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Table of Contents
Heart healthly exercise
Multiple birth outcomes
Identifying war dead
Coping with dementia
Grants: CON awarded $1.4 million
Dean Riffee goes the distance
for the lu?
Hatching answers to the next global threi
inventions OCD kidss
DNI STY -MDCN USN PHRM C PULI HALT HALT PRFS ION EEIAYMDCN
Table of Contents
S50TH ANNIVERSARY HSC inventions
O PATIENT CARE Overcoming OCD
RESEARCH Heart healthy exercise
RESEARCH Multiple birth outcomes
SCOVER FEATURE Bird flu a global threat?
@ EDUCATION Indentifying war dead
@ FIVE QUESTIONS Coping with dementia
Q EXTRAORDINARYY PEOPLE Jerry's kids
@ JACKSONVILLE Rainbow Center
OJACKSONVILLE Health-care heroes
GRANTS CON awarded $1.4 million
@ PROFILE Dean Riffee goes the distance
ON THE COVER:..--------66..................................................................... -Feprsaewrigt athasest hssri
Beloved instructor gets
helping hand from students
Robert Garrigues, Ph.D., isn't much of a cook, a self-described master
of only "scrambled eggs, sandwiches and heating soup."
So when his students learned that Garrigues, associate dean emeritus
of the College of Public Health and Health Professions and a lecturer for
the college's health science bachelor's degree program, was struggling
in the kitchen while his wife Margaret is in a wheelchair following an
illness, they hatched a plan to help the couple.
Organized by teaching assistant Maria Rattray, the students
established a "hit and run" evening meal delivery service, nicknamed
the "Dinner Bell Bandits," in early October.
The crafty students worked in small groups to prepare meals and deliver
them in disguise to the Garrigues home on most nights of the week. They
left home-cooked dishes and heartwarming poems on the front step,
knocked on the door and sprinted back to their getaway vehicles.
"I honestly think the bandits enjoyed the thrill of keeping me in the
dark and the sneaking around in costume and just participating in the
joy of giving, especially in secret," Garrigues said. "I learned to stay
away from the front door between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. and wait for the
doorbell or a banging on the door. I never tried to look and see who
it was, though on occasion I would catch a fleeting glimpse of two or
three folks running down the street often in straw hats, masks or their
faces covered. I knew it was my class, but there are 160 of them and I
never knew the ringleaders or the gang members."
Turns out nearly the entire health science senior class worked together
to cook for the popular instructor, preparing dishes like chicken and
dumplings, country fried steak, chili and cornbread, and plenty of
desserts -38 dinners in all.
"The senior class has come together to provide a really special
service for a professor," Rattray said. "This has been a truly amazing
thing to witness!" Jill Pease
Robert Garrigues (with crown) and his wife Margaret are surrounded by members of
the health science senior class. The Dinner Bell Bandits revealed their identities in an
elaborate presentation honoring Garrigues on Dec. 2. The costumed students
performed songs, read poetry and shared photos of the meal preparations and "hit
and run" deliveries. "I cannot begin to tell how meaningful and wonderful the work
of the Bandits has meant to Margaret and myself," Garrigues said. "I love my
students, each and every one. They have lived up to the spiritual admonition that it is
more blessed to give than to receive. I continued to be honored to be a small part of
their preparation and education."
SVisit us online @ http://news.health.ufl.edu/ for the latest news and HSC events
COLLEGE OF DENTISTRY EXPANDS
The College of Dentistry dedicated a new $4.1 million dental clinic Oct. 21 at the
University Partnership Center on St. Petersburg College's Seminole campus in Pinellas
The two-story, 14,380-square-foot facility will increase the college's capacity for
patient visits from 7,000 to 20,000 per year in Pinellas County, where the Florida
State Department of Health estimates 69,000 residents have no access to dental care.
More than 70 percent of the clinic's patients are at or below the 200 percent Federal
Poverty Level, which for a family of three means a household income of $32,180 or less
and for an elderly person living alone means an annual income of $19,140 or less.
The new facility includes 17 state-of-the-art operatories and two large classrooms
equipped with videoconferencing technology for onsite lectures and distance
learning that will expand the college's advanced education in general dentistry and
foreign-trained dentists programs.
Three full-time faculty members, 10 dental residents and two students from the
college's foreign trained dentist program work at the clinic. In addition, more than
25 private dentists from the Pinellas County community serve as courtesy faculty,
helping with patient care and student education.
The facility opened to patients Sept. 6 and was funded through partnerships with
local, state and federal government.
UF Trustee Cynthia O'Connell (in blue) and U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young
cut the ceremonial ribbon signifying the partnership between the UF
College of Dentistry and St. Petersburg College with a little help from
(left to right) City of Seminole Mayor Dottie Reeder, Dentistry Dean
Teresa A. Dolan, SPC President Carl M. Kuttler Jr., University
Partnership Center VP Lars Hafner, SPC Board of Trustees Vice
Chairman Cecil B. Keene and SPC Provost James Olliver.
PUBLIC HEALTH CONCERNS ADDRESSED AT THE 2006
WINTER PUBLIC HEALTH INSTITUTE
How can health-care workers prevent the transmission of avian flu from animals to
humans? Is the health-care system ready to tackle the challenges of the growing
elderly population? These public health concerns and more will be addressed Jan.
2-7 in Gainesville, at the 2006 Winter Public Health Institute, sponsored by the
College of Public Health and Health Professions and the University of Minnesota
School of Public Health. Additional topics include behavioral health in disasters;
risk communication and food safety; international health; and theory and methods
in public health disability research. Courses can be taken for graduate level
credit or continuing education hours. Content emphasizes theory to practice with
opportunities for intensive, interactive classroom sessions, discussion groups, case
studies, simulations and field trips.
For more information, including a complete schedule and registration form, visit
UF-JACKSONVILLE TO HOST ANNUAL AMA MEDICAL
STUDENT SECTION REGIONAL MEETING
Approximately 200 medical students will gather
in Jacksonville Jan. 13 15 when the HSC
Jacksonville campus hosts the annual meeting
of the American Medical Association Medical
Student Section Region IV. This is the first time
HSC-Jacksonville has hosted the meeting,
which attracts first- through third-year medical
students from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, South
Carolina and Tennessee.
With the theme "Becoming a Patient Advocate," the event kicks off Jan. 13 with
a welcome reception and dinner at the University Club in downtown Jacksonville,
followed by a social event at the Jacksonville Landing on the banks of the St. Johns
River. Saturday includes a full day of educational programming on a variety of topics
related to patient advocacy.
Saturday's agenda also includes a Residency Fair at 12:15 p.m. in the Learning
Resource Center Atrium. The fair will highlight the core residency programs available
at HSC-Jacksonville and feature staffed displays offering sample curricular material,
posters and audiovisual presentations. Saturday's events continue with a dinner and
another social event. The weekend wraps up with a Sunday morning service project.
The event is sponsored by the UF College of Medicine.
Each of the AMA's seven Medical Student Section regions meet once a year for
an educational and social program designed to further regional cohesiveness and
increase MSS visibility. For more information, call Rana Yehia at (352) 682-5710 or
e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
BEST PLACES TO WORK
UF and its Health Science Center have ranked as one of the "best places to work
in academia" according to a recent poll by The Scientist magazine, a life sciences
UF placed fourth on a list of 15 American universities in the national magazine's
survey, which was released Nov. 7.
Clemson was ranked No. 1.
The ratings were based on an e-mail survey of more than 2,600 tenured or
tenure-track life scientists in academia.
A GROWING CAMPUS
Get a glimpse of UF's future. The Florida Community Design Center is hosting
an exhibit of the Campus Master Plan through the end of December. The Design
Center is located at 300 E. University Ave., inside the Commerce Building. For more
information, call (352) 334-7111.
Visit us online @ http://news.health.ufl.edu/ for the latest news and HSC events
nnxnaa~l ~~.1 /;\)
Made in the HSC
HSC researchers have invented many of UFs best-known products
By April Frawley Birdwell
The University of Florida Health Science Center has spawned about 4,000
doctors, 1,900 dentists, 2,000 veterinarians, thousands of nurses and pharmacists
and 8,500 other health professionals since its inception 50 years ago.
But education isn't the only thing happening within the walls of the ever-
expanding HSC. During the past 50 years, researchers from the colleges of
Medicine, Dentistry, Nursing, Veterinary Medicine, Pharmacy and Public Health
and Health Professions have invented some of UF's most well-known technologies.
HSC inventions have, among other things, launched industries (think sports
drinks), shaped the future of medical education and saved the lives of pets.
The POST has rounded up some of the HSC's most ingenious and successful -
inventions, and picked a few novel ideas that could become the next big thing.
Gatorade: Is it in you ... or on you?
Jordan have plugged the drink the basketball legend sought to endorse the drink
on his own, Cade says and it's become a sideline staple, for athletes to both drink
and dump on their coaches after big wins.
"Never in a million years did we think much was going to happen with it," said
Jim Free, M.D., a UF alumnus and retired nephrologist who coined the name
"Gatorade" when he and two other research fellows invented the drink with Cade.
"We were just doing this to help the Gator team."
Trusopt: The eyes have it
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Dr. Robert Cade tests one of his other inventions, "Go!," a nutrition
drink he invented years after developing Gatorade with three other
researchers in his UF lab. Cade has also invented a type of beer and a
hydraulic football helmet.
Once upon a time, there was a beverage that tasted like wee that somehow turned
into a multibillion dollar sports drink industry.
That might be how Robert Cade, M.D., would describe the beverage he and
three research fellows created in 1965. It's no secret Gatorade, UF's biggest claim to
fame, didn't taste like much when the first batch was brewed in Cade's lab. Even he
likes to tell the story of how one football player whom the scientists used as a
guinea pig described the first incarnation of the drink as tasting like a less-than-
savory bodily fluid.
But after adding a little lemon and sugar to the glucose and sodium mixture that
makes the body absorb water faster, the drink became the Gator football team's
secret weapon and before long the news was out.
"We tried to keep it a secret for the Gator team," said Cade, a UF professor
emeritus of nephrology. "Now there are more mothers who buy Gatorade for their
children than coaches buy it for their players."
In the 38 years since Gatorade hit mainstream America, athletes like Michael
The late Dr. Thomas H. Maren holds a plastic model of an eye to show
where inner-eye fluid normally leaves the eye. When this fluid does not
drain properly, it causes pressure that can damage the optic nerve and
lead to glaucoma, the disease his invention, Trusopt, helps.
It may not be as widely known as Cade's lemon-lime elixir, but the glaucoma
medicine the late Thomas H. Maren, M.D., a UF pharmacologist, developed does
generate more money for the university each year than any other invention.
And it was one of the first drugs to safely treat the disabling eye disease, the
third most common cause of blindness in the United States.
While working with a chemical company before coming to UF, Maren and other
scientists developed an orally administered drug that helped glaucoma patients but
caused side effects, so many, in fact, that some patients avoided the treatment. In
the 1970s, Maren set out to find a way to offer a better version of the drug in eye
drop form. He made a breakthrough in 1983 but it took years to get the news out.
An ophthalmology journal rejected a paper on his findings five times. Finally he
teamed with Merck and Trusopt was released in 1986.
"My friends say I deserve the success," Maren told a Hopkins Medical News
reporter in 1996, three years before he died, "which is nice of them. But I did it all
because it was a challenge chemically."
Stan: The Man
OK, so you can't buy your own Stan, and most people may never even know he exists.
Stan, the UF-invented Human Patient Simulator, may be under the average person's
radar, but the influence and importance of this UF invention cannot be denied.
