Discover Brigham 2017
Tweets, recaps and detailed coverage of BWH’s landmark event to educate, inspire and share advancements in science and medicine with the community.
- Poster Sessions
- Population Health
- Gene Editing
- Artificial Intelligence
- Trauma Research
- The Microbiome Across Diseases
- Awards Ceremony and Wrap Up
12 p.m., Poster Sessions
Excitement was mounting even before the day’s scheduled events began.
1 p.m., From Trial to Triumph
Prevention is more effective than trying to treat conditions affecting large segments of the public. Population health informs health care in many ways, one of which is by looking at healthy people and monitoring how their health changes over time to identify trends. In a conversation led by Marc S. Sabatine, MD, MPH, the panel discussed major trials and studies that have influenced the medical field and health policy, including the Nurses’ Health Study, which has collected information on a variety of health and wellness measures that contribute to rich and deep research on women’s health. Virginia Wagg, who joined the panel, is one of the thousands of participants who has remained in the study for the last 40 years. The study is ongoing and has influenced policy decisions in the U.S.
1 p.m. Nothing Beats a New Pair of Genes
Patient Wendy Borsari’s family has a long history of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy – a genetic condition that causes the muscles of the heart to abnormally thicken – but at Discover Brigham’s Gene Editing panel, Wendy told a packed room that she fervently hoped that history would end with her children’s generation (both her son and daughter have the condition too). Borsari’s hope springs from the promise of gene editing and advancements that have been made in understanding her disease. Experts from the Brigham – led by Christine Seidman, MD, who directs the BWH Cardiovascular Genetics Center – discussed how techniques like CRISPR are helping researchers understand genetic diseases and how researchers, clinicians and patients are grappling with the ethical implications and consequences of advances in the field.
2 p.m., Hype vs. Hope
“Do you think AI will replace physicians or health care providers in the future?” Chief Information Officer Adam Landman, MD, asked the audience at a standing-room only discussion with experts from academia and industry about how artificial intelligence (AI) is changing patient care delivery. The panel fielded questions from Landman and the audience about how AI advancements are changing the practice of medicine and medical education, the major challenges posed by non-standardized data and the potential to provide better care and automate the mundane.
2 p.m., Discover Why Magnet Matters
Panelists highlighted the Brigham’s journey to Magnet designation and how the work of the Brigham exemplifies the hallmarks of Magnet by describing initiatives submitted in the organization’s Magnet documentation, including: engaging patients and families in fall prevention, developing a nurse-driven heparin nomogram protocol, reducing Central Line-Associated Bloodstream Infections (CLABSIs) and using new technology to help new moms feel connected to their babies in the NICU when they can’t be there in person.
3 p.m., Stepping Strong
During Discover Brigham’s “Stepping Strong: Trauma Research” session, some of BWH’s leading bone researchers discussed the work they’re doing to get a better understanding of bones, specifically their structure and ability to heal and regenerate. Currently, experts are unable to measure bone healing properly. The Stepping Strong Center for Trauma Innovation at BWH has established a working group that consists of clinicians and researchers looking at various factors that go into bone research. During the session, researchers discussed their areas of interest in this field. One researcher at the Brigham is looking at data to accurately measure bone healing to improve drug development. Another researcher is looking at the role of nano-medicine, and nano-drones, to better treat bone injuries. The panel also discussed research that explores the use of stem cells to advance bone regeneration, with the goal of gaining a deeper understanding of the effects of age, hormone deficiency and vitamin D deficiency on bone-forming cells.
3p.m., Trust Your Gut
The Microbiome Across Disease
“The microbiome is as unique as your fingerprints,” said Raina Fichorova MD, PhD and panelist. “Ethically, some even argue that publishing microbiome information is a breach of privacy because you could use it to identify a patient.” In this session, the panelists shared their research and fielded questions from the audience on everything from women’s health to newborns to up-and-coming ways to treat conditions like Clostridium difficile (C. Diff.) in the case of Meredith Ashley, a patient of panelist Jessica Allegretti, MD, MPH. “We are our bacteria” was the resounding message as investigators look forward to more microbiome research and better prevention strategies.
4 p.m., Conquer From Within
Immunotherapy treatment – using components of a person’s immune system to fight disease – is being used to restore balance to the immune response for patients with diseases such as kidney disease and various forms of cancer. As part of a panel discussion on applying immunotherapy in different disease areas, a patient who was diagnosed with nephrotic kidney disease as a child shared her experience dealing with the disease and how a pioneering immunotherapy treatment not only put her in remission, but made her daily life easier too.
4p.m., Eat. Sleep. Breathe.
Wellness and Alternative Medicine
If there’s a fountain of youth, you’re not likely to encounter it in the dietary supplement aisle of your local pharmacy, contended a panel of experts in preventive medicine, integrative medicine and sleep medicine. Evidence has shown that health and longevity are most closely linked to familiar lifestyle factors: a balanced diet, sufficient sleep, regular exercise and mind/body practices. With the one exception of folic acid supplements for pregnant women, nutrients are absorbed by the body far more effectively when they come from food, said JoAnn Manson, MD, DrPH, chief of the Division of Preventive Medicine. Panelists also discussed the long-term effects of inadequate sleep and sedentary lifestyles, as well as the protective qualities of aerobic exercise, tai chi and healthy sleep habits.
We should not think about vitamin/mineral supplements or any other dietary supplements as a substitute for a healthy diet. – JoAnn Manson, MD, DrPH
5 p.m., Awards Ceremony and Reception
Investigators from across the Brigham were honored through several awards from the Brigham Research Institute (BRI). Ten investigators received Research Excellence Awards, a $1,000 prize for outstanding contributions to research. Ellen Bubrick, MD, of the Department of Neurology, was selected by a public vote as the winner of the 6th annual BRIght Futures Prize, a $100,000 award, for her project, “Break the Shake: Ultrasound Treatment for Epilepsy.” This year marked the first that two winners were selected to split the BRI Director’s Transformative Award, conferring a $250,000 grant to each recipient. Principal investigators for the award-winning projects are:
• Michael Brenner, MD, chief of the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunity, for “Disease Deconstruction by Single Cell Transcriptomics: Onsite Single Cell RNA-seq Core”
• Terrie Inder, MD, MBChB, chair of the Department of Pediatric Newborn Medicine, for “Healthy Starts to Life”