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2005 Press Releases 

Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Appoints Ann Stockbridge as Trustee

Contact: Public Affairs
617-573-3340

Boston (Dec. 20, 2005) – The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary (MEEI) recently appointed Ann Stockbridge, a resident of Kennebunk, Maine, as Trustee, Member of the Corporation for the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.

She received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and computer science from the University of New Hampshire and a master’s degree from Babson College in Boston. Ms. Stockbridge is also a Board Member and Committee Chair for the Hospice of Southern Maine.



Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Appoints Karen O’Connor as Trustee

Contact: Public Affairs
617-573-3340

Boston (Dec. 20, 2005) – The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary (MEEI) has appointed Karen O’Connor, Ph.D., a resident of Medfield, Mass., as Trustee, Member of the Corporation for the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.

Dr. O’Connor is the Chief Operating Officer for eSecLending, LLC. In her position, she oversees all aspects of the company’s operations, manages and designs customized securities lending programs for major institutional investors worldwide. She received a bachelor’s degree in economics from the College of Holy Cross in Worchester, Mass., a master’s degree from Suffolk University in Boston, and a doctorate from Kennedy-Western University.

Dr. O’Connor is also a member of the Board of Directors for eSecLending LLC, eSecLending Europe Limited, eSecLending (U.S.) Holdings, Inc., Old Mutual Global Securities Lending, Inc., Investment Committee of Old Mutual (U.S.) Trust Company and the Boston Club.



Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Appoints Ruth E. Fitch as Trustee

Contact: Public Affairs
617-573-3340

Boston (Dec. 20, 2005) – The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary (MEEI) has appointed Ruth E. Fitch, a resident of Boston, Mass., as Trustee, Member of the Corporation for the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.

Ms. Fitch is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Dimock Community Health Center. Dimock Community Health Center is a Greater Roxbury/Dorchester neighborhood health and community services agency. In her position, she manages a staff of 500 and inspires the historic community health organization. She received a bachelor’s degree in economics from Barnard College in New York City and a juris doctor from Harvard Law School.

Ms. Fitch is a member of the Board of Directors of the Museum of African American History in Boston and Nantucket, Mass. She is also a member of the Boston Municipal Research Bureau.



Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Forms Graves’ Disease Support Group

Contact: Public Affairs
617-573-3340

Boston (Dec. 6, 2005) – The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary (MEEI) is forming a Graves’ Disease Support Group.

Graves’ disease causes the immune system to attack certain tissues that cause over activity of the thyroid gland. The group will allow members to express their fears and concerns about their chronic illness, which will help form a social connection with others and improve coping skills. Meetings will provide open forums for exchanging information about Graves’ disease and speakers to help inform members of the latest treatments.

For more information call Rose Shea at 617-573-5548 or email rose_shea@meei.harvard.edu.



Study Shows Bacterium Present in Eyes with “Wet” Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Contact: Public Affairs
(617) 573-4170

Boston (Nov. 7, 2005) – Researchers at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary (MEEI) have found that Chlamydia pneumoniae, a bacterium linked to heart disease and capable of causing chronic inflammation, was present in the diseased eye tissue of five out of nine people with neovascular, or “wet,” age-related macular degeneration (AMD). However, it was not found in the eyes of more than 20 individuals without AMD, providing more evidence that this disease may be caused by inflammation. The study is described in the November issue of Graefe’s Archive for Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology.

AMD is the leading cause of blindness in Americans over the age of 55. The majority of vision loss is due to neovascular AMD, the advanced form of the disease characterized by the formation of blood vessels in the macula, the center part of the eye’s retina. These blood vessels often leak, thus giving neovascular AMD the name of “wet” AMD.

Researchers at the MEEI and Harvard Medical School (HMS) examined nine wet AMD membranes for the presence of C. pneumoniae and also determined whether this pathogen can change the function of eye cells in ways that can cause wet AMD. They found C. pneumoniae in the eyes of five out of the nine patients with wet AMD. They also tested tissue from more than 20 people who did not have AMD and did not find C. pneumoniae in any of these normal eye tissues.

“The paper showed that C. pneumoniae is capable of modifying the function of important cell types involved in regulating normal eye function,” said lead author Murat Kalayoglu, MD, PhD. “We found that C. pneumoniae infection led to increased production of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), the key protein involved in wet AMD. That C. pneumoniae infection of human eye cell types increases VEGF production is therefore significant and could explain in part why VEGF levels are increased in many people with wet AMD.” Kalayoglu is an HMS research fellow in ophthalmology at MEEI.

Most of the new medications either marketed or being developed to treat wet AMD, such as Macugen (EyeTech Pharmaceuticals) and Lucentis (Genentech) block VEGF.

The study comes at a time of great interest in inflammatory mediators of AMD. Over the past seven months, a flurry of high-impact papers have shown, in aggregate, that nearly 50 percent of AMD can be explained by variations in a gene called Complement Factor H (CFH). This gene makes a protein that regulates the immune and inflammatory responses of the body.

“Our hypothesis is that C. pneumoniae may be the key link between CFH and AMD,” Kalayoglu said. “That is, patients with CFH variations may be particularly susceptible to the damaging effects of chronic infection, and an infectious organism like C. pneumoniae may be particularly effective in accelerating inflammation and driving progression of AMD in these patients.”

Kalayoglu and colleagues are currently collaborating with CFH researchers to study this hypothesis. “It may be possible to stop or reverse progression of AMD by identifying susceptible patients by diagnostic testing, and then treating these susceptible patients. Although C. pneumoniae is a bacterium that might respond to some antibiotics, much more work needs to be done before considering antibiotic therapy for AMD,” he said.

“This is an important study suggesting that infection with C. pneumoniae may be a critical link between a genetic predisposition to AMD and actual progression to disease,” said Gerald I. Byrne, Ph.D., professor and chairman of the Department of Molecular Sciences, University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center. “This is yet another example of how an infection may unexpectedly contribute to a chronic disease. Certainly the association of C. pneumoniae with heart disease sets the stage for this pathogen’s involvement in other chronic conditions. This work is, in some ways, reminiscent of studies done more than 15 years ago on infections and ulcers. Those studies were viewed with skepticism, but Drs. Marshal and Warren, the researchers who pioneered that work received the Nobel Prize this year.”

The Graefe’s paper builds on data from the same group that showed, for the first time, that an infectious agent is associated with AMD by epidemiological studies (Archives of Ophthalmology, April 2003).



Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Appoints Joseph F. Rizzo, M.D., as Director of Neuro-Ophthalmology

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617-573-3340

Boston (Oct. 25, 2005)—The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary (MEEI) has appointed Joseph F. Rizzo, M.D., a resident of Boston and Newton, as Director of the Neuro-Ophthalmology service, which specializes in the diagnosis of diseases of the retina, optic nerve and brain that reduce vision, such as multiple sclerosis and optic neuropathy. In his position, Dr. Rizzo will maintain and develop the referrals to the practice, as well as its research program, in addition to training residents, fellows and medical students.

A graduate of Louisiana State University Medical School in New Orleans, Dr. Rizzo is Board certified in neurology and ophthalmology. He completed a Clinical Fellowship in Neuro-Ophthalmology at MEEI, where he has been an associate surgeon since 1997. Along with his recently attained position, he serves as an Associate Professor in Ophthalmology for the Harvard Medical School and is the Director of the Center for Visual Rehabilitation at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Boston.

Dr. Rizzo has held the primary responsibility for performing and directing research related to the development of a retinal prosthesis and has developed new surgical approaches for the implantation of this device. Dr. Rizzo also conducts clinical research, especially on diseases of the optic nerve. He has published extensively in top ranked journals, including the Journal of Neuroscience, Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science, and Archives of Ophthalmology.

“Dr. Rizzo has exhibited superior leadership and skill in his specialty, in both research and clinical practice. He is a wonderful teacher and is committed to expanding our teaching and training programs. We are excited to have him as our Director of Neuro-Ophthalmology,” said MEEI Chief of Ophthalmology and Chair of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School, Joan W. Miller, M.D.

