Newswise — Welcome to the October 2018 edition of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center’s (BIDMC) Research & Health News Digest. This month’s update includes:

  • Watching and waiting: New data provides guidance for management of moderately dysplastic moles (Dermatology)
  • Us vs. them: Understanding the neurobiology of stereotypes (Cognitive Neurology)
  • Neuroscientists shed light on how the brain links objects with meaning and value (Neurology)
  • Out like a light: Researchers ID brain’s ‘sleep switch’ (Neurology)
  • Combination therapy targets latent reservoir of HIV (Infectious Diseases)
  • Free thinking: researchers identify origins of free will in the brain (Neurology)
  • Augmented reality may help cardiologists plan and perform complex procedures (Cardiology/Surgery)
  • Cancer Center’s Standard of Cure Cancer Symposium highlights the ‘revolution’ in immunotherapy and targeted therapies (Cancer)
  • The flu vaccine is the best defense against the influenza virus (General Medicine)
  • Faculty from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center’s CardioVascular Institute and colleagues presenting new advances and research at American Heart Association Scientific Sessions (CardioVascular)

If any of these briefs pique your interest and you’d like to speak with one of our experts, please contact us at [email protected] or at 617-667-7300. You can also reach the BIDMC communications team member on call through the BIDMC page operator at (617) 667-4700 and asking for pager ID #33880. 

Watching and Waiting: New Data Provides Guidance for Management of Moderately Dysplastic Moles

A new study, led by Caroline C. Kim, MD, in the Department of Dermatology at BIDMC, suggests close observation is a reasonable management strategy for moderately dysplastic moles, but certain patients require continued screening for risk for melanoma. The findings, published in JAMA Dermatology, show that dysplastic moles – known by their Latin name “nevi” in medical terminology – are not necessarily precursors to melanoma, but rather, are a risk factor for melanoma. (October 2018)


Us vs. Them: Understanding the Neurobiology of Stereotypes

In a review published in the journal Trends in Cognitive Science, Alvaro Pascual-Leone, MD, PhD, and colleagues describe how non-invasive brain stimulation – a technique he and others have pioneered to unlock the secrets of the brain – could shed light on the neurobiology underlying implicit bias. What’s more, Pascual-Leone and his co-authors suggest the technique may also be used to evaluate potential behavioral interventions intended to reduce stereotyping and discriminatory practices. (October 2018)


Neuroscientists Shed Light on How the Brain Links Objects with Meaning and Value

As visual information streams in through the eyes, multiple groups of neurons process different kinds of information. In a new paper published in the journal Neuron, a team of researchers at BIDMC led by Mark Andermann, PhD, used a sophisticated microscope to watch the activity of hundreds of neurons in the lateral visual association cortex of mice as they viewed images associated either with food or with non-food reward outcomes. The researchers observed that one subset identifies shapes, colors and objects – a colorful roadside sign, for example – while another group assigns meaning to those visual stimuli so that colorful roadside sign becomes a logo signaling the availability of food. (October 2018)


Out Like a Light: Researchers ID Brain's 'Sleep Switch'

Two decades ago, Clifford B. Saper, MD, PhD, of the Department of Neurology at BIDMC, and colleagues discovered a set of nerve cells they thought might be the switch that turns the brain off, allowing it to sleep. In a new study published in Nature Communications, Saper and colleagues demonstrate in mice that that these cells – located in a region of the hypothalamus called the ventrolateral preoptic nucleus (VLPO) – are in fact essential to normal sleep. (October 2018)


Combination Therapy Targets Latent Reservoir of HIV

In a new study published in Nature, Dan H. Barouch, MD, PhD, Director of the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research at BIDMC, and colleagues demonstrate that administering broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAb) designed to target HIV in combination with agents that stimulate the innate immune system delayed viral rebound following discontinuation of antiretroviral therapy in monkeys. The findings suggest that this two-pronged approach represents a potential strategy for targeting the viral reservoir. (October 2018)


Free Thinking: Researchers Identify Origins of Free Will in the Brain

Neuroscientists led by BIDMC’s Michael Fox, MD, PhD, used brain lesion network mapping – a technique pioneered by Fox – to find the anatomical origins of the perception of free will. Their findings were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. (October 2018)


Augmented Reality May Help Cardiologists Plan and Perform Complex Procedures

A team of researchers at BIDMC assessed augmented reality’s (AR) potential to help cardiologists visualize myocardial scarring in the heart as they plan and perform ventricular tachycardia ablation or other electrophysiological interventions. The team’s findings, published in PLOS ONE, demonstrate that the new AR technology confers a number of advantages. (October 2018)


Cancer Center’s Standard of Cure Cancer Symposium Highlights the ‘Revolution’ in Immunotherapy and Targeted Therapies

The 11th Annual BIDMC Standard of Cure Cancer Symposium, presented by the Cancer Center at BIDMC, captured a new attendance record with more than 600 attendees coming together to learn about the latest in the targeted therapy and immunotherapy cancer research revolution. A highlight in the day’s events was the presentation of the Pandolfi Award for Women in Cancer Research, now in its second year, to Padmanee Sharma, MD, PhD, of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. The awardee is chosen through a peer-review process to recognize the achievements of outstanding women in cancer research. (October 2018)


The Flu Vaccine is the Best Defense Against the Influenza Virus

Every year beginning around October, we find ourselves plunged into another flu season. Healthcare organizations ramp up communications; signs appear outside of neighborhood pharmacies; health centers promote public flu vaccine sessions; and almost half of the US population typically decides to get vaccinated. It is important to realize how serious the flu can be. BIDMC’s Nicolas Nguyen, MD, shares why the flu vaccine is the best defense against the influenza virus. (October 2018)


Faculty from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center’s CardioVascular Institute and Colleagues Presenting New Advances and Research at American Heart Association Scientific Sessions

Faculty from BIDMC’s CardioVascular Institute and colleagues will present new advances and research at the 2018 American Heart Association (AHA) Scientific Sessions in Chicago November 10-12. To find BIDMC  abstracts, please visit the below link and search “Beth Israel Deaconess.” If any of these presentations pique your interest and you’d like to speak with one of the authors, please contact Lindsey Diaz-MacInnis at [email protected] or 617-667-7372 to set up an interview.!/4682


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JAMA Dermatology; Trends in Cognitive Science; Nature Communications; Nature; Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences; PLOS ONE