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2004 News Releases

Tobacco-company-sponsored parties with free cigarettes may encourage college students to start smoking
December 28, 2004 — A widespread tobacco industry marketing strategy - sponsoring social events and giving out free cigarettes at bars, clubs, and college parties - is reaching students and may be encouraging them to take up smoking.

Tracing the life cycle of a manmade disease
December 21, 2004 — MGH surgeon William Harris, MD, tells a 40-year tale of investigation and innovation into the challenge of hip implant failure.

Timing appears essential to combining antiangiogenesis and radiation therapy
December 20, 2004 — MGH researchers describe how timing may be crucial to successfully combining angiogenesis inhibitors with radiation treatment and reveal more about how these drugs work to fight cancer.

Study identifies key aspect of immune response against HIV
December 8, 2004 — Researchers have identified immune-system genes that appear to play a key role in the body's defense against HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, findings that may lead to ways of circumventing the virus's ability to avoid vaccines by rapid mutation.

Obesity hinders imaging quality, diagnosis
December 1, 2004 — Obesity not only leads to numerous health problems, it can also limit the imaging equipment used to diagnose those problems.

Small study shows SAMe may improve treatment of depression
November 30, 2004 — MGH researchers have found that adding the nutritional supplement SAMe to a standard antidepressant may be helpful to patients who have not responded to single-drug treatment for clinical depression.

IBM and MGH announce effort to improve information sharing among cancer researchers
November 18, 2004 — IBM and MGH are working together to study how a grid-based, distributed computing infrastructure can improve collaboration and information sharing among cancer researchers.

Imaging study finds a structural difference in the brains of cocaine addicts
November 17, 2004 — MGH researchers have identified an unexpected structural difference in the brains of cocaine addicts. Imaging studies show that the amygdala, part of the brain's reward-processing system, is smaller in cocaine addicts than in healthy volunteers.

Study will identify lung cancer patients for upfront Iressa treatment
November 15, 2004 — Physicians from the MGH Cancer Center have launched the first clinical trial of Iressa as an initial treatment for advanced non-small-cell lung cancer, utilizing a genetic marker of sensitivity to the drug.

Local physicians awarded prestigious medical honor
November 15, 2004 — Four MGH physicians were awarded the McGovern Clinical Excellence Award from the Massachusetts General Physicians Organization.

Study clarifies impact of age on safety of warfarin treatment for atrial fibrillation
November 15, 2004 — A study conducted at the MGH has clarified the risk of intracranial hemorrhage in older patients with atrial fibrillation who take the drug warfarin to prevent ischemic stroke.

MGH receives generous donation to develop state-of-the-art tuberous sclerosis facility
November 9, 2004 — MGH will create a new center benefiting children, adults and families touched by tuberous sclerosis complex.

Study of cancer trials finds significant safety improvement
November 2, 2004 — The chance that patients participating in early-stage cancer research studies will die from the experimental treatments has dropped dramatically over the past decade.

Laughter helps patients communicate emotion in therapy sessions
October 14, 2004 — In the first physiologic study of the role of laughter during psychotherapy, MGH researchers found that patients use laughter to communicate emotional intensity to therapists.

The Yawkey Center for Outpatient Care
October 13, 2004 — Massachusetts General Hospital welcomed the first patients to its sparkling new Yawkey Center for Outpatient Care, the largest ambulatory facility in New England.

New way of controlling cholesterol may help treat Alzheimer's
October 13, 2004 — A new approach to controlling blood cholesterol levels that is already being investigated to prevent cardiovascular disease also may be a potential treatment for Alzheimer's disease.

Imaging studies clarify brain changes associated with language deficits in autism
October 11, 2004 — MGH researchers have found that a structural difference in the brains of some boys with autism is primarily related to language problems and not specifically to autism.

Harvard Medical Researcher Receives MacArthur 'Genius' Award
September 28, 2004 — A MacArthur Fellowship has been awarded to Vamsi Mootha, assistant professor in the HMS Department of Systems Biology and the Department of Medicine at MGH.

