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Heart stents fail to ease chest pain; Hartford student faces hate crime charges after harassing roommate; more in U.S.


Study: Heart stents fail to ease pain

A procedure used to relieve chest pain in hundreds of thousands of heart patients each year is useless for many of them, researchers reported Wednesday. Their study focused on the insertion of stents — tiny wire cages — to open blocked arteries. The devices are lifesaving when used to open arteries in patients in the throes of a heart attack. But they are most often used in patients who have a blocked artery and chest pain that occurs, for example, walking up a hill or going up stairs. The new study, published in the Lancet, stunned leading cardiologists by countering decades of clinical experience. The findings raise questions about whether stents should be used so often — or at all — to treat chest pain. Dr. William E. Boden, a cardiologist and professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine, called the results "unbelievable." Dr. David Maron, a cardiologist at Stanford University, praised the new study as "very well conducted" but said it left some questions unanswered. For the study, Dr. Justin E. Davies, a cardiologist at Imperial College London, and his colleagues recruited 200 patients with a profoundly blocked coronary artery and chest pain severe enough to limit physical activity, common reasons for inserting a stent. All were treated for six weeks with drugs to reduce the risk of a heart attack, like aspirin, a statin and a blood pressure drug, as well as medications that relieve chest pain by slowing the heart or opening blood vessels. Then the subjects had a procedure: a stent was inserted or wasn't. This is one of the few studies in cardiology in which a sham procedure was given to controls who were then compared to patients receiving the actual treatment. Those who didn't receive the stent but thought they did reported placebo effects.


Hartford student expelled, faces hate crime charges after harassing roommate

A woman was charged with criminal mischief and expelled from the University of Hartford after boasting about having contaminated her roommate's toothbrush, face lotion and other belongings in an effort to drive her from the room. Brianna Brochu, 18, was in court Wednesday for charges that originated with an Instagram post in which she said she finally rid herself of her randomly assigned dorm roommate, Chennel "Jazzy" Rowe, whom she referred to as "Jamaican Barbie." Brochu is white; Rowe is black. "After one and a half months spitting in her coconut oil, putting moldy clam dip in her lotions, rubbing used tampons on her backpack, putting her toothbrush places where the sun doesn't shine, and so much more, I can finally say goodbye to Jamaican Barbie," said Brochu's now-deleted post. Police requested Brochu be charged with intimidation based on bigotry or bias. The University of Hartford announced she was no longer a student and would not be returning. "Acts of racism, bias, bullying, or other abusive behaviors will not be tolerated," university president Gregory Woodward said. Rowe, a freshman, described her roommate's behavior in a Facebook video Monday, prompting the social media campaign #JusticeforJazzy, and accused the school of attempting to keep the episode quiet. "I moved out because I felt like I was unwanted in my own room," she said, adding the revelations explained why she had been sick early in the school year. Other students in the dorm showed Rowe the social media posts made by Brochu.


Trump nominates Jerome Powell to be next Fed chairman

President Donald Trump on Thursday announced his choice of Federal Reserve board member Jerome Powell to be the next chairman of the nation's central bank, succeeding Janet Yellen, the first woman to hold the position. Powell, 64, is seen as a safe pick whose selection will likely assure investors hoping for continuity. Some analysts see Powell, though, as more inclined than Yellen to ease financial regulations and possibly to favor a faster pace of rate increases. Trump says Powell had earned the "respect and admiration of his colleagues" in his five years on the Fed's board. The president also called Yellen, whom he decided not to nominate for a second term, a "wonderful woman who has done a terrific job." In a departure from previous announcements of new Fed chairs, Yellen was not in attendance Thursday.

