Bariatric Surgery May Benefit Heart Failure Patients

A new Mass General research study found that heart failure patients who underwent bariatric (weight loss) surgery to treat morbid obesity had a significant reduction in the risk for heart failure exacerbation in the two years following the surgery.

Heart failure exacerbation is a dangerous, sudden worsening of symptoms that includes shortness of breath, swollen legs and abdomen and sometimes chest pain and dizziness. Yuichi Shimanda, MD, MPH, of the Cardiology Division, is the lead and corresponding author of the study.


Determining the Role of Tumor Support Cells

In the ongoing quest to better understand the mechanisms of cancer, a research study led by Biju Parekkadan, PhD, of the Center for Engineering in Medicine, found that eliminating cells believed to aid tumor growth did not slow or halt the spread of cancer, but in fact increased the growth risk of the primary tumor in lab models.

More research is now needed to determine if this unanticipated result might be due to the timing of when the support cells were eliminated, or if targeting these cells may not be a viable approach.


Exploring a New Treatment for Depression

A clinical trial of an experimental drug for treatment-resistant depression found that targeting the body’s natural opioid producers in addition to the traditional neurotransmitters associated with depression, such as seratonin, may help to relieve persistent symptoms of depression.

Studies have shown that levels of natural opioids may be reduced in patients with persistent depression.

The study was led by Maurizio Fava, MD, director of the Division of Clinical Research and executive director of the Clinical Trials and Network Institute.


Monitoring Mental Health by Smartphone

Can a smartphone app provide an early warning system for individuals with mental health issues? That is the question that a research team from the MGH MoodNetwork hopes to answer in partnership with the Boston company Cogito.

With user permission, the app tracks how often individuals text or call others, uses location data to detect when a person is not leaving the house for long periods of time and has a voice diary that can analyze a short message from users to identify signs of distress.

The study will track the use of the app by 1,000 patients with depression and bipolar disorder. It will be led by Thilo Deckersbach, PhD, associate director of the Bipolar Clinic and Research Program.


MORE RESEARCH NEWS

More information about the many happenings within the research community can be found on our research highlights page. You can also email your updates to researchinstitute@mgh.harvard.edu.

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