World Diabetes Day 2017

tumblr_inline_ofnq35sy4J1tq32mi_540.jpgDiabetes impacts an estimated 425 million people around the world, and that number is projected to rise to 693 million by 2045, according to the annual diabetes atlas released today by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF).

Diabetes develops as a result of having too much sugar in the blood. Over time, that imbalance can cause serious and costly health problems including heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and eye problems. The IDF diabetes atlas estimates that the world spends more than $720 billion on health care expenditures related to the disease.

November 14 marks World Diabetes Day – a day to raise awareness of the growing diabetes epidemic and the need for a cure as well as improved prevention and treatment methods.

Here are just a few examples of how Massachusetts General Hospital researchers are working to advance diabetes research and care:

  • Investigators have reason to believe that a vaccine originally used to treat tuberculosis could provide new hope for patients with type 1 diabetes.
  • People with type 2 diabetes are particularly prone to ulcers on the bottom of the foot, which can increase the risk of death and often result in a major amputation. Ulcers take months to heal, but a new discovery about mature B lymphocytes – best known for producing antibodies – could hasten wound recovery.
  • Researchers have developed a new method for measuring blood sugar levels in diabetes patients that could reduce testing errors by 50 percent.
  • Treatment guidelines for patients with type 1 diabetes have long called for yearly eye exams. But is there an alternative to this one-size-fits-all approach that could reduce patient burden and costs while providing a quicker diagnosis? Findings from a recent study lend insight into a possible new eye screening protocol.
  • Check out the Mass General Diabetes Unit, which seeks to advance the care of people with diabetes nearby and worldwide. U.S. News & World Report ranks Mass General Diabetes & Endocrinology among the best in the nation.

 

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:

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:

Creative Minds: A New Way to Look at Cancer

Better Patient-Provider Communication Needed for Obesity Care

Eugenics 2.0: We’re at the Dawn of Choosing Embryos by Health, Height, and More

6 Speaking Tips for Scientists and Engineers (editor’s note: Melissa Marshall, featured in this article, recently spoke to Mass General clinicians about how to effectively present scientific work. We were so impressed by her talk that we wanted to introduce her to our readers) 

Looking for a great book for the young scientist in your life? The long list of 2018 AAAS/Subaru SB&F (Science Books and Films) Prize winners for Excellence in Science Books has been released. Prizes are awarded each year in the following categories:

  • Children’s Science Picture Books
  • Middle Grade Science Books
  • Young Adult Science Books
  • Hands on Science Books

See the full list here

 

Top photo: courtesy of Tim Lahan, MIT Technology Review

Kamryn Eddy Finds Hope for Patients with Eating Disorders

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The people we encounter early in life can often have a profound impact on our future. For Massachusetts General Hospital psychologist Dr. Kamryn Eddy, a childhood friend influenced her career trajectory.

“I had a close friend in high school who had anorexia,” says Dr. Eddy. “As a result, she had a number of health concerns, including osteoporosis, and was told at age 16 that she would never be able to have children.”

She recalls being shocked that a doctor would give such a definitive and dire prognosis to someone so young. Eddy has kept in touch with her friend, who found help for her eating disorder and was eventually able to recover. Her friend now has a healthy young daughter.

“That early experience was one of my introductions to the world of eating disorders,” says Eddy. “Seeing my friend’s battle and eventual recovery from her illness also showed me that there can be hope for people suffering from eating disorders.” Continue reading “Kamryn Eddy Finds Hope for Patients with Eating Disorders”

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])

 

Research Awards and Honors: October 2017

Massachusetts General Hospital’s talented and dedicated researchers are working to push the boundaries of science and medicine every day. In this series we highlight a few individuals who have recently received awards or honors for their achievements:

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Deepak Balani, DMD, PhD, research fellow in the Endocrine Unit, has received the 2017 American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR) Young Investigator Award. The award recognizes young investigators who submit top-ranking abstracts to an ASBMR Meeting. Balani received the award and a plaque at the ASBMR annual meeting in September.

“ASBMR is one of the top scientific societies primarily established to bring together clinical and experimental scientists involved in the study of bone and mineral metabolism. ASBMR organizes an annual meeting that invites top scientists from all over the globe. Getting chosen as one of the top abstracts and presenting my work in front of such a talented audience is very gratifying. For years Endocrine Unit of the Massachusetts General Hospital has been at the forefront of bone biology research. I am extremely happy that I have taken part in continuing this tradition.”