The Harvard Medical School Department of Ophthalmology is comprised of over 325 physicians and researchers working in six HMS-affiliated institutions. The mission of the Department of Ophthalmology is to provide world-class health care to patients, to advance the understanding of eye disease and its treatment and cure, and to educate the clinicians and researchers who will become the leaders in Ophthalmology in the decades ahead. The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary is the department's flagship institution, with the Chair and a majority of department members located there.



Joan Miller M.D., Receives ARVO/Pfizer Ophthalmics Award

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617-573-3340

Boston (Oct. 25, 2005) The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) announced today that Joan W. Miller, MD, and Joel S. Schuman, MD, have been selected to receive the 2006 ARVO/Pfizer Ophthalmics Translational Research Award during ARVO’s Annual Meeting to be held in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in May 2006.

The ARVO/Pfizer Award is presented to honor excellence in research and fundamental scientific discoveries, concepts and novel technologies, leading to clinical evidence of diagnosis, prevention, or amelioration of the pathological eye and/or an understanding of the normal vision processes. The award is presented to two researchers annually.

Miller was selected for her research in non-human primates, and subsequent translation to humans, leading to the development of photodynamic therapy of neovascular age-related macular degeneration. She is the Henry Willard Williams Professor and Chair of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School. In addition, Miller is Chief of Ophthalmology at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary in Boston. She is a past recipient of the American Academy of Ophthalmology Achievement Award, the Alcon Research Institute Award, and the Retina Research Award of the Club Jules Gonin. Miller is the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Harvard Medical School Department of Ophthalmology.



Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Appoints Jennifer Smullen as an Otologist

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617-573-3340

Boston (Oct. 25, 2005) – Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary (MEEI) has appointed Otologist Jennifer Smullen, M.D., a resident of Boston, Mass., to its full-time medical staff.

Dr. Smullen received her bachelor’s degree in Chemistry with Distinction and medical degree from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. She completed a residency and clinical fellowship in Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery at Tulane University School of Medicine in La and a fellowship in Otology and Neurology at University of Miami – Jackson Memorial Hospital.

Dr. Smullen is Board certified by the American Board of Otolaryngology. She is currently the Peer Reviewer for Archives of Internal Medicine. Her area of interest is cochlear implants.



Massachusetts Eye And Ear Infirmary Ophthalmologist Johanna M. Seddon Receives Dr. Maurice F. Rabb, Jr. Award

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617-573-3340

Boston (Oct. 12, 2005) –Johanna M. Seddon, M.D., Sc.M., is the recipient of the first annual Dr. Maurice F. Rabb, Jr. Award presented by Prevent Blindness America (PBA), the nation’s leading volunteer eye health and safety organization dedicated to fighting blindness and saving sight. The Dr. Maurice F. Rabb, Jr. Award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated outstanding leadership and dedication to the field of vision health. The honor will be presented on Oct. 14 at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology in Chicago.

Dr. Seddon is an ophthalmologic retina surgeon as well as the founder and director of the epidemiology unit at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, and associate professor of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health. She was chosen for the award because of her continued dedication to age-related macular degeneration (AMD) research. This includes her pioneering work on the impact of nutrition and smoking on AMD patients, her innovative contributions to the field of genetic and environmental causes of this disease, and to improvements in the management and care of patients with AMD. AMD is the leading cause of blindness in people age 55 and older, and currently affects the vision of more than 2 million people in the United States.



MEEI researchers develop evaluation tools to improve surgical residents’ competence and care: Research described in the journal Ophthalmology, to be presented at AAO

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(617) 573-4170

Boston (Oct. 11, 2005) -- Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary (MEEI) researchers have developed two tools that assess a surgical resident’s skill in cataract surgery and his or her surgical knowledge, preparedness and interpersonal skills, all with the goal of improving surgical education programs to ultimately improve patient care. These tools, the first of their kind for ophthalmology, are described in two recent issues of the journal, Ophthalmology (October 2005 and July 2005) and will be presented at the American Academy of Ophthalmology annual meeting on Oct. 17.

“These tools measure objective and overall surgical outcomes and competence. Such measurements are becoming critical as surgical societies, as well as other important outside factors, begin to demand proof of a surgeon’s competence and outcomes. From the surgical educational standpoint, these tools help ophthalmology programs evaluate their residents and identify areas that need improving for particular residents,” said lead author Sandra Lora Cremers, M.D., F.A.C.S. “Ultimately such assessment tools will help us map out the surgical learning curve for residents as a whole and for individual residents, with the goal of improving our ability to teach surgery effectively.”

The first tool, the Objective Assessment of Skills in Intraocular Surgery (OASIS) form and database, consists of three parts: preoperative information, intraoperative information, and postoperative results and considers such factors as the phacoemulsification technique used, total phacoemulsification time, amount of irrigation fluid used, the resident’s surgical time, total time in the operating room, location of the incision, type of blade and instruments used. OASIS uses direct observation of residents’ performance during cataract surgery. Direct observation with objective analysis of surgical technique and proper immediate feedback after each resident surgical case are part of the professional responsibility of the teaching faculty.

The second tool, the Global Rating Assessment of Skills in Intraocular Surgery (GRASIS), complements OASIS and is used to assess a resident’s surgical care of patients as well as a resident’s surgical knowledge, preparedness and interpersonal skills. This form globally assesses other skills which may be less objective and includes 10 components of operative skill that are directly observed by faculty. “GRASIS is a global rating assessment and gives more of a 360 degree view of the surgeon’s competence,” Dr. Cremers said.

A final tool being developed at MEEI is a valid scoring system for surgical risks in cataract surgery. The RACS, Risk Assessment for Cataract Surgery, is a separate tool which will help surgeon’s compare skills more fairly. For instance, if a surgeon always gets “easy” cases, that surgeon’s outcomes may be relatively better than a surgeon who is always referred complex cases. Such a scoring system will also help counsel patients about their expected outcomes.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology, as the representative of the field of ophthalmology, continues to encourage the implementation of these types of assessment tools in order to continuously improve the state-of- the-art care patients have come to expect from this surgical field.



Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Appoints Sherif Ammar as Otolaryngologist

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617-573-3340

Boston (Sept. 28, 2005) – Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary (MEEI) has appointed Otolaryngologist Sherif Ammar, M.D., to its full-time medical staff. Dr. Ammar will be working at the South Suburban Center for Otolaryngology in Quincy, Mass.

In his new position, Dr. Ammar will treat a range of pediatric disorders including ear infections and tonsillitis, as well as adult disorders that include sinusitis, snoring and sleep apnea surgery, hearing loss, thyroid surgery, head and neck cancer, voice disorders, and general otolaryngology. He completed subspecialty training in facial plastic surgery and the treatment of nasal and sinus disorders as a fellow at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. He received his bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University in N.J. and his medical degree at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School-University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.

Dr. Ammar is Board certified by the American Board of Otolaryngology. He is a member of the American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, and the Alpha Omega Alpha medical honor society.



Harvard Medical School Department of Ophthalmology Awarded Research to Prevent Blindness Grants

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617-573-3340

Boston (August 17, 2005) – The Harvard Medical School Department of Ophthalmology was awarded a grant from Research to Prevent Blindness (RPB) for $110,000. The grant will help support research into the causes, treatment, and prevention of diseases that cause blindness. Joan W. Miller, M.D., professor and chair of the Department of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School and chief of ophthalmology at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, will help in leading the research programs.

Over the years, RPB, the world’s leading non-government supporter of eye research directed at the prevention, treatment or eradication of all diseases that threaten vision, has awarded Harvard Medical School grants totaling $5,245,215. Funding from RPB has supported research at the Infirmary and other institutions into the causes of eye diseases such as age related macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa, glaucoma, and melanoma.

“This grant allows the Department of Ophthalmology to offer the best treatment to patients by continuing the research that is needed to investigate more factors involved in vision loss,” said Dr. Miller.

