Today's early morning highlights from the major news organizations.

KFF Health News:
In Older Adults, A Little Excess Weight Isn’t Such A Bad Thing

Millions of people enter later life carrying an extra 10 to 15 pounds, weight they’ve gained after having children, developing joint problems, becoming less active, or making meals the center of their social lives. Should they lose this modest extra weight to optimize their health? This question has come to the fore with a new category of diabetes and weight loss drugs giving people hope they can shed excess pounds. (Graham, 7/17)

Las Vegas Review-Journal:
Las Vegas Heat Ties ‘98 Record For July 16 At 116

Sweltering high summer temperatures in the Las Vegas Valley could tie or exceed records on Sunday, and an excessive heat warning for the area will remain in effect until Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service. Harry Reid International Airport reached 100 degrees by 8:40 a.m. Sunday, the weather service tweeted. After twitching between 113 and 115 for several hours, it briefly reached 116 to tie the record for July 16 set in 1998, said weather service meteorologist Trevor Boucher. (Burbank and Romo, 7/14)

California's Death Valley Sizzles As Brutal Heat Wave Continues

Long the hottest place on Earth, Death Valley put a sizzling exclamation point Sunday on a record warm summer that is baking nearly the entire globe by flirting with some of the hottest temperatures ever recorded, meteorologists said. Temperatures in Death Valley, which runs along part of central California’s border with Nevada, reached 128 degrees Fahrenheit (53.33 degrees Celsius) on Sunday at the aptly named Furnace Creek, the National Weather Service said. (Borenstein, Locher and Beam, 7/16)

San Francisco Chronicle:
Pika Fire In Yosemite Causes ‘Hazardous’ Air Quality With 0% Containment

Smoke from the Pika Fire settled on Yosemite Valley early Sunday, causing air quality at “hazardous” levels in parts of the national park, where the wildfire remained uncontained at 650 acres, officials said. Air quality improved Sunday afternoon as the smoke lifted, but the fire – ignited by lightning June 29 – continued to pose a health threat to visitors at Yosemite Village and Turtleback Dome, according to National Park Service air quality trackers. Dozens of firefighters continued battling to get some containment of the blaze Sunday evening. (Mishanec, 7/16)

The Hill:
DeSantis On 6-Week Abortion Ban: ‘I Had A Lot Of Supporters Who Were Averse To Me On This’

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) acknowledged on Friday that he “had a lot of supporters who were averse to me” on the six-week abortion ban he signed into law earlier this year. “As President, I will be somebody who will use the bully pulpit to support governors like [Iowa Gov.] Kim Reynolds when she’s got a bill, other states as they advance the cause of life. It is a critical issue, and it’s one I’m happy to have done,” DeSantis told former Fox New host Tucker Carlson during the Family Leadership Summit event in Iowa, referring to Reynolds’ recently signing a six-week abortion ban. (Vakil, 7/14)

Women Are Fighting To Change Florida's Constitution To Protect Abortion

It’s been a little longer than a year since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade— turning decisions about abortion access over to individual states. In that time, Florida has enacted a law that bans most abortions after 15 weeks, passed a six-week ban that remains pending and prepared to challenge a privacy clause in the state constitution that has, in the past, been found to protect abortion rights. Now, abortion advocates are working to put language in the state constitution that explicitly protects abortion access. (McCarthy, 7/13)

The New York Times:
How Women Feel About Opill, An Over-The-Counter Birth Control Pill

On Thursday, the Food and Drug Administration approved a hormonal birth control pill, called Opill, to be sold over the counter — a landmark decision that was largely received with excitement by many women and teenage girls in New York. The pill will be sold in stores and online, without age restrictions, beginning early next year. If Shandra Rogers, 21, had had over-the-counter access to Opill as a teenager, she might have avoided an unwanted pregnancy, she said. (Haridasani Gupta, 7/14)

The Atlantic:
Birth Control Isn’t The Only Thing That Just Went Over-The-Counter

The FDA announced yesterday that it had for the first time approved a daily birth-control pill for over-the-counter sales. ... That’s historic news, but hidden underneath it is another set of firsts: In the coming months, Americans will also be able to grab an over-the-counter treatment for their heavy periods, cramps, headaches, and even migraines; they’ll have prescription-free access to a drug for endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome; and they’ll be able to buy a medication that can mitigate the symptoms of menopause. It’s all in the same, progestin-based pill. (Gutman-Wei, 7/14)

Los Angeles Times:
California's COVID-19 Hospitalizations Are Near Historic Lows. Will The Lull Last? 

