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August 23, 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 Stroke Stole Her Ability to Speak at 30. A.I. Is Helping to Restore It Years Later. (New York Times)

The brain activity of a paralyzed woman is being translated into words spoken by an avatar. This milestone could help others who have lost speech.

Experts have found powerful antibodies that neutralize all Covid variants (MSN)

In a remarkable breakthrough, researchers have identified a set of potent antibodies capable of neutralizing virtually all known variants of COVID-19. Additionally, these antibodies can tackle other potentially deadly animal coronaviruses that may cause future pandemics.  This discovery could steer the course of development for therapeutics that can effectively combat both current and future coronaviruses. 

Caring for people with fentanyl addiction often means treating terrible wounds (KPBS)

… Used for decades by veterinarians to tranquilize large animals, xylazine is being used by drug dealers to amp up the effects of fentanyl and other opioids. In humans, the drug causes deep flesh wounds that sometimes bore down to the bone.

COVID-19 took a toll on heart health and doctors are still grappling with how to help(AP)

Firefighter and paramedic Mike Camilleri once had no trouble hauling heavy gear up ladders. Now battling long COVID, he gingerly steps onto a treadmill to learn how his heart handles a simple walk…Somehow, a mild case of COVID-19 set off a chain reaction that eventually left Camilleri with dangerous blood pressure spikes, a heartbeat that raced with slight exertion, and episodes of intense chest pain.

Long-term use of certain reflux medications is associated with a higher risk of dementia, study suggests (CNN)

Millions of Americans take medications known as proton pump inhibitors every day to treat heartburn and acid reflux, and in recent years, these drugs, also known as PPIs, have been linked to a greater risk of kidney failure, stroke, and early death from any cause.  And new research suggests that there may also be a higher risk of dementia for people who take the medications over several years.


An author says AI is ‘writing’ unauthorized books being sold under her name on Amazon (CNN)

An author is raising alarms this week after she found new books being sold on Amazon under her name — only she didn’t write them; they appear to have been generated by artificial intelligence.  Jane Friedman, who has authored multiple books and consulted about working in the writing and publishing industry, told CNN that an eagle-eyed reader looking for more of her work bought one of the fake titles on Amazon.

Canada wildfires: Trudeau criticizes Facebook over news ban amid crisis (BBC)

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has accused Facebook of putting "profits ahead of people's safety" after it blocked news amid devastating wildfires in the country. Facebook banned news on its platform in response to Canadian law forcing it to share profit with news outlets.

Insight: Amazon rainforest gold mining is poisoning scores of threatened species(Reuters)

Tests…are providing the first extensive indications that mercury from illegal and poorly regulated mining is affecting terrestrial mammals in the Amazon rainforest.

Analysis: Solar power to the rescue as Europe's energy system weathers extreme heat (Reuters)

A major increase in solar power generation in southern Europe played a leading role in averting energy shortages during the heatwaves of recent weeks when temperatures broke records and drove unprecedented demand for air conditioning. / Solar power is particularly suited to coping with summer heat as the sun's radiation is strongest around the hottest part of the day, when electricity demand for cooling is also at its highest.


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