JULY 2008

Morgentaler honoured, jeered
OTTAWA — After years of lobbying by his supporters, Dr Henry Morgentaler, the man responsible for the Supreme Court's 1988 decision to overturn laws restricting access to abortion services, has finally been welcomed into the Order of Canada. The Conservative government quickly distanced itself from the decision, which was immediately decried by the Catholic Church and right-wing activists across the country.

QC strikes down cloning law
MONTREAL — A national ban on human cloning and the embryo trade has been axed by a Quebec court. Its 53-page judgement, released mid-June, found that federal cloning laws interfered with provincial powers over healthcare, and should be considered a health matter not a criminal justice issue. It's unclear if other provinces will take up the issue, though, since none have spoken up about the decision.

NL physician's painting graces 'Anne-iversary' stamp
ST JOHN'S — To celebrate the centenary of�Anne of Green Gables' publication, Canada Post has selected Newfoundland MD Christopher Kovacs's painting of Anne's legendary home on PEI to grace a new 52� stamp. A clinical scientist at Memorial University by day, during his off hours Dr Kovacs wields a brush to capture the landscapes of Canada's east coast on canvas.

Hidden paroxetine data probed
NEW YORK — The FDA may not have known what it was doing when it approved the antidepressant paroxetine, suggests an ongoing US Department of Justice investigation into whether drug manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline obscured and withheld data proving the increased risk of suicide for patients on the drug. A similar inquiry in Britain early this year found GSK has withheld negative data on the drug as early as 1989.

Bariatric surgery cuts cancer risk by 80%
MONTREAL — The connection between obesity and several types of cancer is well established. Does it then follow that the risk would be reduced if patients lost weight? Yes, says new research from McGill University presented last month at the annual meeting of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Society that shows that cancer risks in the morbidly obese drop by 80% when they have bariatric surgery which shaves off 67% of their excess weight. And it's particularly effective in cutting colon and breast cancers.

Bugged Rx catches crook
MANCHESTER, CT — To catch a thief targeting and ripping off pharmacies, Manchester police infused a painkiller with a high-tech ingredient — a GPS tracking bug. When the cops picked up the electronic trail left by the souped-up bottle of hydrocodone, it led them straight to the alleged crook, 41-year-old Frederick Faunce. As well as stealing the bait bottle, police suspect him of the other drug store heists.

Leukemia med boosts tPA stroke treatment
MICHIGAN — An antidote to brain bleeds, an unwanted effect of the stroke treatment tPA, has been found in an unexp-ected place: the leukemia drug imat-inib. The research was published in Nature Medicine June 22. While tPA excels at breaking down blood clots, it also causes the blood-brain barrier to become porous, raising the risk of bleeding. Imatinib prevents the latter effect.




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