2000 Press Releases

December 21, 2000
Santa coming by helicopter to the University of Chicago Children's Hospital December 22
Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus will come by medical helicopter to visit patients and distribute gifts to children who will spend their Christmas at the University of Chicago Children's Hospital.

December 14, 2000
First plant genome completed
A multi-national research team reports the completion of the Arabidopsis genome in the December 14, 2000 issue of Nature.

December 5, 2000
Conference for physicians examines alternative medical therapies, December 9-10
The second annual conference on "Alternative & Complementary Medical Therapies: What Works?" will provide physicians with up-to-date scientific information about popular alternative therapies.

December 4, 2000
Liver-transplant patients celebrate life
More than 200 liver transplant recipients will attend the Hospitals' 15th annual celebration for patients.

November 28, 2000
Nationwide study tests effectiveness of easy access to portable defibrillators
University of Chicago physicians are seeking from 40 to 80 large sites in and around Chicago to participate in the Public Access Defibrillator Trial, a massive nationwide study that will determine whether trained non-medical volunteers with easy access to small portable defibrillators can increase survival for those who suffer a cardiac arrest.

November 22, 2000
University of Chicago Hospitals performs its first pediatric heart transplant
On November 20, just in time for Thanksgiving, Diamond Alexander, 11, received a heart transplant.

November 22, 2000
University of Chicago surgeons perform Hospitals' first bowel transplant
On November 2, 2000, Larry Lewis became the first person to undergo a bowel transplant at the University of Chicago Hospitals. He has recovered quickly from the operation and will be discharged from the hospital on November 22, 2000--the day before Thanksgiving.

November 1, 2000
University of Chicago Hospitals top another hospital survey
The National Research Corporation presented two Consumer Choice Awards to the University of Chicago Hospitals

October 30, 2000
New device gives heart failure patients more freedom
Clifford Doyle, a 73-year-old former Chicago policeman who became the first patient ever to be discharged from the hospital with a cardiac assist device that can be turned on and off.

October 27, 2000
Singing silently during sleep helps birds learn song
University of Chicago researchers show that sleeping songbirds replay, rehearse and, perhaps, reinforce the neuronal activity patterns of song production.

October 24, 2000
John Ultmann, MD, 1925-2000
Internationally recognized expert on lymphoma John E. Ultmann, MD, died peacefully at his Hyde Park home on October 23, 2000 from complications of lymphoma. He was age 75.

October 23, 2000
Philip Ashton-Rickardt wins Presidential Early Career Award
President Clinton named Philip Ashton-Rickardt, PhD, as one of 59 young researchers to receive the highest honor bestowed by the United States government on young professionals.

October 2, 2000
The coming longevity revolution?
If society is embarking upon a longevity revolution, it will be built on advances in genetics and pharmaceuticals and not the intake of antioxidants and hormones, says Jay Olshansky, a scientist at the University of Chicago and author of the forthcoming book, The Quest for Immortality: Science at the Frontiers of Aging.

September 28, 2000
Little-known substance regulates inflammatory response
Mice without the A20 gene are unable to limit the inflammatory process. This finding suggests new targets for drugs designed to treat inflammatory diseases.

September 27, 2000
Prions may play crucial role in evolution
Prions, abnormally folded proteins associated with several bizarre human diseases, may hold the key to a major mystery in evolution--how survival skills that require multiple genetic changes arise all at once when each genetic change by itself would be unsuccessful and even harmful.

September 26, 2000
Researchers discover major diabetes susceptibility gene
For the first time, a genome-wide approach has identified a major susceptibility gene for a common, genetically complex disorder--type 2 diabetes in Mexican Americans. The discovery reveals an unexpected biochemical pathway leading to diabetes and suggests novel approaches to prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

August 24, 2000
Brief exposure to nicotine makes lasting mark on the brain
By usurping a mechanism responsible for learning and memory, low levels of nicotine can quickly cause lasting changes in the brain's reward areas. This enduring "memory trace" amplifies the pleasing effects of nicotine and the desire to repeat the exposure. The finding suggests new targets for addiction-blocking drugs.

August 15, 2000
Aging alters sleep and hormone levels sooner than expected
University of Chicago researchers report that age-related deterioration of sleep quality occurs in at least two stages, the first occurring, in males, between the ages of 25 and 45. Each is mirrored by changes in hormone secretion. This argues for new approaches to hormone replacement--for men.

August 14, 2000
Frank family pledges $10 million to support education of physician-scientists at the University of Chicago
The Mrs. Zollie S. Frank Continuity Fund at the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago has pledged $10 million to provide financial support for outstanding advanced students in the biological sciences at the University of Chicago.

