UW News

December 17, 1996

Health Source: Medical News from the University of Washington

DENTAL SIMULATORS, THE LATEST TECHNOLOGY available for dental instruction, are now in use at the University of Washington School of Dentistry. The devices, which consist of a life-sized torso and head figure, standard dental instrumentations, lights and laboratory bench, provide a learning environment much like a real-life clinical setting. “With the simulators, students can carry out new procedures just as they would on a real patient,” said Dr. Charles Bolender, UW professor of prosthodontics.
A SKIN PATCH TO TREAT PAIN FROM SPORTS INJURIES is being tested at the University of Washington Pain Clinical Research Center. Researchers are evaluating the effectiveness of the anti-inflammatory medication on adult volunteers with minor sports injuries (such as sprains, strains and bruises). It’s hoped the topical application will provide direct relief from minor pain without the side effects associated with drugs taken orally, including stomach upset.

TRANSFORMING PUBLIC HEALTH FOR THE 21ST CENTURY is the goal of a national program directed by the University of Washington School of Public Health and Community Medicine. “Turning Point: Collaborating for a New Century in Public Health” will help state and local health systems collaborate with health care, social services, consumers and academia, explained program director Dr. Gilbert Omenn and deputy director Dr. Bobbie Berkowitz. The program is supported by $24 million from the Robert Wood Johnson and W.K. Kellogg foundations.

ARE DENTAL FILLINGS HARMFUL TO KIDS’ HEALTH? The University of Washington School of Dentistry is beginning one of the first studies aimed at determining whether mercury fillings are safe for children. The study, supported by the National Institute of Dental Research, will involve testing 500 children. “Because there has been a lack of clear and consistently demonstrated health effects, dental amalgams are assumed to be safe; however, this safety issue continues to be hotly debated,” said Dr. Timothy DeRouen, UW chair of Dental Public Health Sciences and professor of biostatistics.

HEART ATTACK PATIENTS TREATED with powerful anti- clotting drugs or with balloon angioplasty show nearly identical survival rates, according to results of a research study at the University of Washington. A comparison of death rates, both during hospitalization and the following three years, among patients treated with either thrombolytic therapy or primary angioplasty found no difference in mortality. “From our results, we feel hospitals should decide which strategy is best for them and develop an expertise in delivering the drug or in performing angioplasty quickly,” said Dr. Nathan Every, assistant professor of medicine.

PEOPLE WHO RECEIVE CPR FROM BYSTANDERS immediately after collapse are almost twice as likely to survive as those who don’t receive care until emergency assistance arrives. Researchers at the University of Washington are tracking survival rates from sudden cardiac arrest in Seattle in the months before and after a series of short public service announcements showing the basics of CPR on a local TV channel. If survival rates rise, they will advocate expanded use of such messages.