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Dartmouth Medicine Winter 2011

Dear Reporter, Editor, or News Director:

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

Security gap: Twenty years of research and a billion federal dollars have yet to produce a new anthrax vaccine. That's just one example of how the U.S. strategy of vaccine development is failing, according to the new book Long Shot (Harvard University Press, February 2012), by Kendall Hoyt, Ph.D., a historian of science and technology and an assistant professor of medicine at DMS. See page 26.

App-raising health: A new smartphone application holds promise for assessing mental and physical health in the elderly, which may lead to more timely treatments. Ethan Berke, M.D., a DMS epidemiologist, has teamed up with a specialist in designing machines and a Dartmouth computer scientist to develop the app, which will be pilot-tested in a Manchester, N.H., health center. See page 8.

Practice style: More than 40% of U.S. primary-care doctors believe their patients receive too much care and 28% say they themselves practice more aggressively than they'd like to, according to a new study by Brenda Sirovich, M.D., an associate professor of medicine at DMS. What's behind those numbers and what are the implications for health-care spending? Sirovich began teasing out those details in a nationwide survey of 627 physicians. See page 3.

SHAPE-shifters: Adults with serious mental illness are the most disadvantaged minority in the U.S. when it comes to health care. Now, thanks to a $10-million grant, a fitness program dubbed In SHAPE that's being tested by the Dartmouth Centers for Health and Aging may be able to shift the health status of this compromised population. See page 20.

Laugh-tracking: Children with autism have difficulty conforming to social norms and, as a result, laugh out loud only when they are truly moved to do so. The result is unguarded, voiced laughter that is actually more enjoyable for listeners than less sincere laughter that may be socially motivated. That discovery, made recently by William Hudenko, Ph.D., a DMS assistant professor of psychiatry, could help children with autism form stronger bonds with others. See page 6.

Mapmakers: European health-care systems—oft praised for being universal—are as rife with variation as the U.S. system. That's one of many realities emerging from the Wennberg International Collaborative, a worldwide group of researchers committed to mapping health-care variations in their own countries, using the Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care as a model. See page 13.

Launching pad: Becoming a successful biomedical scientist requires just the right mix of ingredients, including institutional support, supportive colleagues, good mentoring, and what some call "fire in the belly." Several initiatives underway at DMS aim to give young researchers the knowledge and tools they need to soar. See page 40.

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, Dartmouth Medicine

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