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Category: Health

What it’s like living through a 121 degree day

What it’s like living through a 121 degree day

NPR reports: If you ask Ansar Khan, he will tell you that the heat killed his baby daughter Ina. She didn’t wake up from her afternoon nap in late May, on the dusty scrap of land she knew as home, with only a blue plastic sheet to shade her. It was the hottest day he’d ever experienced, and a hot wind blew. It was 121 degrees in New Delhi that day. “She was crying a bit, so we gave her…

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Inside the $100 million plan to restore abortion rights in America

Inside the $100 million plan to restore abortion rights in America

Politico reports: A new coalition of abortion-rights groups is marking the second anniversary of the fall of Roe v. Wade with a pledge to spend $100 million to restore federal protections for the procedure and make it more accessible than ever before. In plans shared first with POLITICO, groups including Planned Parenthood, the ACLU and Reproductive Freedom for All are banding together to form Abortion Access Now — a national, 10-year campaign that will both prepare policies for the next…

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Texas ‘pro-life’ abortion ban linked to stark rise in infant deaths

Texas ‘pro-life’ abortion ban linked to stark rise in infant deaths

HuffPost reports: Texas’ six-week abortion ban, a 2021 law whose GOP backers claimed would “protect innocent human life,” is linked to a staggering rise in infant deaths, a new study published Monday in the Journal of the American Medical Association found. The study, published on the second anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, found that the Texas ban was “associated with unexpected increases in infant and neonatal mortality in 2022,” suggesting that despite Republican sermonizing on…

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WARNING: Social media can be harmful to your mental health

WARNING: Social media can be harmful to your mental health

Dr. Vivek H. Murthy, the U.S. surgeon general, writes: One of the most important lessons I learned in medical school was that in an emergency, you don’t have the luxury to wait for perfect information. You assess the available facts, you use your best judgment, and you act quickly. The mental health crisis among young people is an emergency — and social media has emerged as an important contributor. Adolescents who spend more than three hours a day on social…

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Wildfire smoke killed more than 50,000 Californians over a decade

Wildfire smoke killed more than 50,000 Californians over a decade

Yale E360 reports: A new study finds that more than 50,000 Californians died from exposure to wildfire smoke over a little more than a decade. Smoke contains tiny particles, small enough to enter the bloodstream when inhaled, that can raise the risk of dying from heart or lung disease. For the study, researchers modeled particulate pollution from wildfires across California from 2008 to 2018. They then compared their model with local mortality numbers to infer the number of deaths from…

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Pentagon ran secret anti-vax campaign to undermine China during pandemic

Pentagon ran secret anti-vax campaign to undermine China during pandemic

Reuters reports: At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. military launched a secret campaign to counter what it perceived as China’s growing influence in the Philippines, a nation hit especially hard by the deadly virus. The clandestine operation has not been previously reported. It aimed to sow doubt about the safety and efficacy of vaccines and other life-saving aid that was being supplied by China, a Reuters investigation found. Through phony internet accounts meant to impersonate Filipinos, the…

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What causes long COVID? Case builds for rogue antibodies

What causes long COVID? Case builds for rogue antibodies

Nature reports: Antibodies isolated from people with long COVID increase pain sensitivity and reduce movement in mice when transferred to the animals, research shows. The findings suggest that antibodies might drive some symptoms of long COVID — although how that process works is unclear, and the results will need to be replicated in larger studies. “I think this will be a beacon of a paper that we can take forwards to further understand long COVID,” says Resia Pretorius, an immunologist…

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Record share of U.S. electorate is pro-choice and voting on it

Record share of U.S. electorate is pro-choice and voting on it

Gallup reports: A record-high 32% of U.S. voters say they would only vote for a candidate for major office who shares their views on abortion. The importance of a candidate’s abortion stance to one’s vote is markedly higher among pro-choice voters than it was during the 2020 presidential election cycle, while pro-life voters’ intensity about voting on the abortion issue has waned. Also, voters’ greater intensity on the issue today compared with 2020 is explained mainly by Democrats, while Republicans…

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An object lesson from Covid on how to destroy public trust

An object lesson from Covid on how to destroy public trust

Zeynep Tufekci writes: Big chunks of the history of the Covid pandemic were rewritten over the last month or so in a way that will have terrible consequences for many years to come. Under questioning by a congressional subcommittee, top officials from the National Institutes of Health, along with Dr. Anthony Fauci, acknowledged that some key parts of the public health guidance their agencies promoted during the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic were not backed up by solid science….

