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December 18, 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.


Uncle Sam wants you to help stop insurers' bogus Medicare Advantage sales tactics  (NPR)

Officials at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services are encouraging seniors and other members of the public to become fraud detectives by reporting misleading or deceptive sales tactics to 800-MEDICARE, the agency's 24-hour information hotline.

After the Dobbs decision, birth rates are up in states with abortion ban states (NPR)

... They've been trapped by distance or poverty or other factors in their lives. And as a result, there's an increase in births that are occurring for a particularly poor and vulnerable population.

Ahead of the holidays flu-like illnesses slightly increase  (KPBS)

As we approach the holidays, cases of flu-like illness are starting to tick up in San Diego… Recent wastewater testing also shows slight increases in COVID-19, the flu and RSV. 

Uptick in mpox cases raises concerns in San Diego County  (KPBS)

San Diego County has witnessed a rise in mpox cases after experiencing a lull in reports for the majority of 2023.   Health officials attribute this surge to low vaccination rates and changing perceptions of the threat posed by mpox.

FDA expands cantaloupe recall after salmonella infections double in a week  (CBS 8)

U.S. health officials recalled three more brands of whole and pre-cut cantaloupes Friday as the number of people sickened by salmonella more than doubled this week. Nearly 100 people in 32 states have gotten sick from the contaminated fruits.

Mexico closes cantaloupe plant temporarily amid deadly salmonella outbreak (Reuters)

Mexico's government said Friday it temporarily closed a cantaloupe processing plant while investigating the source of a salmonella contamination that has killed at least nine people in the U.S. and Canada….and hundreds of illnesses from salmonella since October.  Health authorities in both countries have implicated Malichita and Rudy brand cantaloupes as the sources of the outbreak and issued recalls of the fruit.

Researchers return to Alzheimer's vaccines, buoyed by recent drug success (Reuters)

Breakthrough Alzheimer’s treatments that remove toxic proteins from the brain have revived interest in vaccines to treat the memory-robbing disease, potentially offering a cheaper, easy-to-administer option for millions of people…Clinical trials are underway or completed for at least seven Alzheimer’s vaccines designed to harness the immune system to rid the brain of the disease-related proteins...

In death, one cancer patient helps to erase millions in medical debt  (AP)

A New York City woman who died Sunday from cancer has raised enough money to erase millions of dollars in medical debt with a posthumous plea for help.  Casey McIntyre told followers in a social media message posted by her husband that she had arranged to buy the medical debt of others as a way of celebrating her life….“I loved each and every one of you with my whole heart and I promise you, I knew how deeply I was loved,” the 38-year-old wrote. The posts included a link to a fundraising campaign started through the nonprofit RIP Medical Debt.


IBM, EU and Disney pull ads from Elon Musk's X as concerns about antisemitism fuel backlash (AP)

Advertisers are fleeing social media platform X over concerns about their ads showing up next to pro-Nazi content and hate speech on the site in general, with billionaire owner Elon Musk inflaming tensions with his own posts endorsing an antisemitic conspiracy theory.

Judge says evidence shows Tesla and Elon Musk knew about flawed autopilot system  (NPR)

A Florida judge says a lawsuit against Tesla and its autopilot driving car can go to trial, adding to the company's legal woes over the technology. / Palm Beach County Judge Reid Scott ruled that there was "reasonable evidence" to conclude that Tesla owner and CEO, Elon Musk, and other company executives knew that the vehicle's autopilot system was defective. But they continued to tout its capabilities and sell it anyway.

Jury decides Google's Android app store benefits from anticompetitive barriers  (NPR)

A federal court jury has decided that Google's Android app store has been protected by anticompetitive barriers that have damaged smartphone consumers and software developers, dealing a blow to a major pillar of a technology empire.  The unanimous verdict reached Monday came after just three hours of deliberation following a four-week trial revolving around a lucrative payment system within Google's Play store.

UC San Diego Climate change panel points to progress (KPBS)

A panel of climate and policy experts said new policies and technologies have reduced projections of global warming.

Companies say they're closing in on nuclear fusion as an energy source  (NPR)

Fusion power could change the world. If it worked, it would grant humanity eye-watering quantities of electricity without producing any greenhouse gas emissions. The warming of the planet would slow, environmental pollution would drop, and energy would be cheaper than ever.

USDA's plant hardiness zone map shows half the country has shifted  (NPR)

This week the ["plant hardiness zone map”] map got its first update in more than a decade, and the outlook for many gardens looks warmer.

Forest Service plans carbon dioxide storage on federal lands 

The idea is to trap planet-heating carbon dioxide from the smokestacks of factories and power plants and transport it to sites where it is injected underground and stored.

Consumer Reports is adapting its automobile testing to include EVs (NPR)

Consumer Reports, the nonprofit product testing organization, is adapting to the rise of the electric vehicle. One change: Range tests that show how far you can drive on a full battery charge...their big annual survey of owners found electric vehicles have 79% more problems.











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