The Johns Hopkins Gazette: December 1, 1997
Dec. 1, 1997
VOL. 27, NO. 13


In Brief

Johns Hopkins Gazette Online Edition

MTV comes to the Homewood campus

Johns Hopkins University and MTV? Together? It may seem like an unexpected pairing, but the cutting-edge cable network has been installing its latest video interactive technology in several dorm rooms so that undergrads can interview famous rock stars on MTV Live.

Each episode of the one-hour show, which airs weekdays at 6 p.m., chronicles the career of a popular performer. Along with a video biography of the guest celebrity and a live, in-studio interview by a VJ, each segment brings in college students using video phones. A computer and camera, brought in by MTV, connects the students via ISDN telephone line to the broadcast studio, allowing face-to-face conversation with the VJ and performer.

If you missed the Nov. 24 episode of MTV Live that was hosted in senior Natasha Lazo's dorm room in the Homewood Apartments, you'll have a chance to see JHU undergrads participating live on Tuesday, Dec. 9. The identity of the performer (and of the student host) is still under wraps.

And now that the line is installed, the network plans to revisit the Homewood campus for future shows.

Medical Grand Rounds now on the Internet

It's medical education for the electronic age. Internet users can now sit in on Hopkins' Medical Grand Rounds, a 40-year tradition whose sessions have ranged from weight loss in elderly men and the complications of prosthetic heart valves to pancreatic cancer and advances in the treatment of Wegener's granulomatosis.

Since Internet transmission of the Grand Rounds began this fall, doctors from Venezuela, Brazil, India, Germany, Korea, Malaysia, Canada and elsewhere have "attended" the popular Saturday morning presentations.

The Internet audience can listen to the live presentation, view illustrative slides and submit questions by e-mail. Archived sessions are available at any time.

Says William Schlott, director of the rounds, "Our objective is to provide users with a program that is clinically and scientifically informative, educational and enjoyable."

To participate live, go to at 9:45 a.m. on Saturdays.

Dopamine's involvement proved in cocaine abuse

Scientists at Hopkins have used brain scans to show that intravenous doses of cocaine increase the availability of dopamine, the brain's "feel-good" chemical. Although the increase cannot yet be directly linked to a cocaine user's "high," investigators report that this is the first time anyone has directly demonstrated that cocaine makes more dopamine available in the human brain.

Dopamine's activity appeared to increase two to three times over baseline levels in the brain area studied, the putamen, compared to a control area, the cerebellum.

Improvements in scanning technology eventually may track cocaine's effects on the dopamine-generating nucleus accumbens, a smaller area nearby in the brain that is known to play a role in addictive behavior in animals, adds Godfrey Pearlson, professor of psychiatry and a lead author on the paper.

"The new finding should advance efforts to understand addiction and treat it by blocking the euphoric effects of drugs," says Pearlson.

The study was published in the September issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry. Other authors were Dean Wong, Stefano Marenco and Robert Dannals.