Wednesday November 21, 2012

Mass. rule would allow drug sharing in crisis

BOSTON (AP) -- State public health regulators have approved a new rule allowing hospitals to share compounded medications in the event of future drug shortages.

The emergency regulation passed by the Massachusetts Public Health Council on Wednesday is connected to a deadly fungal meningitis outbreak that’s been linked to a tainted steroid produced by the Framingham-based New England Compounding Center.

The NECC’s sister company, Westborough-based Ameridose, has voluntarily recalled its products and closed through the end of the year for inspection. The closure has prompted concerns about potential drug shortages.

Currently, hospitals that compound drugs can only do so for their own patients. The new regulation would allow those drugs to be shared with other hospitals during a severe shortage. Officials say no such crisis exists at this time.

RI physicist searching for dark matter

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) -- A Brown University physicist is one of the leaders of a hunt for mysterious dark matter in a former gold mine deep below South Dakota.

Professor Rick Gaitskell is one of the investigators behind the Large Underground Xenon experiment, which features a detector designed to find dark matter, an enigmatic material scientists believe makes up most of the universe’s mass.

The detector is housed in a double-walled titanium tank filled with ultrapure water and buried nearly a mile underground. The elaborate design is intended to prevent interference from the cosmic rays and radiation that regularly pass through the earth.

Gaitskill says the detector is nearly operational and could begin its search early next year. He says the device offers the best chance yet of spotting the elusive particles.

Campaign starts to light up N.H.-Maine bridge

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. (AP) -- A group of New Hampshire and Maine residents has started a $60,000 campaign to put aesthetic lighting on the new Memorial Bridge.

Committee member Ben Porter said that current plans are to install LED lights to illuminate the bridge’s towers, piers and a memorial plaque. He said there may be the ability to change the color of the lights, as well.

The group has contracted with John Powell, owner of Light Time in Space in Allston, Mass., for design work. Powell handled lights for Moakley Bridge near the Boston Children’s Museum and other Charles River bridges.

The new bridge connecting the states is under construction and is expected to be completed by July 2013. The old Memorial Bridge connected the two communities for nearly 90 years.