Led by J.S. Gravenstein, M.D., a UF graduate research professor emeritus in
Visit us online @ http://news.health.ufl.edu/ for the latest news and HSC events
Mike Good administers anesthesia to the Human Patient Simulator,
which mimics a real patient and can breathe, blink and even die.
Invented at UF, the machine, dubbed Stan D. Ardman, is now used in
1,000 institutions across the world.
anesthesiology, an interdisciplinary team of UF researcher began working on
developing the Human Patient Simulator 20 years ago.
What they created was a computer-driven mannequin, who aside from being
plastic, can mimic a real patient, complications and all. Stan breathes, blinks and
can be programmed to exhibit dozens of medical conditions. And like a real
patient, he can die. Unlike a real patient, he can be switched back on, and that's
what makes the simulator such a valuable tool, said Michael Good, M.D., an
anesthesiology professor and one of the researchers who developed Stan.
"The simulator lets students learn and practice," he said. "In the clinical
environment, the safety of the patient takes precedence over education. But in the
simulated environment, students can get in trouble and learn how to get out of it."
The simulator has been on the market for 10 years and is now used in 1,000
institutions worldwide, Good said.
FIV vaccine: Keepin' kitties safe.
Much like HIV/AIDS in humans, feline AIDS, or FIV, was once considered a death
sentence for cats. Janet Yamamoto, Ph.D., helped change that.
Yamamoto, Ph.D., a UF professor of veterinary medicine, first discovered the
feline AIDS virus in 1986 and sixteen years later she co-developed the first vaccine
to combat the deadly virus. The vaccine, which Fort Dodge Animal Health
produces, is now used in veterinary clinics across the country.
And just this year, Yamamoto reported the discovery that cats injected with a
vaccine prepared from a strain of HIV received the same protection they would
have received from her FIV vaccine.
The discovery was a breakthrough in linking FIV to HIV and the research
could lead to better treatments for kitties, and someday, an HIV vaccine for
humans, she said.
"Now we're trying to evaluate if the commercial vaccine cane be used as a
therapy (for infected cats)," she said. "It looks good."
ISO F H RSES TC N LGE POSE TO MAK A DFEEC
Replacement therapy: The
germ that keeps on giving
Bacteria in the mouth breeds the lactic acid that causes
tooth decay, but one UF dentist has found a way to
turn those germs against themselves to stop cavities.
Jeffrey Hillman, Ph.D., developed a strain of the
bacteria Streptococcus mutans that is being turned
into a form of therapy that saves teeth from decay.
The bacterium typically turn sugars into lactic acid,
but Hillman found a way to develop a strain of it that
doesn't produce the enamel-eroding acid.
Now, the genetically engineered germ is being
used as part of a treatment called replacement
therapy. According to the company Oragenics,
which is developing the product, one dose of
replacement therapy could provide lifelong
protection against tooth decay. Replacement therapy
is still in clinical trials.
Wound dressing: Stopping
bugs one bandage at a time
What started out as a simple project to build a better
bandage has somehow turned into a bacteria- and
fungus-killing coating that has more potential
applications than its inventors can count.
The wound dressing UF researchers and scientists
from Quick-Med Technologies created kills the two
most dangerous types of antibiotic-resistant bacterium
and it could keep these germs from spreading in
Although originally created for bandages and
dressings, the coating can be chemically adhered to
clothing and other substances, said Gregory Schultz,
Ph.D., director of UF's Institute for Wound Research
and one of the inventors.
The substance could be added to hospital beds and
gowns to stop the spread of infections, a problem that
leads to thousands of deaths in the United States each
year, and even to military clothing to keep soldiers
safe from infections and fungus when they don't have
time to change. The company's products are still in
Helping caregivers cope
Meredeth Rowe, Ph.D., was working at an
Alzheimer's assistance center when she thought of it.
Dozens of caregivers had told her about their
problems sleeping at night. Too worried their loved
ones with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of
dementia would leave bed and get hurt, caregivers
said they had a hard time sleeping.
That's when Rowe thought of developing an alarm
system to let them know if their charges got out of bed
at night or tried to leave the house during the day. She
has teamed with alarm company Honeywell and the
product is now in development.
"Even today, there is very little to help the
caregiver monitor nighttime activity," she said.
"Currently, we have (CareWatch) in 25 homes ... and
the caregivers have reported a lot of satisfaction with
It should be on the market within one year.
Diagnosed in one breath
Could blood tests become a thing of the past? It could
be possible if Richard Melker, M.D., Ph.D., has his way.
The UF anesthesiology professor is working on
technology that could revolutionize patient diagnosis,
a breath analysing machine that performs the same
types of tests now done on blood. Melker said the
same things that can be measured in blood could be
measured in breath, everything from drugs to blood
"All the blood in the body goes through the lungs,"
he said. "Every time you breathe, you give a sample."
The technology could allow law enforcement to test
for drugs in a way similar to alcohol, and allow
doctors to more easily diagnose their patients. Instead
of waiting for lab results, they could check their
patients' blood in the office, from one quick breath.
The National Institutes of Health-funded research
could yield commercial products within the next few
Visit us online @ http://news.health.ufl.edu/ for the latest news and HSC events 14l*il 0 O 0
Therapy helps patients overcome OCD
By April Frawley Birdwell
he spent about two hours each morning on her
rituals before she could leave the house for work.
The faucets had to be turned on and then
off, five times. The same went for the appliances and
lights. And she had to walk in and out of her
doorways, again five times.
But after the woman, who suffered from
obsessive-compulsive disorder, came to the
University of Florida for a form of treatment called
cognitive behavioral therapy, it only took her two
minutes to leave the house for work.
Hers is just one of the many success stories Eric
Storch, Ph.D., can list about the psychological-based
therapy. About 80 percent of the adults and children
who take part in the cognitive behavior research and
therapy program at UF make significant strides in
overcoming the disorder, said Storch, a UF assistant
professor in psychiatry and pediatrics and UF's lead
researcher on cognitive behavioral therapy's effects
of childhood and adult OCD.
It is not a magic pill or procedure, but rather an
intensive form of therapy that requires OCD patients,
who often indulge in rituals to relieve irrational
worries, to face their anxieties headfirst.
During therapy, OCD patients are exposed to
things that trigger their anxieties, be it germs or
bugs or just feeling like they forgot to turn off the
stove. Typically, patients would respond to these
triggers by indulging in rituals, such as washing
their hands. Over time, though, the rituals become
less effective and people with OCD tend to repeat
these actions over and over until it takes over their
lives, Storch said. Patients undergoing cognitive
behavioral therapy learn new responses.
"Any time you're anxious, the body cannot contain
that anxiety," Storch said. "Think about most
horrific events; even people in the worst scenarios
(eventually) have reductions in anxiety. If you expose
yourself to the anxiety, the (level of) anxiety will
eventually go down."
The only problem with the therapy is many people
with OCD can't get access to it.
"With OCD, this is one of the most effective forms
of therapy that exists," Storch said. "The big problem
is, although cognitive behavioral therapy is effective,
many people aren't getting it. We have people, at a
minimum, coming from Tampa and Orlando. We've
had people come from Europe, Ohio, Alabama."
Gary Geffken, Ph.D., an associate professor of
psychology in psychiatry and director of the UF
Behavioral Health Unit, said there aren't many
psychologists across the country skilled in providing
Eric Storch, left, and Gary Geffken, run a clinical research program that helps dozens of patients
each year overcome obsessive-compulsive disorder with cognitive behavioral therapy, a
psychological-based treatment they say more patients should receive.
There are other centers like the one at UF, but
typically it's not something most people can find in
"Cognitive behavioral therapy is an evidence-
based psychological treatment that a small number of
psychologists have training in," he said. "But it's an
essential aspect of treatment for some problems."
Although there are medications that can treat
OCD, Storch says these treatments are only one part
of the puzzle. Complete treatment includes cognitive
behavioral therapy, he said.
The program is housed in the division of child
psychiatry, but Geffken said they also collaborate
with psychiatry professors, pediatric
endocrinologists and clinical health psychologists to
provide therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy is also
used to help obese children as well as kids with
problems managing their diabetes, Geffken said.
Because the treatment conducted at UF is part of a
clinical research program, the patients are also
helping researchers like Storch gain insight into the
best forms of cognitive behavioral therapy.
Storch is studying how certain medications affect
the treatment and he is the lead investigator of a trial
examining whether treatment is best when it is
spread out over 14 weeks or when patients see their
psychologist every day for three weeks.
"When people are motivated the treatment works
really well," Storch said. "More people need to know
about this." 0
SVisit us online @ http://news.health.ufl.edu/ for the latest news and HSC events
UF veterinary faculty, students, staff volunteer
efforts to help animal victims of Katrina
By Katy Layton
students, veterinarians and staff at the University of Florida College of Veterinary
Medicine were not only caregivers and doctors for animal victims of Hurricane
Katrina, they were also heroes for both the pets and their families.
Many dedicated animal lovers volunteered their time and resources without
hesitation to save animals that had been left behind during the massive evacuation
from New Orleans and surrounding areas.
"We wanted to lend a hand to our neighbors who needed help," said Julie Levy,
D.V.M., Ph.D., who organized the mission.
Volunteers led by Scott Bailey, D.V.M., a first-year theriogenology resident, drove
three cargo vans to Louisiana on Sept. 22 to rescue abandoned animals that had
temporarily been housed at a disaster shelter in Gonzales, La. The group returned
the next day with 88 dogs, cats and rabbits.
"Animals were locked in homes with no food or water, and the clock was ticking
the entire time," Levy said.
Twenty-eight rabbits, 35 cats and 25 dogs were shuttled to Florida with rescuers
hoping to reunite the animals with their owners. A litter of nine puppies was born
within 30 minutes of arriving at the college.
All animals were microchipped and stabilized, and they received flea and
heartworm prevention medicine.
Some were thin and dehydrated because they had just been rescued, Levy said.
The UF Veterinary Medical Center housed 50 animals, including a 20-year-old
deaf and blind poodle and a Shih Tzu with ruptured corneal ulcers. Many of the
animals required intensive veterinary care. Specialists from the ophthalmology,
dermatology, reproduction, internal medicine, dentistry, behavior, shelter medicine
and zoological medicine services were called in to help.
UFCVM clinicians donated their professional services, pharmaceutical companies
donated supplies, and generous animal lovers are donating funds to make treatment
Senior veterinary student Rebecca Brudek coordinated care for the dogs and took
responsibility for reuniting pets with their owners. Seniors Kristin McDonald and
Monica Gardon were in charge of coordinating care for the cats and rabbits.
"It is extremely difficult to find the owners of these pets," Brudek wrote in an e-
mail updating college faculty, staff and students about the rescue mission. "Many
animals and their owners were separated and displaced across the country."
Brudek wrote that she was honored to personally call the owners and notify them
that the pets they thought were lost forever had been rescued and were being cared
for at the VMC.
Because of Brudek's efforts and "detective work," the Guercio family was able to
reconnect with their dog, Tootsie, after being forced to relocate from New Orleans to
"We thought we would never see her again," Rebecca Guercio said. "It's some kind
of miracle that she is with us now."
The volunteers worked relentlessly to return pets to their owners and recently sent a
few on a plane to reunite with their families in Louisiana, Texas and Oklahoma.
Not every animal has made it home, though.
A few pet owners who were contacted asked the volunteers to find new homes for
their animals because they no longer have jobs or a place to live. Others are living
under the foster care of students and volunteers until their owners get settled in again.
Everyone from the college and veterinarians from all over were very eager to help,
"We will always to be ready to help if we are called," she said.
