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Press Releases 2010

 

Holiday Safety Advice from Mass. Eye and Ear

Contact: Public Affairs
617-573-3340

Boston – (Dec. 6, 2010) – The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary hopes that everyone has a joyous and safe holiday season.  They have compiled a list of tips to help everyone enjoy the season without incident.

    * Christmas Trees can be somewhat hazardous for many members of the family. Branches and needles can spring forward and people may be hit in the face or eye when first untying a live tree, so caution is urged.  When hanging ornaments, any glass, or anything with sharp edges or corners, place them out of the reach of children.
      

  •  Avoid toys that shoot objects, have parts that fly off or have sharp edges and make sure children have appropriate supervision when playing with potentially hazardous toys or games that could cause injury. These toys do not only pose just a choking hazard to the child but can also damage the eye if struck by one of the parts.     
  • When purchasing toys, look for the ASTM label, which means the product meets the safety standards set by the American Society for Testing and Materials. Also check labels for age recommendations to make sure the toys are age suitable. 
  • When giving any type sports equipment, do not forget about protective eyewear. Polycarbonate lenses are recommended for general safety.      
  • When driving during longer road trips to visit friends and family, drivers' eyes can easily become irritated. Stop and take breaks frequently. If your eyes become dry or if it difficult to see when you are driving, try saline eye drops. They will help remoisten the eyes and “wake” them up.      
  • If you are popping champagne for New Year’s celebrations, be sure to keep the cork pointed away from everyone. Pressure can build up in the bottles and send the cork rapidly through the air.  Or better yet, wear eye protection.
  • "Be careful around open flames and space heaters.  We tend to see a lot of facial burns during the winter months,” says Dr. Matthew Gardiner, Director of Emergency Ophthalmology Services at Mass. Eye and Ear.


Mass. Eye and Ear is dedicated to the safety and education of the people in and around the community.  In case of an eye emergency or ear, nose, throat emergency, the Mass. Eye and Ear Emergency Room, located at 243 Charles Street, Boston is open 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.

Founded in 1824, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary is an independent specialty hospital providing patient care for disorders of the eye, ear, nose, throat, head and neck. Mass. Eye and Ear is an international leader in Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology research and a teaching partner of Harvard Medical School. For more information, call 617-523-7900 or visit http://www.masseyeandear.org/.
 

Mass. Eye and Ear Welcomes Lyle Howland to its Board of Directors


Boston (Nov. 1, 2010) —The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary welcomes Lyle Howland, a resident of Boston, Mass., to its Board of Directors. 

Howland was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pa., where her father was an ophthalmologist at Wills Eye Hospital.

She is the founder of Howland Enterprises, Inc ("HEI"), a privately held real estate company, that developed multifamily and senior housing for low-income families in Florida and Massachusetts. HEI manages the projects and currently invests in market rate rental properties. Howland was an active member for 10 years and served in numerous roles on the Board of Trustees of Babson College in Wellesley, Mass. She has been on the Board and volunteered for various non-profits in Boston over the last 20 years.

Founded in 1824, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary is an independent specialty hospital providing patient care for disorders of the eye, ear, nose, throat, head and neck. Mass. Eye and Ear is an international leader in Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology research and a teaching partner of Harvard Medical School. For more information, call 617-523-7900 or visit http://www.masseyeandear.org/.


Mass. Eye and Ear Welcomes James C. Carlisle to its Board of Directors

Boston (Oct. 2010) —The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary welcomes James C. Carlisle to its Board of Directors. Mr. Carlisle lives in Wellesley Hills, Mass., with his wife and two children.

Mr. Carlisle is a Director at Thomas H. Lee Partners (THL), one of the oldest and most successful private equity investment firms in the United States. Mr. Carlisle started at THL in 2000, concentrating his focus on investing in and managing investments in Media & Information Services businesses. Mr. Carlisle is currently a Board Observer at Univision Communications, Inc., transitioning from a Board Director in 2007. He is also an active participant in Board matters at Clear Channel Communications, Inc. His prior directorships include Achievement Technologies Inc. and Front Line Management Companies, Inc.  Prior to joining THL, Mr. Carlisle worked at Goldman, Sachs & Co. in the Financial Institutions Group.  Mr. Carlisle holds a B.S.E., summa cum laude, from Princeton University, where he was a recipient of Princeton’s John W. Tukey Award, and holds an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.

Founded in 1824, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary is an independent specialty hospital providing patient care for disorders of the eye, ear, nose, throat, head and neck. Mass. Eye and Ear is an international leader in Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology research and a teaching partner of Harvard Medical School. For more information, call 617-523-7900 or visit http://www.masseyeandear.org/.
 

Halloween Safety Advice from Mass. Eye and Ear

Contact: Public Affairs
617-573-3340

Boston – (October 27, 2010) – The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary wants the public, patients and their families to stay safe on Halloween. There are several tips that parents can mind to keep their children safe.

