Lasik refunds raise eyebrows

The practice of money back plans for medical eye care has raised concerns with the Council for Refractive Surgery Quality Assurance (USAEyes.org; Sacramento, California), a non-profit patient advocacy that evaluates patient outcomes and certifies Lasik doctors. The restatement of $48.9 million of revenue loss by LCA-Vision, which operates 63 LasikPlus centers across the nation, has Wall Street concerned as well.

"It's admirable for a clinic to provide a high level of commitment to its patients, however the reality is that what constitutes a lifetime and what is covered may be a matter of contention and circumstance," says Glenn Hagele, Executive Director of USAEyes.org. "Are we talking about the lifetime of the patient, the doctor, or the corporation that employed the doctor?"

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has raised a few questions too. On May 8, SEC concerns about LCA-Vision's reporting method for its "Lifetime Acuity Program" that promises to provide additional patient services prompted an amended earnings change effecting a reduction in revenues of $48.9 million and a reduction in retained earnings of $27.4 million from 2002 to 2006.

Canadian study focuses on heart disease risk

Researchers at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute (UOHI; Ottawa) have identified a piece of the DNA sequence that boosts a person's susceptibility to heart disease by up to 40% regardless of other established risks such as cholesterol, blood pressure and diabetes. The discovery could help identify people at high future risk for heart disease, enabling early preventive therapies, including lifestyle changes and medication to reduce their risk. This finding may also lead to a better understanding of the biological pathways that lead to heart attacks.

The results, published May 3 in Science Express, showed that a region on chromosome 9 was strongly linked to premature heart disease. Individuals carrying the genetic variant (about 25% of the population) had a 30 to 40% higher risk of heart disease than those individuals who do not carry this genetic variant. This increased risk was not related to effects on known heart disease risk factors such as cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes or smoking.

Del Global now trading on OTCBB

Del Global Technologies (Franklin Park, Illinois) reported that its common shares began trading on the OTCBB May 11. James Risher, Del Global president/CEO, said that the listing "represents another milestone . . . . We are making continued progress towards building greater value for our shareholders, as evidenced by, among other things, higher sales and profits in the fiscal 2007 second quarter, and the recently completed, oversubscribed Rights Offering that raised total proceeds of approximately $12.6 million. We believe that this listing will improve Del Global's profile in the investor community and provide enhanced liquidity for investors." Del Global makes diagnostic imaging systems for medical, dental and veterinary applications.

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