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Elizabeth Cooney is a health reporter for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Today's Globe: diabetes drug, prescription drug deaths, nursing home segregation, Russian 'day of conception,' cholera in Iraq, health insurance costs, anemia drug doses, medical errors

The widely used diabetes pill Actos appears to lower a patient's chances of death, heart attack, or stroke, unlike its beleaguered chief rival, Avandia, a new analysis shows. It also carries an increased risk of nonfatal heart failure, the analysis showed, confirming earlier studies.

Reports of dangerous side effects and deaths from widely used medicines almost tripled between 1998 and 2005, an analysis of US drug data found.

Elderly and ill blacks in the United States are more likely to live in poor-quality nursing homes, researchers said yesterday in a study showing that clear patterns of segregation persist.

Governor Sergei Morozov of Ulyanovsk in central Russia has decreed Sept. 12 a Day of Conception and is giving couples time off from work to procreate. Couples who give birth nine months later on Russia's national day, June 12, will receive money, cars, or other prizes.

A cholera epidemic in northern Iraq has infected approximately 7,000 people and could reach Baghdad within weeks as the disease spreads through the country's decrepit and unsanitary water system, Iraqi health officials said yesterday.

The increasing cost of health insurance is putting coverage out of reach for many small to midsize companies and their workers, even though the rise in premiums this year was the lowest increase in eight years.

Amgen Inc. and Johnson & Johnson's anemia drugs don't need changes in recommended doses to protect the safety of kidney patients, US advisers said.

Legislation to require public reporting of medical errors that will be heard by the Legislature's Public Health Committee today should be revised so that providers are not allowed to bill for the extra costs of treating preventable errors, injuries, and infections that occur in hospitals, Richard Lord, president and CEO of Associated Industries of Massachusetts, and Dr. Marylou Buyse, a practicing primary care physician and president of the Massachusetts Association of Health Plans, write on the op-ed page.

Posted by Elizabeth Cooney at 06:53 AM
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