RPB also recognized the research contributions of two of the most accomplished clinician-scientists of the Ophthalmology Department with individual grant awards. Dr. Lois E.H. Smith of Children’s Hospital Boston was granted the RPB Lew R. Wasserman Merit Award for $55,000 in support of her basic science and translational clinical research programs aimed at preventing the neurological deficits and blindness that are associated with premature birth.

Dr. David G. Hunter, ophthalmologist-in-chief at Children’s Hospital Boston, was honored with the RPB Walt and Lilly Disney Award for Amblyopia Research. The $50,000 grant will facilitate Dr. Hunter’s efforts to develop new clinical tools to improve pediatric vision screening and prevent lifelong visual disability that results from undetected and untreated amblyopia in children.

Dr. Miller noted, “With these grant awards, RPB is sponsoring important work that is likely to have great beneficial impact on the lives of prematurely born infants and young children who are at considerable risk for vision loss or impairment.”



Mass. Eye and Ear Infirmary Researchers Discover that Enzyme Calcineurin Contributes to Glaucoma and Use Drug to Block Retinal Ganglion Cell Death

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(617) 573-4170

Boston(Aug. 8, 2005) – Glaucoma causes blindness by killing retinal ganglion cells, the cells that make up the optic nerve. The biggest risk factor for developing glaucoma is elevated intraocular pressure, but lowering the pressure alone does not always stop the progression of this blinding disease. Research is underway to identify why the retinal ganglion cell dies and to find ways to stop retinal ganglion cell death. Scientists at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary (MEEI) are a step closer to solving the mystery. They have discovered that that an enzyme, calcineurin, contributes to retinal ganglion cell death in animal models and have used a drug to inhibit the death of these cells. Their findings will be posted on the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences online early edition the week of Aug. 8.

According to Cynthia L. Grosskreutz, M.D., Ph.D., senior author of the study and co-director of the Glaucoma Service at MEEI, neuroprotection as a strategy has been proposed as an adjunctive approach to pressure lowering in glaucoma, but target candidates have been elusive.

“In glaucoma, we know that the disease progresses because the retinal ganglion cells die. Our goal is to figure out what mechanisms govern this cell death and to develop a strategy for protecting the cells from the things that cause them to die,” she explained. “In the studies reported in this paper, we use animal models of glaucoma to identify calcineurin as a contributor to retinal ganglion cell death in experimental glaucoma. We were able to use the drug FK506 to inhibit calcineurin and observe significant protection of the optic nerve and retinal ganglion cells.”

The research results suggest that calcineurin activation and cleavage may play an important role in glaucomatous optic nerve degeneration and point to a specific molecular target in retinal ganglion cells that may be amenable to therapeutic intervention such as the use of drugs like FK506. This is the first time this particular enzyme was identified as a cause of retinal cell death in glaucoma.

“Better understanding of how and why the retinal cells die can help us develop better treatments for this disease, which affects more than 66 million people worldwide and is the leading cause of irreversible blindness,” Grosskreutz said.



Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Hires Michael J. Collins as Vice President of Research Administration

Contact: Public Affairs
617-573-3341

Boston (Aug. 3, 2005) — The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary (MEEI) has appointed Michael J. Collins, a resident of Bradford, Mass., as Vice President Research Administration. The announcement was made by MEEI President F. Curtis Smith. In this position, Mr. Collins will be responsible for the comprehensive management of MEEI’s research activities, including oversight of the Offices of Research Administration and Research Compliance.

Mr. Collins brings to MEEI several years of experience in the area of grants and contracts administration and management, most recently as Director of Research Grants Administration at Boston Medical Center. His breadth of experience includes fiscal management, pre-award, post-award and research compliance, oversight of A-133 audits, as well as database management and development.

“I am excited to welcome Mr. Collins as Vice President Research Administration. His education and professional qualifications are befitting to an institution with the Infirmary’s history of excellence in clinical research,” said Smith.



Dr. Gragoudas to Receive ARVO’s Weisenfeld Award

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(617) 573-4170

Aug. 3, 2005 – The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) announced today that Evangelos S. Gragoudas, M.D., Director of the Retina Service at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, has been selected to receive the Association’s 2006 Weisenfeld Award, which is presented annually for Excellence in Ophthalmology. The award will be presented to Gragoudas during ARVO’s 2006 Annual Meeting in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in May, 2006.

The Mildred Wiesenfeld Award is presented to an individual in recognition of distinguished scholarly contributions to the clinical practice of ophthalmology. Dr. Gragoudas is this year’s recipient for his pioneering achievement in the use of protein beam irradiation in the treatment of intraocular melanoma and for the development of photodynamic therapy for neovascular age-related macular degeneration.

In addition to directing the Retina Service at MEEI, Dr. Gragoudas is a Professor of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School. He received his medical degree from National and Capodistrian University of Athens in Greece, and served his residency at Boston University. Dr. Gragoudas currently serves as Secretary of The Macula Society and on the Editorial Board of EyeNet. He is a past recipient of the Arnall Patz Medal for outstanding contributions in the study of retinal vascular diseases and the author of numerous books and peer-reviewed publications.

 


Mass. Eye and Ear Infirmary Researcher Named Professor of Otology and Laryngology at Harvard Medical School

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(617) 573-4170

Boston (July 20, 2005) – John J. Rosowski, Ph.D., an internationally renowned hearing investigator in the Eaton-Peabody Laboratory at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary (MEEI), was recently promoted to Professor of Otology and Laryngology at Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Rosowski received his doctorate in 1979 at the University of Pennsylvania. He completed his post-doctoral fellowship at the Eaton-Peabody Laboratory and the Research Laboratory of Electronics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and joined the Eaton-Peabody Laboratory research staff in 1982. He has served as an associate professor since 1989.

The Eaton-Peabody Laboratory at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary is one of the foremost auditory neuroscience laboratories in the world. In addition to being a senior researcher in this laboratory, Dr. Rosowski is a faculty affiliate in the Harvard/MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology Program. Besides his research, he plays an important role in teaching graduate students in the HST program as well as residents in otolaryngology at Harvard Medical School.

“Dr. Rosowski is an extremely valued member of our faculty, not only for his seminal contribution to modeling and comparative anatomy of the ear and his innovative work providing a scientific basis for middle ear reconstruction, but also for his abiding willingness and effectiveness at teaching at a variety of levels,” said Joseph B. Nadol, Jr., M.D., Chief of Otolaryngology at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and Chairman of Otology and Laryngology at Harvard Medical School. “Dr. Rosowski is a true scholar.”

Dr. Rosowski’s research is focused primarily in two areas: comparative anatomy of hearing, which allows insights into critical structural elements that result in differences in the physiology of hearing, and mechanics of the middle ear and how this may be applied to understand surgical techniques for reconstruction of the middle ear.

Dr. Rosowski is a resident of Arlington, Mass., and is married to Dr. Jean Rosowski. They have two children, Emily and Kathryn.



Mass. Eye and Ear Ranked a Top Hospital for Ears and Eyes, in U.S. News’ “America’s Best Hospitals”

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617- 573-4170

Boston (July 8, 2005) -- The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary ranked second in the nation for otolaryngology (ear, nose and throat) and fourth in the nation for ophthalmology (eyes), according to U.S. News and World Report’s “America’s Best Hospitals” survey.

“The Infirmary’s reputation as one of the nation’s best hospitals is made possible by the dedication of the physicians, researchers, nurses, employees and volunteers who live and breathe our mission to provide outstanding care for our patients every day,” said F. Curtis Smith, president of the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.

The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary’s ranking in otolaryngology improved this year (up from #3 to #2), and its ranking in ophthalmology remained steady.

The "America's Best Hospitals" survey was conducted in conjunction with the National Opinion Research Center, a noted social-science research group at the University of Chicago. The survey assesses hospital care in 17 medical specialties.



Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Appoints Catherine E. Grein as Trustee

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617-573-3340

Boston (July 11, 2005) — The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary has elected Catherine E. Grein, a resident of West Newton, Mass., as Trustee, Member of the Corporation for the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.

