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April Research Highlights

  • April 29, 2023

Newswise — LOS ANGELES (April 28, 2023) — 

A Roundup of the Latest Medical Discoveries and Faculty News at Cedars-Sinai

Study: Post-COVID-19 Conditions Alter a Person’s Immune Response

A new study led by Catherine Le, MD, and Susan Cheng, MD, MPH, suggests long COVID-19 might be caused by a dysfunction of the immune system. The study, published in BMC Infectious Diseases, found that after people with long COVID-19 received the COVID-19 vaccine, they produced antibodies against the virus that causes COVID-19 for months longer than expected. Read more

Matching Form and Function of Brain Cell Types

Investigators at Cedars-Sinai have created computer-generated models to bridge the gap between “test tube” data about neurons and the function of those cells in the living brain. The study, led by Costas Anastassiou, PhD, and published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Communications, could help in the development of treatments for neurological diseases and disorders that target specific neuron types based on their roles. Read more

Nursing Excellence: Cedars-Sinai Earns Sixth Magnet Designation

Cedars-Sinai’s commitment to excellence in nursing is being celebrated again because the organization has earned its sixth-consecutive Magnet designation, widely considered the highest honor in nursing. The first Southern Californian hospital to earn Magnet recognition in 2000, Cedars-Sinai has since maintained one of the longest-running Magnet designations in the nation. Read more

Surgical Versus Nonsurgical Treatment of Pituitary Apoplexy 

The first prospective study comparing outcomes in patients with pituitary apoplexy—sudden bleeding or death of a pituitary tumor—found that patients managed medically fared as well as those treated surgically in the majority of cases. The multicenter international study, led by Adam Mamelak, MD, was presented at the American Association of Neurological Surgeons Scientific Meeting. Read more

Engineering the Next Generation of Cell and Gene Therapies

A team of investigators led by Clive Svendsen, PhD, are developing a novel way to treat amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and retinitis pigmentosa using engineered stem cells that may eventually lead to personalized treatments. The new approach uses cells derived from human induced pluripotent stem cells that are renewable and scalable. The discovery was published in the journal Stem Cell Reports. Read more

Study Gives Insight Into Cause of Severe Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Investigators have identified a genetic variant that increases people’s risk of developing perianal Crohn’s disease, the most debilitating manifestation of Crohn’s disease. The variant generates changes to DNA that lead to a loss of protein function, which in turn alters how the body recognizes and handles bacteria, making it less effective at fighting infections. The study, led by Dermot McGovern, MD, PhD, and Kathrin Michelsen, PhD, is published in the peer-reviewed journal GUTRead more

Mission Ax-2 Set to Launch Stem Cells to Space

Cedars-Sinai investigators are sending stem cells to space to explore whether low gravity can make it easier and more efficient to produce large batches of stem cells. This is the first of a series of missions funded by NASA where, for the first time, induced pluripotent stem cells will be manufactured in space by astronauts. The upcoming missions are being led by Clive Svendsen, PhD, and Arun Sharma, PhDRead more

Cedars-Sinai Cancer Collaborates on a New Type of Clinical Trial

Investigators from Cedars-Sinai Cancer are collaborating on a streamlined clinical trial design in a study called Pragmatica-Lung. This randomized Phase III trial funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) will test a therapy for advanced non-small cell lung cancer in a real-world patient population, with a focus on just one major question: Does this therapy help patients live longer? The trial, led by Karen L. Reckamp, MD, opened nationwide in March. Read more

vMed23: How Virtual Reality Is Transforming Medicine

This new branch of medicine has begun to transform the healthcare industry, and on March 30 and 31, nearly 400 people from around the world gathered at the Sofitel Hotel for Cedars-Sinai’s fifth Virtual Medicine Symposium to explore the intersection of medicine and these technologies and discuss what happens when medicine meets the metaverse. The two-day event was led by Brennan Spiegel, MD, MSHS, and Omer Liran, MDRead more

Heart Experts Elected to Lead, Join Prominent Medical Societies

Cardiologist Susan Cheng, MD, has been elected to the American Society for Clinical Investigation Council. The society also inducted cardiac electrophysiologist Eugenio Cingolani, MD, for outstanding achievement in academic medicine. Damini Dey, PhD, has been inducted into the 2023 Class of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering College of Fellows—a recognition that is reserved for the top 2% of medical and biological engineers. Read more

