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Week of 4 December 1998

Vol. II, No. 16

In the News


"You don't make psychotic people psychotic. You don't put diabetic people into shock. You don't give people with heart disease heart attacks," says School of Public Health Professor Leonard Glantz in the Boston Globe November 16, in the second of a four-part series exploring research on the mentally ill. He makes the analogies to voice his disapproval of psychiatric experiments on the mentally ill, calling them "not an appropriate use of human beings." Glantz, who specializes in health law, asks, "Why would anyone agree to be in these studies? If you were really well-informed and you really knew what was going on, could you possibly say yes?"

Universities nurture and grow knowledge. Boston University takes this idea to a practical level by nurturing and growing new companies, and the medium is the Community Technology Fund. In a November Venture Capital Journal profile of the fund and the ways it extends the University endowment, managing director Matt Burns says, "The way we look at that is, it provides a way for the university technology to get out in the marketplace and be of value as opposed to sitting in a laboratory."

The ultimate fate of the Middle East peace agreement shepherded by President Clinton remains to be seen, but initially the interested parties praised his effort. Some scholars take a cooler view of the achievement, among them CAS History Professor Robert Dallek. "It says to us that he's a very weak president in that he had to work so extraordinarily hard to get something that seems to be so dubious," says Dallek in an October 25 Long Island Newsday story. "It speaks to how limited his authority is because of this impeachment business."

"Deep within cultures, neighborhoods, and personalities lies a mysterious and yet palpable sense of boundaries," says Thomas Cottle, SED professor of special education. Cottle, a clinical psychologist and sociologist, says this sense originates "in our psyches and experiences" and writes in an essay in the November 15 Boston Herald that our unwillingness definitively to address these "social and psychological roots" explains the recurrent violence against perceived trespassers of these boundaries.

His "random walk through topics that have interested me" has taken Professor Charles Cantor, director of the Center for Advanced Biotechnology, on a leave of absence to San Diego, where among other things he is working in the emerging field of pharmacogenetics at Sequenom, Inc. Using genetic screening to determine a recipient's receptivity to certain drugs, the process offers comprehensive benefits, according to Cantor. "The patient wins because there's better care. The insurer wins because there's cheaper care. Drug companies win because more of their drugs are used successfully, and diagnostic companies like us win because they're using our techniques," he says in a November 11 San Diego Union-Tribune article.