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Elizabeth Cooney is a health reporter for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
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Monday, March 19, 2007

Today's Globe: doctors' mistakes, dental health, cancer research, rare lung disease, cosmetics ingredients, Epogen doubts, medical examiner's office, new health plans, Walter Reed delays, beauty queen's heart ailment

Most errors in diagnosis arise because of mistakes doctors make in thinking, Dr. Jerome Groopman, chief of experimental medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and a staff writer for The New Yorker, writes in today's Health|Science section. Groopman has been discussing his book "How Doctors Think" with "Fresh Air" host Terry Gross on NPR and Katie Couric on the CBS Evening News. Tonight he'll venture into satiric news territory as Stephen Colbert's guest on "The Colbert Report" on Comedy Central.

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Dr. Jerome Groopman

Also in Health|Science, don't skip the dentist. Oral health influences overall health at all ages and a Forsyth Institute program brings dental care -- and toothbrushes -- to young schoolchildren.

Joan Brugge, head of a Harvard Medical School lab that's making major inroads into the study of breast cancer, will testify about cancer research funding before a Senate appropriations subcommittee. She explains how her sister's illness made her switch from mathematics to biology when she was in college.

Three discoveries over the last decade have led to the first trials of a treatment for lymphangioleiomyomatosis, a disease that affects women during childbearing years. LAM is characterized by an unusual type of smooth muscle cell that invades the tissues of the lungs. These LAM cells grow abnormally and eventually restrict airflow to the rest of the body.

And, can you tell from the labels whether cosmetics contain ingredients that may be harmful?

In Business, a Food and Drug Administration warning about the use of antianemia drugs is increasing pressure on Medicare officials to change payment policies for Amgen Inc.'s Epogen, which accounts for $2 billion in federal kidney-dialysis reimbursements.

Two years isn't enough time to undo decades of neglect at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Massachusetts, a Globe editorial says. Yet the people there deserve all the support necessary from the state to do their job -- performing autopsies that pinpoint the cause of suspicious death.

New health plans that will be available to uninsured people in Massachusetts starting May 1 are far better and more affordable than any plan uninsured individuals can purchase right now, Jon Kingsdale, executive director of the Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector Authority, writes on the Op-Ed page.

An Army contract to privatize maintenance at Walter Reed Medical Center was delayed more than three years amid bureaucratic bickering and legal squabbles that led to staff shortages and a hospital in disarray as the number of severely wounded soldiers was rising rapidly.

Miss Massachusetts Michaela Gagne talks about her heart condition and the cardioverter defibrillator implanted in her chest.

Posted by Elizabeth Cooney at 06:24 AM
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