Health Scan

Eye drop causing death
The number of people with highly drug-resistant bacterial infections linked to contaminated eyedrops has reached 81, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Friday. The 81 cases, up from 68 identified in March, include 14 people who have been blinded and four others who had to have their eyeballs surgically removed. Though most infections have been limited to the eyes, the bacteria can be fatal when it enters the bloodstream. As of Monday, the CDC said, four people have died. “These were catastrophic and life-altering infections,” Maroya Spalding Walters, who leads the CDC’s antimicrobial resistance team, said in an interview.

Does AI voice help in depression treatment?
An academic team from the University of Illinois at Chicago recently conducted a pilot study, and the results point to the possibility that artificial intelligence could be useful in the treatment of mental illness. The study, which was the first to test an AI voice-based virtual coach for behavioural therapy, found changes in patient’s brain activity along with improved epression and anxiety symptoms after using Lumen, an AI voice assistant that delivered a form of psychotherapy. The UIC team says the results, which are published in the journal Translational Psychiatry, offer encouraging evidence that virtual therapy can play a role in filling the gaps in mental health care, where waitlists and disparities in access are often hurdles that patients, particularly from vulnerable communities, must overcome to receive treatment.

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