Antidepressant with Novel Mechanism of Action Appears Safe and Effective in Phase 1b Clinical Trial

“Our study finds that this novel compound promotes neurogenesis in a specific part of the brain, is well tolerated and may have robust antidepressant effects. If its efficacy is confirmed in larger trials, this drug could be an important new option for patients not helped by currently available medications.” –Maurizio Fava, MD.

Dr. Fava is the executive director of the Clinical Trials Network and Institute in the Mass General Department of Psychiatry, and the director of the Division of Clinical Research at the Mass General Research Institute.


Brain Disease Researchers Track Elusive Protein

Devastating brain diseases like Frontotemporal Dementia and Alzheimer’s have been painfully slow to give up their secrets.  But behavioral neurologist Brad Dickerson, MD,
and his Mass General research team are tracking an important protein that has long eluded measurement in the living brain.  Their work may mark a turning point in how such now-incurable conditions are understood and treated.


Nutrition Shortcuts When You Live Alone

For elderly people who live alone, it can be a challenge to continuously prepare and eat nutritionally balanced meals. Loneliness, depression, immobility and problems with transportation or finances are just some of the factors that lead to elders adopting unbalanced diets that have negative health effects.

In this blog post from Harvard Medical School, two Mass General health and nutrition experts help to explain the issue and provide some tips to help elders get back on track with their diets.

Anesthesia: Who Knew What When?

“On October 16, 1846, at Massachusetts General Hospital, [William T.G. Morton] successfully administered ether to a surgical patient in a public demonstration. As acclaim was heaped upon Morton, [Horace] Wells unsurprisingly cried foul—but so did [Charles T.] Jackson. A bitter dispute rose all the way to Congress…”


Smartphone Device Can Quickly Diagnosis Cancer

“Imagine your doctor could take some of your cells, slide them into a compartment on a smartphone and tell you if you had cancer in just an hour. You could be spared an agonizing wait for lab results. And your doctor could discuss the diagnosis and your treatment options in person.

A team led by Ralph Weissleder, MD, PhD, director of the Center for Systems Biology at Massachusetts General Hospital, and Hakho Lee, PhD, also of the center, has created such a device.

It’s called the D3 system—for digital diffraction diagnosis. Born of Dr. Weissleder’s efforts to improve health care in a remote part of Africa, the D3 system is just one example of Mass General’s commitment to global health care.”


NIH Director Francis Collins on His Agency’s Future and His Own

Great article about the National Institutes of Health from STAT

“I am sure I have met with more than 300 members of the Congress face-to-face, and had a conversation about what medical research is about right now, and how does it happen, and what are the most exciting developments — and I can’t think of a single one of those that went badly. That would include people whom you would think of as not necessarily friendly to any kind of government spending, but who, after a conversation, kind of get it: ‘Oh, this is something that government does that is really beneficial and that we should support.’”


The Science Behind The Perception Of Beauty

When it comes to who you find attractive, a new Mass General research study suggests that environment and experience may have more influence than your genetic makeup. The online study, led by Laura Germine, PhD, used sets of twins to estimate the relative contributions of genetic and environmental variation when judging attractiveness of a series of faces.

The results showed that identical twins did not have a much higher rate of agreement on attractiveness than non-identical twins, even though they share twice as many genes, suggesting that the appreciation of beauty is learned, not inherited.