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MGH Press Releases 2001

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Parents of seriously ill children appear at increased risk for unemployment
December 13, 2001 Parents of children with serious health problems appear less likely to be employed, according to a study from the Center for Child and Adolescent Health Policy at MassGeneral Hospital for Children.

 

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Study finds brain’s reward areas also activated by pain
Imaging study may lead to improved diagnostic, treatment methods
December 5, 2001 — The experiences of pain and pleasure have been described as the extreme ends of a continuum. Now a study from Massachusetts General Hospital supports that concept by finding that brain structures previously shown to react to rewarding experiences are also activated, although in distinctive ways, by pain.

 

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Unwanted side effect found with certain combination cancer treatment
Chemotherapy drug associated with lung inflammation in breast cancer patients
December 4, 2001 — Treating cancer patients with radiation plus chemotherapy is often an effective strategy, but researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital have found that certain combinations may increase the incidence of an inflammatory condition called radiation pneumonitis in breast cancer patients.

 

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Imaging studies illuminate competition between brain systems
November 28, 2001 – Brain imaging studies conducted by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital in collaboration with scientists at Rutgers University-Newark, are revealing that brain systems known to be involved in learning seem to compete with each other, with the type of learning involved determining which system is dominant.

 

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New MGH center will study, treat bipolar disorder in children
Stanley Center offers free evaluation and therapy
November 14, 2001 – Recent discoveries about how bipolar disorder appears in young people are leading to improved understanding of and new treatment approaches for a debilitating and distressing disorder.

 

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Proton therapy center at MGH begins treating patients
November 13, 2001 – The Northeast Proton Therapy Centerat Massachusetts General Hospital, which delivers highly targeted, precise radiation therapy, has begun treating patients. The second hospital-based proton therapy center in the world, the NPTC features the most advanced technology of its kind and a full range of patient and research support services.

 

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Study finds beauty can be its own reward
Viewing attractive female faces activates the brain’s reward circuits in males
November 8, 2001 – A group of researchers based at Mass General has shown that, while heterosexual men recognize attractiveness in both female and male faces, they will expend effort to increase their viewing of attractive female faces only. The research also shows that areas of the brain previously identified as responding to such rewards as food, drugs and money also respond to facial beauty.

 

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HMO gatekeeping does not appear to cut specialty visits
October 31, 2001 Patients will not necessarily visit specialists more often if their HMOs no longer require referrals by a primary care physician, researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care (HPHC) found.

 

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MGH surgeon leads national burn and trauma research effort
October 17, 2001 The National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) has awarded a consortium of investigators a $6.7 million grant to investigate factors that may control recovery from traumatic injury, with the ultimate aim of developing improved treatment strategies.


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Loss of new cell growth gene linked to certain human cancers
September 30, 2001 — Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) have found that the loss of a recently discovered gene involved in cell growth may play an important role in the progression of some human cancers. The gene, called Cables, was discovered by the MGH team last year, and the latest results are published in the October 1 issue of Cancer Research.

 

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Medication prevents osteoporosis in men treated for prostate cancer
Hormone-blocking therapy puts patients at risk of bone-thinning disease

September 26, 2001 — One of the fastest-growing risk groups for the bone-thinning condition osteoporosis consists of men with prostate cancer who receive androgen-deprivation therapy to lower testosterone levels.  Researchers from the MGH have found that the drug pamidronate prevents bone loss in prostate cancer patients treated with what are called GnRH agonists.

 

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Managed care offers high quality of care for children with asthma
September 25, 2001 — Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) have found that children with asthma receive similar quality of care under both managed care and indemnity insurance plans. In fact, managed care might even be better. The results are published in the September-October issue of Ambulatory Pediatrics.

 

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Fly genetics point to potential cancer-causing gene
Mutated variants found in human cancer cell lines

September 19, 2001 — Researchers at MGH have used fly genetics identify a gene that may have an important role in various human cancers. The gene called
archipelago may help keep cells from uncontrolled growth.

 

../Graphics/Snew.gif (1582 bytes) MGH researchers use gene therapy to correct heart failure in a rat model
September 17, 2001 Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) have identified an important component leading to heart failure, and they have successfully fixed the problem in a rat model of the disease.

