Massachusetts General Hospital gastroenterologist Dr. Kyle Staller discusses the possibility of overdosing on Imodium, a popular OTC anti-diarrheal pill.
(Editor’s note: This summer, the Mass General Research Institute has two communications interns working with us as we work to highlight all of the research that takes place across Massachusetts General Hospital. Here is a post from our intern Milo Goodman.)
One major highlight of my first week as a Communications Intern was visiting the Massachusetts General Hospital Ether Dome and the Paul S. Russell, MD, Museum of Medical History and Innovation alongside Alyssa, the other summer Communications Intern here at the Research Institute.
Our aim was to familiarize ourselves with the rich history of medical innovation that has taken place at Mass General throughout its existence since its founding over 200 years ago.
We also planned on taking a few photographs for social media purposes to encourage members of the general public to come and see the sights for themselves.
A multi-institutional team that includes researchers from Mass General is investigating the so-called “hygiene hypothesis,” which suggests that early exposure to bacteria and other microbes early in life may help train the immune system to function properly and reduce the likelihood of developing autoimmune diseases and allergies, which have become more prevalent in modernized countries.
A recent study of the gut microbia from infants in three countries appears to support this theory.
One big challenge in developing treatments for ALS is that there is no reliable way to track the progression of the disease in the brain and gauge the effectiveness of new treatments.
However, researchers at Mass General were recently able to use a radiotracer to track neural inflammation—a key indicator of the disease—in ALS patients. This technique
could help investigators design better clinical trials and speed the pace of drug discovery.
This summer the Mass General Research Institute is fortunate to welcome two undergraduate students to our new summer internship program. Milo Goodman and Alyssa Gocinski will be visiting labs and centers around the Mass General campus to write stories and blog posts about some of the amazing research that takes place here every day. Be sure to check back here for weekly updates on what they’re working on!
Name: Alyssa Gocinski
Where do you attend school and what’s your major, and year? I’m a senior journalism student at Emerson College.
Where are you from? I currently live near Allston, but I’m originally from Long Island.
Why are you interning at the Mass General Research Institute? Research really drives the medical field, as groundbreaking discoveries from clinical trials and other experiments feed knowledge into everyday healthcare. It’s vital that the research conducted at Mass General progress, and I’d like to help spread the word on what it’s about.
What do you hope to gain or learn while interning here? I hope I’ll be able to make some sense of all the complex research happening at Mass General so others can understand its importance. I’m also looking forward to learning how to adapt to a more scientific and clinical atmosphere than I’m accustomed to.
Why are you interested in health communications? I interned last summer at HealthMJ, a Manhattan-based startup that provides reputable information on cannabis for cancer patients. Since medical marijuana is such a controversial issue, is fairly new to the medical field, and is not legal throughout the country, many patients are left in the dark due to stigma or unknowledgeable doctors. I realized then how important communication is to ensure proper treatment and efficient health care.
What are your goals for the future/career goals? Healthcare is so expansive. I’d like to use my communication and journalism skills to bridge the gaps between providers, researchers, and patients at the venues that need it most.
What do you like to do when you’re not being an intern? Between paperback biographies and episodes of House, I’m usually stalking out Boston’s best lobster rolls.
Favorite dinosaur? Assuming the infamous mystery creature that washed ashore on a California beach in December of 2014 is a dinosaur, that leather-skinned baldie would be my favorite. Have you seen its fangs?
Name: Milo Goodman
Where do you attend school and what’s your major, and year? I’m a junior marketing major at Emerson College. I transferred in 2015 from Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, where I had a dual major in sociology and psychology.
Where are you from? Boston.
Why are you interning at the Mass General Research Institute? I am interested in both science in general and the innovative research happening at Mass General. One story that specifically stuck out to me before applying described an effort to monitor patients’ mental health through an app created by the MGH MoodNetwork. The app keeps count of how many texts and calls the patient makes, tracks whether or not the patient is leaving their home, and even features a voice diary for specialists to analyze the patient’s voice for signs of distress. I thought this was a truly incredible idea with the potential to really help those who are in need, and I am excited to be helping to bring stories like this into the public eye to give them the spotlight they deserve.
What do you hope to gain or learn while interning here? I hope to build on my writing and research skills during my time here! I have had a lifelong passion for writing, which initially led me to a job as a student reporter in high school. As I made my way through the first three years of my undergraduate experience, I discovered my love for research that now exists in tandem with my passion for writing.
These two interests led me to begin my cause marketing blog, Marketing For Good, in January 2016. Marketing For Good exists to highlight successful cause marketing partnerships, provide context for their campaigns, and analyze why they worked.
Creating these posts has taught me about effective research methods and helped me to improve my writing skills. I hope to take that even further with my work for this internship! I am also looking forward to learning more about the groundbreaking discoveries and world-changing ideas that come out of the minds at Mass General.
What are your goals for the future/career goals? I’m not sure about specifics just yet, but I hope to work in marketing or public relations.
What do you like to do when you’re not being an intern? I spend my free time running Marketing For Good and taking care of my 15 year-old cat, Lily. I also enjoy watching reruns of King of the Hill and The Simpsons.
Favorite dinosaur? Maiasaura – plant eaters with a cool name that translates to “good mother lizard.” Some maiasaura bone fragments and eggshells were also sent into space by NASA in 1985 on one of their missions. Pretty neat stuff.
A research team from Mass General and MIT has designed a tiny, adjustable implant that could be used to deliver chemotherapy drugs directly into pancreatic cancers, instead of requiring the drugs to travel through the entire circulatory system to reach the pancreas.
In laboratory models, delivering treatment directly to the source proved to be 12 times more effective than intravenous delivery, the common treatment for pancreatic