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Elders not told of risks in hip study, U.S. alleges

Federal health regulators have accused a research team led by a Harvard doctor of ethical violations after the scientists failed to inform elderly nursing home residents of serious health risks discovered during a study of hip fractures. In a letter sent last week to a Harvard-affiliated institution and two other major research universities, the Department of Health and Human Services concluded that the scientists suppressed information about the dangers to elders participating in research on how to reduce often lethal hip injuries. The regulators said the scientists should have shared their findings about the use of protective padded underwear with patients and safety boards that routinely oversee medical studies. As a result, the federal agency is now ordering the researchers to develop a plan to contact nursing home residents in Boston, St. Louis, and Baltimore who participated in the study and may unwittingly have been placed in peril.
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