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Media Mentions : DMS & DHMC in the News

Among the people and programs coming in for prominent media coverage during recent months was DMS researcher Michael Sporn. The Yahoo! News Web site reported on the use of "a form of vitamin A [to] help prevent or treat cancer by reactivating a tumor-suppressing gene." However, the story added, "according to Dr. Michael Sporn of Dartmouth Medical School . . . the drug used in the study to switch the gene back on is too toxic to use in people."

Dr. Joseph O'Donnell, a professor of medicine and senior advising dean for the Medical School, was the subject of a recent feature in Hope magazine. The story explored his efforts to "employ unusual methods to nurture a new generation of kinder, gentler doctors. . . . O'Donnell believes that doctors can learn much from literature, that it is a bridge between the technical science of medicine and the elusive realm of morality. The work of a doctor is to listen to stories; literature, he says, teaches how to listen for stories."

Numerous publications from coast to coast carried the news that "Chemotherapy may cloud memory," as a headline in USA Today put it. USA Today went on to explain that "cancer patients who get ordinary doses of chemotherapy often experience lingering memory problems, says a study by Dartmouth Medical School. Psychologist Tim Ahles says that many years after treatment, some cancer survivors still have trouble remembering and concentrating." Ahles studied 128 survivors of breast cancer and lymphoma; 71 of them had had chemotherapy and 57 had had only surgery or radiation therapy. "Doctors say the findings suggest that aggressive treatment with chemotherapy may be unwise . . . unless the drugs can substantially improve the patients' chances of survival."

Working Mother magazine had some suggestions on how to "help your teen stop smoking— now. . . . Above all, 'Don't bother reciting longterm health risks,' advises James Sargent, an associate professor of pediatrics at Dartmouth Medical School. 'A teen can't see that far ahead, and most can't believe they could be addicted.'"

An Associated Press story looked at a "tricky question"—whether there should be an upper age limit for routine cancer screenings. "It's such a murky issue," the story said, "that most cancer guidelines don't even mention it. 'It hasn't gotten that much attention,' says Dr. William Black of Dartmouth Medical School, who analyzed federal health statistics to conclude the life-saving benefits of cancer screening fall to a startling low around age 75 and continue dropping with each birthday. . . . Giving up mammograms or the fecal occult blood test for colon cancer will cost the average 75-yearold only nine days of life, Black reported."

"A drug that showed promise against the common cold and viral meningitis in early tests has produced disappointing results in the latest study," according to a recent report in USA Today. However, the article went on, "John Modlin of Dartmouth Medical School, who heads the American Academy of Pediatrics committee on viral illnesses in children, notes that even the latest work shows some benefits against meningitis."

"Exploring the enigma of prostate therapies" was the title of a New York Times story that cited a Dartmouth authority. "What makes [patients'] decisions about treatment so difficult is that doctors do not know which one is most effective," noted the article. "Dr. John Wasson, an expert on health-care delivery at Dartmouth, said there was no proof from scientifically controlled trials 'that any treatment is better than watchful waiting' and then, if cancer spreads, prescribing drugs to block the male hormones. . . . Rigorously controlled trials for prostate cancer have been difficult to do 'because everyone felt they knew the answer,' said Dr. Wasson."

Another New York Times story looked at the benefits and drawbacks of testing for prostate cancer, in connection with New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani's disclosure that he had been diagnosed with the disease. Some of the physicians quoted in the article felt that men should get regular screenings for prostate cancer. But "some skeptics, like Dr. Harold Sox, chairman of the department of medicine at Dartmouth, remain unconvinced. . . . Dr. Sox was chairman of the United States Preventive Services Task Force when it recommended against routine prostate cancer screening several years ago. 'There isn't any evidence that screening has any benefits,' Dr. Sox said. 'But there's quite a bit of evidence that the consequences of screening for some patients, namely radical prostatectomy, have some harms. Unproven benefits and proven harms—that's why we recommend against it as a routine practice.'"

A silver lining to the cloud of a stroke for California artist Katherine Sherwood proved to be newfound artistic success, despite the fact that she's still paralyzed on her right side. The Wall Street Journal related her saga and interviewed a Dartmouth expert who agreed that "the stroke, by injuring part of Ms. Sherwood's brain, [might] have enhanced her powers of creativity. . . . Paul Corballis, a neuroscientist at Dartmouth, offers a startling hypothesis, yet one grounded in the latest research on the human mind: that Ms. Sherwood's stroke, by damaging or disconnecting the part of her brain responsible for logical reasoning, may have freed up the rest of her mind to think more creatively, unencumbered by normal neurological constraints. 'The thinking now is that all our great human intelligence comes with a hidden cost in other arenas,' says Dr. Corballis."

The Associated Press reported recently on a "rough draft of the genetic makeup of rice" that was recently completed by researchers at Monsanto. "Mary Lou Guerinot, a professor of biological sciences at Dartmouth, said the work represents 'a very significant development' and will help speed efforts to sequence the entire rice genome. 'Rice is such an important crop,' she said. 'Over half the world's people eat rice every day.'"

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's "Health Briefs" column cited a study which showed that "lefthanded women appear to have a higher risk of breast cancer than right-handed women. Researchers suggest that hormone exposure during fetal life may make a woman left-handed— and, more important, may increase her breast-cancer risk. Dr. Linda Titus-Ernstoff of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and colleagues examined whether exposure to steroid hormones before birth increases the risk of breast cancer."

