Science news

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT)  --  There are lots of organizations and venues in Middle Tennessee hosting watch parties for the August 21 solar eclipse, but only a handful have been designated by NASA as “official” watch sites.


To qualify, sites must have a security plan in place and a designated expert on hand to provide accurate eclipse information. At Middle Tennessee State University that person is Astronomy Department Chair Ron Henderson.


Eclipse chaser spreads the word about August event

Jul 26, 2017

MURFREESBORO, Tenn.  (WMOT)  --  A man who calls himself a Solar Eclipse Chaser is spending the week in Tennessee.

Rick Brown is driving cross-country following the projected path of next month’s total solar eclipse. He describes the trip as a kind of eclipse outreach, making Americans aware of the event and how to view it safely.

Past eclipses have taken Brown all over the world.

“The first one was in Mexico, the next one after that was in Thailand, South America, and then we had two in Turkey, two in China, two in Africa, and one in Tahiti.”

OAK RIDGE, Tenn. (AP) — Environmental groups are challenging the Tennessee Valley Authority's proposal to use a Tennessee nuclear reactor design site abandoned in the 1970s to develop new small modular reactors.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WMOT)  --  The Tennessee Men’s Health Report Card compiled by Vanderbilt University is out this week and provides some good news.

Report author Dr. Derek Griffith says men living in Tennessee tend to be less healthy than their counterparts in other states. For example, average male life expectancy in Tennessee is about two years less than the national average.

But Dr. Griffth says this week’s report does reveal at least one positive trend.

MUFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT)  --  The number of Tennesseans diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease has more than doubled in the last 15 years. The finding comes from a study just released by the Centers for Disease Control.

In addition to Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, South Dakota and Louisiana have all seen the incidence of Alzheimer’s jump more than 100 percent since 1999. Contrast that with Maine, Maryland and Montana where rates actually declined.


  MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT)  --  Imagine having this on your resume: Assisting in the Jeffrey Dahmer serial murder case, identifying victims of the 9/11 terror attacks, and even putting a name to the body in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.


Forensic Anthropologist Dr. Robert Mann will make a mid-state appearance this coming week at Middle Tennessee State University. Dr. Mann has examined more than 8,000 ancient and modern human skeletal remains.



NASHVILLE, Tenn.  (WMOT)  --  Hard to believe we’re still worried about this so late in the year, but the Tennessee State Veterinarian is warning horse owners to protect their animals against mosquito borne Equine Encephalitis.


Dr. Charlie Hatcher says horses are also vulnerable to West Nile Virus. Cases of both have been seen this year in West Tennessee.


  What should you watch for? Hatcher says be on the lookout for “Lethargy...wobbling and circling, and in some severe cases a horse could get down and be unable to rise.”


Bloomberg Technology

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Aspen Institute are leading a year-long effort with Nashville and nine other cities around the world to accelerate their efforts to prepare for the arrival of self-driving cars.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WMOT)  --  Here's a heads-up for mid-state horse owners: a rare case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis has caused the death of a West Tennessee horse.

The State Department of Agriculture says this is the first case of the deadly disease it’s seen in Tennessee since 2009. State Veterinarian Dr. Charles Hatcher says the illness is fatal to horses in 75 to 90 percent of cases.

In a conversation with WMOT, Dr. Hatcher listed symptoms horse owners should be on the lookout for.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WMOT)  --  Tennessee children will be heading back to school soon, but officials say some are turned away every year because their parents failed to get them the required immunizations.

Dr. Kelly Moore with the Tennessee Department of Health says children attending school for the first time are required to present an Immunization Certificate. She says students enrolling in seventh grade and in college could also be turned away if they don’t get the right booster shots.

WILLIAMSTOWN, Ky. (AP) — A Noah's Ark attraction built by Christians who say the biblical story really happened is ready to open in Kentucky.

The long-awaited Ark Encounter theme park based on the story of a man who got a warning from God about a worldwide flood will debut in central Kentucky this week. The Christian group behind the 510 foot-long wooden ark says it will demonstrate that the stories of the Bible are true.

Its construction has rankled opponents who say the attraction will be detrimental to science education.

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT)  --  A new report says the highest rate of HIV infection among homosexual men is highest in the American South, but Tennessee seems to be bucking that trend.

Researchers at Emory University in Atlanta recently compiled a study detailing rates of HIV infection down to the county level across the country. Study coauthor Dr. Jeremy Grey says Tennessee’s largest cities are doing relatively well.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) --  Shelby County is home to more measles cases than the rest of the U.S. combined after an outbreak that began last week.

The Commercial Appeal reports ( ) six cases so far have been confirmed in the county.

