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2002 News Releases

New 3-D mammography system may improve breast imaging
December 10, 2002 — A new approach to mammography, developed by researchers at the MGH, holds the potential for greatly improving the detection of breast lesions and the ability to predict whether they are benign or malignant.

Immune system control of HIV may not protect against second infection
November 27, 2002 — MGH researchers report on a individual who, having maintained successful immune control of HIV for almost a year, became infected with another strain of the virus after an unprotected sexual encounter. Moreover, the patient's immune system has not effectively controlled the second viral strain.

Advanced CT Scan Technique Provides Quick and Accurate Diagnosis
November 14, 2002 — The multidetector CT scan is an effective new imaging modality that offers rapid and accurate diagnosis of injuries in multiple trauma patients, according to Robert Novelline, MD, director of Emergency Radiology at MGH.

David Torchiana, MD, selected to lead Massachusetts General Physicians Organization
November 6, 2002 — The Board of Trustees of the Massachusetts General Physicians Organization has named David F. Torchiana, MD, to the position of CEO and chairman, effective Jan. 1, 2003. Torchiana, who currently serves as chief of Cardiac Surgery at the MGH, will succeed Peter L. Slavin, MD, who is assuming the role of MGH president at the beginning of the year.

Whitehead Genome Center Accelerates Effort to Build Haplotype Map
October 29, 2002 — An international research consortium today launched a $100 million public-private effort to build the next generation map of the human genome. Called a "haplotype map," this effort is expected to make it easier, faster, and perhaps cheaper to find genes that predispose us to common diseases such as diabetes and cancer.

Chili peppers and inflammation: researchers unravel mechanism of pain sensitivity
September 25, 2002 — Scientists at Massachusetts General Hospital have discovered a common component to the burning sensation produced by chili peppers and the pain associated with arthritis. The finding could help scientists devise new strategies to block the pain hypersensitivity associated with inflammation.

Gene found that helps nerve cells survive by preventing cell suicide
September 25, 2002 — Why do some nerve cells survive and regrow after injury while others shrink away and die? A new discovery by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital shows that the expression of a particular gene may be responsible for protecting neurons from death.

Alzheimer's-associated enzyme elevated in key brain areas
September 12, 2002 — MGH researchers have found that the amount and activity of an enzyme associated with the creation of amyloid-beta protein - the sticky fragments making up the plaques found in the brains of people with Alzheimer's disease - are elevated in parts of the brain where those plaques most frequently occur.

Information age will change doctors' role in healing
September 3, 2002 — Even though more people are turning to the Internet for medical information, doctors will not lose their trusted status as society's "healing class," predicts an expert in health care policy. They may have to change the way they practice, however.

Drug Protects Fertility, Offspring in Mice after Radiation Exposure
August 30, 2002 — Scientists have discovered a drug that prevents sterility in female mice after exposure to ionizing radiation. Additional findings suggest that this is accomplished without yielding genetic damage in the offspring of the irradiated mothers.

Non-Invasive Approach to Aneurysm Repair Shows Better Results for Patients
August 27, 2002 — Non-invasive repair of abdominal aortic aneurysms offers better short-term results than traditional surgical treatment, according to a study published in the September issue of the journal Radiology.

Combined kidney and bone marrow transplantation allows patients to discontinue anti-rejection drugs
August 26, 2002 — An experimental treatment protocol involving combined kidney and bone marrow transplantation has enabled several patients to accept their transplanted kidney without immunosuppressive drugs, reports a researcher from MGH.

Newly equipped molecular probes may improve early detection of cancer, other diseases
August 19, 2002 — Researchers at MGH have created key components for near-infrared probes that could be used to pinpoint the exact location of cancer and other diseases in the body.

Time-release stimulant effective for once-daily treatment of ADHD
August 5, 2002 — A research team led by an MGH investigator has found that a long-acting form of the stimulant medication Adderall is effective in controlling symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children when taken in a single morning dose.

Immune system component found common to both humans and worms
July 25, 2002 — The innate immune system sets off the initial steps of the body's response to pathogens. Researchers have known that key components of innate immunity are conserved across a variety of animals, and now scientists at Massachusetts General Hospital have shown that these same elements are used by the lowly worm as well.

Massachusetts General Hospital names Peter L. Slavin, MD, as next president
July 19, 2002 — Peter L. Slavin, MD, MBA, chief executive officer and chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Massachusetts General Physicians Organization, has been named president of the Massachusetts General Hospital, effective Jan. 1, 2003.

MGH nurses make "house calls" in Boston's West End and Beacon Hill neighborhoods
July 17, 2002 — From free nursing and social service clinics in apartment buildings to discount meals at the hospital to health and wellness education, MGH is expanding its community health programs for senior citizens in Boston's West End and Beacon Hill neighborhoods.

Researchers identify hormone that prompts adult stem cells to differentiate into insulin-producing cells
July 17, 2002 — Scientists at MGH have discovered that a naturally occurring hormone can cause adult islet stem cells to mature into pancreatic beta cells, the insulin-secreting cells that are depleted or compromised in diabetes.

Telemedicine Link With South Pole Allows Remote Knee Surgery
July 17, 2002 — In a groundbreaking telemedicine development, doctors in Massachusetts earlier this month helped a physician at Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station to surgically repair the damaged knee of a meteorologist spending the winter in Antarctica..

Bladder-sparing procedure found effective for treating invasive bladder cancer
July 8, 2002 — MGH researchers have shown that therapeutic strategies aimed at sparing the bladder have long-term cure rates similar to that of complete bladder removal.

