Louisiana

This Month in History: Trading the Mrs. for an M.D.

In honor of those nursing students plowing through history papers this week, here is a little piece of LSU Health Sciences Center history on the role of women in medicine.

Though the word ÔÇ£invasionÔÇØ might connote a hostile takeover or an alien attack, for those who witnessed a new trend in medical student populations post-World War II, ÔÇ£invasionÔÇØ spoke to the influx of females in the medical fieldÔÇönot a case for either the armed forces or Special Agents Mulder and Scully, but certainly an opportunity for marked advances in modern science. This article from the New Orleans States (a newspaper subsumed by the Picayune in 1980) from September 1946 marks an important milestone in our institutionÔÇÖs history as twenty female students enrolled in their first-year of medical school at LSU, surpassing the thirteen of the previous year.

The reasoning behind this onslaught of female M.D. candidates seems to follow on the wake of the recent war: ÔÇ£There is no telling what would have happened to their dreams of a profession if the right man had been attending classes at college with them instead of fighting a war, most of them agreed.ÔÇØ While the availability of Mr. Right may have been postponed, the drive of these women to pursue a medical career (perhaps a less intuitive path according to the social norms of the late 1940s) cannot be denied. Citing the greater freedom and social mobility of the times in addition to the general indifference of their professors and male peers on the growing female presence in the classroom, these women transcend the ÔÇ£vague motivesÔÇØ of the ÔÇ£feminine vogue for wearing a doctorÔÇÖs insigniaÔÇØ to participate within our history.

Perhaps bolstered by the popular figure of Rosie the Riveter, a new class of professional care-givers is subjected to the rigors of a medical education and the horrors of the cadaver lab. One such empowered and notable woman pictured in this piece is Ms. Jean Persons, who would go on to become one of AlaskaÔÇÖs best known pioneer doctors and who published a memoir in 2007: From Dog Sleds to Float Planes: Alaskan Adventures in Medicine. You can read the glowing Amazon reviews here. In a time of tuberculosis and remote citizenship, Dr. Persons ÔÇ£was a petite single woman tackling a job most men would run from,ÔÇØ and so she stands as a measure for all those who follow, a prime example of not only female physicians, but of all LSU Medical School graduates.

Glimpse of the Past is an ongoing project to promote the Louisiana Digital Library effort. This Month in History will present for your reading pleasure a closer look into a newspaper clipping of note from our Digital Collections and articles relating to the LSU Medical School.

This Month in History: Dr. Hamlett & Zoological Treasure Hunting

Ever wondered how to catch a lizard? You might think to consult wikiHow or you might look up an instructional video on YouTube. Consulting our Digital Collection of newspaper clippings, however, would reveal quite an interesting portrait of a rugged, LSU Indiana Jones in pursuit of a rare treasure: the live-birthing lizard.

In 1953, the Times-Picayune ran an article on one Dr. George W. D. Hamlett, faculty of the LSU Medical School Department of Anatomy, whose research practices involved catching his subjects in the American Southwest rather than in a lab. Nets are all well and good for the casual lizard hunter, but Dr. HamlettÔÇÖs methods included an elaborate system of hammer, chisel, stick noose, and rifle. In order to capture the illusive live-birthing female lizard, he donned the traditional gear: khakis, hiking boots, and traded a fedora for a sun hat; armoring himself thus, he chiseled lizards out of rock formations and sought the mammal-like desert lizard among the trees. His interest in these lizards lay in their ability to produce young not through external development in an egg, but within the female of the species, an oddity for the reptile. Though Dr. Hamlett lacked the Indiana Jones bullwhip and the characteristic fear of snakes, his adventures were nevertheless harrowing.

The character of Dr. Jones is perhaps based on Sir Arthur Conan DoyleÔÇÖs character, Professor Challenger (a figure in turn based on his own Professor Sir William Rutherford) who is famous for having combined several areas of study such as archaeology, anthropology, and zoology in the pursuit of a totalizing knowledgeÔÇöÔÇ£Science seeks knowledge. Let knowledge lead us where it will, we still must seek it. To know once for all what we are, why we are, where we are, is that not in itself the greatest of all human aspirations?ÔÇ£(When the World Screamed). In the same way, Dr. HamlettÔÇÖs study of embryology continued on many divergent paths as he explored the complexities of the long-tongued bat, the badger, the armadillo, the cat, the coyote, and the American monkey, finally culminating in his study of humans.?á Some of his published works, ÔÇ£Embryology of the Molossoid Bat,ÔÇØ ÔÇ£Some Notes on Embryological Technique,ÔÇØ and ÔÇ£Human Twinning in the United StatesÔÇØ can be accessed through PubMed.

Though the similarities between Dr. Hamlett and Dr. Jones may not be many, there is an air of adventure to every quest for knowledge. Why can the scientist not leap across cliff faces and come to the rescue every now and then? But please be aware that there are no catacombs beneath this libraryÔÇÖs floorÔÇöyouÔÇÖll have to go to Venice for that.