Katy Layton is an intern in the College of Veterinary Medicine Dean's Office. 0
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The dog, Mama, also known as Baby Girl, is reunited with her family,
the Davis family, after being separated by Hurricane Katrina.
Visit us online @ http://news.health.ufl.edu/ for the latest news and HSC events
Walk this way:
UF research pr\ ides insight into heart
healthy e\ercise regimen
By Jill Pease
hirty minutes of brisk walking a day is a step in the right direction toward
improved heart health, according to a UF study published in the Nov.14
issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.
UF researchers found that study participants who were prescribed an exercise
regimen of walking for 30 minutes five or more days a week at either a moderate or
hard intensity, or at a hard intensity three to four days a week, showed significant
long-term improvements in cardiorespiratory fitness. Fast-paced, frequent walking
offered the largest fitness benefits and also led to modest, short-term improvements
in cholesterol levels.
A half hour of moderate-intensity walking most days of the week has been
associated with significant health benefits and is in line with recommendations
from the American Heart Association, the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention, and the U.S. Surgeon General. But instead of evaluating weight loss,
the UF study focused specifically on exercise's effects on heart health and
addressed the wide variability in people's adherence to exercise regimens, which
health providers must take into account when counseling patients.
"National guidelines for exercise are based largely on studies conducted in
laboratory settings with close supervision of how much exercise is completed by the
study participants," said principal investigator Michael Perri, Ph.D., associate dean
and a professor in the department of clinical and health psychology in the College
of Public Health and Health Professions. "In our research, we were very interested
in learning about the ways people respond to different exercise prescriptions when
they are asked to complete the exercise on their own, in their home or work
Exercise at either high frequency or hard intensity seems to be the key, the
"When exercising on their own, people generally complete only about 60 percent
of the amount prescribed," Perri said. "As a result, an exercise prescription for
moderate-intensity walking on three to four days a week may not generate a large
enough amount of exercise to produce a change in fitness."
In the two-year study, UF researchers evaluated 500 sedentary men and women
ages 30 to 69 who were randomly assigned to one of four exercise groups or to a
comparison group that only received group counseling by a physician. The
duration and type of exercise prescribed were the same for each of the exercise
groups 30 minutes of walking a day but the intensity and frequency varied.
Measurements of cardiorespiratory fitness, high-density lipoprotein, or HDL,
cholesterol the "good" form and the ratio of total cholesterol to HDL were
taken at baseline, at six months and at two years.
At two-year follow-up, 21 percent of the participants who walked five or more
days a week or three to four days a week at a fast pace had a 10 percent or greater
improvement in cardiorespiratory fitness, compared with 14 percent of the
participants in the low-frequency exercise or comparison group. While the changes
may appear modest, previous studies have shown that a 10 percent increase in
cardiorespiratory fitness may result in a 15 percent reduction in mortality.
Only those who walked at a fast pace five to seven days a week had significant
improvements in HDL or the ratio of total cholesterol to HDL, but improvements
in cholesterol profiles were not sustained at the two-year mark, perhaps due to
diminished adherence to the regimen, Perri said.
"This study makes important contributions to our understanding of how much
exercise is necessary to produce important physiological adaptations," said Steven
Blair, of the Cooper Institute, who co-authored an editorial accompanying the
journal article. "The bottom line is that 30 minutes of walking on five to seven days
a week provides substantial health benefits." Q
SVisit us online @ http://news.health.ufl.edu/ for the latest news and HSC events
Light exercise a tonic to keep the brain young
By John Pastor
People don't have to run marathons to keep their
brain cells in shape regular, light activity may do
In the first study to show that lifelong exercise
decreases cellular aging in the brain, scientists from
the UF McKnight Brain Institute say that
moderately active rats have healthier DNA and more
robust brain cells than their less active counterparts.
The research was presented Nov. 12 at the Society
for Neuroscience's 35th annual meeting in
"It would be wonderful if we had a pill that
contained all the benefits of exercise, but we don't,"
said Thomas Foster, Ph.D., the Evelyn F. McKnight
chair for brain research in memory loss at the
College of Medicine. "For this study animals were
not forced to run; they did it because it was
entertaining, the same as a pet hamster on a
running wheel. The results show that regular mild
exercise can prevent oxidative damage. In people,
that translates to a daily 30-minute walk or a light
Oxidative damage in the brain is believed to be a
natural consequence of aging and a contributor to
memory loss. In addition, increased oxidative
damage has been implicated in the loss of brain
cells that is associated with Alzheimer's disease and
Oxidative damage can occur when molecules of
oxygen gain electrons and become free radicals.
The free radicals regain their balance by giving
electrons to their neighbors. Most of the time the
body routinely handles these renegades, but
sometimes not before extensive damage occurs in
Working with Christiaan Leeuwenburgh, Ph.D.,
an associate professor of aging and geriatric
research at UF's Institute on Aging, Foster looked
at groups of rats that had lived to old age. Some
were more sedentary, while others had access to an
At the end of the experiment, scientists examined
chemical compounds in 41 tissue samples taken
from a part of the brain important for balance and
The more active rats were found to have fewer
byproducts of oxidative stress in their brains. Fats
known as lipids that help stabilize cell membranes,
and DNA, the molecule that contains our genetic
blueprint, both better withstood the rigors of time. O
Regular exercise may help keep DNA young:
Neuroscientist Thomas Foster discovered the
DNA in older rats that exercised looked as if
it were from their younger counterparts.
UF scientists say stem cells
may trigger bone cancer
Stem cells may cause some forms of bone cancer, University of Florida
The researchers are the first to identify a population of cells with
characteristics of adult and embryonic stem cells in cultures derived
from biopsies of patients' bone tumors.
They describe their findings in the November issue of the medical
"We're saying the cell of origin of these tumors may be very,
very primitive," said Dr. C. Parker Gibbs, an associate professor of
orthopaedic oncology and a member of the UF Shands Cancer Center.
Gibbs collaborated with several UF scientists, including Dennis A.
Steindler, director of UF's McKnight Brain Institute.
Researchers elsewhere already have implicated stem cells in the
development of leukemia, and Steindler's lab previously discovered
stem-like cells in brain cancer. Others have identified these same cells in
some breast cancers.
The studies are laying the foundation for novel ideas about cancer
and its development, and are opening new avenues of research that
could someday lead to more effective treatments that target the mutant
cells that grow into tumors.
The cancer stem cell theory holds that a small subpopulation of rogue
stem cells exists within a tumor and has the ability to sustain itself. As
these abnormal cells divide, they may generate the bulk of a malignant
tumor, then help to spur on its growth.
"Most current chemotherapeutic regimens are developed against the
bulk tumor and therefore may not affect the small number of malignant
stem cells, allowing recurrence and even metastasis," Gibbs said.
Melanie Fridl Ross
Scientists use mice to mimic Alzheimer's therapy
Researchers with UF and the California Institute of Technology have
developed a new strain of genetically modified mice that allow
scientists to examine the potential usefulness of new therapies for
The development, reported Nov. 15 in the international open-
access medical journal PloS Medicine, has helped scientists evaluate
the brain's ability to repair one of Alzheimer's hallmark lesions,
These plaques occur when enzymes -substances that cause or
speed up chemical reactions -create protein fragments called beta
amyloid, also known as Abeta. The fragments clump together with
other molecules, clogging the spaces between cells and damaging
parts of the brain used for memory and decision-making.
The mice were genetically engineered by scientists to respond to
a type of therapy designed to stop the production of the damaging
"We can stop the disease from getting worse in these mice,
but we can't reverse it," said David Borchelt, Ph.D., a professor
of neuroscience at UF's McKnight Brain Institute. "Although it is
possible that human brains repair damage better than mouse
brains, the study suggests that it may be difficult to repair lesions
once they've formed."
Alzheimer's disease is a form of dementia, a brain disorder that
trips up the thoughts, memory and language skills of about 4.5
million Americans. It is not a normal outcome of aging, but the
disease affects about 5 percent of men and women ages 65 to 74,
according to the National Institute on Aging. Nearly half of people
85 and older may have it.
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In multiple-births, baby boys
have higher risk of defects
By April Frawley Birdwell
wins, triplets and other multiples have a nearly
50 percent greater chance of being born with
birth defects, and boys tend to be more at risk
than girls, according to two population-based studies
conducted at UF.
UF researchers who studied all Florida births
from 1996 through 2000 found multiples have a
higher risk than babies born singly of developing 23
of 40 birth defects, such as spina bifida, according to
results published online in the Maternal and Child
The same team of researchers, from UF's Maternal
Child Health Education Research and Data Center,
studied 4,768 pairs of opposite-sex twins and found
that boys had a 29 percent higher risk for birth
defects than girls. This could be because boys tend to
develop at a slower pace, leaving a little more time for
potential problems to arise, according to findings
published this month in Birth Defects Research (Part
A): Clinical and Molecular Teratology.
"In the past 20 years, multiple births have
increased because of greater reliance on assistive
reproductive technology, especially among women
delaying childbirth until their 30s and 40s," said
Yiwei Tang, M.D., an assistant professor of pediatrics
and a lead researcher on both studies. "In offering
these options to women, full disclosure of an
increased risk of birth defects should be made."
Multiples had the highest risks of having certain
brain, heart, bladder and liver defects.
Although the risks are greater for multiple-birth
babies, the number of children born with birth
defects is still small. About 3.5 percent of multiples
are born with birth defects, whereas 2.5 percent of
single-birth babies are, the research shows.
"Though birth defects are not a common
occurrence, when they do occur within a family, it
can be life-altering," said Jeffrey Roth, Ph.D., an
associate professor of pediatrics, director of the data
center and a study co-author. "For the affected
family, it doesn't matter that what has happened to
them is a rare event."
The team analyzed years of data from Florida
Birth Vital Statistics and the Florida Birth Defects
Registry, studying 972,694 births for the multiple-
birth study. Of those, about 28,000 were multiples,
about 3 percent of all births.
"The strength of population-based research is that
all women in Florida who gave birth during this time
period were taken into account," Roth said.
Because older mothers naturally have an increased
risk of giving birth to children with birth defects, the
researchers used statistical models to factor out age,
race and even education levels that could have led to
inaccurate results, Tang said. This way, they only
compared babies born to similar mothers, Tang said.
This information allows prospective parents,
especially those considering fertility treatments that
will increase their odds of having multiple children,
to make more informed choices, said Michael
Resnick, Ed.D., a pediatrics professor and a co-
author of the study.
Informed decisions also increase the chances that
parents and their physicians will be prepared to
Dr. Yiwei Tang is investigating the rate of
birth defects in multiple-birth pregnancies.
provide the best care should children be born with
birth defects, Resnick said.
"This study adds to the knowledge to help genetic
counselors, psychologists and physicians to better
prepare parents as to what the outcomes might be,"
Resnick said. "They can discuss this information and
ask questions before deciding to start a family." O
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UF scientists seek to close
cell doors to HIV invasion
By Denise Trunk
UF researchers have identified a biochemical code
that a form of HIV uses to access immune system cells
and turn them into virus-making factories.
New targets for HIV treatment might be found by
decoding the genetic makeup of this virulent version of
the virus, which can pick a biochemical lock and break
into cells called macrophages, UF scientists report in a
November issue of the Journal of Virology. Researchers
had set out to identify genetic biomarkers of HIV-1,
which emerges in the later stages of the disease.
