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Dartmouth Medicine Winter 2006

Dear Reporter, Editor, or News Director:

In the Winter 2006 issue of Dartmouth Medicine, read about:

Stopping tumors before they start: Dartmouth's Dr. Michael Sporn is known as "the father of chemoprevention" for good reason. He's spent his career looking for ways to keep cellular mechanisms from going awry and turning into cancer. Now, he and his collaborators have two promising compounds in clinical trials. See page 28.

Lessons from the past: The 1918 influenza epidemic is more than an artifact of history-it may hold powerful lessons for today. Letters, journals, and old photographs from the Dartmouth archives are complemented by the results of a new report by a Dartmouth alumnus on what helped a few communities escape fatalities 88 years ago. See page 36.

Putting back surgery to the test: The first results from a major randomized trial comparing surgical and nonsurgical methods of treating severe back pain has produced its first two papers. Led by a member of the Dartmouth faculty, the trial is providing valuable information for patients and their physicians. See page 3.

Have a heart!: An individualized, computerized model of a heart, that is, created from high-resolution MRI images. The model was developed at Dartmouth and is allowing physicians to determine precisely where pacemaker leads should be implanted. See page 4.

The gender gap in physician income: Two Dartmouth researchers have looked at physician incomes in a dozen different specialties. After adjusting for numerous variables, they've found a persistent gap attributable to gender-though, interestingly, far less disparity attributable to race. See page 6.

A new role for mast cells: Mast cells, long considered culprits in allergy and asthma symptoms, have another role in the body-they are also key players in transplantation tolerance. The finding was reported by a Dartmouth team in a recent issue of Nature. See page 8.

One size doesn't fit all: Physicians are coming to realize that a one-dosage-fits-all mentality in prescribing doesn't account for genetic differences among patients. An interdisciplinary group at Dartmouth can now test for such variations. It's one of the first completely in-house pharmacogenomics services in the country-if not the first. See page 14.

An out-stand-ing invention: Sometimes the simplest concepts can make a big difference. A pair of Dartmouth physicians have developed a stand that steadies the ultrasound probe during ultrasound-guided regional anesthesia and are seeking a patent on it. See page 16.

Counting all doctors: Many medical organizations argue that the U.S. needs to increase its output of physicians by 30% by 2015. Dr. David Goodman, a Dartmouth pediatrician and workforce researcher, is a leading voice against that stance. See page 54.

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