DAILY DOSE: Heatwave melts European infrastructure; Brain implants that read thoughts enter clinical trials.


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Say what you want about climate change. There’s no denying that it’s been swelteringly hot in places that don’t normally suffer from extended bouts of heat. Not only that, record temperatures are being registered all over, particularly in Great Britain. Per the Associated Press, “Britain’s record-breaking heat wave disrupted travel for a third day and firefighters remained on alert Wednesday even as cloudy skies and showers brought relief after two days of scorching temperatures. Forecasters predict London will reach a high of 26 Celsius (79 Fahrenheit) on Wednesday, down from the record 40.3C (104.4F) set Tuesday at Coningsby in eastern England. Still, the main train line from London to Edinburgh will remain closed until noon as crews work to repair power lines and signaling equipment damaged by a heat-related fire on Tuesday, according to the London North Eastern Railway.” The London Fire Brigade had its busiest day since World War II on Tuesday as firefighters received more than 2,600 calls and at one point were fighting 12 fires simultaneously, Mayor Sadiq Khan said. At least 41 properties in the city were destroyed, he said. Sixteen firefighters were treated for smoke inhalation and other injuries. https://bit.ly/3OlAHol


Score yet another point for the anti-abortion contingent. According to the AP, “The Mississippi abortion clinic that was at the center of the U.S. Supreme Court decision that overturned Roe v. Wade ended a lawsuit Tuesday in which it had sought to block the state from enforcing a law that bans most abortions. Jackson Women’s Health Organization dropped its litigation a day after clinic owner Diane Derzis told The Associated Press that she sold the facility and had no intention to reopen it, even if a state court allowed her to do so. ‘If the clinic is not in a position to reopen in Mississippi, it no longer has a basis to pursue this case in the courts,’ Rob McDuff, a Mississippi Center for Justice attorney who was among those representing the clinic, said in a statement. Derzis said the clinic’s furniture and equipment have been moved to a new abortion clinic she will open soon in Las Cruces, New Mexico.” There’s an increasing air of desperation among pro-choice activists in states that lost their abortion rights. Understandable. https://bit.ly/3cmtbMx


Brain implants that have the potential to turn paraplegics’ lives upside down for the better are closer to reality. According to Fierce Biotech, “In a milestone that could turn sci-fi into fact, the first U.S. clinical trial of a brain implant that returns the power of communication to severely paralyzed people has begun. Synchron’s Stentrode system was implanted in the trial’s first participant at Mount Sinai West hospital in New York City, the company announced Tuesday, kicking off an FDA-authorized study of a device that aims to convert the thoughts of people with paralysis into actions. Unlike other proposed brain-computer interfaces, Synchron’s BCI technology doesn’t require open-brain surgery or any drilling into the skull. Instead, it can be put in place in a minimally invasive surgery that takes only about two hours.” Just thinking about the Stentrode system becoming a reality blows the mind. https://bit.ly/3B3vm1L


Everyone knows the United States has a serious public health problem in the form of millions of uninsured people who have questionable access to quality healthcare. We just want to drive home how dire the situation is for people of color. Per the MMWR, “During 2019–2020, the percentage of U.S. adults aged 18–64 years who were uninsured was 14.4%. Among all race and Hispanic origin groups, non-Hispanic Asian adults (7.8%) were the least likely to be uninsured followed by non-Hispanic White (9.7%), non-Hispanic Black (14.6%), and Hispanic adults (30.4%). Among the non-Hispanic Asian subgroups shown, adults of Korean (14.3%) origin were more likely to be uninsured than adults of Asian Indian (4.8%) and Chinese (6.5%) origin. Other observed differences were not statistically significant.” What makes things worse is that having Roe v Wade overturned now forces women to incur healthcare costs they wouldn’t have had otherwise. https://bit.ly/3RLY65a

Thanks for reading. Let’s be careful out there.

IMAGE: Mark Ramsay.

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