By Lisa Rapaport (Reuters Health) - The proportion of U.S. babies born suffering from withdrawal syndrome after exposure to heroin or prescription opiates in utero has more than doubled in less than a decade, a study suggests. Researchers focused on what’s known as neonatal abstinence syndrome, a condition akin to withdrawal that develops when babies essentially become addicted to drugs their mothers use during pregnancy. Nationally, the rate of neonatal abstinence syndrome involving mothers’ use of opiates - which includes heroin as well as prescription narcotics like codeine and Vicodin - surged from 2.8 cases for every 1,000 births in 2009 to 7.3 cases for every 1,000 births in 2013, the study found. At least some of this surge in the case count is due to drug policies designed to crack down on prescription drug abuse and combat the methamphetamine epidemic, said lead study author Dr. Joshua Brown, a pharmacy researcher at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. “The drug policies of the early 2000s were effective in reducing supply – we have seen a decrease in methamphetamine abuse and there have been reductions in some aspects of prescription drug abuse,” Brown said by email. “However, the indirect results, mainly the increase in heroin abuse, were likely not anticipated and we are just starting to see these.” The findings of the current study add to a growing body of evidence pointing to a surge in births of babies suffering from opiate withdrawal. One report last month from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found an even bigger spike over a longer period, from 1.5 cases for every 1,000 births in 1999 to 6 cases per 1,000 in 2013. CDC researchers also found wide variation in neonatal abstinence syndrome by state, ranging in 2013 from 0.7 cases for every 1,000 births in Hawaii to 33.4 cases per 1,000 in West Virginia. “We know that certain states are harder hit by the opioid/heroin abuse epidemic, with about 10 states contributing half of all neonatal abstinence syndrome cases,” Brown said. “These states are often more rural and impoverished areas of the U.S. such as Mississippi, Alabama, and West Virginia.” Brown and colleagues looked at Kentucky in particular. Here, the rate of neonatal abstinence syndrome climbed from 5 cases for every 1,000 births in 2008 to 21.2 cases per 1,000 births in 2014, researchers report in JAMA Pediatrics. While the study didn’t look at health outcomes for babies born suffering from drug withdrawal, these infants often require intensive medical care. (See Reuters’ 2015 special report “Helpless and Hooked” here: http://reut.rs/1NSc7uC) These babies may have central nervous system issues like seizures and tremors, gastrointestinal problems and feeding difficulties, breathing challenges, as well as unstable body temperatures. Typically, they remain in the hospital for several weeks after birth and receive low doses of methadone, a medicine designed to wean addicts off heroin and prescription opiates, Brown said. Treatment can ease withdrawal symptoms in newborns, but can’t necessarily address developmental problems these infants may have later on, said Dr. William Carey, a pediatrics researcher at pediatrics at Mayo Clinic Children’s Center in Rochester, Minnesota. “While abuse of prescription opiates has declined, the use of illicit opiates has increased such that there may be a zero-sum game at best,” Carey, who wasn’t involved in the study, said by email. “Since maternal use of either prescription opiates or illicit opiates is associated with withdrawal in newborns, it is reasonable to think that any increase in the overall use of opiates would be linked to an increase in the rate of neonatal abstinence syndrome.” SOURCE: http://bit.ly/2d4l3zv JAMA Pediatrics, online September 26, 2016.
- NBC News
"The situation at the border isn't going to be transformed overnight," a senior Biden transition official told NBC News in an exclusive interview.
After a probe found "significant errors of judgment and procedure" in the termination of the employee, GitHub's head of human resources resigned, GitHub Chief Operating Officer Erica Brescia said on Sunday. "In light of these findings, we immediately reversed the decision to separate with the employee and are in communication with his representative," Brescia said in a blog https://bit.ly/2KnkVhI, adding that the company apologized to that employee.
