Pill Injectors at Higher Risk for Hepatitis C than Heroin Injectors

This month the American Journal of Public Health published an article with surprising new findings: People who inject prescription opioid analgesics (pain pills) are 5 times more likely to be hepatitis C infected than people who inject other drugs like heroin or cocaine.

The study also reports that people who share injection equipment, such as cookers, cottons and water are 4 times more likely to be infected with hepatitis C than people who do not share injection equipment. Last week I spoke with Jon Zibbell, researcher with the Division of Viral Hepatitis at the Centers for Disease Control and lead author on the report, to ask about the science behind these extraordinary findings.

TC: Why would injecting prescription opioids tablets put people at greater risk for hepatitis C than injecting heroin or other drugs?

JZ: That is the million dollar question. Unfortunately, we don’t know for sure, meaning there are no agreed-upon reasons in the literature, but I have a few hypotheses. One possibility is that when people crush pills and add water, the inert ingredients absorb most of the added water, leaving almost no available solution to draw into the syringe. So folks often add more and more water to the —> Read More Here

White House Halts Funding On Risky Flu Studies

CHICAGO, Oct 20 (Reuters) – The White House has temporarily stopped funding new research involving the flu and other pathogens in which scientists deliberately make them more transmissible or more deadly.
The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy announced the government is assessing the potential risks and benefits of so-called “gain-of-function” studies.
The U.S. government said it will pause funding for any new studies that include gain-of-function experiments involving flu, SARS and the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome or MERS viruses, the White House said in a statement posted on Friday.
It is also asking that those conducting this type of work, whether federally funded or not, to “voluntarily pause” their research while risks and benefits are being reassessed.
Studies involving naturally occurring flu, MERS, and SARS —> Read More Here

Video: Fly Over a Weird Landscape on Mars in 3-D

This isn’t quite like Luke’s trench run in the Battle of Yavin, but it’s waaay more awesome in that this is real.

Go grab your red–green or red–blue 3-D glasses (you always have a pair right by your desk, right?) and enjoy this great flyover video from ESA showcasing some very interesting landforms on Mars that planetary geologists refer to as ‘chaotic terrain.’ There’s nothing quite like this on Earth, and scattered throughout a large area to both the west and east of Valles Marineris are hundreds of isolated mountains up to 2,000 meters high. “Seen from orbit, they form a bizarre, chaotic pattern,” say scientists from the Mars Express orbiter.
Read the rest of Video: Fly Over a Weird Landscape on Mars in 3-D (169 words)

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