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National Institutes of Health (NIH)

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Wired

Wired reporter Maggie Chen spotlights Prof. Katharina Ribbeck and her lab’s work deconstructing how glycans hidden inside mucus can work to keep specific organisms healthy. Glycans “can be beneficial – assisting in food digestion, regulating immunity, and protecting against germs – but that can be harmful if they outcompete one another or become virulent, potentially leading to infection,” writes Chen.

Smithsonian Magazine

Smithsonian Magazine reporter Margaret Osborne spotlights MIT researchers who have discovered that specific neurons in the brain respond to singing, but not sounds such as road traffic, instrumental music and speaking. “This work suggests there’s a distinction in the brain between instrumental music and vocal music,” says former MIT postdoc Sam Norman-Haignere.

The Wall Street Journal

Wall Street Journal reporter John Anderson spotlights “Augmented” a new PBS documentary featuring Prof. Hugh Herr and his work in robotic limbs and surgery.

The Boston Globe

A new documentary titled “Augmented” spotlights Prof. Hugh Herr and his work developing bionic limbs at the MIT Media Lab, reports Dana Gerber for The Boston Globe. “The long-term hope for the procedure is that people with Ewing amputations will be able to further adapt to the bionic limbs shown in the film, which Herr’s team is developing at MIT,” writes Gerber.

NPR

A new study by MIT researchers provides evidence that babies and toddlers understand people have a close relationship if they are willing to share saliva via sharing food or kissing, reports Nell Greenfieldboyce for NPR. "From a really young age, without much experience at all with these things, infants are able to understand not only who is connected but how they are connected," says postdoc Ashley Thomas. "They are able to distinguish between different kinds of cooperative relationships."

Salon

Salon reporter Elizabeth Landau spotlights the work of researchers from MIT and the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary in uncovering how Covid-19 can affect the ear. Viruses such as Covid-19, “all have these tentacles that seem to touch the ear, but nobody’s been able to study them because the ear is so inaccessible,” says Prof. Lee Gehrke. “So that’s the part that I think I get most excited about. Now we have a way to look at these things in a way that we were not able to do before.”

USA Today

USA Today reporter Karen Weintraub spotlights Prof. Li-Huei Tsai’s work studying a potential new approach to treating Alzheimer's disease and “whether certain tones of sound and frequencies of light can help regulate brain waves and help clear our cellular trash, including toxic proteins.” Tsai explains that: “The major difference between this approach and all other approaches is that this approach doesn’t just target one molecule or one pathway or one cell type. This is a holistic approach to take care of the whole system.”

Salon

Researchers from MIT and Massachusetts Eye and Ear have found that Covid-19 can cause long-term issues with a patient’s ear, reports Matthew Rozsa for Salon. The researchers found that the SARS-CoV-2 virus is capable of infecting the hair cells of the inner ear, as well as (to a lesser extent) the Schwann cells,” Rozsa explains.

Forbes

Forbes reporter William A. Haseltine spotlights an MIT and Massachusetts Eye and Ear study that finds the inner ear can be infected by Covid-19. “When exposed to SARS-CoV-2,” writes Haseltine, the researchers, "found that the vestibular hair cells on the inner ear, which helps us keep our balance and sense head movements, had an infection rate of 26%, making them particularly vulnerable." 

Scientific American

Scientific American reporter Emily Sohn writes that MIT researchers have found that vision and hearing can be impacted by the virus that causes Covid-19. “The data are growing to suggest that there are more neural consequences of this infection than we originally thought,” says Prof. Lee Gehrke.

Scientific American

Scientific American reporter Dana G. Smith spotlights how Prof. Rebecca Saxe and her colleagues have found evidence that regions of the visual infant cortex show preferences for faces, bodies and scenes. “The big surprise of these results is that specialized area for seeing faces that some people speculated took years to develop: we see it in these babies who are, on average, five or six months old,” Saxe tells Smith. 

NIH

Writing for the NIH Director’s Blog, Dr. Francis Collins highlights how Prof. Tyler Jacks and research scientist Megan Burger’s work exploring T cell exhaustion led to the creation of a “strategy for developing cancer vaccines that can ‘awaken’ T cells and reinvigorate the body’s natural cancer-fighting abilities.” Collins writes that “the researchers hope to learn if this approach to cancer vaccines might work even better when used in combination with immunotherapy drugs, which unleash the immune system against cancer in other ways.”

Reuters

Reuters reporter Nancy Lapid writes that researchers from MIT and other institutions have found that Covid-19 can infect cells in the inner ear, which “may help explain the balance problems, hearing loss and tinnitus, or ringing in the ears experienced by some COVID-19 patients.”

HealthDay News

A new study by MIT researchers finds that Covid-19 may impact the inner ear, affecting hearing and balance, reports Robert Preidt for HealthDay News. “Their results suggest that the SARS-CoV-2 virus can infect the inner ear, specifically hair cells that are crucial for hearing and balance,” writes Preidt. “To a lesser degree, the coronavirus can infect Schwann cells, which insulate neurons.”

Axios

Axios reporter Alison Snyder writes that a new study by MIT researchers demonstrates how AI algorithms could provide insight into the human brain’s processing abilities. The researchers found “Predicting the next word someone might say — like AI algorithms now do when you search the internet or text a friend — may be a key part of the human brain's ability to process language,” writes Snyder.