- The Week
Luke Mogelson, a veteran war correspondent and contributing writer for The New Yorker, captured what appears to be the "clearest" footage yet of the deadly riot at the United States Capitol earlier this month.Mogelson attended (in a journalistic capacity) President Trump's rally on Jan. 6, which preceded the pro-Trump mob's march to and breach of the capitol. He followed the rioters into the building and filmed a group that entered the empty Senate chamber. They began taking photos of documents in the room as part of a self-declared "information operation." One man said he was attempting to find something that he could "use against these scumbags," while another said he thought Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) "would want us to do this."> This video from @NewYorker is incredible. > > A man rifles through confidential Senate documents and says, “I think @tedcruz would want us to do this.” pic.twitter.com/GowauKXpaq> > — Sawyer Hackett (@SawyerHackett) January 17, 2021In a later scene, Mogelson witnessed Jake Angeli, otherwise known as Q Shaman, sitting in Vice President Mike Pence's chair, as a lone Capitol Police officer tried unsuccessfully to get him to move. He also gathered footage from outside the Capitol, including a large crowd aggressively forcing its way into the building, as well as a man telling people around him to "start making a list, put all those names down" and "start hunting them down one by one."The New Yorker notes that although the footage was "not originally intended for publication, it documents a historic event and serves as a visceral complement to Mogelson's probing, illuminating" written feature. Read the full report here and watch the complete footage here.More stories from theweek.com 5 more scathing cartoons about Trump's 2nd impeachment How 'bewildered' Trump campaign aides would reportedly discreetly escape election challenge meetings The pandemic windfall
- The Telegraph
Scientists say Colombia must cull its so-called “cocaine hippos” that roam the Magdalena river basin as they are breeding voraciously and are an increasing menace. The marshlands of Colombia have been home to these giant mammals since they were illegally imported in the late 1980s by the notorious drug lord, Pablo Escobar. When he was shot dead in 1993, the Colombian government took control of his extravagant estate, including his personal zoo. Most of the animals were shipped away, but four hippos were left to fend for themselves in a pond, and now there are dozens of them living in the wild. Although nobody knows exactly how many there are, estimates put the total number between 80 and 100, making them the largest invasive species on the planet. Scientists forecast that the number of hippos will swell to almost 1,500 by 2040. They conclude, that at that point, environmental impacts will be irreversible and numbers impossible to control. “Nobody likes the idea of shooting a hippo, but we have to accept that no other strategy is going to work,” ecologist Nataly Castelblanco-Martínez told The Telegraph.
- Associated Press
Lebanon finalized a deal with Pfizer on Sunday for 2.1 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine amid surge in infections that has overwhelmed the country's health care system. The doses are to arrive in Lebanon starting early February, according to Lebanon’s health ministry. The government's statement said the Pfizer vaccines will be complemented with another 2.7 million doses from the U.N.-led program to provide for countries in need.
- NBC News
She displayed “a round metallic object later identified as a Military Police Challenge Coin” and said she was part of law enforcement, police said.
A Saudi appeals court has nearly halved a six-year jail sentence handed to a U.S.-Saudi physician whose case has been closely followed by Washington and suspended the rest of his term, court documents showed, meaning he will not have to serve any more time in prison. Prominent physician Walid al-Fitaihi was detained in 2017 under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's anti-corruption campaign, and was sentenced last month to six years in prison. U.S. senators condemned the sentencing.
- National Review
Senator Rand Paul (R., Ky.) warned Friday that one-third of Republican voters could leave the party if GOP senators vote in impeachment proceedings to convict President Trump. Paul made the comments in an interview on Fox News’ The Ingraham Angle. The senator’s remarks come amid an increasing divide between congressional Republicans who oppose impeaching the president and a smaller number who support the measure following the riots at the Capitol on January 6. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) is reportedly hopeful that Republicans can use impeachment to purge Trump from the GOP, although he would need the support of at least 16 additional Republican senators to vote to convict. “Look, I didn’t agree with the [Capitol] fight that happened last week, and I voted against overturning the election, but at the same time, the impeachment is a wrongheaded, partisan notion, [and] if Republicans go along with it, it’ll destroy the party,” Paul said during the interview. “A third of the Republicans will leave the party,” Paul continued. “This isn’t about, anymore, the Electoral College, this is about the future of the party, and whether you’re going to ostracize and excommunicate President Trump from the party. Well, guess what? Millions of his fans will leave as well.” While a majority of Americans believe Trump should be removed from office immediately, just 17 percent of Republicans support expelling Trump from the presidency, according to an Axios–Ipsos poll released on Thursday. Support for Trump among Republicans has fallen since the Capitol riots; however, 60 percent believe the party should continue to follow Trump once he leaves office, an ABC News/Washington Post poll found.