Measles had been considered eradicated in the U.S. 16 years ago, but the anti-vaccination movement of recent years has led to new outbreaks.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Health officials are reporting the first case of Zika virus in Shelby County.

The Shelby County Health Department said Thursday that the person with the virus traveled to one of the countries where Zika is prevalent. The department did not name the person who has the virus or the country to which the victim had traveled.

Tennessee is the nation's migraine capital

Sep 2, 2015

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT/TNS)  -- A neurology researcher at Vanderbilt University says Tennessee has a problem with migraines.

Nashville, Knoxville, Chattanooga and the Tri-Cities all made the top 10 list of the 110 worst cities for migraines.

The study analyzed several metrics, including the number of migraine prescriptions written, hours worked, commute times, and diets.

Vanderbilt professor Jan Brandes says Tennessee's weather is another factor.


NEW YORK (AP/WMOT) — Tennesseans score dead last when it comes to eating enough fruit and residents are skimping on vegetables as well.

A just released study suggests only 13 percent of Americans are eating the recommended amount of fruit each day, while in Tennessee only 7.5 percent eat the recommended amount.

The findings come from a large, national survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


WASHINGTON (AP) — The Pentagon says it inadvertently shipped live anthrax spores to laboratories in Tennessee and eight other states and is investigating how that happened.

The labs were supposed to receive dead — or inactivated — anthrax samples for research use.

Spokesman Col. Steve Warren says the Pentagon is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to retrieve the samples.

OAK RIDGE, Tenn. (AP) — The Department of Energy is on the verge of shipping highly radioactive material from central Tennessee to a federal site north of Las Vegas.

The department's deputy press secretary Namrata Kolachalam tells the Knoxville News Sentinel ( ) a shipment of non-radioactive material left Oak Ridge National Laboratory Monday bound for the Nevada National Security Site.

The shipment was a test run for the actual operations, whose schedule officials will not discuss because of security concerns.

Randy Weiler / MTSU

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (AP) — Middle and high school girls interested in math and science are eligible to participate in a conference at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro.

According to the school, the Expanding Your Horizons conference will give girls the opportunity to investigate math and science careers, talk with women in those careers, attend workshops and meet other girls who are interested in science and math.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The state Senate has voted to ban drones from recording images above ticketed events with more than 100 people in attendance.

The bill sponsored by Republican Sen. Jack Johnson of Franklin passed on a 33-0 vote on Thursday. Johnson said the measure had been requested by the NFL's Tennessee Titans to prevent drones from flying over the team's Nashville stadium during games.

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (AP/WMOT)  --  Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander has used his new position as Chairman of the Senate Health Committee to weigh in on the debate concerning Measles vaccinations.

Health officials say there are now 121 measles cases nationwide, all but 18 are tied to an outbreak that started at the Disneyland amusement park in California.

Until recently, it was unusual to see more than 100 measles cases a year in the United States. However, many parents now avoid getting their kids vaccinated, believing the shots themselves cause devastating illnesses.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMOT)  --  St. Jude’s Children’s hospital in Memphis has launched a program that gives a voice to individuals diagnosed with HIV/AIDS.

St. Jude’s launched a Pediatric AIDS Clinic at the direction of founder Danny Thomas in 1987. The clinic now serves about 250 patients.

In the years since, clinic staff noted how often patients spoke about their isolation, the feeling that they were the only ones dealing with an AIDS diagnosis.

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT)  --  A well-known minister, author and Ted Talk alum, who refers to himself as an “Evolutionary Theologian” will make a mid-state appearance on Thursday.

The Reverend Michael Dowd is the founder of and the author of the best selling book Thank God for Evolution.

This Thursday evening the Middle Tennessee State University Science and Spirituality Group will host Michael Dowd for a presentation in Murfreesboro.


MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT)  --  The number of research dollars awarded to Tennessee’s public universities has fallen dramatically in recent years, thanks in large measure to a drop in federal funding.

University of Tennessee affiliated schools report a decline of about 9 percent in the last three years. The state’s other higher education system, the Tennessee Board of Regents, reports that its six universities saw research funding drop by more than 23 percent during the same period.


MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (AP) — A Middle Tennessee State University professor is driving from Key West, Florida, to Seattle in a vehicle fueled by waste chicken fat and waste vegetable oil from school dining facilities.

Alternatives fuels researcher Cliff Ricketts will begin his journey today, stopping at MTSU along the way and arriving in Seattle next week. The School of Agribusiness and Agriscience faculty member will be driving a 1981 Volkswagen Rabbit pickup truck on the 3,550-mile trek.