Daily Rounds: Paul Levy's Board Pay; 'Participatory' Medicine; 'Brain Wars'; Zicam Loses Suit

Paul Levy sees big returns from nonprofit - An under-the-radar western Massachusetts nonprofit that controls the state’s electricity market is lavishing huge salaries on executives and board members, including ousted Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center honcho Paul Levy, who rakes in a $91,000 salary for just six hours of work per week. The tax-exempt Independent Systems Operator New England — which oversees the region’s electric grid — shelled out $1.4 million in salary and benefits to president Gordon van Welie. The quasi-public agency also has a senior vice president making nearly $900,000, six other VPs making more than $500,000, and six hauling in more than $300,000, according to government filings. Levy, who stepped down from his $1 million-a-year hospital job in January after revelations of an improper relationship with an underling, is one of nine part-time board members who make between $78,000 and $106,000 a year.  (Boston Herald)

More on this: Brian McGrory in The Boston Globe today notes that Paul Levy donates the pay to Beth Israel: "In a blog posting on the Beth Israel Deaconess website several years ago, Levy said he turned over his ISO pay to the hospital. Beth Israel Deaconess spokeswoman Judy Glasser confirmed this week that Levy had turned over his director’s pay to the Boston hospital each year."

Patients take on expanded role - The Boston Globe CAMBRIDGE — Patient activists are stepping up their role in health care and drug development, funding research, helping companies set priorities, and banding together over the Internet to share their experiences with everything from doctors to therapeutics. The emerging “participatory medicine’’ trend, which will have a profound impact on health care providers and the biomedical industry, was a focus of yesterday’s opening sessions at the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council’s annual meeting. About 350 people attended the first day of the council’s two-day gathering at the Royal Sonesta Hotel. “We see an evolution bordering on a revolution in health care,’’ said Harry Glorikian, managing partner of Cambridge life sciences consulting firm Scientia Advisors. (

'Suicide By Cop' Leads Soldier On Chase Of His Life : NPR Given the number of troops deployed, tens of thousands of soldiers, Marines, sailors and airmen may be suffering from this pernicious combination of PTSD and lasting problems from mild traumatic brain injury. They become, quite literally, different men and women than they used to be, a generation of warriors whose fight has shifted from external combat zones to invisible internal battlefields. The issue has ignited debate in scientific and military circles, where much of the basic science remains in dispute. Are the two conditions related? If so, how? Does having a mild traumatic brain injury increase the chance of developing post-traumatic stress disorder? Or does surviving a terrifying event somehow make it more difficult for the brain to recover from a concussion?
"It's very complicated," said Jennifer Vasterling, who has studied the issue and treated soldiers as chief of psychology at the Boston Veteran's Administration Hospital. "There are no simple scenarios." (

Supreme Court Rules Against Drug Company in Zicam Suit - The Supreme Court unanimously ruled on Tuesday that investors suing a drug company for securities fraud may rely on its failure to disclose scattered reports of adverse affects from an over-the-counter cold remedy that fell short of statistical significance. Use of Zicam was linked to a loss of smell, a condition known as anosmia.The case involved Zicam, a nasal spray and gel made by Matrixx Initiatives and sold as a homeopathic medicine. From 1999 to 2004, the plaintiffs said, the company received reports that the products might have caused some users to lose their sense of smell, a condition called anosmia. Matrixx did not disclose the reports and in 2003, the company said it was “poised for growth” and had “very strong momentum” though, by the plaintiffs’ calculations, Zicam accounted for about 70 percent of its sales. (


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