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Why the pandemic probably started in the Wuhan research lab, in five key points

Why the pandemic probably started in the Wuhan research lab, in five key points

Alina Chan writes: On Monday, Dr. Anthony Fauci will return to the halls of Congress to testify before the House subcommittee investigating the Covid-19 pandemic. He will most likely be questioned about how the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which he directed until retiring in 2022, supported risky virus work at a Chinese institute whose research may have caused the pandemic. For more than four years, reflexive partisan politics have derailed the search for the truth about a…

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2023 set record for U.S. heat deaths, killing in areas that used to handle the heat

2023 set record for U.S. heat deaths, killing in areas that used to handle the heat

The Associated Press reports: David Hom suffered from diabetes and felt nauseated before he went out to hang his laundry in 108-degree weather, another day in Arizona’s record-smashing, unrelenting July heat wave. His family found the 73-year-old lying on the ground, his lower body burned. Hom died at the hospital, his core body temperature at 107 degrees. The death certificates of more than 2,300 people who died in the United States last summer mention the effects of excessive heat, the…

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Hundreds of Palestinian doctors disappeared into Israeli detention

Hundreds of Palestinian doctors disappeared into Israeli detention

The Intercept reports: It’s been two months since Osaid Alser has heard from his cousin, Khaled Al Serr, a surgeon at Nasser Hospital in the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis. Before late March, they had been in regular contact — or as regular as the shredded communication infrastructure would allow. Al Serr had created a telemedicine WhatsApp group where he and Osaid, a surgical resident in the U.S., recruited doctors from stateside, the U.K., and Europe to give…

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Animals self-medicate with plants − behavior people have observed and emulated for millennia

Animals self-medicate with plants − behavior people have observed and emulated for millennia

A goat with an arrow wound nibbles the medicinal herb dittany. O. Dapper, CC BY By Adrienne Mayor, Stanford University When a wild orangutan in Sumatra recently suffered a facial wound, apparently after fighting with another male, he did something that caught the attention of the scientists observing him. The animal chewed the leaves of a liana vine – a plant not normally eaten by apes. Over several days, the orangutan carefully applied the juice to its wound, then covered…

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How 3M executives convinced a scientist the forever chemicals she found in human blood were safe

How 3M executives convinced a scientist the forever chemicals she found in human blood were safe

ProPublica reports: Kris Hansen had worked as a chemist at the 3M Corporation for about a year when her boss, an affable senior scientist named Jim Johnson, gave her a strange assignment. 3M had invented Scotch Tape and Post-­it notes; it sold everything from sandpaper to kitchen sponges. But on this day, in 1997, Johnson wanted Hansen to test human blood for chemical contamination. Several of 3M’s most successful products contained man-made compounds called fluorochemicals. In a spray called Scotchgard,…

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Medical workers evacuated from Gaza, but three Americans refuse to leave

Medical workers evacuated from Gaza, but three Americans refuse to leave

The Intercept reports: Some 20 American and British medical workers who had been unable to leave Gaza were evacuated from the European Hospital in Khan Younis on Friday, though three American members of medical missions refused to evacuate until Israel allows additional humanitarian workers to replace them. They remain at work, along with doctors and staff from separate medical missions, serving a population trapped in Gaza with no escape. The missions, as is often the case, had been scheduled to…

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‘More Neanderthal than human’: How your health may depend on DNA from our long-lost ancestors

‘More Neanderthal than human’: How your health may depend on DNA from our long-lost ancestors

Live Science reports: The group had traveled for thousands of miles, crossing Africa and the Middle East until finally reaching the dimly lit forests of the new continent. They were long-vanished members of our modern human tribe, and among the first Homo sapiens to enter Europe. There, these people would likely have encountered their distant cousins: Neanderthals. These small bands of modern-human relatives had hooded brows, large heads and squat bodies, and they had spent epochs acclimating to Europe’s colder…

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