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. A study, published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, indicates that people who meditated over an eight-week period had a striking change in the expression of 172 genes that regulate inflammation, circadian rhythms and glucose metabolism. That, in turn, was linked to a meaningful decrease in their blood pressure. “To our knowledge, this is the first study to identify gene expression changes specifically associated with the impact of a mind-body intervention on hypertension,” said co-author Towia Libermann, PhD, Director of the Genomics, Proteomics, Bioinformatics, and Systems Biology Center at BIDMC.
. The devastating developmental damage that Zika infection can cause when children are infected in the womb is abundantly clear. To gain some insight on the disease’s impact after birth, researchers infected infant rhesus macaques with Zika virus after they were born, and observed that monkeys have abnormal brain development and display atypical behavior at six months of age. The study “is the first of its kind to really show how pathogenic Zika can be in infants, even when infants are postnatally infected,” said Dan Barouch, MD, PhD, a virologist at Harvard Medical School (and Director of the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research at BIDMC). If an immunization becomes available, men and women should be vaccinated before pregnancy to protect from congenital Zika infection, he said, “but whether that will protect against postnatal infection, I think time will tell.”
. Pfizer’s Centers for Therapeutics Innovation (CTI) is a unique program that collaborates with leading academic medical centers, the NIH and foundations to speed the translation of novel targets into potential therapeutics. This CFP will include large and small molecules for therapeutics in the areas of Oncology, Inflammation and Immunology, Cardiovascular and Metabolic Diseases, and Rare Diseases. Pfizer-CTI informational office hours will be announced soon. Look out for sign-up here. Submission deadline: Monday, April 23, 2018. For further questions, please contact Cindy Wong at firstname.lastname@example.org or Wanni Davis at email@example.com
. Christos Mantzoros, MD, DSc, Director of the Human Nutrition Unit at BIDMC – and the first scientist to document the role of the hormone leptin in regulating the body’s response to hunger in humans – is the recipient of the Endocrine Society’s Outstanding Clinical Investigator Award for 2018. The award honors an internationally recognized clinical investigator who has contributed significantly to understanding of endocrine and metabolic diseases. “Metabolic diseases – obesity, diabetes and associated ailments such as cardiovascular diseases, strokes and some kinds of cancer – are the epidemics of the 21st century,” said Mantzoros. “Our group works hard to understand the mechanisms underlying these disorders, to prevent, diagnose and treat these disease states by developing novel diagnostic and therapeutic tools for these conditions.” In November, Mantzoros also accepted the Obesity Society’s 2017 TOPS Research Achievement Award. As the most prestigious award given by the Obesity Society, it recognizes an individual for singular achievement or contribution to research in the field.