Our Projects

How we work

  • We collect information and DNA from patients at MGH and, through our collaborations, around the world.
  • We store and analyze the data we collect in order to test scientific hypotheses
  • We recruit the brightest young minds to our research group. Through their scientific work we train them to perform high impact science and make lasting contributions as clinician-scientists.
  • We collaborate with teams and colleagues across disciplines, at MGH, in Boston, and across the globe, in order to perform the best, most sophisticated science

Our scientific projects

  • Why are some of us more likely to suffer a stroke than others?
    • By comparing our patients with those who have not suffered a stroke or brain hemorrhage, our analyses continue to yield new genes for stroke and brain hemorrhage and risk factors that, when present, alter risk for stroke.
  • Why, if we suffer a stroke, do some of us recover more fully than others?
    • By carefully following our patients as they recover, we are seeking the genetic and other factors that play key roles in the recovery process.
  • Why, after we suffer an initial stroke, are some of us at higher risk of a recurrent stroke than others?
    • Because stroke and brain hemorrhage survivors are at increased risk of suffering a recurrence, we maintain contact with our patients for years after discharge, seeking to find those genetic variants and other unique characteristics the influence an individual's risk of recurrence.
  • New treatments
    • Do early behavioral interventions improve recovery from stroke and other serious brain injuries?
    • Other treatments?

Our research group has been responsible for the identification of common genetic risk factors for both ischemic and developed methods two crucial methods with widespread application in the genetic investigation of complex diseases.

 

All of our genetic analyses are carried out in collaboration with the International Stroke Genetics Consortium and its constituents, including the METASTROKE and MEGASTROKE collaborations. In addition to specific projects devoted to discovering the gene variants that influence stroke and the mechanisms through which these variants alter risk of stroke, we are also developing tools to enhance the sharing of data generated by members of the ISGC.

 

The most potent predictor of outcome in intracerebral hemorrhage is the size of the hematoma that ultimately accumulates. While ongoing bleeding and hematoma expansion had been frequently recognized, there was at the time no way of identifying which patients were still bleeding when they presented to the emergency department. The discovery of the “spot sign” on CT angiography changed that.

 

More than 60% of individuals die or are left with severe disability following intracerebral hemorrhage. The accurate prediction of outcome is therefore essential to help families of affected individuals decide on goals of care, as they consider whether their loved one would choose to survive. Prior to the publication of this study, there were no validated scores to predict functional recovery. Widely used scores simply predicted mortality. Furthermore, the majority of scores had been developed in cohorts in which withdrawal of care by family members was common, but not accounted for in the development of the score itself.

 

This multidisciplinary team of psychologists, nurses has teamed up with our research group to investigate ways of preventing the often debilitating psychosocial sequelae of acute brain injury, particularly stroke. Focusing on both patients and their caregivers, we aim to prevent depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress, while preserving brain function.