HAVE YOUR SAY.
Join us in The Bullpen, where the members of the Scientific Inquirer community get to shape the site’s editorial decision making. We’ll be discussing people and companies to profile on the site. On Wednesday, September 14 at 5:30pm EST, join us on Discord and let’s build the best Scientific Inquirer possible.
AMERICANS SOUR ON HEALTHCARE SYSTEM.
Long-touted by some Americans as the best system in the world, the country’s healthcare sector’s cracks are showing more and more these days. Turns out, most American’s don’t hold it in high esteem, at least according to a recent poll. Per the Associated Press, “The poll reveals that public satisfaction with the U.S. health care system is remarkably low, with fewer than half of Americans saying it is generally handled well. Only 12% say it is handled extremely or very well. Americans have similar views about health care for older adults.
Overall, the public gives even lower marks for how prescription drug costs, the quality of care at nursing homes and mental health care are being handled, with just 6 percent or less saying those health services are done very well in the country.”
It’s hard to ignore the effects Covid-19 and mass shootings have had on the American psyche. https://bit.ly/3QzXu0Q
SOME REPUBLICANS HAVING SECOND THOUGHTS ON HARD ANTI-ABORTION STANCE.
Bob Dylan once said, “You don’t need a Weather Man to know which way the wind blows.” He was absolutely right and the phrase could be applied to Republican strategists across the United States. An increasing number of politicians are adjusting their messages to address the backlash against the overturning of Roe v Wade. Per The Guardian, “The moves comes amid a ferocious backlash to the decision that has seen Democrat hopes in the midterm elections revived and even see a solidly red state like Kansas vote in a referendum to keep some abortion rights.
With midterm elections approaching, abortion has also served as a prime motivator for women voters across the country, especially among Democrats and fueling striking special-election successes for the party seeking to hold both houses of Congress.”
After years of holding staunch anti-abortion views, these turnarounds smack of disingenuousness. Will the voters be swayed? https://bit.ly/3DjBqEC
INSIDE THE STORM.
Onset of severe Covid-19 has been as much a mystery as long Covid. A recent study featured in Science makes the case for one way in which the more deadly form of the infection may occur. The mechanism entails IFN-I and cytokine storms. According to Science, “In severe COVID-19, macrophages induce cytokine storms, which can lead to poor patient outcomes. However, macrophages are not directly infected by SARS-CoV-2, so how this cytokine storm is induced remains unclear. Here, Laurent et al. used COVID-19 patient databases and cell culture to identify that the macrophage-induced cytokine storm was linked to IFN-I signaling in patient lungs. Plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) were the main producers of IFN-I, because they were directly infected with SARS-CoV-2, which triggered TLR7 activation. This IFN-I made macrophages more responsive to environmental stimuli, thus triggering the production of multiple cytokines. Thus, the authors present a mechanism whereby pDCs are infected by SARS-CoV-2, subsequently producing IFN-I, and stimulating a macrophage-mediated cytokine storm during SARS-CoV-2 infection.” https://bit.ly/3LeckJm
Researchers and automotive industry technicians are beginning to walk back the “autonomous” in autonomous vehicles. According to Reuters, “Autonomous vehicle (AV) startups have raised tens of billions of dollars based on promises to develop truly self-driving cars, but industry executives and experts say remote human supervisors may be needed permanently to help robot drivers in trouble.
Making robot cars that can drive more safely than people is immensely tough because self-driving software systems simply lack humans’ ability to predict and assess risk quickly, especially when encountering unexpected incidents or “edge cases.’” Autonomous cars represent one of the best ways the tech industry can offer consumers a glimpse into the artificial intelligence future. When the reality of new technologies falls short of the promise constantly expounded by its proponents, it can result in what’s called an “AI winter” wherein disappointment leads to a long period of stagnation. Hopefully that isn’t the case here. https://reut.rs/3QQBqzf
MALARIA VACCINE SHOWS PROMISE.
Malaria is a massive problem around the world, particularly in developing nations which tend to be located along the world’s warmer equatorial belt. One of the latest vaccines being clinically tested is offering public health officials hope that a solution may be available sooner than later. Per Nature,
“A promising malaria vaccine was up to 80% effective at preventing the disease in young children who received a booster shot one year after their initial dose, exceeding a World Health Organization (WHO) target of 75% efficacy.
The clinical trial results, published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases on 7 September, add to data released last year, and show that immune responses — which waned over the year following the initial dose of vaccine — can be boosted back to initial levels.”
Malaria resulted in 620,000 deaths in 2021, the latest year of available records. https://go.nature.com/3U2shGt
Thanks for reading. Let’s be careful out there.