Spring/Summer 2002

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The Face of Frailty

By Mat Edelson

To find out why aging people go downhill physically, Linda Fried spent a decade sending researchers into the homes of 7,000 older women and men.

Seventy-eight-year-old Lillie Mae Jones doesn't look frail. She stands ramrod straight, offers a firm handshake and looks out from behind her gold-rimmed glasses with curious—and, one senses, slightly mischievous—clear brown eyes. Not only doesn't Jones look frail, she doesn't act frail. In the course of just a few minutes she demonstrates that she can—without any assistance—lift a gallon jug of water over her head, stand easily from a sitting position and walk down a hallway. The Baltimore resident's golden years appear to be treating her kindly. But in her case appearances may be deceiving, a possibility that explains why Jones is involved in the Women's Health and Aging Study. The most comprehensive, complex, expensive and lengthy study of older women ever designed, the investigation is the brainchild of Hopkins researcher Linda Fried.

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By Mary Ellen Miller

With more and more women becoming physicians, academic medicine may need an attitude adjustment toward the kids issue.

Patricia Thomas was in the middle of packing up her family of five for a move from Bethesda to Memphis when her oldest daughter, then 4, got the chicken pox. It was a horrendous case, and Thomas held her breath—and washed her hands obsessively—hoping it wouldn't spread to her two other children. As any mother can tell you, of course, it did.

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The Unknown Gertrude

By Kathleen Waters Sander

She was a poet, patron and member of the Lost Generation—but doctor? Stein's sojourn at the School of Medicine lasted just three and a half years.

With her inimitable style, Gertrude Stein once observed: "I have lived half my life in Paris, not the half that made me but the half in which I made what I made." Of the half of life that "made" her, Stein spent a critical part in Baltimore as a medical student at Johns Hopkins. In 1890s Baltimore, and particularly at Hopkins, she found a combustion of people, ideas and culture that ignited her talents, refocused her ambitions and launched a legendary career.

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