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MDMA for the treatment of PTSD; Biden’s Border Policy: NPR

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FDA expert panel begins reviewing clinical trial data today decide whether to approve the drug MDMA, commonly known as ecstasy, to treat post-traumatic stress disorder. Some trial participants described the treatment as transformational. But the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review, a nonprofit that evaluates clinical trials, found “substantial concerns” about the validity of the study results.

Research on MDMA has shown that it can be effective for PTSD, but approval for the treatment is not yet guaranteed.

Research on MDMA has shown that it can be effective for PTSD, but approval for the treatment is not yet guaranteed.

The Washington Post via Getty Images


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The Washington Post via Getty Images

Research on MDMA has shown that it can be effective for PTSD, but approval for the treatment is not yet guaranteed.

Research on MDMA has shown that it can be effective for PTSD, but approval for the treatment is not yet guaranteed.

The Washington Post via Getty Images

  • 🎧 NPR’s Will Stone reports First that there are allegations that some therapists and investigators pushed patients to report good results and overlooked adverse events. Another big concern is that participants might find out whether they received MDMA or a placebo. Lykos Therapeutics, the drugmaker that funded the research, says it stands by the findings.

President Biden should issue executive order outlining the steps his administration will take to address the high number of asylum seekers at the U.S. southern border. He invited several border town mayors to join him at the White House.

  • 🎧 President expected to invoke section of Immigration and Nationality Act this gives him the power to restrict immigration and prevent non-immigrant visitors from entering the United States to protect the country’s interests, NPR’s Sergio Martínez-Beltrán reports. This provision would allow Biden to suspend entries once the number of unauthorized crossings reaches a certain threshold. “This could be the most effective border management policy this administration has developed so far,” says Martínez-Beltrán.

Vote counting is underway after six weeks of voting among nearly a billion eligible voters in India. Early results suggest Prime Minister Narendra Modi of the BJP party will win a third term. If confirmed, he would be the only prime minister after modern India’s founder, Jawaharlal Nehru, to win three terms.

  • 🎧 But NPR’s Diaa Hadid says the mood is somber outside the BJP’s campaign headquarters in New Delhi. This is because the party has not achieved the super majority promised by Modi, according to the count so far. Hadid believes this will make it “more difficult for Modi and his party to continue their vast overhaul of India into a country that elevates its Hindu majority above other citizens.”

From our hosts

Outside Elberton Medical Center in Elberton, Georgia, a clinic that serves a rural population.

Scenes from Elberton Medical Center, Elberton, Georgia, a clinic that serves a rural population.

Claire Harbage/NPR


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Claire Harbage/NPR

This essay was written by A MartinezMorning Edition and Up First host

What does it mean to want quality health care in America?

For many people, this means worrying whether they can afford the care they need. I recently traveled to Georgia to hear about three key issues: cost, access, and Medicaid expansion.

In Elberton, a town of just under 5,000 located a few hours east of Atlanta, A rural health clinic is one of the only local options for basic care. But when a patient has needs that go beyond what the clinic can provide, they typically must travel at least 45 minutes to find care.

Georgia has not expanded Medicaid. For example, Amy Wilson, who suffered from a brain tumor and cancer, struggled to afford the care she needed because her income exceeded the Medicaid eligibility threshold by $30. I saw the artistic director of the Atlanta Philharmonic strap her baton to the palm of her hand before a rehearsal because she can no longer hold it for long periods of time.

Co-payments, prescriptions, surgeries, physiotherapy, Missing work for appointments and transportation for doctor visits are all part of healthcare that worries patients and their providers in Georgia.

The next presidential election will likely involve two people: Joe Biden and Donald Trump. They have very different visions of what health care should look like. The added worry of people I spoke with is how the election results will change the care they already receive. Nearly every doctor and patient I spoke with said they would have all of this in mind when they voted in November.

Listening of the day

Artist Scott Kildall waves his small microcontroller over a Joshua tree at Arthur B. Ripley Desert Woodland State Park in Fairmont, California.  The device is the size of a credit card.

Artist Scott Kildall waves his small microcontroller over a Joshua tree at Arthur B. Ripley Desert Woodland State Park in Fairmont, California. The device records wavelengths of light that are not perceptible to humans and transforms them into otherworldly music.

Carlos Jaramillo for NPR


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Carlos Jaramillo for NPR

Plants are green because they absorb red and blue light and reflect green light back to our eyes. They also reflect other wavelengths, such as near-infrared light. Although humans can’t see it, artist Scott Kildall uses an infrared sensor to translate near-infrared light into sound. He uses his device to transform the Joshua trees of California into an instrument.

🎧 Hear the shimmering, otherworldly Joshua tree music and learn how scientists analyze near-infrared light to assess plant health.

3 things to know before you leave

Customers line up at a Costco food court, advertising a hot dog and soda special for $1.50.

Customers wait in line at a Costco food court in Hawthorne, California.

Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images


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Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

  1. Costco hot dog fans rejoice! The $1.50 dog-soda combo isn’t going up anytime soon. The price has remained stable since the combo first appeared on menus in the mid-1980s, despite inflation. Here’s how Costco does it.
  2. It is commonly believed that rat fleas transmitted bubonic plague, also known as the Black Death, from rodents to humans. A new study finds that human lice may have contributed to the spread of the disease.
  3. An AI-generated “All eyes on Rafah” graphic has been shared around 50 million times on Instagram and other platforms. Two artists claim credit for creating the image.

This newsletter was published by Olivia Hampton.

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