Women's health examined

Exhibit: The Maryland Science Center will offer interactive displays offering the latest information, local contacts and a good dose of hope.

February 28, 1999|By Joseph Capista | Joseph Capista,Special to the Sun

In the last decade, the medical community has emphasized that understanding and prevention are fundamental ingredients of sound health. Keeping up with the latest strides in medical technology, though, is easier said than done. Who has time to read the latest medical journals?

Friday, the Maryland Science Center debuts a new interactive exhibit that lets visitors peek at the latest advances but adds a spoonful of sugar to the medicine. According to the center, the interactive twist makes "The Changing Face of Women's Health" the first women's health exhibit of its kind.

Visitors can glimpse bones riddled by osteoporosis and examine the same breast models used to train doctors and nurses in detecting lumps. Its "Visible Human Explorer" section propels visitors through anatomically detailed 3-D representations of female or male bodies created from digital photos in the National Library of Medicine.

"The Changing Face of Women's Health is a dramatic, colorful, moving portrayal of ... women's health and one that will inspire visitors of all ages to take charge of their health and to make positive lifestyle choices for themselves and those around them," says Gregory Andorfer, executive director of the Maryland Science Center.

The exhibit -- a joint production by the science center, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health -- has real-life success stories featuring women whose direct action has helped them surmount conditions considered incurable by experts.

Four-time heart attack survivor Alice Pittrell, who has a family history of heart problems, has taken positive daily measures to ensure a long life. "I'm a survivor. And I feel blessed," says Pittrell. "Every time I think about [my mother's death after her first heart attack], it just tells me how fortunate I am to be living in this day and age."

The exhibit also tackles issues such as menopause, hormone treatments and the importance of routine checkups. A section on body image looks at idealized feminine beauty throughout the ages, and encourages women to write comments about their relationships with food, as well as read the comments of others.

To help thwart genetically determined diseases before they mature, the exhibit encourages women to confront individual risk factors, offering a resource center for researching health topics and listing names of specific health organizations to contact within the Baltimore community.

And throughout the exhibit, which remains in Baltimore until August, the Science Center will play host to a lecture series; speakers include Dr. Susan Love, a renowned California breast surgeon, and Dr. Judith Reichman, author and medical correspondent on the "Today Show."

In August, the exhibit goes on national tour, ending in Los Angeles in 2003.

When you go ...

What: "The Changing Face of Women's Health," an interactive exhibit, opens Friday at the Maryland Science Center in Baltimore's Inner Harbor

When: Through August

Hours: Monday through Fridays 10 a.m.-5 p.m., weekends 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Museum admission: Adults $9.75; age 13-18 $8; age 4-12 $7; 3 and under free

Information: 410-685-2370

Pub Date: 02/28/99

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