HEALTH AND SCIENCE HIGHLIGHTS

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September 30, 2019 (San Diego's East County) -- Our Health and Science Highlights provide cutting edge news that could impact your health and our future.

HEALTH

SCIENCE AND TECH

For excerpts and links to full stories, click “read more” and scroll down.

HEALTH

Skin cancer: Half of people surviving advanced melanoma (BBC)

Ten years ago only one-in-20 patients would live for five years after being diagnosed with late-stage melanoma. Most would die in months. But drugs to harness the body's immune system mean 52% now live for at least five years, a clinical trial shows.

‘Out here, it’s just me’: In the medical desert of rural America, one doctor for 11,000 square miles (MSN) 

In the medical desert that has become rural America, nothing is more basic or more essential than access to doctors, but they are increasingly difficult to find. The federal government now designates nearly 80 percent of rural America as “medically underserved.” It is home to 20 percent of the U.S. population but fewer than 10 percent of its doctors, and that ratio is worsening each year because of what health experts refer to as “the gray wave.”

Health Insurance That Doesn’t Cover the Bills Has Flooded the Market Under Trump (Bloomberg)

The administration’s moves to weaken the Affordable Care Act have taken hold, and companies are cashing in.

Low Vitamin D levels, shorter life? (WebMD)

Young and middle-aged adults with low vitamin D levels may live shorter lives, a large study suggests. The findings come from a 20-year follow-up of more than 78,000 Austrian adults. Researchers found that those with low vitamin D levels in their blood were nearly three times more likely to die during the study period than those with adequate levels. When it came to the cause of death, vitamin D levels were most clearly linked to deaths from diabetes complications.

FDA OKs New Pill for Type 2 Diabetes (HealthDay)

A new pill to lower blood sugar for people with type 2 diabetes was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Friday. The drug, Rybelsus (semaglutide) is the first pill in a class of drugs called glucagon-like peptide (GLP-1) approved for use in the United States. Before Rybelsus, the drug had to be injected. 

How anti-vaxxers target grieving moms and turn them into crusaders against vaccines (NBC)

Anti-vaccine advocates find women whose babies have died unexpectedly and convince them vaccines are to blame… There's a problem with the story at the heart of this crusade, and with Clobes' new role as an anti-vaccine heroine. Her local medical examiner has ruled that the evidence — collected in an autopsy and by first responders — shows Evee accidentally suffocated while co-sleeping with her mother.

It’s Not Just Cervical Cancer, HPV Is a Major Cause of Oral, Anal, and Penile Cancer  (Healthline)

While there’s an HPV vaccine, many people eligible haven’t gotten the shot.  Researchers point out that the HPV vaccine can help prevent the virus that can cause a variety of cancers including anal, penile, and oral cancer. More than 70 percent of people didn’t know that HPV could cause these types of cancer. 

UC San Diego Researchers Isolate Switch That Kills Inactive HIV (Science Mag)

Using genetic sequencing, University of California San Diego School of Medicine researchers have identified a principal cellular player controlling HIV reproduction in immune cells which, when turned off or deleted, eliminates dormant HIV reservoirs. "This is one of the key switches that the HIV field has been searching for three decades to find," said Tariq...

SCIENCE AND TECH

Startup uses virtual reality to help seniors re-engage with the world (MIT news)

Rendever’s VR platform brings new experiences and fond memories to aging adults in nursing homes

Intense Drought Exposes 4,000-Year-Old 'Stonehenge' in Spain (Science Alert)

For decades, an ancient circle of stones has lain just out of sight beneath the waters of Spain's Valdecañas Reservoir, its tallest pillars occasionally breaking the surface like the fingers of a drowning swimmer. Months of intense drought have now caused the reservoir's waters to fall - enough to reveal the structure in its entirety.

Facebook suspends tens of thousands of apps (BBC)

Facebook says it has suspended tens of thousands of apps as part of an investigation it launched in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica data harvesting scandal.