  • Avoid masks or accessories that obstruct or block vision, particularly the periphery.  Face paint or make-up is a safer option.
  • Always make sure to use hypo-allergenic make-up. Keep in mind that make up does tend to run so it is recommended to bring a cloth when trick-or-treating to wipe any make-up that may get near the eye.
  • Follow any and all guidelines when using contact lenses. Contact lenses should be prescribed by a doctor. Improper use of contact lenses can lead to permanent eye damage or blindness.
  • Carry a flashlight at all times.  Once the sun goes down, keep it on to see the sidewalk or pathways better.
  • Try not to use any sharp props with a costume.  They can cause damage or injury to your child's eyes, or the eyes of other children if improperly handled.
  • Use reflective tape.  It helps others see trick-or-treaters sooner, rather than later.


Dr. Matthew Gardiner, Director of Emergency Ophthalmology Services at Mass. Eye and Ear, stresses the dangers of using masks and also warns about candles: “Masks can restrict peripheral vision, especially when used in the dark at night.  Many children are injured crossing streets because they cannot see well enough to check for cars. It is better to use face-paint instead.  Also, be careful of candles used in pumpkins or other decorations. Loose costumes may catch fire.”

Mass. Eye and Ear is dedicated to the safety and education of the people in and around its community.  In case of an eye emergency, the Mass. Eye and Ear Emergency Room, located at 243 Charles Street, Boston is open 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.

Founded in 1824, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary is an independent specialty hospital providing patient care for disorders of the eye, ear, nose, throat, head and neck. Mass. Eye and Ear is an international leader in Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology research and a teaching partner of Harvard Medical School. For more information, call 617-523-7900 or visit http://www.masseyeandear.org/.


Hemangioma Clinic Opens at Mass. Eye and Ear
 
Contact: Public Affairs
ph.: 617-573-3340

Boston – (Oct. 22, 2010) – The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary will begin running a Hemangioma Clinic on October 23, 2010. Formerly located at Mass General Hospital, the clinic will now be held at the Mass. Eye and Ear main campus at 243 Charles Street in Boston. The clinic will be held every 6 weeks, on a Saturday, beginning at 8 a.m. and lasting until the last patient is seen.

There will be multiple physicians on staff in the clinic, all of whom all with sub-specialties in vascular lesions, including dermatology, plastic surgery, oral and maxillofacial surgery, pathology, oculoplastics, and otolaryngology.

Patients wishing to be seen at the clinic must call ahead to make an appointment. Patients may call 617-573-4175 to schedule an appointment or for more information about the clinic.

Hemangiomas are vascular malformations mostly occurring on the head and neck area but can occur elsewhere on the body, both internally and externally. Some hemangiomas can be noted at birth (about thirty percent) while the rest can be noted within the first four weeks after birth. Early on, a hemangioma might appear as either bluish or reddish spots or flat patches. Later, hemangiomas can develop into a lesion and disfigurement. Internal lesions can be extremely serious if they cause difficulty breathing, sleeping, seeing or hearing. Early intervention and treatment may reduce the need for corrective surgery or minimize extensive corrective surgeries in the future.

Read Molly's Story

Founded in 1824, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary is an independent specialty hospital providing patient care for disorders of the eye, ear, nose, throat, head and neck. Mass. Eye and Ear is an international leader in Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology research and a teaching partner of Harvard Medical School. For more information, call 617-523-7900 or visit http://www.masseyeandear.org/.
 

WEEI Radio Auction to Benefit the Cures for Kids Fund 

Contact: Mary Leach

Boston (Oct. 6, 2010) – WEEI SportsRadio’s Dennis & Callahan are helping Mass. Eye and Ear find Cures for Kids by holding a special on-air auction from 6 to 10 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 7. The dynamic sports duo will be joined by Mass. Eye and Ear Board Chair and Celtic Co-Owner Wyc Grousbeck to help auction off a package that includes four Celtics seats for opening night and an autographed basketball. Those wishing to place a bid may call 617-931-1850 when the auction begins.

This special auction is being held to support Mass. Eye and Ear’s Cures for Kids Fund, which will be officially launched at Sense-ation!, a gala being held Oct. 13 at the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel. Joey McIntyre and the New Kids on the Block will entertain as part of the evening’s festivities.

Joey McIntyre is returning to Boston next week because he is passionate about the research Mass. Eye and Ear is doing to help children. Joey’s youngest son Rhys was born with hearing loss. The Cures for Kids Fund will help Mass. Eye and Ear conduct research to find new cures – from genetic therapy for inherited eye diseases to new surgical techniques for pediatric facial paralysis – and to support the innovation of specialists and staff who offer compassionate care to the most vulnerable patients and their families.

“The Cures for Kids Fund will help Mass. Eye and Ear conduct research to find new cures for blindness, deafness and other severe conditions, and to support some of the world’s best patient care professionals as they treat the most vulnerable patients,” said Wyc Grousbeck, who is Sense-ation! Co-chair in addition to his leadership role on the Mass. Eye and Ear Board of Directors. “Mass. Eye and Ear has been leading the way since 1824 – and hopes to be a leader far into the future.”

For information on the auction package, visit http://www.weei.com/shows/dennis-callahan/home. To donate to Mass. Eye and Ear’s Cures for Kids Fund, visit http://www.masseyeandear.org/curesforkids/

Ranked by U.S. News & World Report magazine as one of the top five hospitals in each of its specialties, Mass. Eye and Ear is an international center for treatment and research and a teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School. www.MassEyeAndEar.org.