August 7, 2000
University of Chicago Hospitals celebrate 1 millionth visit to outpatient facility
A celebration of the 1 millionth and the 1 million-and-first scheduled patient visits to the University of Chicago Hospitals’ Duchossois Center for Advanced Medicine (DCAM).

July 17, 2000
University of Chicago neurologist, LPGA team up to study golf and the brain
On July 22-23, 2000 LPGA golfers will help University of Chicago neuroscientists understand how rehabilitation strategies can be improved for people recovering from damage to the brain, such as a stroke.

July 10, 2000
$2.5 million in donations support cancer genetics
Two gifts totaling more than $2.5 million are giving a big boost to cancer genetics programs at the University of Chicago Medical Center.

July 7, 2000
UCH named one of 15 best US hospitals
For the fourth year in a row, the University of Chicago Hospitals have been selected as one of the 15 best hospitals in the United States by U.S.News & World Report.

July 1, 2000
Faxon to head cardiology at University of Chicago
David Faxon, MD, a pioneer in the development of angioplasty and president-elect of the American Heart Association, has been appointed chief of cardiology.

June 28, 2000
University of Chicago Children's Hospital launches Comdisco Center for Healthy Families
The grand opening of the Comdisco Center for Healthy Families at the University of Chicago Children’s Hospital will be held Wednesday, June 28, 2000, at 12:30 p.m.

June 27, 2000
More consideration needed for medical care of patients with dementia
A catastrophic complication of routine medical care shows that for patients with dementia every clinical decision requires extensive consideration. Until patients with dementia are included in clinical trials, physicians can’t make evidence-based recommendations for this rapidly growing group.

June 20, 2000
Thomas A. Brasitus becomes president of American Gastroenterological Association
Thomas Brasitus, professor of medicine and human nutrition and nutritional biology, has assumed the presidency of the 11,000-member AGA.

June 6, 2000
Immune Tolerance Network to fund expanded clinical trial of Edmonton islet transplant technique
The Immune Tolerance Network will fund a multi-center clinical trial of islet transplantation to study the technique that reversed diabetes in all eight patients treated.

May 31, 2000
$250,000 gift supports children's eye care at University of Chicago Hospitals
A generous gift of $250,000 from Chicago real estate developer Dempsey J. Travis will support the opening of the Dempsey and Moselynne Travis Pediatric Eye Clinic, a specialty center devoted to prevention, diagnosis and treatment of children's eye disease.

May 25, 2000
Different levels of transcription factor coax immune cell progenitors down different developmental pathways
Researchers from the University of Chicago provide evidence that varying levels of a single transcription factor can determine the fates of developing cells.

May 21, 2000
Study shows infliximab can maintain long-term remissions in Crohn's disease
Periodic treatment with the monoclonal antibody infliximab can prolong remissions in patients with moderate to severe Crohn's disease.

May 17, 2000
Daily sedative hiatus speeds recovery and cuts costs for ICU patients
By taking mechanically ventilated ICU patients off of sedatives briefly each day, University of Chicago researchers were able to reduce the duration of ventilation and ICU stays by one-third. Since $80 billion is spent annually on ICU care, this simple change, which appears to improve outcomes, should also lower costs.

May 16, 2000
Ted Kennedy, Jr. to speak at cancer survivors celebration
Ted Kennedy, Jr., an active advocate for Americans with disabilities and bone cancer survivor, will be the keynote speaker for the for the University of Chicago Hospitals' eleventh annual Cancer Survivors Day celebration on Sunday, June 4.

May 10, 2000
Chicago White Sox and Chicagoland Safe Kids promote sports safety at local school
Students at Andrew Carnegie Elementary School learn about preventing sports injuries during National SAFE KIDS Week.

May 1, 2000
Chicago Bear teams with experts to teach about asthma
In celebration of World Asthma Day, May 3, 2000, the Chicago Asthma Consortium, the University of Chicago Asthma Center and Chicago Bears’ starting center Olin Kreutz will team up to educate Chicago residents about asthma.

April 13, 2000
Combined therapy improves survival for advanced head and neck cancer
Intensive treatment combining radiation and chemotherapy can control locally advanced head and neck cancer, improve survival and in most cases eliminate the need for debilitating surgery.

April 10, 2000
Dietary bioflavonoids induce DNA breaks, may contribute to infant leukemia
Ordinarily considered quite beneficial, bioflavonoids--found in many foods including soybeans, fruits, root vegetables and herbs, and in high concentrations in dietary supplements--can cause breaks in DNA that could trigger the development of infant leukemias.

