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Research Roundup

This month’s research roundup features a study that seeks to determine why our minds wander, a clinical trial that demonstrated that the brains of marijuana users react differently to social exclusion than non-users, and a study of oxytocin spray as a method for weight loss. Read the full Research Roundup here

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Science Fairs are as Flawed as My Solar-Powered Hot Dog Cooker

Thought-provoking article from science writer Carl Zimmer on the importance of introducing kids to science at a young age, and how difficult it can be for some children gain access to the scientific community unless they are fortunate to have connections. Visit http://www.massgeneral.org/research/education/ to learn more about science education programs for students at Massachusetts General Hospital.

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The Ether Dome, the Operating Room That Changed Medical History

Check out this great video showcasing the Ether Dome at Massachusetts General Hospital, home to the first public demonstration of surgery using ether as an anesthetic in 1846. The Ether Dome has played a central role in our hospital’s storied past, and still serves as a center for sharing innovative new medical ideas today.  

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Scientists Grow Functional Heart Muscle

A team of researchers led by Dr. Harald Ott of the Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Regenerative Medicine have grown functional heart tissue using donated hearts stripped of their cells. This breakthrough could allow tissue patches grown from a patient’s own cells to replace cardiac tissue damaged during a heart attack.   LEARN MORE

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The Accidental Innovator

Most breakthroughs in health and medicine are the products of academic research labs or biomedical corporations. But plenty of useful, inventive and therapeutic ideas come from outside those walls, from patients and their clinicians, often when they’re wrestling with a pressing lifestyle problem that has no other solution. See how researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital  and other institutions are exploring ...

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Human Cardiac Cells Grown on Heart ‘Scaffold’

Heart cells have been successfully grown in a human heart stripped of all cellular components by scientists at Massachusetts General Hospital. The scientists behind the work hope to create cardiac muscle to repair damaged tissue.   READ MORE

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Meet Victoria, the Robot Who Gives Birth

Nursing students at the Massachusetts General Hospital Institute for Health Professions use a realistic birth simulator named Victoria to practice guiding mother and child through the birth process. Just like human mothers, Victoria’s deliveries don’t always go as planned, helping to prepare nurses for complications they may encounter during a live birth. Simulators play a key role in providing Mass ...

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NIH’s Commitment to Basic Science

Great to see this article from the National Institutes of Health’s Mike Lauer confirming the Institution’s support for basic research! “NIH’s mission is to seek fundamental knowledge about the nature and behavior of living systems and the application of that knowledge to enhance health, lengthen life, and reduce illness and disability. This fundamental knowledge is obtained through research ...

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Is Functional MRI The New X-Ray Vision?

Nearly a century after the introduction of X-ray, the debut of the imaging technique functional magnetic resonance imaging reopened some of the same questions about the nature of seeing and knowing—casting an even keener eye, perhaps, on the matter of what makes us who we are. If X-ray made the invisible visible by revealing our inner anatomies—the structural ...

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Researchers Developing a Pill that Lasts and Lasts

Mass General researchers are working on a flexible polymer pill that could provide a month’s worth of medication at a time before passing harmlessly through the body. The pill could help to increase patient adherence to prescribed medicines. Failure to take medicines as prescribed is estimated to cost more than $100 billion in avoidable hospitalizations ...