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Briefs (right)

On a Scaffold in the Lab,
Doctors Build a Bladder

By Lawrence K. Altman

Bladders created in the laboratory from a patient’s own cells and then implanted in seven young people have achieved good long-term results in all of them, a team of researchers reported on Monday in a medical journal.

It takes about two months to grow the new bladder on a scaffold outside the body. After implantation, the engineered bladder enlarges over time in the recipient. The researchers say they expect that the new bladder will last a patient’s lifetime, but the longevity will be known only as the children grow older.

The hope is that someday the experimental reconstruction procedure will be standard for larger numbers of patients, including adults, and for those with other kinds of bladder damage.

A major advantage of his technique is that rejection cannot occur because the cells used to create a new bladder are from the patient, not from another individual. So an ultimate aim — still years off — is to develop the technique to grow a wide variety of other tissues, possibly even organs, to help relieve the shortage of donor organs available for transplanting, said the research team’s leader, Dr. Anthony Atala. He directs the Institute for Regenerative Medicine at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Despite Criticism, Trailer
For 9/11 Film Will Run

By Sharon Waxman

Universal Studios said on Monday that it would stick with plans to show an adrenaline-pumping trailer for “United 93,” its forthcoming thriller about the passenger revolt on one of the planes hijacked on 9/11, despite qualms from some moviegoers and families of 9/11 victims.

Adam Fogelson, Universal’s president of marketing, said the trailer, which was pulled from AMC Loews Lincoln Square 12 Theater in Manhattan on Saturday after complaints from patrons, would be shown only before R-rated movies or “grown-up” PG-13 ones. He said the trailer was created to give a candid sense of the film itself, which opens at the end of the month.

“The film is not sanitized or softened, it’s an honest and real look” at the events on United Airlines Flight 93, Fogelson said. “If I sanitized the trailer beyond what’s there, am I suggesting that the experience will be less real than what the movie itself is? We as a company feel comfortable that it is a responsible and fair way to show what’s coming.”

The studio’s challenge — how to promote a film about the tragedy without seeming to exploit it — is likely to surface repeatedly in coming months, as a cluster of movies that touch on the events of 9/11 begins to surface.

Tonsil-Adenoid Surgery
May Help Behavior, Too

By Nicholas Bakalar

Researchers have found strong evidence that adenotonsillectomy the surgery to remove the tonsils and adenoids — can help relieve childhood behavioral or attention problems, including attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD.

Although the surgery has become less common with antibiotics, more than 400,000 children under 15 have their tonsils, adenoids, or both removed every year, according to estimates by the Metropolitan Insurance Co. About half of the patients undergo the procedure to control chronic throat or ear infections. The rest have the operation to relieve breathing difficulty or nighttime sleep apnea, a serious disorder in which the sleeping child briefly stops breathing during the night.

Researchers studied 78 children who were scheduled for the operation, and a control group of 27 children having other surgery. According to the paper, which was published on Monday in Pediatrics, it has been known that children with sleep disorders often have behavior problems. But no cause-and-effect relationship has been established.

All the children spent one night in a sleep laboratory to record their sleep and breathing patterns. Their parents filled out scales that measured their children’s behavior, each child was tested for vigilance and concentration, and their daytime sleepiness was measured and recorded. Finally, a child psychiatrist determined which children’s difficulties merited the diagnosis of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.

A CBS Deal With Couric
May Be Near

By Bill Carter

CBS’ long courtship of Katie Couric has moved close to a conclusion. A deal to recruit her away from NBC’s “Today” show and into the nightly anchor chair at CBS News may be completed as early as this week, people close to the negotiations said Monday.

While Couric is under contract to NBC though the end of May and, under the terms of her current deal, cannot have any formal talks with CBS or another network until the beginning of that month, NBC executives decided in recent days to permit Couric’s representatives to discuss outside offers for her future services.

That decision, consistent with what representatives on both sides said had remained a completely amicable relationship between Couric and NBC, has finally speeded up CBS’ effort to woo the “Today” host, which began well over a year ago with an informal approach to Couric from the chairman of the CBS Corp., Leslie Moonves.

CBS’ pursuit of Couric has been the subject of a torrent of publicity over the last several months, with near-daily updates in some publications of Couric’s inclinations to stay at NBC or leave for CBS.

The speculation for at least the past three months has been that the “Today” host would accept CBS’ offer to succeed Dan Rather as the permanent anchor of “The CBS Evening News.” Bob Schieffer has filled in as anchor since Rather stepped down in March 2005, and has done that job with great success. Audience totals for the newscast are up significantly under Schieffer.