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Archive for Saturday, June 14, 2003

Briefly

June 14, 2003

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Maine

Legislature approves universal health care

Maine lawmakers gave final approval Friday to a bill to create one of the nation's most far-reaching health insurance plans.

In the 151-member House, 105 members voted in favor. The Senate approved the measure 25-8, allowing the state to start organizing the program in 90 days.

Under the plan, all 180,000 people in Maine who cannot otherwise afford health care coverage would have access to it by 2009. Participants would be charged subsidized premiums that would vary according to their ability to pay and the amount of coverage purchased.

Funding would come from a patchwork of sources, including a tax on insurance companies and $80 million the state expects to save each year by eliminating unreimbursed medical costs run up by uninsured people.

California

Mother claims child in message to police

A woman claiming to be the mother of a 2-year-old boy who was found wandering alone on a Bakersfield street told police she was dying of cancer and asked that authorities find a good home for the child, according to a transcript of a telephone message.

The message was left over Memorial Day weekend on an answering machine at the Bakersfield Police Department. The transcript was released Thursday.

The woman also said her husband mistreated her and the boy.

The toddler was found May 18 on a sidewalk in a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood. Speaking only Spanish, he told police his name was Mateo and that he had two brothers and a dog.

Police launched a nationwide search for the parents and questioned people in the neighborhood where the child was found but had come up with nothing until receiving the telephone message.

St. Louis

FDA approves drug for neutering dogs

It may look like a puppy's nightmare, but it sounds like the proverbial dream come true for animal lovers hoping to stop the killing of society's unwanted pets.

Neutersol, the world's first chemical neutering procedure for dogs, has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration and is now on the market.

In the world of pet news, the story is a big one -- international in scope -- yet it comes in part from the University of Missouri at Columbia.

After more than 12 years of research and testing, Neutersol was approved for use in puppies 3 to 10 months of age. Don Polley, a spokesman for Addison labs, said the company was in the process of obtaining FDA approval for use in older dogs, as well as in cats, with horses and other equines also targeted.

North Carolina

University researcher resigns amid probe

A leading cancer researcher from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has resigned amid accusations from colleagues he faked breast cancer findings, an allegation he disputed Friday.

Dr. Steven Leadon, who was a professor of radiation oncology and head of the university's molecular radiology program, said the case was about faulty data rather than outright lies.

A retraction of the 1998 research by Leadon appeared in Friday's edition of Science magazine. It said an ad hoc investigatory committee at the university found that Leadon, the last author of the five-author paper, had "fabricated and falsified research findings." The retraction did not specify what aspects of the research were alleged to be fabricated.

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