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ICTR in the News: Deep Brain Stimulation Eases Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms by Boosting Dopamine


The research study discussed in this article was supported by funding from the ICTR. In a new study of seven people with Parkinson’s disease, Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers report evidence that deep brain stimulation using electrical impulses jumpstarts the nerve cells that produce the chemical messenger dopamine to reduce tremors and muscle rigidity that are the hallmark of Parkinson’s disease, and increases feelings of well-being. “While deep brain stimulation has been used for treating Parkinson’s disease for more than three decades, the mechanism of action is not fully understood,” says Gwenn Smith, PhD, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at […]

Defining a Translational Researcher


What Does it Mean to Be a Translational Scientist? Translational science is defined as the field of investigation focused on understanding the scientific and operational principles underlying each step of the translational process. Further development of the field is advanced by describing the key desirable characteristics of individuals who seek to uncover these principles to increase the efficiency and efficacy of translation. The members of Translation Together, a newly launched international collaborative effort to advance translational innovation, present here a consensus representation of the fundamental characteristics of a translational scientist. We invite all stakeholders to contribute in the ongoing efforts […]

Register for the 2019 Henrietta Lacks Memorial Lecture


Join us in honoring the legacy of Mrs. Henrietta Lacks, Saturday, October 5 from 9:00 am to 12:30 pm, in Turner Auditorium, 720 Rutland Ave, 21205. This year, we celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Henrietta Lacks Memorial Lecture. We are pleased to have Dr. Griffin Rodgers, director of the National Institutes of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NDDK), as our keynote speaker. The 2019 winners of both the Urban Health Institute’s Henrietta Lacks Memorial Award and the Henrietta Lacks Dunbar Health Sciences Scholarship will be announced. All are welcome. Free parking is available in the Washington Street Garage, […]

A Perfect Score


Johns Hopkins University achieves 100% compliance with a federal law designed to reveal clinical trial results. By Patrick Smith The polio vaccine. Penicillin. Anesthesia. The most important breakthroughs in the history of medicine have something in common: clinical trials. After the Petri dishes, lab mice and microscopes provided all the information they could, researchers needed to learn what effects their discoveries would have on humans. Earlier this year, The Johns Hopkins University became one of the nation’s first academic medical centers to fully comply with a federal law that requires researchers to provide results of human studies that help evaluate […]

‘Stressors’ In Middle Age Linked To Cognitive Decline In Older Women


A new analysis of data on more than 900 Baltimore adults by Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers has linked stressful life experiences among middle-aged women — but not men — to greater memory decline in later life. The researchers say their findings add to evidence that stress hormones play an uneven gender role in brain health, and align with well-documented higher rates of Alzheimer’s disease in women than men. Although the researchers caution their study was designed to show associations among phenomena, and not determine cause and effect, they say that if future studies demonstrate that stress response does factor into […]

Ketamine Isn’t an Opioid and Treats Depression in a Unique Way


Ketamine has gotten a bad rap as an opioid when there’s plenty of evidence suggesting it isn’t one, Johns Hopkins experts say. They believe this reputation may hamper patients from getting necessary treatment for the kinds of depression that don’t respond to typical antidepressants. In a new paper, the researchers clarify the mechanism behind ketamine’s mechanism of action in hopes of restoring the therapy’s standing among health care professionals and the public. In March of this year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved esketamine, a version of the ketamine molecule, as a nasal spray to treat depression that hasn’t responded to other treatments. […]

Researchers Repair Faulty Brain Circuits Using Nanotechnology


Possible new drug targets for dementia and intellectual disability Red 8.3 astrocytes in the spine of a mouse. Credit: Rothstein lab Working with mouse and human tissue, Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers report new evidence that a protein pumped out of some — but not all — populations of “helper” cells in the brain, called astrocytes, plays a specific role in directing the formation of connections among neurons needed for learning and forming new memories. Using mice genetically engineered and bred with fewer such connections, the researchers conducted proof-of-concept experiments that show they could deliver corrective proteins via nanoparticles to replace […]

Study in Mice Advances Combination Immune Therapy for Ovarian Cancer


Two FDA-approved drugs significantly extend survival time in mouse model of deadly gynecologic disease Delivering two federally approved immunity-altering drugs together significantly extended the lives of mice injected with human ovarian cancer cells, an early proof-of-concept experiment that may advance treatment for the most deadly — although rare — gynecologic malignancy in humans, according to scientists at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center who performed the research. The combination treatment appears to improve survival by changing the natural ratio of different types of immune system “clean up” cells called macrophages, a therapy target that’s received less attention than other immune system components […]

Pilot Study of Five-Hour Molecular Test Accurately Distinguishes Malignant and Benign Breast Tumors


Novel technology based on epigenetic alterations could shorten wait for a definitive diagnosis in resource-poor settings A team led by Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center investigators reports that a new laboratory test they developed to identify chemical changes to a group of cancer-related genes can accurately detect which breast tumors are cancerous or benign, and do it in far less time than gold-standard tests on biopsied breast tissue. Although the findings are preliminary and need further validation in larger groups of people, the investigators say the test has the potential to dramatically reduce the time (minimum by one month, maximum by 15 […]

Study In Mice Advances Understanding of How Brains Remember Decisions — For Better or Worse


Mammal brains — including those of humans — store and recall impressive amounts of information based on our good and bad decisions and interactions in an ever-changing world. Now, in a series of new experiments with mice, scientists at Johns Hopkins Medicine report they have added to evidence that such “decision-based” memories are stored in very particular parts of the brain. “Figuring out where and how long animal brains store information about past choices can help us more broadly understand models of decision-making,” says Jeremiah Cohen, Ph.D., assistant professor of neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Eventually, he […]

Johns Hopkins Co-Leads Research Effort on Child ‘Poliolike’ Condition


  Johns Hopkins Medicine and University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) researchers will lead a multicenter, multinational study of acute flaccid myelitis (AFM), the “poliolike” condition affecting children that causes loss of muscle control. The National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases awarded an approximate $10 million contract to UAB that will fund at least 38 research sites across the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Peru. AFM is a rare condition that causes inflammation and damage to the spinal cord in children, resulting in a sudden paralysis of arms and/or legs and loss of […]