DRUGS APPROVED DECADE AGO CAN CURE HEPATITIS C, BUT MANY INFECTED AMERICANS STILL CAN’T GET THEM:
For a decade now, the world has had highly effective medications for hepatitis C infections. In the United States, they’ve mostly been sitting on the shelf, according to a new study. These drugs are called direct-acting antivirals because they block proteins the virus needs to copy itself. Sold as pills, these drugs are easy to take with almost no side effects and they cure an astonishing 95% of the patients who take them … American patients – who pay more than twice as much for prescription drugs as patients in 32 other wealthy countries – are often unable to afford them. Using testing data from Quest Diagnostics, a large commercial laboratory, researchers were able to track the fates of 1 million Americans diagnosed with hepatitis C infections in the decade since the most effective drugs were introduced. Overall, just 1 in 3 were cured over that time period. “Today nearly 15,000 Americans die annually from hepatitis C,” said Dr. Jonathan Mermin, director of the National Center for HIV, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention at the CDC. “These deaths could have been prevented. Thousands of people are dying every year in our country and many more are suffering from an infection that has been curable for over 10 years.”
Tap Water In The United States?
Nearly half of the tap water in the United States is estimated to have at least one type of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substance, or PFAS, a new national study from the U.S. Geological Survey released recently shows. The group of chemicals, commonly used in consumer products like non-stick cookware and linings of fast food boxes, have been linked to human illnesses like cancer, low birth weight, and thyroid disease. The agency claims it’s the first comprehensive study of its kind on unregulated private wells – giving average consumers information about the risks of PFAS when they grab a glass of water from their kitchen sink, said Kelly Smalling, the study’s lead author and research hydrologist.
Brown University Survey Finds LGBT Identification Driven By Social Pressures:
New survey data from Brown University’s student newspaper provides further evidence that the increase in LGBT identification is driven by social pressures. The latest data show that between 2010 and 2023, identification as LGBTQ+ has almost tripled among the student body at Brown (from 14% in 2010 saying they were not heterosexual to 38% now).
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Sex therapist Emily Morse, host of the popular “Sex With Emily” podcast, along with 12 members of the White House staff, 3 Nobel Prize winners, over 100 Academy Award winners, 6 U.S. Senators, and over 300 Grammy Award winners.
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** The world’s richest people have become $852b wealthier in 2023 so far.
** TSA sees record number of travelers screened in one day, with 2,883,595 people entering checkpoints across the US June 30, breaking a previous high set in 2019.
** The world’s greatest rock skipper. WATCH
** Why does Coke taste different at McDonald’s? WATCH
** The most dangerous weapon: biotechnology. WATCH
** How a production designer creates the worlds of Wes Anderson. WATCH
THE DATA EXAMINER – LENS:
Michella Meier-Morsi, pregnant with triplets, shared her enormous baby bump on TikTok.
** Sales are reportedly soaring at buffet operator Golden Corral, up 20% this year, as unlimited helpings help fight back the rising cost of dining out.
** Bee hives have reportedly just gone through the second highest death rate on record, with beekeepers losing 48% of their managed colonies.
** The South Pole scientific bases are slowly sinking into the accumulating snow, requiring millions of dollars of investment to keep planned projects on track.
** Ozempic, taken once a week as a shot in the arm, stomach, or thigh, was first approved by the FDA in 2017 to lower blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes. But the drug came with an incredible side effect: rapid weight loss. In 2021, the FDA greenlit a higher dose semaglutide product, Wegovy – made by the same Danish manufacturer, Novo Nordisk – as an obesity treatment.
** Asia faces a problem: Its population is aging faster than any other continent’s. A growing percentage of people in Japan, South Korea and China are over 65, and those countries’ economies are suffering because of a lack of available workers. Governments are struggling to find the money to support retirees.
** Every president since Nixon had hung a portrait of George Washington above the fireplace in the Oval Office, but not Biden. That spot has instead gone to Franklin D. Roosevelt. When Biden looks up from his desk, he sees the portrait. He tells people that F.D.R. is the president who never forgot about the working class.
** The publisher of Roald Dahl, the famed children’s author who wrote “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” “Matilda,” “James and the Giant Peach,” and “The BFG,” among other works, has collaborated with the Roald Dahl Story Co., which manages the works’ copyrights and trademarks, to make hundreds of alterations in order not to offend anyone with Dahl’s original works. The Roald Dahl Story Co. admitted they had worked with Inclusive Minds, which monitors children’s literature for inclusion, diversity, and accessibility.
** New Mexico is considering a state aroma: green chiles roasting in autumn. If adopted, it’d be the first state to have an official scent.
** The polls are often surprisingly indicative of the eventual result of presidential primaries. The leader in polls conducted in the first quarter of the year before the primaries has won the nomination more often than not in the modern primary era, dating to the 1970s. Even when front-runners lose, they usually succumb to another candidate with significant support in the early polls.
** Coinbase reported $629m in Q4 revenue, down ~75% YoY, beating analyst expectations. Monthly transacting users (MTUs) came in at 8.3m.
** James Cameron’s Avatar: The Way of Water just grossed $2.243bn at the global box office, edging past his original water-based movie, Titanic.
** Supermarkets putting high-valued items in locked cases may have stopped thieves but it’s also stopped sales, with purchases down 15% to 25%.
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Active Shooter Incidents 2018-2022 Killed and Wounded.
