The Johns Hopkins Gazette: March 23, 1998
Mar. 23 1998
VOL. 27, NO. 27


In Brief

Johns Hopkins Gazette Online Edition

World LAX games to be played at Homewood Field

From July 15 to 25, the United States will host the 1998 world games at Hopkins' Homewood Field. More than 70,000 fans are expected for the event, which will include 36 games, an international youth festival, masters' competition and a FanFest with vendors, closed-circuit television coverage of the games, lacrosse clinics and autograph sessions. Tickets are inclusive of all events and are $100 for general admission and $125 for reserved seating.

Tickets, which will be mailed, can be purchased now by calling The Lacrosse Foundation at 410-235-6882, x112.

Hopkins medical students meet their matches

At noon on Wednesday, March 18, Hopkins medical students--like their counterparts around the country--found out which residency program they will enter. Of the 120 graduating seniors, 28 appointments are at Hopkins.

Like last year, approximately 65 percent of Hopkins students have chosen residencies in emergency medicine, internal medicine, family medicine or pediatrics, said H. Franklin Herlong, associate dean for students and associate professor of medicine.

More than 13,000 U.S. medical school students participate in the National Resident Matching Program, through which almost all seniors learn simultaneously which hospitals will give them residency training positions.

Prior to Match Day, seniors provide a rank order list of preferred hospitals and specialties; hospitals submit a list indicating their openings, the students they want and specialty or generalist preferences. Each applicant is matched by computer to the hospital residency program highest on the applicant's list that has offered the applicant a position.

This year, 56 percent of graduating seniors matched to a first-year residency position in one of the generalist specialties, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.
Beth Simpkins

Digital heart heads to Smithsonian Institution

A computer-based, 3-D model of the human heart that serves as a powerful tool for testing new life-saving drugs has been selected for the Smithsonian Institution's Permanent Research Collection on Information Technology Innovations at the National Museum of American History.

The digital heart, developed by Raimond Winslow, a biomedical engineer at the School of Medicine, joins a collection of 42 of the year's most innovative applications of technology drawn from 40 states and 19 countries.

Winslow developed the heart model using parallel super-computers that comprise several processors coordinated to perform complex calculations quickly. For example, the model assesses the impact of drugs being studied for cardiac arrhythmia, a condition marked by erratic and abnormal electrical activity.

"The digital heart is a biophysically and anatomically detailed model of the heart that stimulates the molecular basis of certain heart disorders," says Winslow. "As such, it represents a new technological approach to mass screening of drugs that avoids the traditional, time-consuming, trial-and-error method."
-Gary Stephenson

Surgeons test treatment for abdominal aneurysms

Vascular surgeons at Hopkins are participating in a nationwide test of a procedure that uses 3-D images and a metal-supported cloth tube to repair stretched and weakened abdominal arteries before they burst and kill.

The tube, called a stent graft, is implanted in the abdominal aorta, the main artery supplying blood to the lower body, through a small incision in the groin. Blood then passes through the stent graft, taking pressure off the large and weak aorta, and reducing or eliminating the risk of rupture and death.

"This seems to be a safe and effective alternative to major surgery," says G. Melville Williams, chief of vascular surgery and lead investigator for the trial. "Previous studies show patients are out of the hospital quicker, have much less pain and return to pre-operative functioning much faster. Patients usually are discharged on the second day after the procedure, provided tests show the aneurysm is excluded from circulation."
-Karen Infeld

Lifestyle changes reduce need for blood pressure drugs in the elderly

Losing weight and cutting down on salt can lessen and even eliminate the need for blood-pressure-lowering medications in the elderly, according to researchers at the Hopkins School of Public Health and three other academic medical centers.

The 30-month Trial of Nonpharmacologic Interventions in the Elderly study showed that older persons with hypertension were able to make and sustain beneficial lifestyle changes, even after decades of physical inactivity and unhealthy eating habits.

It was the first multicenter clinical trial of sufficient size and duration to demonstrate the effect of lifestyle modifications on high blood pressure. The findings appeared in the March 18 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Johns Hopkins author Lawrence Appel, associate professor of medicine and epidemiology, Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology and Clinical Trials, said, "The study has major implications. As a group, older-aged persons were extraordinarily successful in reducing weight and cutting back on salt. The benefit of these lifestyle changes was control of blood pressure with less medicine."

About 50 million Americans--and more than two out of three older Americans--have high blood pressure.