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February 8, 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.


Being overweight can cause similar changes in the brain as having Alzheimer's, new study suggests  (NBC)

Being overweight in midlife has been linked to greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.  Scientists at McGill University in Montreal analyzed brain scans of more than 1,300 directly compare the patterns of brain shrinkage in obese people and in Alzheimer’s patients. The scans revealed similar brain thinning in regions involved in learning, memory and judgment in both groups....

House votes to end COVID vaccine requirement for foreign air travelers (New York Post)

The House of Representatives voted to end the COVID-19 vaccine requirement for foreign residents arriving at US airports — one of the last standing pandemic restrictions. A bipartisan group of representatives voted 227 to 201 Wednesday in support of a bill to end the requirement. Every Republican supported the legislation as well as seven Democrats.  

Sewage from planes is a key Covid tracking tool, reports say, as CDC talks to airlines about wastewater testing  (NBC)

Analyzing airplane sewage could help scientists track new Covid variants entering the U.S., or identify novel pathogens.

Can humans and pets catch bird flu? What to know about the outbreak. (Washington Post)

The risk to humans remains low, but speculation about the virus has caused worry. Here are answers to common questions.


Musk Pledged to Cleanse Twitter of Child Abuse Content. It’s Been Rough Going. (New York Times)

Child sexual abuse imagery spreads on Twitter even after the company is notified: One video drew 120,000 views. “Sewer rats,” as one regulator described bad actors, remain.

We need native seeds in order to respond to climate change, but there aren't enough  (NPR)

In the wake of wildfires, floods and droughts, restoring damaged landscapes and habitats requires native seeds. The U.S. doesn't have enough, according to a report released Thursday.  "Time is of the essence to bank the seeds and the genetic diversity our lands hold," the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) report said.

‘We hacked the hackers’: Law enforcement disrupts Hive gang (Washington Post)

Law enforcement agencies in the United States and Europe have announced the disruption of a major ransomware gang....The gang called Hive attacked hospitals, school districts, financial firms and others, stealing and sometimes publishing their data... Officials said law enforcement was able to hack Hive and infiltrate its networks for seven months, stealing the decryption keys and quietly giving them to 336 victims before taking full control of Hive servers in the United States and Europe, knocking them offline and preventing new infections.

The hidden environmental costs of transitioning to electric vehicles  (NPR)

NPR's Ayesha Rascoe speaks with Thea Riofrancos, professor at Providence College, about her new research into the environmental costs of the transition to electric vehicles in the United States. ...batteries require lots of different mined materials.... We see impacts on water systems where there's water use by lithium mining or contamination of water. We see impacts on biodiversity. We also see concerning social impacts.

The world is creating more single use plastic waste than ever, report finds (CNN)

The world is producing a record amount of single-use plastic waste, mostly made from polymers created from fossil fuels, despite global efforts to reduce plastic pollution and carbon emissions, according to a new report released Monday.  The second Plastic Waste Makers Indeed, compiled by the philanthropic Minderoo Foundation, found the world generated 139 million metric tons of single-use plastic waste in 2021, which was 6 million metric tons more than in 2019, when the first index was released. 



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