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Elizabeth Cooney is a health reporter for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
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Friday, August 24, 2007

Today's Globe: health insurance suit, out-of-body experience, disease travel, sunscreen, flu shots, Dr. James Melby

Attorney General Martha Coakley yesterday filed a revised complaint against a group of health insurance companies stating that the firms denied policyholders benefits required by law, disclosed confidential patient information, and used unfair and deceptive sales practices.

out%20of%20body100.bmpUsing virtual reality goggles, a camera, and a stick, scientists have induced out-of-body experiences -- the sensation of drifting outside one's body -- in healthy people, according to experiments being published in the journal Science.

New infectious diseases are emerging at an "unprecedented rate," and far greater human mobility -- by planes, trains, and ships -- means that infectious diseases have the potential to spread across the globe rapidly, a World Health Organization report warned yesterday.

sunscreen100.bmpSun lotions should be required to carry new ratings letting consumers compare for the first time how well the products guard against a form of skin-damaging ultraviolet rays, US regulators said.

GlaxoSmithKline PLC and Novartis AG, two of the world's biggest vaccine makers, may have bet on the wrong technology in the race to develop a better flu shot. The drug makers are building US factories to grow influenza virus in animal cells as an advance over the decades-old technique of using chicken eggs. Now a small, privately held biotechnology company may leapfrog ahead of them with a more advanced method using DNA.

melby85.bmpAs head of the endocrinology department at Boston University School of Medicine for more than 30 years, Dr. James Melby (left) could easily have chosen to spend his career in a research laboratory. Instead, he found that his favorite part of the work was seeing patients. A recognized expert on the adrenal glands and hypertension, he died of pulmonary fibrosis Aug. 19 at his summer home in Friendship, Maine. He was 79.

Posted by Elizabeth Cooney at 06:56 AM
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