• Experts Tout Delaying 2nd COVID Vaccine Dose as U.S. Deaths Mount

    Following record COVID-19 deaths in January, several U.S. experts extolled the benefits of vaccinating as many people as possible with one dose of COVID vaccine before ensuring people receive the recommended second dose. Such a dosing strategy has already been used in the United Kingdom and Israel, two countries further ahead in vaccinating their populations than the United States.

  • Finding Toxic Chemicals in Drinking Water

    Most consumers of drinking water in the United States know that chemicals are used in the treatment processes to ensure the water is safe to drink. But they might not know that the use of some of these chemicals, such as chlorine, can also lead to the formation of unregulated toxic byproducts.

  • There Is No Medical Justification for Police Use of Neck Restraints: Neurologists

    Some police departments in the United States continue to teach officers that neck restraints are a safe method for controlling agitated or aggressive people, but that’s a dangerous myth, according to just published article written by three neurologists.

  • New Cyberattack Tricks Scientists into Making Dangerous Toxins, Synthetic Viruses

    An end-to-end cyber-biological attack, in which unwitting biologists may be tricked into generating dangerous toxins in their labs, has been discovered by Ben-Gurion University of the Negev cyber-researchers. It is currently believed that a criminal needs to have physical contact with a dangerous substance to produce and deliver it. However, malware could easily replace a short sub-string of the DNA on a bioengineer’s computer so that they unintentionally create a toxin producing sequence.

  • Deep Learning in the Emergency Department

    Using a deep-learning model designed for high-dimensional data, researchers have shown that it is possible to predict emergency department overcrowding from complex hospital records. This application of the “Variational AutoEncoder” deep-learning model is an example of how machine learning can be used to interpret and extract meaning from difficult data sets that are too voluminous or complex for humans to decipher.

  • Groundbreaking Research on Chlorine Spread

    Chlorine can kill in minutes if inhaled in high concentration. Since 2010, DHS S&T led a project, called Jack Rabbit, aiming to improve ways to detect and deal with chlorine spread. Recent events highlight the need for responders to be prepared with the best information possible for this type of hazard.

  • The Strategic Stockpile Failed; Experts Propose New Approach to Emergency Preparedness

    A new analysis of the United States government’s response to COVID-19 highlights myriad problems with an approach that relied, in large part, on international supply chains and the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS). A panel of academic and military experts is instead calling for a more dynamic, flexible approach to emergency preparedness at the national level.

  • 68 Percent of Firearm Deaths Are from Self-Harm, Majority in Older Men in Rural Regions

    A new study of gun injuries and deaths in Ontario found that 68 percent of firearm-related deaths were from self-harm, and they most often occurred in older men living in rural regions, pointing to the need for targeted prevention efforts.

  • Wastewater Requires Additional Treatment to Reduce Spread of Coronavirus

    Wastewater must be further treated to minimize the risk of dissemination and infection of SARS-CoV-2, according to Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) researchers, who found coronavirus RNA in samples from Israeli water treatment plants.

  • Calling Out Bad Science

    Two weeks ago, a group of scientists posted an article in which they claimed that certain features of the COVID-19 virus lend support to the theory that the virus was synthetic, that is, that it was made or modified in a lab rather than having evolved naturally. Since such claims serve as the basis for conspiracy theories, and since the article has not yet been peer-reviewed, scientists at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security took it upon themselves to do an informal peer review of the article. Their detailed, page-by-page review of the article is unequivocal in its conclusions: the authors failed to provide accurate or supportive evidence to back up their claim. Moreover, the article contains many errors of both facts and interpretation.

  • Heritable Genome Editing Not Yet Ready to Be Tried Safely and Effectively in Humans

    Human embryos whose genomes have been edited should not be used to create a pregnancy until it is established that precise genomic changes can be made reliably without introducing undesired changes — a criterion that has not yet been met by any genome editing technology, says a new scientific report.

  • Uniform Framework for Quantifying Disaster-Related Deaths, Illness

    To more accurately quantify disaster-related deaths, injuries, and illnesses, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other agencies supporting disaster response should adopt a uniform national framework of data collection approaches and methods for distinguishing direct from indirect disaster deaths, says a new congressionally mandated report from the National Academies of Sciences.

  • 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.