Research Articles

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Not All E-Cigarettes are the Same: What Parents Need to Know

As it turns out, there are two different types of e-cigarette systems, each carrying a different set of risks. And for parents who are worried about their kids using e-cigarettes, it’s important to know the difference between the two, say a Mass General research team led by Jonathan Winickoff, MD, MPH, director of Pediatric Research at the Tobacco Research and Treatment Center.


A Closer Look at the Bacteria Behind the Recent Food Poisoning Outbreak

Clostridium perfringens is a common foodborne illness ‎that causes nearly 1 million infections each year. The bacterium has many environmental sources, but is typically found on raw meat and poultry.


Increasing Advancement Opportunities for Women in Science and Medicine

Despite progress, gender disparities still exist in science and medicine. Recent research has found that women are often offered lower pay and do not receive equal opportunities to advance to leadership positions. Mothers are also at a disadvantage in trying to balance their professional and personal lives. To help address this disparity, Mass General’s Claflin Distinguished Scholars Awards provide financial support to help maintain research productivity during child-rearing years for junior faculty.


Could There be a Link Between Herpes Virus and Alzheimer’s Disease?

A new research study from Rudolph Tanzi, PhD, and Robert Moir, PhD, researchers in the Department of Neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital, has uncovered a Jekyll and Hyde role for a naturally occurring protein in the brain most commonly associated with Alzheimer’s disease (AD).


Research Finds Daily Exercise Can Make for Healthier, Younger Hearts

New research from a team based at Massachusetts General Hospital, the Harvard Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology (HSCRB), Harvard Medical School (HMS), and the Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) shows that exercise can increase the generation of new heart cells, which might be crucial to maintaining heart function as we age.


Mass General Investigators on the Cutting Edge of ALS Research

The Neurological Clinical Research Institute (NCRI) based at Mass General is a team of over 60 staff members dedicated to developing, facilitating, and conducting multicenter clinical trials in ALS and other neurological diseases.


New Research Explores Link Between Mind-Body Techniques and Blood Pressure

A new study published in Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine from researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital, the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Mass General, and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, has found a possible explanation for why performing activities such as yoga and meditation can help patients reduce their high blood pressure without medication.


Pathways service turns puzzling patient cases into new avenues of research

A new initiative from the Department of Medicine, the Pathways Service provides a way for medical residents to discuss unusual patient cases and initiate new research projects based on the questions the cases raise.


Postdoc Profile: Nabi M. Nurunnabi, PhD

Md “Nabi” Nurunnabi, PhD, is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Systems Biology (CSB) and the Cardiovascular Research Center (CVRC). He is working on the design and development of target-specific therapeutic approaches for various diseases such as cancer, diabetes, fibrosis, and cardiovascular (stroke and myocardial infarction) along with immunology.


DASH Diet — Ranked Best Overall Diet, Could Prevent Hypertension and Gout

A recent study from Massachusetts General Hospital suggests that following the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet may reduce the risk of gout.


Pocket-Sized Device Provides Food Allergy Sufferers with Life-Saving Tableside Lab Results

To help ease concerns and keep food allergy sufferers safe, a team of researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital has developed a new device small enough to fit on a keyring that costs only $40 and can quickly and accurately test for food allergens.


Could the Microbiome be the Key to Ending Chemotherapy-Induced Pain?

Shiqian Shen, MD, and Jianren Mao, MD, PhD, are leading a research team in exploring why patients undergoing chemotherapy develop CIPN.


Lady Gaga’s Diagnosis Helps Shed Light on a Perplexing Chronic Pain Disorder

Fibromyalgia has traditionally been a challenge to diagnose and treat, because there is no test for it. Doctors make the diagnosis based on patient reported symptoms. Researchers at Mass General are hoping to change that by using imaging techniques to demonstrate brain changes in fibromyalgia patients and investigating potential causes for the disease.


More Than Meets the Eye: Researchers Find Eye Contact Causes Stress and Overactivation in the Brains of Autistic Individuals

They say that eyes are the windows to the soul, but for individuals with autism, a lack of eye contact can reveal much more. A team of investigators based at the Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at Massachusetts General Hospital has shed light on why those with autism often avoid looking others in the eyes.


Five Things to Know: The Blood-Brain Barrier, Intestinal Permeability and Autism

Researchers from the Center for Celiac Research and Treatment at Massachusetts General Hospital and the Mucosal Immunology and Biology Research Center at MassGeneral Hospital for Children (MGHfC) recently came out with a study published in Molecular Autism. Here are five things to know.