New Kids on the Block Launch Cures for Kids Fund at Sense-ation! Gala

Contact: Mary Leach

Boston (Sept. 30, 2010) – Joey McIntyre and The New Kids on the Block will lend their voices to launch the new Cures for Kids Fund at Mass. Eye and Ear during Sense-ation!, a gala being held Oct. 13 at the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel. The group will entertain as part of the evening’s festivities.

Born in Massachusetts, Joey McIntyre is returning to Boston because he is passionate about the research Mass. Eye and Ear is doing to help children. Joey’s son Rhys was born with hearing loss. The Cures for Kids Fund will help Mass. Eye and Ear conduct research to find new cures – from genetic therapy for inherited eye diseases to new surgical techniques for pediatric facial paralysis – and to support the innovation of specialists and staff who offer compassionate care to the most vulnerable patients and their families. Mass. Eye and Ear researchers developed the first newborn hearing screener that enabled babies to be screened for hearing loss before leaving the hospital nursery. Today newborn hearing screening is mandated in most states to help identify children with hearing loss to allow for early intervention.

“The Cures for Kids Fund will help Mass. Eye and Ear conduct research to find new cures for blindness, deafness and other severe conditions, and to support some of the world’s best patient care professionals as they treat the most vulnerable patients,” said Wyc Grousbeck, Mass. Eye and Ear Chairman of the Board and Sense-ation! Co-chair. “Mass. Eye and Ear has been leading the way since 1824 – and hopes to be a leader far into the future.”

There are still a few tickets left for Sense-ation! Click here to purchase a ticket to attend the Sense-ation! gala or to make a donation to support Mass. Eye and Ear's Cures for Kids Fund.

Ranked by U.S. News & World Report magazine as one of the top five hospitals in each of its specialties, Mass. Eye and Ear is an international center for treatment and research and a teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School. www.MassEyeAndEar.org.

Sense-ation! Chairs
Richard & Nichole Aldrich
Lily & Tim Bentas
Wyc & Corinne Grousbeck
Diane E. & Albert J. Kaneb
Leila Mankarious, M.D. & Jamie Rome

Vice Chairs
Joan W. Miller, M.D. & John B. Miller, Ph.D.
Bill Roman
Fred & Sue Thorne


Hearing Loss in U.S. Teens Increased in Prevalence in the Previous 15 Years

Contact: Public Affairs
Ph. 617-573-3341

Boston, MA –Hearing loss is a common and under-recognized public health problem that can influence a child’s educational, psychological and social development. However, little data was available to determine whether the prevalence of hearing loss in children has changed over time until recently when researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) determined that hearing loss in adolescents has increased over the past 15 years. The findings are published in the August 18 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

“We have known for a few years that hearing loss is very common in US adults,” said lead study author Josef Shargorodsky, M.D., of Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, who is a physician-investigator at the Channing Laboratory at BWH. “However, an understanding of hearing loss in adolescents can help to paint a better picture of overall hearing loss in the US, and aid in further identifying potential causes of hearing loss.”

The researchers looked at data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys of adolescents from across the US, age 12 to 19 years old. Researchers found that currently, one out of five adolescents has some evidence of hearing loss, while one out of twenty has at least mild hearing loss. Compared to data from the survey from 1988-1994, there has been a marked 30 percent increase in prevalence of any hearing loss, and a 70 percent increase in mild or worse hearing loss in the past 15 years.

“What makes hearing loss in adolescents even more concerning is previous research showing that teens underestimate the importance of hearing and the dangers of noise exposure, and don’t make protecting their hearing a priority,” said Dr. Shargorodsky, citing a study that found that hearing loss ranked low as a health concern, even though most admitted to experiencing ringing in the ears or some hearing impairment after attending loud concerts and clubs. As hearing loss itself is invisible and often underestimated, researchers hope this study will help raise awareness in both teens and adults of the importance of  hearing conservation and encourage efforts to prevent hearing loss.

The researchers also found that hearing loss is more prevalent in adolescent males than females and more common in adolescents living below the US designated poverty level. “Further research is needed to better understand the causes of hearing loss, why it’s increasing in prevalence and why it affects some populations more than others,” said Dr. Shargorodsky.

The study was funded by the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Foundation and Vanderbilt University School of Medicine Development Funds.

Founded in 1824, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary is an independent specialty hospital providing patient care for disorders of the eye, ear, nose, throat, head and neck. Mass. Eye and Ear is an international leader in Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology research and a teaching partner of Harvard Medical School. For more information, call 617-523-7900 or visit http://www.masseyeandear.org/.


Body Weight May Affect Glaucoma Risk

Contact: AAO Media Relations
(415) 561-8534
media@aao.org

SAN FRANCISCO, CA (Aug. 2, 2010) – This month’s Ophthalmology journal includes surprising research from the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary on the relation of body weight to the risk for glaucoma.