Ms. Grein is a Certified Public Accountant who has worked in corporate taxation, focused primarily in regulated utilities and unregulated energy companies for 30 years. She has worked with two major international accounting firms and also as an independent tax consultant. She received a master’s degree from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College.

Ms. Grein is a talented musician and has studied music at Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y., and Wellesley College. She has studied instruments ranging from piano, voice, and the pipe organ and serves as an active member of the Board of Directors of Boston Lyric Opera Company, and as the Treasurer and a Trustee of the All Newton Music School. Ms. Grein also serves as an assistant organist and a member of the choir at St. Ignatius Church in Chestnut Hill, Mass.



Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Appoints Lynn Bushee Manager of Vision Rehabilitation

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617-573-3340

Boston (June 17, 2005) – The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary has appointed Lynn Bushee, a resident of Andover, Mass., as the manager of the Infirmary’s Vision Rehabilitation Center. Ms. Bushee’s position entails overseeing operations for the visually impaired and contacting external agencies about the uniqueness of the Vision Rehabilitation Center, which uses vision devices ranging from glasses to telescopes.

Ms. Bushee has prior experience as a Reimbursement Specialist at Genzyme Biosurgery, where she acted as a liaison to third party payer, hospital and physician practices to raise awareness for Genzyme Biosurgery technology. Ms. Bushee was also a social worker at the Vision Rehabilitation Clinic of Boston University Medical Center. As a social worker, she developed support groups for the visually impaired, with the focus on disease and severity of loss.



Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Appoints Joseph A. Milano as Trustee

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617-573-3340

Boston (July 11, 2005) — The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary has elected Joseph A. Milano, a resident of Lynnfield, Mass., as Trustee, Member of the Corporation for the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.

Mr. Milano is the President and Chief Executive Officer of The Union Oyster House, “America’s Oldest Restaurant,” in Boston, Mass. In 2001 he was recognized as the “Restaurateur of the Year.” He served on the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Restaurant Association and as Director of the Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau. Mr. Milano received a bachelor’s degree in biology from Norwich University, the nation’s oldest private military college. The university awarded him with an Honorary Doctorate in Public Service in 2003.

Mr. Milano is also involved with the community and charities of Boston. He is the Honorary Consul General of the Kingdom of Thailand for Boston, the Director of the Freedom Trail Foundation, and the Sectional Chairman of the United Way of Massachusetts Bay.



Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Appoints John D. DesPrez III as Trustee

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617-573-3340

Boston (July 11, 2005) — The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary has elected John D. DesPrez III, a resident of Boston, Mass., as Trustee, Member of the Corporation for the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.

Mr. DesPrez is the President and Chief Executive Officer of John Hancock Financial Services, Inc. He is responsible for overseeing John Hancock Wealth Management’s five core businesses, which include Group Pensions, Mutual Funds, Fixed and Variable Annuities, College Savings, and Guaranteed and Structured Financial Products. In 1998 the Manufacturers Life Insurance Co. (U.S.A.) named him Chairman and President, and he held this position until 2004. In this position, he oversaw the expansion, operation, and presentation of all the Manulife operations in the United States. Mr. DesPrez also practiced law and was an Associate and a Partner with the firm of Jones & Blouch Attorneys-at-Law.

Mr. DesPrez also serves as an active member for a variety of industry organizations, including the Board of Governors of the Investment Company Institute, Washington, D.C.



Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Appoints Fay Donohue as Trustee

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617-573-3340

Boston (July 11, 2005) — The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary has elected Fay Donohue, a resident of Sudbury, Mass., as Trustee, Member of the Corporation for the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.

Ms. Donohue is the President and Chief Operating Officer of DentaQuest Ventures in Boston, Mass. DentaQuest is one of the largest dental benefit service companies in the country with over nine million members and 600 employees. Before becoming involved with DentaQuest, Ms. Donohue was the Executive Vice President of Delta Dental Plan of Massachusetts. She received a master’s degree in business administration from Boston College, a master of arts from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy Tufts University and a bachelor of arts from Bryn Mawr College.

Ms. Donohue serves as an active member of the Board of the National Association of Dental Plans and as Vice Chairman of the Foundation for Education at Lincoln Sudbury.



Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Appoints David Clem as Trustee

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617-573-3340

Boston (July 11, 2005) — The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary has elected David Clem, a resident of Hanover, N.H., as Trustee, Member of the Corporation for the Foundation of Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.

Mr. Clem is the Managing Partner of Lyme Properties. Lyme Properties is a real estate development company that focuses on the development of first-quality life science research facilities within mixed-use projects that are located in close proximity to educational and medical centers. Mr. Clem is best known for his work in Kendall Square, Cambridge, including One Kendall Square and the new headquarters for Genzyme at 500 Kendall Street.

When Mr. Clem is not busy with his current position, he is an active member of Dartmouth College alumni affairs and serves on the Dartmouth Real Estate Advisory Committee.



Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Appoints David Loeser as Trustee

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617-573-3340

Boston (July 11, 2005) — The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary has elected David Loeser, a resident of Needham, Mass., as trustee, Member of the Corporation for the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.

Mr. Loeser is the vice president and chief financial officer of Abt Associates Inc. His position entails overseeing the financial and administrative affairs of the company. Prior to his position at Abt Associates Inc., he was the vice president of finance and administration and treasurer at Charles River Associates Inc., an economics and business consulting firm. He also worked as the finance director and corporate controller for Harbridge House and for Coopers & Lybrand, where he was a certified public accountant.

At the Babson College Graduate School of Business Mr. Loeser served as an adjunct faculty member and taught financial management. He was also an active member of the board of directors of Employee Owned S Corporations of America (ESCA.



Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Appoints Christine McLellan as Assistant Manager of Pharmacy Services and Clinical Coordinator

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Boston (July 5, 2005) – The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary appointed Christine McLellan, a resident of Cambridge, Mass., as assistant manager of pharmacy services and clinical coordinator. In this position she will assist in the day-to-day operations at the pharmacy and she is responsible for the clinical aspects of the pharmacy.

Ms. McLellan has been an employee at the Infirmary for four years and has a doctorate in pharmacy from the University of Rhode Island College of Pharmacy. She serves as a member of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists and the American Pharmacists Association.



Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Elects David N. Saul to the Board of Directors

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Boston (July 11, 2005) – The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary recently elected David N. Saul, a resident of Wayland, Mass., as a member of its Board of Directors.

Mr. Saul is the senior vice president of State Street’s Office of Architecture and Data Management Services. State Street Corp. is the world’s leading provider of services to institutional investors. Mr. Saul received both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Aeronautics and Astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Mr. Saul has served as a trustee for the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary since 2000. He also serves as a member of the Association for Computing Machinery and as a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Computer Society.

“Mr. Saul’s knowledge of information technology and his experience as a trustee of the Infirmary makes him the ideal addition to the board of directors,” said Infirmary President Curt Smith.



Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Appoints Janet Burrows James as Trustee

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Boston (July 11, 2005) — The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary has elected Janet Burrows James, a resident of Boston, Mass., as Trustee, Member of the Corporation for the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.

Ms. James is a General Partner of RockPort Capital Partners, L.P., a $125 million venture capital fund that invests in energy and power technologies, process and prevention technologies and advanced materials. Prior to her work at Rockport Capital, she was the Chief Executive Officer of Citizens Gas Supply Corp. She has a bachelor’s degree in Government from Dartmouth College and a master’s degree in Finance from Columbia University.

Ms. James is on the Board of Directors of CMBS Holdings, Inc., a subsidiary of Aetna. She is also Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Perkins School for the Blind.



Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Appoints William E. “Wilber” James as Trustee

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Boston (July 11, 2005) — The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary has elected Wilber James, a resident of Boston, Mass., as Trustee, Member of the Corporation for the Foundation of Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.

