The Johns Hopkins Gazette: January 5, 1998

Jan. 5, 1998
VOL. 27, NO. 16


In Brief

Johns Hopkins Gazette Online Edition

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Early decision acceptances are in for Class of 2002

The Hopkins Class of 2002 is beginning to take shape. Early decision acceptances are in, and some 243 high school seniors across the country are now enrolled in Hopkins' next freshman class.

"It's a wonderful group of students," says undergraduate admissions director Paul White. "They are definitely laying the foundation for an interesting and energetic class of students."

White says he is particularly pleased about the range of academic interest among the early decision students. In years past, they tended to be more interested in pre-med tracks and the natural sciences.

Hopkins admits between 45 and 50 percent of its early decision applicants, compared to between 35 and 40 percent of its regular decision applicants. This year, almost identical to last year, Hopkins had 465 early decision applicants, compared to about 8,000 regular decision applicants. The goal, says Robert Massa, dean of enrollment, is to keep the average of early decision applicants to about 25 percent.

"I believe very strongly that Hopkins should not fill more than 25 percent of its class early," says Massa. "To go much beyond this works against the diversity in academic areas of interest, culture and background that we strive to achieve as we put the entire class together."
--Leslie Rice

IPS inks agreement to develop U.N. handbook

The Institute for Policy Studies has signed a memorandum of understanding with the United Nations under which IPS will develop a handbook that the United Nations will circulate to statistical offices in countries throughout the world to guide them in assessing the scope, structure and composition of the private nonprofit sector in a systematic way throughout the world.

Signed in November 1997 by Lester M. Salamon, director of the Center for Civil Society Studies, and Hermann Habermann, director of the U.N. Statistics Division, the agreement marks the first time that the U.N. Statistical Office has turned to an outside group to help it in implementing the U.N.'s System of National Accounts, which is the principal guidance system for national income accounting throughout the world.

"This project marks a major breakthrough in putting the world of philanthropy and nonprofit action on the economic map of the world for the first time," Salamon said. "We are therefore extremely excited at the prospect."

The agreement is an outgrowth of IPS' Comparative Nonprofit Sector Project, which, over the past five years, has been charting the development of the nonprofit sector in some 25 countries. "In the process," Salamon said, "it has brought a whole segment of modern society into empirical focus for the first time and underlined the role that citizen organizations play in societies throughout the world."

Strong response to stress could indicate heart disease

An exaggerated response to mental stress could be a marker for future heart disease among people under age 60 with a strong family history of premature heart disease, according to a study by Hopkins researchers.

This study was the first to link an exaggerated response to mental stress with signs of early heart disease in an apparently healthy group of people with brothers and sisters who had premature heart disease. Study participants who responded strongly to mental stress tests were likely to have silent coronary ischemia during exercise, indicating a lack of adequate blood flow to the heart.

Results of the study were published in the Dec. 16 issue of Circulation.

"People have long believed that stress is a leading cause of heart disease, but until now we've had very little direct evidence that this was true," says Brian G. Kral, the study's lead author and a graduate student at Hopkins. "This study is one of the first to show actual blood flow decreases in the hearts of people who are 'hot responders' to stressful events."

Researchers studied 152 siblings, ages 30 to 59, of people with premature heart disease. While these people showed no apparent signs of heart disease, they had a high prevalence of coronary risk factors. Forty-six percent had high blood pressure, 33 percent were smokers, and 53 percent were obese.

All study participants had their heart rate and blood pressure measured during mental stress tests. They also completed a treadmill and thallium exercise test to measure blood flow to the heart during exertion.

The siblings who developed ischemia during exercise (15 of the 152) had significantly greater increases in blood pressure compared with siblings who had normal exercise tests.

Further analysis showed that the siblings who developed ischemia during exercise tests were 21 times more likely to be "hot responders" to mental stress.
--Karen Infeld

Employee flu vaccination will protect patients

Patients at Johns Hopkins Hospital should feel reassured that there is a much reduced chance they will catch the flu from health-care workers, said Edward J. Bernacki, director of Occupational Medicine and chairman of the Joint Committee on Safety and Environment.

Using "herd immunity," the hospital has reduced the number of workers who can catch and spread flu by vaccinating over 5,200 employees, students and volunteers at the hospital and schools of Medicine, Nursing and Public Health. The shots were free.