 

../Graphics/Snew.gif (1582 bytes) A new paradigm for anti-angiogenesis therapy
More normal blood supply can improve effectiveness of anti-cancer therapies

September 13, 2001 The aim of anti-angiogenesis therapy is to target the abnormal blood vessels growing into a tumor and cut off the blood supply to a cancerous mass. Yet, without an effective blood flow into a tumor, other treatments such as chemotherapy and even radiation cannot effectively reach their targets. Rakesh Jain, PhD, of the MGH is now suggesting another, somewhat paradoxical strategy for anti-angiogenic treatment.

 

../Graphics/Snew.gif (1582 bytes) Study shows excessive, inappropriate antibiotic prescriptions for sore throats
Antibiotics needed in only 10 percent of adult sore throats

September 11, 2001 – Most adult patients who see their doctors for a sore throat receive a prescription for an antibiotic, despite the fact that antibiotics may be appropriate for only 10 percent of such patients. And even though the inexpensive traditional antibiotics penicillin and erythromycin are the recommended treatment for sore throats that do require antibiotics, physicians often prescribe newer, more expensive "broad-spectrum" antibiotics.


../Graphics/Snew.gif (1582 bytes) Physicians unveil new technique for stroke analysis
More sensitive CT scan technique will bring precise diagnosis into more hospitals

September 6, 2001 — Researchers at MGH have found a new way to evaluate acute strokes. The imaging technique will allow physicians to quickly administer the appropriate treatment to a patient who has suffered a stroke and will also help doctors better predict a patient’s clinical outcome.

 

../Graphics/Snew.gif (1582 bytes) Structure of key protein involved in cancer, osteoporosis and foot-and-mouth disease finally solved
September 6, 2001 — MGH researchers have solved the structure of an integrin receptor, a key protein involved in diseases and processes ranging from tumor angiogenesis and breast cancer metastasis to osteoporosis, vascular restenosis and foot-and-mouth disease.

 

../Graphics/Snew.gif (1582 bytes) One-tenth of medical residents feel unprepared to manage clinical issues they will likely face in practice
Depression, substance abuse, HIV/AIDS and chronic pain among problems residents feel unprepared to treat

September 4, 2001 More than one in ten medical residents say they feel unprepared to handle certain treatments and procedures relative to their specialties despite years of solid training.

 

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Medical school leaders question status of clinical research in U.S.
Quality, financial pressures and shortage of trained clinical researchers contribute to problem

August 14, 2001 — For years, the medical community has warned of an impending crisis in clinical research. A study released in the August 15 Journal of the American Medical Association says that close to half of the research leaders at U.S. medical schools do not consider their clinical research enterprises to be healthy or robust.

 

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Study finds parents of chronically ill children avoid switching to HMO
August 6, 2001 Parents of children with chronic conditions are not likely to choose an HMO plan, according to a study by Massachusetts General Hospital researchers. The report, in the August issue of Pediatrics, suggests these parents are willing to pay higher costs for medical care in order to have direct access to specialists.

 

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Minor mutations in HIV virus have major impact
Virus Progressively Learns How to Evade the Immune System

July 18, 2001 — Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) published a study in this week’s Nature indicating that HIV can mutate key proteins in order to hide from an immune attack, and once these mutations occur they persist.

 

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New Study Tightens the Link Between Smoking and Early Menopause
July 15, 2001 Smoking can lead to premature ovarian failure, or early menopause, and scientists at Massachusetts General Hospital have discovered how. The work published in the August issue of Nature Genetics – and available online on July 16th – could eventually have implications for fertility, menopause, and overall women’s health.

 

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Study points to unexpected treatment for type 1 diabetes
June 27, 2001 Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) have shown that an unexpectedly simple treatment cures type 1 diabetes in mice. Published in the July 1 Journal of Clinical Investigation, the findings are distinct from the current theories on how to treat the disease.

 

../Graphics/Snew.gif (1582 bytes) Imaging Technique May Monitor Cancer Treatments
May 30, 2001 Scientists at Mass. General have identified a special imaging technique that may allow doctors to determine whether certain experimental cancer drugs are actually working in patients.