ACC, AHA, NHLBI Clinical Advisory Confirms Safety, Effectiveness of Statins
June 28, 2002 — The cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins are both safe and effective and physicians should continue to use them, according to a joint clinical physician advisory released today.

MBTA and Massachusetts General Hospital announce public/private initiative to modernize Charles/MGH Station
June 20, 2002 — MBTA officials joined Massachusetts General Hospital President James J. Mongan, MD, today to announce a public-private initiative to assist in the modernization of Charles/MGH Station.

Hazing underrecognized as cause of serious injury, says MGH physician
May 24, 2002 — Young people and others who are injured in hazing incidents should be regarded as victims of crimes in their treatment by health care professionals, says an emergency physician at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Genome-wide survey of human variation provides strong support for building haplotype map
May 23, 2002 — In the first broad-based survey of its kind, scientists have found that most of the genetic variation in the human genome is organized into large, neat units called "haplotype" blocks.

Task force finds training at the nation's medical schools is uneven; calls for improvement in cost and quality of physician education
May 15, 2002 — As challenges facing the medical community continue expanding exponentially, a new report released today by the Commonwealth Fund Task Force on Academic Health Centers suggests that some of the nation's teaching hospitals and medical schools may not be keeping pace.

Yawkey foundation contributes $25 million to Massachusetts General Hospital
May 6, 2002 — The Massachusetts General Hospital today announced that the Yawkey Foundation has committed $25 million to support the hospital's efforts to expand access to outpatient care and services. The gift represents the largest contribution to MGH in its history.

Study finds children's doctors not asking parents about smoking
May 6, 2002 — Parental smoking creates significant health risks for children; but are pediatricians and family practitioners doing anything about it?

Lymphatic vessels surrounding tumors play a key role in cancer spread
April 25, 2002 — Scientists at Massachusetts General Hospital have discovered that metastasis, or spreading, of cancer cells depends upon lymphatic vessels at the margins of tumors, not those within the tumor itself, as had been speculated.

Spiral scan sees stroke blockage more quickly
April 5, 2002 — The accuracy of diagnosing a blocked brain vessel in an emergency setting improved nearly 100 percent when physicians used a high-speed CT scanner.

Simple blood test may be able to predict risk of preeclampsia
April 4, 2002 — A simple blood test conducted during the first trimester of pregnancy may be able to identify women at risk for preeclampsia, a common and dangerous complication of late pregnancy.

MGH study identifies key immune system molecule
March 24, 2002 — Researchers have identified a molecule that is key to how white blood cells called macrophages recognize the common bacteria E. coli.

MGH study finds herceptin has additional antitumor qualities
March 20, 2002 — Scientists have discovered powerful anti-angiogenic properties in herceptin, a monoclonal antibody used to fight certain forms of breast cancer.
Alcohol linked to decreased hypertension risk in young women
March 10, 2002 – Moderate alcohol consumption can lead to a reduced risk of developing hypertension in young women.

MGH researchers unravel structure of a key protein involved in tumor angiogenesis and metastasis
March 7, 2002 – Cancer cells need a blood supply to grow. MGH scientists have deciphered the detailed structure of a protein that plays a key role in formation of blood vessels to supply tumors.

MGH-based disaster teams meet the challenges of September 11
March 1, 2002 – The first International Medical and Surgical Response Team of the National Medical Disaster System – based at Massachusetts General Hospital – was first called into action in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks on New York City.

Researchers discover mechanism of plant resistance to pathogens
February 27, 2002 – Researchers have uncovered the molecular basis by which plants protect themselves against bacteria and fungi.

Inhibiting cardiac protein through gene therapy improves human heart cell function
February 25, 2002 – Blocking a key protein involved in calcium regulation can improve the function of failing heart cells, a discovery that may improve treatment of congestive heart failure.

Hormone therapy for prostate cancer causes weight gain and increased body fat
February 22, 2002 – Study reveals that unwanted weight gain, particularly increased fat body mass, is a common occurrence in prostate cancer patients who receive androgen-deprivation therapy.

Partners' Thier to step down in 2003: Mass General's Mongan will be new president and CEO
February 19, 2002 – Partners HealthCare President and CEO Samuel O. Thier, MD, will step down from his position effective January 1, 2003. The Partners Board of Directors has named Massachusetts General Hospital President James J. Mongan, MD, Thier's successor.

Diet and exercise delay diabetes and normalize blood glucose
February 6, 2002 – Millions of overweight Americans at high risk for type 2 diabetes can delay and possibly prevent the disease with moderate diet and exercise, a major clinical trial has found.

$3 million gift from Purdue Pharma to support MGH Pain Program
February 5, 2002 – A significant gift to the Massachusetts General Hospital from Purdue Pharma L.P., will support programs aimed at improving the understanding and management of pain.

Many genetic researchers denied access to resources related to published studies
January 22, 2002 – Although the progress of science depends on the free exchange of resources and knowledge, a new study finds data, materials and information are often kept secret in academic genetics.

Can weight loss decrease heart disease in type 2 diabetes?
January 22, 2002 – A nationwide study — conducted locally at Massachusetts General Hospital, Joslin Diabetes Center and Beth Israel-Deaconess Medical Center — will look at the effects of weight loss in people with type 2 diabetes.

Minority patients face barriers to optimum end-of-life care
January 10, 2002 – Minority groups in America have less access to many medical treatments, one of which is end-of-life care.

Study adds to the understanding of musical pitch perception
January 9, 2002 – There is no "music center" in the brain, but distinct regions are involved in different aspects of music perception. Now there is evidence that an area key to sound interpretation, is important for frequency processing and pitch perception.