Daily Rounds: Vaccine Makers' Victory; Your Brain On Cellphone; Steward's Florida Bid

Supreme Court Upholds Liability Shield For Vaccine Makers : Shots - Health Blog : NPR "In a closely watched case, the high court ruled 6-2 that federal law shields vaccine makers from suits filed in state courts seeking compensation for injuries or deaths due allegedly to avoidable design problems with the vaccines. Instead, the court said, people who claim injuries need to go through a special no-fault federal vaccine court. The decision affirms the role of the special vaccine court and blunts a threat of lawsuits claiming defective vaccines caused autism in children." (

Cellphone Use Tied to Brain Changes - "Researchers from the National Institutes of Health have found that less than an hour of cellphone use can speed up brain activity in the area closest to the phone antenna, raising new questions about the health effects of low levels of radiation emitted from cellphones. The researchers, led by Dr. Nora D. Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, urged caution in interpreting the findings because it is not known whether the changes, which were seen in brain scans, have any meaningful effect on a person’s overall health." (

Caritas owner widens its aims - The Boston Globe "Steward Health Care System, a company formed just months ago to run the newly privatized Caritas Christi hospitals, is making an aggressive effort to expand nationally with a $1.1 billion bid for medical facilities in Florida. Steward, which was created after the New York private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management bought six Catholic hospitals in Massachusetts last November, sent a letter of intent Monday, offering to take over the financially troubled Jackson Health System in Miami for $600 million in cash and $500 million to cover debt." (

A Third Judge Validates Health Care Overhaul Law - "A third federal judge upheld the constitutionality of the Obama health care law on Tuesday, reinforcing the divide in the lower courts as the case moves toward its first hearings on the appellate level. Judge Gladys Kessler of Federal District Court for the District of Columbia became the third appointee of President Bill Clinton, a Democrat, to reject a constitutional challenge to the Affordable Care Act. Two other federal district judges, both appointed by Republican presidents, have struck down the law’s keystone provision, which requires most Americans to obtain health insurance starting in 2014. (

This program aired on February 23, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.


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