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NIH Record News Briefs

NIAMS Funds Multicenter Study of Back Pain

Surgical versus nonsurgical treatment of three back disorders will be studied in 1,450 patients at 11 medical centers with funds awarded by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Researchers at these centers will compare the two treatment approaches in patients who have a herniated (bulging) lumbar disc, spinal stenosis (narrowing of the canal through which the spinal cord passes) or degenerative spondylolisthesis, where a vertebra in the spine slips forward out of place. This project is expected to have a major impact on clinical practice and on the cost of medical services for persons with one of the three back disorders.

The 5-year study, which will cost more than $13.5 million, is being performed under the direction of Dr. James N. Weinstein, professor of surgery at Dartmouth Medical School. Patients enrolled in the study will be randomly assigned to either surgical or nonsurgical treatment. An additional 1,800 people with back pain will be observed to assess health and resource outcomes.

Pain involving disorders of the lumbar spine is not only one of the most prevalent health problems for which people seek medical help, it is also one of the most costly. Estimates of cost of medical care for those disabled by severe back pain range from $30 billion to $70 billion annually.

Dependent Care Counseling Available

NIH's Work and Family Life Center now offers a free service to employees to help manage care for their families while they work. The Dependent Care Counseling Service can assist you by saving time and reducing stress when it comes to finding strategies, resources and referrals for taking care of your loved ones.

The service offers counseling on parenting and child care; education and schooling issues; and elder care.

To contact the service, call 435-1619. Between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, you will be connected with a dependent care counselor from LifeWork Strategies. Employees calling during other hours may leave messages and calls will be returned on the next business day.

NIH Hosts 'Share the Health' Event, Nov. 6

NIH wants to "Share the Health" with its neighbors on Saturday, Nov. 6 from 8 a.m. to noon at the Natcher Conference Center. The event features health seminars, exhibits, free health materials, presentations by elected officials, interactive computer and Web TV demonstrations, tours, volunteer opportunities and more. For more information, call Terry LaMotte or Jessica Harrison of Palladian Partners at (301) 650-8660, or visit

New Shingles Prevention Study

The shingles research team at NIAID will hold a presentation on a new study at NIH of an experimental vaccine to prevent shingles. All are welcome to hear researchers discuss this common and often severe disease, ways to cope with it, and learn about the new study, which is accepting volunteers at the Clinical Center. The presentation will take place at the Wolff Conf. Rm. (10/11S235) on Thursday, Oct. 21 from noon to 1 p.m.

Shingles strikes about 500,000 Americans per year, most of them over age 50. Almost half of Americans will have the disease by the time they are 80. Shingles is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox. The virus lies dormant in nerve cells and may reappear as shingles later in life. Symptoms include a cluster of blisters, a rash, chills, fever, nausea and pain than can be so intense even clothing hurts. Although the symptoms can resolve, complications can occur such as permanent eye damage, loss of hearing, loss of taste, and intense, long-lasting pain called post-herpetic neuralgia.

For more information on the shingles prevention study, call 1-800-411-1222. Sought are volunteers who are age 60 or older, in general good health, and have not had shingles. Only one visit to the Clinical Center is required for most participants.

Fellowships for Research in Japan

Through arrangements made with the Fogarty International Center, the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science is offering fellowships for American researchers in the biomedical and behavioral sciences to pursue collaborative research in Japanese universities and other eligible Japanese institutions and laboratories. Government scientists are eligible to apply. JSPS will award: Short-term fellowships for senior scientists (and outstanding junior scientists) for periods ranging from 7 to 60 days; short-term postdoctoral fellowships (for U.S. scientists who have received the doctoral degree within 10 years prior to Apr. 1, 2000) for periods ranging from 3 to 11 months. Deadlines are Oct. 28, 1999, and Apr. 28, 2000 (deadlines will be Oct. 28 and Apr. 28 each year).

Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents and research plans must be arranged in advance with the Japanese host. Full announcements, application instructions and more information may be found on the FIC Web site at Information is also available from Lee Ann Gschwind at email, phone 402-7335; fax 402-2056.