 

Glimpse of the Past is an ongoing project to promote the Louisiana Digital Library effort. This Month in History will present for your reading pleasure a closer look into a newspaper clipping of note from our Digital Collections and articles relating to the LSU Medical School.

This Month in History: Dr. Marilyn Zimny and the Great Squirrel-Stronaut

This month in 1960, the Times-Picayune ran an article entitled, ÔÇ£Ground Squirrel Called Ideal Space Traveler.ÔÇØ In the article, Dr. Marilyn Zimny, scientist at the LSU Medical School and avid squirrel-enthusiast, tells of the amazing potential for ground squirrels to travel in outer space and to serve as instruments of research on forced-hibernation scenarios and metabolism studies.

Being so adaptable to extreme conditions, the squirrels appear to be ideal candidates for researching regulated slowing of metabolism as they are able to hibernate for long periods of time without damaging their vital organs: heart, brain, and kidneys remain intact. Advancement in this area of reduced energy consummation would possibly provide some insight into the development of a drug that could force a lower metabolism and thus a decreased need for food, water, and oxygen, a state perhaps preferable for astronauts during prolonged space travel and servicemen in cold climates. ?áThis drug could also reduce blood flow during recovery periods after a heart attack or stroke.

Although I can find no evidence that ground squirrels have indeed been launched into space, a slew of animals pre-dated human travel. The list of adventuring animals includes rhesus and squirrel-monkeys as well as mice, rats, rabbits, fruit flies, a guinea pig, a cat, chimpanzees, dogs, etc. These brave animals helped determine the conditions necessary for humans to survive spaceflight.

Dr. Zimny’s fascination with squirrels penetrated her personal life as well as her professional developmentÔÇöprofessing to own over 160 at the time of this article and in search of more (an abundance can apparently be found in some Chicago golf courses). She authored ÔÇ£Metabolism of some carbohydrate and phosphate compounds during hibernation in the ground squirrel,ÔÇØ published in the Journal of Cellular and Comparative Physiology, ÔÇ£Carbohydrate metabolism in ground squirrels during the summer season,ÔÇØ published in Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, among many others. Zimny continued her study of the rodents in order to develop a field of research that would include them as test subjects.

Her career at LSU began in 1954, leading her to a full professorship approximately ten years later. According to one Faculty Vignette, her students ÔÇ£were affectionately known as her ÔÇÿground squirrels.ÔÇÖÔÇØ She went on to become the first female department head at the LSU School of Medicine in 1975, and although she passed away in January 2006, her legacy lives on in her renown. A recent article on POPSCI tells about the successful induction of hibernation in arctic ground squirrels. Dr. ZimnyÔÇÖs warm regard for the critters appears well-places as they continues to be relevant to the study of metabolism regulation.

You can further explore squirrel-related news and other intricacies of our Digital Collections by following this link.

 

Glimpse of the Past is an ongoing project to promote the Louisiana Digital Library. This Month in History will present for your reading pleasure a closer look into a newspaper clipping of note from our Digital Collections and articles relating to the LSU Medical School.

Oil Spill 2 years later

The 2 year anniversary of the Deep Water Horizon oil spill?á(pdf) was earlier this week.?á There are a number of studies being performed to determine the long term issues relating to the spill and it’s clean up.?á

LSUHSC is a member of the Deepwater Horizon Research Consortium, a network of community and university partnerships that will conduct research on the gulf coast over the next 5 years. Specifically, the LSUHSC School of Public Health is conducting the Women and their ChildrenÔÇÖs Health (WATCH) study, which will investigate the short and long term physical, mental and community health effects resulting from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Additionally, LSU Baton Rouge is involved in measuring the economic and ecological impact of the spill.

Louisiana Named – 330 years ago

A color reproduction of a 17th Century map by Jean Baptiste Louis, Franquelin entitled Carte de la Louisiane ou des voyages du Sr. De La Salle.


On April 9, 1682, explorer Rene-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle made it to the mouth of the Mississippi River, named the territory Louisiana and claimed it in the name of France.

Happy Name Day to the entire former Louisiana Territory.

Louisiana Seafood Fitness Challenge

Ever wonder why fashion models and fitness buffs are perpetually dining on fish and veggies??á

Because?áSeafood is healthy!

Not only is it full of protein, Omega 3s, vitamins and minerals- it typically contains fewer calories and fat grams than other protein sources (i.e. poultry and eggs).

With all of this positive information letÔÇÖs take a minute to ponder how lucky we are to live in New Orleans, Louisiana- a veritable wonderland of seafood!

OK. Minute is up.

Now itÔÇÖs time to take action and join the Louisiana Seafood Fitness Challenge!

