In 2016 and 2017, a surge of mumps cases at Boston-area universities prompted researchers at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard to study mumps virus transmission using genomic data, in collaboration with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and local university health services. As the outbreaks unfolded, the teams analyzed mumps virus genomes collected from patients, revealing new links…
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everal medications successfully treat an active migraine. But a review of the medical literature from Boston Children’s Hospital finds only weak evidence that drug treatment prevents migraine in children and adolescents. Only two medications — topiramate and propranolol — showed any difference in preventing migraine in this age group compared with a placebo. Joe Kossowsky (Jacob Murphy) The authors reviewed…
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Mind the Gaps

Wearable technology and other mobile data-gathering devices should replace self-reporting diaries to track symptoms in people with Parkinson’s disease, a new study from a large industry and academic collaboration argues. The study was published January 17 in Nature Partners Journal Digital Medicine. “For clinicians to effectively manage the disease and for researchers to develop new therapies, high quality data are critical,”…
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Once widely considered an antibiotic- and hospital-associated pathogen, recent research into C. difficile has shown the infection is more frequently acquired outside of hospitals. Now, a team of researchers has shown that GI disturbances, such as those caused by food poisoning and laxative abuse, trigger susceptibility to colonization by C. difficile, and carriers remain C. difficile-positive for a year or longer. “Our work helps…
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Lawyers from one of the area’s biggest law firms will be assisting drug and medical device company founders, thanks to the company’s new partnership with an emerging, venture capital-backed life sciences accelerator. Goodwin has paired up with local life sciences accelerator Petri on the first of what the law firm anticipates could be many early-stage legal assistance initiatives, called Goodwin Labs. The setup…
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Hormone receptor-positive breast cancer can spread throughout the body via the bloodstream as circulating tumor cells, or CTCs, which eventually reach distal (remote) body sites to form metastatic tumors. An increase in ribosomes, the protein-making machinery found in every living cell, increases their potential to form metastasis, report investigators from Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center (MGH) and Harvard Medical School…
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In the largest study of skin cancer rates among gay, lesbian or bisexual individuals, investigators from Brigham and Women’s Hospital report important differences in skin cancer prevalence among sexual minorities. Rates of skin cancer were higher among gay and bisexual men compared to heterosexual men but lower among bisexual women than heterosexual women. These findings, which were possible because of the sexual…
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Dr. Aiello is Director of The Beetham Eye Institute at Joslin Diabetes Center, Professor of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School, Vice Chair Harvard Department of Ophthalmology for Centers of Excellence, and founding chair of the Diabetic Retinopathy Clinical Research Network. Dr. Aiello’s contributions to understanding mechanisms underlying diabetic retinopathy, development of novel therapeutics such as VEGF and plasma kallikrein inhibitors, clinical trial design…
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Cortical layer 1 (L1) interneurons have been proposed as a hub for attentional modulation of underlying cortex, but the transformations that this circuit implements are not known. We combined genetically targeted voltage imaging with optogenetic activation and silencing to study the mechanisms underlying sensory processing in mouse barrel cortex L1. Whisker stimuli evoked precisely timed single spikes in L1 interneurons, followed by strong lateral inhibition. A mild aversive stimulus activated cholinergic inputs and evoked a bimodal distribution of spiking responses in L1.
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