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Elizabeth Cooney is a health reporter for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
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Monday, May 28, 2007

Today's Globe: avian flu, trauma trials, breast cancer genes, business of survival, Children's seizure drug trial

Even as avian flu has faded from the headlines, the lethal viral illness continues to strike in certain corners of the world and, in an especially ominous development, health authorities said they believe it has reemerged in Vietnam, where control measures had stopped its spread for more than a year.

The federal government is undertaking studies that allow researchers to conduct some kinds of medical experiments without first getting the patient's permission. The $50 million, five-year project will involve more than 20,000 patients in 11 sites in the United States and Canada and is designed to improve treatment after accidents, shootings, cardiac arrest, and other emergencies.

A genetic mutation that raises the risk of breast cancer is found in up to 60 percent of US women, making it the first truly common breast cancer susceptibility gene, researchers including David Hunter of Harvard reported yesterday.

Avi Kremer, diagnosed with ALS just months after enrolling in Harvard Business School, decided to take what he had learned at Harvard and apply it to a condition that is invariably lethal. His disease became his business plan.

Children's Hospital Boston wants to participate in a clinical trial comparing two drugs commonly given to children suffering life-threatening seizures, but because treatment must start within five minutes of the child's arrival in the emergency room, parental consent will not be obtained until after one of the medications is given.

Also in Health/Science, meet MIT physicist Jocelyn Monroe, who studies neutrinos and tests the basic theory of matter, and read Judy Foreman's answer to whether it's OK to suppress menstruation for a year.

Posted by Elizabeth Cooney at 07:35 AM
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