Daily Rounds: Modern Frankenstein; Health Cost Warning; Shock Therapy Debated; Kidney Transplant Boost

In Test Tube, Hint of Chemicals Coming Alive - "But it could soon happen right here on Earth, according to a handful of chemists and biologists who are using the tools of modern genetics to try to generate the Frankensteinian spark that will jump the gap separating the inanimate and the animate. The day is coming, they say, when chemicals in a test tube will come to life." (

Deputy consumer affairs secretary Barbara Anthony warns Legislature that certain vetoes could undermine Massachusetts' attempt to control health-care costs | "The first section, according to the business groups, would retain current standards for rate approvals, including medical loss ratios, limits on health plan profits and rates of increase for administrative expenses...The second section that Patrick vetoed would require the division to notify a health plan 60 days before the effective date of proposed rates if it intends to disapprove the rates, rather than the current 45 days. Failing to notify a health plan within 60 days of disapproved rates would result in rates being deemed approved under the budget directive." (

Critics, backers testify on shock therapy - The Boston Globe "Backers of the restrictions say science and treatments have advanced enough to show that positive reinforcements, medication, and other therapies could replace aversive therapy in nearly all cases. The bills would also grandfather in those patients receiving aversive therapy, ensuring that Brandon and other patients at the Rotenberg Center could continue their course of treatment." ( Treatment Boosts Survival Rates For Some Kidney Transplant Patients : Shots - Health Blog : NPR "Doctors call these patients "presensitized." But doctors at Johns Hopkins are desensitizing them. Basically, they're using a technique called "plasmapheresis" to cleanse antibodies from patients' blood before transplantation. After transplant, the patients get helpful antibodies to damp down the chances that the harmful ones will come back. A long-term study in this week's New England Journal of Medicine shows the method works." (

Study of Medical Device Rules Is Attacked Sight Unseen - "The scientific group, the Institute of Medicine, is scheduled to release a report on Friday that could propose a tougher approval process for a wide range of devices like hip implants, hospital pumps and external heart defibrillators. The report, commissioned by the Food and Drug Administration, comes after several well-publicized recalls in recent years of devices that have failed in thousands of patients, causing numerous injuries. But a business group and others have taken the highly unusual step of making a pre-emptive strike, arguing that the report is biased. That attack began even before the study panel finished its review, and has intensified in recent weeks." (

This program aired on July 28, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.


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