CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--The ninth annual Aging Successfully Seminars, a two-part series to be presented April 11 and April 18 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Medical Department and the MIT Women's League, will explore two important health questions--the "war on pain" and the spread and control of infectious diseases and viruses.
The events are coordinated by Catherine N. Stratton, wife of the late president emeritus of MIT, Julius A. Stratton, and are part of the Catherine N. Stratton Seminar Series.
Both seminars are open to the public and will be held in the Bartos Theater of the Wiesner Building (E15), 20 Ames St., Cambridge, from 9:30am to noon. Coffee will be available at 9am. Questions from the audience will be taken at each seminar.
The April 11 seminar, "The War on Pain: Who is Winning?," will be moderated by Peter Reich, MD, the MIT Medical Department's chief of psychiatry.
Panel members will be Martin A. Samuels, MD, neurologist in chief at Brigham and Women's Hospital and professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School, and Robert N. Jamison, PhD, a clinical psychologist in the Departments of Anesthesia and Psychiatry at Brigham and Women's.
Dr. Samuels will describe the mechanics of pain as the impulse travels from the injured tissue to the brain. He will discuss how the pain threshold can be influenced by state of mind, depression and fatigue. Dr. Jamison will describe the management of acute and chronic pain.
The April 18 seminar, "Infectious Diseases and Viruses: Out of Control?," will open with remarks by William M. Kettyle, associate director of the MIT Medical Department, who will also moderate the session. Dr. Kettyle will describe how diseases are spread and counter measures that can be taken by susceptible elderly.
Panel members will be Robert A. Weinberg, PhD, professor of biology at MIT and a member of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, and Mary E. Wilson, MD, chief of infectious diseases at Mount Auburn Hospital and assistant professor of population and international health and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health. She is the author of A World Guide to Infectious Diseases: Diseases, Distribution, Diagnosis, which has been internationally recognized as a valuable reference.
Professor Weinberg will explain the lethal characteristics of viruses and how vaccines are developed. He will touch on genetic recombination as a means of preventing some inherited diseases.
Dr. Wilson will describe the work of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the formation of a "strike force" of physicians to mount an immediate attack on deadly viruses which are emerging around the world, such as Hanta and Ebola.