M. Spencer Green / AP

Researchers have come up with a new way of tracking pain in babies who haven't learned how to talk yet by monitoring their brain activity.

Why it matters: Young children (and adults who can't speak following strokes) can't communicate whether pain is occurring or being reduced from pain relievers. Medical staff infer pain from facial and body expressions, which isn't always reliable. The new method could help them to administer medicine in proper doses or determine whether babies are in pain.

How they did it: In the new study, scientists measured electro-encephalographic (EEG) readings from the brains of 18 infants during routine procedures like heel pricks to draw blood. They saw a change in brain activity about a half-second afterward. The results were confirmed with a larger group of 72 babies and they're now recruiting patients for a clinical trial, per STAT News.

Go deeper

The next cliff for the unemployed

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A program supporting Americans who are typically ineligible for unemployment benefits will expire at the end of the year, with millions still relying on it as the labor market sputters.

Why it matters: The result could be catastrophic for the economic recovery that Wall Street fears is already fragile.

The apocalypse scenario

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Democratic lawyers are preparing to challenge any effort by President Trump to swap electors chosen by voters with electors selected by Republican-controlled legislatures. One state of particular concern: Pennsylvania, where the GOP controls the state house.

Why it matters: Trump's refusal to commit to a peaceful transfer of power, together with a widely circulated article in The Atlantic about how bad the worst-case scenarios could get, is drawing new attention to the brutal fights that could jeopardize a final outcome.

Federal judge rules Trump administration can't end census early

Census workers outside Lincoln Center in New York. Photo: Noam Galai/Getty Images

A federal judge ruled late Thursday that the Trump administration could not end the 2020 census a month early.

Why it matters: The decision states that an early end — on Sept. 30, instead of Oct. 31 — would likely produce inaccuracies and thus impact political representation and government funding around the country.

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