• Warming May Force Some Favorite Produce Crops to Get a Move On

    Record drought and heat have some farmers worried about where and when crops can be grown in the future, even in California where unprecedented microclimate diversity creates ideal growing conditions for many of the most popular items in America’s grocery stores Warmer California temperatures by mid-century will be too hot for some crops, just right for others.

  • Pandemic Concerns and 2020 Election: Concerns Vary by Race, Education, Party Affiliation

    Although most voters say they believe that voting will be safe and that their ballot will be counted despite the coronavirus pandemic, those who question election safety and some who question election integrity appear less likely to vote, according to a new RAND survey. In addition, people who identify as Republicans are more likely to express concerns about the integrity of the 2020 elections, while Democrats are more likely to be concerned about safety—underscoring the need for election officials to communicate to the public about both issues.

  • Gunshot Injuries in California Drop, but Percentage of Firearm Death Goes Up

    Gun-violence research experts say that despite a significant drop in firearm injuries in recent years in California, there has been a substantial increase in the state’s overall death rate among those wounded by firearms. “We found that the number of nonfatal firearm injuries in California decreased over an 11-year period, primarily due to a drop in firearm assaults,” said Sarabeth Spitzer, lead author and a UC Davis research intern at the time of the study. “However, the lethality of those and other firearm injuries did not go down. In fact, it went up.”

  • New Technique to Prevent Medical Imaging Cyberthreats

    Complex medical devices such as CT (computed tomography), MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) and ultrasound machines are controlled by instructions sent from a host PC. Abnormal or anomalous instructions introduce many potentially harmful threats to patients, such as radiation overexposure, manipulation of device components or functional manipulation of medical images. Researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev have developed a new artificial intelligence technique that will protect medical devices from malicious operating instructions in a cyberattack as well as other human and system errors.

  • Name Your Poison: Some of the Exotic Toxins Which Fell Kremlin Foes

    The poisoning last Thursday by Kremlin operatives of Alexey Navalny, one of the leaders of the Russian opposition (he is now fighting for his life in a German hospital) is reminiscent of dozens of other such poisonings of opponents and critics of the Russian (and, before that, Soviet) regimes. Poisoning has been the Russian secret services’ preferred method of dealing with irritating critics, and these services have at their disposal a large and sophisticated laboratory — alternatively known as Laboratory 1, Laboratory 12, and Kamera (which means “The Cell” in Russian) – where ever more exotic toxins are being developed for use against regime opponents and critics.

  • Gaps in Early Surveillance Led to Record-Breaking U.S. Trajectory: Study

    As the United States exceeds 5 million reported coronavirus cases — the world’s first country to do so — epidemiologists have pinpointed what helped to set the country on this path. New research estimates that more than 100,000 people were already infected with COVID-19 by early March — when only 1,514 cases and 39 deaths had been officially reported and before a national emergency was declared.

  • FDA OKs Use of Convalescent Plasma for COVID-19

    On Sunday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced it has approved plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients to be used as a hospital-based treatment for the novel coronavirus under an emergency use authorization (EUA). In a White House press conference, President Trump and FDA director Stephen Hahn both claimed that treatment with convalescent plasma “reduced mortality in hospitalized patients by 35%,” but the FDA’s own press release was much more circumspect. Many scientists pointed out that the Mayo Clinic study cited by both Trump and Hahn clearly stated that 3.2 people out of 100—not 35—would be saved by the administration of convalescent plasma, and that even to achieve this result, the plasma must be administered within three days of infection. Still, even without the hype, and subject to additional controlled, randomized clinical trials, scientists say, this is welcome news.

  • First Oral Anthrax Vaccine for Livestock, Wildlife

    Anthrax, a disease caused by a bacterium called Bacillus anthracis, contaminates surface soil and grasses, where it may be ingested or inhaled by livestock or grazing wildlife. This is especially common in the western Texas Hill Country, where each year the disease kills livestock and wildlife. There may soon be a new weapon in the centuries-old battle against anthrax in wildlife.

  • Misinformed Vaccine Beliefs Affect Policy Views

    While there is broad support in the United States for pro-vaccination policies, as many as 20% of Americans hold negative views about vaccination. Such misinformed vaccine beliefs are by far the strongest driver of opposition to pro-vaccination public policies—more than political partisanship, education, religiosity or other sociodemographic factors, according to new research.

  • Defiance of, Low Trust in Medical Doctors Related to Vaccine Skepticism

    People who tend to react negatively to rules and recommendations have lower trust in medical doctors and a more negative attitude towards vaccines, or reject vaccines for themselves or their children. These same people also more often use complementary and alternative medicine, that is, treatments or substances that are not included in the care offered or recommended by doctors.

  • Kremlin Refuses to Have Navalny Flown to Germany for Treatment, or have German Doctors Examine Him in Russia

    The Kremlin says it will not allow opposition leader Aleksei Navalny, who is in a coma in a Siberian hospital with suspected poisoning, to be flown to Germany for treatment because of “medical reasons.” The attending physician at the Omsk hospital’s ICU said Navalny suffers from “metabolic disorder,” and that there was no need for foreign specialists to examine him. Navalny’s wife was not allowed to see him. Navalny’s personal physician said that “they are waiting three days so that there are no traces of poison left in the body, and in Europe it will no longer be possible to identify this toxic substance.” Other medical experts agree with her, and also support her assertion that “metabolic disorder” is not a diagnosis but a condition which, among other things, can be caused by poisoning.

  • EU Payments to Farmers Fail to Deliver on Competitiveness, Sustainability

    Over 40 billion euro is given annually to European agriculture as direct payments under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). Yet, the policy fails to deliver on what EU citizens are promised. The majority of payments are going to the regions causing the most environmental damage and the farmers in the least need of income support.

  • Data Omission in Key EPA Insecticide Study Shows Need for Reviewing Industry Studies

    For nearly fifty years, a statistical omission tantamount to data falsification sat undiscovered in a critical study at the heart of regulating one of the most controversial and widely used pesticides in America. Chlorpyrifos, an insecticide created in the late 1960s by the Dow Chemical Co., has been linked to serious health problems, especially in children. It has been the subject of many lawsuits and banned in Europe and California. The EPA itself nearly banned the chemical, but in 2017 the Trump administration backtracked and rejected EPA’s own recommendation to take chlorpyrifos off the market. The EPA plans to reconsider the chemical’s use by 2022.

  • COVID-19 Outcomes in Female-Led Countries “Systematically and Significantly Better”

    Female national leaders locked down earlier and suffered half as many COVID deaths on average as male leaders, according to analysis across 194 countries. The researchers say that the analysis holds even if outliers – the effective responses by Angela Merkel-led Germany and Jacinda Arden-led New Zealand, and the botched, inompetent response by the Trump administration – are removed from the statistics. The researchers note that “While this [early lockdown] may have longer-term economic implications, it has certainly helped these countries to save lives, as evidenced by the significantly lower number of deaths in these countries.”

  • Is China’s Fishing Fleet a Growing Security Threat?

    China’s distant-water fishing vessels have long caused controversy in waters around Asia. As the fleet has grown, so have complaints. Experts say that Chinese illegal fishing is not only used by Beijing to stake maritime claims, the fleet’s massive overfishing helps drive food insecurity and ecological problems.