“I feel deeply honored and enormously pleased to receive this honor. This is beyond any expectation I ever had. This really honors my entire team – my colleagues, my collaborators and my students. It is their collective work and a journey that I have not been alone in.” — Rakesh Jain, PhD

Rakesh Jain, PhD, director of the Edwin L. Steele Laboratory for Tumor Biology in the Department of Radiation Oncology, was honored at the White House with the National Medal of Science, the nation’s highest honor for achievement and leadership in advancing the fields of science and technology.

A study led by MGH investigators has found that, even among those at high genetic risk, following a healthy lifestyle can cut in half the probability of a heart attack or similar event. “The basic message of our study is that DNA is not destiny,” says Sekar Kathiresan, MD, director of the Center for Human Genetic Research at the MGH, senior author of the New England Journal of Medicine report.

A non-invasive protocol testing the ability to recognize, remember and distinguish between odors was able to identify older individuals who – according to genetic, imaging and more detailed memory tests – were at increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. “There is increasing evidence that the neurodegeneration behind Alzheimer’s disease starts at least 10 years before the onset of memory symptoms,” says Mark Albers, MD, PhD, of the MGH Department of Neurology, the principal investigator and corresponding author of the Annals of Neurology report.

Repeat intravenous treatment with low doses of the anesthetic drug ketamine quickly reduced suicidal thoughts in a small group of patients with treatment-resistant depression. A team of MGH investigators – including Dawn Ionescu, MD, of the Depression Clinical and Research Program in the MGH Department of Psychiatry, lead and corresponding author of the paper – reported in theJournal of Clinical Psychiatry the results of their study in depressed outpatients who had been experiencing suicidal thoughts for three months or longer. 

Read more articles from the 12/30/16 Hotline issue.