"Most times when people think about HIV, they
think about it infecting the T cells, the lymphocytes,"
said Maureen Goodenow, Ph.D., the study's senior
author and the Stephany W. Holloway university
chair in AIDS research at the UF College of
Medicine. "When HIV enters the macrophage, it
doesn't kill the cell, it uses it to create more virus. If
we can stop that, we can stop the virus. Not kill it
directly, but stop it from getting what it needs to
complete its life cycle, a cell."
Guity Ghaffari, Ph.D., the study's lead author and
an assistant professor in pediatrics at UF's College of
Medicine, said specific forms of HIV-1 develop in late-
"With the biomarker, we can predict the virus's
emergence over time," Ghaffari said. "A long-term
goal is to use this genetic information to design a
Maureen Goodenow, left, and Guity Ghaffari have identified how HIV enters some immune system cells.
vaccine that doctors can use in combination with
All strains of HIV-1 can invade T cells, the body's
infection-fighting cells also known as lymphocytes.
But they vary in their ability to enter macrophages,
the long-living white blood cells often considered the
scavengers of the immune system. The HIV-1 viruses
that can infect both types of immune cells share a
genetic lineage that allows them to chemically access
macrophages through a series of ordered interactions
at the virus's outer coating, called its envelope, the
To identify how HIV-1 can enter macrophages, UF
researchers took RNA and DNA samples from a
group of 50 HIV-1 infected children and, through a
series of steps, sequenced the DNA and analyzed the
They found that a region on the surface of the virus,
glycoprotein 120, dictates how viruses get into
macrophages. To enter, the virus requires the presence
of a molecule called CD4 and certain co-receptors, or
"locks," CCR5 or CXCR4, on the macrophages' outer
If the CD4 molecule is present, this type of HIV-1
virus can use it like a key to open the locks and enter
the cell, said Goodenow, a professor and co-director of
experimental pathology in the department of
pathology, immunology and laboratory medicine. O
Gene at heart of bad outcomes in high blood pressure patients
Having high blood pressure and a particular genetic alteration dramatically increases
the risk of heart attack, stroke or death, and may explain why some hypertensive
patients fare worse than others -even if they take the same medication, UF
The discovery, reported at the annual Scientific Sessions of the American Heart
Association, brings scientists a step closer toward determining how certain genes
influence the development of hypertension and the bad outcomes associated with the
condition. This type of research may someday enable patients to seek out medicine
tailored to fit their genetic makeup.
"In our study, carriers of the genetic variation had an approximately 43 percent
higher risk of death, heart attack or stroke," said Julie Johnson, Pharm.D., director of
the UF Center for Pharmacogenomics and chairwoman of the department of pharmacy
practice at UF's College of Pharmacy.
Genes likely determine nearly half one's risk of developing hypertension, and factors
such as diet, age, health status and the environment determine the rest. Similarly,
certain genes are associated with the risk of the adverse consequences of hypertension,
such as heart attack, stroke and kidney failure, said Johnson, a member of the UF
About 65 million Americans have high blood pressure, and another 25 million are at
high risk of developing hypertension in the next decade, Johnson said. Elevated blood
pressure is associated with kidney disease and up to half of all cases of coronary artery
disease, the No. 1 killer of men and women in the United States.
UF researchers studied about 5,700 patients ages 50 and older who were
participating in a National Institutes of Health-funded substudy of the International
Verapamil SR-Trandolapril study, or INVEST-GENES.
-Melanie Fridl Ross
Scientists closer to new cancer detection method
University of Florida researchers say they are a step closer to a technique to
easily detect a wide variety of cancers before symptoms become apparent.
The findings, currently online in the Proceedings of the National Academy
of Sciences, involve introducing molecularly engineered strands of DNA into
cell cultures and observing whether they unleash a fluorescent burst after they
adhere to cancer proteins.
The technique could enable doctors to search within extremely complex fluid
or tissue samples to pinpoint biomarkers -proteins that signal that something
"Even when the cancer biomarkers are in extremely low concentration we
have been able to detect them," said Weihong Tan, Ph.D., a UF Research
Foundation professor of chemistry in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
and a member of the UF Genetics Institute, the UF Shands Cancer Center and
the McKnight Brain Institute. "This approach could help for early diagnosis of
cancer, as well as for detecting residual cancer in patients after treatment."
It works by capitalizing on fluorescent molecules engineered into tiny
strands of DNA or RNA. Known as aptamers, the strands act as molecular
beacons, corresponding and readily binding to a sought-after substance such
as cancer protein.
Much work remains to be done, but the technique potentially could be a
diagnostic tool for cancer and other diseases. It could also be used to detect
illicit drugs, such as cocaine, in the body, researchers say.
"Eventually we would like to see this assay become as convenient as a
pregnancy test," said Chaoyong James Yang, a chemistry doctoral student in
the Tan group and the first author of the paper.
Visit ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ---I us~- onin @ tplnwelhuleu o h aetnw n S vn s j ~ l
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F1 2,05 / 01 11
Hatching answers to the next global threat
By Ann Griswold
C chicken Little has never looked more menacing.
The World Health Organization has predicted that the bird flu might mutate
into a form capable of spreading among people. If this happens, global health
experts warn that the virus could cause a pandemic similar to the Spanish flu of 1918 that
killed an estimated 40 million people, rapidly infecting millions more around the globe and
causing health-care costs to soar into the billions.
But is the sky truly about to fall?
Influenza outbreaks are a fact of life. New strains of influenza regularly emerge separately
in bird and human populations. And the potential for danger is compounded when an avian
influenza virus mingles with a human flu virus and begins to spread from person to person,
as is possible with the newly emerged H5N1 strain of bird flu.
"We know that bird influenza viruses have been around for hundreds of years. The
problem is the severity of illness that this particular virus has caused in humans,"
explains Lennox Archibald, M.D., F.R.C.P, a medical epidemiologist at Shands at UF
medical center and a member of the UF Infection Control Team.
The H5N1 bird flu has infected more than 100 people to date, most of whom have had
prolonged contact with infected birds. Experts are concerned that the H5N1 strain appears
far more deadly than most influenza viruses: More than half the people infected have died.
"When you've got a strain of flu that has that high of a mortality rate, that's really
dangerous," says Mary Peoples-Sheps, Dr.P.H., director of public health programs at the
UF College of Public Health and Health Professions. "When you think about all of the
people you've known in your whole life who have had the flu... relatively few people
actually die from the disease. With this one, the death rate could be much higher."
Paul Gibbs, D.V.M., Ph.D., a UF professor of veterinary medicine and public health,
agrees. If the bird flu acquires the ability to spread among people and continues to kill
half its victims, he says, "the ensuing pandemic could be horrific."
All the major flu pandemics of the 20th century originated from avian viruses. The
Spanish flu of 1918 was by far the most deadly. Since then, the 1957 Asian flu and the 1968
Hong Kong flu have raised the combined death toll to 50 million.
"The epidemiologists say pandemics occur in 30-year cycles we are due," Archibald
says. "That said, I don't think one can ignore it and I don't think we are over-reacting."
Fortunately, several factors limit the ability of the bird flu to infect humans, which
explains why so few people have become ill. Most notably, the H5 protein, which enables
the virus to attach to specific receptor sites on host cell surfaces, is designed to recognize
birds, not humans.
For example, imagine putting together a jigsaw puzzle. While it is occasionally possible
to force together two mismatched pieces, the resulting link will not be very effective. In
the same way, the bird virus does not fit snugly into the receptor on the human cell
surface. To spread efficiently among people, the H5 protein of the bird flu must change to
allow better attachment to human cells.
The likelihood that such a modification will occur is not very high, speculates virologist
Richard Condit, Ph.D., a professor of molecular genetics and microbiology at the UF
College of Medicine who says it would probably require multiple mutational events.
It also would be more likely to happen in Southeast Asia than in the United States, adds
Gibbs, because of the close contact between birds and people in everyday life. In addition
to infecting poultry, the bird flu has also been observed in village ducks, which act as
reservoirs for the disease.
As a result, Gibbs predicts, "If a pandemic strain of avian flu ever arrives in the United
States, it will most likely arrive in the form of an infected traveler from Asia, not from a
mutation of the bird strain here."
While experts debate the odds the bird flu will become capable of efficient human-to-
human spread, most agree on one thing: The results would be disastrous.
"If a pandemic hits, a lot of people are going to be affected. There are no two ways about
it," states Archibald, who worked for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a
medical epidemiologist before coming to UF. "People feel sick, it's hit the headlines, and
they are going to aggregate in an ER with limited resources, a hospital with limited rooms.
The risk at the moment is low, but God forbid it does happen how are hospitals going to
cope? And to be honest, I don't have the answer."
The H5N1 strain of bird flu originated in China and spread to Hong Kong in 1997.
Since then, the virus has infected chickens and wild birds in 15 countries across Asia and
Europe. The possibility of bird flu spreading to the United States has sparked a flurry of
planning and preparation.
President George W. Bush recently proposed a $7.1 billion plan to combat the spread of
bird flu. Even Kentucky Fried Chicken has stowed away a slew of advertisements aimed at
convincing chicken-craving consumers that KFC meat will remain safe to eat if American
birds become infected. Many Americans are living in an atmosphere of apprehension. In a
recent online CNN poll, 73 percent of the 23,400 respondents thought world officials should
be doing more to prevent the spread of bird flu.
"The epidemiologists say a IThii; n.:ii I ihe ndnl virus "It's good to pay attention "The big step is [for it] to
pandlemi:; i.:..::ur ,n j01..yair ihai you :):n luil I:,u,:h and and to monitor, so when the mutate to a form that is
cycles i.e are due I din I gel Ihe dlai Y.:u nieed pandemic happens we can transmissible from one human
Think ,n.e .:an ign:,fr 11i and .. over ,,helming e.pi:, urie catch it sooner and develop to another. My assumption
I don I hinh l i- are over -i I -'" and yo.:u di:,n I gl iha I ,nd a vaccine against that strain is that it's going to involve
react ng I ol e.'.poiure Ir.:,m h,:ld.ng a immediately." multiple mutational events."
- Lenn:. Ar.:hibald M 0D :h ..en ,:ar:a;i hal ,nle.ied." Lung-Ji Chang, Ph.D. I. ':. Richard Condit, Ph.D.
Gary Butcher, D.V.M., Ph.D.
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But there's no need to panic, says Gary Butcher, D.V.M., Ph.D., a professor of veterinary
medicine at UF's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences who recently traveled to
Russia to assist the poultry industry with a regional outbreak of bird flu.
"This is not the kind of virus that you can just touch and get the disease," Butcher says.
"You need overwhelming, overwhelming exposure, and you don't get that kind of
exposure from holding a chicken carcass that's infected.
"When people think about Thailand or Russia, they're imagining that birds are sick
everywhere, birds are dying left and right. This is just not the case," he adds. "If a single
commercial chicken even sneezes, they check it. If there's any evidence of disease, they
kill every animal around. So you may hear about how they killed half a million chickens,
but only six of them died from disease they killed the rest."
Still, some public health officials argue that if a pandemic occurred now, the world
would be caught unprepared. Only about 40 countries have made contingency plans,
Peoples-Sheps agrees, but acknowledges there may be an unreasonable level of fear
among the public.
"In public health, you're always walking the fine line between overstating a case to the
point where people get fearful they panic because they don't know enough about it and
stating the case strongly enough so that people really do take it seriously," she says.
The delicate balance between fear and information is especially crucial in bird flu-
"Everybody's quite nervous and quite confused," Butcher says. "The Russians are
trying to make a decision, but they don't know what kind of a decision to make. As a
result, some pretty unusual things are being said and done."
