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March 21, 2018 (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.


U.S. healthcare ranked worst in developed world (Time Magazine)

The U.S. health care system has been subject to heated debate over the past decade, but one thing that has remained consistent is the level of performance, which has been ranked as the worst among industrialized nations for the fifth time, according to the 2014 Commonwealth Fund survey 2014. The U.K. ranked best with Switzerland following a close second.

Macular degeneration: “I’ve been given my sight back”(BBC)

Doctors have taken a major step towards curing the most common form of blindness in the UK - age-related macular degeneration. Douglas Waters, 86, could not see out of his right eye, but "I can now read the newspaper" with it, he says.He was one of two patients given pioneering stem cell therapy at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London. Cells from a human embryo were grown into a patch that was delicately inserted into the back of the eye.

`Game changer’ treatment for patients with Multiple Sclerosis (BBC)

MS sufferer Louise Willetts says she is completely well, two year on from treatment that was originally used on cancer patients. Doctors say a stem cell transplant could be a "game changer" for many patients with multiple sclerosis. Results from an international trial show that it was able to stop the disease and improve symptoms.

Are There Risks From Secondhand Marijuana Smoke? Early Science Says Yes (NPR)

Now that marijuana is legal in more than 20 states, we all may be exposed to more marijuana on the street. Researchers warn that secondhand smoke from pot poses risks to the heart, lungs and arteries.

More evidence essential oils 'make male breasts develop'(BBC)

A suspected link between abnormal breast growth in young boys and the use of lavender and tea tree oils has been given new weight, after a study found eight chemicals contained in the oils interfere with hormones.

Pathogens On A Plane: How To Stay Healthy In Flight(NPR)

We all think of airplanes as hotbeds for diseases. But how easily do pathogens spread on jets? 


Do you take Facebook quizzes? Cambridge Analytica mess shows our privacy is at risk (Mercury-News)

What would you look like as a movie star? How “bitchy” are you? What’s your St. Patrick’s Day nickname? You’ve probably found the answers to these fascinating questions by taking a quiz on Facebook, and shared the results with your friends. But what did you give up in exchange for the deep dives into your soul? …it’s possible you shared your Facebook likes, education and work history, religious and political affiliations and more.

Plan to save Monarch butterflies backfires (Science)

… a new paper shows that well-meaning gardeners might actually be endangering the butterflies’ iconic migration to Mexico. That’s because people have been planting the wrong species of milkweed, thereby increasing the odds of monarchs becoming infected with a crippling parasite.

ACLU asks in lawsuit: Why is the TSA searching digital devices on domestic flights? (Los Angeles Times)

U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents have increasingly searched digital devices carried by travelers on international flights, as they look for data in cellphones, laptops and other electronic gadgets that can provide clues to possible terrorist attacks. Now, the American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit against the Transportation Security Administration demanding to know why TSA security officers also are looking at data stored in digital devices carried by passengers on domestic flights.

Facial Scanning Now Arriving At U.S. Airports (NPR)

Airlines say taking a picture of your face speeds boarding, and Homeland Security says it stops fraud. Critics worry about privacy and bias. 

Facebook under pressure as U.S., EU urge probes of data practices (Reuters) 

British privacy regulators are seeking a warrant to search the offices of the political consultancy Cambridge Analytica late Monday following reports that the company may have improperly gained access to data on 50 million Facebook users, according to a Channel 4 television report.

Expedia's Orbitz says 880,000 payment cards hit in breach (Reuters) 

Orbitz, a subsidiary of online travel agency Expedia Inc , said on Tuesday that hackers may have accessed personal information from about 880,000 payment cards.

UCSD professor devises way to recycle lithium-ion batteries (San Diego Union-Tribune)

The promise of a global electric vehicle transformation has a looming problem. 

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