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January 1, 2023 (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.


A common DNA test can find cancer in bodies of seemingly healthy pregnant people : Shots - Health News  (NPR)

When women get a blood test during pregnancy that looks at free-floating DNA, they expect it to tell about the health of the fetus. But the test sometimes finds signs of cancer in the mother.

XBB variant sparks new Covid concerns (NBC)

Public health experts are concerned for omicron’s new subvariant XBB with one study suggesting the strain is resistant to Covid-19 boosters from prior infections. 

Regular exercise can significantly reduce death, hospitalization from COVID-19  (NPR)

A regular exercise routine may significantly lower the chances of being hospitalized or even dying from COVID-19…. The study, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, examined the anonymized records of patients of Kaiser Permanente. The research examined a sample size of 194,191 adults.

Growing vaccine hesitancy fuels measles, chickenpox resurgence in U.S. (Washington Post)

Anti-vaccine sentiment has increased since the pandemic, driven by politicization around the coronavirus vaccine.

WHO “very concerned“ about reports of severe Covid in China (AP)

The head of the World Health Organization said the agency is “very concerned” about rising reports of severe coronavirus disease across China after the country largely abandoned its “zero COVID” policy, warning that its lagging vaccination rate could result in large numbers of vulnerable people getting infected…Some scientists have warned that the unchecked spread of COVID-19 in China could spur the emergence of new variants, which might unravel progress made globally to contain the pandemic.

The F.D.A. Now Says It Plainly: Morning-After Pills Are Not Abortion Pills (New York Times)

Labels of Plan B One-Step had previously said, without scientific evidence, that the pill might block fertilized eggs from implanting in the womb.


Car Makes Record-Breaking 621-Mile Trip on Single Charge Powered by the Sun (Good News Network)

An electric car has made a record-breaking 621 mile (1,000km) trip on a single charge powered by the sun. The solar-powered Sunswift 7 averaged nearly 53mph (85kph) in under twelve hours to set a Guinness World Record while completing 240 laps of a track…

The cargo hauling aircraft with no pilots aboard (BBC)

Svilen Rangelov sports an impressive beard. It's eight years' worth of growth he says.  The beard dates back to when he and his younger brother, an aerospace engineer by training, formed Dronamics as Europe's answer to the emerging market for cargo drones. … Looking very much like a conventional light aircraft but without a pilot's cabin, the drone combines "cell phone economics" in terms of cheap electronics, with the ability to land on short runways, says Mr Rangelov. It will be known as the Black Swan.

Farm-bred octopus: A benefit for the species or an act of cruelty? (Los Angeles Times)

Sandwiched here between the Pacific Ocean and Kona Airport — atop a dusty volcanic desert — dozens of 50-gallon water tanks gurgle and bubble away; each home to a solitary, wild-caught octopus and a couple of floating, plastic bath toys.. As scientific evidence of octopuses’ intelligence and self-awareness grows, advocates are calling the farm a singular horror show in which wild and curious day octopuses are captured and confined in sterile tanks, where they spend the rest of their short, yearlong lives being poked, prodded and chased by the fingers and hands of gawking, occasionally shrieking, tourists.


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