The H5N1 bird flu entered Russia via migratory birds from the neighboring country
"Their immediate response was to line up volunteers and soldiers along the border
with Kazakhstan, give them bullets and guns, and tell them to shoot anything that flies
in," Butcher says, citing an August article from a Russian newspaper, the Kommersant-
Daily. "It's comical."
UF Health Science Center faculty members seem less willing to call in the heavy
"It's good to pay attention and to monitor, so when the pandemic happens we can catch
it sooner and develop a vaccine against that strain immediately," says virologist Lung-Ji
Chang, Ph.D., a professor of molecular genetics and microbiology. "But it's not good if
people stop eating Kentucky Fried Chicken."
A native of Taiwan, Chang recalls that bird flu outbreaks, commonly referred to as
"chicken plague," were simply a fact of life in rural areas of the country.
"We had chicken plague in village after village periodically, every five, 10 years," he
says. "The whole flock of chickens would die in my village, the next village. If you had
chickens in your house or your yard, you tried to harvest them, cook them, because it's
going to spread."
Of the recent outbreaks, Chang muses, "I don't think it's any more severe than what
has happened in history. It's just that we have newspaper, TV and Internet now, airplanes
and broadcast, and we're paying more attention."
Butcher agrees. Despite the widespread attention garnered by the H5N1 strain, he says
the current situation is much less severe than what the media portrays.
"There are not many flocks infected, there's not much spread of virus from bird to bird,
H5N1 Bird Flu Basics:
H is for Hemagglutinin:
Surface protein that helps
the virus attach to host cells
Why the H5N1 strain may prove deadly:
U Influenza viruses are named for the types of
H and N proteins found on their surfaces.
U Humans have never been exposed to
the H5 protein of H5N1, so our immune
systems are not prepared to mount a
S strong defense.
N is for Neuraminidase:
Helps the virus escape from
infected cells once it has
multiplied inside. The newly-
formed viruses can then infect
But why the sky is not falling...yet:
Currently, the H5 protein can only attach efficiently to avian cell surface receptors.
As a result, humans need prolonged exposure to infected birds to contract the H5N1
M A pandemic is possible if the bird H5 protein is modified to recognize human cells. For
example, if one of the following senarios occurs:
A human is infected with both avian and human influenza, allowing genetic
The avian H5 protein is mutated to allow better recognition of the human cell
and there's very little contact between infected birds and people," says Butcher. "I think
people are picturing every day, every flock in these countries is infected, they're all
shedding viruses, and people are walking by all day long handling the chickens. We have
to put all of this into perspective."
While the likelihood of the bird flu reaching the United States is debated, most agree
vigilance is key.
Early warning systems are crucial, Archibald says. One example is the National
Nosocomial Infection Surveillance System, a network of approximately 354 U.S. hospitals
that voluntarily communicate with the CDC in an effort to curb potential outbreaks of
hospital-acquired illness. If health officials detect the spread of disease early on, an
appropriate vaccine could be produced before a widespread pandemic occurs.
"If they're able to develop and produce large quantities of a vaccine before this thing
gets too big, we can implement a wide-scale vaccination program and we won't have to
worry about it quite as much," says Peoples-Sheps. "But until that happens, we could be
at great risk."
CONTINUED ON PAGE 21
"I don't want to sound like "If a pandemic strain of avian flu ever "When you think about all of the people
Chicken Little, but we have arrives in the United States, it will you've known in your whole life who have
had examples before of most likely arrive in the form of an had the flu, relativelyfew people actually
false alarms." -'1 infected traveler from Asia, not from a d ie from the disease. With this one, the
SPaul Doering, M.S. mulal:,n :, i.he bird strain here." --death rate could be much higher."
Paul oRt.'; D.V.M., Ph.D. -Mary Peoples-Sheps, Dr.P.H.
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UF distance education graduates
identify missing persons in their homeland
By Linda Homewood
Arijana Pozder and Ana Milos tackled graduate school with a vengeance. The
Bosnian students took an average of three online graduate courses per semester
while working full time in a forensic lab for the International Commission on
Missing Persons in Sarajevo to increase their knowledge of DNA analysis.
The ICMP, an inter-governmental organization, was created in 1996 to investigate
30,000 missing persons cases resulting from the 1991-95 conflicts in the Eastern
European countries of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro.
When the war began in 1992, Milos and Pozder were friends and classmates. The two were
separated for nine years until they met again in 2001 at the ICMP.
The friends, who had bachelor's degrees in biology and biochemistry, had been looking for
a relevant way to advance their education and their search brought them to UF.
"We were gaining so much valuable experience in the lab, but we felt that we wanted
more education in the DNA area to further our skills," Pozder said.
Milos added, "When we found the UF master's in forensic DNA and Serology taught
completely online, we couldn't believe it. This was the perfect solution to getting the
education we wanted."
The women discovered that the UF program included forensic medicine courses
from The University of Edinburgh. The professors from both universities had knowledge
and experience with forensic DNA analysis that would be very helpful to their work,
Forensic DNA analysis was first used in Great Britain in 1985. The method, developed
by British researcher Sir Alec Jeffries, was used in a landmark case to identify a serial
killer in the murder of two British schoolgirls.
Donna Wielbo, Ph.D., now an associate professor in the College of Pharmacy who
directs the UF Forensic DNA and Serology master's program, worked in the forensic lab
that had handled the case. Prior to that case, blood typing was used to eliminate suspects
in a crime, but it could not prove the identity of the perpetrator, Wielbo said. The
forensics laboratory used blood typing to narrow the list, and then applied Jeffries' DNA
analysis technique to identify the perpetrator, she said.
"There is no doubt that DNA analysis is the identification technique that revolutionized
forensic biology," Wielbo said.
Extracting DNA samples from bones, which is more difficult than from blood samples,
is a current research focus of international scientists associated with the ICMP. They
hope to publish improved techniques that will benefit scientists everywhere, Milos said.
Since it began using DNA as the first step in identifying human remains in November
2001, the ICMP has matched more than 8,500 human remains often found in mass
graves to family members logged in its DNA database. To increase its DNA database,
the commission is sending forensic teams in early December to 12 U.S. cities, including
Atlanta and Jacksonville, Fla., to collect blood samples from family members of people
missing during the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia.
The students, who discovered the UF distance learning site www.forensicscience.ufl.
edu by searching online, are now featured on the UF Web site along with students from
Alaska, New Mexico, the Florida Keys, Okinawa and Ireland. They traveled to UF in
November for three days of written and oral final exams, and met 13 of their virtual
classmates. All the students will receive master's degrees from the College of Pharmacy
with a concentration in forensic DNA and Serology. The women have put their new UF
degrees to immediate use.
The success of the ICMP's mission depends on science, education and the assistance of
many governments to accomplish the enormous task of victim identification, Milos said.
"We consider ourselves incredibly lucky to have survived the most horrible period in the
history of our country," Milos said. "Because of this we are incredibly sensitive to the
importance of our mission of helping to identify the vast number of missing persons." O
Arijana Pozder (left) and Ana Milos at their Sarajevo lab, one of three
regional laboratories in Eastern Europe established by the
International Commission on Missing Persons.
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Generations of Nurses
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida pledges
support to the Future Gator Nurse Program
By Tracy Brown
Last year, UF nurse educator/recruiter Norma Cooper began to teach 24
kindergartners at the culturally diverse Long Branch Elementary School
in Jacksonville about health care and exciting opportunities in the nursing
profession. She had no idea the impact her program would have.
UF nurse educator/recruiter Norma Cooper, back row,
middle, is surrounded by students from Long Branch
Not only was the Future Gator Nurse program a resounding success,
stirring the imaginations of young students and bringing whole families
together to learn about health care, it also gained widespread attention
from local and nursing news media. Now, thanks to a $50,000 gift from
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida, the program has been transformed
into a full curriculum designed to encourage students of all ages and
cultures to consider a career in nursing or health care.
"Inspiring children to become nurses is an important part of easing
the nursing shortage," said Catherine Kelly, vice president for public
affairs, Signature Programs at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida.
"It's one of the many ways we are helping to create long-term solutions to
the nursing shortage through our Generation RN initiative."
Generation RN is the company's public/private partnership to build
an expanded, stable and culturally diverse nurse workforce in Florida.
Blue Cross Blue Shield's contribution will allow the Future Gator
Nurse program to continue to make a difference in medically
underserved and disadvantaged student populations in Duval County,
Cooper said. The program will expand to a sixth-grade class at
Northwestern Middle School. A College of Nursing doctoral student will
evaluate the program. O
UF to establish
medicine residency ,
By April Frawley Birdwell
The University of Florida College of Medicine will
open an emergency medicine residency-training
program on the Gainesville campus next July,
college officials have announced.
The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Seaberg
Education approved the college's plan to begin an
emergency medicine residency program in October, making the college in Gainesville only
the fourth institution in the state to offer emergency medicine training.
"Throughout Florida there is a need for emergency physicians, particularly in rural areas,"
said David Seaberg, M.D., a professor and associate chairman of the emergency department
and chief of emergency services at Shands at UF. "The best way to keep them here is to have
residency programs. Most physicians end up working within 250 miles of where they
Emergency medicine was the college's only major medical specialty not to have a residency
program in Gainesville, Seaberg said. There is an emergency residency program in
Jacksonville. The 45 residents who train there complete some of their rotations in
The new program will start small, accepting about eight residents a year, and it will not
duplicate the Jacksonville residency, said Kevin L. Ferguson, M.D., a UF clinical assistant
professor and director of graduate medical education for the emergency medicine
Emergency residents in both programs will see different types of patients because Shands
at UF serves a more rural eight-county area of the state, whereas Shands Jacksonville draws
patients primarily from the city, Ferguson said.
The Gainesville curriculum will be accessed primarily online, allowing residents to view
digital reading materials and watch taped lectures, no matter when they are working.
Residents will meet in small groups to analyze their own interactions with patients and to
learn things best taught in closer quarters, like how to bring the hospital's different resources
together to help patients, Ferguson said.
Residents also will use simulators to show they are capable of performing certain
procedures after they have finished different rotations.
Seaberg, who was once the emergency medicine residency director for the College of
Medicine in Jacksonville, said he came to Gainesville in 2000 with the goal of establishing a
residency program here within five years.
The emergency department cleared one of its biggest hurdles this year when Shands at UF
was named a Level 1 trauma center. Being connected to a trauma center was a requirement to
start a residency program, Ferguson said.
The department is currently accepting applications.
A new endowment in orthodontics
The proceeds from the sale of a five-acre tract land donated by UF graduates Clark
Hodge and his wife B.J. will be used to create the Clark and B.J. Hodge Professorship
The endowment will allow the UF department of orthodontics to expand its staff
from two to three full-time faculty.
The donated property, located near Santa Fe Community College, is valued at
$620,000 and will be eligible for matching funds from the Florida Matching Gifts
Hodge attended UF as an undergraduate and received his dental degree from
Emory University. He has been in private practice in Gainesville since 1965 and has
also served as predoctoral orthodontics director and clinical supervisor in the graduate
Visit us online @ http://news.health.ufl.edu/ for the
clinic of the department of orthodontics for the past six years. He retired at the end of
"I'm an orthodontist in private practice, and this is my way of giving back to UF for
my education," Hodge said.
The Hodges' two children and Clark's father also graduated from UF.
The Gainesville couple's gift counts toward UF President Machen's 2004 Faculty
Challenge initiative. The fundraising program aims to raise $150 million to fund the tools
faculty need to enhance classroom instruction and conduct world-class research.
