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Columbia to Decide on Historic Abortion Ruling

February 17, 2020

(ABC News) – Fourteen years after Colombia’s landmark decision to legalize abortions in some cases, the country is once more bracing itself for a historic vote.  The Colombian Constitutional Court has until Feb. 19th to decide whether it will legalize abortion for pregnancies up to 12 weeks. The current law allows for abortion in only three instances: if the mother’s life is at risk, if a fetus is malformed or if the pregnancy is a result of rape.

More Than 80 Clinical Trials Launch to Test Coronavirus Treatments

February 17, 2020

(Nature) – China has more than 80 running or pending clinical trials on potential treatments for COVID-19, the illness caused by a coronavirus that has thus far killed nearly 1,400 people and infected more than 48,000 across China. New pharmaceutical drugs are listed beside thousand-year-old traditional therapies in a public registry of China’s clinical trials, which is growing every day. There is no known cure, and doctors are eager to help those with the disease — but scientists caution that only carefully conducted trials will determine which measures work.

Fresh Donor Egg Better Than Frozen for IVF: Study

February 17, 2020

(U.S. News & World Report) – Fresh donated eggs appear to be better for in-vitro fertilization (IVF) than frozen ones, a new study suggests. Donor eggs provide the best chance of success for many women undergoing IVF, according to the authors. But it wasn’t clear whether using fresh or frozen donor eggs in IVF improves the chances of success, so a team from the University of Colorado and Duke University analyzed nearly 30,000 IVF cycles using donor eggs over three years.

Dying a Desperate Death: A Wuhan Family’s Coronavirus Ordeal

February 14, 2020

(Reuters) – There were no doctors, nurses or medical equipment at the Wuhan hotel converted into a temporary quarantine facility for suspected coronavirus patients when brothers Wang Xiangkai and Wang Xiangyou arrived two weeks ago. The next day, Xiangkai, 61, woke to find that Xiangyou, 62, had died. The Wangs are among tens of thousands of families devastated by the coronavirus in Wuhan, where the medical system has been overwhelmed by the outbreak, despite massive reinforcements and two speedily built new hospitals. 

‘Nobody Talks about It Because Everyone Is on It’: Adderall Presents Esports with an Enigma

February 14, 2020

(The Washington Post) – The use of Adderall, a drug often prescribed by doctors to treat patients with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or other substances that help people focus like Vyvanse and Ritalin, have long been associated with students pulling all-nighters and cramming for a test or finishing a research paper. More recently, though, they’ve been used by competitive gamers as a kind of performance enhancer to sharpen their response times and reflexes during game play. While at least one esports league regularly tests for these as banned substances, others have left them unchecked. As the appeal of competitive gaming continues to rise — with robust prize purses and lucrative sponsorship deals hanging in the balance — gamers across multiple esports properties have recounted stories of Adderall use by themselves or others.

China Virus Death Toll Nears 1,400, Six Health Workers Among Victims

February 14, 2020

(Medical Xpress) – The death toll from China’s virus epidemic neared 1,400 on Friday with six medical workers among the victims, underscoring the country’s struggle to contain a deepening health crisis.  Nearly 64,000 people are now recorded as having fallen ill from the virus in China, with officials revealing that 1,716 health workers had been infected as of Tuesday.

China Launches a Crush of Clinical Trials Aimed at Covid-19

February 13, 2020

(Wired) – Now, researchers in China are racing to launch more systematic tests of these repurposed medicines. Since January 28, scientists have registered 19 clinical trials in China, and at least a few have already begun dosing patients. With initial results expected as early as April, the swift leap into clinical research is an important one for frontline health workers desperate for hard evidence about which therapies work best. The trick will be making sure that evidence stacks up.

Our Phones Can Now Detect Health Problems from Parkinson’s to Depression. Is That a Good Thing?

February 12, 2020

(Vox) – Deducing details of a person’s health through how often they text or when they leave home is called digital phenotyping, and it’s a rapidly growing area of research. Phenotypes, generally speaking, are the traits, like behavior and appearance, derived from how your genes interact with your environment. Today, these environmental interactions happen not just in the physical world, but online, too. Some researchers are now even using the term as a catch-all for the data people leave behind on the internet, social media, and other technology. The smartphones, Fitbits, sleep trackers, and other connected devices that constantly surround us generate an incredible amount of rich social and behavioral data.

U.S. Health Officials Await Invite to Assist with Coronavirus in China

February 12, 2020

(Reuters) – The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Wednesday it had not yet been invited to send experts to China to assist with the investigation of the coronavirus outbreak that has killed more than 1,100 people. The United States has been waiting for approval to send its experts as part of a World Health Organization (WHO) team, Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, told reporters on a conference call.

UN: Congo’s Ebola Outbreak Slows But Still Global Emergency

February 12, 2020

(ABC News) – The World Health Organization said although signs are now “extremely positive” in Congo that the Ebola outbreak is winding down, the epidemic remains a global health emergency. To date, Ebola has killed more than 2,200 people in Congo, making it the second-deadliest epidemic in history. The decision to maintain WHO’s global emergency declaration for Ebola came after a meeting Wednesday of WHO’s Ebola expert committee. 

The Coronavirus Cruise Ship Quarantine Is a Scary Public Health Experiment

February 12, 2020

(Vox) – The cruise ship quarantine is not just a human rights or justice issue, though; it’s a public health problem, too. In this case, people who aren’t yet sick and who may not have been exposed to the new coronavirus are being held together in close proximity with people who may already have the disease. Layer on top of that the fact that we don’t yet know exactly how this virus spreads; all we know is that respiratory viruses like it — MERS and SARS — spread mainly through exposure to droplets, from coughing or sneezing.

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