New laser treatment sheds light on sun-damaged skin
September 27, 2004 — MGH researchers have created a new laser technology that can be used to treat the wrinkles and skin discoloration of sun-damaged skin.

Increased use of CT results in decreased costs for hospitals
September 15, 2004 — The increased use of CT from 1992 to 2002 for the imaging of facial trauma has actually decreased imaging costs by 22 percent per patient, say MGH researchers.

Women starting mammography on time, but failing to follow up
September 13, 2004 — A new study finds most women now follow the recommendation to receive their first screening mammogram at age 40, but there is widespread failure to return promptly for subsequent exams and several sub-populations of women still are not being screened by the recommended age.

Lose the habit without gaining the weight
September 10, 2004 — Kicking the smoking habit is not only difficult, but also intimidating to smokers who fear that while shedding a bad habit, they'll end up packing on unwanted pounds. But there may be a way to avoid the extra weight.

New analysis cites economic impact of ADHD
September 9, 2004 — A new analysis of a large-scale survey released today estimates yearly household income losses due to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder within the U.S. at $77 billion, according to Joseph Biederman, M.D., co-author of the study.

Battle between bubbles might have started evolution
September 2, 2004 — Researchers are proposing that the first battle for survival-of-the-fittest might have played out as a simple physical duel between fatty bubbles stuffed with genetic material.

Radiation after lumpectomy may be unnecessary for many older women
September 1 , 2004 — Older women treated with tamoxifen after removal of early-stage breast cancer by lumpectomy may safely be able to avoid radiation therapy and its unpleasant side effects.

New imaging technology shown to detect early signs of type 1 diabetes
September 1 , 2004 — Researchers at Joslin Diabetes Center and MGH find that a powerful new imaging technology gives a glimpse into the earliest stages of the inflammatory process leading to type 1 diabetes in laboratory animals.

New imaging technique may help reduce risk of heart attacks, strokes
August 23, 2004 — MGH researchers are on track one day to hand cardiologists the first means ever to pinpoint plaque deposits in the arteries of patients that appear poised to cause heart attack or stroke.

Study finds near-term infants at risk for significant health problems
August 2, 2004 — Babies born a few weeks premature, who have generally been considered as healthy as full-term infants, actually have a greater incidence of serious health problems, according to a study from MassGeneral Hospital for Children (MGHC).

New drug combination appears promising for those with HIV and hepatitis C
July 28, 2004 — Since the introduction of highly active combination drug therapy for HIV, liver failure attributable to infection with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) has become a leading cause of death among those infected with the virus that causes AIDS.

MGH cancer specialists propose new approval track for targeted drugs
July 28, 2004 — Several of the most promising new strategies for cancer treatment have received Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval in recent years, but some have been controversial because the data on which they were approved did not clearly define which patients will most benefit from the new medications.

Disparity in liver transplantation by race
July 14, 2004 —
A new study shows that black patients with chronic liver disease are less likely than white patients to receive a transplant within four years and are more likely to die while awaiting a new liver.

Growth hormone control may be important HIV lipodystrophy treatment
July 10, 2004 —
Increasing the body's production of growth hormone may be an effective treatment for HIV lipodystrophy, a syndrome involving the redistribution of fat and other metabolic changes.

Mass. General and Brigham and Women's ranked on U.S. News national Honor Roll
July 2, 2004 —
Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women's Hospital have earned spots on the U.S. News and World Report annual national hospital Honor Roll.

Alternative hormone-blocker reduces side effects in prostate cancer patients
June 28, 2004 —
An alternative way of blocking androgen activity in prostate cancer patients produces fewer side effects and may be a better choice than standard hormone therapy for some patients.

Kaposi's sarcoma virus "reprograms" blood vessel cells into lymphatic cells
June 27, 2004 —
Blood-vessel-lining cells that are infected with the virus that causes the skin tumor Kaposi's sarcoma appear to transform into the type of cells that usually line lymphatic vessels.