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Whole Foods Market In San Francisco Closed Over Growing Crime In The Downtown Area
The popular grocery store chain shuttered its SF flagship location a little more than a year after it opened, citing worker safety concerns. “We are closing our Trinity location only for the time being,” a Whole Foods spokesperson told the local outlet in a statement. “If we feel we can ensure the safety of our team members in the store, we will evaluate a reopening of our Trinity location.” The company said rampant drug use and growing crime led to its decision, a city hall source said. The Whole Foods store had already reduced its hours after experiencing “high theft” and hostile patrons, a store manager said.
Tylenol Murders Suspect Dead:
James Lewis, the only suspect in the 1982 Tylenol murders, was found dead Sunday in his apartment outside Boston, according to reports. Lewis, 76, had served 12 years in prison for extortion charges related to the incident but was never charged with murder. The case remains open over 40 years later. In September 1982, seven people died within a 24-hour period in the Chicago area, immediately after taking over-the-counter Extra Strength Tylenol. Investigators later discovered the Tylenol had been laced with cyanide poison, causing a scare across the nation and ultimately leading to the development of tamper-proof packaging. Lewis was arrested three months later for writing a letter to Tylenol-maker Johnson & Johnson demanding a $1m payment to stop the killings, prompting the then-largest search in U.S. history. He denied involvement in the murders, claiming the letter was a hoax on his wife’s ex-boss. Read a narrative of the case here or listen to a podcast retelling here.
Award-Winning Beach Read:
If you lose the love of your life … can you love again?
From Award-Winning Author R.A. Lee – TalesByRALee.com
** Emerging research is starting to suggest that reducing the intensity of cancer treatments may not affect certain patients’ chance of survival. With that clearer data, more oncologists appear to be scaling back the use of aggressive or uncomfortable therapies in consideration of their patients’ quality of life, a move described as de-escalation. De-escalation describes when optimal care could be achieved with less treatment rather than more. A growing body of research suggests that this approach could have benefits for people with certain cancers. “The trouble in cancer care is, the medicine can definitely give people side effects,” damaging healthy cells or organs, said Dr. Tatjana Kolevska, medical director for the Kaiser Permanente National Cancer Excellence Program. “In cancer, the fear and anxiety are huge, so it’s very frequent that we may use more, which could make people very sick,” she said. “We want to try everything to treat a patient, but in some cases, too much of an aggressive treatment could do more harm than good.”
** Until a few years ago, even as the opioid epidemic raged, health providers and researchers paid limited attention to drug use by older adults; concerns focused on the younger, working-age victims who were hardest hit. But as baby boomers have turned 65, the age at which they typically qualify for Medicare, substance use disorders among the older population have climbed steeply. “Cohorts have habits around drug and alcohol use that they carry through life,” said Keith Humphreys, a psychologist and addiction researcher at the Stanford University School of Medicine.
** Potential Alzheimer’s treatment reduces cognitive decline by 35% in patients exhibiting early stages of the disease, clinical trials show.
** When researchers at the CDC conducted routine inspections of thousands of public U.S. swimming pools and hot tubs as part of a 2016 study, they found that 9.2% of pools, and 19.2% of hot tubs, violated disinfection requirements – for instance, by not having enough chlorine in them. Many of the pools’ pH levels were also at levels that didn’t meet recommended guidelines, which is worrying because pH affects how well chlorine disinfects.
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** A prominent professor has lost his job after apparently faking the results in at least six studies about race in America. A fellow of the American Society of Criminology, Eric Stewart made a name for himself with research showing just how racist Americans are. One study “showed” that as black and Hispanic communities grew, the white people around them wanted more discriminatory sentencing. But it turns out his data was all fake. And then everyone around Stewart worked to hide that fact. The revelation came from one of his own coauthors, Professor Justin Pickett, who published a deep-dive skeptical review of Stewart’s work in 2020, writing: “The findings suggest that the five articles were likely fraudulent” and “several coauthors acted with negligence bordering on complicity after learning about the data irregularities.”
** New York City has a new rat czar, and it is impossible to overstate the urgency of her mission. The rats are everywhere.
** Four sons of the drug lord El Chapo face new charges in the U.S. related to the trafficking of fentanyl.
** Broadway theater owners are trying to block a casino proposal in Times Square that’s backed by Caesars and Jay-Z.
** A California church has been ordered to pay over $1m in COVID fines after the church did not enforce a county’s social distancing and masking requirements. Superior Court Judge Evette Pennypacker ordered Calvary Chapel San Jose to pay $1.2m in fines after it did not follow COVID restrictions put in place by Santa Clara County, requirements the church said violated their religious freedom.
** A pair of Air Jordan 13s worn by Michael Jordan during the ’98 NBA Finals – his final year with the Chicago Bulls – auctioned for $2.2m, becoming the most valuable shoes ever sold.
** Japan will get its first casino in an $8.2b complex in Osaka. It’s expected to open in 2029.
** Apple says 100% of its batteries will be made with recycled cobalt by 2025. Only 25% of its cobalt usage last year was recycled.
** Montana approved a bill that would make it illegal to download TikTok. A TikTok spokesperson argued that preventing downloads in a single state would be nearly impossible.
** Ten years ago, the Los Angeles Police Department celebrated a historic hiring milestone, announcing the city had reached a target sought by at least two mayors and multiple police chiefs: 10,000 officers. Now, within a three-year span, those gains have been erased. The LAPD is hemorrhaging officers, with more leaving the force than are joining it.
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