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University of Massachusetts Medical School

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A father’s nicotine use may have a significant impact on children’s risk of some diseases. In a study published in the online biomedical sciences journal eLife, Oliver J. Rando, MD, PhD, and colleagues at UMass Medical School, demonstrate that mice born of fathers who are habitually exposed to nicotine inherit enhanced chemical tolerance and drug clearance abilities. These findings offer a powerful framework for exploring how information about a father’s environmental exposure history is passed…

A study published in the journal Science found that activation in pregnant mice of a particular immune response, similar to what may occur with certain viral infections during pregnancy, alters the brain structure of the mouse offspring and causes behavioral changes, reminiscent of those observed in humans with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Several past human studies have suggested a correlative link between maternal viral infection during pregnancy and risk of autism spectrum disorder. Mouse models…

Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical School are the first to show that it’s possible to reverse the behavior of an animal by flipping a switch in neuronal communication. The research, published in PLOS Biology, provides a new approach for studying the neural circuits that govern behavior and has important implications for how scientists think about neural connectomes. New technologies have fueled the quest to map all the neural connections in the brain to…

Researchers have determined how the most common gene mutation in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD) disrupts normal cell function, providing insight likely to advance efforts to develop targeted therapies for these brain diseases. Scientists from the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS) and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital led the research, which appeared in the science journal┬áNature. Investigators reported evidence that mutation of C9ORF72 interferes with the movement of RNAs and proteins…

In a promising breakthrough for smokers who are trying to quit, neuroscientists at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and The Scripps Research Institute have identified circuitry in the brain responsible for the increased anxiety commonly experienced during withdrawal from nicotine addiction. “We identified a novel circuit in the brain that becomes active during nicotine withdrawal, specifically increasing anxiety,” said principal investigator Andrew Tapper, PhD , associate professor of psychiatry. “Increased anxiety is a prominent…

A new study co-authored by investigators at the University of Massachusetts Medical School found that there is no correlation between opioids administered in the emergency room setting and Press Ganey ED patient satisfaction scores, one of the most commonly used metrics for measuring patient satisfaction. Based on these findings, the study’s authors suggest that emergency room clinicians should administer pain medications in the emergency room setting according to clinical and patient factors without being concerned…

A team of scientists led by researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS) and the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine (UMMSM) have identified what is likely a key genetic pathway underlying bipolar (manic depressive) disorder, a breakthrough that could lead to better drugs for treating bipolar affective disorder, as well as depression and other related mood disorders. The new findings, published online this week in Nature Molecular Psychiatry, show that a…

Clinical researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS) are combining an innovative constellation of technologies such as artificial intelligence, smartphone programming, biosensors and wireless connectivity to develop a device designed to detect physiological stressors associated with drug cravings and respond with user-tailored behavioral interventions that prevent substance use.