With the tools of modern neuroscience, researchers can peer into the brain with unprecedented accuracy. Recording devices listen in on the electrical conversations between neurons, picking up the voices of hundreds of cells at a time. Genetic tools allow us to focus on specific types of neurons based on their molecular signatures. Microscopes zoom in to illuminate the brain’s circuitry,…
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Could a wearable that emits ultrasound help transplant patients stave off organ rejection? Is there a better-designed ileostomy bag that could improve the fit and overall experience for wearers? Boston University graduate researchers with a penchant for innovation and entrepreneurship recently developed designs for these two medical devices—and their pitches have attracted interest and funding. They did so with the…
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Researchers at the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), and colleagues from Brigham and Women’s Hospital have published additional data on several features of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in children in the Journal of Infectious Diseases. By studying 110 children aged two weeks to 21 years who tested positive for COVID-19 at MGH or urgent care clinics,…
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As we interact with the world, we are constantly presented with information that is unreliable or incomplete — from jumbled voices in a crowded room to solicitous strangers with unknown motivations. Fortunately, our brains are well equipped to evaluate the quality of the evidence we use to make decisions, usually allowing us to act deliberately, without jumping to conclusions. Now,…
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The Helaine Lab focuses on studying antibiotic persistence and mechanisms of growth arrest in bacteria. Many bacteria live a growth arrested life, particularly when they are facing stresses such as those mounted against pathogens by host immune cells. In this growth arrested state, bacteria display remarkable properties and features that allow them to withstand attacks from their environment, including antibiotic exposure. Using Salmonella Typhimurium as a model organism, we decipher the molecular mechanisms of survival of the growth arrested pathogen and its interaction with its host.
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Scientists have developed a suite of molecular tools that increase the efficiency of a gene-editing technique called prime editing for a wide variety of cell types and target genes, expanding the scope of the technology’s therapeutic and research applications. In two new studies, the researchers used the improved prime editing systems to correct mutations linked to various neurodegenerative, metabolic, and…
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Unraveling the Mystery of Touch

Some parts of the body—our hands and lips, for example—are more sensitive than others, making them essential tools in our ability to discern the most intricate details of the world around us. This ability is key to our survival, enabling us to safely navigate our surroundings and quickly understand and respond to new situations. It is perhaps unsurprising that the…
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Researchers at McLean Hospital, in collaboration with Nobilis Therapeutics, have been awarded a grant to test a novel xenon gas-based treatment for opioid use disorder. The Phase I Small Business Technology Transfer Grant was awarded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) of the National Institutes of Health under award number R41DA055403. The grant will fund tests that mimic…
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Many variants in the human genome have been linked to type 2 diabetes, but because most do not lie within genes that code for proteins, it’s unclear how they might cause disease. Now an international team, including investigators at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), has developed a resource to help uncover the impact of these genetic variants. The work, which is…
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Although stem cell transplantation is the only current therapy with the potential to cure myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), it is rarely used as an initial treatment for older patients because it hasn’t been proven superior to other therapies. New research by Dana-Farber Cancer Institute investigators stands to overturn that practice. In a clinical trial involving 384 older patients with advanced MDS, researchers found that those…
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