Cedars-Sinai Guerin Children’s Sharpens Focus on Teen Health

In this QA with adolescent health specialist Michelle Escovedo, MD, she discusses how it has never been more challenging to be a teenager and how the new Cedars-Sinai Adolescent Health Clinic, which is focused on the health of preteens, teenagers and young adults, can help. Escovedo also talks about what supporting young people looks like and what adolescent medicine involves. Read more

Virtual Reality and the Brain-Body Connection

In today’s rapidly evolving technological environment, a group of Cedars-Sinai investigators, led by Brennan Spiegel, MD, is exploring how virtual reality (VR) can play a role in treatment and help heal the body. New evidence shows that VR can be used as a catalyst to teach the brain and the body to reduce pain without medication. While investigation into the mechanisms that make VR an effective tool for reducing physical pain and psychological anxiety is in its infancy, research being conducted at Cedars-Sinai demonstrates measurable proof that this new technology is worth exploring. Read more

Symposium Brings Sex Differences Research to Forefront

Investigators discussed why basic science and clinical research must represent female and male participants and offered advice for landing grants during the Center for Research in Women’s Health and Sex Differences (CREWHS) symposium. Caroline Jefferies, PhD, scientific director of CREWHS, said the goal of the symposium is to raise awareness about the need to conduct women’s health and sex differences research. Since launching four years ago, CREWHS has funded 13 projects related to women’s health. Read more

Is Artificial Intelligence Better at Assessing Heart Health?

A new Smidt Heart Institute study published in Nature showed that artificial intelligence proved to be superior in assessing and diagnosing cardiac function when compared with echocardiogram assessments made by sonographers. The findings are based on a first-of-its-kind, blinded, randomized clinical trial of AI in cardiology led by David Ouyang, MD. Investigators are confident that this technology will be found beneficial when deployed across the clinical system at Cedars-Sinai and health systems nationwide. Read more 

Study Links Blood Pressure Variability With Dementia

A new study by Cedars-Sinai investigators, led by Zaldy Tan, MD, MPH, and Joseph Ebinger, MD, found that people whose blood pressure fluctuated while they were in the hospital were at greater risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia than people whose blood pressure remained stable while hospitalized. The findings, published in Frontiers in Neurology, suggest blood pressure readings could be used to identify people at risk for dementia. Read more 

Study: ChatGPT Has Potential to Help Cirrhosis, Liver Cancer Patients

A new study led by Brennan Spiegel, MD, MSHSAlexander Kuo, MD, and Yee Hui Yeo, MD, describes how ChatGPT, an artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot, may help improve health outcomes for patients with cirrhosis and liver cancer by providing easy-to-understand information about basic knowledge, lifestyle and treatments for these conditions. The findings, published in Clinical and Molecular Hepatology, highlight the AI system’s potential to play a role in clinical practice. Read more 

Scleroderma Expert Francesco Boin, MD, on Treating Autoimmune Disease

In this QA, Francesco Boin, MD, director of the Scleroderma Program and member of the Kao Autoimmunity Institute, shares his most pressing research questions regarding scleroderma and how he and his team are poised to answer them. The chronic autoimmune condition is complex and can cause debilitating scarring of skin and internal organs, making it difficult to study. Read more 

Risk of Sudden Cardiac Arrest Rises Sharply in Ventura County

A new study found that residents of Ventura County had a 38% increase of sudden cardiac arrest during the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic. Most affected were Hispanic residents, who faced a 77% increase of the condition causing a sudden loss of heart function that is usually fatal. The study, led by Kyndaron Reinier, PhD, MPH, and published in Heart Rhythm, also found that overall survival from sudden cardiac arrest declined from 15.3% to 10% during the pandemic. Read more 

Cedars-Sinai Guerin Children’s Opens New Plastic Surgery Program

Cedars-Sinai Guerin Children’s is opening a new plastic surgery program for children with facial deformities. The Cleft and Craniofacial Program, led by Victor Chien, MD, addresses the needs of any pediatric patient with a congenital craniofacial difference, including cleft lip and cleft palate, ear and jaw deformities, skull bones that fuse prematurely, as well as birthmarks. Read more       

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