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Study Questions Value of a
Therapy for Injuries

The treatment has become so popular that patients with orthopedic injuries are demanding it, willing to pay $1,000 or more out of their own pocket. Its appeal only soared higher when professional athletes like Tiger Woods and the football players Troy Polamalu and Hines Ward reported that it cured them.

It is a new procedure, based on an idea that once seemed revolutionary: Inject people with their own blood, concentrated so it is mostly platelets, the tiny colorless bodies that release substances that help repair tissues.

Soon the treatment, platelet-rich plasma, or PRP, was extended to so many uses — treating muscle sprains and tendon pulls and tears, arthritis, bone fractures and surgical wounds — that Dr. Bruce Reider, editor of The American Journal of Sports Medicine, said in a recent editorial that perhaps it should be called “platelet-rich panacea.”

Thousands of doctors and about 500 hospitals are offering the treatment, said Frank Stephenson, vice president for marketing and sales of Harvest Technologies, among several companies selling equipment for concentrating blood platelets.

Now, though, the first rigorous study asking whether the platelet injections actually work finds they are no more effective than salt water. The study, reported in the Jan. 13 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association, involved people with injured Achilles’ tendons, fibrous tissue that connects the calf to the heel bone.

Motorcycle Bomb Kills
Physicist in Tehran

A remote-controlled bomb attached to a motorcycle killed an Iranian physics professor outside his home in north Tehran on Tuesday, state media reported. The reports blamed the United States and Israel for the attack.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility. A state broadcaster, IRIB, quoted a Foreign Ministry spokesman as saying that “in the initial investigation, signs of the triangle of wickedness by the Zionist regime, America and their hired agents are visible in the terrorist act” against the scientist, Massoud Ali Mohammadi.

A State Department spokeman in Washington dismissed the accusation of U.S. involvement as “absurd.”

Two other people were wounded in the blast, which was powerful enough to shatter the windows in a nearby four-story building.

The English-language Press TV said Ali Mohammadi, 50, taught neutron physics at Tehran University, though he did not seem to have any connection to Iran’s nuclear enrichment program.

Lawyers Challenge Ohio
On Executions

Proper training of prison officials could have prevented a botched execution in Ohio last year that led the state to overhaul its method of execution, lawyers for several death row inmates have argued in court filings.

The filings contend that Ohio prison officials have shown a consistent disregard for their own rules in carrying out executions, including failing to ensure that execution staff members attend required rehearsals and training.

And they contend that one of the people who helped conduct the botched execution on Sept. 15, involving an inmate named Romell Broom, was inadequately trained and had failed to attend all the required rehearsals.

That employee is a licensed emergency medical technician, but has not worked as one for several years, does not regularly establish IVs and was out of practice at the time of Broom’s attempted execution, according to the court documents filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Columbus.

Broom was convicted of kidnapping, raping and killing Tryna Middleton, 14, in 1984. At his scheduled execution, prison officials stuck him with a needle for nearly two hours in a failed effort to find a usable vein. Gov. Ted Strickland ordered the execution halted.

Closing Pipeline to Needy, City Shreds Clothes

New York City officials destroyed tons of new, unworn clothing and footwear last year that had been seized in raids on counterfeit label operations, abandoning a practice of giving knockoff garments to groups that help the needy.

Last summer, the Police Department rented an industrial shredder to destroy a dozen tractor-trailer loads of bootleg goods after they were no longer needed as evidence in legal proceedings. It also has been shipping truckloads of garments — including winter jackets, shirts, pants and underwear — to an incinerator in Hempstead, on Long Island. The city pays about $150 a ton to burn them.

“All the disposal is done under the supervision of law enforcement,” said Kathy Dawkins, a spokeswoman for the city’s Department of Sanitation. “It is called a witnessed burn.”

Until last April, the city had turned over some of the seized goods to not-for-profit organizations, including World Vision and the New York City Clothing Bank, which removed labels and defaced the counterfeit trademarks, then distributed the clothing to aid groups across the city.

A spokesman for the Police Department said that no one asked for the knockoffs in 2009 — an explanation that was bewildering to the operators of the clothing bank, who run a warehouse that supplies clothing to needy New Yorkers. They said they had made many requests.

“It would be hard to justify taking a truckload of perfectly good clothes and incinerating them, but that’s what’s happening,” said William Montana, a real estate adviser who is on the board of the clothing bank.