Medical Notes this week…


One of the hottest points of debate about reopening from COVID-19 has been in schools. But new research shows that reopening schools can be safe to do. In fact, researchers say it’s rare to spread the virus at school when they follow safe practices. The study in the journal Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report shows that with masks, social distancing, and frequent hand-washing, Covid transmission is rare at school even with close contact with someone who’s infected.

The brain cancer glioblastoma has no cure… but that may be changing. A small study in the journal Science Translational Medicine shows that an experimental nanotherapeutic drug is able to cross the blood-brain barrier to trigger the death of glioblastoma cells. Glioblastoma affects up to 15,000 people in the United States each year… and up to now, it’s uniformly fatal.

And finally… as air pollution from cars declines, scientists in Los Angeles say another polluter is becoming more important—palm trees. A study in the journal Environmental Science and Technology shows that certain kinds of trees release high levels of aerosols… to the point they cause 25 percent of aerosol pollution. Scientists say trees in general are good for the environment…. but it’s important to plant the right kind. They say southern California’s iconic Mexican fan palms are especially high aerosol emitters.

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