 

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Alex Soukas, MD, PhD, of the Diabetes Unit and the Center for Genomic Medicine, has received the Glenn Award for Research in Biological Mechanisms of Aging. The award provides unsolicited funds to researchers investigating the biology of aging. The mission of the Glenn Foundation for Medical Research is to extend the healthy years of life through research on mechanisms of biology that govern normal human aging and its related physiological decline, with the objective of translating research into interventions that will extend healthspan with lifespan. Soukas will use this award to continue his work in understanding the genetic mechanisms of aging and aging-related diseases.

“I received notification of the award by email during a meeting with a Harvard PhD student in my laboratory. Normally I wouldn’t open email during a meeting, but saw the title “Glenn Award” and could not resist. There are few moments in science when one feels like cheering out loud in science, and this was certainly one of them. I was surprised, amazed, and humbled to have been given such a great honor as the Glenn Award. The funding from this award will jump start our research aimed at promoting healthy aging in humans.”

 

Marc Wein.jpgMarc Wein, MD, PhD, of the Endocrine Unit, has received the 2017 American Society for Bone and Mineral Research Rising Star Award for his research, “Dissecting the roles of class IIa HDACs in osteocyte biology.” This award provides funding to promising young scientists and physician-scientists in the bone field who have already been recognized by individual National Institutes of Health “K awards” and other similar international professional development programs.

“I was thrilled to receive the 2017 Rising Star Award from the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research. I’m an endocrinologist interested in bone biology and new therapeutics for osteoporosis. The ASBMR has recognized the immense value of additional grant support for junior faculty starting independent research programs. This generous award will allow us to pursue ambitious studies on bone cell function that will identify new genes and pathways relevant to osteoporosis drug development. I’m deeply grateful for this award and the recognition by the ASBMR.” 

Wireless Sleep Monitoring System Could Make Sleep Studies Much Easier

If you find yourself tossing and turning all night, or hitting snooze a few too many times each morning, you’re not alone. More than 50 million Americans suffer from sleep disorders, and these sleep issues can get worse in individuals with Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.

Researchers from MIT and Mass General recently unveiled a wireless, portable system for monitoring individuals during sleep that could provide new insights into sleep disorders and reduce the need for time and cost-intensive overnight sleep studies in a clinical sleep lab.

Here are five things to know:

  1. Sleep disorders are typically diagnosed by bringing a patient into an overnight sleep lab, hooking them up to electrodes, and monitoring their brain activity while they sleep. While this process is effective, it is also limiting. Individuals with sleep disorders may have even more difficulty sleeping when they are hooked up to wires and in the artificial setting of a sleep lab.
  2. To make it easier to diagnose and study sleep problems at home, researchers at MIT and Mass General have created a new system for measuring sleep that is wireless, portable and powered by artificial intelligence.
  3. The system consists of a laptop-sized device that emits low frequency radio waves while an individual is sleeping. The device then measures changes in those waves that are caused by shifts in movement and breathing patterns in sleeping individuals. The device then uses an advanced algorithm—powered by artificial intelligence—to translate these changes into the different stages of sleep, including light, deep and rapid eye movement (REM).
  4. In a test of 25 healthy volunteers, the new system proved to be 80 percent accurate in identifying sleep stages, which is comparable to the accuracy of a sleep specialist reading EEG measurements, according to the research team
  5. The team is now planning to use their system to investigate how Parkinson’s disease affects sleep. Future research projects could look into common sleep disorders such as insomnia and sleep apnea, investigating how sleep is affected by Alzheimer’s disease, and detecting epileptic seizures that occur during sleep.

Researchers involved in this work are Dina Katabi, the Andrew and Erna Viterbi Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT, Matt Bianchi, chief of the Division of Sleep Medicine at Mass General, and Tommi Jaakkola, the Thomas Siebel Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT. Mingmin Zhao, an MIT graduate student, is the paper’s first author, and Shichao Yue, another MIT graduate student, is also a co-author.

Source:

New AI algorithm monitors sleep with radio waves (MIT News)

Image credit: Christine Daniloff/MIT