UTMB After Higher-Tech Studies
Lack of Lab Space May Delay New Vaccines
Development of secure facilities is moving slowly, and scientists at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) say that without more of the highly secure laboratories-which are needed to test countermeasures against such lethal viruses as smallpox, anthrax and Ebola-new vaccines and drugs could be significantly delayed. "The public is thinking about vaccines and drugs, but there's a lot of basic biological research that we haven't done," said C.J. Peters, a virologist who will head a BSL-4 lab at the University of Texas Medical Branch.-Elizabeth Williamson, writing March 12, 2003, in the Washington Post (circulation 796,367).
Dr. Tesh Calls New West Nile Vaccines 'Promising'
West Nile expert Robert Tesh is testing two [West Nile] vaccines at the University of Texas Medical Center in Galveston: "At least in animals-and it'll take several years, I'm sure, before they are finally approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in people-at this point, they look fairly promising."-John Nielsen of National Public Radio in reports aired on "All Things Considered" July 10, 2003, and "Morning Edition"
July 11, 2003.
On the Trail of the West Nile Virus
At first, scientists hoped that West Nile might fail to survive the North American winter. But the virus can lurk in dormant mosquitoes. "They go into storm sewers during the winter, go dormant, and just sit there resting," said Stephen Higgs, a biologist at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. "The walls of some of these sewers are just furry with mosquitoes."-Stephen S. Hall, writing July 2003, in Smithsonian (circulation 2,045,430).
Galveston Doctors Serve South Pole via High-Tech Contact
When the doctors in Antarctica need an orthopedist, cardiologist or neurologist, they point their satellite dish into the sky and beam in an expert from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. Last year, the National Science Foundation, the federal agency that coordinates research in Antarctica, and Raytheon Polar Services, a Colorado company that serves the American research facilities, signed an agreement with UTMB for specialist consultations. Since then, doctors in Galveston have assisted in orthopedic knee surgery, directed ultrasound exams and done psychiatric evaluations via high-tech telecommunications gear. Doctors at McMurdo Station can put a stethoscope on a patient's chest, and a cardiologist in Galveston, more than 10,000 miles away, can listen to the heartbeat.."You think of all the things you go to a doctor for, and most of those are things you can do by telemedicine," said Dr. Steven Viegas, a professor of orthopedics at UTMB.-Cindy Tumiel, web posted May 26, 2003, for the San Antonio Express-News (circulation 233,410).
Personable President Keeps UTMB Healthy
University of Texas Medical Branch President Dr. John Stobo guides the school in setbacks and successes with hands-on tactics-even volunteering at the hospital's information desk several times a year.. "We wanted each program to be in the top 25 percent of programs nationally," Stobo said. "We decided if something wasn't one of our strengths, we were going to quit doing it."-Kevin Moran, writing April 20, 2003, in the Houston Chronicle (circulation 548,508).
Reconsider "One More for the Road"
Heavy drinking poses special risks as people reach the 60s and 70s and beyond. "The older you are, the more sensitive your body is to alcohol," says Dr. Deepti Mishra, assistant professor of geriatric medicine at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston.. "Drinking makes it easier to lose your balance, fall and break a bone at a time when your bones are increasingly thin and brittle. Fractures can have a huge impact on mobility and independence."-Margaret Anne Schmidt, writing June 2003, in Lifetimes , a publication of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas.