Daily Rounds: Immigrant Benefits; Spine Device Sterility?; Born-Again Brains; Libyan HIV Mystery

Advocates ask judge to order full benefits for immigrants - Advocates today asked a single justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court to declare the state's exclusion of thousands of legal immigrants from subsidized health coverage unconstitutional. The motion comes two weeks after the full court ruled that the exclusion likely violates the state's constitution. It also comes just days after the state Senate released its proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year without including any money for expanding services to the immigrants. (

Medtronic’s Infuse Can Make Men Sterile, Study Says - A surgeon at Stanford University, in a study released Wednesday, suggests that one of Medtronic’s best-selling spinal products poses a risk of male sterility. That finding is in stark contrast to earlier research by doctors paid by Medtronic, who found no connection between the product, Infuse, and a condition that causes sterility. Dr. Tomislav Smoljanovic of Croatia has also questioned claims from an earlier study of Infuse. Infuse is a bioengineered bone growth protein that has been widely used in spinal fusion procedures since 2002. The Infuse label notes the sterility-related complication as a possible side effect, but the Medtronic-sponsored researchers in published reports attributed that complication to surgical technique, not the product itself. ( suggests 'born-again' believers have smaller brains - DURHAM, N.C. — For decades, mainline Protestants have been beset by bad news: declining numbers, aging membership, waning cultural influence.A new study from Duke University Medical Center, however, gives these Protestants one reason for cheer: they seem to have larger brains than born-again Christians, Roman Catholics and the religiously unaffiliated. A study of believer's brain, based on scans such as this image of a normal brain, found born again Christians had a smaller brain than mainline Protestants, Catholics and those with no religious identity. The study, which examined the hippocampus region of the brain, found that Protestants who did not have a "born again" experience had significantly more gray matter than either those who reported a life-changing religious experience, Catholics, or unaffiliated older adults. (USA Today)

Libya children AIDS: 1990s infection of Libyan children with HIV remains a mystery - In a case permeated by a dictator's intrigues and international outrage, Libyan prosecutors alleged that five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor deliberately infected the children as part of a nefarious conspiracy that turned caregivers into child-killers. European experts who studied the evidence cited less sinister reasons as the likely cause: poor hygiene and the reuse of syringes. Today, with Kadafi's regime ousted from the east, at least for now, there is hope that some kind of truth may finally emerge, even as freedom from Kadafi has brought a new peril: a shortage of crucial medications because of interrupted shipments from Europe. (Los Angeles Times)

Quality Prescription For Primary Care Doctors: Do Less : Shots - Health Blog : NPR Everybody loves a list. And lists, let's face, make it easier to set priorities, even for doctors. So a group of docs who want to improve the quality and cost-effectiveness of primary care tinkered with some Top 5 lists for of dos and don'ts for pediatricians, family doctors and internists. After testing them a bit, they published online by the Archives of Internal Medicine. Most of the advice falls in the category of less is more. (

This program aired on May 25, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.


More from WBUR

Listen Live