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Elizabeth Cooney is a health reporter for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
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Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Today's Globe: Fernald, abortion suit, generic biologic drugs, lung cancer CT scans, Atkins diet, hypertension drug

US Attorney Michael J. Sullivan yesterday urged that the Fernald Development Center in Waltham be kept open based on the findings of his yearlong investigation, which could spell the end of a state push to close the controversial center for mentally retarded people over the vehement objections of many families.

A Boston woman has filed a lawsuit alleging that a doctor at Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts bungled her abortion in April 2004 and that she had no idea she was still pregnant until about six weeks before her daughter was born in December.

Federal regulators charged with approving generic versions of the world's most expensive drugs should follow the lead of their cautious European counterparts, according to Senator Edward M. Kennedy. In Europe, requirements for approval are tailored to the complexity of an experimental drug and can include clinical trials that cost millions for generic manufacturers to conduct.

Only five months after a major study recommended routine use of CT scans to detect lung cancer, a second study recommends the opposite, concluding that the scans do not save lives.

The low-carbohydrate, high-fat Atkins diet gets high marks in one of the biggest, longest head-to-head studies of popular weight-loss plans, beating the Zone, the Ornish diet, even US guidelines. Even so, critics say the results show how hard it is to lose weight and keep it off.

Swiss pharmaceutical maker Novartis AG said yesterday it has received US approval for the hypertension drug Tekturna -- a potential blockbuster that has shown the ability to lower blood pressure more effectively than common treatments.

Posted by Elizabeth Cooney at 06:22 AM
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