"Clark has been a tremendous asset to the department," said Timothy Wheeler,
professor and chair of UF's department of orthodontics. "The Hodge's gift is further
evidence of Clark's commitment to our program, not only sharing his talents, but his
personal resources as well." Adrianna Rodriguez
latest news and HSC events
Coping during the holidays:
Caring for those with Alzheimer's disease or dementia
Meredeth Rowe is an expert on patients with
dementia and Alzheimer's disease.
By Tracy Browm
The holidays can be a joyous and stressful time of
year for everyone. But if someone in your family is
living with Alzheimer's disease or dementia, the
holidays can be filled with disappointment and
sadness for both the afflicted patient and the
caregiver. A person with Alzheimer's or dementia
may feel a special sense of loss during the
holidays and caregivers may feel overwhelmed
trying to maintain holiday traditions while caring
for the dementia patient. Caregivers may
experience guilt, frustration or even anger during,
before and after holiday celebrations, especially
if other family members do not understand the
situation. The POST asked Meredeth Rowe, Ph.D.,
R.N., an associate professor in the College of
Nursing and an expert on Alzheimer's and
dementia patients and their caregivers, for some
suggestions to help make the holidays happier for
dementia patients and their families.
How do the holidays and circumstances surrounding the
holidays affect the Alzheimer's or dementia patient?
Holidays tend to be a tough time for those with dementia because their normal
routine becomes changed. One of the major effects of Alzheimer's or dementia
is the loss of abstract thinking, thus the familiar is a key component of minimizing
distress. They are most comfortable in their own environment. If a situation
involves a lot of unpredictability (for example, travel, an onslaught of guests and
new faces, taking on many tasks and activities), agitation and aggression on the
part of the dementia patient may follow.
What should caregivers anticipate with the holiday season approaching?
Caregivers should discuss holiday celebrations with relatives and close friends to
ensure that they understand the situation and are realistic about the Alzheimer's or
dementia patient's involvement. If the dementia is relatively new, family members may
not realize that Mom, Dad, Grandma or Grandpa does not have the same personality
or possess the same memories that they once did during these special events.
I would suggest that the caregiver and family celebrate the holiday by minimizing
unpredictability. Traveling is not advised, as being in a new place will probably
add to the confusion. Perhaps smaller numbers of people can visit the house over
time instead of large family gatherings. Consider celebrating over lunch, rather
than dinner, to work around evening confusion that many Alzheimer's or dementia
How can family members involve their loved one with
Alzheimer's or dementia in the holiday festivities?
Involve the patients in safe and manageable activities. Singing old holiday tunes
usually engages those with Alzheimer's or dementia who may remember old songs
or enjoy the pleasant sounds. Build slowly on past traditions and memories. They
can help to prepare food or assist with decorating a little bit at a time. Of course,
this must all be maintained within the person's normal daily routine. Do not take
on too many tasks at once.
As far as gift giving, gifts like clothing, audiotapes or videotapes (usually
containing more traditional music or programs) are most suitable for loved ones
with Alzheimer's or dementia.
How can family members assist the caregiver during the holidays?
The caregiver's needs are usually diametrically opposed to that of the patient. A
caregiver must often sacrifice social activities that are more prevalent during the
holiday season. If family members can volunteer their time by staying with the patient
at their home, then it can give the caregivers some free time to socialize, go shopping
or engage in many of the other enjoyable activities associated with the holiday season.
Is the patient more at risk for wandering or
becoming lost during the holiday season?
My research has not shown a higher tendency to wandering during the holidays;
however, caregivers should still be aware of the Alzheimer's or dementia patient's
whereabouts especially in the confusion of guests and social activities. If traveling is
planned, an unfamiliar place may cause those patients to wander and become lost,
and caregivers would be less knowledgeable about the area. That is why we encourage
as little travel as possible and staying as close as possible to a normal routine. O
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HSC administrator's family
tree has grown wide
By April Frawley Birdwell
No one knew if the premature baby in the
foster home would show signs of brain
damage one day. It didn't matter much to
Jerry Kidney and his wife Janis.
They were in love.
It happened again when they met Janica, a little
girl with mild mental challenges, and again when
they found Didi, who suffered from congenital heart
defects. Love struck a fourth and fifth time when
they found Sandra and Calata, sisters who had been
physically abused, and once more when they met the
12-year-old boy whose mother had also abused him
when he was a baby.
Kidney, the Health Science Center's assistant vice
president for administrative support, and his wife did
not choose a path of least resistance when it came to
building their family, choosing instead to adopt six
special needs children after their only biological son,
Nathan, was born.
But it's been a road paved with as many successes
as there were challenges. And it's those successes
Kidney treasures more than anything.
"It's comforting to think you've done something
good for these kids," he said.
Photographs line walls and shelves in Kidney's
office, and ever the father (and the grandfather), he
can't resist pointing out who's who in each shot.
"There's Robert," he says, pointing to a photo of
the first child he and his wife adopted. "That's
Calata, and here's all my girls ..."
Their expanding family tree first took root 30
years ago when Nathan was born. The couple didn't
set out to rival the Brady Bunch in size, but they
knew they wanted more children and they knew they
wanted to adopt.
Then living in Maine, where Kidney was a high
school math teacher he taught algebra and calculus
for four years before entering the world of higher
education the couple became involved in a pre-
After that, all it took was one trip to the Maine
Children's Home for Little Wanderers. That's where
the couple found Robert, then just a 14-month-old
There was concern that he would have brain
damage, but he didn't. Now 30, Robert lives in
Newberry and he and his wife are expecting their
first child in March, Kidney says proudly.
"I just look at him and think what could have been
if he had been shuffled around from foster home to
Jerry Kidney (back, middle) poses with his family. Standing with Kidney are (from left) daughter
Janica, granddaughter Skymarie, son Nathan, daughter-in-law Vicky holding granddaughter
Chancey, grandson Taylor, daughter Sandra, daughter Calata, son Robert, wife Janis and
daughter-in-law Stacy. (Greg Kidney, son, is not pictured.)
foster home," he said.
Janica came next, and then Didi, an elfin-like
blond girl who suffered from Holt-Oram syndrome,
an inherited disorder typified by heart and skeletal
The couple then found sisters Sandra and Calata,
now 20 and 19, and Greg, who was 12 when they
adopted him nine years ago.
It hasn't always been easy, Kidney admits. They
faced loss when Didi died at the age of 10. And like
any parent, they've questioned themselves through
"There have been times when we've felt like
failures and we've wondered what kind of person is
this kid going to grow up to be," he said. "It always
seems to work out in the end."
And somehow, Kidney has managed to put
together a successful career and spend hours
volunteering for the Ronald McDonald House.
While still a math teacher, Kidney worked
summers at what is now known as the Maine
Agricultural & Forest Experiment Station at the
University of Maine. He loved teaching, but with a
growing family, he needed a better-paying job and
eventually took a full-time position there. In 1982 he
left Maine and came to UF to head the HSC's
business services offices.
Tom V. Harris, UF associate vice president of
health affairs for administration, was amazed when
he first learned of Kidney's less-than-traditional
family, and he quickly became part of it, as a friend.
"He's more into family than money," Harris said.
"It makes you realize what a great person he is. He
loves people. He's the type of guy who would do
anything for anybody."
Harris even pulled Kidney into helping out the
local Ronald McDonald House. For several years,
Kidney was the charity's president, and he now serves
as the treasurer. Kidney spends hours fundraising and
doing what he can to help, Harris said.
But for Kidney the real accomplishments are what
his children have achieved. He smiles as he rattles off
a list: Nathan works for the 8th Judicial District,
Robert works for Cox Communications, Janica lives
independently and has a job, Sandra is married, Greg
finished culinary arts training and is now in the U.S.
Army and Calata recently graduated from high school.
"Everyone thinks you must have a screw loose to
even think of (adopting six special needs children),"
he said, with a laugh. "Maybe it's true. Maybe we do
have a screw loose, but we've enjoyed it and I think
we've done some good for our kids." 0
Visit us online @ http://news.health.ufl.edu/ for the latest news and HSC events n s IIl I 01 &L
UF Rainbow Center receives FCCA
grant to help children, teens with AIDS
By Patricia Bates McGhee
UF's Rainbow Center for Women, Adolescents, Children &
Families, the only comprehensive HIV/AIDS program in North
Florida, was awarded the second annual Tarsha Butler grant by
First Coast Child Advocates Inc. Named in memory of Tarsha Butler, the
$5,000 grant is designed to help children and teens coping with the
effects of AIDS live fuller lives.
The Rainbow Center began providing medical care for children in 1988.
Beyond basic medical care, the Rainbow Center provides family-
centered case management, nutritional and mental health counseling for
more than 1,000 patients a year from North Florida to as far north as
Savannah. In addition to having access to national research protocols,
the center, housed on the third floor of the medical center in
Jacksonville, is a Florida AIDS Education Training Center site and a
Pediatric and Adult AIDS Clinical Trials Group site and actively
participates in multiple pharmaceutical clinical trials.
Soon after its creation, the Rainbow Center explored the barriers
children face in finding, receiving and maintaining health care.
"What we discovered led to a new, comprehensive approach in 1993
that is still providing one-stop complete care for our patients," said
Mobeen Rathore, M.D., Rainbow Center director and a professor and
division chief of pediatric infectious diseases and immunology at UF-
FCCA is a nonprofit board that supports the state's Guardian ad Litem
Program in the Fourth Judicial Circuit. The GAL Program is charged
with ensuring that children in the system have an independent advocate
working on their behalf in court.
Marcia C. Richardson, FCCA board president, who presented the
grant to Rathore, said the group was pleased to award the Tarsha Butler
grant to the Rainbow Center.
"With the $5,000, the Rainbow Center will be able to enrich the lives
of children and teenagers who are living with AIDS many of whom
are struggling to stay alive and we are very excited about helping them
live life to the fullest extent possible," she said.
Tarsha Butler contracted AIDS while she was in foster care. As a
result, the GAL program, on behalf of Tarsha and in the name of the
FCCA, won a suit against the Florida Department of Children and
Families. Unfortunately, Tarsha died before she could benefit from the
monetary judgment. Subsequently, FCCA was named guardian of the
trust, and only children with AIDS are able to receive funds and/or
benefit from it.
"Tarsha was a lovely child who, to her death at a very young age,
always had a smile despite how sick she was," Rathore said. "Tarsha's
smile continues to light up lives now, thanks to this grant that we
received in her memory, which will bring smiles to many young HIV-
infected patients who are going through the same illness."
According to Rathore, the grant will provide for services not provided
by other funding sources.
"The grant will allow us to send children to camp and provide other
activities for their psychosocial health," he said. 0
UF Rainbow Center staff members join center director Mobeen Rathore, M.D.,
(third from left) and FCCA board of directors president Marcia Richardson (fifth
from left) in the center's rainbow-colored waiting room for presentation of the
Tarsha Butler grant award. Pictured (left to right) are Ana Alvarez, LaSonya
Milton, Rathore, John Roberts, Richardson, Tavia Leonard, Melissa Scites,
Cheryl Martin, Alfreda Telfair and Jessica Joyce.
"With the $5,000, the Rainbow Center will
be able to enrich the lives of children and
teenagers who are living with AIDS -
many of whom are struggling to stay alive
- and we are very excited about helping
them live life to the fullest extent possible."
