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December 20, 2017 (San Diego's East County) -- Our Health and Science Highlights provide cutting edge news that could impact your health and our future.



For excerpts and links to full stories, click “read more” and scroll down.


Burners beware: Calif. pot sold January 1 could be tainted (AP)

That legal weed you'll be able to buy in California on New Year's Day may not be as green as it seems. Any marijuana sold when recreational sales become legal Jan. 1 in the nation's most populous state will have been grown without regulatory controls that will eventually be in place. Pot could contain pesticides, molds and other contaminants…. Shops will have six months to sell the current crop of cannabis before their inventory has to pass tests.

Haemophilia A test results ‘mind blowing’ (BBC)

British doctors say they have achieved "mind-blowing" results in an attempt to rid people of haemophilia A.

Trump administration gives CDC list of forbidden words: fetus, transgender, diversity (Washington Post)

The Trump administration is prohibiting officials at the nation’s top public health agency from using a list of seven words or phrases… in any official documents being prepared for next year’s budget…. The forbidden words are “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “diversity,” “transgender,” “fetus,” “evidence-based” and “science-based.”

NIH Lifts Ban on Research That Could Make Deadly Viruses Even Worse (NPR)

After an unusual three-year moratorium, the federal government says it will once again allow research on deadly viruses that could spark pandemics. The work has sparked concerns about bioterrorism.

First Gene Therapy for Inherited Disease Gets FDA Approval (NPR)

The Food and Drug Administration approved Luxturna, a genetically modified virus that restores by ferrying a healthy gene into the eyes of patients born with a genetic disease that impairs sight.

Food and Drug Administration Plans Crackdown on Risky Homeopathic Remedies (NPR)

FDA says homeopathy has grown into a $3 billion industry with treatments being sold for conditions ranging from the common cold to cancer. The agency will prioritize action against unsafe products.


 Regulator warns Bitcoin buyers: be ready to lose all your money (BBC)

Andrew Bailey, head of the Financial Conduct Authority, told the BBC that neither central banks nor the government stood behind the "currency" and therefore it was not a secure investment. Buying Bitcoin, he said, was similar to gambling - and had the same level of risk.

Senate Democrats to force vote on FCC net neutrality repeal (Reuters)

The FCC voted Thursday along party lines to reverse the Obama era rules barring internet service providers from blocking or throttling internet traffic, or offering paid fast lanes. A group of state attorneys general vowed to sue. On Friday, Senator Charles Schumer of New York said he would force a vote on the FCC action under the Congressional Review Act. Republicans scuttled internet privacy rules adopted under the Obama administration using the same procedural vehicle.

Cities with Uber Have Lower Rates of Ambulance Usage (NPR)

Without insurance, an ambulance trip can be expensive. A new study suggests people are opting to avoid the cost by using the ride-hailing app, which frees up ambulances for more critical patients.

Facebook reveals rise in official data requests (BBC)

Police forces filed 21% more requests for data from Facebook in the first half of 2017 than they did in the last six months of 2016…. In the US, 57% of the requests were restricted, meaning people could not be told that police were curious about their social-media habits.

Facebook Expands Use of Facial Recognition to ID Users in Photos (NPR)

Currently, the site uses face recognition to prompt users to tag themselves or their friends in photos. Now users will get alerts when a photo is posted of their face, tag or no tag.