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Police charge husband in death of socialite

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A 91-year-old German socialite who was slain inside her million-dollar Washington home, allegedly by her much-younger husband, was strangled and died of blunt force trauma.

Charging documents issued Wednesday also reveal that Albrecht Muth, 47, had scratches on his face that detectives believe are evidence of a struggle.

Muth was charged with second-degree murder in the death of Viola Drath, a journalist and socialite who was found dead in her Georgetown home on Friday. A police affidavit also said Muth's DNA was found at the scene. He was ordered held without bail on Wednesday.

It said Drath's signature was forged on a letter that Muth presented to Drath's relatives saying Muth was entitled to $150,000 if Drath were to die.


FDA OKs first drug that treats melanoma

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Food and Drug Administration has approved a first-of-its-kind drug to treat the deadliest form of skin cancer by targeting a particular genetic mutation found in about half of patients.

The pill called Zelboraf, made by Roche, is the first treatment for melanoma that targets a specific gene found in skin-cancer tumors. The FDA also approved a test to screen patients for the mutation.

The drug was studied in 675 patients who received either Zelboraf or a chemotherapy drug.

The study is ongoing, but 77 percent of people on Zelboraf are alive, compared with 64 percent of those taking the older drug, according to the FDA.


Few malpractice suits pay off, study shows

ATLANTA (AP) -- Only 1 in 5 malpractice claims against doctors leads to a settlement or other payout, according to the most comprehensive study of these claims in two decades.

But while doctors and their insurers may be winning most of these challenges, that's still a lot of fighting. Each year about 1 in 14 doctors gets sued, and most physicians and virtually every surgeon will face at least one malpractice lawsuit in their careers, the study found.

That represents a significant emotional cost for doctors, said study co-author Amitabh Chandra, an economist and professor of public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. "They hate having their name dragged through the local newspaper and having to go to court," he said.

The study was published online Wednesday by the New England Journal of Medicine.

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