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East County News Service

February 22, 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.


One Out of Four American Adults Have Suffered Hearing Loss (KPBS)

Hearing loss affects 40 million Americans.  A new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveals it is not only the elderly who are affected.  In fact, the report finds 19 percent of Americans between the ages of 20 and 29 have lost some of their hearing….   ….. one of the likely culprits is frequent listening to loud music through earbuds or headphones.

Cancer genes hide outside chromosomes (San Diego Union-Tribune)

Cancer’s relentless progression and ability to develop drug resistance are some of its most feared characteristics. While treatments succeed at first against certain cancers, the disease can keep recurring — tougher than ever each time until the patient dies.

Autism detectable in brain long before symptoms appear (BBC)

The discovery could lead to better tests and therapies for children with autism.

The Next Pandemic Could Be Dripping On Your Head (NPR)

Bats, birds and tourists love a good cave. And so do viruses. Scientists say this mixture could trigger a deadly outbreak.


Pollinating drones may give honeybees a hand (San Diego Union-Tribune)

As automation spreads, the next workers to be replaced may be winged, six-legged critters with a sting and a talent for making honey.

As 200 More Whales Are Stranded in New Zealand, Heroics Turn to Heartbreak (NPR)

Volunteers gathered early to send some 100 surviving whales back to sea, after one of the worst mass strandings in New Zealand's history. But just hours later, a new large pod washed ashore nearby.

Don't Call It Wheat: An Environmentally Friendly Grain Takes Root (NPR)

Researchers have developed a new wheat-like species called Salish Blue that grows back year after year, which not only cuts down on work for farmers, but helps prevent erosion and agricultural waste.

Researchers discover 60 new planets: Could you help find the next? (CS Monitor)

Measuring changes in stars, an international team of astronomers has discovered dozens of new planets. They've made the data public, giving amateur astronomers a chance to find a planet for themselves.

To Help Curb Coral Reef Destruction, Hawaii Wants to Ban Chemical Sunscreens (CS Monitor)

…According to Hawaii's Department of Land and Natural Resources, "researchers have found oxybenzone concentrations in some Hawaiian waters at more than 30 times the level considered safe for corals." ...  there are two kinds of sunblock: Chemical blockers use ingredients like oxybenzone and octinoxate to absorb UV radiation from the sun, preventing it from causing damage. But physical (or mineral) sunscreens, with ingredients like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, block UVA and UVB rays from ever reaching your skin; and the National Park Service says these have not been found to harm the reefs. Even better: Dermatologists agree that physical blocks are gentler on your skin.

Microbes wake up from 10,000-year nap in cave crystals (CS Monitor)

During exploration of Mexico’s inhospitable Naica caves, a team of scientists managed to extract, and revive, long dormant microbes from inside the giant crystals that populate the caverns. With genetic patterns unlike most other life on earth, the critters may have been dozing for many millennia. / If it holds up, the NASA-backed discovery would raise both hopes for finding life in the extreme environments of other worlds and fears of extraterrestrial contamination by hardy earthborn superbugs.

Unearthed essay on alien life reveals Churchill the scientist  (Reuters)

A newly unearthed essay by Winston Churchill shows Britain's wartime leader was uncannily prescient about the possibility of alien life on planets orbiting stars other than the Sun.