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May 22, 2019 (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. has  the worst rate of maternal deaths in the developed world (NPR)

NPR and ProPublica teamed up for a six-month long investigation on maternal mortality in the U.S. Among our key findings: More American women are dying of pregnancy-related complications than any other developed country. Only in the U.S. has the rate of women who die been rising.

Online abortion pill provider ordered to cease delivery by FDA (CNN)

A European organization that provides doctor-prescribed abortion pills by mail is under order by the US Food and Drug Administration to stop deliveries…There are other ways to get abortion pills by mail in the United States, for women who can't get to or afford clinic visits, but Aid Access is the most affordable option at $95. It also offers the possibility of financial help, according to its website. Plus, Aid Access is the only company to offer physician oversight, according to a report card issued by the grassroots group Plan C, which aims to educate women about self-managed abortion.

Why is Bubonic plague still a thing? (CNN)

… Plague has made a recent comeback. Having caused close to 50,000 human cases during the last two decades, it is now categorized by World Health Organization as a re-emerging disease… Plague occurs naturally in the western United States, particularly Arizona, California, Colorado, and New Mexico, where an average of seven human plague cases are reported each year to the CDC….Modern antibiotics -- streptomycin is the usual first-line treatment -- can prevent complications and death if given promptly after symptoms appear. However, a strain of bubonic plague with high-level resistance to streptomycin was seen recently in Madagascar. The same treatment is used for the two most common types of plague. Bubonic plague has a case-fatality ratio of 30% to 60%, while pneumonic plague, when left untreated, is always fatal, according to WHO.

Debates over anti-abortion laws have raised common myths about abortion. These are the facts (CNN)

It's not just Alabama and Georgia. More states are considering bills that would make virtually all abortions illegal at 6 weeks or less. But with the debates comes a lot of misinformation about abortions. Here are some of the most common myths, and the facts behind them:

Bowel cancer rate rising ‘among young adults’ (BBC)

In a study in the journal Gut, Dutch researchers analysed trends in 20 European countries, including the UK, Germany, Sweden and France, using data from more than 143 million people. They found a rise in cases of bowel cancer between 1990 and 2016 in most countries - with the most significant increase among people in their 20s. For them, bowel cancer incidence increased from 0.8 to 2.3 cases per 100,000 people over 26 years - with the sharpest rise in rates, of 7.9% per year, occurring between 2004 and 2016.

LED lights damage eyes and disturb sleep, European health authority warns (CNN)

The blue light in LED lighting that is increasingly used in our homes can damage the eye's retina while disturbing our biological and sleep rhythms, a French health authority warned in a new report. New scientific evidence confirms the "phototoxic effects" of short-term exposures to high-intensity blue light, as well as an increased risk of age-related macular degeneration after chronic exposure to lower-intensity sources…

Measles erases the human immune system memory (Science News)

… Measles silently wipes clean the immune system’s memory of past infections. In this way, the virus can cast a long and dangerous shadow for months, or even years, scientists are finding. The resulting “immune amnesia” leaves people vulnerable to other viruses and bacteria that cause pneumonia, ear infections and diarrhea. 


Amazon heads off facial recognition rebellion (BBC)

Shareholders seeking to halt Amazon's sale of its facial recognition technology to US police forces have been defeated in two votes that sought to pressure the company into a rethink. Civil rights campaigners had said it was "perhaps the most dangerous surveillance technology ever developed".  But investors rejected the proposals at the company's annual general meeting.

Bumble Bees May be More at Risk Than We Thought  (SciWorthy)

You can use a smartphone to participate in science research, no degree required, and maybe help save the bumble bee population.

New Car Safety Technology Could Cause Confusion, Accidents if Drivers Aren't Trained (Inside Science)

The problem could be particularly bad in rental cars.

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