Does Higher Body Weight Protect Women from One Type of Glaucoma?
Maintaining a healthy body weight is important for avoiding many diseases, but a new study from the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary  finds that for primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG), one of the most common age-related eye diseases, the picture may be more complex. A large, prospective Mass. Eye and Ear study, conducted over 20+ years, found that higher body weight (specifically, body mass index, BMI) is not associated with higher risk of POAG. In fact, the research shows that in women, higher BMI is significantly linked to reduced risk for a variant of POAG known as normal tension glaucoma (NTG). The researchers, led by Louis R. Pasquale, M.D., say that clinicians and patients should be cautious about these findings until further research provides substantiation and clarifies the related biological mechanisms.

Glaucoma is a complex, potentially blinding illness that damages the optic nerve, and POAG is the most common type. Elevated eye pressure (intraocular pressure, IOP) is strongly linked to optic nerve damage. Effective treatments to control IOP are available to help glaucoma patients preserve their best possible vision. But in people with NTG, optic nerve damage occurs even though their IOPs are not elevated, as defined by accepted standards. Diagnosing and treating NTG presents special challenges for Eye M.D.s (ophthalmologists) and patients.

"Understanding the mechanisms that drive BMI and other body composition factors in relation to POAG might help us solve some mysteries connected with this complex illness," Dr. Pasquale said. “It's reasonable to speculate that hormonally-controlled factors released from adipose or lean tissues may alter the risk of NTG in women. Higher BMI in postmenopausal women is linked with higher estrogen levels, which might positively affect estrogen receptors in the optic nerve," he explained.

BMI (body mass index) refers to the body’s adipose (fat) content in relation to lean body mass tissues (muscle, fluid, bone, and other non-fat tissues). When a person has a "higher BMI," that means the person’s body includes more fat than the normal standard for his or her age.

The study participants were 78,777 women enrolled in the Nurses Health Study (1980 through 2004) and 41,352 men enrolled in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (1986 through 2004). In women, each unit increase in BMI was associated with a six percent reduction in risk for NTG (defined as IOP equal to or less than 21 mmHg at the time of diagnosis of POAG). Also, in women, having higher BMI during the young adult years was associated with reduced risk of NTG. In men, BMI was not associated with POAG. Because the ethnicity of most participants was European-Caucasian, the study's implications may be limited to similar patient populations.

Dr. Pasquale suggested that if the relationship of POAG to BMI and related body-composition factors can be clarified in future research, new treatments could be developed for patients with POAG, particularly those who have the normal tension variant of the disease.


Michael Gilmore, Ph.D., Joins the Howe Laboratory of Ophthalmology at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary

Contact: Public Affairs
617-573-4170

Boston (July 30, 2010) — Dr. Michael Gilmore has joined the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Howe Laboratory of Ophthalmology, where he will work to develop new ways to treat antibiotic resistant Staphylococcus (MRSA, methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus) and other infections. Joan W. Miller, M.D., Chief of Ophthalmology at Mass. Eye and Ear and Chair of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School, made the announcement.

Dr. Gilmore is a global leader in antibiotic resistant bacterial infection, with a special interest in eye disease.  By understanding how microbes interact with human tissue, he hopes to develop new ways to treat and prevent infections. Staphylococcus is a leading cause of infection of the cornea, especially in wearers of contact lenses. Staph and other microbes, such as vancomycin resistant enterococci, are leading causes of complications of surgery. Growth in antibiotic resistance has compromised many of the antibiotics currently used.

Dr. Gilmore is currently the Principal Investigator of the National Institutes of Health sponsored Harvard-wide Program on Antibiotic Resistance, which involves co-investigators from Mass General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and Harvard College.  The goal of their work is to combine the talents of biochemists, molecular biologists and infectious disease specialists to use cutting edge high throughput technologies and to identify new compounds that may become the next generation of treatments for antibiotic resistant bacterial infections. In addition to his work at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Dr. Gilmore serves as an advisor to NIH, FDA, the EU and other agencies, on matters related to antibiotic resistance and infectious disease. 

Prior to joining Mass. Eye and Ear, Dr. Gilmore served as President and CEO of Schepens Eye Research Institute, as well as Director of Research (2004-2009). Dr. Gilmore received a doctorate in biochemistry and molecular biology from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, where he was the Colin MacLeod Fellow. He did postdoctoral work on microbial pathogenesis at the University of Wuerzburg in Germany, and in bacterial genetics at the University of Michigan. He then joined the faculty, where he rose to the rank of Vice President for Research, and Professor of Microbiology and Immunology as well as Ophthalmology. He held the MG McCool Chair and was a George Lynn Cross Professor. Dr. Gilmore received an honorary master’s degree in medicine from Harvard University in 2004.

“We are pleased that Mike has decided to continue his leadership role in ophthalmology research as a member of the Mass. Eye and Ear faculty,” said Dr. Miller. “The pioneering work of his group in combating antibiotic infection is very exciting and has implications well beyond ophthalmology.”

Established in 1926, the Howe Laboratory at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary is comprised of investigators working on both basic and translational research focused on furthering our understanding of, and developing treatments for glaucoma and conditions affecting the retina, optic nerve and cornea.

Founded in 1824, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary is an independent specialty hospital providing patient care for disorders of the eye, ear, nose, throat, head and neck. Mass. Eye and Ear is an international leader in Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology research and a teaching partner of Harvard Medical School. For more information, call 617-523-7900 or visit http://www.masseyeandear.org/.


