteer in South Africa; and contributed radio features to the Voice of America in Washington, D.C. She earned a Ph.D. in ecosystem ecology from the University of California in Santa Barbara, and a B.A. in environmental policy and biology from Cornell. LaCapra grew up in Cambridge, Mass., and in her mother’s home town of Auxerre, France.

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Science, Health and Technology
1:35 pm
Wed November 14, 2012

Mo. receives "C" in ranking of premature birth rates

Alex E. Proimos FLICKR

For the second year in a row, the March of Dimes has given Missouri a grade of “C” in its annual state rankings of premature birth rates. Factors including maternal smoking, lack of access to health care, and obesity are to blame.

The Director of Newborn Medicine at St. Louis Children's Hospital, Dr. F. Sessions Cole, calls preterm birth a major problem for our region.

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Science, Health and Technology
11:39 am
Fri November 2, 2012

More 'Baby Giants' Arrive At The Saint Louis Zoo

Jill Utrup/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Originally published on Fri November 2, 2012 7:19 am

The Saint Louis Zoo once again is teeming with baby giant salamanders.

For the second year in a row, the zoo has successfully bred endangered Ozark hellbenders in captivity.

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Science, Health and Technology
5:11 pm
Fri October 12, 2012

Surreptitious genome sequencing could come from discarded coffee cups

widdowquinn Flickr

A federal panel is calling for stronger privacy protections for human genetic data.

In a report out Thursday, the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues said “whole genome sequencing” — which provides a unique blueprint of each person’s DNA — holds great promise for advancing medical research and clinical care.

But the Commission said genetic data can also be misused and need to be adequately protected.

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Science, Health and Technology
8:49 am
Mon September 10, 2012

The key to treating cancer may lie in understanding its genes

e-MagazineArt FLICKR

A national consortium of scientists has sequenced the genome of a common type of lung cancer. The work suggests that the key to treating cancer may lie in understanding its genes.

Washington University helped lead the study, which mapped and analyzed genetic mutations in squamous cell carcinoma of the lung.

The director of Wash U’s Genome Center, Richard Wilson, says the study identified mutations in lung tumors that are also found in other types of cancer.

He says the work suggests the genetics of cancer are more important than where it first appears in the body.

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Under the Microscope
7:20 pm
Thu September 6, 2012

Show-Me Medicaid expansion? Missouri weighs the costs

Richard Freese sits in the waiting room of Family Care Health Centers in St. Louis. Freese is self-employed, servicing and selling industrial machines. But he says if he wound up hospitalized, he’d have no income – and no way to pay his bills.
Veronique LaCapra St. Louis Public Radio

When the US Supreme Court upheld the federal health care law in June, it ruled that states couldn’t be penalized for failing to expand their Medicaid programs.

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Science, Health and Technology
9:22 am
Fri August 31, 2012

Soil may be a source of antibiotic resistance

(Courtesy of the Research Center for Auditory and Vestibular Studies at Washington University in St. Louis, supported by National Institutes of Health NIDCD Grant no. P30DC04665)

Originally published on Thu August 30, 2012 5:02 pm

Soil bacteria may be helping to make disease-causing bacteria resistant to antibiotics.

That’s according to a new study out of Washington University.

Lead researcher, microbiologist Gautam Dantas, says he and his colleagues found seven genes in farmland soil bacteria that are identical to genes in human pathogens – and that provide resistance to a wide range of antibiotics.

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Politics
8:37 am
Wed August 22, 2012

Federal rule to reduce air polution overturned

Chris Murphy Flickr

A federal appeals court has overturned a federal rule that would have reduced air pollution from power plants and kept it from drifting across state lines.

In a 2-to-1 decision, the panel of judges said the Environmental Protection Agency exceeded its regulatory authority when it approved the Cross-State Air Pollution rule last summer.

Sierra Club Missouri Chapter Director John Hickey says the rule would have reduced emissions of soot, sulfur dioxide, and other pollutants that drift from state to state.

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Science, Health and Technology
6:51 pm
Tue August 21, 2012

Court vacates EPA cross-state air pollution rule

Chris Murphy Flickr

A federal appeals court has vacated an EPA rule that would have limited the amount of power plant pollution that drifts across state lines.

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Science, Health and Technology
6:35 pm
Thu August 2, 2012

Harvesting guano to help Peruvian penguins: Saint Louis Zoo digs in

Humboldt penguins can swim at speeds of up to 30 miles per hour. There are only about 40,000 left in the wild.
wwarby Flickr

Unlike their cold-weather relatives, Humboldt penguins live only in South America, along the rocky Pacific coast of Chile and Peru. The Saint Louis Zoo’s Michael Macek has been monitoring the penguins there, tracking their health and numbers.

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Weather
7:57 am
Wed August 1, 2012

Report shows Midwest is heating up

jetsandzeppelins Flickr

According to a new study, the Midwest is getting hotter. With this summer's record-breaking temperatures, that probably doesn't sound like news.

But a new report by the Union of Concerned Scientists shows our hot weather isn't an anomaly - things have been heating up across the Midwest for the past six decades.

The study found that on average, some Midwestern cities like St. Louis now have twice the number of very hot, humid, summer days as it did in the 1940s. Nighttime temperatures are also on the rise, and heat waves of three or more days are becoming more common.

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Science, Health and Technology
5:47 pm
Thu July 19, 2012

Unwinding the helix: using genetics to treat childhood cancer

Washington University’s Todd Druley uses a magnet to separate DNA-coated magnetic beads from a liquid reaction buffer, to isolate specific genes from patient DNA for sequencing analysis.
Scott Suppelsa

Pediatric leukemia is a cancer of the blood and bone marrow. There are about 3,000 new cases in the United States every year, typically in children between the ages of four and six.

With treatment, about three-quarters of affected children are able to beat the disease.

But for those with what’s known as “high risk” leukemia, the odds of survival are much worse.

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Politics
9:26 am
Tue July 10, 2012

Report shows two-thirds of Missouri's uninsured could get health coverage

A new report by the Missouri Foundation for Health estimates that about two-thirds of Missouri’s more than 800,000 uninsured could get health insurance under the federal health care law. The county level data suggest that rural counties will benefit the most.

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Science, Health and Technology
10:02 am
Mon July 9, 2012

Hardee’s to end use of gestation crates

Gestation crates for sows
Wikimedia Commons

The fast food chain Hardee’s says it will stop buying pork from suppliers who use gestation crates – the cramped metal cages where many industrial pork producers house pregnant sows for most of their adult lives.

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Business
8:59 am
Fri July 6, 2012

Mo. insurers to issue nearly $61M in refunds

Under a provision in the federal healthcare law, Mo. insurers will pay nearly $61 million to Missourians.
Jacob Fenston KBIA

Some of Missouri's largest insurance companies will be refunding consumers almost $61 million this month under a provision of the federal healthcare law. Insurers who failed to spend at least 80 percent of premium-dollars on medical care and quality improvement have to repay the difference to consumers.

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Science, Health and Technology
8:58 am
Fri June 29, 2012

Court's Medicaid ruling could leave thousands uninsured

As part yesterday's Supreme Court decision on Obama's health care law, the justices ruled the federal government can't revoke states' Medicaid funding for failing to comply with the law's required Medicaid  expansion. And as Véronique LaCapra reports, that could leave some Missourians without access to health insurance.

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