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Warren Grant Magnuson Clinical Center (CC)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, August 25, 2003


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2003 Medicine for the Public

Lectures cover latest developments in medicine

  • Do certain biological traits mean early signs of Alzheimer’s Disease?
  • Are we prepared for SARS, smallpox or whatever comes next?
  • How is research unraveling the mysteries of sickle cell disease?
  • What promise does stem cell transplantation hold for cancer treatment?
  • Why can too much iron be bad for you?

Bethesda, Maryland — These and other questions will be answered at the 2003 Medicine for the Public event September 16-October 28. This six-part lecture series, sponsored by the NIH Clinical Center, offers the public a unique opportunity to learn about the stories of science at the National Institutes of Health. The lectures are held at 7 p.m. on Tuesdays in Masur Auditorium, Clinical Center (Building 10) on NIH's main campus in Bethesda, Maryland. All lectures are free and open to the public. Below is a brief description of the upcoming lectures. All of the speakers are available for interviews.

September 16, 2003
Alzheimer's Disease: Advances and Hope
Trey Sunderland, M.D., Chief, Geriatric Psychiatry Branch, National Institute of Mental Health

Despite many recent advances in the understanding of Alzheimer's Disease, its diagnosis is still based on vague clinical criteria and confirmed only by biopsy or autopsy. Diagnosis by an experienced doctor is accurate 80-to-85 percent of the time. Dr. Sunderland will describe the rationale behind, and progress to date, of a comprehensive study to examine the spinal fluid of Alzheimer's patients during the course of their illness compared to healthy patients. The research study also involves an extended view of a special group of normal subjects perceived to be at risk for developing Alzheimer's disease. The hope is to isolate specific biological traits which may aid in the early identification of the disease.

September 23, 2003
Preparing for SARS, or Smallpox, or Whatever Comes Next: Responding to Emerging Infectious Diseases and Bioterrorism Threats
David Henderson, M.D., Deputy Director for Clinical Care, NIH Clinical Center

The world has recently seen an emergence or reemergence of infectious diseases such as smallpox, SARS, West Nile virus, and monkeypox. What is the public perception of these diseases? How are they spread? Are we prepared if they occur close to home? How will hospital workers be protected? Dr. Henderson will cover these issues and how the Clinical Center has responded to new diseases in the past. He will also address new technologies controlling the airborne transmission of disease.

September 30, 2003
Sickle Cell Anemia: Moving from Pain to Cure
Mark Gladwin, M.D., Senior Investigator, Section Chief, Sickle Cell/Nitric Oxide Therapeutic Section, Critical Care Medicine Department, NIH Clinical Center

Sickle cell disease is one of the most common inherited blood disorders in the United States. Scientists have learned a great deal about the medical condition during the past 30 years — what causes it, how it affects the patient and treatments that do or don't work. Understanding the disease and its warning signs aids researchers working to unravel the mysteries of sickle cell. Dr. Gladwin will cover those topics and related ongoing clinical research. Current investigations include efforts to understand the role of lung complications in adults with sickle cell disease and evaluating the role of current and future therapies in sickle cell disease treatment.

October 7, 2003
Stem Cell Transplantation: Promise in Cancer Treatments and Blood Disorders
Michael Bishop, M.D., Investigator and Clinical Head, Experimental Transplantation and Immunology Branch, National Cancer Institute

The bone marrow contains stem cells that give rise to the blood components, including white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets. Today, bone marrow transplantation is more commonly referred to as stem cell transplantation, as stem cells can be obtained from several other sources other than the bone marrow, including the peripheral blood and umbilical cord blood. Stem cell transplantation is commonly used for a variety of malignant disorders such as leukemias and lymphomas. However, it is also used for a number of other diseases such as immune deficiency states and non-malignant blood disorders. Dr. Bishop will discuss current research efforts that focus on increasing the application of stem cell transplantation to a broader patient population by increasing the potential stem cell donor pool, decreasing transplant-related toxicities and investigating its use in diseases not commonly treated with stem cell transplantation.

October 21, 2003
When Too Much Iron Is Bad: Hemochromatosis, the Silent Blood Disease
Susan Leitman, M.D., Acting Chief, Transfusion Medicine, NIH Clinical Center

Too little iron in the blood results in a disorder called anemia. Yet too much iron in the blood can also cause health problems. Less well known, but carrying potentially serious effects, is a blood disorder called hemochromatosis. Hemochromatosis affects 1 in 200 Caucasians in the United States. It can cause liver damage and premature arthritis. This easily detectable and treatable disorder, often called the silent blood disease, is the focus of Dr. Leitman's presentation. She will also cover current hemochromatosis research.

October 28, 2003
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: From Promises to Proof
Stephen Straus, M.D., Director, National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Arthritis, depression, menopause, cancer — for millions of Americans, these and other health concerns are not being adequately addressed through conventional medicine. Many are turning outside the medical mainstream to approaches that embrace the whole person — mind, body and spirit. In fact, Americans spend more money for complementary and alternative medicine, or CAM, than for all other health care needs. From acupuncture to massage therapy to dietary supplements, CAM approaches are affordable and accessible, but largely untested. Dr. Straus will discuss current research on which CAM practices work, why and how they work and whether they are safe.

2003 Medicine for the Public (http://www.cc.nih.gov/ccc/mfp/current/index.html)

The Warren Grant Magnuson Clinical Center is the research hospital of the National Institutes of Health. Through clinical research, physicians and scientists translate discoveries into better treatments, therapies and interventions to improve the nation's health. NIH is an agency of the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services.


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