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Artificial Intelligence Tool Helped Prevent Sepsis Deaths

July 22, 2022

(Axios) – A new AI tool developed by Johns Hopkins University helped detect early signs of sepsis in real time, reducing the likelihood of death by 20%, according to new research published in Nature Medicine. Why it matters: Sepsis caused by the body’s extreme response to an infection can be easy to miss and accounts for the most in-hospital deaths each year in the United States. (Read More)

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CVS Seeks Verification on Drugs with Possible Abortion Use

July 22, 2022

(Associated Press) – CVS Health is asking pharmacists in some states to verify that a few of the prescriptions they provide will not be used end a pregnancy. A spokesman said Thursday that the drugstore chain recently started doing this for methotrexate and misoprostol, two drugs used in medication abortions but also to treat other conditions. Spokesman Mike DeAngelis said the policy started the first week in July in Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Oklahoma, and Texas. (Read More)

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Two Children in U.S. Diagnosed with Monkeypox, Officials Say

July 22, 2022

(Associated Press) – Two children have been diagnosed with monkeypox in the U.S., health officials said Friday. One is a toddler in California and the other an infant who is not a U.S. resident, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The children were described as being in good health and receiving treatment. How they caught the disease is being investigated, but officials think it was through household transmission. Other details weren’t immediately disclosed. (Read More)

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Novavax’s Covid-19 Vaccine Doses Shipped for Use in U.S.

July 22, 2022

(New York Times) – Novavax Inc. has shipped 3.2 million doses of its Covid-19 vaccine to federal distribution centers, allowing people to start receiving the shots as soon as Monday, the company said. The doses will be available to people who haven’t yet been vaccinated against the virus following authorization by the Food and Drug Administration earlier this month and an endorsement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday. (Read More)

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The Pandemic Isn’t Over, But Most U.S. States Formally Say That It’s No Longer a Health Emergency

July 22, 2022

(New York Times) – When all 50 states, the District of Columbia and United States territories declared public health emergencies in response to the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020, those declarations allowed state officials to lift limits on hospital capacity, expand access to telehealth services and even allow highway weight limits to be exceeded, in case the National Guard needed to quickly move in. By Monday, fewer than a dozen states will have emergency declarations in place, according to the National Academy for State Health Policy. States have let the declarations expire even though the Omicron subvariant known as BA.5, perhaps the most transmissible coronavirus subvariant yet, is pushing up positive tests, hospitalizations and intensive care admissions across the country. (Read More)

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Food Crisis: Ukraine Grain Export Deal Reached with Russia, Says Turkey

July 21, 2022

(BBC) – Turkey says a deal has been reached with Russia to allow Ukraine to resume exports of grain through the Black Sea. It is to be signed on Friday in Istanbul by Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.  The world shortage of Ukrainian grain since Russia’s 24 February invasion has left millions at risk of hunger. (Read More)

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There Aren’t Nearly Enough Native American Physicians. A Crash Course in Medicine Seeks to Change That

July 21, 2022

(STAT News) – To say there are few Native American or Alaska Native physicians in the United States is putting it mildly. There are only 3,400 — that’s less than 0.4% of the more than a million physicians practicing in the U.S. The numbers are not increasing because trainees are also scarce in medical school; 43% of the nation’s medical schools enrolled no Native American/Alaska Native students in 2019. The eight trainees here in Boston are hoping to change those numbers, and by becoming physicians, help provide better care to those in the tribal and rural areas they call home. (Read More)

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President Biden Tests Positive for Covid-19, But Has ‘Very Mild Symptoms’

July 21, 2022

(STAT News) – Pesident Biden tested positive for Covid-19 Thursday — a coronavirus case that reflects both the high ongoing levels of transmission of the virus and its ability to cause infections even in people who have layers of protection. Biden, 79, has “very mild symptoms” and has started taking the antiviral Paxlovid, the White House said. He is isolating. (Read More)

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Amazon to Acquire One Medical for $3.9 Billion in a Bold Bet on Primary Care

July 21, 2022

(STAT News) – Retail giant Amazon announced plans Thursday to acquire primary care company One Medical in a cash deal valued at $3.9 billion. The goal of the $18 per share deal is to offer more convenient and affordable health care both in-person and virtually, the companies said. The two aim to combine One Medical’s technology and team with “Amazon’s customer obsession, history of invention, and willingness to invest in the long-term,” One Medical CEO Amir Dan Rubin said in a statement. (Read More)

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YouTube to Remove Certain Abortion-Related Content

July 21, 2022

(Axios) – YouTube will begin removing and labeling certain abortion-related content on the video-sharing platform, the company said Thursday. Why it matters: As states pass new laws and rhetoric continues to heat up, tech platforms are grappling with how to treat online information about abortion in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade. (Read More)

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‘We Are Bearing Witness’: Health Researchers Navigate a Post-Roe World

