Duke University Alumni Magazine

armless doses of three chemicals used to protect Gulf War soldiers from insect-borne diseases and nerve-gas poisoning are highly toxic when used in combination, according to animal experiments at Duke Medical Center. Researchers say the findings may explain the wide array of symptoms reported by an estimated 30,000 Gulf War veterans.

     In studies using chickens, researchers specifically found that two pesticides, DEET and permethrin, and the anti-nerve gas agent pyridostigmine bromide (PB) were harmless when used alone, even at three times the doses soldiers likely received. But when used in combination, the chemicals caused neurological deficits in the test animals similar to those reported by some Gulf War veterans, say Duke pharmacologist Mohamed Abou-Donia and Tom Kurt, a toxicologist at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.

     Chickens were selected over rodents as test animals because their susceptibility to neurotoxic chemicals more closely resembles that of humans, the scientists say. The findings were published in the May issue of the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health.

     The researchers say their results are similar to those reported in Scotland in March and by an Israeli team last year. Adding to these findings, Duke and UT Southwestern scientists have developed a theory to explain why the chemical mix is dangerous. They say their results indicate the anti-nerve gas agent reduces the body's normal ability to inactivate the two pesticides, which can then travel to and damage the brain and nervous system. Such a mechanism could explain the wide array of symptoms--sometimes called Gulf War Syndrome--reported by some Gulf War veterans, including memory loss, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, weakness, shortness of breath, and tremors.

     "The decision to use these chemicals was made to protect soldiers from indigenous diseases in the gulf, such as malaria and leishmaniasis," says Abou-Donia, lead investigator of the study." Without protection,there may have been thousands of deaths. But it appears that, for some veterans, the precautions prevented one set of problems and created another. Now our task is to analyze the veterans' symptoms by investigating all the potential causes, not only for their sakes but for the welfare of future soldiers." Soldiers who took higher than recommended doses of PB as an added precaution against nerve-gas attacks may have caused nerve-cell overstimulation, contributing to tremors, muscle spasms, and other symptoms of increased nerve-cell activity. The research team is conducting a follow-up study analyzing blood samples from veterans with and without symptoms to determine if low enzymatic activity is associated with signs of illness.

ith tripod, camera, and telephoto lens, Ian Sutherland scaled a wobbly, fifty-foot scaffold in 1985 to take photos of Duke Chapel's stained glass windows. "It was a fascinating project," he says. "There's an enormous amount of detail in the windows that escapes even the people who look closely."

     Sutherland, who did graduate work in classical studies at Duke, gave a slide presentation in March on the glass artistry and told how he documented all seventy-seven windows. While a member of the Chapel Choir in the Eighties, he says he spent much of his time staring up at the glass, but could never figure out the sequence in which the biblical images were displayed.

      When he started asking around, he discovered there was no more than a superficial understanding of the windows. University Archives had a list, but it only identified the main figures in each window. Examining the windows through binoculars proved to be a literal pain in the neck, so he devised a project to photograph each window for proper identification.

Sutherland: project documents chapel windows
Photo: Les Todd
      Friends of the Chapel funded his endeavor, which required help from fellow choir members and a tower of scaffolding.

     Sutherland and his assistants would unbolt several pews and roll the bottom section of the metal scaffolding in place. They could move only twenty feet of scaffolding at a time. If the tower were any higher, it could topple. Once it was positioned, the team would assemble the upper thirty feet on top of the base. Sutherland would climb the shaky structure and fasten it to columns inside the chapel. Then he would wait for the sunlight. "The morning sun only hits the north-side windows briefly," he explains. "I would have the tower built, and I would be sitting at the top waiting for dawn. The light would hit the windows and it would take me about two hours to photograph each one." Then, to photograph the south side, the team would have to dismantle the scaffolding, rebolt the pews, unbolt another set, and again manipulate the steel framework into place. In all, the project took five weeks. Sutherland studied the Bible as he went about his project and figured out the windows' patterns. Old Testament figures appear on the upper level. The lower level depicts episodes in the lives of Jesus, Paul, Peter, and John. The lower level begins with the Annunciation, when an angel appeared to the Virgin Mary and told her she would give birth to a divine messenger; the lower-level windows end with an illustration of an aged John on the Greek island of Patmos.

     Duke Chapel's stained glass was created by G. Owen Bonawit of New York, who, with the help of fifteen other artists and craftsmen, worked for five years to fashion the windows, according to dates Bonawit recorded in one of the panes. University Archivist William E. King '61, A.M. '63, Ph.D. '70 says Sutherland's project is valuable because it serves as a kind of insurance policy in case of damage from vandals or storms. Before the photography project, there was no detailed record of the chapel's windows in case replacements or repairs were necessary. Sutherland's slides are available for viewing at Duke University Archives in Perkins Library.

researcher at the Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center has pioneered the use of CD-ROM technology to preserve a photographic record of the skinand to detect the earliest signs of melanoma cancer.