- Yahoo News Video
A 16-year-old boy has admitted to fatally shooting his newborn daughter and leaving her body inside a fallen tree in the woods in Wisconsin, according to prosecutors.
- The Telegraph
Almost a third of recovered Covid patients will end up back in hospital within five months and one in eight will die, alarming new figures have shown. Research by Leicester University and the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found there is a devastating long-term toll on survivors of severe coronavirus, with many people developing heart problems, diabetes and chronic liver and kidney conditions. Out of 47,780 people who were discharged from hospital in the first wave, 29.4 per cent were readmitted to hospital within 140 days, and 12.3 per cent of the total died. The current cut-off point for recording Covid deaths is 28 days after a positive test, so it may mean thousands more people should be included in the coronavirus death statistics. Researchers have called for urgent monitoring of people who have been discharged from hospital.
- The Week
Israel has vaccinated at least 25 percent of its population against the coronavirus so far, which leads the world and makes it "the country to country watch for herd effects from" the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, says infectious disease expert David Fishman. Recently, the case rate in Israel appears to have declined sharply, and while there could be a few reasons for that, it's possible the vaccination effort is beginning to play a role.> Israel's reproduction number appears to have declined rather sharply in recent days, with around 25% of the country vaccinated, and some additional percentage having at least partial immunity via prior infection. pic.twitter.com/sVyCYYd9dj> > — David Fisman (@DFisman) January 17, 2021One study from Clalit that was published last week reports that 14 days after receiving the first Pfizer-BioNTech shot, infection rates among 200,000 Israelis older than 60 fell 33 percent among those vaccinated compared to 200,000 from the same demographic who hadn't received a jab.At first glance, Fishman writes, that might seem disappointing since clinical trials suggested the vaccine was more than 90 percent effective. But he actually believes the 33 percent figure is "auspicious." Because vaccinated and non-vaccinated people are mingling, there could be "herd effects of immunization." In other words, when inoculated people interact with people who haven't had their shot, the latter individual may still be protected because the other person is. On a larger scale, that would drive down the number of infections among non-vaccinated people, thus shrinking the rate gap between the two groups. > Estimated vaccine efficacy is a function of relative risk of infection in the vaccinated...when there is indirect protection via herd effects, we expect efficacy estimates to decrease because the risk among unvaccinated individuals declines.> > — David Fisman (@DFisman) January 17, 2021More data needs to come in, and Fishman thinks "we'll know more" this week, but he's cautiously optimistic about how things are going.More stories from theweek.com 5 more scathing cartoons about Trump's 2nd impeachment How 'bewildered' Trump campaign aides would reportedly discreetly escape election challenge meetings The pandemic windfall
- The Independent
‘It was my pleasure to crush a white nationalist insurrection’: DC officer injured in Capitol riot speaks out
Daniel Hodges recounted pro-Trump mob’s attempt to crush him inside a doorway during siege on 6 January
- Associated Press
Brazil’s health regulator on Sunday approved the urgent use of coronavirus vaccines made by Sinovac and AstraZeneca, enabling Latin America’s largest nation to begin an immunization program that’s been subject to months of delay and political disputes. Brazil currently has 6 million doses of Sinovac’s CoronaVac vaccine ready to distribute in the next few days, and is awaiting the arrival of another 2 million doses of the vaccine made by AstraZeneca and partner Oxford University. On Saturday night, the health regulator Anvisa rejected an application for use of a Russian vaccine called Sputnik V, submitted by Brazilian company União Química.