Mr. James is a founding partner and managing general partner of RockPort Capital Partners, a V.C. firm specializing in energy and power technologies, advanced materials, and process and prevention technologies. He is the chairman and primary shareholder of RockPort Group with investments in banking, telecommunications, crude oil, and petroleum products trading. Before his position at RockPort Capital Partners, he was the chairman and chief executive officer of Citizens Corp. He subsequently became chairman of Citizens Power, LLC, a subsidiary of the Peabody Group. Mr. James is a graduate of Colorado College and served in the Peace Corps/Kenya and as a VISTA director in the United States.

Mr. James is the acting chairman of the African Wildlife Foundation and is a Trustee for The Cape Ann Historical Association. He is also a board member of Peabody Energy, Tempus Fugit Corp. and Apanage Corp., and sits on the advisory board of the National Peace Corp. Association.

 

Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Appoints Ralph F. Mastriano as Pharmacy Manager

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Boston (June 27, 2005) – The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary has appointed Ralph F. Mastriano, a resident of Canton, Mass., as Manager of Pharmacy Services.

Mr. Mastriano has prior experience as the Director of Pharmacy at Franciscan Hospital for Children in Boston, Mass.

Mr. Mastriano received a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy and a master’s degree in pharmacy administration from Northeastern University.

Mr. Mastriano is on the Board of Directors for the Massachusetts Independent Pharmacists Association, a member of The Conference of Boston Teaching Hospitals, and the American Society of Health System Pharmacists.



Higher Levels of Systemic Inflammatory Markers Associated with Progression of AMD

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Results published in June issue of the Archives of Ophthalmology.

Boston (June 15, 2005) - Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of irreversible visual impairment and blindness among persons aged 60 and older. With the elderly population steadily growing, the burden related to this loss of visual function will increase. Limited treatment options exist and prevention remains the best approach for addressing this public health concern.

AMD and cardiovascular disease share common risk factors. Inflammatory biomarkers, including C-reactive protein (CRP) and interleukin 6 (IL-6), have been associated with cardiovascular disease. Researchers led by Johanna M. Seddon, M.D., at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health, conducted a prospective longitudinal study to examine several biomarkers for cardiovascular disease, including CRP and IL-6, to measure the relationship between these biomarkers and incidence rates of progression of AMD. They found that higher levels of the systemic inflammatory markers CRP and IL-6 are independently associated with the progression of AMD.

“To our knowledge, this is the first prospective study to report a positive association between the systemic inflammatory markers CRP and IL-6 and the rate of progression to advanced AMD,” the researchers wrote. “Smoking and obesity were significantly related to both CRP and IL-6 levels. Higher values of CRP and IL-6 were found to be significantly related to AMD independent of these biomarkers and other established risk factors. These results, together with our cross-sectional report of an association between AMD and CRP and previous research on the topic, may shed light on the mechanisms and pathogenesis of AMD developments and prognosis. Anti-inflammatory agents may have a role in preventing AMD, and inflammatory biomarkers may provide a method of identifying people for whom these agents would be more or less effective.”

The prospective cohort study began in 1989 and included 251 participants aged 60 and older who had some sign of nonexudative AMD and visual acuity of 20/200 or better in at least one eye at baseline. The AMD status was assessed by standardized grading of fundus photographs. Stored fasting blood specimens obtained at baseline were analyzed for levels of the various biomarkers. The average follow-up time was 4.6 years.
Dr. Seddon and her colleagues have previously established that smoking and nutrition are modifiable factors associated with the development and progression of AMD. They are now also searching for the genes involved in the etiology of this increasing cause of blindness.

This research was funded by grants from the Foundation Fighting Blindness, the Massachusetts Lions Eye Research Fund Inc., the Epidemiology Unit Research Fund of the MEEI, Boston, DSM Inc., of Parsippany, NJ, and in part by a grant from the National Eye Institute, Bethesda, MD, and by a Lew R. Wasserman Merit Award from Research to Prevent Blindness, Inc., NY.

About the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, http://www.meei.harvard.edu The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, an independent specialty hospital, is an international center for treatment and research and a teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School.



Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Physician, Michael J. Cunningham, M.D., appointed President of the American Society of Pediatric Otolaryngology

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Boston (June 15, 2005) — Michael J. Cunningham, M.D, a Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Pediatric Otolaryngologist, assistant professor of Otology and Laryngology at Harvard Medical School and resident of Jamaica Plain, MA, was recently appointed president of the American Society of Pediatric Otolaryngology (ASPO). The mission of the ASPO is to promote advancement in the care of children with otorhinolaryngologic disorders.

Dr. Cunningham is board certified in Otolaryngology and Pediatrics, and his clinical interests include sinus and airway management, hemangiomas and vascular malformations, and congenital head and neck anomalies. Dr. Cunningham was recently featured as one of the nation’s leading medical specialists by Castle and Connolly’s annual publication, “America’s Top Doctors.”



Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Presents Victoria McCloskey with the Rita Kelly Award

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Boston (May 26, 2005) — The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary presented Victoria McCloskey, R.N., a resident of Hyde Park, Mass., with the Rita Kelly Memorial Scholarship. The Rita Kelly Memorial Scholarship is given annually to nurses who have motivation for professional development and education.

Ms. McCloskey has been a nurse in the Operating Room for more than five years. “She has worked diligently to assist in developing strategies to impact excellent patient outcomes with a positive financial prospective. She adjusts easily to situations that occur and is always prepared to meet her day, whether she is delivering direct care or contributing to committee work,” said Executive Vice President of Patient Services Carol Covell.



Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Presents Annette Driscoll with the Charles Wood Award for Exceptional Patient Service

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Boston (May 31, 2005) - The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary presented Annette Driscoll, R.N., a resident of Revere, Mass., with the Charles Wood Award. The Charles Wood Award for Exceptional Patient Service recognizes those employees whose commendable activities benefit the interests of patients and the Infirmary.

Ms. Driscoll has been a nurse with the Infirmary for more than 40 years. “She has displayed excellent internal and external customer service skills and stands out for her exceptional work, ethical behavior and professionalism,” said Executive Vice President of Patient Services Carol Covell.



Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Presents Pearl Icuspit With the Charles Wood Award for Exceptional Patient Service

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Boston (May 31, 2005) – The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary presented Pearl Icuspit, R.N., with the Charles Wood Award. The Charles Wood Award for Exceptional Patient Service recognizes those employees whose commendable activities benefit the interests of patients and the Infirmary.

Ms. Icuspit has been a nurse with the Infirmary for over 14 years. “She delivers patient care by maintaining excellent interpersonal relationships with patients and their families. She is a role model and mentor to other members of the staff,” said Executive Vice President of Patient Services Carol Covell.



Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Presents Nancie Guilmet with the James Schneider Memorial Scholarship

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Boston (May 26, 2005) — The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary presented Nancie Guilmet, a resident of Andover, Mass., with the James Schneider Memorial Scholarship. The James Schneider Memorial Scholarship addresses Mr. Schneider’s concerns about developing patient-care services through education and association with other related health professions.

Ms. Guilmet has been an employee at the Infirmary for two years. “She has been an attendee of several in-house education programs and has assisted at staff meetings. She is a dedicated employee who is an advocate for customer-service and is devoted to safe nursing practice,” said Executive Vice President of Patient Services Carol Covell.



Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Presents Judy McGinn with the Norman Knight Excellence in Nursing Clinical Practice Award

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Boston (May 31, 2005) — The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary presented Judy McGinn, R.N., a resident of Cumberland, R.I., with the Norman Knight Excellence in Nursing Clinical Practice Award. The Norman Knight Excellence in Nursing Clinical Practice Award acknowledges achievements of nurses who demonstrate a long-term commitment to the provision of excellent care for Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary patients.

Ms. McGinn has been a clinical resource nurse at the Infirmary for the past 34 years. “She has always been dedicated, compassionate, and professional to her fellow staff members and with her patients and their families,” said Executive Vice President of Patient Services Carol Covell.



Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Presents Jean Linke with the Rita Kelly Award

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Boston (May 26, 2005) — The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary presented Jean Linke, R.N., a resident of Natick, Mass., with the Rita Kelly Award. The Rita Kelly Memorial Scholarship is given annually to the nurses who have motivation for professional development and education.

