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Elizabeth Cooney is a health reporter for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
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Friday, March 30, 2007

Today's Globe: stem cell curb, HHS resignation, anesthesia for children, insurer rates, Vioxx-like drug, cancer reality

Governor Deval Patrick will announce this morning that he wants the Department of Public Health to reverse restrictions on stem cell research imposed by his predecessor, according to an administration official with direct knowledge of the governor's intentions.

Dr. Eric Keroack, the head of the federal Health and Human Services Department office responsible for providing women with access to contraceptives and counseling to prevent pregnancy resigned unexpectedly yesterday after Medicaid officials took action against him in Massachusetts.

Anesthesia can be harmful to the developing brain, Food and Drug Administration studies on animals suggest, raising concerns about potential risks in putting young children under for surgery.

In a second round of bidding earlier this year, monthly premiums for the four low-cost health insurance plans to be offered in the Boston area were cut by an average of 8 percent, according to records the Globe obtained from the Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector Authority in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.

Some analysts are scratching their heads at the move Merck & Co. is planning: The drug maker wants to sell a new painkiller that is just like Vioxx, the blockbuster drug it pulled from the market in 2004 because the treatment doubled heart risks.

All people need hope: hope for a good day today, hope for a normal life, and possibly hope for a cure, Dr. Darshak Sanghavi writes in an op-ed essay in light of cancer coming back for Elizabeth Edwards and Tony Snow. But he says that brings us to a painful and necessary question: Is there such a thing as false hope?

Posted by Elizabeth Cooney at 06:24 AM
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