Mass. Eye and Ear Conducts Major Validation Trial for Early Detection of Age- Related Macular Degeneration                                                                                                                     

The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary is working with Apeliotus Vision Science to develop a diagnostic tool for early detection of age related macular degeneration (AMD).
AMD occurs when a portion of the retina slowly deteriorates causing loss of central vision. As a result, daily activities such as reading, watching television, identifying faces and driving become impossible.

Early detection of AMD would allow intervention before the onset of significant vision loss. Currently, AMD can only be diagnosed after changes appear in the retina. Mass. Eye and Ear is a site for a trial of a device called the AdaptDx. This is a simple testing instrument based on dark adaptation (recovery of vision when going from bring light to darkness). The test is completely non invasive and can be completed in 10 minutes or less. “If this device can detect individuals at risk of vision loss from AMD before retinal findings appear, it will significantly enhance our ability to prevent disease.” explains Dr. Ivana Kim, the principal investigator of the trial at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.

Trial candidates are adults 50 years or older with normal vision or with AMD. Anyone with an interest in participating should contact Patty Houlihan, Study Coordinator, at (617) 573-3646.
 

Mass. Eye and Ear Ranked Among “Best Hospitals” by U.S. News & World Report

 
Contact: Public Affairs
(617) 573-4170

Boston (July 15, 2010) — Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary ranks in the top five hospitals in the nation for both of its specialties in the 2010 U.S. News & World Report magazine’s “America’s Best Hospitals” survey.  Mass. Eye and Ear ranked number four in Ophthalmology and number two in ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat). The hospital's ENT ranking rose three places over last year.  The hospital's Eye ranking held steady.

U.S. News & World Report has ranked the hospital in the top five in one or both of its specialties since the magazine began publishing its annual survey of hospitals in 1990. This year’s top hospitals were chosen from hospitals across the country. Mass. Eye and Ear is one of only 174 which ranked high enough to be considered for the magazine’s top-ranked hospitals. The magazine ranks the 50 highest scoring hospitals.

 “We are very pleased that U.S. News and World Report has once again ranked our Eye and ENT departments so high. This is affirmation of the high quality, world-class specialty care offered by Mass. Eye and Ear physicians, nurses and staff every day,” said Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary President and CEO John Fernandez.
 
U.S. News & World Report conducts the “America’s Best Hospitals” survey in collaboration with RTI International in Research Triangle Park, N.C.
 
Founded in 1824, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary is an independent specialty hospital providing patient care for disorders of the eye, ear, nose, throat, head and neck. Mass. Eye and Ear physicians also lead and staff the Mass General Departments of Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology.  Mass. Eye and Ear is an international leader in Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology research and a teaching partner of Harvard Medical School. For more information, call 617-523-7900 or visit http://www.masseyeandear.org./


Mass. Eye and Ear Receives Generous Donations for the Newly Renovated Pediatrics Floor


Contact: Public Affairs
P.h.: 617-573-3340

Boston (June 29, 2010) –The Milton Roberts Elementary School in Medford, Mass., and Boston Host Lions Club made generous donations to the newly renovated pediatrics unit at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.

The fifth grade students at Milton Fuller Roberts Elementary School brought a little sunshine to children and their families through decorations they made for the new pediatrics waiting room at Mass. Eye and Ear. More than 20 brightly colored, sun-shaped cutouts will fill the windows of the pediatrics waiting area. Cheryl Rath, R.N., who works as a nurse in the hospital's post anesthesia care unit, arranged the project with the school, where her son Nicolas is a fifth-grade student.

The fifth grade students are members of student council at the school under the direction of teacher and advisor John Paul Cormio and Principal Kirk Johnson and are actively involved in community outreach. Their projects have included creating greeting cards for the Meals on Wheels Association of America, hosting food drives for local food pantries, and sending letters and care packages to soldiers in Afghanistan.

In addition to the donation from the Milton Fuller Roberts Elementary School, the Boston Host Lions Club generously donated more than 100 stuffed animals to the Child Life Program. The stuffed animals will be given throughout the year to pediatric patients in need of comfort from a cuddly friend. In order to ensure compassionate and quality care, the Child Life Program was created to ease the emotional impact of illness and hospitalization on children and their families. View photos of the Lions visit here: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=225549&id=153174931718.

The Lions have donated more than $4 million to benefit Mass. Eye and Ear’s mission during their long-standing relationship with the hospital. The Lions Clubs International is the world's largest service club organization with nearly 1.35 million members in 197 countries and geographical areas. The Boston Host Lions Club consists of men and women who volunteer their time to humanitarian causes.

Mass. Eye and Ear pediatrics services are designed specifically for children and provide comprehensive care in the hospital’s specialties to infants and children. The brand new, brightly colored unit includes a new recovery area with seven new recovery bays and a playroom, consult and changing rooms for patients, nutrition kitchens, a new reception area and new physician offices.

Founded in 1824, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary is an independent specialty hospital providing patient care for disorders of the eye, ear, nose, throat, head and neck. Mass. Eye and Ear is an international leader in Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology research and a teaching partner of Harvard Medical School. For more information, call 617-523-7900 or visit http://www.masseyeandear.org/.