COVID-19 hospitalizations are close to record lows in California, an optimistic sign as the state attempts to navigate its first surge-free summer of the coronavirus era. It’s difficult to say what the rest of the season will bring, however. The coming weeks will help determine whether some kind of uptick in coronavirus transmission is on tap, or if conditions will remain relatively calm until the autumn and winter. (Lin II, 7/15)

The Boston Globe:
Alnylam’s Experimental Alzheimer’s Drug Shows Promising Benefits In Patients For Six Months 

Alzheimer’s patients who received a single dose of an experimental gene-silencing treatment from Alnylam Pharmaceuticals showed benefits for six months in a small study, the Cambridge biotech said Monday. Alnylam reported in April that recipients of the medicine experienced reductions as high as 84 and 90 percent in two protein biomarkers that researchers say foreshadow the formation of amyloid, a sticky protein that builds up in plaques in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s. Some scientists contend that build-up leads to cognitive impairment and memory loss. (Saltzman, 7/17)

Acumen's Alzheimer's Drug Passes Initial Safety Test

An experimental Alzheimer's disease drug developed by Acumen Pharmaceuticals (ABOS.O) targeting a novel form of the toxic protein beta amyloid in the brain passed an early safety test and will advance to a larger trial, the company said on Sunday. The drug, ACI193, was well tolerated in the first trial testing it in people, the company said. Results of the randomized, placebo-controlled study of 62 patients with early Alzheimer's disease were presented at the Alzheimer's Association's International Conference in Amsterdam. (Steenhuysen, 7/16)

Alzheimer's Diagnosis Revamp Embraces Rating Scale Similar To Cancer

Alzheimer's disease experts are revamping the way doctors diagnose patients with the progressive brain disorder - the most common type of dementia - by devising a seven-point rating scale based on cognitive and biological changes in the patient. The proposed guidelines, unveiled by experts on Sunday in a report issued at an Alzheimer's Association conference in Amsterdam, embrace a numerical staging system assessing disease progression similar to the one used in cancer diagnoses. They also eliminate the use of terms like mild, moderate and severe. (Steenhuysen, 7/16)

Fox News:
Vision Problems Could Mean Higher Dementia Risk, Study Finds: 'Eye Health And Brain Health Are Closely Linked'

Older adults with vision problems may be more likely to develop dementia, a new study published in JAMA Ophthalmology has found. Researchers at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor analyzed data from the 2021 National Health and Aging Trends Study, which showed a link between all types of vision problems — distance acuity, near acuity and contrast sensitivity — and a higher prevalence of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. (Rudy, 7/16)

GOP-Backed Defense Bill Won't Pass, National Security Adviser Says

National security adviser Jake Sullivan was emphatic that the version of the National Defense Authorization Act that passed the House last week will never make it to President Joe Biden. “This legislation is never getting to the president’s desk,“ Sullivan said on CNN’s “State of the Union.“ “Because what you have seen from an extreme group of Republicans is to put forward a set of amendments that try to mix domestic social debates with the needs, the security needs of our nation.“ (Cohen, 7/16)

Court Blocks Curbs On US Government Contact With Social Media Companies For Now

A U.S. appeals court on Friday temporarily blocked a lower court order that had sharply limited certain Biden administration officials' and agencies' contacts with social media companies. The ruling from the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals means that the administration is not bound, for now, by a July 6 order by U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty in Monroe, Louisiana. Doughty had found that officials' efforts to limit the spread of posts they considered to be misinformation on social media violated the right to free speech under the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment. (Pierson, 7/14)

CDC Facing Major Funding Cuts, With Direct Impact On State And Local Health Departments

But the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is poised to lose about $1.3 billion in funds as a result of last month’s federal debt ceiling negotiation that were initially allocated through Covid-19 supplemental funding, the agency shared with CNN. An earlier estimate from the Congressional Budget Office estimated the impact on CDC to be closer to $1.5 billion, but there is ongoing analysis about exactly which dollars could be rescinded. The grant that funded those disease intervention specialists across the country was one of the first things to be rescinded. The last two years of the five-year grant were slashed across the board, a more than $400 million blow. (McPhillips and Goodman, 7/14)

CDC Ends Probe Of Salmonella Cases Tied To Papa Murphy's Cookie Dough

After 26 cases and 4 hospitalizations in six states, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) yesterday declared its investigation over into a Salmonella outbreak tied to raw cookie dough sold at Papa Murphy's pizza outlets. The CDC noted an increase of 8 cases and 2 hospitalizations since it first reported the outbreak in May. (Wappes, 7/14)

NBC News:
Colorism Is Driving Women Of Color To Use Harmful Skin Lightening Products, Says New Study

A lot of Americans want to lighten their skin. Skin lightening, also called whitening or bleaching, is a multibillion-dollar industry with products that can damage the skin and that, researchers say, promote a dangerous message about beauty and social value. But people who use these products — primarily marketed to women — seldom understand the health risks of using the over-the-counter chemicals, Northwestern University researchers found in a study recently published in the International Journal of Women’s Dermatology. (Adams, 7/14)

The New York Times:
Despite Aspartame Warning, Beverage Companies Likely To Stick With It 

About eight years ago, in response to customer concerns about possible health risks associated with the artificial sweetener aspartame, PepsiCo decided to remove the ingredient from its popular diet soda. Sales flopped. A year later, aspartame was back in Diet Pepsi. Today, the top three ingredients listed in the tiny print on the backs of cans and bottles of Diet Pepsi — and on its competitor Diet Coke — are water, caramel color and aspartame. (Creswell, 7/14)