Gatchel Untangles the Causes of Mood and Anxiety Symptoms and Loss of Brain Function in Aging Populations

Massachusetts General Hospital researcher Jennifer Gatchel, MD, PhD, is using brain imaging technology to learn more about the connections between mental illness and cognitive decline in aging populations.


Feedback loop between lab and clinic helps to drive research into neurofibromatosis

Scott Plotkin, MD, PhD, and Vijaya Ramesh, PhD, are using their respective expertise in clinical and fundamental science to investigate new treatments for neurofibromatosis and two related disorders.


Macrophages found to be the source of a ripple effect in the development of a life-threatening heart condition

Like a pebble thrown into a still body of water, a new study from the Mass General Center for Systems Biology has found that white blood cells called macrophages create a ripple effect in the heart that can lead to development of a condition known as heart failure with preserved ejection fraction, or HFpEF.


Genetic insights, new partnership models help to drive rare disease research

While it may not have been called rare disease research by name, Massachusetts General Hospital has been identifying and tracking rare diseases for more than a century, says Florian Eichler, MD, Director of the Center for Rare Neurological Diseases in the Department of Neurology. By combining new genetic insights with new models of collaborative research, Eichler and other clinician-investigators at Mass General are working to develop much needed new treatments for rare disease patients.


Hurley searches for cystic fibrosis treatments by developing a model of the respiratory tract

Mass General researcher Bryan Hurley, PhD, is exploring how controlling the infection and inflammation associated with cystic fibrosis could be the key to developing improved therapies for patients.


Could the secret to a good night’s sleep be found in our genes?

Jacqueline Lane, PhD, a postdoctoral researcher at Massachusetts General Hospital, is studying genetic factors that impact our sleep.


How the quality and quantity of your social connections can impact your brain health as you age

Joel Salinas, MD, is using data from long-term research studies to gain insights into how strong social networks help to promote brain health in individuals as they age.


Mitchell studies bacterial changes in the female reproductive tract to improve health outcomes for women

Caroline Mitchell, MD, MPH, a researcher at the Vincent Center for Reproductive Biology at Massachusetts General Hospital, is studying how microbial changes in the female reproductive tract impact health outcomes across the lifecycle of women.

Investigator Profiles

Taveras engages communities to make a lasting impact on child health

Elsie Taveras, MD, MPH, uses a combination of clinical and community-based research approaches to address the causes of childhood health problems and reduce health disparities.


Gatchel works to untangle the connections between mental health issues and cognitive decline in aging adults

Massachusetts General Hospital researcher Jennifer Gatchel, MD, PhD, is using brain imaging technology to learn more about the connections between mental illness and cognitive decline in aging populations.


Maguire hopes to improve gene therapy treatments by hiding viruses from the immune system

Massachusetts General Hospital researcher Casey Maguire, PhD, is developing new strategies to shield virus-based gene therapy treatments from the immune system to help patients with genetic disorders.


Eddy's research offers hope for long-term recovery from eating disorders

Kamryn Eddy, PhD, is part of a research team that recently published the results of a long-term study analyzing the recovery rates of patients with eating disorders. What the team found provides new reasons for hope for individuals with bulimia and anorexia.


Uygun is putting the pieces together in quest to create new livers in the lab

Basak Uygun, PhD, a researcher at the Center of Engineering in Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, is working on ways to create bioengineered livers in the lab that could one day be used in patients with liver failure.


Meet the researcher who wants to diagnose respiratory illness with a Smartphone

Peter Moschovis, MD, MPH, is helping to develop new digital technology that could provide an efficient and cost effective way to diagnose childhood respiratory illnesses across the globe.


Faherty hopes to stop Shigella from wreaking havoc in the digestive system

A research team at Massachusetts General Hospital is hoping to create new treatments for shigellosis, a potentially fatal digestive disorder, by factoring in genetic changes that occur in Shigella bacteria during the journey through the human digestive system.


Dennis Brown, PhD, studies the many impacts of water imbalance in the body

Dr. Brown, Director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Program in Membrane Biology, is looking at the body as a system of water transportation with the goal of generating treatments for life-threatening water balance disorders.


Fatima Cody Stanford, MD, MPH, MPA, addresses barriers and disparities in obesity treatment

Dr. Stanford, an Obesity Medicine Physician at the Massachusetts General Hospital Weight Center, an Associate at the Mass General Disparities Solution Center, and Associated Faculty at the Mass General Mongan Institute for Health Policy, is taking a holistic approach to both treat and advocate for patients who have obesity.


Q&A with Emily Hyle, MD, MSc

Dr. Hyle is an infectious disease clinician investigator at Massachusetts General Hospital, is investigating ways to improve outcomes for patients with HIV and to measure the effectiveness of medical interventions to prevent disease transmission during international travel.


