------------------------------------------------------------ Newsbriefs ------------------------------------------------------------ Problem caffeine users show symptoms of dependency In a study that is receiving nationwide attention, researchers at the Medical Institutions have identified addictive patterns of dependence and withdrawal linked to caffeine. Roland Griffiths and Eric Strain said their report, published in the Oct. 5 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, should not be used to minimize the problems produced by abuse of nicotine, alcohol and intravenous drugs. "Caffeine generally does not produce similarly serious health problems," Dr. Griffiths said. "It is valuable, though, to recognize that some people feel compelled to continue using caffeine despite desires and recommendations to the contrary." Conditions that may lead doctors to recommend eliminating caffeine include anxiety, sleep difficulties, pregnancy and heart or stomach problems. For the study, researchers recruited a group of 27 subjects who felt they had problems with the use of caffeine. A psychiatrist then conducted a standard diagnostic interview with each of the subjects to see if they could identify symptoms similar to those produced by classic drugs of abuse. Indicators scientists looked for in the interview were withdrawal symptoms after stopping use of caffeine; tolerance to caffeine's effects; continued use in spite of medical or mental problems made worse by caffeine; and unsuccessful efforts to eliminate or reduce caffeine intake. Using those guidelines, scientists were able to diagnose 16 subjects as being "caffeine dependent." Dr. Griffiths said the study does not allow authors to draw inference about how widespread the problem is in the population as a whole. The significance of the new study lies in the fact that scientists have positively identified persons suffering from caffeine dependence. Next doctors will determine the prevalence of caffeine dependence and whether or not that dependence causes medical problems. The research was sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Blumenthal Lecture features seasoned speaker A slice of life atop the corporate ladder may be sampled Wednesday, Oct. 12, when Allan S. Huston Jr., president and chief executive officer of Pizza Hut Worldwide, delivers the annual Blumenthal Lecture. Huston, a 1966 Hopkins industrial engineering graduate, will speak on "Engineering Your Career" at 3:30 p.m in Schafler Auditorium, Bloomberg Center for Physics and Astronomy, on the Homewood campus. He will also receive the Blumenthal Award for Contributions to Management and Technology from the Whiting School of Engineering. The event is free and open to the public. After the lecture and awards ceremony, Huston may drop by the annual pizza party for Hopkins engineering students, to be held coincidentally from 5 to 8 p.m. in the Glass Pavilion. (Pizza Hut pizza will be served.) In June 1992, Huston was appointed to his present position with Wichita, Kansas-based Pizza Hut, the world's largest pizza company and second-largest restaurant chain. In 1993, Pizza Hut had sales of $6.4 billion and 240,000 employees worldwide. The company is responsible for the operation of 10,800 Pizza Hut restaurants in 88 countries. Prior to his appointment, Huston spent 20 years in key executive positions at four divisions of PepsiCo, which owns Pizza Hut. From 1990 until June 1992, he served as president of Kentucky Fried Chicken International. The Blumenthal Lecture series, funded by Hopkins alumnus Sydney C. Blumenthal Jr. and his wife, Mitzi, brings to the School of Engineering distinguished speakers whose careers have embodied the bridging of business and technology. The first Blumenthal award and lecture, in 1993, honored Michael Bloomberg, Class of 1964, a university trustee and president of Bloomberg Financial Markets. Research to focus on pollution prevention The study of environmentally conscious manufacturing will provide a framework for integrating graduate research with undergraduate teaching, thanks to a $562,500 federal grant to three faculty members in the Department of Chemical Engineering. Professor and department chair Marc Donohue, Professor Mark McHugh and Associate Professor Tim Barbari will administer the five-year award, which has been funded by the National Science Foundation's Graduate Research Traineeship initiative. The grant will support up to five new doctoral students who will pursue research projects that focus on pollution prevention and waste minimization in chemical processing. Dr. Barbari, who structured the Hopkins program, said the setup is unique because the doctoral students will serve as consultants and mentors to undergraduate students in the Chemical Engineering Process Design class. Course projects will be based on the graduate students' research work. "What this will do is simulate an industrial environment in an academic setting," Dr. Barbari said. "The grad students will get experience in design methodology and the relationship between research and design, and the undergrads will get to work on something really new." The program will include an industrial seminar series that will feature presentations by engineers from industry who are working in the area of environmentally conscious chemical processing. The program will begin in the fall of 1995, and the recruitment of new students to be funded by the grant is under way. According to NSF stipulations, applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents.
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