Latest Morning Briefing Stories

Drunken Driving Epidemic Has Mostly Stagnated Over Past Decade. Experts Say It’s Time To Focus On Root Cause.

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Experts say law-enforcement authorities need to do a better job assessing all offenders to determine their risk of repeating. “It’s not as simple as saying don’t drink and then drive. These are people who have underlying issues we need to get to,” said traffic-safety consultant Pam Fischer. In other public health news: a miraculous story about the heart’s resilience, new dementia therapies, a testicle transplant, the responsibility of psychotherapists and porn-consumption, the cops’ use of lie-detecting software, and more.

VA Opens Institute To Pursue Research On Artificial Intelligence

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As a national health system, the VA has amassed a significant amount of data—possibly giving it a leg up because lack of trustworthy and accessible data has traditionally been one of the major roadblocks to AI development. In other health technology news: a website helps patients with rare diseases find more information about them.

Experts ‘Cautiously Optimistic’ That Vaping Illnesses Are Trending Downward Nationwide

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While no single product or substance has been associated with all of the cases, the majority are linked to THC-containing products. An investigation in Massachusetts connected six patients with products from state-licensed dispensaries, but officials later conceded that the consumers may have used illicit products as well.

House Republicans To Offer Up Their Own Plan To Combat High Drug Prices To Counter Dems’ Aggressive Bill

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The Republicans’ bill would enact a $3,100 cap on out-of-pocket drug expenditures for Medicare beneficiaries and add monthly caps as well. The proposals are identical to ones that are in the Senate’s version of the legislation. In other pharmaceutical news: how to pay for expensive sickle cell treatments; FDA’s approval speed generates alarm; the government investigates possible carcinogens in diabetes drug; lawmakers urge HHS to probe patient assistance programs; and more.

Controversy Over Practice Of Indefinitely Detaining Immigrants Hasn’t Dissuaded Trump

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The Trump administration wants to expand the system of facilities where migrant families can be incarcerated for months or longer, despite the fact that numerous health experts have warned that detaining children for such lengths of time, even with their parents, can cause permanent psychological damage. In other news on the immigration crisis: accusations surround a death of a teen in U.S. custody; a suit against immigration pilot programs, and a ruling on the “public charge” rule.

Nearly One In Three High School Students Admit To Using At Least One Type Of Tobacco Product Recently

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Public health officials are concerned that despite wide-scale publicity intended to deter vaping, especially in the wake of recent illnesses and deaths, not only did the practice continue to surge, but students also did not seem to be particularly alarmed about e-cigarettes. What’s more is that students also reported using other nicotine products, revealing a widespread problem with addiction not limited to just vaping. Meanwhile, a tale of two states shows the effects of what happens when there’s a vaping ban in one.

New Concepts About Mental Health Of Vets: Bad War Experiences Might Not Be What’s Leading To So Many Suicides

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Army-funded studies report there is a significant and growing proportion of soldiers entering the military with psychiatric disorders, requiring wider availability of mental health care for troops, even those who have never experienced combat. Public health news is on studies on dangers of PFAS, aging, face injuries from cellphones, time-restricted eating, postpartum depression among women of color, measles’ steady comeback, raising boys these days, diabetes risks for preemies, and traumas brought on by patients, as well.

Tufts University Latest Organization To Distance Itself From Sackler Family Following Opioid Crisis Fallout

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“Our students find it objectionable to walk into a building that says Sackler on it when they come in here to get their medical education,” said Dr. Harris A. Berman, the dean of the Tufts University School of Medicine. Tufts won’t return the money Sackler has donated over the years, but will instead set up an endowment to help combat the epidemic.

Advocates: Gilead Exploited Patent System By Delaying Development Of Safer HIV Drug In Order To Reap Profits

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Gilead suspended development of the safer drug for five years, in what advocates claim was a tactic to extend its monopoly on the profits from the older treatment. In other pharmaceutical news: Biogen tries to make a case for its Alzheimer’s drug but some remain unpersuaded; Sage Therapuetics’ shares plummet after bad news on depression treatment; biotech investors say they’re not worried about Congress; and more.

Disturbing Video Contradicts Border Patrol’s Account Of Sick 16-Year-Old Boy’s Death While In U.S. Custody

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After the death, Border Patrol said that an agent had found Carlos Gregorio Hernandez Vasquez, a 16-year-old Guatemalan migrant, “unresponsive” after checking in on him and deemed the death a “tragic loss.” But ProPublica has obtained video that documents the boy’s last hours, and it shows that Border Patrol agents and health care workers at the holding facility missed increasingly obvious signs that his condition was perilous.