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Elizabeth Cooney is a health reporter for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
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« Public health agency names medical director | Main | Federal health agency declares biolab no threat to South End »

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Today's Globe: obesity surgery, hospital salaries, free care, Woods Hole grant, older sex, ruptured eardrums, Risperdal for children, morning-after pill, Marburg virus, paying for mistakes

For the first time, researchers have conclusively shown that losing weight through stomach surgery can extend the lives of severely obese patients, dramatically reducing deaths from heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.

Chief executives at Massachusetts hospitals and healthcare systems didn't receive the gigantic raises last year that were common in 2005.

New state rules that would restrict the availability of free care at hospitals and community health centers could weaken the state's health safety net, according to government officials, healthcare providers, and advocates speaking at a public hearing or offering written testimony yesterday.

A team led by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution has won a $97.7 million research grant from the National Science Foundation to build an ocean observation system of buoys and robotic underwater vehicles off Cape Cod.

Many people maintain rich, active sex lives well into their 80s, according to the first detailed examination of sexuality among older Americans.

An unusual study by doctors treating blast victims at a field hospital in Iraq has found that ruptured eardrums may help reveal which troops are at risk of hidden brain injury.

The Food and Drug Administration yesterday approved the antipsychotic drug Risperdal to treat children with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

In the year since it was approved for over-the-counter sales, the morning-after pill has become a huge commercial success for its manufacturer, but its popularity and solid safety record haven't deterred critics from seeking to overturn the milestone ruling.

Scientists have found the deadly Marburg virus in one type of African fruit bat, the first time it's been detected in an animal other than a monkey. The bats were collected in the West Africa countries of Gabon and the Republic of Congo, but the test results support a theory that bats caused two recent human Marburg cases in nearby Uganda, health officials said.

The announcement that Medicare will no longer pay hospitals for "conditions that could reasonably have been prevented" is a loud and, many would say, long-overdue wake-up call for American hospitals, Dr. Lucian Leape of the Harvard School of Public Health writes in an opinion piece.

Posted by Elizabeth Cooney at 06:59 AM
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