Briefly

    In the annual survey of graduate programs released by U.S. News & World Report, the UCSD School of Medicine and Jacobs School of Engineering continued to rise in the rankings.

    The Jacobs School was ranked 11th in the nation and seventh among public engineering schools. The School of Medicine was ranked 16th in the nation among medical schools with a research focus and fifth among public schools with that focus. The school also ranked sixth in the nation for primary care.

    UCSD’s engineering and medical schools are the youngest institutions counted among the nation’s best.

    For the first time, the magazine rankings also included master of fine arts programs; UCSD’s programs in multimedia/visual communications were ranked sixth in the nation.

    The survey results also appear on-line at http://www.usnews.com.

    UCSD professor to receive two leadership awards

    UCSD professor of psychiatry and neurosciences Dilip V. Jeste, M.D., has been named the recipient of two prestigious awards.

    He will receive the 2003 Jack Weinberg Memorial Award for “”special leadership or outstanding work in clinical practice, training or research in geriatric psychiatry anywhere in the world,”” from the American Psychiatric Association in San Francisco in May.

    In October, the Institute of Living in Hartford, Conn., will present Jeste with the 2003 C. Charles Burlingame Award for “”outstanding leadership in psychiatric research, education or administration.””

    A specialist in geriatric psychiatry, Jeste is chief of the UCSD Division of Geriatric Psychiatry, holds the UCSD Estelle and Edgar Levi chair in aging, and is a geriatric psychiatrist with the VA San Diego Healthcare System. In addition, he edits the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.

    Smoking ban slashes heart attack rate

    In the first study of its kind, researchers have found that the number of heart attack victims admitted to Helena, Mont., regional hospitals dropped by nearly 60 percent six months after enforcing a smoke-free ordinance in the area. This is the first empirical evidence suggesting that smoke-free policies not only protect people from long-term dangers of second-hand smoke, but they also rapidly prevent heart attacks.

    The study’s authors attribute much of the sharp decline in acute myocardial infarctions to a near-elimination of the effects of secondhand smoke on blood platelets and the arteries that supply blood to the heart.

    The researchers also speculate that smoke-free environments encourage smokers to stop or reduce smoking, which also reduces heart attack risk.

    During an average six-month period, the number of hospital admissions for AMI from people living or working in Helena is just under seven per month. However, during the six months that the ordinance was in force, the number of hospital admission for AMI in Helena declined to less than four per month. There was no significant change in the number of admissions from outside the Helena area.

    The study’s statistical analysis was provided by Stanton Glantz, Ph.D., professor of medicine at the UCSF Cardiovascular Research Institute. The findings were reported at the scientific sessions of the American College of Cardiology meeting in Chicago.

    Acclaimed neuroscientist to give lecture on brain

    Internationally recognized neuroscientist Dr. Antonio Damasio will present “”Emotion, Social Behavior and Spinoza: The Brain Perspective”” on April 24 at 7:30 p.m. at Mandeville Center.

    The lecture will explore new advances on the brain basis of choice and decision-making, as well as the impact of these developments on our conventional ideas of free will, responsibility and social behavior.

    In his research, Damasio has conducted pioneering studies of patients with focal brain damage. He has shown that reason and emotion are tightly linked in day-to-day decision-making, and that the emotions reflect changes in the inner body.

    Damasio is the M.W. Van Allen distinguished professor and head of neurology at the University of Iowa College of Medicine, as well as an adjunct professor at the Salk Institute. He is the author of “”Descartes’ Error: Emotion, Reason and the Human Brain;”” “”The Feeling of What Happens: Body and Emotion in the Making of Consciousness;”” and “”Looking for Spinoza: Joy, Sorrow, and the Feeling Brain.””

    For information on the April 24 lecture call (858) 534-0999 or visit http://dah.ucsd.edu/humctr.htm.

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