Seven of the 20 Ethiopian and Bnei Menashe women who graduated from Herzog Hospital's geriatric caregiver training program last December have already found jobs as nurses' aides in the Jerusalem hospital. The nursing department also helped the other 13 graduates find employment at other hospitals or nursing homes. The women, who come from around the country, spent five months at the geriatric/psychiatric hospital for 300 hours of course work and an equal time caring for patients under supervision. The immigrant women were given the knowledge needed to help them understand medical conditions of geriatric patients, and how to help them get out of bed to a wheelchair, cope with daily living, possible eating difficulties and other symptoms and needs. All this training, which included lessons in shiatsu and reflexology, were provided by hospital staff. The seven women hired by Herzog have integrated effectively into the daily routines of the departments where they are working, according to the hospital. They wear white uniforms that highlight their status as regular employees. "This adds to their sense of self esteem and how they are regarded and treated by patients and hospital staff," the hospital said. Another strong indicator of success is that all 20 women who enrolled graduated. During their course, the women were provided with breakfast and lunch due to their difficult economic situation. They didn't have to pay tuition, and the hospital gave each a monthly stipend over five months. They constituted the fourth graduating class of the Herzog Hospital training program, which was launched in January 2004 and has graduated a total of 125, of whom 27 are working at the Jerusalem institution. The program's reputation has served as a recruiting catalyst in the Ethiopian and Bnei Menashe communities, and candidates are now calling instead of having to be found. The sixth course will begin soon, and 21 have already enrolled. The hospital plans to include male students, but future courses are contingent upon obtaining funds. CORD BLOOD EXPORTED A unit of blood from an umbilical cord that wasn't needed to treat an Israeli patient has been transferred by Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer to the largest and most prestigious unrelated-donor transplant center in the world. It was purchased by the Seattle Cancer Care Center's National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP), and will be used to treat cancer patients. The Sheba cord blood bank remains the only center in Israel that performs double cord blood transplants on adults; blood from a single cord is used to treat a child and from two to treat an adult. It recently used cord blood, which can jump-start the immune systems of patients suffering from blood and lymph tumors and cure the disease, to treat four patients with aggressive acute leukemia. Getting blood from the discarded umbilical cord of newborn Jewish babies is important to the US center, as such genotypes are relatively rare there but needed by cancer patients of Jewish origin, says Prof. Arnon Nagler, director of the hospital's hematology division. The blood can be used even before chemotherapy for treatment of patients unrelated to the blood donors. The US Food and Drug Administration sets the payment for the dose, which is $21,000. FACE AGING NOT UNIFORM As people get older, their faces don't age uniformly, despite the longstanding notion to the contrary. Researchers at the University Texas Southwestern Medical Center have found that multiple, distinct compartments of fat in the face age at different rates. Their published discovery in a recent issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery may offer new ways to help turn back the clock. "For hundreds of years, everyone has believed that the fat on the face is one confluent mass, which eventually gets weighed down by gravity, creating sagging skin," said plastic surgery Prof. Joel Pessa, the study's lead author. "In our studies, however, we were surprised to find that the face is made up of individual fat compartments that gain and lose fat at different times and rates." The study involved injecting different types of dye into the facial cavities of 30 cadavers. Despite at least 24 hours of settling time, the dye, rather than permeating the entire face, stayed in separate areas - showing that individual facial compartments have boundaries that act like fences. These fences, which seem to be composed of fibrous tissue, allow the face to maintain its blood supply should it become injured. Pessa said the face resembles a three-dimensional puzzle, with fat divided into distinct units around the forehead, eyes, cheeks and mouth. Facial aging is, in part, characterized by how these separate compartments change. A youthful face is characterized by a smooth transition between these compartments. As people age, changes occur between these regions due to volume losses and gains, as well as repositioning of the compartments. Eventually, this can result in sagging or hollowed skin. "This is a revolutionary way of viewing facial anatomy. It not only tells us how we age, it shows us why we age the way we do, and why every part of the face, from the eyelids to the cheeks, ages differently," said Dr. Rod Rohrich, chairman of plastic surgery and senior author of the study. "This will help plastic surgeons not only understand how we can better rejuvenate the face, but how people age as a physiological process." This breakthrough could have tremendous implications in helping plastic surgeons target facial "trouble" areas and use injectible fillers to add volume to individual sections of the face. It could also aid in developing new and improved surgery techniques, Rohrich said. "Understanding how fat is compartmentalized will allow us to be very precise in how we approach facial rejuvenation," Pessa said. "This gives us an algorithm, or scientific approach, to help ascertain what areas of the face may need extra fat to combat the aging process. It is also a breakthrough in facial anatomy that will have major implications for future studies on aging, and possibly hold clues to the study of other diseases such as obesity, diabetes and cancer."