Lifesaving potential of mammograms lost due to underuse
June 21, 2004 —
Women across age, racial and socioeconomic spectrums underutilize the recommended annual breast cancer screening, effectively reducing the life-saving benefits of annual mammography.

Research demonstrates new treatment options and possible risks associated with PCOS
June 17, 2004 —
Leading investigators in the area of polycystic ovary syndrome, a common female endocrine disorder, are gathering this week to share new research on the risks, treatment options and increased prevalence of the condition.

Preventive Medicine Good for Training Docs and Patients
June 16, 2004 —
Medical students who take a class in preventive medicine during their second year say they feel more comfortable counseling their patients about the importance of diet and exercise — and start watching their own diets as well, according to a new report.

Parents can provide accurate reports of their children's ADHD symptoms
June 7, 2004 —
Researchers at MassGeneral Hospital for Children verify that parents can be as accurate as teachers in identifying ADHD symptoms and treatment-related changes in behavior.

Gene expression ratio identifies risk of recurrence in breast cancer patients receiving tamoxifen
June 3, 2004 —
A simple measurement of the expression of two genes in breast cancer tissue appears to identify tumors that are more likely to recur in women treated with tamoxifen for early-stage disease.

Variations in DNA Repair Genes May Predict Survival in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Patients
June 1, 2004 —
Genetic variations in an individual’s ability to repair DNA damage may help predict survival in lung cancer patients treated with the common chemotherapy drugs cisplatin or carboplatin.

Diabetes drug improves metabolic changes associated with HIV combination therapy
May 17, 2004 —
An oral antidiabetes medication produced significant improvement in HIV patients who experience a redistribution of body fat and other metabolic changes while receiving combination drug therapy.

Study finds HIV protein can drive immune cells away
May 3, 2004 —
MGH researchers report how a key protein that helps HIV enter its target T helper cells may also keep away the T killer cells that should destroy virus-infected cells.

Gene mutations predict which lung cancers will respond to Iressa
April 29, 2004 —
Researchers from the MGH Cancer Center have discovered a molecular marker that identifies lung cancer patients whose tumors will respond to treatment with the drug Iressa.

Physicians have mixed opinions about consumer-targeted pharmaceutical ads
April 28, 2004 —
Most physicians surveyed by MGH researchers indicated that direct-to-consumer drug advertising can contribute to better patient education and communication but may also lead patients to seek unnecessary treatments.

Testosterone replacement improves muscle strength, function in HIV-infected women
April 26, 2004 —
MGH researchers have found that restoring normal levels of testosterone can improve muscle strength and function in HIV-infected women with low levels of the male hormone.

New approach offers potential drug-discovery shortcut
April 18, 2004 —
MGH researchers have developed a way of identifying promising new drugs that may get around a major challenge in drug discovery.

Study confirms alcohol's role in increasing risk of gout
April 15, 2004 —
A study led by an MGH researcher is the first to conclusively show that certain alcoholic beverages can significantly increase the risk of gout.

Study finds nerve damage can affect opposite side of body
April 2, 2004 —
MGH researchers have found physical evidence of a previously unknown communication between nerves on opposite sides of the body.

Activity of calcium-handling gene appears to prevent cardiac arrhythmias
March 22, 2004 —
Activation of a gene already shown to correct heart failure by improving calcium metabolism in the heart muscle may also help prevent arrhythmias, sometimes-dangerous disturbances in heart rhythm.

MGH study details brain changes in autism, language disorder
March 22, 2004 —
Using advanced imaging technology, a research team based at Massachusetts General Hospital has identified specific portions of the brain's white matter that are abnormally large in children with autism and developmental language disorder.

New tumor suppressor may play important role in deadly brain tumors
March 17, 2004 —
Researchers from MGH have identified a new tumor suppressor gene that appears to be inactivated in gliomas, a deadly form of brain tumor. Levels of the protein coded by the gene, called ING4, appear to correspond with tumor aggressiveness.

