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October 10, 2013 (San Diego's East County) -- Our Health and Science Highlights provide cutting edge news each week that could impact your health and our future.



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


Obamacare open enrollment begins: What you need to know Oct. 1 (CBS)

Even with the government shutdown looming, a key part of the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, is set to begin on Tuesday. So what do you need to know for the program's open enrollment period?

Prescription drug abuse now more deadly than heroin, cocaine combined (CS Monitor)

A new study shows that deaths from prescription drug overdoses have quadrupled during the past decade, suggesting that a stronger response is needed.

The Last Word On Hormone Therapy From the Women's Health Initiative (NPR)

Hormone replacement therapy used to be considered a fountain of youth for women. Then studies from the Women's Health Initiative found that HRT raised women's risk of chronic diseases. A final report from the massive study says hormone therapy can help younger women manage menopause symptoms, but it isn't safe for use long-term

Vaccine Refusals Fueled California's Whooping Cough Epidemic (NPR)

The whooping cough vaccine isn't perfect, but public health officials suspected that something else contributed to the 2010 pertussis outbreak in California. A study finds that neighborhoods where more parents filed for vaccination exemptions for their children had higher rates of infection.

Antifungal Cream Discovered to Eradicate HIV (Reason)

New research by an international team finds that Ciclopirox, an antifungal cream used all over the world, completely eradicates HIV - the virus that leads to AIDS - in cultured cells, and the virus does not return when the treatment stops. / The study also found Deferiprone, a systemic drug used to remove excess iron from the body in people who have beta-thalassaemia major, has the same effect.

The Religious Alternative To Obamacare's Individual Mandate (NPR)

The new federal health law has a few exemptions from its insurance mandate, including health care sharing ministries. Members pay a monthly fee to help cover some of each other's medical costs — but there are no guarantees.

Listeria arrests: Two Colorado farmers charged after outbreak (CS Monitor)

Listeria arrests: Two cantaloupe farmers face charges of introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce. The arrests came after 33 people died in 2011 during a listeria outbreak.... It's the second such warning from the agency, Doyle said. In February, four former employees of a peanut company were charged in Georgia federal court with scheming to manufacture and ship tainted peanuts. A 2009 salmonella outbreak blamed on the peanuts killed nine people and sickened hundreds.


NASA preparing to launch 3-D printer into space (SacBee)

 NASA is preparing to launch a 3-D printer into space next year, a toaster-sized game changer that greatly reduces the need for astronauts to load up with every tool, spare part or supply they might ever need.

Energy efficiency: How the Internet can lower your electric bill (CS Monitor)

 Energy efficiency – revolutionized by cyber networks – may carry the same impact as a new oil boom. Electricity users are seeing power in their 'negawattage' as they cut their bills by 90 percent.

10 heat secrets caught on camera

(BBC) -- Technology with military roots provides unique perspective on nature

Want To Read Others' Thoughts? Try Reading Literary Fiction (NPR)

Reading literary fiction improves people's ability to recognize other people's mental states, while popular fiction and nonfiction do not, a study says. That may be because literary fiction tends to focus on the psychology and inner lives of the characters.

What have we learned from Fukushima? (BBC)

 A return to the site of Japan's Fukushima nuclear disaster

Killer hornets rampage through China (CS Monitor)

A series of deadly hornet attacks has led Chinese officials to warn citizens to avoid walking through fields and wooded areas this year. At least 28 people have been killed, and hundreds seriously injured, when swarms of the stinging insects descend without warning on unsuspecting people.  The prime suspect in the killings is the Asian giant hornet — sometimes called the yak-killer hornet (Vespa mandarinia) — which can grow to be more than 2 inches (5 centimeters) in length, and has a quarter-inch-long (6 millimeters) stinger that delivers venom containing a potent neurotoxin.


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