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March 30, 2000 - Image 3

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2000-03-30

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The Michigan Daily - Thursday, March 30, 2000- 3A

T;.Researchers find
rmutations might
cause epilepsy
University Researchers have found
,Wgenetic mutations that may be the cause
for several types of inherited epilepsy.
Epilepsy, which affects about 1 per-
cent of the world's population, causes
seizures that can lead to neurological
Andrew Escayg, a postdoctoral fel-
low in the Medica! School and gradu-
". ate student Bryan MacDonald
examined related genetic mutations in
a)strain of laboratory mice with
,seizure disorders. They also used data
from an Internet database called Gen-
Bank, where scientists post their data
'from the Human Genome Project, to
'locate the SCNA gene, which is a
'sodium channel gene that regulates
e" ' lectrical activity in nerve cells.
If the mutations are inherited,
-genetic testing would identify the dis-
ease in infants at high risk to provide
early treatment.
The research team hopes to identify
the functional impact of alterations in
the SCN I A gene by developing
strains of laboratory mice with each
individual mutation.
The study was published in the April
edition of the journal Nature Genetics.
Miss America
becoming thinner
A study released in the Journal of
*he American Medical Association
-lias shown that the winners of the
has shown that the winners of the
Miss America beauty pageant have
thinned since the start of the contest
80 years ago.
The study looked at heights and
weights of Miss America winners
until 1990, the year that the contest
stopped measuring these dimensions.
The researchers found that Miss
Amierica has become 12 percent thin-
ner and only 2 percent taller.
Young drivers at
high risk for fatal
auto accidents
Motor vehicle crashes are the lead-
ing cause of death among U.S. teens,
,"and the risk increases with the number
& )Wfpassengers, according to a study
published in the Journal of American
Medical Association.
Using data from the Fatality Analy-
sis Reporting System, the Nationwide
Personal Transportation Survey and
the General Estimates System,
researchers examined data collected
about 16- and 17-year-olds between
r 1992 and 1997.
They found that the young drivers
have higher risk for fatal crashes than
older drivers.
The study also found that the high-
est death rate occurred when the
teenage driver carried three or more
passengers. This rate was recorded as
5.61 deaths per 10 million trips.
' Males were recorded to have a
higher death rate than females, and
the rate increased substantially when
carrying passengers.
The highest death rate occurred
during the nighttime in teenage cars
+'arrying passengers. The rate was

21.88 per 10 million trips for drivers
a with passengers that drove between
6,Wnight and 5:59 a.m.
Pigs might prove
valuable donors
Researchers at the University of
Slinois are working to genetically
alter pigs making their tissue more
compatible with human tissue.
The reason the researchers chose
pigs is that they share about 85 per-
cent of the genetic sequence found in
Pig tissue has been used successfully
in more than 160 human skin grafts.
Currently, humans reject the organs
of pigs because the human immune
ystem detects and kills a sugar on the
urface of the pig cells, that kills both
the cells and the organ.
The researchers will attempt to iso-
late and then destroy the pig gene that
iauses the sugar.
Scompiled by Daily Staff Reporter
Lindsey Alpert from wire reports.

Conflicts worry international 'U'


By Jacquelyn Nixon
Daily Staff Reporter
Nearly two weeks ago, Oliver Chen stood on
the steps of the Harlan Hatcher Graduate
Library protesting Chinese threats to Tai-
wanese independence at about the same time
citizens in Taiwan were protesting the plurality
of the nation's second Presidential election.
"My sister is really scared. After the election
there was a big protest which caused her to stay
home from school," said Chen, an RC senior and
member of the Michigan Taiwanese Student
His parents, who still live in Taiwan, also stood
up to support Taiwanese independence during the
few weeks prior to the election.
"My family has been sending me money so

there will be a fund for us just in case something
does happen," Chen said.
Almost two weeks after the second election in
Taiwan's history, China remains firm in its stance
on Taiwanese independence, but many in Taiwan,
including Taiwanese students on campus, believe
the actual threat of war is not as great as once
"I don't think that war is something that
will happen in the near future. The newly
elected president won't do anything to threat-
en war," said Taiwanese American Student
Association President Dean Wang, an LSA
China and Taiwan split amidst civil war in
1949, with the first Taiwanese election four
years ago. Since then, China has continually
insisted that Taiwan unify with the mainland.

"As of now, China hasn't pushed for war, and the
people of Taiwan are satisfied with de facto inde-
pendence." Wang said. "I think the threat of war is
very real, but as years pass the threat will be less-
ened. Taiwan has money invested in China's econo-
my, and the more and more the two become
integrated, the less of a threat war will be," Wang
Events in international University students'
countries of origin still affect them, no matter
how much distance exists. For many, the threat of
war is an issue that hits home.
"I have immediate and extended family in
Taiwan. It is definitely an issue that worries
my family, but all of my immediate family
members are U.S. citizens, so we will be pro-
tected if Taiwan and China eventually go to
war," Wang said.

TASA Communication Chair Robert Lin said, "I
have worries that if they go through with it my rela-
tives would be in danger. Most of my extended
family are currently living in Taiwan."
Louise Baldwin, director of Multi-ethnic
Affairs for the International Center, said the cen-
ter can usually help students with concerns on
international affairs. "We encourage students to
come to us with any concerns, and we can refer
them to someplace where they can get help. If
there was a disaster in a country and people'were
looking for relatives, we would find a way to
locate them," Baldwin said.
"I think with more communication among
people there is less anxiety about crises," Bald-
win said. "There are student groups, counseling
services and support services like the Interna-
tional Center."


