Johns Hopkins Gazette: August 5, 1996

In Brief:
Public Health News

Prolonged breastfeeding may add to malnutrition

Despite the axiom "breast is best" and internationally recognized recommendations for mothers to breastfeed as long as possible, a disturbing number of studies published over the last 20 years have suggested that prolonged breastfeeding may increase a child's risk of malnutrition.

In a study of 19 developing countries, Laura Caulfield, an assistant professor in international health at the School of Public Health, found that at almost any age, breastfed children were lighter and shorter. Surprisingly, the biggest difference was among younger children, 12 to 18 months of age. Those already weaned were found to be substantially larger than those still breastfed. Her findings are reported in the Aug. 5 issue of the International Journal of Epidemiology.

Standing on the corner: unhealthy for young adults

Interviews with over 400 young adults 20-24 years of age, all of whom had serious health conditions or disabilities, sug-gest that these young adults may be at risk for another condition hazardous to their health: idleness.

In an article published in the Aug. 5 issue of Journal of Adolescent Health Care, Henry Ireys IV, an assistant professor of maternal and child health at the School of Public Health, reported that young adults with serious ongoing health conditions who are not working or going to school are often "overlooked by the system." They have "aged out" of pediatric services and, in making the transition to adulthood, are more vulnerable to being left out of the workforce or continued schooling, even when their disabilities or illnesses did not limit their ability to work or go to school. Idleness can lead to serious secondary physical or mental conditions such as obesity or depression.

Researchers develop an under-skin implant for pain

Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Oncology Center have developed the first under-the-skin narcotic drug implant for the treatment of pain in cancer patients. The researchers believe that the polymer implant could offer an alternative to external drug delivery systems used to treat serious pain and may be a potential technique for the management of drug addiction.

The button-sized polymer works much like the continuous-release birth control implant. It will be inserted under the skin through a tiny incision made under mild, local anesthetic. The polymer contains a highly concentrated powder form of the commonly used narcotic drug hydromorphone. The drug is released in a steady amount into the bloodstream over one to three months.

The shape and size of the polymer, which is made at Hopkins, controls the release of pain medication. "Different polymers will be available to meet the needs of a particular patient, so that patients requiring more pain control can get polymers that release more drug, and those with very stable requirements for pain medications can get one that lasts longer," says Stuart Grossman, associate professor of oncology and director of the center's cancer pain program.

Results of safety tests of the polymer in animals are reported in the July 1996 issue of Pain. Human trials should begin within a year, he said.

Other News

Library's C-level to close for asbestos abatement

As part of the $4.6 million renovation project of the Milton S. Eisenhower Library, C-Level will be closed Aug. 12-19 for asbestos removal. However, science and engineering materials will be accessible by library staff throughout the week. All other areas of the library will remain open.

C-Level will close at midnight on Sunday, Aug. 11, and reopen at 8 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 19. The abatement project was planned to take place after most summer programs finished and before fall programs begin in order to inconvenience as few library users as possible, said Cynthia Requardt, head of Special Collections and a member of the renovation committee.

Some of the most heavily used science periodicals will be available on A-Level while the work is being done, and library users may request other C-Level research materials for research at the Circulation Desk; staff members will retrieve materials deliveries several times a day.

"Everybody is being wonderful about adjusting," Requardt said of students and staff members coping with temporary library disruptions. "The space is a little noisier, and it's a little hard to concentrate in some places. But basically readers are finding what they need."

The renovation project is expected to be completed by August 1997, when improvements will include upgrades to the library's electronic capabilities, an electronic resource center and classroom, and connections to the campus computer network available to users with portable PCs. Updates on the renovation plan are posted regularly on Milton's Web, the library's Web page at 8001/library/renopub.html.

Hopkins alumnus brings home bronze from Atlanta

Bill Carlucci, a 1989 Hopkins graduate, was a member of the U.S. lightweight coxless four crew that won a bronze medal at the Centennial Olympic Games in Atlanta last weekend. The crew crossed the finish line in 6 minutes, 12.29 seconds, trailing gold medal-winning Denmark and the Canadian silver medalists. Carlucci, who rowed stroke, was on the Hopkins crew for four years and majored in international relations in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences.

Third-year medical student Ruth Davidon finished sixth in the finals of the women's single sculls.

Hopkins earns No. 1 spot (again) as top U.S. hospital

For the sixth straight year, Johns Hokins Hospital has been named America's best in the U.S. News & World Report's annual hospital ranking. It also earned top honors for its medical specialties in gynecology, urology and ophthalmology.

Go back to Previous Page

Go to Gazette Homepage