Press Releases

JUNE 2018

Both the quantity and quality of sleep affect cardiovascular risk factors in adolescents

A study from a research team led by a MassGeneral Hospital for Children physician finds that both the quantity and quality of sleep – the amount of time spent sleeping and the percentage of sleep that is undisturbed – in young adolescents have significant effects on cardiovascular health.

Featuring Elsie Taveras, MD, MPH of the MassGeneral Hospital for Children

Mindfulness meditation and relaxation response have different effects on brain function

A team led by Massachusetts General Hospital investigators has identified specific effects that relaxation response training and mindfulness meditation have within the brain.

Featuring Sara Lazar, PhD, and Gunes Sevinc, PhD, of the Mass General Psychiatric Neuroscience Research Program

Study identifies protein's role in mediating brain's response to stress

A study led by Massachusetts General Hospital investigators has identified a critical role for a protein called Kruppel-like factor 9 in the brain’s response to stress, which has implications for protecting against the effects of stress in conditions like major depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Featuring Amar Sahay, PhD, of the Center for Regenerative Medicine and the Department of Psychiatry

Structural protein found essential to X chromosome inactivation

A Massachusetts General Hospital research team has identified the essential role of a structural protein in the silencing of the inactive X chromosome, a process that prevents both copies of the same gene from being expressed in female mammals, which carry two copies of the X chromosome.

Featuring Chen-Yu Wang, MD, and Jeannie T. Lee, MD, PhD, of the Department of Molecular Biology

Maternal fatty acid balance affects offspring obesity through gut microbial population

A Massachusetts General Hospital study finds the balance between omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids in the tissues of female mammals, which previous research has suggested can impact the incidence of obesity in their offspring, may do so through its effect on the microbial population of the infants gastrointestinal tract.

Featuring Jing X. Kang, MD, PhD, of the Laboratory of Lipid Medicine and Technology

MAY 2018

Screening resident physicians entering training misses many at risk for significant sleep impairment

A Massachusetts General Hospital study finds that screening first-year residents to identify those with pre-existing sleep problems does not appear to provide useful data regarding risks of developing sleep impairment during subsequent months.

Virtual primary care visits for follow-up hypertension care have outcomes similar to office visits

A study conducted among patients at Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital found that virtual follow-up visits for patients with hypertension appeared just as effective as in-person office visits in helping maintain blood pressure control.

Features Ronald Dixon, MD, of the Mass General Division of Internal Medicine

Vascular risk factors interact with amyloid beta levels to increase age-related cognitive design

A Massachusetts General Hospital study finds that risk factors for heart disease and stroke appear to hasten the risk of cognitive decline in normal older individuals with evidence of very early Alzheimer’s-disease-associated changes in the brain.

Features Jennifer Rubin, PhD, of the Department of Psychiatry and Jasmeer Chhatwal, MD, PhD, of the Department of Neurology

MR spectroscopy imaging reveals effects of targeted treatment of mutant IDH1 gliomas

Using a novel imaging method, a Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) research team is investigating the mechanisms behind a potential targeted treatment for a subtype of the deadly brains tumors called gliomas.

Features Ovidiu Andronesi, MD, PhD, of the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging

Automated system significantly improves identification of patients at risk for ventilator-associated pneumonia

An automated system developed at Massachusetts General Hospital for identifying patients at risk for complications associated with the use of mechanical ventilators provided significantly more accurate results than did traditional surveillance methods, which rely on manual recording and interpretation of individual patient data.

Features Brandon Westover, MD, PhD, of the Department of Neurology

Neuroinflammation seen in spinal cord, nerve roots of patients with chronic sciatica

A study by Massachusetts General Hospital investigators has found, for the first time in humans, that patients with chronic sciatica – back pain that shoots down the leg – have evidence of inflammation in key areas of the nervous system.

Features Yi Zhang, MD, PhD, of the Center for Pain Management

Cellular reprogramming approach promotes muscle regeneration in injured mice

Massachusetts General Hospital researchers have developed a simple and robust approach for directly reprogramming mature skin cells into immature muscle cells.

Features Konrad Hochedlinger, PhD, of the Department of Molecular Biology

Artificial intelligence detects patterns of gut microbes that indicate cholera risk

Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital and Duke University used artificial intelligence to spot patterns within the communities of bacteria living in the human gut that could indicate who among the approximately one billion people around the globe at risk of cholera infection will get sick with the diarrheal disease.

Features Regina C. LaRoque, MD, MPH of the Mass General Division of Infectious Diseases

Artificial intelligence better than most human experts at detecting cause of human blindness

An algorithm that uses artificial intelligence can automatically and more accurately diagnose a potentially devastating cause of childhood blindness than most expert physicians, suggests a study by investigators at Massachusetts General Hospital and Oregon Health & Science University.

Featuring Jayashree Kalpathy-Cramer, PhD, of the Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging.

APRIL 2018

State-of-the-art HIV drug could curb HIV transmission, improve survival in India

A study led by a Massachusetts General Hospital research team finds that an HIV treatment regimen widely used in North America and Europe would likely increase the life expectancy of people living with HIV in India and reduce the number of new HIV infections with minimal impact on the country’s HIV/AIDS budget.

Featuring Kenneth A. Freedberg, MD, MSc, of the Medical Practice Evaluation Center

Glioma subtypes determine how the dangerous brain tumors spread, evade anti-angiogenic treatment

A multi-institutional research team led by investigators from Massachusetts General Hospital and University of California San Francisco has identified a new mechanism by which the dangerous brain tumors called gliomas develop resistance to anti-angiogenic treatment.

