Missouri Senate passes bill to ban abortions at 8 weeks


Senators approved the legislation 24-10 early Thursday with just hours left before lawmakers’ Friday deadline to pass bills. It needs at least another vote of approval in the GOP-led House before it can go to Republican Gov. Mike Parson, who supports it. The bill seems to be a part of a broader national push to restrict access to abortion.

Birth rate in the US hits 32-year low


The U.S. birth rate continues to fall, reaching another record low in 2018, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC says that one possible explanation for the continued drop in births could be economic uncertainty, along with the fact that people may still feel uneasy about their economic situation.

Monsanto ordered to pay $2bn in largest verdict yet over cancer claims


A California jury has ordered Monsanto to pay more than $2bn to a couple that got cancer after using its weedkiller, marking the third and largest verdict against the company over Roundup. The victory for the Pilliods follows two consecutive trial wins for families taking on Monsanto over Roundup, the world’s most widely used weedkiller, which research has linked to NHL, a cancer that affects the immune system.

Everything’s deadlier in the South


Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that the death rates from pretty much every major cause — heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, suicide, sepsis, guns, infant mortality — remain highest in the South. A lot of the poor health outcomes there reflect longstanding poverty, fewer health care resources, and longstanding barriers to care.

Texas Republican accuses top vaccine scientist of ‘sorcery’


Texas lawmaker Jonathan Stickland called vaccines “sorcery” Tuesday in a string of Twitter posts criticizing a vaccine expert. The US is currently struggling with a historic resurgence in measles cases, largely as a result of some parents rejecting immunizations because of erroneous information, often distributed through social media.

Scientology cruise ship quarantined for measles (again)


A Church of Scientology cruise ship quarantined by the Caribbean nation of St. Lucia for measles is due to arrive on Saturday back at its home port on the island of Curacao, where it will face the same restrictions. Dr. Izzy Gerstenbluth, chief epidemiologist for the Curacao Biomedical and Health Research Institute, said passengers and crew who can prove they were already vaccinated or have had measles in the past would likely be free to go about their business.

Ebola outbreak has killed 1,000


As the Ebola virus spreads across the Congo, the World Health Organization estimates that the death toll has now surpassed 1,000. This outbreak is the second-deadliest ever, with the deadliest occurring in West Africa in 2014, when over 11,000 people died.

Ebola outbreak in the DRC hits record number of cases


The number of Ebola cases in the Democratic Republic of Congo is rising fast, reaching a high of 27 confirmed cases in one day, according to the country’s health ministry. The World Health Organization said on Friday it feared continued “intense transmission” of the virus in the country, where deaths from the epidemic are expected to officially exceed 1,000 within hours.

Opioid exec found guilty in bribery case


A jury in Boston has found one-time billionaire and drug company executive John Kapoor and his four co-defendants guilty of a racketeering conspiracy. The federal government accused Kapoor, the founder of Insys Therapeutics, of paying doctors to prescribe its potent opioid medication and then lying to insurance companies to ensure that the expensive Fentanyl-based painkiller would be covered.

Trump takes aim at Obamacare


Taking a hard line on health care, the Trump administration joined a coalition of Republican-led states Wednesday in asking a federal appeals court to entirely overturn former President Barack Obama’s signature health care law. More than 20 million Americans would be at risk of losing their health insurance if the ruling is allowed to stand.

Trump lies again, claims doctors ‘execute’ newborns


“The baby is born. The mother meets with the doctor. They take care of the baby. They wrap the baby beautifully. And then the doctor and the mother determine whether or not they will execute the baby,” Trump told a rally. The comments are the latest in a long string of incendiary statements from the president on abortion.

Anti-polio campaign stopped after attacks


Pakistani health officials have halted two anti-polio campaigns after a health worker and two policemen escorting the vaccination teams were killed in rural Pakistan. Suspicion of the vaccines and the anti-polio campaigns have left some residents concerned, pushing them to take violent action.

