Could Aggression Detector Software Identify Potential Mass Shooters In Schools Before They Strike?
In the wake of devastating school shootings, more officials are open to such out-of-the-box thinking as installing aggression detectors in their hallways. But ethical questions remain. In other public health news: genetic tests, arsenic, microbes, autism, wildfires, and more.
Aggression Detectors: The Unproven, Invasive Surveillance Technology Schools Are Using To Monitor Students
Ariella Russcol specializes in drama at the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts in Queens, New York, and the senior’s performance on this April afternoon didn’t disappoint. While the library is normally the quietest room in the school, her ear-piercing screams sounded more like a horror movie than study hall. But they weren’t enough to set off a small microphone in the ceiling that was supposed to detect aggression. A few days later, at the Staples Pathways Academy in Westport, Connecticut, junior Sami D’Anna inadvertently triggered the same device with a less spooky sound — a coughing fit from a lingering chest cold. As she hacked and rasped, a message popped up on its web interface: “StressedVoice detected.” “There we go,” D’Anna said with amusement, looking at the screen. “There’s my coughs.” (Gillum and Kao, 6/25)
The Wall Street Journal:
New Noninvasive Genetic Tests For IVF Embryos Are In Development
Scientists at academic medical centers and fertility companies are developing more accurate and less invasive ways to test whether embryos made through in vitro fertilization procedures might have genetic abnormalities. The new tests could help the growing numbers of people pursuing IVF to make sure any embryo used is free from the genetic defects that can lead to miscarriage or even devastating inherited diseases, without risking damage to the embryo itself. (Hernandez, 6/24)
The New York Times:
Arsenic In Bottled Water Prompts A Product Removal: How Much Is Safe?
Keurig Dr Pepper said it was withdrawing its Peñafiel brand unflavored mineral spring water products after reports that they contained high levels of arsenic. The announcement, which was made on Friday, came three days after the Center for Environmental Health notified the company that tests showed the amount of arsenic in the water exceeded the level requiring a health warning under California’s consumer protection law, and two months after Consumer Reports found the amount exceeded the level set by the federal government. (Rueb, 6/24)
Elite Runners' Gut Microbe Makes Mice More Athletic — Could It Help The Rest Of Us?
A new study out Monday in the journal Nature Medicine identified a group of bacteria that are more common in athletes, especially after exercise, and may play a role in enhancing athletic performance. The researchers isolated this bacterial strain from elite runners, put it into the colons of lab mice and found that these human-derived bacteria boosted the mouse's performance on a treadmill exertion test by 13%. (Lambert, 6/24)
The Wall Street Journal:
For Two Men With Autism, 1,000 Miles Apart, Gaming Was A Portal To Friendship
Chris Lopes and Caleb Stephens didn’t have many friends for years. Growing up 1,000 miles apart, the two had been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder when they were younger and always found social interactions uncomfortable. The exception, for both, had been their brothers. But they both lost their brothers, and the only real friendships they’d had. Like many people with autism, they turned to gaming and meeting people online. (Jargon, 6/25)
The Associated Press:
Jump In Wildfires Means Smoke's Health Impact Will Spread
Climate change in the Western U.S. means more intense and frequent wildfires churning out waves of smoke that scientists say will sweep across the continent to affect tens of millions of people and cause a spike in premature deaths. That emerging reality is prompting people in cities and rural areas alike to gird themselves for another summer of sooty skies along the West Coast and in the Rocky Mountains — the regions widely expected to suffer most from blazes tied to dryer, warmer conditions. (Brown, 6/25)
Kaiser Health News:
More Seniors Contemplate 'Rational Suicide'
Ten residents slipped away from their retirement community one Sunday afternoon for a covert meeting in a grocery store cafe. They aimed to answer a taboo question: When they feel they have lived long enough, how can they carry out their own swift and peaceful death? The seniors, who live in independent apartments at a high-end senior community near Philadelphia, showed no obvious signs of depression. They’re in their 70s and 80s and say they don’t intend to end their lives soon. But they say they want the option to take “preemptive action” before their health declines in their later years, particularly due to dementia. (Bailey, 6/25)
U.S. Surgeon General: States Going ‘Too Fast’ On Marijuana
California and other states are going “way too far too fast” in legalizing the powerful marijuana strains being cultivated today, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said Monday at UC Davis Medical School – even as he enlisted the help of physicians and doctors win his work to normalize addiction as a disease. “There are communities where one in five pregnant women are reporting marijuana use,” Adams said. “We see it in communities where they’ve legalized even medicinal use of marijuana. (Anderson, 6/24)
The New York Times:
A Boy Who Had Spinal Surgery In The Womb Stands On His Own Two Feet
Charley Royer, 17 months old, has such a swift, strong kick that putting a pair of pants on him can turn into a wrestling match. His mother doesn’t mind. Far from it. “Things that might annoy other parents, I’m so thankful for,” Lexi Royer said. This child, who crawls around the house chasing a Yorkie named Bruce and proudly hauls himself upright against the couch, wasn’t expected to do any of this. (Grady, 6/24)
Future Of Food: This Genetically Engineered Salmon May Hit U.S. Markets As Early As 2020
Over the coming months, we'll focus on stories around the world where efforts to fight food scarcity and waste are ongoing. Here's author Mark Bittman to introduce our first story in the series on the debate over genetically modified salmon. (Bittman, Thompson and Saltzman, 6/22)
The Washington Post:
CBD Products Are Illegal And Everywhere -- And Could Force FDA Action
In 2017, no one knew what CBD oil was. In 2018, folks stumbled saying “cannabidiol” (that’s CBD oil) out loud. In 2019, it’s everywhere, and everyone wants in on it. In flavors like “cucumber mint refresh” and “watermelon renew,” a new line of CBD-infused waters and teas is hitting major grocery stores in California and Colorado on Monday, each 16-ounce bottle containing 20 milligrams, or trace amounts, of “active hemp extract.” (Reiley, 6/24)