Commuter Options Explored, Oct. 13

A Commuter Transportation Fair sponsored by the Office of Research Services will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 13 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Natcher Bldg. lobby. Representatives from various agencies will be available to discuss commuting options for employees. Several groups — including Metrobus, Ride-On and Van Pool Services, Inc. — will have commuter vehicles on display. Attendees will hear firsthand information from the Maryland State Highway Administration and Mass Transit Administration on upcoming construction scheduled for the Capital Beltway (Rte. 495) between Georgia Ave. and Rte. 29. Information will also be available on four new bus routes being developed to help commuters during the construction period.

The Employee Transportation Services Office will provide information on car- and vanpooling. The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments will be on hand to discuss its Commuter Connections program, including the Guaranteed Ride Home Program. In addition, GSA Telework Center, MARC Trains, Eyre Bus Lines, NIH Work and Family Life Center and the NIH Bicycle Club will also have representatives at the fair.

For more information, contact Thomas Hayden, 402-RIDE (7433) or Stella Serras-Fiotes, 496-5037.

STEP Session Explores Humor in Workplace

Is your office like a comic strip, but without the comic relief? If so, plan on attending "Humor in the Workplace: Laughing Matters," on Wednesday, Oct. 13 at 1 p.m. in Wilson Hall, Bldg. 1. The featured speakers at this session, sponsored by the staff training in extramural programs (STEP) committee, will be Dorothy Yates, director of sponsored programs at the University of Colorado at Denver, and Merritt Helfferich of Innovation Consulting, Inc.

The 90-minute session will explore the values, roles and benefits of humor in the work setting. Speakers will discuss examples of positive and negative uses of humor, and how humor, used appropriately, can relieve stress, defuse difficult situations, enhance communication, burn calories and generally make your work environment more enjoyable.

The session is free and open to all NIH'ers. Attendance is on a first-come, first-served basis. No advance registration is necessary. Inform STEP of any need for sign language interpretation or reasonable accommodation by Oct. 8. For more information, contact the STEP office at 435-2769.

'Siamsa Tire' at Ford's Theatre

Save $5 on tickets to a performance by Siamsa Tire — the National Folk Theatre of Ireland, Saturday, Nov. 6 at 2:30 p.m. at Ford's Theatre. Tickets on sale now at R&W for $35 to this forerunner of the popular Riverdance.

Free, Reduced-Price Meals Available

The Executive Child Development Center Inc. announces sponsorship of the Child and Adult Care Food Program. The same meals will be available to all enrolled children at no separate charge regardless of race, color, sex, age, disability or national origin, and there is no discrimination in admission policy, meal service or use of facilities. To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Rm. 326-W, Whitten Bldg., 14th and Independence Ave. SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (202) 720-5964 (voice and TDD).

Eligibility for free or reduced price meal reimbursement is based on the following annual income scales effective from July 1, 1999 to June 30, 2000.

Family Size
Eligibility Scale
for Free Meals
Eligibility Scale for
Reduced Price Meals
1 $ 0 - $10,712 $10,712.01 - $15,244
2 $ 0 - $14,378 $14,378.01 - $20,461
3 $ 0 - $18,044 $18,044.01 - $25,678
4 $ 0 - $21,710 $21,710.01 - $30,895
5 $ 0 - $25,376 $25,376.01 - $36,112
6 $ 0 - $29,042 $29,042.01 - $41,329
7 $ 0 - $32,708 $32,708.01 - $46,546
8 $ 0 - $36,374 $36,374.01 - $51,763
Each additional member add: $3,666 $5,217
Meals will be provided at ECDC on Executive Blvd. Contact person is Anne Schmitz, 496-9411.

New Chamber Season Debuts, Oct. 10

The Rock Creek Chamber Players will open their 1999-2000 season at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 10 in the 14th floor assembly hall at the Clinical Center. Reservations are required for this free public concert, sponsored by the recreation therapy section. The program will include solo piano works by Robert Schumann; Borodin's String Quartet No. 2 in D major; songs by Hugo Wolf; and Dvorak's Serenade, Op. 44, for nine winds, 'cello and bass. For reservations and information call (202) 337-8710.