Guatemalan security forces on Sunday used sticks and tear gas to beat back a large migrant caravan bound for the United States, just days before the advent of a new U.S. administration, which urged travelers to abandon the journey. Between 7,000 and 8,000 migrants, including families with young children, have entered Guatemala since Friday, authorities say, fleeing poverty and violence in a region hammered by the coronavirus pandemic and back-to-back hurricanes in November. A large section of the caravan clashed on a road early on Sunday with Guatemalan security officials, some 3,000 of whom had mustered by the village of Vado Hondo, about 55 km (34 miles) from the borders of Honduras and El Salvador.
The white woman caught on tape getting into a physical altercation with a Black female security guard the evening before the Capitol riots lost her job at UMass Hospital. The termination occurred after her daughter went viral for exposing her identity on social media. On January 5th, Therese Duke and a group of pro-Trump protesters that included other family members were filmed harassing Ashanti Smith, a security guard working at Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington D.C.
- Miami Herald
“I thought, ‘This could be the end,’” the D.C. police officer said.
- Associated Press
Egypt’s former antiquities minister and noted archaeologist Zahi Hawass on Sunday revealed details of an ancient funerary temple in a vast necropolis south of Cairo. Hawass told reporters at the Saqqara necropolis that archaeologists unearthed the temple of Queen Neit, wife of King Teti, the first king of the Sixth Dynasty that ruled Egypt from 2323 B.C. till 2150 B.C. Archaeologists also found a 4-meter (13-foot) long papyrus that includes texts of the Book of the Dead, which is a collection of spells aimed at directing the dead through the underworld in ancient Egypt, he said.
- National Review
Senator Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) on Sunday advised the president not to grant presidential pardons to the rioters who stormed the Capitol this month, warning that doing so would “destroy” Trump. “Mr. President, your policies will stand the test of time. You’re the most important figure in the Republican party. You can shape the direction of the party. Keep your movement alive,” Graham said on Fox News. “There are a lot of people urging the president to pardon folks who participated in defiling the Capitol, the rioters,” Graham continued. “I don’t care if you went there and spread flowers on the floor, you breached the security of the Capitol, you interrupted a joint session of Congress, you tried to intimidate us all, you should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and to seek a pardon of these people would be wrong. I think it would destroy President Trump and I hope we don’t go down that road.” On Wednesday, a large group of Trump supporters overpowered Capitol Police and forced their way into the halls of Congress. Pence and the assembled lawmakers evacuated the Senate floor, where a joint session of Congress was being held to certify the presidential election results. The violence followed a rally outside the White House earlier in the day where President Trump addressed the “Save America March” and repeated his claims that November’s election was rife with voter fraud that threatened to deprive him of his rightful second term. The violence on January 6 resulted in five dead, including a Capitol Police officer. Since then, dozens of criminal cases have been brought in connection with the riot. Graham defended Trump’s rhetoric at the rally, which received bipartisan condemnation and sparked a second impeachment against the president by House Democrats. “President Trump never said, ‘Go into the capitol and try to interrupt a joint session of Congress.’ That was the choice they made and they need to live with that choice,” Graham said. Graham added that there were “irregularities in mail-in voting,” but said “the election is over,” noting that the electoral votes have been certified.” “It is now time to move on,” the South Carolina Republican said. Graham also had a message for incoming president Joe Biden, calling on him to stand up against the second impeachment of Trump, which the Senate is expected to take up after he leaves office.
- The Independent
Biden’s plan to get 100m Americans vaccinated in first 100 days is ‘doable,’ Dr Fauci says
Britain reported its lowest number of daily new coronavirus infections since the start of the year on Saturday, adding to signs that a national lockdown is slowing the spread of a more infectious variant of the disease. However the effect of the recent surge in cases remains clear in the death toll, which was the third-highest on record. Britain has Europe's highest death toll - though more have died in Italy and Belgium on a per capita basis.