UW News

December 17, 1996

Health Source: Medical News from the University of Washington

RESOLVING CONTROVERSY OVER THE MANAGEMENT of mildly abnormal pap smears is the goal of a study under way at the University of Washington and three other clinical centers nationwide. Dr. Laura Koutsky, associate professor of epidemiology, said the ALTS study (ALTernativeS in women’s healthcare) will compare the effectiveness of three management strategies ranging from immediate referral for biopsy to follow-up examinations every six months.

A NEW SURGICAL PROCEDURE FOR EMPHYSEMA will be tested during a nationwide clinical trial being conducted, in part, at University of Washington Medical Center. In a new collaborative effort, the Health Care Financing Administration (administrator of Medicare) and the National Institutes of Health will fund the trial to determine the risks and benefits of the operation, called lung volume reduction therapy. The study marks the first time that federal government agencies are collaborating to fund a trial of a surgical procedure. “We are very pleased that HCFA and NIH are collaborating to advance knowledge of this treatment,” said Dr. John Coombs, UW acting vice president of medical affairs and acting dean of the School of Medicine. “We hope this study will set a precedent and become a model for the future.”

FINDING THE BEST WAY TO BEAT THE WINTER BLUES is the goal of a study being performed by researchers at the University of Washington. The research involves testing the effectiveness of two forms of light therapy ? bright light box therapy and the dawn simulator ? used for treatment of seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Dr. David Avery, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, explains SAD is related to the decrease in natural sunlight from summer to fall.

DEVELOPING A CONTRACEPTIVE GEL to prevent chlamydia, the most prevalent sexually transmitted disease, may now be possible due to research conducted at the University of Washington. Researchers were able to identify the structure by which chlamydia bacteria attach to and infect cells. Dr. Cho Chou Kuo said the findings should help researchers develop therapies to prevent the spread of Chlamydia trachomatis, the cause of the most prevalent sexually transmitted disease.

ESTROGEN THERAPY MAY HELP IMPROVE MEMORY in women with Alzheimer’s disease, according to a small-scale study conducted by researchers at the Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System and University of Washington. Researchers noted improvements in memory and concentration among six post-menopausal women with Alzheimer’s treated with estrogen therapy. Six women receiving a placebo showed no signs of improvement.