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January 8, 2014  (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.



Disease inheritance: the long-term effects of pesticide exposure (Reviving Gaia)

When looking at pesticide exposure, it’s important to think about long-term effects. I’m not just talking about “30 years from now” long-term, but the effects your exposure might have on your future descendants, even if they are never directly exposed to pollutants. This concept of disease inheritance is one of the most interesting (and frightening) new phenomena to be discovered in the past few years. An example of this was recently described in a study that showed DDT exposure could increase rates of obesity several generations down the line.


Researchers, wind companies seek more bird-friendly turbines at Altamont Pass (Contra Costa Times)

They're touted as the future of energy production -- clean, efficient and renewable. But there's a dark side to wind turbines for local wildlife -- towers and spinning blades kill thousands of birds and bats on the Altamont Pass east of Livermore each year.


Building tops to house urban windpower (Science X)

The southern hemisphere's largest ever Windpod system has been installed on the City of Cockburn's administration building in Spearwood, as part of a joint research trial with Windpods International.


Hackers post account info of 4.6 million Snapchat users: report (Reuters)

Computer hackers posted online usernames and partial phone numbers of 4.6 million users of mobile photo-sharing service Snapchat, media reports said on Wednesday.


Using Sound To Levitate Objects And Move Them Midair (NPR)

Researchers in Tokyo have put a new twist on the use of sound to suspend objects in air. They've used ultrasonic standing waves to trap pieces of wood, metal and water – and even move them around. Link includes video.


Ford reveals solar-powered car (BBC)

Ford has revealed plans for a hybrid car that will be powered using a solar panel on the roof, ahead of CES 2014 in Las Vegas.


Move Over Electric Car, Auto Companies To Make Hydrogen Vehicles (NPR)

Toyota, Honda and Hyundai have announced that they plan to build hydrogen-powered cars in the next few years. But is America ready for automobiles fueled with liquid hydrogen?


More Than 300 Sharks In Australia Are Now On Twitter (NPR)

Government researchers tagged the sharks with transmitters, triggering an automatic tweet when they swim close to a beach. This comes after several high-profile shark attacks, some of them fatal.




Stem cell transplant problem solved, UCSD-led study says (U-T)

One of the toughest problems facing embryonic stem cell therapy, immune rejection of transplanted cells, may have been solved, according to a UC San Diego-led research team.  The cells can be made invisible to the immune system by genetically engineering them to make two immune-suppressing chemicals, according to a study performed in mice given a human immune system. Immune functioning in the rest of the animal remains active.  If the approach works in people, patients receiving transplanted tissue or organs made from embryonic stem cells wouldn't have to take harsh immune-suppressing drugs, said Yang Xu, a UCSD professor of biology.


Prescription Privacy (Reason)

You have "no constitutionally protected privacy interest" in your prescription records, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). In an August brief before an Oregon U.S. District Court, the federal agency defended its practice of obtaining personal medical information without a warrant. 


Relapse of 'cured' HIV patients spurs AIDS science on (Reuters)  

Scientists seeking a cure for AIDS say they have been inspired, not crushed, by a major setback in which two HIV positive patients believed to have been cured found the virus re-invading their bodies once more.






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