Marcia C, Richardson, FCCA board president
S8 YJE IRIBkB Visit us online @ http://news.health.ufl.edu/ for the latest news and HSC events
"Health-Care Heroes" awarded
By Patricia Bates McGhee
Five UF-Jacksonville employees were
finalists and two of them winners
- in the Jacksonville Business
Journal's 2005 Health-Care Heroes
awards program. Ted Bass, M.D., a
professor of medicine and cardiology
division chief, was the winner in the
Super Scientist category, and Barry
Steinberg, M.D., an associate B
professor and pediatric maxillofacial
surgeon, won the Community
Finalists included Ann Harwood-
Nuss, M.D., associate dean of
educational affairs, Lifetime
Achievement category; Linda
Edwards, M.D., an associate professor
and division chief of general internal
medicine, Super Physician category;
and Kim Bartley, A.R.N.P, nurse
practitioner, OB/GYN. Steinberg
Jacksonville Mayor John Peyton discussed his early-literacy program at UF-HSC
Jacksonville's department of pediatrics' monthly medical education-community
pediatrics training Nov. 22. About 60 pediatrics faculty and residents attended the
event, which was simulcast to Wolfson Children's Hospital, where many residents
are involved in clinical practice. The forum was co-sponsored by the Jacksonville
Pediatric Advocacy Network, a local advocacy initiative developed by UF-HSC
Jacksonville pediatric residents.
administrative director of the
department of pediatrics, is
one of 21 women named
to the Jacksonville Business
Journal's Class of 2005
Women of Influence.
Presented annually, the award
recognizes the "most powerful Barata
women in business, the
community and public life." Barata oversees 126
physicians, 177 support staff, four satellite primary
care offices and a $30 million annual budget.
LINDA EDWARDS, M.D.,
has recieved The Florida
Chapter of the American
College of Physicians'
Internist of the Year Award
in appreciation for her
outstanding leadership and
dedication to the practice of
internal medicine. Edwards,
an associate professor and
chief of the general internal Edwards
medicine division, received the award at the
group's 37th scientific meeting.
Community Hospice of
Northeast Florida has
HENDRY, M.D., an
associate professor of
pediatrics and emergency
medicine, medical director
of the pediatric program
Community PedsCare. Hendry
Established in 2001,
Community PedsCare is a pediatric palliative
and hospice program for children with life-
threatening conditions of Community Hospice
in collaboration with UF, Wolfson Children's
Hospital and Nemours Children's Clinic.
SHAHLA MASOOD, M.D.,
a professor and associate
chair of the department of
pathology, presented the
keynote address, "Borderline
Breast Lesions," at the fifth
annual Scientific Meeting
of the Australasian Society
for Breast Disease held on
the Gold Coast, Australia. Masood
ASBD is an international,
multidisciplinary society dedicated to
promoting knowledge in the areas of
prevention, diagnosis and management of
M.D., a professor and
division chief of pediatric
infectious diseases and
immunology, attended, by
invitation, one international
and two national meetings
this fall. The American
Ambassador to the
Bahamas requested his Rathore
presence at the 4th Annual Meeting of the
Chiefs of the American Diplomatic Missions
in the Caribbean to "engender leadership
for reducing stigma and discrimination and
strengthening public/private partnerships in
At the American Academy of Pediatrics
Leadership Conference for Adolescent HIV
Prevention, Rathore helped develop strategies
aimed at preventing high risk behaviors in
adolescents that result in HIV infection. In
addition, the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention asked him to participate in its
National Consultation Meeting for HIV Screening
Recommendations for Adults, Adolescents and
Pregnant Women in the Health Care Setting. O
== U- 3v~
Visit us online @ http://news.health.ufl.edu/ for the latest news and HSC events
COLLEGE OF DENTISTRY
ARTHUR NIMMO, D.D.S.,
F.A.C.P., a professor of
prosthodontics, is the 2005
recipient of the American k
College of Prosthodontists'
Distinguished Service Award.
He received the award Oct.
28 during the organization's
35th Annual Session in Los Nimmo
Angeles. The Distinguished
Service Award is given annually to recognize an
ACP member for outstanding contributions and
service to the organization, to the specialty of
prosthodontics and to the dental profession.
COLLEGE OF MEDICINE
MIHO BAUTISTA, M.D., a
clinical assistant professor in
the department of medicine's
division of geriatrics, has
been awarded a Geriatric
Academic Career Award
by the U.S. Department of
Health and Human Services.
The $300,000 award will Bautista
support her efforts to improve
geriatric education and become a Master
Educator in Geriatrics for the next five years.
C. RICHARD CONTI, M.D.,
served as honorary chairman
of the 16th Great Wall
International Congress of
Cardiology & American
College of Cardiology
Symposium, held in early
November in Beijing.
About 6,000 clinicians and Conti
researchers attended the four-
day meeting, which featured experts discussing
clinical problems in modern cardiology practice
and provided updates on hot topics such as
angiogenesis, stem cell research and genomics.
Panelists also presented the latest information
on topics such as interventional cardiology,
congenital heart disease and cardiac imaging.
Conti is the Palm Beach Heart Association
eminent scholar and a professor of medicine. He
is medical director of the Shands Cardiovascular
Clinic and editor of the journal Clinical
ANN MARIE LEVINE, M.D.,
an associate professor of
pediatrics, has received 4
$372,500 from the National
Institutes of Health to fund
research on a protein in the
lung and its role in fighting
This research could Levine
one day help patients with
pneumonia, cystic fibrosis and acute respiratory
distress syndrome, whose bodies typically do not
have enough of the protein.
Levine also recently received a career
investigator award from the American Lung
Association for her research.
THOMAS MULLIGAN, M.D.,
chief of the department
of medicine's division of
geriatrics, was named a
2006 Geriatrics Leadership
Scholar. He is one of five
people selected nationwide
for this award. The award
will provide structured
leadership training, as well Mulligan
as local and national mentoring. The goal is
to facilitate the development of excellence in
leadership among academic geriatricians.
M.D., a clinical assistant
professor of internal
medicine, recently received
an Independent Physician
Office of Excellence for
2005 award from AvMed
Stalvey graduated from Stalvey
the college in 1999 and
completed her residency here in 2003. She
now serves as the internal medicine residency
associate program director and is in practice at
the Tower Hill medical clinic.
ROBERT T. WATSON,
M.D., the college's i
senior associate dean
for educational affairs
and a neurology
professor, was one
of four medical
professors honored as
a distinguished teacher
at the Association of
meeting in November.
Watson received the Robert J. Glaser AOA
Distinguished Teacher Award, a national honor
the Alpha Omega Alpha medical honor society
established in 1988 to recognize medical
school faculty for their achievements in medical
Watson, who graduated from the UF College
of Medicine and completed his residency in
neurology here, has served as senior associate
dean for the past 15 years. During that time,
Watson helped establish the Thomas H. Maren
Medical Student reading room and the Chapman
chapter of the Gold Humanism Society.
The medical class of 1985 also honored him
with the Hippocratic Award, the highest honor a
faculty member can receive in the college.
DAVID C. SEABERG, M.D.,
an associate chairman of the
college's emergency medicine
department and chief of
emergency services at Shands
at UF, was elected to the board
of directors of the American
College of Emergency
Physicians at the group's
annual meeting in October. Seaberg
Seaberg serves on the Florida College of
Emergency Physicians board of directors and
founded the University Alliance for Weapons of
Mass Destruction Education. He joined ACEP in
1986. The group's aim is to improve emergency
medical care through both education and
EDWARD M. COPELAND, M.D., the Edward R.
Woodward Distinguished Professor of Surgery, has been
named as president-elect of the American College of
Surgeons. He will begin his term as president in October
The American College of Surgeons was founded in
1913 to improve surgical care and surgical education.
The group, which has 64,000 fellows and 5,000
associate fellows, sponsors continuing medical
education programs, monitors legislative issues related
to surgery and works to improve the quality of care given
Copeland graduated from Duke University with a
bachelor's degree in chemistry in 1959 and then earned
his medical degree at Cornell University's medical
school in 1963.
During his 23 years at UF, Copeland has served as
interim dean of the College of Medicine in 1996, as
director of the UF Shands Cancer Center from 1994 to
1999, and as chair of the department of surgery from
1982 to 2003.
Copeland has held several national offices, serving
as president of the Association for Academic Surgery,
president of the Southern Surgical Association, chairman
of the American Board of Surgery and chairman of the
Board of Regents of the American College of Surgeons.
2 Visit us online @ http://news.health.ufl.edu/ for the latest news and HSC events
R. DIXON WALKER, M.D.,
a professor emeritus of
urology, received the urology
medal from the American
Academy of Pediatrics
Section on Urology at the
group's 2005 National
Conference Exhibition in
Walker, who earned his
medical degree at the University of Miami and
completed his residency in urology at UF, has
been a College of Medicine faculty member
CARLOS RISCO, D.V.M., received the 2005
Florida Blue Key Distinguished Faculty award
along with five other UF faculty members at the
Education Celebration luncheon on Sept. 28.
A professor in the department of large animal
clinical sciences, Risco is a board-certified
theriogenologist (animal reproduction specialist)
and an internationally recognized lecturer on
dairy cattle. He was chosen for the award
because of his dedication to the university,
research, students and the greater Gainesville
community, said Matthew Wein, Homecoming
general chairman. Florida Blue Key has been
giving the Distinguished Faculty award to
outstanding UF faculty members since 1945.
PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH PROFESSIONS
CHRISTY LEMAK, Ph.D.,
an associate professor, is
the first recipient of the
Bice Professorship in
Health Services Research,
Management and Policy.
Michael O. and Barbara
Bice established the UF
health services administration Lemak
professorship fund in 1999. As a challenge
endowment, the Bices' $100,000 commitment
helped to raise another $100,000 in new gifts.
Major contributors included Munroe Regional
Healthcare System, Martin Memorial Healthcare
Systems, Lakeland Regional Health System,
Health First and Shands at the University of
Florida. A matching gift from the state of Florida
brings the total gift to $300,000.
Lemak, associate chair in the department
of health services, research, management
and policy, is the director of the master's in
health administration degree program. A
department faculty member since 1998, Lemak's
primary areas of teaching include health-care
management and strategic management of
health-care organizations. Her research focuses
on the study of organizations providing health
care to underserved populations.
VERA HEMPHILL and
JESSIE RUNGE were
honored as Employees of the
Year at the college's annual
dinner, held Oct. 14.
Hemphill, senior clerk in
the department of clinical
and health psychology, is Hemphill
described by her co-workers
as the "go-to" person who
keeps the psychology clinic
running smoothly every day.
She is highly respectful and
sensitive to the special needs
of each person with whom
she comes in contact.
Runge, office manager in the
department of communicative Runge
disorders, was recognized for
her resourcefulness and willingness to pitch in to
help others, going beyond her job duties to help
other staff and faculty keep the department well
Hemphill and Runge each received a plaque
BIRD FLU, CONTINUED FROM PAGE 12
The problem, says UF pharmacy professor Paul Doering, M.S., is that flu
vaccines take months to manufacture. Until the bird flu mutates and begins to
spread among people, scientists simply don't have enough information about the
strain to develop an effective vaccine.
Are there other options?
Not any good ones, says Doering, co-director of the Drug Information Center at
Shands. The antiviral drug Tamiflu has been widely publicized as a possible
remedy, but many experts question the drug's effectiveness and practicality. For
the drug to work, patients must obtain a prescription and begin taking Tamiflu
within 48 hours of developing symptoms. Even if patients are treated quickly, they
may not notice a difference. On average, the drug reduces the length of illness by
about one day.
Still, a large portion of President Bush's $7.1 billion plan is dedicated to
stockpiling massive amounts of Tamiflu and a similar antiviral drug, Relenza.
"I think this allows the government the solace of knowing that there is a plan. It's
a curious mixture, probably of more politics and public policy than science," Doering
says. "It comes on the heels of a debacle last year, when we didn't have enough
influenza vaccine. Nothing would frustrate the American public more than knowing
that there is a treatment out there, but [the government] just can't supply it.
