Brain-eating amoebas are spreading and that is just as bad as it sounds. It’s a dangerous epidemic — a fatal form of meningitis — that is currently occurring at increasing rates.

This summer, Fabrizio Stabile, a 29-year-old New Jersey man, died from this brain-eating amoeba, just one day after he was diagnosed, The man contracted the disease after swimming in a wave pool.

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PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 24: A man uses heroin under a bridge where he lives with other addicts in the Kensington section of Philadelphia which has become a hub for heroin use on January 24, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Over 900 people died in 2016 in Philadelphia from opioid overdoses, a 30 percent increase from 2015. As the epidemic shows no signs of weakening, the number of fatalities this year is expected to surpass last year's numbers. Heroin use has doubled across the country since 2010, according to the DEA, part of an epidemic. Officials from Philadelphia recently announced that they want to become the first U.S. city to allow supervised drug injection sites as a way to combat the opioid epidemic. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

In a twist completely apropos for 2018, Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, has received a patent for a medication designed to treat opioid addiction. Purdue Pharma is largely considered to be responsible for the current opioid epidemic.

The patent is not for an entirely new medication; rather, it is for a new and fast-acting form of an existing medication: buprenorphine.

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Justin, a participant in a class on opioid overdose prevention held by non-profit Positive Health Project, practices with Naloxone on teacher Kieth Allen on August 9, 2017 in New York City. The weekly class offers individuals free training with Naloxone and everyone receives an overdose kit on completion of the hour course. According to the latest data available from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, nearly 35,000 people across America died of heroin or opioid overdoses in 2015. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

As the opioid epidemic continues to ravage many Americans, aggressive tactics are being used to fight back. Earlier this month, the Surgeon General issued a statement urging Americans to start carrying the opioid overdose antidote, known as naloxone.

This is the first Surgeon General warning that has been issued in over a decade. The last warning issued referred to drinking during pregnancy.

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US President Donald Trump speaks during a bilateral meeting with Ireland's Prime Minister Leo Varadkar in the Oval Office of the White House on March 15, 2018 in Washington, DC. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

As part of his 2019 budget, President Trump is cutting funding for HIV/AIDS programs — again. This is a significant blow to people living with HIV/AIDS and not the first time that Trump has demonstrated a lack of support for those programs.

According to The Huffington Post, the proposed cuts include slashing $40 million in funding from the Centers for Disease Control HIV/AIDS prevention programs, as well as cutting $24 million in federal housing programs for persons living with HIV/AIDS. Similar to other legislation proposed by the Trump administration, these cuts send a clear message of Trump’s utter disregard for LGBTQ Americans. Some analysts believe that Trump’s actions could contribute to nearly 300,000 deaths globally.

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A man tests iodine in salt during a monitoring visit in a salt market in Alexandria, Egypt. June 4, 2007. (Majority World/UIG via Getty Images)

While the medical community disagrees about the value of many nutritional supplements, some added nutrients have made an undeniable impact on public health — including one that has the power to raise IQs. Iodine is a critical micronutrient that humans require for good health, successful reproduction and healthy brain development.

Iodine deficiency leads to problems with the thyroid, including cancer, hypothyroidism and goiter. Goiter is a condition in which the thyroid swells up and is visible in the neck, causing swallowing and respiratory problems. In children, iodine deficiency is a leading cause of stunted body growth and intellectual deficiencies, including mental handicaps. The problem isn’t just limited to the developing world; Europe has one-fifth of the world’s iodine deficiency cases.

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You may think of scarlet fever as one of those Victorian illnesses, now thankfully eradicated with modern medicine, which afflicted the consumption-weakened people of the era. In fact, scarlet fever is the result of a common bacterial infection gone untreated. The culprit is Group A streptococcus, which typically resides on our faces and in our throats, and is responsible for scarlet fever, strep throat, and impetigo.

While the infection has been controlled through better hygiene practices and antibiotics, reducing its incidences, it’s been making a dramatic comeback in the past couple years, leaving scientists scrambling to understand why.

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[DIGEST: Guardian, Fortune, HumanityinAction, NBC, Time]

When Amsterdam’s obesity rate topped that of the rest of the Netherlands, the city took action. In the early 2000s, a fifth of the city’s children were considered overweight, with 2,000 weighing in as morbidly obese. A program that targets sugary drinks, fast food and sedentary lifestyles helped the city cut those rates 12 percent between 2012 and 2015 — small but notable progress in a fight much of the world is facing today.

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