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Changes in Vapers' Lungs Resemble Changes in Smokers' Lungs

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now reports 380 confirmed and probable cases of lung disease associated with e-cigarette use, or vaping. The agency has also confirmed six deaths because of e-cigarettes. These latest figures were released Friday. Although vaping was once advertised as a better alternative to cigarettes, VOA's Carol Pearson reports studies have increasingly been showing that e-cigarettes can be deadly.

Cameroon Pharmacist Creates Device to Detect Fake Drugs

Each year, tens of thousands of people across Africa die or get sick from ingesting counterfeit drugs. But Franck Verzefé, a Cameroonian pharmacist, has developed a device that uses artificial intelligence to determine if a medicine is fake or the real thing.  Moki Edwin Kindzeka narrates this report by Anne Nzouankeu in Douala, Cameroon.

Malaria on Rise in South Sudan as Other Countries See Improvement

In the past decade, the world has seen significant advances toward eliminating malaria infection, and death.   But in some regions progress has slowed, says the World Health Organization. Sheila Ponnie reports from South Sudan where, due to years of conflict and poor environmental conditions, malaria may be gaining a new foothold.

Trump Administration to Ban Flavored E-Cigarettes

U.S. President Donald Trump Wednesday announced action against flavored electronic cigarettes, which have been linked to breathing problems, lung damage and death. Vaping has become popular, as many considered it healthier than smoking. Flavors such as mint, bubble gum or ice cream attracted young people. But a spike in serious lung problems and deaths linked to vaping have alarmed officials. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports the Trump administration is preparing a ban on all flavored e-cigarettes.

Malaria Could Be Wiped Out In Generation, Experts Say

Malaria could be wiped out in a generation, if $2 billion more every year would be invested in tackling the disease, according to a major new report launched Wednesday. However, there is a debate over whether the global community should make eradication its primary goal — or if this is a setup for failure, risking donor fatigue in the future. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Russian Family Rescues and Raises Raccoons

A family of animal lovers is looking after 12 abandoned raccoons in a rural area of the Rostov region in southern Russia. These wild animals lost their hunting and survival skills when they were raised as pets by owners who could no longer keep them. VOA's Jim Randle narrates our report.

Scientists Study Whether Virtual Reality Can Prevent Cognitive Decline, Dementia

People around the world are living longer according to the World Health Organization.  By 2020 there will be more people who are 60 or older than children younger than 5. Many adult children are painfully seeing their parents experience cognitive decline and symptoms of dementia.  What if virtual reality, or VR, can help prevent or delay the onset of cognitive decline?  VOA's Elizabeth Lee visits one VR lab at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles with the details.

Study Shows Healthy Seniors Benefit from Hardcore Exercise

Far from just playing backgammon or shuffleboard, today’s senior citizens may want to renew their gym memberships.  A new, small-sample study says that older adults benefit from the types of exercise just years ago thought too risky for their bodies. VOA’s Arash Arabasadi stretches and warms up for this story.

Ohio Competition Seeks Technology to Help End Opioid Crisis

Every day, more than 130 people in the U.S. die of an opioid overdose, but in one state heavily impacted by the opioid crisis, innovative solutions are now advancing with the hope of saving lives.The opioid epidemic has taken an unspeakable toll on individuals, families and communities in the U.S.To fight back, the Midwestern state of Ohio set up a competition open to scientists, tech companies and individuals to help end this crisis. The four winners are each receiving a $1 million to further develop their products.FILE - Eddie Davis stands beside the grave of his son Jeremy, furthest left, who died from the abuse of opioids at the age of 35, July 17, 2019, in Coalton, Ohio.Two appsOne of the winning entries is an app developed at University Hospitals in Cleveland.The app helps doctors determine if a patient who is given a prescription for an opioid is likely to have an addiction problem. Hospital administrator Jonathan Sague says patients who are approved for an opioid prescription also get help in preventing addiction.“We then bring in the social worker to connect that patient to care in the community as they leave our hospital with acute pain and an opioid prescription,” Sague said, “because we don’t want them to fight that battle alone when they go home.”Sague says the program at University Hospitals has, so far, kept more than 12,000 opioid pills out of communities.“It’s not just about the number of pills,” he said, “it’s about real number of human lives that are being affected positively by not being exposed to these opioids.”Another app helps those recovering from addiction track their progress and stay accountable.FILE - A week-old baby lies in Norton Children's Hospital neonatal intensive care unit, Feb. 13, 2018, in Louisville, Ky. This NICU is dedicated to newborns of opioid addicted mothers that are suffering with newborn withdrawal.Smart button, soothing mattressA third winner is a company named Prapela that developed a mattress designed to gently vibrate and soothe newborns addicted to opioids. John Konsin heads the company.“When an infant lays down on the pad that is vibrating, (it) actually slows down their breathing and heart rate to a normal, healthy rhythmic rate. And when that occurs, babies relax,” Konsin said.Another tech solution is a smart button that helps people battling addition call for help. It was co-designed by a company called Brave, which is headed by Gordon Casey.“Brave’s technology ...

India Embarks on Cleaner Rides With All-Electric Cabs

Among the thousands of cabs that weave their way through the congested morning traffic in the capital New Delhi and surrounding business hubs, a white and blue cab with the words "electric vehicle" catches the eye.In a city where app-based cabs are booming due to poor public transport, a start-up has launched the country's first all-electric cab service.Some residents have embraced the initiative. Business analyst Mahak Chopra says she prefers using app-based cabs so she can catch up on work or her reading during long commutes. She now books one from Blu Smart Mobility so that her ride does not add to the fumes from the millions of vehicles blamed for the toxic air in one of the world's most polluted cities."Any kind of step is a good step, be it planting a tree, or taking an electric cab, and rather not using my private vehicle which is petrol and using electric cab, yeah, I do think I am actually contributing toward better Delhi," says Chopra.Cabs of a start-up, Blu Smart Mobility, that has launched India's first all-electric cab service stand in the business hub of Gurgaon, near New Delhi, India. (A. Pasricha/VOA)Electric cabsFrom electric rickshaws to cabs, commercial vehicles in India are leading the way in bringing electric vehicles into the mainstream as the government makes a push toward electric mobility. The aim: reduce India's heavy dependence on expensive oil imports and tackle the deadly smog that shrouds its cities - 15 of the world's 20 most polluted cities are in India.It is still a distant goal for a country that had once hoped that all vehicles would be electric by 2030 -- electric cars accounted for less than one per cent of the 3.3 million cars sold last year.The government hopes to change that by nudging taxi operators to convert their fleets of petrol and diesel cars to battery-driven ones and urging scooter and motorbike manufacturers to draw up plans to switch to electric vehicles. It has announced tax breaks to compensate for the higher cost of electric cars and is promising subsidies to establish charging stations and batteries to fill the gap in its hugely deficient infrastructure of charging and battery-swapping stations.Due to a deficient charging infrastructure for electric vehicles, India is promising subsidies to build charging stations. (A. Pasricha/VOA)The startup Blu Smart Mobility launched this year as such incentives made plying e-vehicles viable. "In the long ...

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