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Male birth control is the 'holy grail' for one Flagstaff company

NPR: Male birth control

Nearly half of all pregnancies worldwide are unplanned. And despite the many birth control options for women in the U.S., 1 in 5 say they aren’t using their ideal method. A startup biotech company in Flagstaff says the answer is birth control for men. And they’re working to make that idea a reality.

In a conference room at NEXT Life, chief science officer Rob Kellar holds up a vial of amber-colored liquid. It’s birth control in a bottle, but it’s not a pill.

"If you could see what I have in my hand as I tilt it, the hydrogel in its liquid form looks a lot like fluid honey, pretty fluid honey," explains Kellar.

It’s called Plan A, and Kellar says it’s meant to be injected into the vas deferens—the tube that carries sperm—where it interacts with the chemistry of the human body and solidifies, "kind of like the bottom of the Jello pan," Kellar says. "But it has a porosity, it has a micro-architecture that has holes in it. So it will allow fluid to flow through, but it won’t allow larger particles like sperm cells to pass."


'We created this problem': a pediatric surgeon on how gun violence affects children

Dr. Mikael Petrosyan

Treating gunshot wounds on children was not what Mikael Petrosyan expected when he entered pediatrics.

Petrosyan has been working as a pediatric surgeon at the Children's National Hospital for more than a decade, and he has treated many children injured by guns.

He hasn't been able to save them all and has had to tell parents that their children have died from gunshot wounds.


The Supreme Court Will Let Idaho Enforce Its Gender-Affirming Care Ban For All But 2 People

Trans caseThe Supreme Court on Monday allowed Idaho to begin enforcing a state law barring transgender youth from receiving gender-affirming care, at least for now. This was the first time the justices have intervened in a case that touches on the question of gender-affirming care for minors — and transgender health more broadly.

The case, Poe v. Labrador, concerns whether Idaho’s ban on gender-affirming care is constitutional. The justices did not weigh in on the merits of the case in Monday’s decision, instead focusing on the question of whether the state could enforce the ban and for whom. For now, the ban will not affect the two anonymous plaintiffs, transgender Idaho teenagers, who sued the state.

Last May, Idaho’s Republican-controlled legislature passed the Vulnerable Child Protection Act, which prohibits transgender children from receiving a range of gender-affirming treatments, including puberty blockers and hormone replacement therapy, which are the most common forms of treatment. Medical providers who violate the act face felony charges and up to 10 years in prison.

CDC says bacterial infection cases are rising: What to know about meningococcal disease

Meningitis infection

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued an alert to healthcare providers about bacterial infections as a strain of the meningococcal disease begins to circulate within the United States.

Meningococcal disease is an illness caused by a bacteria called Neisseria meningitidis. While this illness can have severe symptoms, including death, a serious infection commonly called meningitis can form in the lining of the brain and spinal cord and bloodstream, according to the CDC.

In the alert, the CDC explained that a variant of the Neisseria meningitidis serogroup Y has reported 140 cases in 2024 so far. Although meningitis typically effects infants and young adults, this strand is targeting adults between the ages of 30 to 60 years old. People who are at a higher risk of getting this type of meningitis are Black or African Americans or someone who has HIV.


Supreme Court seems doubtful of challenge to abortion pill

SCOTUS hears pill case

A majority of the Supreme Court's justices, both conservative and liberal, did not seem inclined to block the FDA's existing rules for prescribing and dispensing the abortion pill mifepristone.

The case is widely seen as a threat not just to the increased accessibility of abortion pills, but to the FDA's entire structure of regulating pharmaceuticals.

More than half the women in this country who choose to terminate a pregnancy use a combination of pills approved by the FDA, one of which is mifepristone, marketed by Danco Laboratories as Mifeprex.


US surgeons perform first pig-to-human kidney transplant

Mass. General HospitalA 62-year-man with end-stage renal disease has become the first human to receive a new kidney from a genetically modified pig, doctors from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston announced on Thursday.

The four-hour surgery, performed on March 16, “marks a major milestone in the quest to provide more readily available organs to patients,” the hospital said in a statement.
The patient, Richard Slayman of Weymouth, Massachusetts, is recovering well and expected to be discharged soon, the hospital said.
Experts are keenly interested in long-term results of the groundbreaking animal-to-human transplant, said Dr. Jim Kim, director of kidney and pancreas transplantation with USC Transplant Institute in Los Angeles.

Nearly 130,000 children exposed to lead-tainted drinking water in Chicago

Chicago childen eexpoed to lead in tap water

About 129,000 Chicago children under the age of six are exposed to poisonous lead in their household drinking water because of lead pipes, according to a study published on Monday.

The study used artificial intelligence to analyse 38,000 home water tests conducted for the city of Chicago, along with neighborhood demographics, state blood samples and numerous other factors.


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