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June 4, 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.


Infection toll for recalled eyedrops climbs to 81, including 4 deaths, CDC says  (NPR)

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported another death and even more cases linked to Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a drug-resistant strain of bacteria, found in artificial tears or eyedrops. The bacteria strain has been found  in 81 people — four of whom have died from infections, according to specimens collected between May 2022 and April 2023, according to the CDC's most recent update.  Over 10 different brands of ophthalmic drugs were involved in these cases, the CDC said. But the most common was Ezri Care Artificial Tears, which the Food and Drug Administration warned consumers to stop purchasing in February.

Man with paralysis walks naturally after brain, spine implants (CNN)

New research reveals how a medical device helped one man with paralysis walk naturally again, more than a decade after an injury.  Dr. Grégoire Courtine and colleagues from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne developed and implanted a “brain-spine interface” that creates a direct neurological link between the brain and spinal cord. Implants in the brain track intentions for movement, which are wirelessly transferred to a processing unit that a person wears externally, like a backpack. The intentions are translated into commands that the processing unit sends back through the second implant to stimulate muscles.

DEA moves to revoke major drug distributor's license over opioid crisis failures (NPR)

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration says it will strip one of the nation's largest drug distributors of its license to sell and ship highly addictive painkillers within 90 days if some kind of negotiated settlement isn't reached.  In a statement, DEA Administrator Anne Milgram said executives at Morris & Dickson failed to accept responsibility for the "full extent of their wrongdoing ... and the potential harm it caused." If finalized, this action taken Friday would hobble the nation's fourth-largest drug wholesaler.

A multivitamin supplement may slightly improve memory and slow decline (NPR)

A team of researchers wanted to assess how a daily multivitamin may influence cognitive aging and memory. They tracked about 3,500 older adults who were enrolled in a randomized controlled trial….People taking the multivitamin were able to recall about a quarter more words

More women sue Texas saying the state's anti-abortion laws harmed them (KPBS)

Eight more women are joining a lawsuit against the state of Texas, saying the state's abortion bans put their health or lives at risk while facing pregnancy-related medical emergencies.

Doctors are reluctant to practice in states that banned abortion  (NPR)

The rush in conservative states to ban abortion after the overturn of Roe v. Wade is resulting in a startling consequence that abortion opponents may not have considered: fewer medical services available for all women living in those states… An early indication of that impending medical "brain drain" came in February, when 76% of respondents in a survey of more than 2,000 current and future physicians say they would not even apply to work or train in states with abortion restrictions…That means fewer doctors to perform critical preventive care like Pap smears and screenings for sexually transmitted diseases, which can lead to infertility.  Care for pregnant women specifically is at risk, as hospitals in rural areas close maternity wards because they can't find enough professionals to staff them.

NIH study uses AI to study diet and tailor nutrition advice to improve health (NPR)

There's mounting evidence that people respond differently to food, given differences in biology, lifestyle and gut microbiomes. The National Institutes of Health wants to learn more about these individual responses through a Nutrition for Precision Health study, and this week researchers began enrolling participants to take part in the study at 14 sites across the U.S.


A lawyer used ChatGPT to prepare a court filing. It went horribly awry.(CBS)

A lawyer who relied on ChatGPT to prepare a court filing on behalf of a man suing an airline is now all too familiar with the artificial intelligence tool's shortcomings —including its propensity to invent facts…. While ChatGPT can be useful to professionals in numerous industries, including the legal profession, it has proved itself to be both limited and unreliable. In this case, the AI invented court cases that didn't exist, and asserted that they were real. 

Revenge of the orcas? Killer whales have sunk 3 boats in unusual attacks.  (Washington Post)

A spate of encounters between orcas and boats off the Iberian coast has puzzled scientists and sailors recently, as seemingly coordinated ambushes by the killer whales led to the sinking of three vessels.

Fake viral images of an explosion at the Pentagon were probably created by AI (NPR)

A false report of an explosion at the Pentagon, accompanied by an apparently AI-generated image, spread on Twitter on Monday morning, sparking a brief dip in the stock market. "There is NO explosion or incident taking place at or near the Pentagon reservation, and there is no immediate danger or hazards to the public," the Department of Defense's Pentagon Force Protection Agency and the Arlington County fire department said in a joint statement on Twitter.




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