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NewsNation

Researchers at MIT and elsewhere have developed a filter from used brewery yeast capable of removing lead and other metals from water, reports Rich Johnson for NewsNation. “Through a process called biosorption, the yeast can bind to lead, as well as the metals commonly used in electronic components,” explains Johnson. “That, say the researchers, could be a game-changer when recycling those metals. But the more valuable impact may be the ability to filter drinking water, starting with home faucets, and eventually scaling up to serve municipal water systems.” 

STAT

Writing for STAT, Prof. Kevin Esvelt explores how, “the immense potential benefits of biotechnology are profoundly vulnerable to misuse. A pandemic caused by a virus made from synthetic DNA — or even a lesser instance of synthetic bioterrorism — would not only generate a public health crisis but also trigger crippling restrictions on research.” Esvelt adds: “The world has too much to gain from the life sciences to continue letting just anyone obtain DNA sufficient to cause a pandemic.” 

Bloomberg

Researchers at MIT have developed a new measure called “outdoor days,” which describes the number of days per year in which temperatures are comfortable enough for outdoor activities in specific locations around the world, reports Lebawit Lily Girma for Bloomberg News. “Changes in the number of outdoor days will impact directly how people around the world feel climate change,” says Prof. Elfatih Eltahir.

Food Navigator

Prof. Joseph Doyle and his colleagues are studying whether type 2 diabetes could be treated or improved by nutrition, reports Donna Eastlake for Food Navigator.

TechCrunch

MIT researchers have developed a new tool to quantify how climate change will impact the number of “outdoor days” where people can comfortably spend time outside in specific locations around the world, reports Tim DeChant for TechCrunch. “The MIT tool is a relatable application of a field of study known as climate scenario analysis, a branch of strategic planning that seeks to understand how climate change will impact various regions and demographics,” writes De Chant.

WCVB

BioBot - a public health research, data and analytics firm co-founded by Mariana Matus PhD '18 and Newsha Ghaeli PhD '17 - is using wastewater testing to provide insights into growing infection rates and diseases across the country, reports Soledad O’Brien for WCVB-TV.

TechCrunch

TechCrunch reporter Haje Jan Kamps spotlights AgZen, an MIT startup that has developed a new tool that optimizes the use of pesticides to avoid over application. “The real winner in all of this may prove to be public health and the environment,” writes Jan Kamps. “By reducing foliar pesticide usage by 30% to 50%, AgZen’s technology might help mitigate [environmental] impacts, aligning with the critical need for improved spray efficiency highlighted in recent reports.”

HealthDay News

A new study by Prof. Jonathan Gruber finds that helping undocumented immigrants in the U.S. connect with primary care doctors could help reduce ER visits, reports Cara Murez for HealthDay. “The data showed a 21% drop in emergency department use, as well as a 42% drop for folks with high-risk medical profiles,” writes Murez. 

Forbes

Aagya Mathur MBA ’18 co-founded Aavia, a daily ovarian hormone health guide, reports Matt Symonds for Forbes. “We started Aavia to give young people tools to understand how their hormones impact how they feel,” Mathur explains.

Fortune

Writing for Fortune, Prof. Elazer R. Edelman and Mike Mussallem of Edwards Lifesciences write that the backlog of deferred medical treatments caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and resulting long-term health consequences could impact public health for years. Edelman and Mussallem emphasize that “it is incumbent upon us to identify timely real-world evidence to elucidate the effects of policy changes so they can be adaptive and agile enough to provide access to critical interventions and procedures.”

The Verge

The Verge reporter Justine Calma writes that a new study by MIT researchers finds that while wind energy has measurably improved air quality, only 32% of those benefits reached low-income communities. “The research shows that to squeeze out the greatest health benefits, wind farms need to intentionally replace coal and gas power plants,” writes Calma. “And to clean up the most polluted places — particularly those with more residents of color and low-income households — those communities need to be in focus when deploying new renewable energy projects.”

HealthDay News

A new study by MIT researchers finds that increased usage of wind power is improving air quality in parts of the U.S., however only a third of the health benefits are being seen in disadvantaged communities, reports Alan Mozes for HealthDay. "Going forward," explains Prof. Noelle Selin, "more targeted policies are needed to reduce the disparities at the same time, for example by directly targeting [fossil fuel] sources that influence certain marginalized communities."

The Hill

Increased usage of wind energy has led to health benefits, but does not affect all communities equally, reports Saul Elbein for The Hill. The researchers found that in order to increase the benefits of wind energy, “the electricity industry would have to spin down the most polluting plants at times of high wind-supply — rather than their most expensive ones,” writes Elbein.

Vox

Vox reporter Kelsey Piper writes that a new report by Prof. Kevin Esvelt provides a roadmap for how to prepare for the next pandemic. In the report, Esvelt emphasizes that: “We’re not helpless, whether against nature or malign actions by human beings. We do have to invest in actually being prepared, but if we’re prepared, we could weather even a worst-case scenario: a deliberate release of a human-made virus engineered to be both extra deadly and extra contagious.”

New Scientist

Prof. Kevin Esvelt speaks with New Scientist reporter Michael Le Page about his work outlining a roadmap to help counter the risk posed by pandemic terrorism. “The message is, this is serious but this is totally solvable,” says Esvelt.