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July 12, 2013 (San Diego's East County) -- Our Health and Science Highlights provide cutting edge news each week that could impact your health and our future.


Science and technology

Click 'read more' and scroll down for excerpts and links to full stories.




Your medical devices could be vulnerable to cyber threats (Marketplace)

The FDA is taking public comment right now on guidelines it's proposed to make medical devices -- things like implanted pace makers and insulin pumps -- safer. Specifically the agency wants manufacturers to improve the cybersecurity of these devices. Wireless interference from hackers can have potentially deadly consequences....

Obamacare delay? Small businesses get a one-year reprieve (Christian Science Monitor)

'We have heard that [businesses] need the time to get this right,' wrote a senior White House aide in a blog post. 'We are listening.'  In a major concession to business groups, the Obama administration Tuesday unexpectedly announced a one-year delay, until after the 2014 elections, in a central requirement of the new health care law that many companies provide coverage for their workers or face fines.

Second Opinion: Does Mom Qualify For Obamacare With A Green Card? (KPBS)

We're launching a weekly Q&A on the Affordable Care Act. First up: What immigrants should expect.

Abnormal Brain Connections Found In Children With Autism (KPBS)

The diagnostic criteria for autism may need to be expanded, according to a new study from San Diego State University.  In the study, researchers used advanced imaging techniques to study the brains of more than 50 children. The team discovered that the connections between the thalamus and the cerebral cortex in children with autism aren't working properly.

State Says Kaiser Too Slow With Mental Health Help (KPBS)

California health regulators say Kaiser isn't doing enough to provide timely access to mental health services for its patients. As a result, the state announced a four-Million dollar fine against Kaiser Tuesday.

New TB drug class discovered (U-T San Diego)

Antibiotic-resistant tuberculosis is a growing menace. A new class of drugs may stop it.

Good night's sleep 'protects heart' (BBC)

Getting seven or more hours sleep a night boosts the heart health benefits of a healthy lifestyle, research shows.

Contact lens gives telescopic vision (BBC)

Researchers have created contact lenses that, when paired with special spectacles, bestow telescopic vision on their wearers.

Science and technology

U.S. energy companies seen at risk from cyber attacks: CFR report (Reuters)

 U.S. oil and natural gas operations are increasingly vulnerable to cyber attacks that can harm the competitiveness of energy companies or lead to costly outages at pipelines, refineries or drilling platforms, a report said on Wednesday. / The energy business, including oil and gas producers, was hit by more targeted malware attacks from April to September last year than any other industry, said the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) report, citing data from a Houston-based security company, Alert Logic.

How To Keep Your Smartphone Secure (NPR)

In light of all the snooping by the government on individuals, it seems that it's not that difficult for anyone with the know-how to find out what you're doing. Bill Supernor, CTO of security company Koolspan, speaks to Weekend Edition Saturday host Scott Simon about how to keep your smartphone safe.

Wine producers go hi-tech to outsmart fraudsters (Jewish World Review)

Making sure a glass of  wine is everything it promises on the label was once a relatively simple process: hold against the light, tilt and observe the shade, swirl a little and give it a good sniff. But with the ever-increasing global consumption of wine now attracting the attention of fraudsters, wine drinkers are soon just as likely to be advised to whip out their smartphones.

DuckDuckGo Benefits From Internet Searchers Wanting Privacy  (NPR)

Online search engines that protect users' privacy are seeing a spike in traffic after the NSA surveillance revelations. DuckDuckGo, which does not track users at all, says it's seen record-breaking traffic.

Duel of the natural disasters: Earthquakes cause volcanos to shrink (Christian Science Monitor)

The earthquakes that roiled Japan in 2011 and Chile in 2010 caused several volcanoes in both countries to slink down some 6 inches, scientists found. The findings complicate existing theories that earthquakes tend to deliver a jolt to volcanoes, potentially trigging an explosive second act. 

T cell trigger found (U-T San Diego)

A necessary part of T cell activation, critical for immune response, has been discovered by scientists from the La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology.  

Whale behaviour 'disturbed' by sonar (BBC)

Blue whales and beaked whales are disturbed by navy sonar, according to the first studies to measure the animals response to the sound.

Dead fish fill Mexico reservoir (BBC)

Some 500 tonnes of fish wash up on the banks of a Mexican reservoir, reportedly killed after a factory poured molasses into the water.

Thanks to clouds, some 60 billion planets are habitable in Milky Way (Christian Science Monitor)

New research that factors in the influence of cloud cover on alien climate has extended the habitable zone around red dwarf stars to include twice as many planets.

Russia loses $200 million satellites as launch ends in flames  (Reuters)

(Reuters) - A Russian rocket carrying three navigation satellites worth around $200 million crashed shortly after lift-off from the Russian-leased Baikonur launch facility in Kazakhstan on Tuesday after its engines suddenly switched off.

 Microsoft develops 3D touchscreen (BBC)

Microsoft creates a touchscreen which allows users to feel and manipulate 3D graphics.

Arrest Caught On Google Glass Reignites Privacy Debate (NPR)

The wearable technology, which is being tested by a select group of users, was used to record an arrest on the Jersey Shore. The incident raises questions about citizen journalism and the limits of privacy in public.

 The battle over uranium mining near the Grand Canyon (Marketplace)

The land surrounding the Grand Canyon contains some of the richest uranium ore deposits in the country. But as of 2012, new uranium mining claims are banned on land surrounding Grand Canyon National Park. / That hasn’t stopped mining companies from reopening old mines, and looking for other ways around the ban.