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Elizabeth Cooney is a health reporter for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
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Monday, June 4, 2007

Today's Globe: Chatham cut, MIT resignation, liver cancer drug, coma, germ busters, global service, implant detectors, Harvard nanotech, Avandia

chatham.jpg
A break in the protective barrier at Nauset
Beach is only getting deeper.
(CapeCodPhotos.com)


When an April northeaster punched a gap through the long, sandy spit that forms Nauset Beach in Chatham, local geologists and officials were not overly alarmed. But the break in the barrier beach, which protects much of mainland Chatham from the Atlantic, is only getting deeper and wider.

Frank L. Douglas, executive director of the MIT Center for Biomedical Innovation, has resigned in protest over the case of James L. Sherley, an MIT colleague who held a 12-day hunger strike in February after he did not receive tenure, faculty members and school officials said. Sherley is African-American, as is Douglas.

For the first time, doctors say they have found a pill that improves survival in liver cancer, a notoriously hard-to-treat disease diagnosed in more than half a million people globally each year.

grzebskis150.bmpA railway worker who emerged from a 19-year coma woke to a radically altered Poland and thinks "the world is prettier now" than it was under communism, his wife, Gertruda Grzebska, said about her husband, Jan, yesterday.

As antibiotics lose their punch, researchers are using an old idea and cutting-edge science to control bacteria. Scientists led by Rockefeller University researcher Vincent Fischetti are harnessing an enzyme found in viruses called phage as a way to eliminate lurking bacteria before they can do harm.

The number of graduates from US master's degree programs in international health has grown by 69 percent in the last decade as a part of an overall boom among students interested in saving lives in the poorest parts of the world. That's true among undergraduates and medical students as well, particularly at Boston's two major centers of public health teaching -- Boston University and Harvard University.

A new study by Boston doctors pitted metal detectors against patients with implants, testing to see what set the beepers off and what got through.

Also in Health/Science, retiring Harvard Medical School dean Dr. Joseph Martin talks about his plans and the challenges for the next dean.

mather150.bmp Tom Mather (left), professor of Entomology at the University of Rhode Island and one of the country's foremost authorities, explains his career teaching people how to prevent tick bites, and, failing that, what to do if they get under their skin.

In Business, Harvard University, in one of its largest technology transfer deals ever, is set to disclose today that it has licensed a portfolio of more than 50 nanotechnology patents to a Cambridge start-up that is working with manufacturers and the Pentagon to commercialize the technology.

Patients should not haphazardly stop taking the controversial diabetes drug Avandia, even though it has been linked to heart risks, an early critic of the drug said yesterday.

Posted by Elizabeth Cooney at 06:26 AM
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