Featuring Rakesh Jain, PhD, of the Edwin L. Steele Laboratories for Tumor Biology

Exercise may help make the heart younger

In a new study in mice, researchers from Harvard University and Massachusetts General uncovered one reason why exercise is good for the heart: It stimulates the heart to make new muscle cells, both under normal conditions and after a heart attack.

Featuring Carolin Lerchenmüeller of the Mass General Cardiovascular Research Center

Imaging may allow safe tPA treatment of patients with unwitnessed strokes

A study led by Massachusetts General Hospital investigators may lead to a significant expansion in the number of stroke patients who can safely be treated with intravenous tPA, the "clot busting" drug that has greatly reduced stroke-related disability and deaths in eligible patients.

Featuring Lee Schwamm, MD, executive vice chair of the Department of Neurology and director of the Mass General Comprehensive Stroke Center.

Study identifies overdose risk factors in youth with substance use disorders

A team of Massachusetts General Hospital investigators has identified factors that may increase the risk of drug overdose in adolescents and young adults.

Featuring Amy Yule, MD, of the Addiction Recovery Management Service and Division of Child Psychiatry

Personalized bio-inks boost healing potential of printable body tissue

Researchers from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, MIT and Massachusetts General Hospital have incorporated platelet-rich plasma into a bio-ink: a 3-D-printed mixture of cells and gel that could eventually become the stuff of skin grafts and regenerative tissue implants.

Featuring Jeremy Ruskin, MD, Director of the Mass General Cardiac Arrhythmia Service

Mass General-led study may reveal how chronic stress in early life increases vulnerability to PTSD

A collaboration between investigators at Massachusetts General Hospital and Khyber Medical University in Pakistan may have discovered how chronic stress experienced early in life increases vulnerability to post-traumatic stress disorder later in life.

Featuring Ki Goosens, PhD, of the MassGeneral Institute for Neurodegenerative Disease.

RB1 gene mutations underlie clinical resistance to CDK 4/6 inhibitor therapy for breast cancer

Featuring Aditya Bardia, MD, of the Mass General Cancer Center

A multi-institutional research team led by a Massachusetts General Hospital investigator has identified what may be a novel mechanism underlying acquired resistance to CDK 4/6 inhibitor treatment for breast cancer.

Relaxation response therapy may reduce blood pressure by altering expression of a distinct set of genes

Featuring Randall Zusman, MD, Director of the Division of Hypertension at the Mass General Corrigan Minehan Heart Center

A new study led by investigators at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), and the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at MGH identified genes associated with the body’s response to relaxation techniques and sheds light on the molecular mechanisms by which these interventions may work to lower blood pressure. The findings were published today in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

Combination immunotherapy improves survival in mouse models of mesothelioma

Featuring Mark Poznansky, MD, PhD, Steve and Deborah Gorlin MGH Research Scholar and Director of the Vaccine and Immunotherapy Center at Mass General

Massachusetts General Hospital investigator have found that combined treatment with two cancer immunotherapy drugs significantly prolonged survival in mouse models of the aggressive cancer malignant mesothelioma.

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Research Stories

How new biomarkers and smartphone apps could provide new hope for ALS patients

James Berry, MD, MPH, is working to build tools and identify biomarkers to improve clinical trial methodology. His goal is to speed up the process of identifying the next drug that will slow, reverse or even prevent ALS in the future.

Can studying a rare inherited form of ALS lead to earlier diagnosis and new treatments?

Mass General researcher Katharine Nicholson has launched a clinical research study to follow first-degree relatives of individuals who have a familial form of ALS but do not show symptoms yet in order to identify the earliest signs of disease progression.

Paganoni advances ALS research and care with technology

Sabrina Paganoni, MD, PhD, is using technology to find new treatments and improve the care and quality of life for patients with ALS.

Jain studies the connection between T cell development and the onset of allergies and autoimmune disorders

Nitya Jain, PhD, a researcher at the MassGeneral Hospital for Children’s Mucosal Immunology and Biology Research Center, is studying how changes in the bacterial population in the gut influence T cell development and how signals between the two systems drive this process.

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.

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.

See more research articles

Research Roundup

March 2018

Researchers identify the role of immune cells in a life threatening heart condition, plus genetic clues reveal a key contributor to hereditary aortic aneurysms.

February 2018

Mass General researchers uncover gender differences that impact the risk of developing heart disease. Plus, could strenuous exercise be bad for your heart?

January 2018

Researchers investigate how thyroid levels affect a woman's fertility, what age is best to screen for HIV, and how patients with malignant brain tumors utilize hospice services.

December 2017

Researchers harness the power of artificial intelligence to develop a new screening method for high risk breast lesions. Plus, a team from the Mass General Cancer Center provides data to show how a diagnostic tool can identify early signs of cancer treatment resistance.

November 2017

Investigators have developed a new food allergen detector small enough to fit on a keychain, and a team from Mass General and MIT has devised a new system for measuring sleep that is wireless, portable and powered by artificial intelligence.

October 2017

Could laws restricting use of off-road-vehicles by young drivers have an impact on injury rates? Plus, researchers study how the brains of patients with fibromyalgia process pain.

See all Research Roundup columns

Special Features

Nursing Research

A spotlight on nursing research at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Postdoc Profiles

Massachusetts General Hospital is home to a vibrant community of postdoctoral researchers. Here are some of their stories.

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