A Hefty Price to Pay: A Scientific American Science Agenda column highlighted the astronomical costs of giving birth in the United States of America. According to Amanda Montañez, the actual cost of delivering a baby depends on a variety of factors such as hospital location, type of delivery, and whether the patient is insured. Median charges for traditional births costs anywhere between $10,000 to $20,000. Caesarean births start well over $20,000 and peak over $30,000. Montañez makes the case that midwifery offers a good option that also brings down costs. http://bit.ly/2HrXSAc

Why We’re Not Monkeys: Neuroscientists followed the activity of single neurons in the brain for the first time, discovering differences between humans and other primates. Researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science and the University of California, Los Angeles determined that human brains forego tight neuronal signal synchronicity for the ability to process information efficiently. Their findings were published in the journal, Cell. https://go.nature.com/2S4k5bE

Anti-vaxxers On Par with Ebola: The World Health Organization released an urgent list of the Top Ten threats to global health in 2019. In no particular order, they included: air pollution and climate change; noncommunicable diseases; a global influenza pandemic; fragile and vulnerable settings; antimicrobial resistance; Ebola and other high-threat pathogens; weak primary health care; Dengue fever; HIV; and rounding out the list, the rabid (and retrograde) anti-vaccine movement. http://bit.ly/2HslvZo

Just a Minute: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has hit the brakes on Translate Bio’s mRNA treatment for ornithine transcarbamylase (OTC) deficiency. According to Fierce Biotechnology, the FDA had “additional clinical and non clinical questions” regarding the drug candidate, MRT5201. Translate Bio originally submitted the application for the drug in December. OTC deficiency is an X-linked disease in which high ammonia levels in the blood affects the nervous system. http://bit.ly/2S3nbMS

That’s a Big Rocket: An animation showing Blue Origin’s heavy load rocket, “New Glenn.” They still have some catching up to do with SpaceX which has already tested their heavy load rocket, the Falcon 9. Anyway, here, watch away.

REALLY?!: Finally, Arizona State Representative Gail Griffin (R-Hereford) has proposed a $20 tax on anyone viewing online porn. Arizona House Bill 2444 would require routers and modems and other Internet connection devices to default to a blocked-porn setting that required users to pay a fee to unlock it. The money would be used to fund the President of the United States and Republican Party’s border wall that has been the cause of so much government-shutdown grief. You can’t make this stuff up. Trust me, I’ve tried. http://bit.ly/2RXwJct
IMAGE SOURCE: Creative Commons

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