"Vets still conflicted over Korea" was the headline on a recent Los Angeles Times feature that delved into the angst suffered by "those who served in America's forgotten war. . . . Paula Schnurr, a professor of psychiatry at Dartmouth Medical School and an official at the Veterans Administration's National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, says the postcombat emotional problems of Korean veterans were neglected by the government and by research scientists alike. 'It's unfortunate that a number of Korean veterans have suffered,' she says. 'If they haven't talked about it and they have the sad memories, the nightmares after all this time, they may think they're going crazy. If they're sitting there in a chair and start weeping, they need to know it's normal.'"

John Baldwin, M.D., the dean of Dartmouth Medical School, was recently elected vice chairman of the executive committee of the Harvard University Board of Overseers. He has served as a member of the board since 1995.

John Wasson, M.D., the H.O. West Professor of Geriatrics, was a member of the PSA Best Practice Policy Task Force of the American Urological Association. The panel recently released a report on PSA (prostate specific antigen) testing.

Glenn Johnson, M.D., an associate professor of surgery, was a recent recipient of the Honor Award of the American Academy of Otolaryngology- Head and Neck Surgery, in recognition of his volunteer efforts in behalf of the academy and its associated foundation.

Diane Harper, M.D., an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology, headed a research team that was honored with the "Best Research of the Year Award" at the annual meeting of the American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology. The work looked at screening for human papilloma virus as an augmentation of or replacement for Pap smears.

Robert Harbaugh, M.D., a professor of surgery, has been appointed to the board of directors of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons.

James AuBuchon, M.D., a professor of pathology and of medicine, has been elected a member of the Royal College of Physicians. Established in 1661, the Edinburghbased organization is the oldest college of physicians in the world.

Peter Klementowicz, M.D., an adjunct assistant professor of medicine, was a recipient of this year's "Gold Heart Award" of the American Heart Association. He is vice chair of the state Advisory Panel on Cancer and Chronic Diseases.

Mary Brunette, M.D., an assistant professor of psychiatry, recently received a Young Investigator Award from the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression for her work on parenting rehabilitation for women with severe mental illness.

Thomas McAllister, M.D., an associate professor of psychiatry, has been elected a fellow of the American Neuropsychiatric Association.

Joseph O'Donnell, M.D., a professor of medicine and senior advising dean for DMS, was recently appointed a member of the Healthy New Hampshire 2010 Leadership Council.

Robert Keene, D.M.D., an adjunct assistant professor of surgery emeritus, is vice president of the American Academy of Gold Foil Operators.

Sarah Freemantle, Ph.D., a research associate in pharmacology and toxicology, received a Lance Armstrong Foundation Award.

Emma Gutierrez-Cirlos, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow in biochemistry, was presented with the Young Investigator Award of the Biophysical Society.

Eugenia Hamilton, vice president of strategic planning for the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Alliance, has been appointed to the New Hampshire Workforce Opportunity Council.

Richard McClintock, director of security at DHMC, was named to chair the Healthcare Security Committee of the American Society for Industrial Security.

Kathleen Golden McAndrew, M.S.N., director of occupational medicine, was elected to the national board of directors for the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses.

Ronald Sliwinski, vice president for surgical, diagnostic, and cardiology services at DHMC, serves on the board of trustees of the New England Organ Bank.

Jil Shangraw, M.S., R.D., a dietician at DHMC, is presidentelect of the New Hampshire Dietetic Association.

Evelyn Fleming and Pamela Kunz, third-year medical students, were awarded first prize for the best oral presentation by a student or resident at the joint annual meeting of the Association of Professors of Gynecology and Obstetrics and the Council for Residency Education in Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Eric Grasser, a fourth-year medical student, won first prize in the research poster category at this year's meeting of the International Health Medical Education Consortium.

Jennifer Vines, a second-year medical student, received a Certificate of Merit in the Arnold P. Gold Foundation's Humanism in Medicine Essay Contest.

Matthew Brady, a second-year medical student, has been selected to participate in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Research Scholars Program in 2000-01.

Two recent features in Dartmouth Medicine magazine won the Will Solimene Award of Excellence from the New England Chapter of the American Medical Writers Association: "Warp and Weft" in the Spring 1999 issue and "The Making of a Medical Skeptic" in Summer 1999. "Warp and Weft" was excerpted from the recently published autobiography of Lori Arviso Alvord, M.D. (pictured above); she is associate dean of student and minority affairs at DMS and the nation's first Navajo woman surgeon. "The Making of a Medical Skeptic," written by Catherine Tudish, former associate editor of Dartmouth Medicine, explored the work of Dartmouth physicians Elliott Fisher, M.D., M.P.H., and Gilbert Welch, M.D., M.P.H., codirectors of the outcomes group at the VA Medical Center in White River Junction, Vt.

The DMS-student-run Upper Valley Wilderness Response Team was presented with the "Hero's Award," given annually by the Manchester Union Leader. (See page 19 for more about the organization.)

Dartmouth Medical School was ranked 36th among all 125 U.S. medical schools and 26th among schools that send a high percentage of their graduates into primary-care specialties in the annual U.S. News & World Report ranking of medical schools. The rankings are based on reputation (as measured by surveys of deans, faculty, and residency program directors); the total dollar amount of National Institutes of Health research grants; admissions selectivity; and student-faculty ratio.

Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center was named one of the "100 Most Wired Hospitals" in the country in a recent survey by Hospitals & Health Networks magazine.

Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital was presented with the Governor's Safety Award by the Safety and Health Council of New Hampshire. MHMH was recognized in the category of "other businesses" with over 500 employees.

Correction: Jack Singer, M.D., listed in the Spring issue's "Worthy of note" column as an assistant professor of surgery, is actually an associate professor.

If you would like to offer any feedback about this article, we would welcome getting your comments at DartMed@Dartmouth.edu.

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