     While "total body photography" has become a common tool to help physicians screen patients at high risk for melanoma, physician James Grichnik believes that he is the first to take the additional step of preserving photographs of his patients' skin on compact discs for computers. Bringing this new technology to the clinical setting is important, he says, since the incidence of malignant melanoma is in-creasing faster than any other cancer--and because the earlier a melanoma is removed, the higher the cure rate. For high-risk patients, the key to early detection is regular, thorough skin examinations to identify suspicious changes in existing moles, according to researchers.

     In recent years, dermatologists have used photographs of patients' skin surfaces-total body photography-to create a baseline to guide future examinations. Grichnik, an assistant professor of medicine, combines conventional photography with compact disc technology to create a digital baseline. He also uses hand-held microscopy and a new computer database to track his patients.

     Patients who come to the pigmented lesion clinic directed by Grichnik and who are determined to be at high risk for melanoma are photographed from thirty-three different angles, covering as much of the skin surface as possible. Instead of being stored as slides or prints, the images are transferred to CD-ROMs, which look like the compact discs that transform digital messages into music. The discs are economical to create, easy to store, and convenient to use, according to Grichnik.

     Each patient has his or her own CD-ROM. When the patient comes in for a visit, Grichnik pops the disc into his computer and makes a direct comparison between moles on the patient's skin and the images on his computer screen, where he can easily zoom in on specific moles. For now, the CD-ROM record remains at Duke. However, it may one day become a part of the patient's electronic medical record. "As other clinics develop the technology, it potentially could be transferred with the patient and electronically reproduced," he says.

     Epiluminescence, a procedure carried out with a hand-held microscope, allows Grichnik to look even more closely at any moles that appear to have changed.

     The results of each screening are entered into a computerized database that Grichnik developed with the assistance of Cancer Center computer programmer Barry Shelton. The database facilitates patient care, Grichnik says, and will provide data for his research into the factors that result in melanoma. The primary goal of the high-tech approach, according to the physician-scientist, is the earliest possible recognition of the changes that signal a potential cancer. "The real key is for patients to recognize their risk and to get regular, high-quality screens," Grichnik says. "CD-ROMs and epiluminescence just give us new tools to determine moles that are changing and, therefore, need to be removed."

     The rewards of prompt detection can be substantial. The five-year survival rate for patients with localized malignant melanoma is 94 percent. Five-year rates for disease that has spread regionally and distantly are 60 percent and 16 percent, respectively.

     "If you catch melanoma in its earliest, thin stages, local surgical treatment alone can often result in a high cure rate," Grichnik explains. "More invasive, thicker tumors are more lethal and require more aggressive treatment."

     Since 1973, the growth rate of new melanoma cases has been approximately 4 percent each year, according to the American Cancer Society, which anticipates 38,300 new cases and 7,300 deaths this year. "According to various estimates, the risk of contracting melanoma in 1935 was about one in 1,500," Grichnik points out. "It looks like now we are approaching a risk of one in ninety, with some estimates approaching one in seventy-five by 2010."

eredith Monk will receive the 1996 Samuel H. Scripps/American Dance Festival Award. Established in 1981 to recognize the lifetime creative achievements of American modern dance choreographers, the $25,000 honor represents the largest annual award presented in the dance world.

Eiko & Koma: to perform at Duke Gardens pond
Photo: Yuta Otake
     Monk received one of her first major commissions from the American Dance Festival in 1970, a spectacular twelve-hour multi-site extravaganza, "Needle Brain Lloyd and the Systems Kids: A Live Movie." The scale and complexity of the piece anticipated the multimedia dimension that her work would take in ensuing years. Known for her prize-winning music and vocal compositions, theater and film work, as well as her choreography, she has been a major pioneer in multimedia and opera productions, extending and expanding the definition of dance.

     Since graduating from Sarah Lawrence College in 1964, where she studied dance, composition, and music, Monk has created more than eighty music/theater/dance and film works. She received a MacArthur "Genius" Fellowship in 1995, two Guggenheim Fellowships, a Brandeis Creative Arts Award, three Obies (including an award for Sustained Achievement), two Villager Awards, a Bessie for Sustained Creative Achievement, the 1986 National Music Theater Award, sixteen ASCAP Awards for Musical Composition, and the 1992 Dance Magazine Award. Her recordings "Dolmen Music" and "Our Lady of Late" were both honored with the German Critics prize for Best Records of 1981 and 1986. Her film Ellis Island won the CINE Golden Eagle Award, was awarded prizes at the Atlanta and San Francisco Film Festivals, and was shown nationally by PBS.

