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Thursday, March 1, 2007

Today's Globe: new DSS doctors, new HIV drugs, kids' summer weight gain, medical marijuana, selling blood in China

Social workers at the Department of Social Services will soon have the equivalent of 12 additional full-time physicians, child psychiatrists, and other medical personnel to advise them on complex cases, new hires that follow two high-profile child abuse cases that exposed the agency's shortage of medical expertise, state officials said yesterday.

Three experimental HIV drugs with two entirely new mechanisms for attacking viruses promise to spur a change in how doctors treat the virus that causes AIDS, helping thousands of patients who have stopped responding to previous medicines.

The nation's schools -- under fire for unhealthy school lunches, well-stocked vending machines, and physical education cuts -- may actually do a better job than parents in keeping children fit and trim. Indiana University and Ohio State researchers found that 5- and 6-year-olds gained more weight over the summer than during the school year, casting doubt on the assumption that children are more active during the summer.

Rural Chinese are glad to earn cash for blood from loosely regulated collection centers that threaten the safety of blood supply, Chinese AIDS activists say.

A new study in the journal Neurology is being hailed as unassailable proof that marijuana is a valuable medicine. It is a sad commentary on the state of modern medicine -- and US drug policy -- that we still need "proof" of something that medicine has known for 5,000 years, Lester Grinspoon, emeritus professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, writes in an op-ed piece.

Posted by Elizabeth Cooney at 06:22 AM
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