Started by Bobby Hebert (former New Orleans Saints Quarterback) and his WWWL SportÔÇÖs Talk co-host (Deke Bellavia), Louisiana Seafood Fitness Challenge ?áwill follow these men as they see who can lose the most weight in 40 days simply by incorporating more seafood into their diet. The best part? Anyone can join this challenge.

Take the pledge, submit your healthiest seafood recipe and?áshare your inspirational seafood success story all in the name of encouraging all of?áLouisiana to eat their way to health . . . with Louisiana Seafood of course!

GeauxVote Mobile

In case the slew of robo-calls hasn’t alerted you, there is a state-wide election in 11 days in Louisiana. To assist in learning where to vote & what the complete ballot is in your precinct, the Office of the Secretary of State created the Geauxvote.com website, which has been around for several years. Now there is also a GeauxVote mobile app. It is available for both Android & iPhone. The sample ballot on your handheld device is a great help in making/remembering your decisions. geauxvote

GuLF Study: Participants Sought

Yesterday, the National Institutes of Health announced a new study which will follow tens of thousands of cleanup workers and volunteers who participated in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

“The GuLF STUDY (Gulf Long-term Follow-up Study) is the largest health study of its kind ever conducted among cleanup workers and volunteers, and is one component of a comprehensive federal response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The study is being conducted by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), part of the National Institutes of Health, and is expected to last up to 10 years Many agencies, researchers, outside experts, as well as members of the local community, have provided input into how the study should be designed and implemented.” from the press release

For more information: http://nihgulfstudy.org/

2010 America’s Health Rankings

ahrLogo
America’s Health Rankings?« has been tracking the state of our nation’s health for over 20 years. This analysis provides a comprehensive perspective on our national health issues, state by state.

America’s Health Rankings?«-2010 Edition shows Vermont at the top of the list of healthiest states again this year. Massachusetts is ranked second this year, an improvement from ranking third last year. New Hampshire is number three, followed by Connecticut and Hawaii. However, although Mississippi is 50th and the least healthy state, Louisiana is 49th. Arkansas, Nevada and Oklahoma complete the bottom five states.

Louisiana dropped two spots from last year due to several factors including a high rate of obesity and smoking. On the positive side, Louisiana has a high ranking for access to prenatal care and childhood immunizations. Stay Healthy, Louisiana has a great summary of the state’s ranking.

World Aids Day 2010

logo-world-aids-day

Today, December 1st, is the date globally recognized as World Aids Day. This annual observance was designated in 1988 as a way to bring attention to the AIDS/HIV epidemic.

According to the Louisiana Third Quarter 2010 HIV/Aids Report published by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals 17,944 persons is currently living with HIV/AIDS in Louisiana. Between the months of January- December 2009 1,220 persons were newly diagnosed with HIV in Louisiana. These are only some of surprising statistics.

For more information about this observance and AIDS Awareness in general visit aids.gov.

Cholera

NLM exhibit

NLM exhibit

With the news that Cholera has taken over 100 lives in Haiti, a National Library of Medicine exhibit on the history of the disease came to mind.

Louisiana has had its own battle with the disease. As recently as 1986, cases of cholera were reported in South Louisiana, including Jefferson Parish. Not to mention the over 4,000 people who died of the disease in New Orleans in 1832.

Bed Bugs Attack!

Bed bugs have been all over the National news and now they are making their way to Louisiana. The LSU Ag Center has published information on bed bugs; the Louisiana State Epidemiologist office has created a 12 page document on the “Control and Prevention of Bed Bugs.”

DHH & La Seafood

Since the safety of Louisiana seafood has been a big topic in the news lately, I was pleased to discover that the Louisiana Department of Health & Hospitals, along with the departments of Wildlife and Fisheries, Environmental Quality, and Agriculture and Forestry have been issuing weekly Seafood Safety Surveillance Reports since July. The latest report was issued today.

Meeting on Oil Spill Health Effects 6/22&23

I just received the following news release. The meetings are this week!
Oil Spill Health Effects to Be Explored at IOM Workshop, June 22-23
Scientists and government agencies are struggling to predict the potential health consequences of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico for those living and working near the region. At the request of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Institute of Medicine will host a public meeting to discuss the possible human health effects — both short- and long-term — resulting from the spill. Experts from the scientific community and academia, as well as additional stakeholders, will review lessons learned from similar disasters, identify groups most at risk for health problems as a result of the spill, and discuss how to prevent and monitor potential health consequences.
Details:
8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. CDT on June 22, and 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. CDT on June 23, in the Queen Anne Ballroom of the Hotel Monteleone, 214 Royal St., New Orleans. Those who cannot attend may watch a video webcast of the event that will be available at www.national-academies.org. An agenda and registration information are available at www.iom.edu/oilspillhealth.

Local Surgeons & the Oil Spill

WWL-TV featured a story on a couple of local surgeons, including LSUHSC’s own Kamran Khoobehi offering some ideas on how to stop the oil leak, using surgical techniques. Love the out of the box thinking!