Ms. Linke has been a clinical resource nurse for the Infirmary for more than 15 years. “She cares significantly about the advancement in nursing practice at the Infirmary and she is always looking for ways to develop communication in the Operating Room. She suggests procedures that will positively impact the Operating Room’s efficiency while keeping the patient’s needs first,” said Executive Vice President of Patient Services Carol Covell.



Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Presents Gloria Brady with the Norman Knight Excellence in Nursing Leadership Award

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Boston (May 26, 2005) — The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary presented Gloria Brady, R.N., a resident of North Andover, Mass., with the Norman Knight Excellence in Nursing Leadership Award. The Norman Knight Excellence in Nursing Leadership Award acknowledges achievements of nurses who display leadership that inspires others.
Ms. Brady has been a dedicated nursing supervisor at the Infirmary for 29 years. “She constantly improves the image of the nursing department through her outstanding leadership. She is a real enthusiast and practices positive customer service to both the internal and external customers,” said Executive Vice President of Patient Services Carol Covell.



Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Presents Glen Bunting with the Charles Wood Award for Exceptional Patient Service

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Boston (May 26, 2005) - The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary presented Glen Bunting, a resident of Cambridge, Mass., with the Charles Wood Award. The Charles Wood Award for Exceptional Patient Service recognizes those employees whose commendable activities benefit the interests of patients and the Infirmary.

Mr. Bunting has been a clinical director in the voice and speech laboratory at the Infirmary since 1992. “He is a professional clinician in voice disorders and demonstrates proficiency as a teacher and a mentor. He is perfectly suited to lead the Voice Laboratory because he has a positive attitude, ethical behavior, and has a great respect for his co-workers,” said Executive Vice President of Patient Services Carol Covell.



Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Presents Fay Campion with the Norman Knight Excellence in Nursing Clinical Practice Award

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Boston (May 26, 2005)—The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary presented Fay Campion, R.N., a resident of Boston, Mass., with the Norman Knight Excellence in Nursing Clinical Practice Award.

The Norman Knight Excellence in Nursing Clinical Practice Award is an acknowledgment of nurses who demonstrate a long-term commitment to the provision of excellent care for Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary patients.

Ms. Campion has been a nurse at the Infirmary for the past 32 years. “She is known for her incredible capability of putting patients to ease before a surgery. She is a strong believer in quality customer service and she arrives to work each day with a positive attitude and a big smile,” said Executive Vice President of Patient Services Carol Covell.

 

Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Presents Asenet Craffey with the James Schneider Award

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Boston (May 31, 2005) — The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary presented Asenet Craffey, R.N., a resident of Dedham, Mass., with the James Schneider Memorial Scholarship. James Schneider was a former pharmacy manager at the Infirmary. The James Schneider Memorial Scholarship addresses Schneider’s concerns about developing patient-care services through education and association with other related health professions.

Ms. Craffey has been a clinical resource nurse with the Infirmary since 1984 and she was recently promoted to Nurse Manager of the Inpatient Unit. “Over the years she has demonstrated a great degree of clinical capability. She maintains the highest standards of care and is admired for her compassion with her patients and their families,” said Executive Vice President of Patient Services Carol Covell.



Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Presents Christine Wachter with the Rita Kelly Award

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Boston (May 26, 2005) — The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary presented Christine Wachter, R.N., a resident of Canton, Mass., with the Rita Kelly Award. The Rita Kelly Memorial Scholarship is given annually to the nurses who have motivation for professional development and education.

Ms. Wachter has been a nurse for the Infirmary for the past 25 years. “She has played an active part in the Quality Assurance Committee for three years. She is an advocate in customer service and is known for her kindness and flexibility,” said Executive Vice President of Patient Services Carol Covell.



Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Presents Ruth Viscione with Norman Knight Excellence in Nursing Clinical Practice Award

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Boston (May 31, 2005) — The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary presented Ruth Viscione, R.N., a resident of Quincy, Mass., with the Norman Knight Excellence in Nursing Clinical Practice Award.The Norman Knight Excellence in Nursing Clinical Practice Award is an acknowledgment of nurses who demonstrate a long-term commitment to the provision of excellent care for Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary patients.

Ms. Viscione has been a nurse with the Infirmary for almost 18 years. She is an active member of the Quality Council and she partakes in many different quality improvement monitoring activities. “Ms. Viscione’s flexibility enables her to help with other departments. She is known for being pleasant, kind, and respectful of her patients and their families,” said Executive Vice President of Patient Services Carol Covell.



MTV, Harvard Web Study Reveals Adolescent Disconnect: Unaware Of Hearing Peril, Yet Willing To Listen

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Results published in April Issue of Pediatrics

Boston (April 4, 2005) -- When it comes to the knowledge that loud noise may result in hearing loss and that hearing protection can help, the MTV generation suffers a definite disconnect, according to the results of a novel web-based survey designed by researchers from the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary (MEEI), Harvard Medical School, and the Harvard School of Public Health.

While many adolescents and young adults consciously expose themselves to loud music for entertainment, the researchers hypothesized that these individuals might not be aware that over-exposure could result in hearing loss. To find out, and to assess the feasibility of a web-based survey to collect health information from this group, a 28-question survey was designed by the researchers and posted by the Music Television Video (MTV.com) web site for three days. The survey included questions about views towards general health issues, including hearing loss, and was presented to random visitors at the MTV site. At the end of the three-day period, 9,693 surveys were completed.

According to Roland Eavey, M.D., S.M., Director of Pediatric Otolaryngology at the MEEI, and his co-authors, the results were both disheartening and hopeful. Hearing loss was defined on a Likert scale as a low priority relative to other health issues. Hearing loss was ranked a big problem by only 8% of respondents as compared to other health issues: sexually transmitted diseases, 50%; alcohol/drug use, 47%; depression, 44%; smoking, 45%, nutrition and weight issues, 31% and acne, 18%. Notably, most respondents had experienced tinnitus (ringing in the ears) or hearing impairment after attending concerts (61%) and clubs (43%). Only 14% of respondents had used protective earplugs; however, many said they could be motivated to try ear protection if they were aware of the potential for permanent hearing loss (66%) or were advised by a medical professional (59%).

"The good news is that many young people indicated that they would consider wearing hearing protection, for an entirely preventable and lifelong hearing loss condition, if they were counseled by a medical professional," Dr. Eavey said, who is also professor of otology and laryngology at HMS.

Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is a significant social and public health problem. Several studies have reported an increasing trend of NIHL in children and adolescents, the authors wrote. In a large, national study, Niskar et al estimated that 12.5% of children aged 6 to 19 years have noise-induced hearing loss. This phenomenon has been linked to recreational noise and leisure activities. Although short periods of exposure to amplified sound may be experienced without permanent hearing loss, the damage from chronic exposure to those sound levels is cumulative so that a slight hearing loss in childhood can eventually become a substantial one in adulthood. The prevention of such hearing loss begins with education targeting children and young adults.

According to Dr. Eavey, MTV.com and other web vehicles may be effective in reaching the target audience. "What a way cool method to learn from and to inform individuals about ear health! We are grateful to MTV (which will also link the actual publication to the MTV.com website), and especially to Ms. Shari Redstone, for invaluable assistance and guidance," he said.

Co-authors on the paper included Jeanne H. Chung, M.D., Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Catherine M. Des Roches, Ph.D., Harvard School of Public Health, and John Meunier, Ph.D., Cogent Research, Cambridge.

About the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, http://www.meei.harvard.edu The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, an independent specialty hospital, is an international center for treatment and research and a teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School.



Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Appoints David S. Flamand as General Manager of Environmental Services

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Boston (May 18, 2005) — The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary (MEEI) has appointed David S. Flamand, a resident of Kittery, Maine, as General Manager of Environmental Services. In the position, he will be responsible for management of 40 employees who provide housekeeping, linen and waste removal services at MEEI and at three offsite buildings.



Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Promotes Asenet Craffey, R.N., B.S.N., to Nurse Manager

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Boston (April 25, 2005)—The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary has appointed Asenet Craffey, a resident of Dedham, MA, as Nurse Manager of the Adult Inpatient and Intermediate Care Unit, where she will oversee all care delivered on the Infirmary’s only adult inpatient unit. Executive Vice President for Patients Services Carol Covel, R.N., M.S., made the announcement.

Ms. Craffey, who attended nursing school in the Philippines, where she received her B.S.N., cum laude, has worked for the Infirmary for over 20 years. Prior to her promotion to Nurse Manager, she held the positions of Clinical Leader, as well as Clinical Resource Nurse on the Adult Inpatient and Intermediate Care Unit.

Ms. Craffey, who is a member of the American Society of Ophthalmic Registered Nurses, received the Philippine Nurses Association of New England Member of the Year Award in 1997, in addition to the Norman Knight Clinical Excellence Award in 2003. Ms. Craffey is currently pursuing graduate studies at Regis College in Boston, MA.

Ms. Craffey’s promotion is well-deserved. Her skills and experience will ensure that the Infirmary’s Adult Inpatient and Intermediate Care Unit will continually provide quality nursing care to every patient,” said Ms. Covell.



Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Appoints Linda Belkner, R.N., as Administrative Manager for Nursing

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Boston (April 7, 2005) — The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary has appointed Linda Belkner, R.N., a resident of Concord, Mass., as Administrative Manager for Nursing. In this position, she will oversee Nursing Education, as well as assume responsibility for additional administrative duties. The announcement was made by Executive Vice President for Patient Services Carol Covell, R.N., M.S.

Having worked at the Infirmary for more than 25 years, Ms. Belkner held the position of Nurse Manager of the Infirmary’s Inpatient Adult, Intermediate Care and Hyperbaric Oxygen Units for the past 15 years. Ms. Belkner recently received the Norman Knight Nursing Leadership Award, which recognizes nurses whose demonstration of leadership provides inspiration to others.

“I’m excited to announce the promotion of Ms. Belkner to Administrative Manager for Nursing. Her years of experience and leadership at the Infirmary will provide unparalleled value to the position,” says Ms. Covell.

 

Mass. Eye and Ear Infirmary Researchers Shine a Light on Night Blindness

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Boston (March 21, 2005) – Scientists at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary have discovered a mutation in a gene that interferes with electrical signaling in the retina and causes a newly recognized form of abnormal vision associated with night blindness. Their findings are expected to be posted on the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences online early edition the week of March 21, 2005.

According to lead author, Thaddeus Dryja, M.D., director of the Ocular Molecular Genetics Laboratory at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and Professor of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School, the newly recognized defect provides scientists with fresh insights into how the eye processes visual information.

Normally, photoreceptor cells in the eye (the rods and cones) send signals to two types of neurons, called "ON" and "OFF" bipolar cells. The "ON" cells respond to increases in light intensity, while the "OFF" cells respond to decreases in light intensity. The newly identified gene defect interferes with the "ON" cells. They don't have the neurotransmitter receptor that allows them to receive signals from rods and cones, so that the patients' vision is mediated exclusively by the "OFF" cells,” Dr. Dryja explains.

“It is surprising that, despite this loss of one of the two major signaling pathways, the three patients studied have normal or only moderately reduced visual acuity and normal color vision. Their main symptom is an inability to see in lights so dim that normal individuals would only see in shades of gray without color -- a symptom called night blindness.

Dr. Dryja’s collaborators for this research included Terri L. McGee, Eliot L. Berson and Michael A. Sandberg of the Mass. Eye and Ear Infirmary and Berman-Gund Laboratory, Harvard Medical School; and Kenneth R. Alexander, Deborah J. Derlacki and Aruna S. Rajagopalan of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, the University of Illinois, Chicago. This work was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health and the Foundation Fighting Blindness.




Largest Twin Study of Age-Related Macular Degeneration Finds Genetics and Environment Play Large Role in Development of the Blinding Disease: Results published in March issue of Archives of Ophthalmology

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Boston (March 14, 2005) -- Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of irreversible blindness among older individuals in many parts of the world. In the United States alone, about 10 million people have signs of AMD. The relative importance of genes and environment in the development of this major public health problem is not well understood.

Researchers led by Johanna M. Seddon, M.D., at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health, conducted the largest study of twins of its kind. Analyses of monozygotic and dizygotic twins showed that genetic factors play a substantial role in the etiology of AMD and associated macular characteristics, explaining 46% to 71% of the variation in the overall severity of the disease. They found that environmental factors unique to each twin also contribute to the occurrence of this disease. This quantification of relative contributions to the development of AMD should guild further research on this important cause of blindness. Their findings were published in the March issue of Archives of Ophthalmology.

Johanna M. Seddon, M.D., Sc.M., director of the Epidemiology Unit at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and Associate Professor of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School, and her colleagues enrolled 840 twins throughout the United States who all had a complete ocular examination and photographs of the macula. Of these twins, 331 had no signs of maculopathy and 241 had early signs, while 162 had intermediate AMD and 106 had advanced AMD.

This is the largest twin study of AMD to date and the only population-based twin registry in the United States among elderly individuals. Authors quantified substantial genetic influences on AMD, contributed new information about the heritability of AMD, and established an important environmental contribution. “This twin study underscores the need for a multifactorial approach that incorporates genetic, environmental and biological factors to study the pathogenesis and clinical management of this blinding disease,” said Dr. Seddon.

Dr. Seddon and her colleagues have previously established that smoking and nutrition are modifiable factors associated with the development and progression of AMD. They are now also searching for the genes involved in the etiology of this increasing cause of blindness. This research was funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health, the Foundation Fighting Blindness, the Retirement Research Foundation, the Massachusetts Lions Eye Research Fund Inc. and the Epidemiology Unit Research Fund of the MEEI, Boston.

About the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary: The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, an independent specialty hospital, is an international center for treatment and research and a teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School.

About Harvard Medical School: Harvard Medical School has more than 5,000 full-time faculty working in eight academic departments based at the School's Boston quadrangle or in one of 47 academic departments at 18 Harvard teaching hospitals and research institutes. Those Harvard hospitals and research institutions include Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Cambridge Health Alliance, the CBR Institute for Biomedical Research, Children's Hospital Boston, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Forsyth Institute, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Joslin Diabetes Center, Judge Baker Children's Center, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Massachusetts General Hospital, Massachusetts Mental Health Center, McLean Hospital, Mount Auburn Hospital, Schepens Eye Research Institute, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, VA Boston Healthcare System.



Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Appoints Cynthia Grosskreutz As New Medical Staff President

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Boston (March 8, 2005) - The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary has appointed Cynthia Grosskreutz, M.D., Ph. D., a resident of Swampscott, Mass., as medical staff president.

Dr. Grosskreutz has held several positions at the Infirmary, including Clinical Associate in Surgery, Assistant in Ophthalmology, Assistant Surgeon and Associate Surgeon. Dr. Grosskreutz is currently the Co-Director of the Infirmary’s Glaucoma Consultation Service and President of the Ophthalmology Staff. She is also an Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Grosskreutz, whose research seeks to better understand how retinal ganglion cells die in glaucoma, is the author of numerous articles and a member of several professional organizations, including the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the American Glaucoma Society and the New England Ophthalmological Society.

Dr. Grosskreutz received bachelor’s degree in physics from Washington University. She also received a master’s degree in physics, a Ph.D. in pharmacology, and an M.D., all from the University of Iowa.

Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Chief of Ophthalmology and Chair of Harvard Medical School Department of Ophthalmology Joan W. Miller notes, “Dr. Grosskreutz’s surgical and research skills have proven a valuable asset to the Infirmary. I look forward to her continued contribution in her new role as medical staff president.”



Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Appoints Richard S. Mason as Chief Information Officer

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Boston (Jan. 19, 2005)—The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary has appointed Richard S. Mason, a resident of Sandwich, Mass., as Chief Information Officer. The announcement was made by F. Curtis Smith, President of the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.