Annette Nova joins the Mass. Eye and Ear Board of Directors

Contact: Public Affairs
617-573-4170

Boston (June 23, 2010) – The Foundation of the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Inc., has elected Annette Nova of Cambridge, Mass.,  to its Board of Directors.

Mrs. Nova immigrated to the United States from Germany in 1976. She obtained her Bachelor’s of Science and a Master’s of Science for Teaching from Boston College. She taught high school chemistry for three years, before going to work for  The Foxboro Company, where she was employed from 1989 to 1994. Since 1994, Mrs. Nova has devoted herself to raising three daughters and supporting a number of worthwhile charitable causes.

The Nova family actively supports Harvard Medical School/Children’s Hospital, where they established the Charles Nowiszewski Chair of Cancer Biology, funding cancer research with a focus on cancer metastasis and angiogenesis. Additionally, the Nova family supports Partners in Health, working closely with founder Paul Farmer to bring quality care to the rural poor in Rwanda. Their current focus is centered on the construction of a teaching hospital in Northern Rwanda, scheduled to open in late summer 2010. The Nova family also supports Cradles to Crayons, a local charity providing gently used goods to underserved families in Massachusetts.

Annette, her husband, Dan Nova, and their children live in Cambridge.

Founded in 1824, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary is an independent specialty hospital providing patient care for disorders of the eye, ear, nose, throat, head and neck. Mass. Eye and Ear is an international leader in Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology research and a teaching partner of Harvard Medical School. For more information, call 617-523-7900 or visit http://www.masseyeandear.org/.


Drug Delivery Device Could Restore Hearing


BOSTON, Mass. (June 21, 2010) – A research project that could pave the way to restoring hearing for those who suffer from the most common forms of deafness is featured in the most recent issue of the British Academy of Audiology magazine.

Dr. Jeffrey Borenstein, Draper Laboratory's principal investigator for the effort, and his research team are collaborating with the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary to develop an implantable drug delivery device that could treat sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL), the most common form of hearing loss. SNHL affects more than 250 million people worldwide, and is most commonly caused by aging. Other causes loud noise, hereditary factors and ototoxic drugs.

Draper’s device addresses one of the most significant challenges to restoring hearing – the blood-cochlear barrier – by delivering precise quantities of one or more drugs in a timed sequence to the inner ear in order to regrow sensory cells.

Mass. Eye and Ear has successfully demonstrated the drug delivery system with test compounds in guinea pigs, and the next steps include demonstrations with hearing regeneration drugs and development of a version for human therapy. Draper envisions that the device will be ready for clinical evaluation within five years.

The project is funded by National Institutes of Health (NIH) through its National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD).
 

(Press release provided by Draper. For more information, contact Jeremy Singer, Draper Laboratory Media Relations Manager, (617) 258-2464.)
 

Joan Miller, M.D., Receives 2010 Leadership Award for the Advancement of Women Faculty

BOSTON, Mass. (May 26, 2010) — Joan W. Miller, M.D., the HMS Henry Willard Williams Professor of Ophthalmology and chair of the department of ophthalmology at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and the Massachusetts General Hospital, has been awarded the 2010 Joseph B. Martin Dean's Leadership Award for the Advancement of Women Faculty. Dr. Miller is the sixteenth recipient of this award, which was initiated by Joseph Martin, former HMS dean, in 1998.

“I am delighted that HMS is able to honor Dr. Joan Miller with this important award,” says Jeffrey Flier, Dean of Harvard Medical School. “Dr. Miller has shown tremendous leadership in helping advance the careers of women faculty and is truly a role model for our senior faculty in this regard.”

Dr. Miller, the first female clinician-scientist to become professor of ophthalmology at HMS, also became the first woman to chair the department in 2003. During her tenure, she has contributed to the recruitment of 17 women faculty to Mass. Eye and Ear and has greatly increased its number of female residents, as well as appointing women to leadership positions in patient-care, teaching, research and administration. In addition, she restructured the maternity leave policy so that the salary impact for those taking leave would be reduced.

Dr. Miller is a founding member of Women in Retina and a member of the advisory board of the Women's Eye Health Task Force.

An internationally recognized expert in the field of macular degeneration, Dr. Miller has published more than 100 peer-reviewed papers, 45 book chapters and review articles, is co-editor of Albert and Jakobiec’s Principles and Practice of Ophthalmology, and is a named inventor on six U.S. patents. She has received numerous awards, including the Rosenthal Award and Donald J. Gass Medal of the Macula Society, the Retina Research Award from the Club Jules Gonin, the Alcon Research Institute Award, the ARVO/Pfizer Ophthalmic Translational Research Award, and the Founder’s Award from the American Society of Retinal Specialists.

The Leadership Award for the Advancement of Women recognizes faculty members committed to the recruitment, retention and advancement of women at Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Dental Medicine. In 2007, the Award was renamed the “Joseph B. Martin Dean's Leadership Award for the Advancement of Women” to honor Martin for his long-standing support of the mission it recognizes. Recipients receive a cash prize.