Dental program plans
statewide expansion

By Lindsey Alpert
Daily Staff Reporter

University School of Dentistry graduates can
go into practice once they receive their certifica-
tions, but first they will receive real-life practice
in a community outreach program.
Since 1997, the School of Dentistry has been
sending fourth-year students to the Family Health
Center in Battle Creek to provide dental care to
undeserved and non-served community members.
The program will expand this summer to
include community organizations in Grand
Rapids, Muskegon, Marquette and Saginaw.
"The primary focus of the expansion is that the
communities that we are partners with have an
increase in urgency to care for the unserved,"
Assistant Dean for Community and Outreach Pro-
grams Jed Jacobson said. "We help address an un-
met need."
The expanded program will allow all of the
nearly 100 fourth-year Dentistry students to get
hands-on experience at the new sites for three
weeks. In the past, only about half of the students
were able to participate in the program.
"The training goes on not only in class-
rooms, but clinically," School of Dentistry
spokesman Jerry Mastey said. "Part of their
training includes treating patients behind the
walls of the School of Dentistry, so they're
not going into it cold."
Dentistry students get the opportunity to work
on patients who visit the Ann Arbor school.
"We see an excellent opportunity for our den-
tal students to be immersed in a patient situation;'
Jacobson said. "These are experiences in commu-
nities unlike Ann Arbor, with a different population
of patients and different population needs."

The outreach patients are typically people who
are uninsured or on Medicaid.
"Most dentists don't take Medicaid patients
because they get paid so little," said A.J. Jones,
president and CEO of Family Health Center in
Battle Creek.
Services provided by the student dentists are
billed on a sliding scale based on the patient's
income level. Students receive no monetary pay-
ment, but benefit from academic credit.
"it makes sense to give care to those that need
care,"Jacobson said.
The dental students - as well as dental hygienic
students who participate in the program for one
week instead of three weeks - provide a full array
of dental services. They perform the procedures by
themselves but are supervised by a professional
dentist at the community organization.
"They provide excellent and quality care,"
Jones said. "The community has reacted to the
program very positively."
The program is still working to iron out any
glitches, such as housing and academic issues.
"The students have concurrent courses on
campus," Jacobson said. "By using distance-
learning technologies, students are still connected
to classes on campus."
Houses near the clinic are provided for the stu-
dents and food is provided by local hospitals.
"We've been extremely happy with the cooper-
ation we've received from the public and private
sectors;' Mastey said. "We can show Michigan
residents why the University of Michigan and the
School of Dentistry is important to them."
Other supporting organizations include the
Michigan Department of Community Health, the
Delta Dental Fund, the Michigan Dental Associa-
tion and the Michigan Primary Care Association.

LSA freshman and Delta Delta Delta Aurora Bence dances at the Greek Week Variety Show last
night at the Power Center. Delta Delta Delta and Alpha Delta Phi fraternity took home first place in
the annual Greek Week event.

Study: Health care
cuts reduced jobs

Medicaid and Medicare reimburse-
ments cost Michigan hospitals 2,700
jobs last year, hurting patient services
and programs, a Michigan Health &
Hospital Association report says.
"The Declining State of Hospitals"
report, which includes information gath-
ered from interviews with representa-
tives from 50 of the state's 147
non-profit hospitals, was released yes-
Respondents told consulting firm
Pace & Partners that cuts in federal
and state funding they've experienced
since the federal balanced budget act
passed in 1997 cost them about $537
"This is the worst of times for hos-
vice president of the hospital associa-
tion. "People don't realize all the cuts
being made."
Problems with hospitals' staffing
and services may get worse before
they get better, said Tom Feurig, presi-
dent and chief executive officer of St.
Joseph Mercy Hospital-Oakland in
"We've heard from hospitals, "We
can't take out anymore without affect-
ing the care of patients;" said Dennis
Pace, president of Lansing-based Pace
& Partners.
Hospitals responding to the survey
said they are planning for more than
500 staff reductions this year, the
report said.
A spokeswoman for the Michigan
Department of Community Health,

which runs the Medicaid program,
said cuts to hospital personnel are not
a big problem.
"Those are jobs that were never
filled in first place," spokeswoman
Geralyn Lasher said. "The position of
the department is (that) Medicaid
shouldn't be blamed for federal reform
of Medicare."
* Medicare makes up 52 percent of
Michigan hospitals' funding, while
Medicaid makes up 12 percent, Lasher
"I don't understand how hospitals
can report earnings of S500 million
and then say there's been a cut in fund-
ing," Lasher said.
Medicaid reimbursement rates have
been a hot topic this year at the state
bill to streamline the state's Medicaid
system to improve the processing of
medical claims and provide for more
rapid payment of reimbursements to
health-maintenance organizations. And
there's been talk of raising the Medicaid
reimbursement rates for hospitals.
St. Joseph Hospital, which receives
45 percent of its revenue from
Medicare, lost nearly $49 million with
the balanced budget act, Feurig said.
The hospital reduced its work force by
15 percent in the last 18 months
because of budget constraints, he said.
"It has jeopardized what we're able
to do in terms of service," Feurig said.
Program and staffing cuts are not
limited to southeastern Michigan, the
report said.

What's happening in Ann Arbor today
EVENTS noon, 764-6307 University Theater Department,
B/The Impresario by Mozart, Spon- UGolf War, Sponsored by Friends of Abhishek Kumar's drama, Arena
sored by University Hospitals, the Revolutionary Anti-Imperial- Stage, 7 p.m., 764-5350
the Arbor Onera Theater ier- st League, screen with director


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