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May 23, 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.


The FDA approved a drug that treats opioid addiction that isn’t addictive itself (Popular Science)

This week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave final approval for a drug shown to mitigate the symptoms associated with opioid withdrawal. It’s not the first treatment designed to help those with opioid addiction, but it has a distinguishing feature: It’s the first one that isn’t an opioid itself, and has no addictive component.

Lost mothers: maternal mortality in the U.S. (NPR)

Focus on infants during childbirth leaves U.S. moms in danger (latest in NPR’s Peabody Award-winning series)… The ability to protect the health of mothers and babies in childbirth is a basic measure of a society's development. Yet every year in the U.S., 700 to 900 women die from pregnancy or childbirth-related causes, and some 65,000 nearly die — by many measures, the worst record in the developed world.

Did Leaded Gasoline Contribute to the U.S. Baby Bust?  (Reason)

The U.S. fertility rate has fallen to a 40-year low of 1.76 children per 100 women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Is lead to blame? A new study by three Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) economists says it is. 


Circuit breaker still in use despite safety concerns (Jewish World Review)

Millions of U.S. and Canadian homes were built with circuit breaker panels that one expert has questioned as a potential fire hazard. Issues about Federal Pacific Electric's Stab-Lok circuit breakers were first raised decades ago with the Consumer Product Safety Commission.


DNA Data From 100 Crime Scenes Has Been Uploaded To A Genealogy Website — Just Like The Golden State Killer

The remarkable sleuthing method that tracked down the Golden State Killer was not a one-off. A company in Virginia is now working with several law enforcement agencies to solve cases using the same “genetic genealogy”... The company, Parabon NanoLabs, has already loaded DNA data from about 100 crime scenes into a public genealogy database called GEDmatch. And in about 20 of these cases, the company says, it has found matches with people estimated to be the suspect’s third cousins or even closer relatives.

NASA looks to send a small nuclear reactor to the moon and Mars  (San Diego Union-Tribune)

California may be about to shut down its last remaining nuclear power plant, but NASA is looking at a couple of far-flung locations to place small, electricity-producing reactors — the moon and Mars. A new nuclear power system recently completed a series of tests that has scientists confident the project — launched in 2015 and called Kilopower — can provide enough safe and efficient energy to establish early settlements in space.

Uber ends Arizona self-driving program following fatality (Reuters)

…. Uber Technologies Inc [UBER.UL] is not shuttering its entire autonomous vehicle program, a spokeswoman said, adding that it will focus on limited testing in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and two cities in California. It aims to resume self-driving operations this summer, likely with smaller routes and fewer cars.

Why privacy settings can't keep your location secret  (Marketplace)

Phone carriers collect a minute-by-minute record of everywhere you go. If you use GPS on your phone, that may be obvious. But carriers are also selling that information to companies that don’t do much to keep it secure

Security advocates challenge facial recognition in policing  (CS Monitor)

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and other privacy activists are asking Amazon to stop marketing a powerful facial recognition tool to police, saying law enforcement agencies could use the technology to "easily build a system to automate the identification and tracking of anyone."