 

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Scientists Shed Light on Gambling and the Brain
May 23, 2001 — Scientists at Massachusetts General Hospital and two other institutions have found that discrete parts of the human brain respond in an ordered fashion to the anticipation and reward of money. The study, published in this week’s Neuron, demonstrates the first linkage of human brain events to ideas from behavioral economics.

 

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Study Reveals Potent New Osteoporosis Therapy
Reduces Fractures by Promoting Bone Formation

May 9, 2001 – A substance secreted by four tiny glands in the neck could provide the most powerful treatment to date for osteoporosis, the bone-eroding disease that currently affects millions of Americans.

 

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New Treatment May Bolster the Effectiveness of Radiation and Chemotherapy
May 7, 2001
– Scientist at MGH, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Millennium Pharmaceuticals Inc. have found that using an agent called a proteasome inhibitor in conjunction with radiation or chemotherapy can enhance the power of these therapies.

 

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Study Points to Potential Role for Caffeine in Reducing the Risk
of Parkinson’s Disease

May 3, 2001 – In a study published ing the May 15 Journal of Neuroscience, MGH researchers have shown that caffeine is able to prevent the loss of the chemical signal that is depleted in Parkinson’s disease.

 

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Mass. General to study acupuncture treatment for high blood pressure
Mass. General and the New England Research Institute are looking at the efficacy of acupuncture in treating high blood pressure. The study, Stop Hypertension with the Acupuncture Research Program (SHARP), is a 180 person pilot study which may convert to a larger Phase III trial if initial results are promising.

 

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MGH Researchers Shed New Light on How Pain Killers Work
March 21, 2001 – Researchers at MGH have shown for the first time how a class of common pain-relieving agents called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) – better known as aspirin and aspirin-like products – work by acting both within the central nervous system as well as in the inflamed region around the source of pain.

 

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Treatment for HIV Disease Found Cost-Effective
March 14, 2001 – Three-drug combination therapy for AIDS, in spite of its great expense, is a very cost-effective use of resources, report researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and their colleagues. The study appears in the March 15 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

 

../Graphics/Snew.gif (1582 bytes) Researchers discover stem cells that can generate insulin-secreting cells
March 1, 2001 – Researchers at MGH have discovered stem cells within the pancreatic islets of Langerhans that can generate insulin-secreting (beta) cells. This discovery reported in the March issue of Diabetes may eventually help to make islet transplantation become a standard treatment of diabetes.

 

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Once Thought Permanent, Alzheimer's Plaques are Cleared
from the Brains of Living Mice
Experiment Provides Critical Scientific Proof-of-Principle

February 28, 2001 Lab mice bred to develop the notorious plaques of Alzheimer's disease had a majority of their plaques disappear 3 to 8 days after treatment with anti-plaque antibodies. MGH researchers cleared 70 percent of plaques by applying the antibodies directly to the mouse brains through tiny holes in their skulls.

 

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Blood Vessels Hold Key to Thicker Hair Growth
February 14, 2001 – Researchers at MGH have been able to grow hair faster and thicker on mice thanks to a protein that promotes blood vessel growth in their skin. The mouse hair follicles – while no greater in number than those of normal mice – are individually bigger.

 

../Graphics/Snew.gif (1582 bytes) Landmark Bipolar Disorder Study Seeks to Raise Standard of Care
Participants First to Benefit From $22 Million Federal Research Project

February 6, 2001 – The National Institute of Mental Health has launched a nationwide study to improve the treatment of bipolar disorder, a disabling disease that annually costs the Nation billions in lost productivity and increases the risk of suicide among the 2.3 million Americans who suffer with the disease.

 

../Graphics/Snew.gif (1582 bytes) For the first time, scientists uncover how breast cancer metastasizes
Discovery Could Lead to New Methods to Predict and Prevent Spread of Cancer

January 31, 2001 — MGH researchers have identified a new – and surprising – mechanism by which breast cancer cells metastasize to the lymph nodes and lungs. By blocking this path, the researchers believe it may be possible to prevent the deadly spread of cancer cells from a primary tumor.

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