…From 2004 to 2007, more soldiers required medical evacuation from Iraq and Afghanistan for fractures and tendonitis than for gunshot wounds. Researchers led by Steven P. Cohen, associate professor of anesthesiology at the School of Medicine (and a U.S. Army Reserve colonel) recently found that musculoskeletal injuries, connective tissue problems, and neurological disorders accounted for 34 percent of evacuations during the period studied, versus 14 percent for combat injuries. The study appeared in the January 22 issue of The Lancet.
…Toxin produced by a predatory algal microbe is known to be a culprit in Chesapeake Bay fish kills. A new study has discovered that the algae puts the toxin into the water not only for defense, as previously supposed, but as a weapon to immobilize its microscopic prey. Whiting School professor of mechanical engineering Joseph Katz was a co-author on the paper, which appeared online in the January 19 early edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
…Ying Zhang, professor of molecular microbiology at the Bloomberg School of Public Health, has identified a strain of tuberculosis in a Chinese patient that actually grows better when exposed to the antibiotic rifampin, a front-line drug in the battle against the disease. Zhang, lead author of the study published in January in The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, says that rifampin-dependent TB may be a bigger problem than previously realized.
…Williams syndrome occurs in people who lack a small amount of genetic material. Now a study by Hopkins cognitive scientist Barbara Landau has found that people with the disorder also lack a basic human ability to spatially orient themselves. Landau, a professor in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, says this is the first evidence that genes play a role in everyday human navigation. The study appeared in February in the online Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
…Research published in the January edition of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine suggests that the cost-intensive practices of a minority of physicians could be a significant driver of health care costs. Principal investigator Edward J. Bernacki of the School of Medicine studied five years of claim data assembled by the Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Corporation, a nonprofit insurance company, and found that 3.7 percent of doctors accounted for 72 percent of workers’ comp medical costs.
…Texting, the bane of exasperated parents, teachers, and highway safety experts, has a medical use. Johns Hopkins Children’s Center pediatrician Delphine Robotham says a survey of recent studies demonstrates the benefits of using text messages to remind patients, especially adolescents who frequently text on their cell phones, to take their medication, test their glucose levels if they are diabetic, or keep a doctor’s appointment.