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Dartmouth Medicine Summer 2011

Dear Reporter, Editor, or News Director:

In the Summer 2011 issue of Dartmouth Medicine, read about:

Radiation exposure by tooth and nail: Currently there's no good way of quickly estimating a person's radiation exposure-a critical need for those responding to a nuclear attack or accident. So physician-scientists at Dartmouth are devising ways to make such calculations by measuring people's teeth and nails. The team is now partnering with GE and the federal government to bring one of the devices, a tooth dosimeter, to market. See page 9.

A formula for breast-feeding: Even in the first week of life, only half of U.S. infants are exclusively breast-fed, according to an analysis by a Dartmouth pediatrician. About 65% of those infants are still breast-feeding at four months, compared to only 40% of those fed a combo diet during the first week. See page 6.

Just say no-or yes: There's no good evidence to suggest that antidepressants are better than psychotherapy, or vice versa, at relieving depression. That's what Dr. Margit Berman, a psychologist at Dartmouth, discovered when she and a colleague analyzed 15 published studies. See page 7.

Charting a new course: A redesigned course at Dartmouth may be the first in the country to require medical students to learn about and do health-care quality improvement. This year's fourth-years-now M.D.'s-worked to reduce the readmission rate of patients with heart failure and to improve the flow of patients in the Cardiovascular Critical Care Unit, to name just two of the projects they took on. See page 27.

A big step: A team of Dartmouth researchers has recently seen some promising results in lung-cancer patients treated with a novel combination of two drugs. "It's not a cure for lung cancer," says Dr. Ethan Dmitrovsky, "but we've taken highly refractory patients that normally would not be expected to respond, and some of them have responded." See page 3.

Smoke signals: Simply watching actors light up on-screen can have a potent effect on a smoker, activating regions of the brain associated with the reward system as well as the physical act of smoking. So found Dartmouth researchers in a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience. See page 8.

Which is best for me?: That's the question that comparative effectiveness research answers for patients trying to choose among various treatment options. For policy-makers, such research reveals where money should be spent-or can be saved. And for doctors, comparative effectiveness research helps them offer better, more affordable care. One of the nation's top experts in the field-Dr. Harold Sox, an emeritus professor at Dartmouth and former editor of Annals of Internal Medicine-explains why it's "the most important development in clinical research since the randomized trial." See page 49.

All ears: There are fewer lonely patients at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center these days, thanks to a student-run and -initiated patient visitation program called Dartmouth Ears. Volunteers from Dartmouth College and Dartmouth Medical School chat with patients who don't have family or friends nearby. The medical student volunteers find their role in the program refreshingly non-medical. See page 13.

To pursue any of these stories, contact David Corriveau, media relations officer for Dartmouth Medical School and Dartmouth-Hitchcock, at 603-653-1978 or David.A.Corriveau@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