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Elizabeth Cooney is a health reporter for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
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Friday, March 9, 2007

Today's Globe: mentally ill prisoners, doctors' pay, low-cost health plans, disease reporting, heroin, biologics caution, anticancer gene and tans

Hundreds of seriously mentally ill prisoners are held in cells 23 hours a day in inhumane conditions that have led to self-mutilation, the swallowing of razor blades, and at least seven suicides since November 2004, an advocacy group alleged yesterday in a federal lawsuit demanding that the inmates be housed in special treatment units.

Harvard Medical School will increase by millions of dollars a year its payments to doctors for teaching students, a recognition of how difficult it has become to persuade busy physicians to devote time to educating the next generation of care givers.

The board overseeing healthcare reform yesterday gave its approval to seven health insurance plans that will offer relatively inexpensive coverage to residents who don't have health insurance through their employers or other sources.

Boston health officials ordered the Hebrew Rehabilitation Center yesterday to improve reporting of infectious disease outbreaks, after it took the city nearly two weeks to find out about a wave of gastrointestinal illness that sickened more than 200 elderly residents and 100 staff members.

Boston's heroin epidemic
appears to have plateaued after several years of increased deaths and hospitalizations as the cheap, plentiful opiate became the drug of choice on city streets, according to a study being released today by the Boston Public Health Commission.

Local biotech powerhouses were comforted by yesterday's congressional testimony that urged federal regulators to take a cautious approach to approving generic versions of biologics, including mandatory human clinical trials.

A gene known to prevent cancer also protects against sun damage by prompting the skin to tan when exposed to the sun's ultraviolet light, according to a study by researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Posted by Elizabeth Cooney at 06:27 AM
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