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April 12, 2023 (San Diego's East County) -- Our Health and Science Highlights provide cutting edge news that could impact your health and our future.



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Supreme Court faces urgent test in abortion pill battle(The Hill)

The Supreme Court will face its first test in the battle over abortion pills after the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Thursday asked it to pause a ruling set to take effect this weekend that would significantly hamper the availability of mifepristone. A late Wednesday night federal appeals court ruling on the widely used abortion pill will keep it on the market for now, but it could make it significantly more difficult to access, even in blue states that have fought to expand availability.

Mifepristone: US abortion pill access in doubt after rival rulings (BBC)

… The dueling court orders make it likely that the issue will escalate to the US Supreme Court….udge Kacsmaryk's decision could limit access to the drug for millions of women in the US. Legal analysts said the ruling threatens to upend the entire foundation of America's drug regulatory system.

The FDA approves the overdose-reversing drug Narcan for over-the-counter sales (NPR)

The FDA's approval of the nasal spray Narcan — the brand name for the drug naloxone — means the medication could be more widely available across the U.S. as the country continues to grapple with an opioid epidemic.

'Live free and die?' The sad state of U.S. life expectancy (NPR)

Life expectancy continues to decline in the U.S. as it rebounds in other countries.  Across the lifespan, and across every demographic group, Americans die at younger ages than their counterparts in other wealthy nations….  A big part of the difference…is people dying or being killed before age 50. The "Shorter Lives" report specifically points to factors like teen pregnancy, drug overdoses, HIV, fatal car crashes, injuries, and violence….

Why the COVID-19 death rate varies dramatically across the U.S.  (NPR)

NPR's Miles Parks speaks to Thomas Bollyky, the co-author of a new report examining why COVID-19 death rates varied dramatically across the U.S. — and how that might improve future outcomes.

STDs are on the rise. This morning-after-style pill may help (AP)

To try to turn the tide, many doctors see promise in doxycycline, a cheap antibiotic that has been sold for more than 50 years. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is drafting recommendations for using it as a kind of morning-after pill for preventing STDs.


In his new cybersecurity strategy, Biden identifies cloud security as a major threat(NPR)

Officials talk of a variety of changes and reforms….”we have a saying in cybersecurity that is, there is no cloud. It's just somebody else's computer.”

‘I’ve never seen anything like this:’ One of China’s most popular apps has the ability to spy on its users, say experts (CNN)

It is one of China’s most popular shopping apps, selling clothing, groceries and just about everything else under the sun to more than 750 million users a month. But according to cybersecurity researchers, it can also bypass users’ cell phone security to monitor activities on other apps, check notifications, read private messages and change settings. And once installed, it’s tough to remove…experts say e-commerce giant Pinduoduo has taken violations of privacy and data security to the next level.

Perennial rice: Plant once, harvest again and again (NPR)

…like other staples such as wheat and corn, rice is cultivated annually…. Over two decades ago, researchers crossed a common Thai rice cultivar with a wild rice from Africa that was especially tenacious. They then spent years breeding for the desired traits until they landed on three new perennial varieties to test in the real world. Since then, some 45,000 farmers, mostly smallholding subsistence farmers, have tried growing the perennial rice.

It takes a few dollars and 8 minutes to create a deepfake. And that's only the start (NPR)

…a growing chorus of people worried that this proliferation of what's know as "generative AI" will supercharge propaganda and influence campaigns by bad actors.

Carbon dating reveals famed Baja cave paintings to be much older than previously thought (KPBS)

The paintings in the rocky mountain caves and overhangs in the Sierra de San Francisco mountain range in Baja California were originally estimated to be about 500 to 1,500 years old. New radio-carbon dating, however, dates them back to 11,000 years, roughly the same time as the end of the first ice age.

What are the most popular Crypto scams to watch out for in 2023? (Time)

The number of financial scams for consumers to avoid was already nearly endless, but this figure exploded when digital currency — also called cryptocurrency — became mainstream. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), more than 46,000 people reported losing over $1 billion in crypto to various scams from January 2021 through June of 2022, and that figure only includes people who willingly shared this information with authorities…since cryptocurrency payments do not come with any legal protections or government assurances, crypto scams are especially attractive for thieves.



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