Ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have taken an often hidden toll on many of the nearly 2 million U.S. service men and women who have served there. In addition to painful physical wounds, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that 10 to 18 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans are likely to have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, also known as PTSD. The sleeplessness, anger, anxiety and sense of isolation that can accompany PTSD pose tremendous challenges for veterans and their families — while an enduring stigma around mental health care still discourages many veterans from seeking help. Neal Conan speaks with two San Antonio mental health researchers and an Iraq war veteran about the latest on what we understand about the experience, prevention and treatment of PTSD.
Most scientists consider chimpanzees humans' closest animal relatives — which makes them the animal of choice for biomedical researchers testing new treatments for human diseases like Hepatitis C. The Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research in San Antonio, Texas is one of only a handful of sites around the world that conduct medical research on great apes. Such tests are banned in most developed countries. Scientists argue their research is conducted humanely and is the only way to develop potentially life-saving medical treatments — but many animal rights groups say testing on chimps is unnecessary, unneeded and unethical. Neal Conan talks with Texas Public Radio's David Martin Davies about the science and ethics of medical research on chimps.
Natural gas and oil production is booming across the United States, as a process called hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," has enabled energy companies to extract the fuels from places once considered inaccessible. The expansion of fracking has brought jobs and economic revitalization to towns from New York to Wyoming and meant greater domestic energy production. But it is also controversial. The process forces water and chemicals into deep rock to flush out oil and gas and public concern has grown about the effects on water and air quality. Some homeowners near drilling sites complain they can light their tap water on fire because methane pollution. Texas just passed the nation's first law requiring energy companies to reveal the chemicals they use in the process, but environmental groups say the law doesn't go far enough. Host Neal Conan talks with Texas Public Radio News Director David Martin Davies and NPR correspondent Jeff Brady about the risks and benefits of fracking.
This year marks the 175th anniversary of the Battle of the Alamo, the legendary siege in the fight for Texas independence. The cry, "remember the Alamo," has inspired Texan and national pride since Texan volunteers made their last stand at the old mission, located in what is now the heart of downtown San Antonio. But for many Mexican Americans, the Alamo has a different meaning — and remembering the Alamo often means reflecting on a history of tension between white and Latino communities, and a story that has largely oversimplified the role Latinos played in the legendary battle. Neal Conan speaks with author and filmmaker John Phillip Santos about the meaning, and enduring legacy, of the iconic battle of the Alamo.