Now we know…
December 2, 2009 |  by Elizabeth Evitts Dickinson

…Physicians may have less respect for obese patients. Data collected from 238 individuals at 14 urban community medical practices in Baltimore found that as a patient’s body mass index increased, physicians reported lower respect for them. The study, led by Mary Margaret Huizinga, assistant professor of general internal medicine at the School of Medicine, was published in the November issue of the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

…Men with lower cholesterol have a 60 percent lower risk of developing high-grade prostate cancer, according to research published online in November in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. Elizabeth Platz, associate professor at the Bloomberg School of Public Health and co-director of the cancer prevention and control program at the Kimmel Cancer Center, helped direct the study, which suggests that targeting cholesterol metabolism may be one way to treat and prevent the disease.

…In recent decades, the United States has seen a dramatic increase in diabetes, with African Americans developing a higher occurrence of type 2 diabetes and other related complications compared to whites. A study led by Thomas LaVeist, professor of health policy and management at the Bloomberg School, available in the October edition of the Journal of General Internal Medicine, found that the discrepancy may have more to do with living conditions and socioeconomics than genetics.

…For 50 years, the heliosphere—the region around the sun that encompasses the solar wind—was thought to have been comet shaped. Now images taken by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft show that the sun travels through the galaxy more like a big, round bubble. Researchers from the Applied Physics Laboratory used the images to develop new models of how the sun moves and published a paper on their findings in the October 15 edition of Science.

…The Johns Hopkins Children’s Center produced a video to teach teen girls diagnosed with pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) how to cope with the sexually transmitted disorder. A study published online by Journal of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology found that patients who viewed the video before being discharged were more likely to talk to partners about seeking treatment. Led by investigator Maria Trent, assistant professor of pediatrics at the School of Medicine, the study also shows little change in overall risky behavior, suggesting there is still work to be done to prevent and treat these infections in the first place.

…Johns Hopkins professor of electrical engineering Jin U. Kang has developed a way to provide instant high-resolution pictures of small segments of the brain without touching the tissue. This “virtual biopsy” has not yet been tried on human patients, but a $450,000 federal grant will enable Kang to begin animal and human cadaver testing. Human patient trials will likely begin within five years.