Harvard Medical School http://hms.harvard.edu has more than 7,500 full-time faculty working in 11 academic departments located at the School's Boston campus or in one of 47 hospital-based clinical departments at 17 Harvard-affiliated teaching hospitals and research institutes. Those affiliates include Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Cambridge Health Alliance, Children's Hospital Boston, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Forsyth Institute, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Hebrew SeniorLife, Joslin Diabetes Center, Judge Baker Children's Center, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Massachusetts General Hospital, McLean Hospital, Mount Auburn Hospital, Schepens Eye Research Institute, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, and VA Boston Healthcare System.

Founded in 1824, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary is an independent specialty hospital providing patient care for disorders of the eye, ear, nose, throat, head and neck. Mass. Eye and Ear is an international leader in Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology research and a teaching partner of Harvard Medical School. For more information, call
617-523-7900 or visit http://www.masseyeandear.org/.


Charles Ruberto Joins Mass. Eye and Ear as Director of Ophthalmic Education and Faculty Development.

 
Contact: Public Affairs
Ph.: 617-573-3340
 
 
Boston (May 25, 2010) – Charles Ruberto, Ph.D., a resident of Arlington, Mass., has recently joined the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary as the Director of Ophthalmic Education and Faculty Development.
 
As the Director of Ophthalmic Education and Faculty Development, Ruberto is responsible for the leadership and functioning of the Ophthalmology Administration Department’s education, faculty development and appointment functions.  He will work closely with department leadership, faculty, trainees and staff in offering highest quality graduate medical education programs, as well as representing and supporting the leadership of the department in matters relating to hospital appointments and Harvard Medical School faculty development.
 
With many years of administrative and academic experience at Harvard College, Ruberto most recently held the position as Assistant Director of the Core Program in the General Education Office at Harvard College, where he was responsible for all administrative aspects of the Core Program as a member of the General Education Administrative Director’s Senior Staff. He was also the freshman and visiting undergraduate student advisor at Harvard College and previously served as the Faculty Affairs Administrator for the Office of Faculty Affairs, where he supervised the senior professorial appointments process at Harvard and served as a liaison to the four Academic Deans and other hospital-based administrators. He has a doctorate from Harvard University and a bachelor’s degree in English and American Literature from Harvard College.
 
Founded in 1824, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary is an independent specialty hospital providing patient care for disorders of the eye, ear, nose, throat, head and neck. Mass. Eye and Ear is an international leader in Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology research and a teaching partner of Harvard Medical School. For more information, call 617-523-7900 or visit http://www.masseyeandear.org/.
 

Mass. Eye and Ear Joins New National Recruitment Registry


Contact: Mary E. Leach
(617) 573-4170

Boston (May 21, 2010) -- As an organization that aims to expedite the pace of translation of healthcare discoveries to patients, the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary is pleased to have become an official member of ResearchMatch.org.

 ResearchMatch is a national volunteer research registry that brings together researchers and willing volunteers who wish to get involved in research studies. This national registry, developed by institutions affiliated with the Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA), provides a secure, web-based approach to address a key barrier to advancing research: participant recruitment. ResearchMatch has now been launched and Mass. Eye and Ear is joining the national campaign to encourage individuals to join this volunteer registry if they would like to do so.

 We ask you to visit www.researchmatch.org to learn more about this resource and consider joining as a ResearchMatch Volunteer. Registration takes between 5 to 10 minutes. By registering in ResearchMatch, you are not registering to participate in any study; rather, you are registering your interest to be contacted about studies that may be a good ‘match’ for you. Additional responses to FAQs can be found on the site.


Mass. Eye and Ear and Vascular Birthmark Foundation (VBF) Launch Hospital Based Support Group


Where: Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary,
243 Charles Street, Boston, MA  02114
7th Floor-Cafe (Activity area available for children.)

When: May 23, 2010 10:30 a.m
 
Topic: Vascular Tumor Treatment Options

Presenters: Dr. Michael Cunningham and Dr. Aaron Fay

This support group will have an open forum for exchanging information about vascular birthmarks/malformations and expert physician speakers to help inform members of the latest treatment options available. It is free and open to the public.  The meeting will also be broadcast live on masseyeandear.org.  A secure ID/log on will be needed. There is a limited number of “seats”. Please call for an access ID.

This will be a VBF’s first physician-led support group in the world. For more information and to be added to the group's mailing list, please contact Rose Shea at 617-573-5548 or email rose_shea@meei.harvard.edu.  

About Mass. Eye and Ear Infirmary
Founded in 1824, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary is an independent specialty
hospital providing patient care for disorders of the eye, ear, nose, throat, head and neck. Mass. Eye and Ear is an international leader in Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology research and a teaching partner of Harvard Medical School. For more information, call 617-523-7900 or visit http://www.masseyeandear.org/.

About VBF
The Vascular Birthmarks Foundation is an international charitable organization that provides support and informational resources for individuals affected by hemangiomas, port wine stains and other vascular birthmarks and tumors, sponsors relevant research and promotes physician education.

