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Elizabeth Cooney is a health reporter for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
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Monday, March 26, 2007

Today's Globe: VA hospitals, TB fight, diets compared, hospice for minorities, stent rival, heart failure drug, NIH flatlining

A review by the Department of Veterans Affairs in the wake of the scandal at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center has cited scores of substandard conditions in its New England hospitals and clinics, including the presence of rodents and bugs, chronic leaks, and dilapidated furniture.

In the mid-1990s, two Boston doctors treating dying patients in Peru couldn't find enough of long-forgotten but effective tuberculosis drugs. They turned to Howard Hiatt, a former dean of Harvard's School of Public Health, who called a contact inside Eli Lilly and Co. That triggered a pledge by Eli Lilly in 2003 to spend $70 million to fight multidrug-resistant tuberculosis. On Thursday, the company announced it would expand that commitment by $50 million more.

A Mediterranean-style diet high in olive oil and other "healthy" fats is just as good as the classic American Heart Association low-fat diet for the 8 million Americans who have suffered a heart attack and want to prevent a repeat, new research suggests.

African-Americans and terminally ill patients from other minority groups seek hospice services in fewer numbers than whites -- even though they could be closer to family and home, with fewer medical interventions, if they chose to die under hospice care.

Abbott Laboratories' experimental heart stents may threaten the market dominance of Boston Scientific Corp. and Johnson & Johnson, based on positive results from two studies released Saturday.

An experimental drug is the first to substantially and safely improve shortness of breath and other symptoms in people hospitalized with severe heart failure, an epidemic that is growing as baby boomers age, doctors reported yesterday.

A commitment to rebuilding the National Institutes of Health's funding -- and the inventive laboratories all over the country the NIH finances -- should be a priority for the new Congress in this year's budget and in years to come, a Globe editorial says.

Posted by Elizabeth Cooney at 06:26 AM
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