GOP senator working on something good


Senate Finance Committee Chair Chuck Grassley announced this week that he is aiming to introduce bipartisan legislation by mid-June to lower drug prices. Grassley is working with the top Democrat on his committee, Sen. Ron Wyden, to try to find a path forward on an issue that is a priority for Democrats. Yay, bipartisanship!

Measles quarantine issued at two California universities


Nearly 300 students and staff at UCLA and Cal State LA are under quarantine as health officials warn they might have been exposed to measles. The news comes at a time when measles cases in the United States have surpassed the highest number on record since the disease was declared eliminated nationwide in 2000.

World’s first malaria vaccine gets a trial run in Africa


Hundreds of thousands of people die from malaria each year around the world. A vaccine against the disease has now been released in Africa, a continent plagued by malaria. Three African countries — Malawi, Kenya, and Ghana — will be the first countries to participate in the WHO’s pilot program for the vaccine, which if successful, will be released worldwide.

Los Angeles facing measles outbreak


The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health announced it is investigating several new reports of measles and warned the chances of being exposed to the disease have increased in the local area. According to the CDC, 2019 is set to break the record for the number of annual measles cases since the disease was declared eliminated in the U.S. in 2000.

Sen Bennet is cancer-free


Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado, who was diagnosed with cancer at the beginning of April, is now cancer-free after a surgery successfully removed the cancer from his prostate. Sen. Bennet now looks to join the already packed group of Democratic candidates running for president.

Did researchers create a zombie pig?


Not exactly, but researchers were able to take the brains of several dead pigs and restore some function to those brains even hours after death. Speaking on what the research achieved, Nenad Sestan, a lead researcher on the project said, “This is not a living brain, but it is a cellularly active brain.”

Doctors in five states charged with prescribing painkillers for cash, sex


Sixty medical professionals were charged with illegally prescribing more than 32 million painkillers. In one case, patients consented to having their teeth pulled so they could obtain opioid prescriptions from a dentist and then paid in cash. ‘‘If these medical professionals behave like drug dealers, you can rest assured that the Justice Department is going to treat them like drug dealers,’’ said Brian Benczkowski, an assistant attorney general.

CDC reports surge of nearly 20% in confirmed cases of measles in US


The number of confirmed cases of measles in the United States this year jumped by nearly 20 percent, making it country’s second-worst outbreak in nearly two decades. The outbreak has been caused by a growing and vocal fringe of parents in the United States who oppose vaccines believing that they can cause autism, something that’s contrary to all available scientific evidence.

New Ebola outbreak becomes growing concern


What makes the latest outbreak of the disease even more concerning is that this the first Ebola outbreak to occur in what is essentially a war zone. Multiple rebel groups are active in Congo’s northeast, killing hundreds of people in recent years. Attacks have led to a traumatized population that can be extremely wary of outsiders.

Madagascar measles epidemic kills more than 1,200 people


An outbreak of measles has infected nearly 87,000 people across Madagascar since last October, and the country’s health sector is working to stem the spread of the disease. The Ministry of Public Health and its civil society partners have launched an aggressive vaccination campaign across the country in hopes of slowing the spread of the disease.

Imani Barbarin: Policy polices whether disabled people are ‘too happy’


“A new policy proposal by the Trump administration calls for the surveillance of disabled people’s social media profiles to determine the necessity of their disability benefits. The proposal, which reportedly aims to cut down on the number of fraudulent disability claims would monitor the profiles of disabled people and flag content that shows them doing physical activities. When it comes down to it, the policy dictates that disabled people shouldn’t be seen living their lives for fear of losing vital financial aid and, possibly, medical care.”

Drug-resistant superbug spreads across US


A superbug fungus, Candida auris, has now reached 12 states and infected more than 600 people. The fungus is resistant to nearly all anti-fungal medications available and is highly contagious. The fungus kills 30-60% of all who become infected.

How bad will the NYC measles outbreak get?


A growing measles outbreak in New York City has led officials to declare a public health emergency in parts of the city. “I would expect that this outbreak is going to get bigger before it comes under control,” said Dr. Amesh Adalja of The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. “There are pockets that have lower than required [vaccination rates] to keep measles at bay.” It’s in these areas where there’s potential for a lot of measles spread.