Mobile Mammography Screening Offered

The George Washington University Breast Care Center will be visiting NIH for its fall mammography screening. All NIH employees, their families and others associated with NIH (such as IRTAs, visiting scientists, contractors, volunteers) are eligible to participate. The screening dates and van locations are as follows:

Bldg. 31 (Lot 31D) Oct. 19
Bldg. 10 (Lot 10H) Nov. 3
(Parking lot behind complex)
Nov. 10
(Visitor parking behind RKL One)
Nov. 16
Bldg. 45
(front of building)
Dec. 15

The van will be on-site from 9:30 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. taking preschedule appointments. Each screening is conducted by a female technologist, and a board-certified radiologist specializing in mammography will interpret the films. Appointments should take about 20 minutes and will cost $138. GW will bill some insurance companies directly or payment can be made by cash or check at the screening (check with your insurance company for reimbursement). To see if your insurance is accepted or to make an appointment call (202) 994-9999.

Expert on Effects of Drug Abuse Speaks

Dr. Jean Lud Cadet, an authority on the physical and cognitive long-term effects of drug abuse, will present a lecture entitled "Neuropsychiatric Approaches to Drug Abuse," on Wednesday, Oct. 20 at 2 p.m. in Rm. D at the Neuroscience Center, 6001 Executive Blvd. He is clinical director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse's intramural research program and chief of the molecular neuropsychiatry section.

Much of his work has focused on evaluating the effects of cocaine, heroin and marijuana on the neurological and neuropsychological functioning, and the EEGs of patients who abuse these drugs. He and his colleagues have found that the cerebral vasculature of young cocaine abusers is comparable to that of elderly individuals. These changes put patients at risk for stroke.

Preregistration is not required. Attendees need picture identification for admittance. For more information, call NIDA at 443-1124.

Race, Walk Benefit FOCC

The 8th annual Great Pumpkin Chase 5K Run and 1 Mile Fun Walk to benefit the Friends of the Clinical Center (FOCC) will be held Sunday, Oct. 24. The race will start at 9 a.m. at the National Naval Medical Center, across Rockville Pike from NIH.

FOCC is a private, nonprofit, charitable organization that provides emergency financial aid to NIH patients and their families. Each year more than 152,000 outpatient visits are conducted. The Friends depend solely on contributions to provide financial assistance to patients facing crises resulting from long-term illnesses, which often cause stress both emotionally and financially.

The 5K Run /1 Mile Walk is open to adults and kids of all ages. Participants will receive a long-sleeve T-shirt (while supplies last) and prizes will be awarded in several categories. The registration fee is $17 per person or $55 per team of four people before Oct. 15. Race day registration is $20 per person. Registration brochures are available on the NIH R&W Web site: or by calling 496-6061 or (301) 348-2036.

NIH-Wide Photo Competition Welcomes Entries

All employees and their families are welcome to enter a photography competition this fall, with winners to be announced in mid-November. There are three categories: black and white prints, color prints and slides. Up to four entries — any subject is fair game — per category may be entered.

All entries must have the photographer's name and photo title on the back of prints and on the slide mounts. The entry fee is 50 cents per image. Cash prizes of $30 for first, $20 for second, and $10 for third place winners in each category will be awarded. Ribbons will be awarded for honorable mentions.

Entries will be collected by the third week of October, and winners will be announced at a meeting Tuesday, Nov. 16 in Bldg. 31, Rm. 6C10, where all the images will be displayed.

For a schedule of when and where images will be collected, as well as other entry information, visit or call Ellis Gordon at (202) 686-1764 or Margaret Sprott, (301) 299-6805.

Gardeners Discuss Horticultural Therapy

Red Wiggler Foundation is a nonprofit horticulture therapy and vocational training program for adults with developmental disabilities, who grow and sell their produce. Woody Woodruff, founder, will speak at the next NIH Garden Club meeting on Thursday, Oct. 14 at noon in Bldg. 31, Conf. Rm. 10. All are welcome. For more information visit

Wednesday Afternoon Lectures

The Wednesday Afternoon Lecture series — held on its namesake day at 3 p.m. in Masur Auditorium, Bldg. 10 — features Dr. Virginia A. Zakian on Oct. 13; she is professor, department of molecular biology, Princeton University. Her talk is titled, "A Tale of Two Helicases: The Saccharomyces Pif1p and Rrm3p Helicases Have Antagonistic Effects on Replication of both Telomeric and rDNA."

For more information or for reasonable accommodation, call Hilda Madine, 594-5595.

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