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June 16, 2015 (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.


FDA To Food Companies: This Time, Zero Means Zero Trans Fats (NPR)

The agency is giving food companies a hard deadline to stop using trans fats in processed foods. It has determined that partially hydrogenated oils are not "generally recognized as safe" for food.

Deaths from synthetic marijuana use rising sharply in U.S.: CDC (Reuters) 

Synthetic marijuana killed three times more people in the first five months of 2015 than in the same period of 2014, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Thursday. With catchy "brand" names such as Spice, Sexy Monkey, Black Mamba, K2, No More Mr. Nice Guy, Twilight and hundreds of others, synthetic marijuana is not the same as naturally grown cannabis.

HIV resistance clue found (U-T)

'Elite controllers' who stop HIV naturally give potential clue to vaccine development.

How An Economist Helped Patients Find The Right Kidney Donors (NPR)

If you've got a life-threatening medical condition, your first call might not be to an economist. But Alvin Roth used a theory about matching markets to help connect kidney patients and donors.

Data Dive Suggests Link Between Heartburn Drugs And Heart Attacks (NPR)

Researchers at Stanford University gathered about 3 million electronic medical records — with patients' names and other identifying material stripped away — to look for a link between a popular heartburn drug and heart attacks.... / "The increase in risk is about 16 to 20 percent, depending on the particular drug involved," Shah says.

San Diego Autism Researchers Are Testing A New Use For An Old Drug

UC San Diego is launching a clinical trial to test a century-old drug in patients with autism. // Researchers are recruiting 20 patients to see if a drug called suramin — which has been used to treat African sleeping sickness since the early 20th century — can improve autism symptoms in humans.

The Painkiller Sending Adults 55+ to the ER (AARP)

Tramadol, a prescription painkillerthought to be less risky than other narcotic pain meds, has caused a sharp spike in emergency room visits, especially among patients 55 or older, two new government reports have found. 


Using lasers to level farm land saves water and energy (NPR)

A flat surface means irrigation water reaches every part of the field evenly with minimal waste. It's just one climate-smart farming practice that will be needed as climate change poses new challenges to agriculture.

Why Smart Meters Don’t Make A Smart Grid (NPR)

Smart meters were supposed to lay the foundation for a modern grid — and be good for customers too. How has it worked out?

Lost comet lander awakes, sends 'hello' from space (CNN)

Many moons ago, a small space probe named Philae skipped across the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko when the lander's harpoon-like anchoring mechanism failed. It came to rest in a shady spot and, without enough sunlight to keep it powered, it fell asleep after about 60 hours of operation.

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