Energy chief Perry: Fossil fuels can prevent sexual assault

Energy Secretary Rick Perry thinks using fossil fuels can help prevent sexual assault. On Thursday, Perry said using fossil fuels to power electricity can help villages in Africa and other developing regions. He said during a recent visit to Africa, a young girl told him electricity was important to her because she has to read by the light of a fire with noxious fumes. Speaking at an event sponsored by Axios and NBC News, Perry went further. He said electricity is important "from the standpoint of sexual assault. When the lights are on, when you have light that shines the righteousness, if you will, on those types of acts. So from the standpoint of how you really affect people's lives, fossil fuels ... play a role in that," Perry said. "I happen to think it's going to play a positive role." In response, the executive director of the Sierra Club, the nation's largest environmental group, said: "It was already clear that Rick Perry is unfit to lead the Department of Energy, but to suggest that fossil fuel development will decrease sexual assault is not only blatantly untrue, it is an inexcusable attempt to minimize a serious and pervasive issue." Michael Brune added that Perry should resign. Perry's office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Report: Most 2016 voting sites lacked full disability access

Fewer than one in five polling places were fully accessible to voters with physical disabilities during the 2016 general election, a government report shows — a finding that has prompted federal officials to recommend the Justice Department adopt stricter compliance rules. The report released Thursday by the non-partisan Government Accountability Office gives only a year to address problems before the 2018 elections. The bottom line is that accessibility for voters with disabilities has not kept pace with the increase in early voting since the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act and the 2002 Help America Vote Act. Both early voting and the disabilities access are top goals in making it easier to vote. Instead, President Donald Trump has urged action on unfounded allegations of voter fraud, and more than a dozen Republican-controlled states have enacted tighter restrictions on voting this decade. Just 17 percent of the 178 polling places officials examined nationwide were without any impediments to voters with disabilities, despite states reporting they'd taken adequate care before voting started.

Trump's accusers feel forgotten, but lawsuit may change that

While allegations of sexual misconduct against powerful men in recent weeks have drawn wide public support, women who came forward during the presidential race with accusations against Donald Trump said they have spent the past year feeling dismissed and forgotten. "With Trump, it was all brushed under the rug," said Temple Taggart, who says Trump kissed her when she was competing in his Miss USA pageant in 1997. But that could change if a defamation lawsuit brought by a woman who accused the president of unwanted sexual advances is allowed to proceed in New York's Supreme Court. Lawyers sought a subpoena seeking all Trump campaign records related to his female accusers. Summer Zervos, a former contestant on The Apprentice, is represented by the firm of Gloria Allred, who has helped bring cases against Bill Cosby and others. They say Trump defamed Zervos during the campaign when he repeatedly described her and other accusers' accounts as "lies" and "nonsense." During the campaign, more than 10 women made allegations against Trump ranging from unwanted touching to sexual assault. Most of them spoke out after the release of an Access Hollywood tape in which he bragged about sexual assault.


Ain't seen McMuffin yet: Man pulls out gun at McDonald's

Police are looking for a man who pulled out a gun after being told by a McDonald's drive-thru worker there were no Egg McMuffin sandwiches available. The incident occurred shortly after 3:30 a.m. Wednesday at a McDonald's in Warren, police said. The worker told police that two men inside the car appeared to be around 20 years old. She said the driver called her a vulgar name after pulling out the gun and then cursed at her again before driving away. Warren police hope to identify the men using surveillance video footage.


Colorblind? State's scenic viewfinders unveil fall hues

Even when the rugged expanses of the Great Smoky Mountains were bursting with their famous fall colors, they always looked dull black and tawny to Lauren Van Lew from the 3,590-foot-high perch of Mt. Harrison. The 20-year-old, who is colorblind, loves painting, but wife Molly has to help her pick and mix colors. Last week, however, Van Lew for the first time saw yellows, oranges and reds exploding across the mountains. "Red was the biggest difference. I mean, I can't describe it," said Van Lew after looking through a special viewfinder. "It's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen in my life." The state's colorblind viewfinder installed atop the Ober Gatlinburg resort was one of three in Tennessee that debuted Wednesday. The other two viewfinders are at scenic areas of Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area near Oneida, and at the westbound Interstate 26 overlook near Erwin in Unicoi County. Although the technology isn't new, state officials believe it's the first time it's been incorporated into a viewfinder, at a cost of $2,000 apiece, to help people with red-green color deficiencies. How crisply the viewfinders display the colors can vary among the 13 million or so Americans with color deficiencies. — tbt* wires