Levison makes a dramatic bid to improve HIV care adherence by Latino immigrants

A dramatic video illustrating the consequences of letting HIV care lapse is being tested as a public health intervention in the Latino immigrant community.


Valera works to help the hidden victims of traumatic brain injury

Eve Valera, PhD, a researcher at the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at Massachusetts General Hospital, is working to learn more about the traumatic brain injuries suffered by women in abusive relationships.


Goldberg looks forward to mentoring the next generation of scientists in her new role

Marcia Goldberg, MD, the new Director of the Postdoctoral Division at Massachusetts General Hospital, hopes to make a positive impact on the next generation of scientists by providing mentorship and career advice.


MacArthur's first-of-its-kind exome browser helps to further research into rare diseases

It has often been said that searching for genetic clues to rare disease is like looking for a needle in a haystack. It’s even more difficult when you’re not sure what makes the needle different from the hay.

That was essentially the challenge facing researchers in rare disease genetics up until two years ago, when a team led by Daniel MacArthur, PhD, launched the Exome Aggregation Consortium (ExAC) database.


Firth takes his research to extremes

Pediatric anesthesiologist Paul Firth, MBChB, has spent the past two decades studying the medical case histories of mountain climbers and other adventurers to create a more complete picture of how the body functions in extreme conditions.


Widge and Katnani hope that new approach to deep brain stimulation could bring more patients into the treatment loop

Researchers Alik Widge, MD, PhD, and Husam Katnani, PhD, are part of a team that is working on a more nuanced approach to deep brain stimulation that could help patients with traumatic brain injuries, treatment resistant depression and post traumatic stress disorder.


Lesser is working to turn harmful bacteria into a tool for healing

Cammie Lesser, MD, PhD, has always been fascinated by the way bacterial pathogens manipulate cells inside the human body. She likens the push and pull between bacterial aggression and human response as a struggle similar to warfare on the microbiological level.


Rajagopal Lab identifies process for generating adult stem cells outside the body

A new process that makes it possible to replicate adult human stem cells in the lab has the potential to provide researchers with game-changing insights into the progression of diseases in the lungs and other organs.


Bernstein uses genomics to study gene activity in stem cells and cancers

A conversation with Brad Bernstein, MD, PhD, the inaugural Bernard and Mildred Kayden Endowed MGH Research Institute Chair.


Industry collaboration leads to new clinical trial

John Stone, MD, MPH, is developing a new clinical trial to investigate a treatment for IgG-4 related disease, a condition that causes the growth of excessive fibrous tissue in the organs and is often misdiagnosed as lymphoma.

Research In Depth

Spotlight on Community Research: Q&A with the Chelsea Research Program Leadership Team

The leaders of the Community Research Program at MGH Chelsea discuss the role that research can play in improving the health outcomes of the residents in their community.


Brain imaging studies provide new insights into biological basis of behaviors in schizophrenia and autism

Martinos Center researchers Nouchine Hadjikhani, MD, PhD and Daphne Holt, MD, PhD, are using brain imaging technology to learn more about how individuals with autism and schizophrenia view the world through different lenses.


Breton details the benefits of serving as an elected ECOR representative

As an elected ECOR representative, Sylvie Breton, PhD, has advocated for new programs and initiatives to support researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital. She has also made connections across the institution that have aided the research efforts in her lab.


Infectious disease researchers worried about effect of cuts to NIH's Fogarty Center

Researchers in the Division of Infectious Disease at Massachusetts General Hospital say that the elimination of funding to the Fogarty International Center could result in significant setbacks to infectious disease research and treatment worldwide.


Shining a light on MS-related fatigue

Farrah J. Mateen, MD, PhD, Director of the MGH Multiple Sclerosis Clinic at Massachusetts General Hospital, is investigating whether light therapy could improve symptoms of fatigue in patients with multiple sclerosis.


Team effort helps find first answers to complex genetic basis of Tourette syndrome

A large scale analysis of genetic information from individuals with Tourette syndrome led by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital and UCLA has identified alterations in two genes that significantly increase the risk of developing the disorder.


Site-specific chemotherapy treatment could bring new hope to pancreatic cancer patients

A team of researchers from the Massachusetts General Hospital and MIT have developed an innovative new strategy for treating pancreatic cancer with an implantable mesh patch designed to deliver chemotherapy drugs directly to the cancer site.


