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Rhitu Chatterjee

Rhitu Chatterjee is a reporter and editor on NPR's Science Desk, where she reports the latest news and feature stories on science, health, and the environment. She also generates ideas for series or themes for the desk to explore, and periodically edits the science team on both radio and digital platforms.

In her role, Chatterjee has reported on the reasons behind a disturbing health statistic in America — the unusually high rate of infant death among African Americans. In her previous role as an editor for NPR's The Salt, she produced one of her favorite projects, a short online food video series called "Hot Pot: A Dish. A Memory," which featured dishes from a particular country as made by a person who grew up with the dish. The series was produced in collaboration with NPR's Goats & Soda blog.

Before coming to NPR, Chatterjee reported on current affairs from New Delhi for PRI's The World, and covered science and health news for Science Magazine. Before that, she was based in Boston as a science correspondent with PRI's The World. She has also worked as a freelancer and correspondent for NPR's Science Desk. She began her career covering environmental news and policy for Environmental Science & Technology.

Throughout her career, Chatterjee has reported on everything from basic scientific discoveries to issues at the intersection of science, society and culture. She has covered the legacy of the Bhopal gas tragedy in 1984, the world's largest industrial disaster. She has reported on a mysterious epidemic of chronic kidney disease in Sri Lanka and India. While in New Delhi, she also covered women's issues. Her reporting went beyond the breaking news headlines about sexual violence to document the underlying social pressures faced by Indian girls and women. She has done numerous stories on how a growing number of Indian women are fighting for better opportunities in education and in the workplace and trying to make the country a safer place for future generations of women.

She has won two reporting grants from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting and was awarded a certificate of merit by the Gabriel Awards in 2014.

Chatterjee has mentored student fellows by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, as well as young journalists for the Society of Environmental Journalists' mentorship program. She's also taught science writing at the Santa Fe Science Writing Workshop.

She did her undergraduate work in Darjeeling, India. And she has two master's degrees—a master of science in biotechnology from Visva-Bharati in India, and a master of arts in journalism from the University of Missouri.

Most teens today own a smartphone and go online every day, and about a quarter of them use the internet "almost constantly," according to a 2015 report by the Pew Research Center.

Now a study published Tuesday in JAMA suggests that such frequent use of digital media by adolescents might increase their odds of developing symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Many people who attempt suicide end up in an emergency room for immediate treatment. But few of those suicide survivors get the follow-up care they need at a time when they are especially likely to attempt suicide again.

Now, a study shows that a simple intervention conducted by staff in emergency departments can reduce the risk of future attempts. The intervention involves creating a safety plan for each patient and following up with phone calls after discharge.

People addicted to prescription opioids or heroin are far more likely to have run-ins with the law than those who don't use opioids, according to a study published Friday in JAMA Network Open.

The study provides the first nationwide estimate for the number of people using opioids who end up in the American criminal justice system. The results suggest a need to engage law enforcement officials and corrections systems to tackle the opioid epidemic.

For most of her childhood, growing up in southeastern Pennsylvania, Kelly Zimmerman felt alone and anxious.

She despaired when her mother was depressed or working late shifts; when her parents fought nonstop; when her friends wanted to come over, and she felt too ashamed to let them see her home's buckling floor, the lack of running water.

Kelly tried to shut out those feelings, and when she was 18, a boyfriend offered her an opioid painkiller — Percocet.

Her anxiety dissolved, at least for a little while.

The number of people dying by suicide in the United States has risen by about 30 percent in the past two decades. And while the majority of suicide-related deaths today are among boys and men, a study published Thursday by the National Center for Health Statistics finds that the number of girls and women taking their own lives is rising.

Loneliness isn't just a fleeting feeling, leaving us sad for a few hours to a few days. Research in recent years suggests that for many people, loneliness is more like a chronic ache, affecting their daily lives and sense of well-being.

Now a nationwide survey by the health insurer Cigna underscores that. It finds that loneliness is widespread in America, with nearly 50 percent of respondents reporting that they feel alone or left out always or sometimes.

The head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, has proposed a new rule that restricts scientific research that can be used by the agency for its regulatory decisions.

The proposed rule only allows the use of studies that make all data publicly available for anyone to analyze. Pruitt proposed the new rule as a way to make the agency's decision-making more "transparent, objective and measurable."

Our ancestors in Kenya's Southern Rift Valley made some pretty innovative tools. And they made them far earlier than previously thought.

The oldest innovations were axes designed to be held in the palm of the hand. They were shaped like a tear drop, with a rounded end and a pointed eye. The edges were wavy and sharp. And they look as if they were great at chopping down branches — or chopping up the carcass of a large animal.