Study results ease concerns about prostate cancer drug

Long-term results from a major federal study ease worries about the safety of a hormone-blocking drug that can lower a man’s chances of developing prostate cancer.

The drug cut prostate cancer risk by 30 percent without raising the risk of dying of an aggressive form of the disease as earlier results hinted it might.

The new work could prompt a fresh look at using the drug for cancer prevention. Experts say it could prevent tens of thousands of cases each year, saving many men from treatments with seriously unpleasant side effects.

The drug is sold as Proscar by Merck & Co. and in generic form as Finasteride to treat urinary problems from enlarged prostates. It’s also sold in a lower dose as Propecia to treat hair loss.

FORT HOOD, Texas

Experts testify shooting victims were lying down

At least four people killed during a gunman’s rampage at Fort Hood in 2009 were likely shot while lying on the floor inside a building at the Texas military base, experts testified Wednesday during the accused shooter’s trial.

Pathologists who conducted several autopsies of the victims described the wounds caused by an FN 5.7 semi-automatic pistol while testifying at the military trial of Maj. Nidal Hasan. He is accused of killing 13 people and wounding more than 30 others during the attack.

Michael Grant Cahill, a physician’s assistant who tried to stop Hasan that day, was shot six times, including once through his neck, according to pathologist Capt. Edward Reedy. Reedy told jurors that some of Cahill’s wounds suggest he was shot while lying down.

Witnesses said Cahill was armed only with a chair when he charged Hasan as the Army psychiatrist opened fire. Cahill was the lone civilian who died in the rampage, which remains the worst mass shooting ever on a U.S. military installation.

NEW YORK

Bloomberg, police unions oppose body cameras

Police officers around the country have been able to protect themselves against citizen complaints by wearing tiny body cameras, but a federal judge’s plan to force some New York officers to start wearing the devices has angered the city’s mayor and police unions.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg criticized the cameras as unnecessary for the 35,000-officer department, while police reform advocates have cautiously agreed to the idea in theory — with some caveats. And people on both sides have raised privacy concerns in a city that already has thousands of public and private cameras recording people.

“It needs to be examined further, which is why a test program is the right idea,” said Baher Azmy, legal director of the civil liberties group Center for Constitutional Rights.

U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin ordered a pilot program of the cameras and other major reforms to the New York Police Department’s stop-and-frisk policy this week, after she found the NYPD intentionally discriminated against minorities.

Bloomberg called the cameras no real solution and vowed to appeal, which likely means no changes are imminent.

NEWARK, N.J.

‘Real Housewives’ couple plead not guilty of fraud

Husband-and-wife stars of the “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” pleaded not guilty in federal court Wednesday to a host of financial fraud charges that allegedly stretch back to 2001.

Teresa and Guiseppe “Joe” Giudice made their pleas in U.S. District Court after passing through a gauntlet of news media outside the courthouse. Two weeks ago, before their initial court appearance, a brief tussle had broken out between the couple and a horde of reporters and photographers. On Wednesday, marshals set up metal barriers to form a walkway into the building.

The Giudices were charged last month in a 39-count indictment with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, bank fraud, making false statements on loan applications and bankruptcy fraud.

Neither defendant spoke before, during or after the five-minute court proceeding.