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Dartmouth Medicine Fall 2008

Dear Reporter, Editor, or News Director:

In the Fall 2008 issue of Dartmouth Medicine, read about:

On deaf ears: A year and a half ago, a member of the Dartmouth Medicine staff had a baby who was born profoundly deaf. She shares the emotional angst, the learning curve, and the medical decision-making that she and her husband have been through since then-as well as the successful outcome of the cochlear implant surgery their daughter had six months ago. See page 26.

A promising cancer vaccine: A Dartmouth researcher has developed an experimental cancer vaccine that targets both the innate and the acquired immune systems. Studies in mice showed impressive results, so the two-pronged tactic will now be readied for clinical trials. See page 3.

Alternative to amputation?: Patients with advanced diabetes often suffer vascular problems so severe that they face amputation of their feet or legs. A Dartmouth researcher has been investigating several alternatives to that fate. One gene-therapy option-which promotes the growth of new blood vessels in damaged tissues-is now being readied for Phase III clinical trials. See page 5.

A new paradigm for adaptive immunity: A Dartmouth immunologist recently discovered a receptor on T cells that may offer a new way of tweaking the immune system to fend off cancer or to ameliorate autoimmune diseases. See page 7.

Comparing the new to the tried and true: For nearly 20 years, the treatment of choice for serious plaque buildup in a carotid artery was invasive surgery. There's now another option-a minimally invasive procedure called carotid artery stenting-but not yet enough solid information comparing the two treatment choices, says a Dartmouth vascular surgeon. So he set out to fill the knowledge gap. See page 6.

Do I have more to fear from cancer or heart disease?: That question and many more are answered in a clear, accurate way by risk-comparison charts developed by three members of the Dartmouth faculty and published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. See page 18.

National pharm team: Teaching medical students about pharmacology is more important than ever, maintains a Dartmouth expert who headed a national panel appointed by the Association of American Medical Colleges. "There weren't too many drugs 50 years ago that could kill you fairly quickly if they weren't used properly," he explains. "But now we have a lot of drugs that can do that. " See page 14.

Lessons in dying well: Four Dartmouth physicians-including two who have written widely acclaimed books-share lessons they learned through experiencing the death of a parent, lessons that have altered the way they practice medicine. See page 42.

Are OSHA logs OK?: When a member of the Dartmouth faculty was elected president of a national professional organization, he got pulled into a debate over the reliability of the workplace injury logs required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). See page 19.

To pursue any of these stories, contact the Dartmouth Medical School/Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center Media Relations Office at 603-653-1913 or Jason.Aldous@Hitchcock.org.

Dana Cook Grossman

Editor

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Geisel School of Medicine at DartmouthDartmouth-Hitchcock Medical CenterWhite River Junction VAMCNorris Cotton Cancer CenterDartmouth College