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Week of 6.8.07

Stents and Sensibility

In 2006, Americans spent at least $14 billion on procedures involving coronary stents —little tubes that open clogged arteries to the heart. But according to the FDA, there's no evidence that stents significantly reduce the risk of future heart attacks. Now, a major study from a top cardiologist is suggesting many of the procedures prescribed for chest pains are overused. This week NOW investigates the facts behind coronary procedures and finds—to no surprise—that money is as much an issue as medicine.

"There's no question that coronary intervention is big business. There is a lot of money involved in this," Researcher Dr. James Ferguson tells NOW. "And this gets everybody very nervous, and very upset, and very passionate."

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With big medical device makers so vested in the sale and marketing of their equipment, are some putting profits above patients?

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Radio Paradise Lost?
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Combining old school pleasures with new school technology, Internet radio stations are often run by small, independent outfits, frequently offering greater musical diversity and fewer commercials than their traditional counterparts. As with FM/AM radio, songwriters receive royalties for music aired over the Internet. But a decision by the Copyright Royalty Board at the Library of Congress to dramatically increase royalty fees has some stations worrying if they can stay in business. Can a deal be reached between the stations, musicians, and record companies that will be music to everyone's ears?

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