     In 1994, her "American Archaeology," a site-specific music-theater dance work performed outdoors, premiered on Roosevelt Island in New York City. She is working on an opera, tentatively titled "The Politics of Quiet," scheduled to premiere in Copenhagen and Avignon this summer.

     The ADF also announced its summer schedule, year two of its five-year celebration of a hundred years of modern dance. Returning in June and July are the popular Pilobolus Dance Theater; the dance companies of Erick Hawkins, Merce Cunningham, and Paul Taylor; Dayton Contemporary Dance Company; the Mark Morris Dance Group; and Mark Dendy Dance & Theater. Eiko & Koma will be performing in the Sarah P. Duke Gardens at twilight within the Teien-oike Garden Pond, with "seating" along the north shore. Debuting are the Parsons Dance Company, featuring Paul Taylor alumnus David Parsons, and the American Repertory Dance Company. International performers include Lenka Flory from the Czech Republic and Joao Fiadeiro & Vera Mantero from Portugal. Tickets and information are available by calling the Page Auditorium Box Office at (919) 684-4444

he United States is plagued by poor race relations, a mistrust of politicians, and a lack of faith in the economy, U.S. Senator Bill Bradley told hundreds of people packed inside the Sanford Institute in an April address. A New Jersey Democrat, Bradley will be retiring from the Senate later this year.

     Bradley focused his remarks on the need for national leadership. A strong leader gives people a sense of hope, unlocks their potential, and takes them to task for lying to themselves about problems like race relations, he said. He said his vision for the country is a "pluralistic, multi-racial, multi-cultural, multi-ethnic democracy where people not only vote, but participate-a democracy with a growing economy that takes everybody, not just a few, to higher ground."

     Stagnant wages and the "downsizing" of businesses have people fearful about the economy, he said. An "economic security platform" would require companies to pay for at least one year of health care for a laid-off worker and his or her family; it would also provide for portable pensions and a lifetime education, allowing people "to ride the rapids of these times." Bradley said the public should use its collective power to judge corporations not only on their profit margins but also on their environmental record, their involvement in the community, and their treatment of workers.

     Bradley urged deeper consideration of the moral and spiritual dimensions of individual lives, a searching for something "deeper than material possessions." He said the level of materialism in American culture is "shocking." He also called for more direct and honest conversations about race relations. "How do you have better race relations without engagement? How do you have engagement without candor? How do you have candor without trust?" Americans should challenge those whites who play the "race card" and those blacks who play the "racist card," he said.

     Declaring he would not be leaving public life entirely after eighteen years in the Senate, Bradley said he wants to "think through this next chapter of the American story," and would push for campaign finance reforms, among other priorities. "Money in politics is a little like ants in the kitchen," he said. "You've either got to get them all out or the few you don't will find a way to stay in."

     Bradley's speech was the first in the newly created Lester Crown Lecture Series in Ethics. The series will bring outside speakers to campus to discuss the ethical implications of arts, sciences, medicine, business, and other fields.

ane Goodall, the world-renowned primatologist who has devoted her life to the study and protection of wild chimpanzees, spoke at an April benefit celebrating the thirtieth anniversary of the Duke Primate Center. Television actress June Lockhart, best known for her role in the television series Lassie, was the host for an "Evening in the Forest" at Reynolds Industries Theater.

Goodall: celebrating the Primate Center's thirtieth
Duke University photography
     The talk was followed by a gala reception during which Goodall met with audience members and autographed copies of her books. Goodall, Lockhart, and Duke athletes also attended a daylong festival, "Madagascar Odyssey," at the Primate Center, which featured tours, exhibits, talks, and lemur-oriented activities for children. Proceeds went to benefit the animals of the Primate Center, home to the world's largest collection of endangered primates.

     Goodall began her research in 1960, recruited by anthropologist Louis Leakey to study the chimpanzees of Tanzania. In 1965, she earned a Ph.D. at Cambridge University and returned to Africa to establish the Gombe Stream Research Center. She has conducted research there ever since.

     Among her findings: Chimpanzees are more closely related to humans, biologically and behaviorally, than any other living creature; they show higher-level intellectual abilities once thought unique to humans; they make and use tools; they communicate not only through calls, but with gestures such as kissing, embracing, and holding hands; and they maintain close family bonds throughout life.

