Johns Hopkins Gazette: December 12, 1994

          * * * NEWSBRIEFS * * *

University gains $1.355 million from the Hodson Trust

The Hodson Trust has contributed $1.355 million to the
university, 58 percent more than the trust s largest previous
gift in nearly 40 years of supporting Johns Hopkins.
     Finn M.W. Caspersen, chairman of the trust and chairman and
chief executive officer of Beneficial Corp., said the grant to
Hopkins is part of a Hodson Trust record $4.7 million gift to
four Maryland independent colleges and universities.
     The Hodson Trust, created more than 70 years ago by the
family of Col. Clarence Hodson, founder of Beneficial Corp., has
now distributed a total of more than $16 million to Hopkins since
1958. The four schools Hopkins, Washington College, Hood College
and St. John s College in Annapolis have together received more
than $57 million since 1936.
     "We are fortunate indeed that Col. Hodson placed
such value on higher education when he established the
trust and that the trustees have remained steadfast to this
intent," Hopkins President William C. Richardson said.
     The largest share of this year s gift to Hopkins, more than
$900,000, will go to a separate endowment being established to
support minority and merit scholarships at the four schools.
Another $100,000 goes to the Oncology Center to support research
by young faculty, and $50,000 goes to the Division of Education
in Continuing Studies to support programs fo students and adults
with special needs. The remainder of the gift is intended to
support merit and minority scholarships while the new endowment
is established.

Patients provide unique windows into human thought

Hopkins neurologists are collecting unprecedented direct
measurements of human brain activity and producing images of the
flow of thought from one part of the brain to another.
     Using a new technique called electrocortical spectral
analysis, doctors directly monitor changes in the electrical
activity of millions of brain cells. Other methods, such as
positron emission tomography or functional magnetic resonance,
can only monitor changes in brain blood flow.
     New ESA data, taken from a group of patients, will help
scientists fine-tune maps of brain activity and perhaps reveal
how separate parts of the brain work together to solve mental
     "We re very interested in whether one part of the thought
process, such as associating a picture with a thought, has to
finish its workbefore another can take over, such as getting the
mouth to say that word," said Nathan Crone, a Hopkins
neurologist. "Perhaps the brain can begin work on both of those
tasks at almost the same time."
     ESA is currently used only in patients who are candidates
for brain surgery because of seizures, tumors or abnormal
gatherings of blood vessels. In these cases, doctors implant a
grid of electrodes on the surface of the patient s brain.
     The grid varies in size; individual electrodes are about 2
millimeters in diameter, spaced 1 centimeter apart and are joined
by a soft plastic sheet that rests on the brain s surface. Wires
from the electrodes exit the skull through a single scalp
     "Other methods generally record only from the surface of the
scalp," Dr. Crone said. "It s a big improvement to record
directly from the surface of the brain."

Estrogen improves artery size, blood flow in heart patients

Estrogen helps keep women s arteries open and flowing free when
cold-related stress might otherwise cause them to close up,
Hopkins heart researchers reported at last month s meeting of the
American Heart Association.
     "We know many individuals may be more likely to get heart
attacks or angina in cold weather," said Roger Blumenthal,
assistant professor of medicine. "Our research has shown for the
first time that estrogen
may prevent stress-induced constriction of the arteries."
     Dr. Blumenthal studied a group of postmenopausal women whose
circulatory systems responded abnormally when their hands were
placed in cold water. Normally, arteries around the heart respond
to such stress by dilating. In some people, though, they
constrict, reducing blood flow at a time when it is most needed.
     Dr. Blumenthal gave patients an intravenous dose of estrogen
and performed the cold test again. Estrogen prevented
     "A number of studies have shown that doses of est-
rogen appear to halve the risk of heart attacks in wo
men," Dr. Blumenthal said. "This may help explain why."

Go back to Previous Page

Go to Gazette Homepage