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Dartmouth Medicine Winter 2008

Dear Reporter, Editor, or News Director:

In the Winter 2008 issue of Dartmouth Medicine, read about:

AIDS advance: Dartmouth physiologist Charles Wira has identified a chink in the immune system that fosters male-to-female transmission of the human immunodeficiency virus. By thinking like a virus, Wira figured out how HIV gains a foothold in the female reproductive tract. See page 52.

Do as I say . . . : The fact that "Do as I say and not as I do" doesn't work with kids is no news flash. But a recent study from Dartmouth offers the first scientific proof that parents' own grocery shopping habits are the most powerful predictor of the food choices made by children as young as two years old. See page 6.

A "spoonful of sugar": Many major medical societies recommend tightly controlling blood glucose levels in ICU patients. But a new Dartmouth study calls into question the wisdom of those guidelines. See page 3.

Faculty outsmarting staph: The rise of antibiotic-resistant strains of Staphylococcus aureus is a worrisome challenge for the nation's doctors. But a team of Dartmouth microbiologists has developed a diagnostic tool able to distinguish, in lab samples, among different kinds of staph infection. In addition, they have identified a combination of two common drugs that kill the most resistant strains. The next step is to see if the findings hold up in animal studies and then in clinical trials. See page 5.

Little pitchers have big eyes: Children as young as 10 years old are watching an astonishing number of R-rated violent movies, found a recent Dartmouth study that quantified the onscreen gore that kids aged 10 to 14 actually see. Nearly 50% of the study sample of over 6,000 children had seen Scary Movie, for example, including 27% of 10-year-olds. See page 7.

A blue-light special-in the brain: A neurosurgeon and a biomedical engineer from opposite sides of the Dartmouth campus have teamed up to develop a way to make tumors in the brain fluoresce under blue light, so surgeons can more easily distinguish tumors from normal tissue. See page 12.

Halfway round the world: Two-year-old Phung Thien Nhan came halfway round the world for care at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center after being abandoned at birth under a pile of papaya leaves in a Vietnamese jungle, mauled by an animal, then forced to forage for his own food. A Dartmouth nurse says that not only is his story a miracle, but so, too, is the fact that he's a loving, trusting child. See page 13.

Wrought up about iron: A member of the Dartmouth faculty recently published a study showing a strong link between iron and the incidence of cancer. He believes the federal mandate that bread and flour be fortified with iron-a requirement instituted in the 1940s, when anemia was a major problem-may now be leading to iron overload and causing serious health problems. See page 8.

A Kenyan connection: Imagine traveling from an impoverished African village to attend college in the U.S., continuing on in medical school there, and then, while you're still in med school, deciding to open a clinic in your village back home. Thanks to help from countless Dartmouth students and faculty, two brothers from the Kenyan village of Lwala have achieved an almost impossible dream. See page 11.

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



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