Media Mentions: DMS & DHMC in the News
Among the people and programs coming in for prominent media coverage in recent months was John Head, an emeritus professor of surgery. He was among several surgeons quoted in the New York Times about music in the OR. "I'm not particularly fond of music in the OR," he said, "but if there is music I prefer it to be classical especially the symphonies of Beethoven and Brahmsand reasonably sedate. There's a rhythm to operating, and it shouldn't be broken by anything that has a different rhythm."
New Hampshire organizations are used to lots of media attention before the Granite State's first-in-the-nation primary. A DMS administrator came in for some of that attention, in a story in the Association of American Medical Colleges' Reporter. "'We've been taking advantage of the opportunity to have such good access to the campaignsparticularly Bill Bradley's campaign, because we have some good political ties there,' says Adam Keller, associate dean and COO of Dartmouth Medical School. 'This is one of the best opportunities we could have to get the news out there about what's important to usthe impact of the Balanced Budget Act, the importance of more funding for biomedical research, and the huge gap in access to care for the uninsured.'"
The Wall Street Journal was among many publications that took note of a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association which concluded, as the WSJ put it, that "patients who got their primary medical care from nurse practitioners fared just as well as those treated by physicians. . . . In an editorial accompanying the study, Harold Sox, a primary-care expert at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, said, among other things, . . . that the study was too short to test the competence of the nurse practitioners across a broad spectrum of care. Nevertheless, he called the study 'a remarkable accomplishment, the most ambitious and wellexecuted comparison of nurse practitioners.'"
The Boston Globe carried a report about a strain of rice genetically engineered to contain extra vitamin A. "What the researchers did was not transfer a single gene, but the entire genetic pathway for producing beta-carotenethe precursor of vitamin A. . . . Health specialists estimate that 124 million children worldwide are deficient in vitamin A." The Globe said that Dartmouth biologist Mary Lou Guerinot had "called the work a 'technical tour de force,' considering that most traits engineered until now have only required introducing a single gene."
The Guardian of London reported on an unusual cohort of medical volunteers at Dartmouth. "Subjects were drawn by a notice on their medical school's bulletin board: 'Volunteers with tattoos wanted for participation in cancer experiments.'" The study is being run by Harold Swartz, M.D., Ph.D., a professor of radiology. "Swartz's idea relies on the fact that India ink, which gives tattoos their color, contains particles of carbon." The presence of carbon can help determine the concentration of oxygen in cells, using an imaging technique called electron paramagnetic spectroscopy; the medical value lies in the fact that if tissues are well oxygenated, radiation therapy of cancerous tumors is much more effective. One of Schwartz's colleagues had noted that "the perfect experimental subjects were already walking around the building."
The New York Times recently explored the fiscal woes of New York City's hospitals: "'It is starting to look like the collapse of the Soviet empire,' said Megan McAndrew Cooper, the editor of the Dartmouth Atlas, which tracks regional variations in health care. 'Everyone in New York had to have the best of everything. There was no cooperative planning or constraint on resources, and now all of a sudden . . . things are getting very wobbly.'"
The Times also turned to Dartmouth for comment in a story titled "When physicians double as businessmen." Many of those quoted didn't see any conflict in doctors having financial ties to their research. But the story said "some experts were dismayed by standards in the field. 'The conflicts are just overwhelming,' said Dr. John Wasson, a professor of medicine at Dartmouth Medical School. . . . 'If you can't trust the opinion leaders and the socalled experts and, even worse, in some cases the studies themselves, what happens to the profession and what happens to the patients?'"
The word that researchers in Oregon had "cloned a monkey by splitting an early-stage embryo and implanting the pieces into mother animals" was detailed on CNN.com. The Web site sought an assessment of the event from a DMS adjunct professor of community and family medicine: "'This is essentially the method of Brave New World,' said Ronald M. Green, an ethicist at Dartmouth College. 'This opens the prospect of mass identical replication.'"
When the noted Princeton economist Uwe Reinhardt penned a commentary on managed care for the Wall Street Journal, he said that the concept of managing care has been hobbled by the lack of scientific evidence about what constitutes optimal care. "Two decades ago," he explained, "pioneering research by Dartmouth epidemiologist and physician John Wennberg showed that the use of health services and health spending per capita varied widely across regions in the U.S. in ways that could not be explained by health status or clinical science."
An assistant professor of community and family medicine was quoted recently in Newsweek's "Health Notes" column. The magazine mentioned a recent study showing that vitamin B6 may relieve the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome and concluded by noting that "in a review of the study for the American College of Physicians, Dr. Diane Harper of Dartmouth says that taking 50mg once or twice a day is a safe dose."
"Will we ever cure the common cold?" was one of the questions recently posed in the Wall Street Journal's "Expert Forecast" column. Among the prominent doctors asked for a response was Dartmouth Professor of Surgery C. Everett Koop, M.D. His answer: "If not the cold, then the symptoms. It's a very peculiar virus. It wouldn't surprise me if we could find a way to get rid of the symptoms, and if we could do away with that, people wouldn't care if they have a cold or not."
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