Prior to joining the Infirmary, Mr. Mason held a variety of IT positions. Most recently, he served as Corporate Director and Site Chief Information Officer for Partners Healthcare Systems, where he managed systems development for financial and clinical operations, among other duties.

Majoring in management, Mr. Mason attended Northeastern University. A member of several professional organizations, including the Health Information Management Systems Society and the Society for Information Management, Mr. Mason possesses more than 20 years of Information Technology experience.

“It is with great enthusiasm that I welcome Mr. Mason to the position of Chief Information Officer. His extensive IT experience and expertise provide an invaluable asset to the Infirmary,” says Mr. Smith.



Robert A. Levine, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Physician, Receives Grant from the American Tinnitus Association

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Boston (Jan. 13, 2005) — Robert A. Levine, M.D., a Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary physician and resident of Brookline, Mass., has been awarded $75,000 from the American Tinnitus Association (ATA). The grant will be used to conduct research into new treatments for tinnitus, a condition that causes ringing or buzzing in the ears. Presently, there is no cure for tinnitus, which affects approximately 50 million adults in the United States.

The author of numerous articles concerning the condition, Dr. Levine is a member of the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary’s Eaton-Peabody Laboratory — a biomedical research facility dedicated to the causes of hearing and deafness. Dr. Levine, who is also Assistant Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School, will investigate the causes of a special type of tinnitus that occurs in synch with the heartbeat, called pulsatile tinnitus. In about 10 percent of cases, the cause of pulsatile tinnitus can be traced to abnormal blood flow near the inner ear. However, the cause of the remaining 90 percent of cases remains unclear. Using enhanced ear canal microphone recordings, Dr. Levine intends to develop more sensitive methods for detecting whether there is a sound source in the body causing pulsatile tinnitus. The success of this study could reduce the expense and time required to pinpoint the cause of pulsatile tinnitus and lead to a novel treatment that uses the same principle as noise-cancellation headphones.



Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Appoints Christian B. Snook as New Trustee

Contact: Public Affairs
617-573-3341

Boston (Jan. 7, 2005) — The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary has appointed Christian B. Snook, a resident of Cohasset, Mass., as a Trustee. Mr. Snook received a BBA in marketing from the University of Massachusetts and an MEd from Boston State College.

With more than 30 years of executive sales and marketing experience, Mr. Snook has been a management consultant for the last seven years. Prior to that, he held senior positions at Simon & Schuster for nine years, including Vice President, Director, Distributor Sales and Retail Marketing, and Vice President, Director of Client Services. Prior to joining Simon & Schuster, Mr. Snook spent 17 years at Time Warner as Vice President of Client Relations and Vice President Director of Wholesale Sales for Warner Publisher Services, where he was responsible for all publisher clients, including Warner Books, Ballantine Books, Fawcett Books, The Berkley Publishing Group and St. Martin’s Press.



Pegaptanib Provides Benefit for Neovascular Age-Related Macular Degeneration

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617-573-3340

Boston (Dec. 29, 2004) -- Results from two concurrent, prospective, double-blind, multi-center clinical trials show that pegaptanib (Macugen), an anti-vascular endothelial growth factor therapy, is an effective treatment for neovascular age-related macular degeneration (AMD), according to a paper in the Dec. 30 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. Macugen was approved by the Food and Drug Administration on Dec. 17.

AMD is the leading cause of irreversible, severe loss of vision in people 50 years and older in the developed world and remains an area of unmet medical need. The neovascular or wet form of the disease represents about 10 percent of the overall disease prevalence, but is responsible for 90 percent of the severe vision loss. In wet AMD, abnormal blood vessels grow under the central retina and cause a progressive loss of central vision, interfering with driving, reading and other everyday tasks. As the population ages, almost 1 million people over the age of 55 years in the United States are expected to develop AMD in the next five years, making it a major public health issue in an increasing population of older persons.

The paper in the New England Journal of Medicine details two clinical trials that were held at 117 sites in the Unites States, Canada, Europe, Israel, Australia and South America. Patients were eligible for inclusion if they were 50 years of age or older and had subfoveal choroidal neovascularization caused by AMD and a range of best corrected visual acuity of 20/40 to 20/320 in the study eye and of 20/8000 or better in the other eye. Of the 1,208 patients randomly assigned to treatment in the two studies, (297 patients were assigned to receive 0.3 mg of pegaptanib; 305 patients, 1.0 mg of pegaptanib; 302 patients, 3.0 mg of pegaptanib; and 304 patients, sham injections), 1,190 received at least one study treatment. Treatments were given by injection into the eye.

According to lead author, Evangelos Gragoudas, M.D., Director of Retina Services at the Massachusetts Eye and Infirmary and Professor of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School, pegaptanib produced a statistically significant and clinically meaningful benefit in the treatment of wet AMD.

“Overall, a reduced risk of visual-acuity loss was observed with all doses as early as six weeks after treatment was begun, with evidence of an increasing benefit over time up to week 54,” the authors write. “Pegaptanib reduced the chance of not only the loss of 15 letters or more of visual acuity (considered a moderate loss) but also a loss of 30 letters or more (six lines on the eye chart, which is considered a severe loss.) In addition, treatment with pegaptanib reduced the risk of progression to legal blindness in the study eye, promoted stability of vision, and in a small percentage of patients, resulted in more visual improvement at week 54 than among those receiving sham injections.”

The authors conclude that treatment with pegaptanib provide a statistically significant and clinically meaningful benefit in a broad spectrum of patients with neovascular AMD, regardless of the size or angiographic subtype of the lesion or the baseline visual acuity. The rate of injection-related adverse events represents a potentially modifiable risk but necessitates vigilance, the authors caution.

The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary (MEEI) in Boston participated in these clinical trials. In addition, researchers and physicians at MEEI -- Drs. Anthony P. Adamis (formerly of MEEI), Evangelos Gragoudas (MEEI) and Joan Miller (MEEI) -- were among the first to study the role of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), which causes abnormal blood vessel growth in eye disease. Their experimental studies showed that levels of VEGF protein were increased in eyes that developed abnormal new blood vessels, and that VEGF-blocking drugs were able to prevent the growth of these abnormal blood vessels. Others, including Harvard's Dr. Lloyd Paul Aiello of the Joslin Diabetes Center, Dr. Pat D’Amore of the Schepens Eye Research Institute and Dr. Lois Smith of Children's Hospital, corroborated the importance of VEGF in neovascular eye disease. These studies formed the basis for the drug development and clinical trials of anti-VEGF therapies, including pegaptanib, and demonstrate the importance of translational research, in order to transform scientific discoveries into new therapies for patients.

Pegaptanib differs from current treatments, which are directed at the results of the disease. Current treatments, which employ a drug and laser, are able to slow vision loss, but have not been widely applicable to all patients. Pegaptanib is the first treatment designed to target the source of the disease and blocks the pathological form of a chemical called VEGF, which is produced in the eye of patients with wet AMD.

The results of the two studies provide validation of the aptamer-based therapy in the treatment of human disease and support ongoing investigations into the use of VEGF antagonists in patients with diabetic retinopathy and retinal-vein occlusion, which are other disorders associated with elevated levels of intraocular VEGF.



Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Names Cambridge, Mass., Resident as Coordinator of Public Affairs

Contact: Public Affairs
617-573-4170

Boston (Jan. 10, 2005) — The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary has named Vannessa Carrington, a resident of Cambridge, Mass., as Coordinator of Public Affairs. In the position, she is involved in the planning and coordination of public affairs programs.</P.
A graduate of Savannah State College in Savannah, Ga., Ms. Carrington received a master’s degree from Boston University College of Communication, with a concentration in nonprofit public relations. Prior to joining the Infirmary, she held a number of positions in social service, including Clinical Case Screener and Clinical Trainer for the Department of Social Services Emergency Hotline. Most recently, Ms. Carrington worked in the editorial department at the Africana website (AOL-Time Warner), where she conducted research and contributed to website content.

 


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