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Daily Rounds: Heroin Deaths Decline; Exercise Treats Depression; Sleepy Teens Face School Clock; Ethics Breach In Guatemala

Boston cites gains in fight on heroin - The Boston Globe "Deaths from heroin and opiate abuse plunged in Boston after the city launched a controversial program in 2006 that supplies addicts with medicine to reverse their overdose, according to a report to be released today by the Boston Public Health Commission. The report says the death rate dropped by 32 percent between 2007 and 2008, the most recent year for which data are available - a decrease that specialists said bucks the national trend. Since 2006, the city has distributed the overdose drug Narcan to 2,080 people and has recorded 215 cases in which overdoses were reversed, a city health official said yesterday." (boston.com)

Prescribing Exercise to Treat Depression - NYTimes.com "Which prompted Dr. Trivedi to look to exercise. His investigation joins a growing movement among some physiologists and doctors to consider and study exercise as a formal medicine, with patients given a prescription and their progress monitored, as it would be if they were prescribed a pill." (well.blogs.nytimes.com)

Get teens' sleep habits back on track for school - USATODAY.com "But kids, particularly teens, still get too little sleep. With the hormonal changes of adolescence, body clocks shift later. The average teen can't fall asleep until 11 p.m. or midnight — and when they need to wake up at 6 or 7 a.m., there's no way they can get sleep they need, Carskadon and others say. While adults need seven to nine hours a night, elementary school kids should be in bed for roughly 10 hours, middle schoolers and high schoolers at least nine, she says." (yourlife.usatoday.com)

Commission: Researchers Knew Of Ethical Problems In Guatemala STD Study : Shots - Health Blog : NPR "In the Guatemala experiments between 1946-1948, U.S. scientists sought out people in mental institutions, prisoners, commercial sex workers, and members of the Guatemala army and intentionally infected 1,300 of them with venereal diseases. The aim of the Guatemala study was to investigate the use of penicillin to treat and prevent infection, but the results were never published. Only 700 of the people who were infected received some kind of treatment. "These researchers knew these were unethical experiments, and they conducted them anyway," said Harvard geneticist and panel member Raju Kucherlapati, according to the Washington Post." (npr.org)

The Annals of Extreme Surgery - NYTimes.com "Cancer patients and their families, desperate for anything that might work after exhausting all other treatment options, are also part of the problem. But the history of cancer treatment provides a crucial cautionary tale for both those seeking out and those providing heated chemotherapy today. Doing more for cancer patients has often served a cultural as opposed to a scientific purpose, reflecting more the desire to defeat the cancer enemy than to take care of sick patients. Hospitals should offer heated chemotherapy — and insurance companies should pay for it — only after controlled trials have proved its effectiveness." (nytimes.com)

This program aired on August 31, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

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