Johns Hopkins Gazette: April 8, 1996

In Brief

Medical News

Natural substances may fight nerve damage

     A Johns Hopkins animal study suggests that a protective
natural substance reduces pinched nerve damage and speeds
recovery of the injured nerves. The finding may help to develop a
treatment for sciatica and other common nerve injuries in people.

     The sciatic nerve, the body's largest nerve, was compressed
in a large group of rats to stop most of the blood flow through
the nerve. The study's results showed the nerve suffered less
damage and recovered faster in those animals given an antioxidant
called deferoxamine. Antioxidants protect the body against
oxygen-containing molecules called free-radicals, which damage
tissues. Stopping blood flow to tissues causes damage, but
restoring blood flow unleashes a flood of oxygen that can cause
further damage. 

     The results are published in the April 5 issue of Annals of
Plastic Surgery.

     "These findings suggest that this antioxidant protects the
nerve from injury when blood circulation stops and restarts and
yields a quick recovery from peripheral nerve compression
injury," says Kyle D. Bickel, a study co-author and an assistant
professor of plastic surgery and orthopedic surgery.

     The Hopkins team tested the nerve tissue, in part, for
malondialdehyde, a potentially damaging oxygen molecule that the
scientists recently found to be a reliable indicator of tissue
damage and recovery. Deferoxamine has been shown to reduce damage
from blood flow stopping and restarting in other organs,
including the heart, skeletal muscle and spinal cord.       

     This study is believed to be the first time that
deferoxamine has been shown to protect a peripheral nerve, or a
nerve that connects the brain or spinal cord to distant parts of
the body. Sudden or long-term compression of peripheral nerves in
humans often is caused by slipped discs, fractures, dislocations,
tumors and clots and other problems. 

Other News

Expose wins SAIS-Ciba Prize in journalism

     Inside Algeria," an extensive look at the difficult
political situation in Algeria, won the first annual SAIS-Ciba
Prize for Excellence in International Journalism. 

     The 16-part series, written by Robert Fisk, Middle East
correspondent for The Independent newspaper of the United
Kingdom, combined on-the-spot reporting with analysis, historical
and investigative journalism. His dispatches, which took great  
courage to produce, provided readers with firsthand accounts of
the brutal rapes, killings, suicide bombers and ambushes that
have paralyzed Algeria, as well as the effect of the conflict
between 'Islamist' killers and military death squads on ordinary

     Fisk will receive the SAIS-Ciba Prize at a noon presentation
on Tuesday, April 16, during a one-day conference that will
explore the media's impact on international events and
technological changes affecting the international news media.
Richard Holbrooke, recently retired assistant secretary of state
for European and Canadian affairs, will deliver the keynote

     The conference will take place in the Kenney Auditorium at
SAIS, 1740 Massachusetts Ave., N.W. in Washington.

     The SAIS-Ciba Prize for Excellence in International
Journalism is awarded to a journalist whose work in the previous
year had the greatest impact in bringing to public attention a
topic of international importance. In the 1995 competition, the
first year of the prize, entries from 28 countries in more than
10 languages were received from print, radio and television

     "The SAIS-Ciba Prize is intended to recognize outstanding
journalism that enhances public understanding of important
international issues," said SAIS Dean Paul Wolfowitz. "'Inside
Algeria' is a striking example of reporting that draws attention
to an important emerging issue and deepens the public's
understanding of the stakes involved in that issue."

     Fisk wrote about the 1992 decision by the Algerian
government to cancel upcoming elections when it became apparent
that Islamic fundamentalists would win. The outcome has been a
brutal 'civil war' between the government and religious groups
resulting in human rights abuses by both sides.  

     Fisk's entry was selected by a distinguished panel of jurors
who included Tahseen Basheer, former Egyptian ambassador to
Canada and official spokesman for Egypt under Presidents Nasser
and Sadat; Nayan Chanda, deputy editor of the Far Eastern
Economic Review; Maria Jimena Duzan, Colombian journalist, editor
and author; John Hughes, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and
former editor of The Christian Science Monitor; Bridget Kendall,
Washington correspondent for the BBC television and radio news;
Don Oberdorfer, award-winning former diplomatic correspondent for
The Washington Post; and Paul Wolfowitz, dean of SAIS. 

     In addition to the $15,000 first place prize, nine
Certificates of Recognition for Excellence in International
Journalism were awarded to Norma Percy, Paul Mitchell and Angus
Maqueen, of Brian Lapping Associates, for the television series 
"The Death of Yugoslavia" (U.K.); David Rohde, of The Christian
Science Monitor, for his series of articles on Bosnia (U.S.);
Yevgenia Albats, of Izvestia, for three articles on Chechnya
(Russia); Tim Sandler, of the Boston Phoenix, for his article on
"Africa's Invisible Slaves" (U.S.); Leo De Bock, of Belgian
Public Television, for the documentary "The Dammed"(Belgium);
Ginger Thompson and Gary Cohn, of The Sun (Baltimore), for
"Special Report: Battalion 316" (U.S.); Waldemar Milewicz, of
Polish Television (News), for "Chechnya: Six Days of War"
(Poland); Salima Ghezali, of La Nation, for "Those Murdered
Bodies" (Algeria); Steve Coll and David Ottaway, of The
Washington Post, for "Rethinking the Bomb" (U.S.).

Schools win innovative programming award

     The schools of Medicine and Continuing Studies have won
first place in the 1996 National University Continuing Education
Association Innovation Program Awards Competition. 

      The association--founded in 1915 to promote expanded
opportunities and academic excellence in continuing education--
represents more than 400 colleges and universities nationwide.

     The two schools received the award for "The Business of
Medicine," a collaborative 12-credit graduate certificate
program.  Designed originally to provide Hopkins physicians with
the business skills necessary to compete successfully in a
rapidly changing healthcare environment, the program has since
expanded to include physicians, nurses, and healthcare
administrators from other institutions as well. 

     Stanley C. Gabor, dean of the School of Continuing Studies,
notes that Hopkins is the first university to customize a
credit-bearing interdisciplinary curriculum relating business and
management to vital healthcare issues.

     Since "The Business of Medicine" certificate program began
in fall 1994, more than 200 physicians and senior healthcare
administrators have enrolled.  

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