April 10, 2000
Researchers develop new technique for identifying remaining unknown human genes
University of Chicago scientists have developed a new technique that promises to significantly enhance the rate of novel-gene discovery.

April 4, 2000
$11-million grant supports study of how genes affect cancer chemotherapy
NIGMS has awarded more than $11 million to a team of researchers based at the University of Chicago to investigate how genes influence the response to anti-cancer drugs. Understanding genetic variation will improve dosing, increase the benefits of cancer chemotherapy and reduce side effects.

April 1, 2000
Burroughs Wellcome awards Gajewski $750,000 for cancer immunotherapy
Thomas Gajewski, MD, PhD, has been awarded one of 10 Clinical Scientist Awards in Translational Research by the Burroughs Wellcome Fund.

March 27, 2000
Breakdown of penicillin by resistant bacteria elucidated
Seven decades after penicillin was discovered, scientists at the University of Chicago have discovered exactly how certain bacteria resist this common antibiotic.

March 13, 2000
Big city drug prevention program targets Spencer, Iowa
Twelve University of Chicago medical students will immerse themselves in Spencer, Iowa, for four days, bringing with them healthy and diseased human organs to give kids an inside look at what drugs can do to the body.

March 13, 2000
Devices repair abdominal aneurysms
University of Chicago vascular surgeons are using aortic stent grafts to replace the dilated and weakened wall of the body's largest artery without major surgery.

February 23, 2000
Green tea derivative causes weight loss in rats
University of Chicago scientists have found that a major chemical component of green tea caused rats to lose up to 21 percent of their body weight and consume 60 percent less food after seven days of daily injections.

February 17, 2000
Doctors overestimate survival times
Doctors who refer patients to hospice care are systematically overoptimistic. They predicted that their dying patients would live 5.3 times longer than they actually did. Such prognostic inaccuracy may result in unsatisfactory end-of-life care.

February 8, 2000
Vinay Kumar to chair pathology
Vinay Kumar, MD, has been appointed professor and chairman of the department of pathology, effective March 1. An authority on the cellular and molecular biology of natural killer cells, Kumar has been a leader in understanding the origin and differentiation of these cells and their role in the rejection of transplanted bone marrow.

January 28, 2000
Prions are modular
Researchers at the University of Chicago describe how prions--proteins that can exist in two different conformations and can pass their particular conformation from one generation to the next without any change in DNA--are modular.

January 21, 2000
Cell-cell adhesion process
For the first time, researchers at the University of Chicago describe in detail how neighboring skin cells adhere to one another to form sealed barriers. Without tight seals, the skin could not perform its primary function as a continuous barrier that keeps germs out and essential body fluids in.

January 20, 2000
"Maleness" gene evolution
Researchers Chung-I Wu and Gerald Wyckoff report that genes pertaining to male reproduction--those involved in sperm production, transfer and morphology--evolve much faster than their non-sexual counterparts.

January 18, 2000
Drug blocks opioid side effects: Could improve palliative care
Methylnaltrexone can reverse opioid-induced constipation without interfering with pain relief, is rapidly effective at low doses and has no apparent side effects. More than 250,000 terminal cancer patients each year take opioid drugs such as morphine for pain relief, and 125,000 experience constipation--sometimes so severe that they refuse morphine.

January 14, 2000
Protein predicts prognosis for breast cancer patients
Low levels of E-cadherin, a protein that links cells together, appears to be the single most effective factor for predicting which patients with early breast cancer will need chemotherapy following surgery. E-cadherin levels, combined with two other biomarkers, can distinguish patients with 90 percent long-term survival from those with 44 percent survival.

January 13, 2000
Low levels of salivary cortisol associated with aggressive behavior
Low salivary levels of the stress hormone cortisol are associated with early onset and persistence of aggressive behavior. Boys with consistently low levels began antisocial acts younger, exhibited three times as many symptoms of conduct disorder, and were three times as likely to be named by their classmates as "meanest."

January 6, 2000
HHMI contributes $17.6M to new building
The Howard Hughes Medical Institute has contributed $17.6 million to the University of Chicago to help fund the construction of a new laboratory complex, informally known as the Interdisciplinary Research Building. The 375,000 gross-square-foot-building, projected to cost $131.5 million dollars, will house a unique combination of programs from the biological and physical sciences.

January 3, 2000
Two major grants to clarify, coordinate research on children's mental health
The National Institute of Mental Health has awarded two grants, totaling more than $4 million, to the University of Chicago and the National Opinion Research Center to obtain data that can resolve differences among the several competing systems of diagnostic classification used to describe children's mental health problems.

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