MGH and Joslin participating in national study to identify best treatment for type 2 diabetes in youth
March 15, 2004 —
Massachusetts General Hospital and Joslin Diabetes Center will be among 12 centers nationwide participating in an NIH-funded clinical study comparing treatments for type 2 diabetes in children and teens.

MGH study finds female mammals produce egg cells into adulthood
March 10, 2004 —
An underlying principle of female reproductive biology appears to have been overturned by a report from MGH researchers. The investigators report that female mice can make new egg cells well into adulthood. It has been believed that most female mammals are born with a finite supply of these cells that are lost steadily until exhausted, leading to menopause in women.

MGH research team grows long-lasting blood vessels
March 10, 2004 —
Researchers from MGH have successfully induced the growth of new networks of functional blood vessels in mice. The accomplishment may help solve one of the primary challenges in tissue engineering: providing a blood supply for newly grown organs.

Study clarifies impact of diet on the risk of gout
March 10, 2004 —
A new study has clarified the role of diet in the risk of developing gout. The report confirms that consumption of purine-rich meats and seafood increases the risk of gout and determines that purine-rich vegetables and protein intake do not raise risk.

Alcohol-related emergency department visits higher than previously thought
March 8, 2004 —
Emergency department visits for alcohol-related illnesses or injuries are approximately three times higher than previous estimates, according to an article in the March 8 issue of The Archives of Internal Medicine.

Proton Therapy Offers Potential Advantages for Children with Brain Tumors
March 3, 2004 —
Proton beam therapy offers a clear advantage over conventional radiation therapy for treatment of certain brain tumors in children.

Study shows drug can heal, reduce recurrence of fistulas in Crohn's disease
February 25, 2004 —
An international study has found that maintenance therapy with the drug infliximab, a monoclonal antibody used to treat Crohn's disease, can prevent or delay the recurrence of fistulas, a common complication of that inflammatory bowel disorder.

Cancer cells can compress blood vessels, block entry of drugs
February 18, 2004 —
In the Feb. 19 issue of Nature, researchers from MGH describe how proliferating cancer cells compress both blood and lymphatic vessels within tumors. The findings suggest new strategies for improving the success of cancer treatment.

Two Studies Examine Aspirin for Cancer Prevention
February 17, 2004 —
In the February 18 issue of JNCI, MGH researchers address the cost-effectiveness of aspirin therapy to prevent esophageal cancer in patients with Barrett's esophagus.

Research clarifies how Alzheimer's medicines may reduce interference with learning and memory
February 15, 2004 —
New evidence clarifies how the only government-approved treatments for mild-to-moderate Alzheimer's Disease may work to improve symptoms.

Low compliance rate for food allergy treatment in emergency departments
February 9, 2004 —
A new study shows emergency departments have a low compliance rate with recommended treatment guidelines for food-related acute allergic reactions.

Study Demonstrates Altered Angiogenic Proteins
February 5, 2004 —
The discovery that a protein "marker" is sharply elevated approximately five weeks prior to the onset of preeclampsia could provide a warning sign to help doctors in diagnosing this potentially life-threatening complication of pregnancy.

Gene transfer allows mammals to produce heart-healthy fats
February 4, 2004—
MGH researchers have found that tissues from mice with a gene usually found in roundworms contain heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, not usually found in mammals.

Study supports role of aspirin in reducing risk of colorectal cancer
February 2, 2004—
A new study has confirmed that regular intake of aspirin appears to be associated with a reduced risk of the type of colon polyps that can develop into cancer.
(link to video news release from American College of Physicians)

Low-tar cigarettes do not cut lung cancer risk
January 8, 2004—
The risk of lung cancer is no different in people who smoke medium-tar, low-tar or very low-tar cigarettes, concludes a study to be published in the British Medical Journal.

Mass. General Welcomes Home Response Teams from Iran Humanitarian Mission
January 7, 2004—
The International Medical Surgical Response Team (IMSuRT), an emergency response team, sponsored by Massachusetts General Hospital, is expected to return from Bam, Iran, tonight from its first international deployment.