July 21, 2022

(Nature) – A new wave of studies is starting up in the wake of the US Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the federally protected right to an abortion. Since the decision in June, seven US states have banned abortion — with extremely limited exceptions — and more than a dozen others that already have several restrictions on the procedure are expected to follow suit. In response, reproductive-health researchers are scrambling to track who is affected and how. In many cases, this means developing ways to partner with communities to collect sensitive information, and to ensure that studies are as useful as possible — particularly to people concerned about their pregnancies. (Read More)

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WHO Again Considers Declaring Monkeypox a Global Emergency

July 21, 2022

(Associated Press) – As the World Health Organization’s emergency committee convened Thursday to consider for the second time within weeks whether to declare monkeypox a global crisis, some scientists said the striking differences between the outbreaks in Africa and in developed countries will complicate any coordinated response. African officials say they are already treating the continent’s epidemic as an emergency. But experts elsewhere say the mild version of monkeypox in Europe, North America and beyond makes an emergency declaration unnecessary even if the virus can’t be stopped. (Read More)

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America Was in an Early-Death Crisis Long Before COVID

July 21, 2022

(The Atlantic) – Bor and his colleagues arrived at that number by using data from an international mortality database and the CDC. For every year from 1933 to 2021, they compared America’s mortality rates with the average of Canada, Japan, and 16 Western European nations (adjusting for age and population). They showed that from the 1980s onward, the U.S. started falling behind its peers. By 2019, the number of missing Americans had grown to 626,000. After COVID arrived, that statistic ballooned even further—to 992,000 in 2020, and to 1.1 million in 2021. (Read More)

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New York State Detects Polio Case, First in the U.S. Since 2013

July 21, 2022

(STAT News) – New York State reported Thursday that it has detected a case of vaccine-derived polio in a person in Rockland County, north of New York City, the first such recorded case in the United States since 2013. In a statement, the state department of health said the person, who was not identified, was infected with a type 2 vaccine-derived poliovirus, which would have come from oral polio vaccine used in a number of countries, but not the United States. The U.S. stopped using oral polio vaccine in 2000. (Read More)

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‘None of Us Has a Crystal Ball’: Scientists Try to Keep Up with Faster Coronavirus Evolution.

July 20, 2022

(New York Times) – In just eight weeks, the subvariant known as BA.5 has gone from a blip in U.S. case counts to the dominant version of the virus in the country, now making up more than three-quarters of new cases. Perhaps the most transmissible subvariant yet, it is pushing up positive tests, hospitalizations and intensive care admissions across the country. There is no evidence that BA.5 causes more severe disease, but the latest metrics certainly bust the myth that the virus will become milder as it evolves. (Read More)

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Embryonic Research Could Be the Next Target After Roe

July 20, 2022

(Wired) – In states where human embryonic research is legal, people undergoing IVF are often given the choice to donate any excess fertilized embryos to scientific research. These are sometimes used to search for potential treatments for diseases such as diabetes or, as in Yuan’s case, to research ways to make IVF more successful. “Those discarded embryos are really one of the key pieces for us to maintain the high quality of our platform here,” says Yuan, who is research director at the Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine (CCRM). But in the wake of the Dobbs verdict, he is worried that people will be less likely to donate their spare embryos for research and, down the line, that embryonic research could become the next target of antiabortion campaigners. (Read More)

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Depression Is Probably Not Caused by a Chemical Imbalance in the Brain–New Study

July 20, 2022

(The Conversation) – For three decades, people have been deluged with information suggesting that depression is caused by a “chemical imbalance” in the brain – namely an imbalance of a brain chemical called serotonin. However, our latest research review shows that the evidence does not support it. Although first proposed in the 1960s, the serotonin theory of depression started to be widely promoted by the pharmaceutical industry in the 1990s in association with its efforts to market a new range of antidepressants, known as selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs.  (Read More)

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Canadian Researchers Have Limited Access to Vital COVID Data

July 20, 2022

(Medscape) – Barriers to accessing patient data on SARS-CoV-2 vaccination are impeding researchers’ ability to inform the national pandemic response and maintain public trust, according to investigators. Canada’s 10 provincial health ministries have been reluctant to share these data. (Read More)

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US Health Insurers Raise Rates to Match Increase in Usage

July 20, 2022

(Associated Press) – After putting off routine health care for much of the pandemic, Americans are now returning to doctors’ offices in big numbers — a trend that’s starting to show up in higher insurance rates across the country. Health insurers in individual marketplaces across 13 states and Washington D.C. will raise rates an average of 10% next year, according to a review of rate filings by the Kaiser Family Foundation.  (Read More)

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Covid-19 Complication Among Children Fades in Latest Wave of Virus

July 20, 2022

(Wall Street Journal) – A serious inflammatory complication that strikes some children in the weeks following a Covid-19 infection has almost disappeared. A buildup of immunity and changes to the virus both likely play a part, pediatric infectious-disease doctors and researchers said. Multisystem inflammatory syndrome is afflicting far fewer children as a proportion of known Covid-19 cases than during earlier waves of the pandemic, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Read More)

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