Johns Hopkins Gazette: October 2, 1995


CFS potentially treatable, say Hopkins researchers 
     Results of a Hopkins study show that chronic fatigue
syndrome is strongly linked to a common and potentially treatable
abnormality of blood pressure regulation.
     The findings, reported in the Sept. 27 issue of The Journal
of the American Medical Association, link CFS with a blood
pressure regulation disorder called neurally mediated hypotension
and advance earlier work that drew similar conclusions among
fatigued adolescents. Both studies found that symptoms such as
exhaustion, exercise intolerance, muddled thinking and dizziness
cleared after neurally mediated hypotension was diagnosed and
     The study is the first to demonstrate that the symptoms of
CFS can be improved with treatment directed at neurally mediated
hypotension," said Hugh Calkins, associate professor of medicine
and pediatrics and director of electrophysiology. "Further
research will help us define the basis of the link and a
randomized, placebo-controlled study is still needed to confirm
the favorable response to therapy that we observed."
     In the Hopkins study, 22 of 23 patients with CFS tested
positive for neurally mediated hypotension. After treatment, nine
patients reported full recovery from fatigue and seven others
noted some improvement, researchers said.
     Patients with neurally mediated hypotension were treated
with drugs commonly used to regulate blood pressure. While some
of the drugs work by allowing the kidneys to retain more sodium,
others block the body's response to adrenaline, a kick-starter of
the blood pressure abnormality.
     More than half of the patients experienced some improvement
over time, but the researchers said that compliance with drug
therapies proved challenging.
     "It takes a great deal of persistence from the patient and
physician to find the right combination for each individual,"
said Peter Rowe, the pediatrician who first made the link between
CFS and neurally mediated hypotension. Careful monitoring by a
physician is required because the drugs pose a risk of serious
side effects such as excessive elevation in blood pressure, or
depression. In addition, patients often need to change therapies
three or four times over several months before noticing an
improvement, he said.

Student financial aid arrives in cyberspace
     The Office of Student Financial Services has gone live with
a new World Wide Web site on the Internet, which will bring a
broad array of information and services into the homes of
prospective and current students and parents, staff and faculty.
     The office's homepage, located on JHUniverse, can be found
at http://www.
     "This is an exciting new development that will give students
and parents a quick and easy way to access financing
information," said SFS director Ellen Frishberg. "The Web is a
new way of communicating for this office, and we hope to make it
a valuable and interesting tool that helps us serve our students
better and more efficiently."
     The new Web site--designed by junior Sujal Shah--will allow
staff to exchange e-mail with students and to request freshman
and returning student applications on-line. The Web site also
includes the university's general financial aid brochure, by
topic area, links to other financial aid information and links to
both undergraduate and graduate admissions information.
     Other features at the Web site include FastWeb, a free
scholarship search service, and a news site to communicate
information about new programs, application deadlines and
congressional actions relating to student aid.

Pre-Olympic field hockey match coming to Hopkins
     The U.S. Women's Field Hockey Team will host the Irish
national team in a special match at 6 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 9, at
Homewood Field. The match is part of a 12-day, six-city "Road to
Atlanta" pre-Olympic tour, which will take the two teams to
Boston, Springfield, Mass., and Philadelphia before stopping in
Baltimore and then on to St. Louis and Atlanta.
     The U.S. women had some of their greatest successes in
Ireland in 1994. Seeded 11th entering the 8th Women's World Cup
in Dublin, the team surprised the field hockey community by
winning the bronze medal. 
     Field hockey is played in two 35-minute halves separated by
a 10-minute intermission. 
     The $5 tickets for the match can be purchased through the
USFHA office, at (719) 578-4567. Tickets also will be sold at the
Hopkins Athletic Center on the day of the match. For information,
call (410) 516-7490.

Zinc supplement reduces childhood diarrhea in India
     A School of Public Health study published in the Sept. 28
issue of the New England Journal of Medicine shows that zinc
supplementation significantly reduced the severity and duration
of acute diarrhea in infants and preschool-age children in New
Delhi, India.
     According to the study, diarrheal diseases stunt growth and
kill more than 3 million children in developing countries each
year. These diseases are most severe among infants and young
children who are malnourished and have impaired immune systems. 
     Many of these children also have zinc deficiency, which "may
be an important cause of malnourishment and immune problems,"
said Robert E. Black, chairman of the Department of International
Health and the study's co-author.
     In addition to saving lives, reducing the duration and
severity of diarrhea would probably make treatment more
successful because less oral rehydration therapy would be
necessary, the study reported.

Memorial celebration, service scheduled
     The Paul A. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies
is planning a celebration of George Crowell's life from 4 to 6
p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 7, at the Kenney Auditorium, 1740
Massachusetts Ave., N.W. in Washington. A performance by the
African Heritage Dance Group is scheduled for 8 p.m.
     Crowell, who died Aug. 21, was an alumnus of SAIS and had
held various administrative positions at the school since 1976.
He was associate dean at the time of his death. For more
information or to make reservations, call (202)663-5636.
     A memorial service for John C. Geyer, professor emeritus of
the G.W.C. Whiting School of Engineering's Department of
Geography and Environmental Engineering, will be held at 4 p.m.
on Tuesday, Oct. 10, in the Garrett Room of the Milton S.
Eisenhower Library, on the Homewood campus. For more information,
call Sabrina Linton at (410) 516-7092.

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