Canada Recalls Six Energy Drinks, Including Prime Energy, For Caffeine And Labeling Violations, But Some Companies Say There’s A Catch

The government of Canada is recalling six brands of energy drinks, including Prime, over their caffeine content and labeling violations. Canada sets a legal limit on caffeine in energy drinks of 180 milligrams in a single-serving can. Prime Energy, the trendy energy drink made by YouTube stars Logan Paul and KSI, contains 200 milligrams per 12-ounce can – nearly six times as much as in a regular Coca-Cola – and thus violates that country’s limits for supplemented foods. (Goodman, 7/14)

Flu Vaccine Linked To Reduced Antibiotic Use

A systematic review and meta-analysis shows that influenza vaccination is associated with significantly reduced antibiotic use, while the effect of pneumococcal vaccination is less pronounced, Dutch researchers reported today in Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control. (Dall, 7/14)

Startup Aims To Make Lab-Grown Human Eggs From Anyone's Cells Using IVG 

On a cloudy day on a gritty side street near the shore of San Francisco Bay, a young man answers the door at a low concrete building. "I'm Matt Krisiloff. Nice to meet you," says one of the founders of Conception, a biotech startup that is trying to do something audacious: revolutionize the way humans reproduce. "So let me find them real quick," says Krisiloff as he turns to look for his co-founders, Pablo Hurtado and Bianka Seres, so they can explain Conception's mission. (Stein, 7/15)

Report: Hospitals May Have Received Too Much COVID Relief

A cohort study today shows that 75% of US hospitals had a positive net operating income in 2020 and 2021, with many seeing operating margins reach all-time highs, suggesting COVID-19 relief funds may have been larger than what was necessary during the first years of the pandemic. The study is published in JAMA Health Forum. (Soucheray, 7/14)

UnitedHealth's Lower-Than-Feared Costs Lift Profit, Shares

UnitedHealth Group's (UNH.N) quarterly profit beat Wall Street estimates on Friday as a smaller-than-expected jump in medical costs allayed fears that a resumption in long-delayed surgical procedures would hit profit growth. The company's results allowed investors to breathe a sigh of relief following a $60-billion wipeout in industry market value last month, after UnitedHealth raised alarms about rising costs. (Satija and Mahobe, 7/14)

Oklahoma Suit Integris Health, Claims Meta, Google Had Access To Health Info

A Bethany man is suing Integris Health, alleging that the largest Oklahoma-owned health system violated privacy laws by allowing third parties to harvest personal health care information for advertising purposes. Filed this week under John Doe, the class-action lawsuit in Oklahoma County District Court claims companies including Meta, Google, Microsoft and Reddit gained personal information from patients who used Integris Health’s website to learn about physicians, health conditions and treatment options, among other services. (Dulaney, 7/14)

Eli Lilly To Buy Versanis For Up To $1.93 Billion In Obesity Drugs Push

Eli Lilly and Co (LLY.N) said on Friday it will buy privately held Versanis for potentially up to $1.93 billion to strengthen its position in the fast-growing market for weight-loss treatments. Shares of Eli Lilly rose 3% after the deal that gives it access to an experimental obesity drug being tested along with rival Novo Nordisk's (NOVOb.CO) weight-loss treatment in a mid-stage study. (Roy, 7/14)

A Fourth Of Kansas City School Nasal Swabs Test Positive For Respiratory Viruses, Study Finds

Surveillance at a large school district in Kansas City, Missouri, found that 25% of nasal swabs from students and staff tested positive for common non-COVID respiratory viruses, according to a study today in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. To determine the prevalence of respiratory viruses in school students and staff members, researchers tested samples from a large school district in Kansas City that includes 33 pre-kindergarten (pre-K) through grade 12 schools during the 2022-23 school year. (Wappes, 7/14)

Mississippi, Under Judge's Order, Starts Allowing Religious Exemptions For Childhood Vaccinations

Mississippi is starting the court-ordered process of letting people cite religious beliefs to seek exemptions from state-mandated vaccinations that children must receive before attending day care or school. Mississippi is one of the poorest states and has high rates of health problems such as obesity and heart disease. But it has received praise from public health officials for years because it has some of the highest rates of childhood vaccination against diseases such as polio, measles and mumps. (Wagster Pettus, 7/14)

Kentucky's Ban On Gender-Affirming Care Takes Effect As Federal Judge Lifts Injunction

Kentucky’s ban on gender-affirming care for young transgender people was restored Friday when a federal judge lifted an injunction he issued last month that had temporarily blocked the restrictions. The latest ruling by U.S. District Judge David Hale means the Kentucky prohibition goes into effect, preventing transgender minors from accessing puberty blockers and hormone therapy. (Schreiner and Lovan, 7/14)

The Washington Post:
Car Crashes Into Hospital, Disrupts ICU

A car crashed into a hospital in Prince George’s County on Sunday, disrupting its intensive care unit and forcing some ICU patients to be transferred elsewhere, according to authorities. No injuries were reported in the crash at the Adventist HealthCare Fort Washington Medical Center, police and a hospital spokeswoman said. (Weil, 7/17)

This is part of the Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.

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