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February 22, 2021 (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.


From airports to sporting events, dogs are being used to detect COVID-19 in humans (10 News)

They can detect cancer, low blood sugar, drugs, and even bombs. Now, researchers have reason to believe man’s best friend can sniff out COVID-19 as well.

In-Depth: Why heart medication could help some COVID long haulers (10 News) 

A new study out of UC San Diego is offering hope for COVID long haulers. The research suggests some of these cases may be treatable with heart medication. By some estimates, one out of every 10 COVID survivors gets lingering symptoms that can last months after the infection like chronic fatigue, shortness of breath and brain fog.

Biden administration asks Supreme Court to uphold health law (San Diego Union-Tribune) 

The Biden administration has told the Supreme Court that it believes the entire Affordable Care Act should be upheld, reversing a Trump administration position in a key case pending before the justices.

COVID Deadlier for Native Americans Than Other Groups (WebMD)

A new analysis of mortality statistics shows the coronavirus pandemic is far deadlier for Native Americans than other groups in the United States.One in every 475 Native Americans has died from COVID-19, according to the data APM Research Lab’s Color of Coronavirus project shared with The Guardian newspaper.

PFAS exposure linked with worse COVID-19 outcomes (Harvard Schoolo f Public Health)

People who had elevated blood levels of a toxic chemical called perfluorobutanoic acid (PFBA) had an increased risk of a more severe course of COVID-19 than those who did not have elevated levels, according to a new study led by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. PFBA is part of a class of man-made chemicals known as perfluorinated alkylate substances (PFASs), which have previously been shown to suppress immune function.

One in eight recovered COVID patients die from illness complications within 5 months: UK study (New York Post)

Almost a third of recovered COVID-19 patients in a UK study ended up back in the hospital within five months — and up to one in eight died of complications from the illness, according to a report.  Researchers at the UK’s Leicester University and the Office for National Statistics found that out of 47,780 people discharged from the hospital, 29.4 percent were readmitted within 140 days, the Telegraph reported. Of the total, 12.3 percent ended up dying, it added.

Imaging Reveals How COVID Can ‘Cause the Body to Attack Itself,' Study Shows (NBC San Diego)

Those muscle aches and pains might not be "just body aches similar to what we see from the flu — but something more insidious," a researcher said

Instagram bans Robert F Kennedy over Coronavirus vaccine misinformation (

Facebook’s Instagram kicked notorious anti-vaxxer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. off the platform for violations of its COVID-19 misinformation policy, but his Facebook account currently remains active.

COVID-19 has already cut U.S. life expectancy by a year. For Black Americans, it’s worse (PBS)

In the first six months of 2020, life expectancy in the United States dropped by a full year, according to new federal data. Released Thursday, these latest figures offer a staggering glimpse at the cost of the first surge of the COVID-19 pandemic, said Elizabeth Arias, a demographer with the National Center for Health Statistics who served as the report’s lead author.

How a powerful corporate consulting firm helped create the opioid epidemic (PBS)

The opioids crisis that has taken hundreds of thousands of American lives has received less attention in the pandemic, but drug overdoses and deaths have grown during the last year. Now, one of the world's most powerful corporate consulting firms has agreed to a major settlement for its role in the sale of painkillers. 

While ER visits were down last year, drug overdoses increased amid pandemic (USA Today)

… Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention … found that weekly counts of all drug overdoses were up to 45% higher in 2020 than in 2019, according to the study published Feb. 3 in the peer-reviewed JAMA Psychiatry. Opioid overdoses, specifically, increased about 29% compared with before the pandemic. 


AT&T scrambles to install fiber for 90-year-old after his viral WSJ ad (Ars Technica)

From 3Mbps DSL to 300Mbps fiber: Aaron Epstein's newspaper ad gets amazing result.

Study finds ‘forever chemicals’ can lead to severe COVID-19 cases (Daytona Daily News)

People with elevated levels of “forever chemicals,” a group of harmful contaminants that have been found in some area drinking water systems, are more likely to be admitted to the intensive care unit or die if they become infected with COVID-19, a recent Harvard University study found. Certain elements among the contaminants, collectively known as PFAS, tend to attack the lungs, similar to the coronavirus.

Robinhood CEO admits communications shortcomings, ahead of House testimony (Reuters)

Robinhood, the trading app popular with young investors, could have better explained why it restricted the buying of heavily shorted stocks caught up in the social media-fueled trading frenzy around GameStop Corp, said the company's chief executive officer.


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