     In 1977, Goodall established The Jane Goodall Institute for Wildlife Research, Education and Conservation, headquartered in Ridgefield, Connecticut. The institute supports a wide range of programs to help chimpanzees and encourage environmental literacy in young people. For example, the in-stitute's Chimp Guardian Program supports rehabilitation and conservation of orphan rescued chimpanzees. The institute's ChimpanZoo Project aids behavioral studies of captive chimpanzees. And the Roots & Shoots Program for youth supports hands-on envi-ronmental education activities.

     Duke's Primate Center began with a small collection of lemurs moved to Duke from Yale University in 1966 by primatologist John Buettner-Janusch. In 1977, anthropologist Elwyn Simons became the center's director and was the principal architect in building the col- lection to its current size and scope. Simons, James B. Duke professor of biological anthro pology and anatomy, is now the center's scientific director.

     The Primate Center is supported by the National Science Foundation, the university, and private donations. Duke is the only university that concentrates on studying and protecting prosimians such as lemurs, lorises, and galagoes. The center houses about 500 animals of twenty-two species; it also houses the country's most important collection of lemur fossils, numbering in the thousands, as well as fossils of the earliest evolutionary ancestors of monkeys, apes, and humans.

hree students have been selected to receive scholarships worth a total of nearly $100,000 in tuition, fees, and expenses. Two rising seniors were named Truman Scholars and a recent graduate was named a Churchill Scholar.

     Maria Sanders of Fort Mitchell, Kentucky, and Robert "Bill" Schloss Jr. of Sumter, South Carolina, will receive $3,000 each in their senior year and up to $27,000 each for graduate study in preparation for careers in public service. Truman Scholars also participate in leadership development programs and have special opportunities for internships and employment with the federal government. The scholarships were established by Congress in honor of President Harry Truman.

     Sanders, a political science major, plans to enter a joint degree program after graduation that will lead to a J.D. in law and a master's in political science. Her career goals include working as a public defender and then public office, or possibly a judicial position.

     Schloss is completing two majors-biology and visual arts-as well as a certificate in neuroscience. He is attorney general of Duke Student Government and chairs its Academic Affairs Committee. He plans to pursue a joint doctor of medicine and master of public health degree, with a career goal of working in a public health institution.

     Duke was one of seventeen colleges and universities nationwide to be selected as a 1996 Truman Scholarship Honor Institution. The new award acknowledges outstanding contributions to the Truman Scholarship Foundation. Since the competition began in 1977, Duke has had twenty-two Truman Scholars, who are chosen based on their commitment to a public service career, their leadership potential, and their academic record.

     Elizabeth Ayer of Los Angeles, California, was selected by the Winston Churchill Foundation of the United States to receive its prestigious scholarship. Founded in 1959, the program awards just ten scholarships annually for graduate work in engineering,mathematics, and science. A political science major, she will study next year at England's Churchill College of Cambridge University. The award covers all tuition and fees, as well as living and travel allowances, totaling $22,000.

     Among her accomplishments, Ayer is credited with creating the ACES (Automated Computer Enrollment System) catalogue on the World Wide Web, an Internet site that allows students to index and read about courses offered at Duke. She is also an Angier B. Duke Memorial Scholar.

  • Paula J. Giddings, one of the nation's leading scholars of black women's studies, will join the faculty in the fall. The 1995-96 Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar at Duke will become a research professor in women's studies, with a joint appointment in the African and Afro-American studies program. She will teach an undergraduate course on black women in the civil rights movement and a graduate course on race, gender, and social theory.

  • Ronald James Clack is the new director of Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at Duke, effective July 1. He was director of the Counseling Center at the University of Virginia. From 1993 to 1995, he was president of the American Board of Counseling Psychology and, from 1992 to 1993, president of the Counseling Center Directors' Association. Clack earned his bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees at Purdue University.

  • Georgann Eubanks '76 was named assistant director of Duke's Office of Continuing Education and Summer Session. She will oversee marketing, public relations, and fund raising for the office, which serves about 12,000 local and statewide residents each year. Continuing Education administers the university's on- campus arts and sciences summer courses, helps area residents take regular Duke courses for credit or audit, sponsors the Duke Institute for Learning in Retirement, and offers year-round youth programs in science, drama, and creative writing. Eubanks was part-time director of the Duke Writers' Workshop.

  • Bruce Kuniholm A.M. '72, Ph.D. '76, A.M. '77, professor of public policy studies and his-tory, is Duke's vice provost for academic and international affairs, effective August 1. He succeeds political science professor Peter Lange. Kuniholm is on leave in Turkey completing a two-year sabbatical and teaching international relations at Koc University in Istanbul. He is a former director of the Terry Sanford Institute of Public Policy and chair of the public policy studies department.

  • Richard L. Cox M.Div. '67, Th.M. '69, Ed.D. '82 is a major gifts officer at University Development. He was associate vice president for student affairs and dean of student life.

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