Atlas of Antiviral Defenses

As SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, continues to evolve, immunologists and infectious disease experts are eager to know whether new variants have grown resistant to the human antibodies that recognized and fought off the initial versions of the virus. Vaccines against COVID-19, developed based on the chemistry and genetic code of this initial virus, may confer less protection if…
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Long thought of as a generic alarm system, the locus coeruleus may actually be a sophisticated regulator of learning and behavior, an MIT team posits. Small and seemingly specialized, the brain’s locus coeruleus (LC) region has been stereotyped for its outsized export of the arousal-stimulating neuromodulator norepinephrine. In a new paper and with a new grant from the National Institutes…
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It can be difficult to get drugs to disease sites along the gastrointestinal tract, which spans the mouth, esophagus, stomach, small and large intestine, and anus. Invasive treatments can take hours as patients wait for adequate amounts of drugs to be absorbed at the right location. The same problem is holding back newer treatments like gene-altering therapies. Now the MIT…
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Scientists have come up with a new way to get vaccinated against the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, and it comes with a twist: No needles needed. This vaccine would instead be aerosolized so it could be inhaled by a patient. Researchers have tested this vaccination strategy in mice, and it elicited a strong immune response. A team led by researchers…
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Research by scientists at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Boston University School of Medicine may help to explain why cancer cells that spread to lymph nodes (LN) can resist attack by immune cells. Their studies found that an increased physical force—known as solid stress—in metastatic lymph nodes effectively disrupts the ability of immune system cells to infiltrate the lymph node…
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Researchers Discover How Hunger Boosts Learning about Food in Mice

Over the last decade, investigators at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) have been at the forefront of the effort to identify the small population of neurons deep within the brain that cause hunger, but precisely how these cells and the unpleasant feeling of hunger they cause actually drive an animal to find and eat food remained unclear. Now, a study published…
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In the weeks that followed the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, doctors saw a flood of patients with a common injury: a ruptured eardrum. Ruptured eardrums aren’t rare — patients with chronic ear infections or some traumatic injury often develop them. But the influx of cases made it clear to otolaryngologist Aaron Remenschneider, at the time a resident at specialty hospital…
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New research led by investigators at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Massachusetts Eye and Ear indicates that the blood pressure drug losartan may benefit patients with neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2), a hereditary condition associated with vestibular schwannomas, or noncancerous tumors along the nerves in the brain that are involved with hearing and balance. The findings, which are published in Science Translational Medicine,…
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Proper lung function relies on the precise balance of specialized epithelial cells (cells that line the surfaces of the body) that coordinate functions to maintain homeostasis. One important lung cell type is the goblet cell, which secretes mucus that helps protect the lining of the bronchus (major air passages of the lung) and trap microorganisms. Goblet cells are often increased in…
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