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Hydration in the age of plastic; sensors to detect lung cancer; conscience in health care - Morning Medical Update


The top news stories in medicine today.

Doctor morning desk: © Alena Kryazheva –

© Alena Kryazheva –

Plastic, plastic everywhere

Microplastics “are showing up basically everywhere on earth,” starting with your and your patients’ bottled water. Researchers found a way to count plastic fragments and found a liter contained an average of 240,000 detectable bits – including nanoplastics so tiny they can pass through intestines into the bloodstream.

Inhale to detect cancer

Scientists have developed new inhalable nanosensors that could be used to screen for lung cancer. Patients would breathe in the sensors that, if cancer is present, would release a signal that accumulates in urine that then would be tested. Lung cancer is declining in developed countries, but low- and middle-income countries have disproportionately high mortality.

Conscience in health care

More than 48,000 commenters opined on a new rule, “Safeguarding the Rights of Conscience as Protected by Federal Statutes,” on enforcing federal conscience laws and protecting against conscience and religious discrimination for health care workers. It was issued by the Office of Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and becomes effective March 11, 2024.

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