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June 26, 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.


FDA approves first cannabis-based drug (CNN)

…The twice-daily oral solution (Epidiolex) is approved for use in patients 2 and older to treat two types of epileptic syndromes: Dravet syndrome, a rare genetic dysfunction of the brain that begins in the first year of life, and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, a form of epilepsy with multiple types of seizures that begin in early childhood, usually between 3 and 5.

Higher vitamin D levels linked to lower colorectal cancer risk, study finds (Jewish World Review)

The latest research, which appears in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, was conducted by scientists from NCI, the American Cancer Society, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and 20 other medical centers and organizations around the world.  They concluded that "optimal" levels of the vitamin for colorectal cancer prevention are greater than those recommended by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, which are based only on bone health.

Drinking Alcohol Can Raise Cancer Risk. How Much Is Too Much? (NPR)

A little bit of alcohol has been shown to be protective of heart health. But how does drinking influence cancer risk? A new study finds that light drinkers have the lowest combined risk of developing cancer and dying prematurely — even lower than people who don't drink at all. But here's the rub: In this study, "light" drinking is defined as one to five drinks per week.

Researchers Find Herpes Viruses in Brains Marked by Alzheimer's Disease  (NPR)

Two common herpes viruses appear to play a role in Alzheimer's disease.  The viruses, best known for causing a distinctive skin rash in young children, are abundant in brain tissue from people with Alzheimer’s….

Keystone Virus Makes First Known Jump from Mosquitoes to Humans  (NPR)

Just in time for the hot, humid, bug-bite-riddled summer: Researchers from the University of Florida have confirmed the first known case of a human infected with the mosquito-borne Keystone virus…. The virus can cause a rash and mild fever in humans. The teenager did not show signs of encephalitis, or inflammation of the brain — but Keystone is part of a group of viruses "known to cause encephalitis in several species, including humans," said lead study author John Lednicky


A leading climate agency may lose its climate focus (New York Times)

The Trump administration appears to be planning to shift the mission of one of the most important federal science agencies that works on climate change — away from climate change. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which is part of the Department of Commerce, operates a constellation of earth-observing satellites. Because of its work on climate science data collection and analysis, it has become one of the most important American agencies for making sense of the warming planet…for the present mission, the word “climate” was gone, and the first line was replaced with “to observe, understand and predict atmospheric and ocean conditions.”

Koko the Gorilla Dies; Redrew the Lines of Animal-Human Communication (NPR)

The Gorilla Foundation is sad to announce the passing of our beloved Koko," the research center says, informing the world about the death of a gorilla who fascinated and elated millions of people with her facility for language.

Adobe is using machine learning to make it easier to spot Photoshopped images (Verge)

Experts around the world are getting increasingly worried about new AI tools that make it easier than ever to edit images and videos — especially with social media’s power to share shocking content quickly and without fact-checking. Some of those tools are being developed by Adobe, but the company is also working on an antidote of sorts by researching how machine learning can be used to automatically spot edited pictures.

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