"I don't want to sound like Chicken Little, but we have had examples before of
false alarms," Doering says.
In the end, however, even skeptics agree preparedness can't hurt.
"If I were a betting man, I would bet that this thing is going to burn itself out in
birds and not cause a pandemic," says Condit. "But at the same time, I will virtually
guarantee you in fact, absolutely guarantee you that there will be another
pandemic of some kind of flu, sometime. It's just the nature of the game. And the way
the health organizations are behaving, we're going to be readier than ever when that
happens, and that's a good thing." 0
A Russian chicken infected with the H5N1 virus.
Visit us online @ http://news.health.ufl.edu/ for the latest news and HSC events
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Innovative research receives $1.4 million
Community-based study of women's health needs as they transition from welfare to work
By Tracy Brown
U F College of Nursing Associate Professor Shawn Kneipp, Ph.D., A.R.N.P.,
has been awarded $1.4 million from the National Institutes of Health/
National Institute of Nursing Research to lead an innovative community-
based participatory research study intended to improve the health of women
transitioning from welfare to work and to extend employment duration.
Major changes in the United States welfare system since 1996 resulted in an increase
of women moving into low-wage jobs through the welfare transition program, or WTP,
Kneipp said. Yet studies have documented that 30 percent of these women return to the
program within one year of exit due to difficulty maintaining employment. A key factor
driving re-entry is the extremely high prevalence of chronic health conditions in this
group. Data from Kneipp's previous research have shown that current approaches to
address these health problems are inadequate and do not address health disparities.
Her current study is unique in that it will center on the welfare transition program
participants. They will assist in developing new, culturally relevant and sensitive
clinical screening tools to assess the health status of women moving through WTPs.
The study partners members of the WTP with academic researchers, providers at
the Eastside Community Practice in Gainesville, community health leaders and
local employers to conduct the research.
Kneipp's research team will assess whether a comprehensive health program will
increase rates of voluntary screening, identification and treatment of chronic health
conditions, raise the knowledge and skills necessary to navigate the Medicaid system,
increase employment duration and improve health status.
In the first year of the study, the research team will be involved with clinical
screening tool development and testing via focus groups and surveys of WTP
participants. For the remainder of the study, the team will use the screening tool as
one component of testing this public health program which will place a public
health nurse on site in a randomized clinical trial. The public health nurse will
handle case management, follow-ups and referrals of the research participants to
monitor and assess their health status.
"The use of community-based participatory research is innovative because it
allows members of the target community to have some shared control over the
research," Kneipp said. "It is our hope that by conducting this research we can have
a better understanding of how to improve the health of disadvantaged women
through welfare transition programs." Q
UF's McKnight projects combat memory maladies
By John Pastor
U university of Florida research with potential to quickly pay off with new
treatments or ways to diagnose memory problems will get a boost from the
Evelyn F. and William L. McKnight Brain Institute.
Three UF scientists will receive $125,000 each for innovative projects to fight
memory loss in older adults, MBI Executive Director Dennis Steindler, Ph.D., has
"This initiative called for innovative and high-payoff ideas to solve age-related
memory loss," Steindler said. "We wanted out-of-the-box, state-of-the-art approaches,
rooted in cellular, genetic, molecular and behavioral neuroscience."
The projects further the mission of the late William L. McKnight, who served 59
years as chairman of 3M company, and his wife Evelyn F. McKnight, a former nurse
who was deeply interested in why memory often fades as people age.
Awardees include David Loring, Ph.D., a neurology professor in the College of
Medicine; Leonid Moroz, Ph.D., an associate professor of neuroscience and zoology
at UF's Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bioscience; and Hendrik Luesch, Ph.D., an
assistant professor and medicinal chemist in the College of Pharmacy.
Loring wants to test the effectiveness of memory-loss therapies by applying a new
statistical technique to a standard brain-scanning method called functional magnetic
resonance imaging, known as fMRI.
He will work with Kimford Meador, M.D., a professor of neurology and director of
the epilepsy and clinical Alzheimer's programs, and Frank Bova, Ph.D., a physicist
and professor of neurosurgery, to use new fMRI techniques to literally "watch" activity
inside the brains of human volunteers as they respond to memory-related tasks.
While Loring and colleagues hope to pinpoint the regions of the brain that
contribute to successful memory formation and develop a technique to test the
effectiveness of drugs used to fight memory loss, Moroz is attempting to determine
why some brain cells age more quickly than others.
"We want to know, do different neurons learn differently, and if they do, do they
age differently? Put these puzzle pieces together and you can put together new
therapies," Moroz said.
Meanwhile, Luesch seeks to identify proteins that can be modulated by drugs to
activate protective genes to prevent neurological age-related disorders.
Collaborating with Alfred Lewin, Ph.D., a professor of molecular genetics and
microbiology with the UF College of Medicine, and researchers at Scripps Florida,
Luesch will screen genomewide libraries of DNA to find genes that regulate the
synthesis of neuroprotective enzymes.
Initial screenings will be conducted with researchers at Scripps Florida, with
detailed follow-up studies at UF.
"The McKnight Foundation grant will further the opportunity for collaboration
with Scripps Florida and among colleges at the University of Florida," Luesch said.
Strengthening research alliances is an important aspect of the McKnight grants,
"The grants allow us to advance the science being done in this institute through
collaborations with investigators around the world," Steindler said. "It's important
work. As we age, our memory is at risk. If we can devise novel interventions or
enhance memory capabilities during the aging process, all of us will benefit." 0
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Champion of education through technology:
Pharmacy Dean Bill Riffee knows how to deliver
By Linda Homewood
Traveler on a plane sitting next to William Riffee, Ph.D., might learn a few
things about the man. Details like he is a dean at the University of Florida
in the College of Pharmacy, family is important to him. And his roots are
in West Virginia. But in any conversation, the traveler would soon discover that
Riffee's passion is distance education.
Bill Riffee, associate provost of distance, continuing and executive education,
has traveled the globe talking to universities in South America, Europe, Asia and
Australia about collaboration to bring UF graduate programs in the health
sciences to those countries. His goal is to make it possible for students in any
country to become UF students through online technology.
"It comes down to access," Riffee said. "My goal is to break down barriers that
keep students -wherever they are from accessing quality programs at UF.
In 1996, Riffee was named dean of the College of Pharmacy at UF. He came
from the University of Texas at Austin where he had a research and teaching
career of more than 20 years in pharmacology and toxicology and technology.
His interest in education technology began at UT in the '70s. He had students
at the Austin campus, but the college's clinical facilities were at another campus in
San Antonio. A need to bridge students and clinical faculty coupled with the
discovery of a storage closet filled with new VCR equipment led him to begin
experimenting in ways to improve education delivery.
"As my research and professional students prepared for working with laboratory
animals, I realized that videotape observation would be valuable in their
training," Riffee said.
With new funding and accompanying demands to increase student
enrollments, his dean encouraged Riffee to work toward linking the two
campuses. First, he went to the engineering college to learn more and get a little
help with video technology. His meeting proved successful and he left with a
donation to his cause: a retired black-and-white camera. Following up with a
meeting at the local public television station, he learned that he would need a
license from the Federal Communications Commission to broadcast between the
two schools. While some of his colleagues thought this was an obstacle that
would halt his efforts, Riffee said he wasn't worried.
"It's all about talking to the right person-finding someone with the knowledge
to help you," Riffee said. "Twenty-four hours later, I got the license."
Starting in 1976, using vacuum-tube technology and microwave grids, and
relying on good weather to teleconference, he kept experimenting and improving
distance learning at UT through the mid-'80s, when the technology turned to
digital video compression, Riffee said. The next step was to renovate an old
library space to create a studio for videotaping and archiving lectures.
By now, Riffee had more first-hand knowledge about educational technology
and its use in the classroom than most of his academic colleagues. He was named
director of UT's College of Pharmacy Learning Resources Center and began his
work by serving on advisory boards and visiting other pharmacy schools across
the United States, earning a national reputation in distance education. In 1990, he
received a Teacher of the Year award at the UT College of Pharmacy.
By the mid-'90s, the UF Health Science Center had become increasingly
interested in developing academic technology. Riffee's research experience
combined with his reputation in educational technologies led to an invitation for
him to apply to be dean of the College of Pharmacy, Riffee said.
His first distance learning goal as dean was to develop the college's new
Working Professional Pharm.D. program. To meet the national demand for
pharmacists having improved clinical skills and education, the distance program
Bill Riffee stands in the media control room in the HPNP auditorium,
which is used to capture lectures for replay to on-campus and distance
enabled working pharmacists with bachelor's degrees to earn a Doctor of
Pharmacy from UF, without leaving the job or the state where they lived. As of
2005, nearly 750 students across the United States and from other countries have
graduated from the program.
In 2001, Riffee was named as the new associate provost for distance, continuing
and executive education, adding to his duties as dean. Setting an example for other
colleges at UF, the College of Pharmacy took another step in distance education by
expanding the Pharm.D. program to three other cities in Florida. And when the
HPNP building was designed, it was equipped with the technology to record class
lectures that could be videostreamed for students at the distance campuses.
"This is an exciting time as our distance campus programs continue to grow
and mature," Riffee said, "We will be graduating our first UF College of
Pharmacy students from St. Petersburg, Orlando and Jacksonville in spring 2006."
In his role as associate provost, Riffee provided start-up funding and business
guidance to new and growing programs in the HSC, such as the doctor of
audiology and master's programs in forensic science, and to other colleges
campuswide. He provided funding for the UF Center for International Studies in
Beijing, which in turn, is assisting UF colleges with reaching Asian students and
seeking partnerships with Asian universities.
"Using the success of the pharmacy programs as a model, I hope to encourage
other colleges to develop programs while ensuring academic success and fiscal
responsibility," Riffee said. Q
Visit us online @ http://news.health.ufl.edu/ for the latest news and HSC events
LOOKING' AT YOU
Elvis Presley visited UF to entertain HSC staff, faculty and student guests at Nicholas Muzyczka, center, an eminent scholar and a professor of
the 50th anniversary luncheon Nov. 4 on the HPNP Plaza. molecular genetics and microbiology at the College of Medicine,
discusses the development of AAV vectors for gene therapy and
delivery with visiting high school science teachers from across
Florida as part of the HSC's 2005 Mini Medical School. About 200
teachers attended the Nov. 15 event to enhance their knowledge of
cutting-edge research in gene therapy.
UF Health Science Center
Office of News & Communications
Senior Vice President for Health Affairs
Douglas J. Barrett, M.D.
Director, News & Communications
Melanie Fridl Ross, John Pastor
Tracy Brown, Sarah Carey, Tom Fortner,
April Frawley Birdwell, Linda Homewood,
Lindy McCollum-Brounley, Patricia McGhee,
John Pastor, Jill Pease, Melanie Fridl Ross,
UF Health Science
Cassandra Jackson, Beth Powers, Kim Smith
The POST is the monthly internal newsletter for
the University of Florida Health Science Center,
the most comprehensive academic health center
in the Southeast, with campuses in Gainesville
and Jacksonville and affiliations throughout
Florida. Articles feature news of interest for and
about HSC faculty, staff and students. Content
may be reprinted with appropriate credit.
Ideas for stories are welcome. The deadline
for submitting items to be considered for each
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Submit to the editor at email@example.com or deliver
to the Office of News & Communications in the
Communicore Building, Room C3-025.
DigiScript production managers Tony Prieto (seated) and Ken Hall work
in the College of Pharmacy to encode the taped lectures and then to
upload the material for Web access by distance students.