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MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

There's a lot of debate these days about the cost of medical care and the risks. Is a drug for breast cancer patients worth the $100,000 price tag if it only adds a few months to a woman's life? Or should men routinely get blood tests for prostate cancer when the exam could cause more suffering than it prevents?

Well, today, a major medical group issued new ethical guidelines on whether doctors should consider cost when deciding how to treat patients. As NPR's Rob Stein reports, the group takes a provocative position.

Blustery winds and freezing cold temperatures today didn't slow down the Republican presidential candidates' campaigning on the eve of the Iowa caucuses.

Six GOP candidates — most with family members in tow — shook voters' hands and made their final arguments.

Here's a look at what our reporters are finding on the campaign trail:

-- Mitt Romney, who has edged into the lead in recent polls, is looking to deepen — not broaden — his statewide map in the final stretch, campaign adviser Eric Fehrnstrom tells NPR's Ari Shapiro.

Driving And Phoning: What's New In 2012

Jan 2, 2012

States have long sought to restrict cellphone use by drivers because of safety concerns, and as the new year begins, several states are toughening their laws.

It turns out it's a hard habit to break; and for government officials, it's not easy to stay ahead of tech advances.

'Cognitive Distraction'

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NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan, in Washington. In Iowa, all the GOP presidential candidates continue to profess their faith in speeches and in broadcast ads, perhaps none more than Texas Governor Rick Perry.

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NEAL CONAN, HOST:

And now, the Opinion Page. It's the start of a new year. Already, millions of us have posted new calendars on the wall or installed new ones on our computers. But Steven Hanke and Richard Henry, two Johns Hopkins University professors, propose a more radical step: the Hanke-Henry permanent calendar, which they say will solve the yearly hassle of reworking our schedules and even help businesses put fiscal calendars in sync. But that raises a question: Is the current calendar a problem for you?

Almost 150 years ago, English scientist Francis Galton coined the phrase "nature versus nurture" — and proposed that research on twins could resolve the debate.

Genetics have long seemed to weigh heavily in favor of the role of nature in shaping the people we become. But even identical twins are different to varying degrees, and some researchers believe those differences suggest a third influence at work, called epigenetics.

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NEAL CONAN, HOST:

Last Wednesday, Ann Selzer could not be cajoled into even a hint of the final Iowa poll as she joined the Political Junkie. Selzer and the company - and her company polls for the Des Moines Register and for Bloomberg. It's considered the gold standard in Iowa. And the Register published the results on Saturday night. It showed Mitt Romney in front, followed closely by Ron Paul and Rick Santorum surging into third. Ann Selzer joins us again from Iowa Public Radio. Nice to have you back on the program.

ANN SELZER: Great to be here, Neal.

Imprisoned In A Mysterious Mistaken Identity

Jan 2, 2012

Alex Gilvarry is the author of From the Memoirs of a Non-Enemy Combatant.

I was a college student in New York City when security checks became the norm. Being half-Filipino with a Scottish last name, I wasn't easy to profile. And since I was always carrying a big backpack of textbooks in and out of the subways on my way to class, I came to expect that I would be stopped once or twice each week.

This week on Fresh Air, we're marking the year's end by revisiting some of the most memorable conversations we've had in 2011. This interview was originally broadcast on December 13, 2011.

Seth MacFarlane: A 'Family Guy' Sings Out

Jan 2, 2012

This week on Fresh Air, we're marking the year's end by revisiting some of the most memorable conversations we've had in 2011. This interview was originally broadcast on October 17, 2011.

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The Latest From NPR

The Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., has generated plenty of controversy since it opened last fall.

But concerns about President Trump's conflicts of interest might not be enough to stop his company from opening a second hotel in the nation's capital.

Muslim children are more likely to be bullied in school than children of other faiths. A new survey by the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU) reveals that 42 percent of Muslims with children in K–12 schools report bullying of their children because of their faith, compared with 23 percent of Jewish and 20 percent of Protestant parents.

These results confirm recent findings by other research and advocacy groups showing that bullying of students of color is on the rise.

Canyon Mansfield and his dog were walking the ridge line near his house in Pocatello, Idaho, when the 14-year-old spotted a curious device that looked like a sprinkler nestled in the ground.

A federal judge levied two punishments over the "Bridgegate" tale of political retaliation in New Jersey Wednesday, sentencing former Port Authority Deputy Executive Director Bill Baroni to two years in prison and Bridget Kelly, Christie's former deputy chief of staff, to 18 months.

The sentencing comes months after Baroni and Kelly were found guilty of crimes that included conspiracy and fraud.

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