Pat Fortune brings valuable experience to role connecting Mass General researchers with industry

Patrick Fortune, PhD, MBA, draws on his vast background in research and business development to identify research breakthroughs that have the potential for commercial use, and to connect our researchers with members of industry.


Boosting the voice of the patient in the medical decision making process

Researchers at the Health Decision Sciences Center at Massachusetts General Hospital are working on ways to better involve patients in decisions about their medical care.


To Mars and beyond: Exploring innovative solutions to the challenges of space travel

One Massachusetts General Hospital researcher is looking for innovative approaches to address the many challenges of long distance space travel.


A trailblazing engineer continues her advocacy for gender equality in the sciences

Motivated by the challenges she faced in establishing her career as a female mechanical engineer in the 1950s and 1960s, philanthropist Brit d'Arbeloff continues to be a positive force for gender equality in the sciences.


Proposed NIH budget cuts would greatly impact the research landscape

President Donald Trump's proposed budget for Fiscal 2018, which calls for a 20% reduction in funding for the National Institutes of Health, would have a devastating effect on research at Massachusetts General Hospital and across the country, says Harry W. Orf, PhD, senior vice president for research.


Team effort leads to new insights into acute myeloid leukemia

How do you stop a deadly case of arrested development? That’s the question that prompted a six-year pursuit into the mechanisms underlying acute myeloid leukemia (AML) for David Sykes, MD, PhD, David Scadden, MD, and a team of collaborators from Massachusetts General Hospital, the Broad Institute, Bayer Pharma and the University of New Mexico.


Ice Bucket Challenge funds will help to expand information-sharing network for ALS research

Recently, $3.6 million of the funds raised by The ALS Association through the Ice Bucket Challenge and the ALS Finding a Cure foundation came to Mass General in a grant to support NeuroBANK, an online platform that was created to address the challenges of compiling patient data for ALS research.


Zebrafish behavior screening could streamline new treatments for mental health

A team of researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital including Andrew Rennekamp, PhD, is using behavior changes in zebrafish larvae to learn more about the brain mechanisms behind psychosis and threat response.


Mass General to play key role in National Precision Medicine Initiative

The All of Us Research Program is a national initiative with a goal of building a cohort of one million or more volunteer participants who reflect the diversity of America.


Hackathon generates new plan to reduce deadly opiate overdoses

The three-day event provided an opportunity for three Mass General specialists to collaborate an innovative plan for reversing overdoses before they cause lasting damage.


Seal study could provide insights into blood flow disorders

A research team from Massachusetts General Hospital has returned to Antarctica to continue their study of Weddell Seals, world-champion diving mammals with unique adaptations that allow them to spend more than an hour underwater without surfacing for air.


Reducing epilepsy stigma with a multilingual coloring book

The Global Neurology Research Group has created a multilingual coloring book to explain epilepsy to children around the world and reduce myths and stigma surrounding seizures. My Thinking Cap, A Coloring Book About Epilepsy introduces us to Ella, Dot, and Jon-Jon, a young boy with epilepsy.


Mateen seeks creative solutions for global neurology challenges

Farrah Mateen, MD, PhD, divides her time between seeing patients at Massachusetts General Hospital and traveling across the globe researching innovative solutions for global neurological care.


Cell race organizers working to accelerate the pace of sepsis research

Researchers will convene at Massachusetts General Hospital this fall to race strains of cells against each other in an effort to learn more about the mechanisms of sepsis—a devastating, costly and often fatal condition.


Brown hopes to change the way we think about anesthesia

Emery Brown, MD, PhD, and a team of collaborating investigators from Massachusetts General Hospital are hoping to make a fundamental change in the way anesthesiologists think about the process of sedation—one that changes the focus from the body to the brain.


Grogg uses math to improve proton beam therapy treatments for cancer patients

Kira Grogg, PhD, a researcher at the Gordon Center for Medical Imaging at Massachusetts General Hospital, is working to develop a methodology that will allow for better tracking and more precise delivery of proton beam therapy treatments for cancer patients.


Germine maps the mind with the help of online tests

A team of investigators led by Laura Germine, PhD, is using web-based tests to gain valuable insights into the way we think and process information.


Biobank samples help to locate patients with a gene variant that naturally lowers triglycerides

Sekar Kathiresan, MD, medical director for the Cardiology Division, and his team of investigators – led by cardiologist Pradeep Natarajan, MD, and research coordinator Erina Kii in the Center for Human Genetic Research – are looking for a needle in a haystack.


Biobank assists in quest to better understand calcifylaxis

Sagar Nigwekar, MD, MMSc, is using patient samples from the Partners Biobank to gain a better understanding of a rare but painful and debilitating condition called calciphylaxis.

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