May 27, 2017

Marijuana oil reduces seizures from rare form of epilepsy

Ted S. Warren/AP

An oil found in marijuana plants reduces seizures in young people suffering from Dravet syndrome, a severe form of epilepsy affecting over 3 million people in the U.S., according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Cannabidiol cut the average number of monthly seizures from 12.9 to 5.4.

Cannabidiol is not psychoactive or addictive. Researchers say that the compound binds to a receptor in the brain and makes the nerve cell linked to seizures less active.

Why it matters: There currently is no FDA-approved treatment for Dravet. While medical marijuana has long been shown to treat epilepsy, this is the first controlled study to document the scientific benefits, the lead researcher told the Washington Post.

What's next: GW Pharmaceuticals, the founders behind the research, plan to seek approval for the drug from the FDA next year. The goal is to have it available by prescription in 2018.

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Hong Kong police fire pepper pellets at demonstrators

Hong Kong riot policeissue a warning as they aim to clear away people gathered downtownon Wednesday. Photo: Anthony Wallace/AFP via Getty Images

Hong Kong riot police have fired pepper pellets at activists and surrounded the Legislative Council during demonstrations against a bill proposing to criminalize "disrespect of the Chinese anthem" on Wednesday, per Reuters.

Why it matters: The bill is the latest concern pro-democracy protesters have that Chinese authorities are encroaching on the high degree of autonomy the former British colony has retained since it was returned to China in 1997.

Minneapolis unrest as hundreds protest death of George Floyd

Tear gas is fired as police clash with protesters demonstrating against the death of George Floyd outside the 3rd Precinct Police Precinct in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on Tuesday. Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Minneapolis police used tear gas during clashes with protesters demanding justice Tuesday night for George Floyd, an African American who died in police custody, according to multiple news reports.

Driving the news: The FBI is investigating Floyd's death after video emerged of a Minneapolis police officer kneeling on his neck for several minutes, ignoring protests that he couldn't breathe. Hundreds of protesters attended the demonstration at the intersection where Floyd died, per the Guardian.

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced plans Tuesday to make wearing face coverings mandatory statewide for most people over the age of 10 when inside public places like retailers, on public transportation and government buildings. He announced the measure, effective Friday, as coronavirus case numbers increased to 39,342.

By the numbers: More than 98,900 people have died from COVID-19 and over 1.6 million have tested positive in the U.S. Over 384,900 Americans have recovered and more than 14.9 million tests have been conducted.