Daily Rounds: Chantix Risks; Stem Cell Salaries; Harvard Researcher's ALS; Unsung Medical Receptionists

Stop-Smoking Drug Linked to Heart Risks — Medpage Today "Chantix had a small but statistically significant increase in the risk of cardiovascular events, a meta-analysis of randomized trials showed. The analysis, published online in CMAJ, showed that 1.06% of varenicline-treated study participants had serious adverse cardiovascular events compared with 0.82% in placebo-treated participants. 'In absolute terms, it is a small difference,' first author Sonal Singh, MD, of Johns Hopkins, told MedPage Today. 'However, when you consider the difference from a population perspective, you get a very different picture.'" (

As other agencies cut, California's stem cell agency raises top salaries - "Sacramento— California's stem cell research agency says it needs billions more taxpayer dollars to deliver on promised cures to major diseases. Yet at a time when other departments are cutting back spending, the agency recently agreed to pay its new boss one of the highest salaries in state government. The 50-person grant-making body will pay a Los Angeles investment banker $400,000 to serve as its new part-time board chairman, pushing the combined salaries of its two top officials to nearly $1 million per year." (Los Angeles Times)

Renowned Harvard researcher fights ALS - The Boston Globe "It’s tough enough to communicate a sentence or two to a visitor, but McCullough’s aim is much more ambitious than that. The internationally renowned Harvard researcher and professor is racing the clock to complete her final book, “Forbidden Feelings,’’ on the appropriate use of emotions. Though she has published widely and written two textbooks, this is the book she has always wanted to write for the general public. She refers to it as her “Oprah book,’’ and she first began work on it 25 years ago." (

Doctor and Patient: Giving Medical Receptionists Their Due - "While much has been written about the role of doctors, nurses and other clinicians in the care of patients and their families, little attention has been paid to those individuals who make up the very front lines of health care. In almost every clinical practice, office receptionists and the professionals who do comparable work in hospitals, the ward clerks and unit secretaries, are the first people patients see. But serious research on their interactions with patients has been sparse at best. Now the journal Social Science and Medicine has published a new study on the work of this group of professionals." (

This program aired on July 5, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.


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