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The Downside of Sleeping Pills


A study published in the journal BMJ Open shows that Americans who take sleeping pills are more likely to develop cancer and die prematurely than people who don't take the pills, reports Melissa Healy in the Los Angeles Times' Booster Shots blog. The study also revealed that even small amounts of sleeping pills like Ambien or Lunesta can raise a person's risk of cancer, Healy says. The heaviest users of these drugs were 35 percent more likely to be diagnosed with cancer than those who did not take them, the study found.

However, Healy adds, "Studies such as this one do not establish whether sleep drugs are a cause of the increased cancers and deaths or whether, perhaps, those who are at greater risk of dying or developing cancer are simply more likely to seek a prescription for sleep problems."

The Scan

Response Too Slow, Cautious

A new report criticizes the global response to the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic, Nature News reports.

Pushed a Bit Later

Novavax has pushed back its timeline for filing for authorization for its SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, according to Bloomberg.

AMA Announces Anti-Racism Effort

The Associated Press reports that the American Medical Association has released a plan to address systemic racism in healthcare.

Nucleic Acids Research Papers on miRMaster 2.0, MutationTaster2021, LipidSuite

In Nucleic Acids Research this week: tool to examine small non-coding RNAs, approach to predict ramifications of DNA variants, and more.