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Dartmouth Medicine Fall 2009

Dear Reporter, Editor, or News Director:

In the Fall 2009 issue of Dartmouth Medicine, read about:

Oh, baby: After studying more than 500 couples undergoing fertility treatments, a team led by the chair of Dartmouth's Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology found that aspiring parents can achieve pregnancy sooner-while saving money and lowering their risk of multiple births-by skipping a step that had long been considered a standard part of infertility therapy. See page 3.

Genetic weapons: In what they hope is a step toward combating malaria and other diseases, a pair of Dartmouth researchers recently found a way to knock out a key gene in the parasite Toxoplasma gondii. The finding may allow them to develop a weakened strain of Toxoplasma for use in vaccines against malaria, tuberculosis, HIV, cancer, and other diseases. See page 8.

How time flies: During their 25 years of studying the circadian rhythms of a fungus, two Dartmouth biochemists have revealed numerous genetic clues regarding what makes life, in all its forms, tick over the course of a day. And not only do Jay Dunlap and Jennifer Loros get their work published in the most prestigious journals, oversee the work of an ever-changing team of graduate students and postdocs, and keep up a constant flow of grant funding, but they have maintained a marriage since 1984. See page 38.

Disaster relief: Two members of the Dartmouth Medical School faculty are leading a national effort to more carefully monitor and assess the mental health support that gets provided to victims of major disasters. Some of the tools they developed were used in the wake of 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina, and they continue to make recommendations for future recovery initiatives. See page 6.

When image matters: By tracking every single woman diagnosed with invasive breast cancer at Dartmouth since 2005, and evaluating the impact of conducting routine bilateral breast MRIs before the women undergo surgery, a radiologist has determined that the extra imaging does indeed have value. See page 5.

Neurosurgical navigator: Neurosurgeon David Roberts speaks softly in the OR but is an international force in developing technologies that allow his colleagues to find their way around the human brain. See page 54.

The IT thing: Health-care data, like financial data, is increasingly becoming the target of cyberthieves. But experts at Dartmouth believe that information technology (IT) is part of the solution, not part of the problem. In fact, Dartmouth just received a $3-million grant from the National Science Foundation to develop secure computing systems for the health-care industry. See page 16.

Back-up for back surgery: The latest study from the $21-million Dartmouth-led Spine Patient Outcomes Research Trial (SPORT) concluded that for individuals who suffer from a condition called degenerative spondylolisthesis, surgery-a laminectomy-is more effective than nonsurgical treatment-such as physical therapy or anti-inflammatory drugs-at relieving their pain and restoring their function. The beneficial effects persisted even four years post-surgery. See page 7.

To pursue any of these stories, contact David Corriveau, media relations manager for Dartmouth Medical School, at 603-653-0771 or David.A.Corriveau@Dartmouth.edu.

Dana Cook Grossman

Editor

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