In Case You Missed it: Science Stories from Around the Web

We love good science stories here at the Mass General Research Institute and wanted to share a few of our favorites from other health and science websites. Enjoy!

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The best and worst analogies for CRISPR, ranked

From a knockout punch to an act of God, CRISPR technology has drawn comparisons to a vast array of things. Here is a list of 10 analogies ranked from worst to best. (STAT)

Is ‘Man Flu’ real? Men suffer more when sick, study suggests

A research team in the United Kingdom found evidence that men may have a weaker immune response to the viruses that cause the flu or common cold, and as a result, men may have a greater risk for serious symptoms.

It’s time to stop excluding people with disabilities from science

You can be a great scientist without being able to carry a 50-pound backpack out of cave, writes Gabriela Serrato Marks, a Marine Geologist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Altmetric’s Top 100 Articles of the Year

In the past year, Altmetric has tracked over 18.5 million mentions of 2.2 million research outputs. Here are the Top 100 ranked in order of their Altmetric Attention Score as of Nov. 15, 2017.

What is really driving the Altmetric’s Top 100 Articles List

“There is a data availability problem plaguing Altmetric’s annual top 100 list,” argues Kent Anderson of Scholarly Kitchen in this detailed critical breakdown of how the rankings are compiled. But Anderson also concludes that “Overall, the Top 100 list remains interesting, and perhaps data availability and other elements will improve over time.”

How loneliness affects our health

Scientists are gaining a more refined—and surprising—understanding of the effects of loneliness and isolation on health. (New York Times)

Jawdropping images reveal science is amazing

Photos are said to be worth “a thousand words.” And that’s what the Royal Society looks for when judging images for their Publishing Photography Competition, which celebrates the power of photography to communicate science.

Study: Opioids overused in migraine treatment, regardless of race

African Americans are more likely to experience debilitating migraine headaches than whites, but a new study probing the issue found no evidence of racial disparities in treatment practices. Instead, researchers from the University of Michigan report a different finding that affects everyone: opioid overuse.

Check out this video of perspiration on a human fingertip

This incredible up close video shows drops of sweat forming on the ridges of human fingertips. It was the second place winner in the video portion of the Nikon Small World Competition this year.

Neuroscience can learn a lot from Buddhism

A scientist and a monk compare notes on mediation, therapy and their effects on the brain. (Atlantic Monthly)

Weekend Links


We’ve hand-picked a mix of Massachusetts General Hospital and other research-related news and stories for your weekend reading enjoyment:

Rebranding placebos: Harnessing the power of sham therapies for real healing might require a new lexicon

Researchers produce the first draft cell atlas of the small intestine

‘Extraordinary’ tale: Stem cells heal a young boy’s lethal skin disease

Decisions, Decisions: The Neuroscience of How We Choose (Science Weekly podcast)

Are you preparing a research poster?
A Quick Poster Checklist (From the University of Washington)
University of Texas Poster Review

Top photo courtesy of Knowable Magazine (CREDIT: TEXTBOOK EXAMPLE [CC BY-ND])

Weekend Links

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We’ve hand-picked a mix of Massachusetts General Hospital and other research-related news and stories for your weekend reading enjoyment:

For Some, Cutting-Edge ‘CAR-T’ Treatment Unleashes ‘Pac-Man’ Cells Against Blood Cancer

Gut Health May Begin in the Mouth

Why Precision Research May Lead To Blockbuster, Not Customized, Medicines

Mass. General Dilemma: Separate Conjoined Twins To Save One, Or Let Both Die?

Step Inside the Mind of the Young Stephen Hawking as His PhD Thesis Goes Online for First Time

Amazing Images From 2017 Photomicrography Competition

(top image: Immortalized human skin cells – 1st place winner of the 2017 Nikon Small World Contest [Source: Nikon Small World])


Mass General Researchers Use Imaging Tools to Gain Insights into the Physiology of the Trance State

Shamanic rituals that involve entering a trance state have been a part of the human experience for thousands of years. But we still know very little about the scientific basis of trances.

A team of investigators that included researchers from the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at Mass General recently conducted MRI scans of 15 shamanic practitioners while they were in a trance state.


(Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

The results showed increased connectivity in parts of the brain involved in internally directed thought and cognitive control, as well as decreased connectivity in the auditory pathways in the brain.

This suggests that the repetitive drum sounds that are often used to induce trance states may help to focus the brain inward by creating a predictable rhythmic sound that is easy for practitioners to tune out. Michael Hove, PhD, of the Martinos Center, is both first and corresponding author of the study.