Statistics show that 40,000 infants are born each year with a vascular birthmark that requires the opinion of a specialist. Of those infants requiring the opinion or care of a specialist, 80% of them have birthmarks in the head or neck area. The results of those children who go untreated for vascular birthmarks can be devastating; these results range from disfigurement, blindness, to life altering or life threatening situations. Internal vascular birthmarks can grow to such proportions straining organs and putting a child’s life at risk. Often by the time families find a doctor who can offer the best treatment options, their case has become complicated and they have suffered unnecessarily because the opportunity to be normal and healthy had been delayed by lack of knowledge, treatment options and insurance obstacles. With the choice of early intervention, these children can be spared the pain of social ridicule, loss of sight or sometimes life threatening crises.   www.birthmark.org 


Mass. Eye and Ear receives NEI Grant Renewal for ‘Growing’ Clinician-Scientists

Contact: Mary E. Leach
(617) 573-4170

Boston (May  10, 2010) - The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Harvard Medical School Department of Ophthalmology, has been awarded a grant renewal from the National Institutes of Health, National Eye Institute (NEI), to recruit, train and support first-rate clinician scientists to promote translational and clinical research into cures for eye disease.

The NEI renewed a five-year K12 grant to Mass. Eye and Ear (representing the HMS Department of Ophthalmology) this week to fund the Harvard Vision Clinical Scientist Development Program. This program provides financial support, protected research time, mentorship and didactic training to a select group of research-oriented junior clinician-scientists who have recently completed their fellowship programs. In exchange for considerable salary and development support, candidates are required to spend at least 75% of their efforts on research and development, including potentially receipt of advanced degrees. The Harvard Vision Clinical Scientist Research Program is directed by Reza Dana, M.D. (Professor, Harvard Medical School, and Director of the Mass Eye and Ear Cornea Service) administered by Mass. Eye and Ear (on behalf of all the different components/academic units of Harvard Ophthalmology), and guided by a Program Advisory Committee comprised of faculty from the ophthalmology divisions at Harvard Medical School, Harvard School of Public Health, and other Harvard institutions, including the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

"This program allows us to leverage the considerable strengths we have at our many Harvard Institutions (namely our faculty, research and teaching programs) to offer a unique mentored learning and career development program to trainees," said Dr. Miller, Chief of Ophthalmology at Mass. Eye and Ear and Chair of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School. "This mechanism helps us to identify, recruit and train the best and brightest junior faculty who will become productive physician scientist leaders of the future while enriching the research programs of the HMS Department of Ophthalmology and potentially countless individuals who suffer from eye disease."

Dr. Dana, the Program Director, is pleased to see this important program funded again by the NIH. "We are extremely gratified about this award for several reasons. The current educational and patient care needs of most large academic hospitals are not designed for optimizing the training of clinician-scientists, since the latter requires a structured program and protected time designed exclusively for in-depth commitment to research. The Harvard Department of Ophthalmology, with nearly 130 full-time clinical and research faculty, is not only one of the largest academic departments of ophthalmology in the U.S., indeed in the world, but the breadth and depth that its faculty and research laboratories apply to virtually all aspects of vision research is unparalleled. This program will assist us in simultaneously attracting and retaining the best and brightest young minds in clinical ophthalmology who are committed to research, while maintaining our rich tradition of excellence in patient care and research," said Dr. Dana. He emphasized, “Our future growth and success will depend on our capacity to continually innovate. In addition, this program will play an important role in our capacity to strengthen our commitment to two pillars of our mission, education and research.”

Founded in 1824, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary is an independent specialty hospital providing patient care for disorders of the eye, ear, nose, throat, head and neck. Mass. Eye and Ear is an international leader in Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology research and a teaching partner of Harvard Medical School. For more information, call
617-523-7900 or visit http://www.masseyeandear.org/.


New Tool Helps Scientists 'See' Molecular Signals of Eye Disease Before Symptoms Arise


Contact: Public Affairs
Boston (April 29, 2010) — Forget what you know about how diseases are diagnosed — new research published in the May 2010 print issue of The FASEB Journal  details a noninvasive ground-breaking tool that detects signs of disease at early molecular stages before symptoms can be seen using traditional methods. Even better, this tool promises to detect some eye diseases so early that they may be reversed before any permanent damage can occur. Its use may well extend to other areas of the body in the future, and this tool may also give physicians a more precise way of evaluating the effectiveness of therapies.

"Quantitative knowledge of the dynamic molecular changes in health and disease will not only advance our understanding, but also change the way medicine will be practiced in the future," said Ali Hafezi-Moghadam, M.D., Ph.D., co-author of the study from the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Department of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School in Boston.

To make this discovery, Hafezi-Moghadam and colleagues combined fluorescent microspheres with molecules found on the surface of immune cells. These molecules are up-regulated early in inflammation. The scientists took this compound and combined it once more with custom-designed imaging probes. Then they used both single- and double-combined probes targeting endothelial markers in the eyes of test animals because of the eye's unique accessibility to light-based imaging. Results showed a strikingly superior sensitivity of the double-conjugated probes that allowed detection of molecules that may be expressed at very low levels, which occurs in many diseases. The imaging probes also detected activated immune cells, leading to unprecedented quantitative knowledge about immune response to disease.

"This tool is a total game-changer: it detects inflammatory eye disease at the molecular level before damage occurs," said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal, "Once you have symptoms, it may be too late. By then, doctors are often limited to damage control. Now in the eye, and later in other areas of the body, early detection of molecular changes by fluorescent microspheres will save lives. It should certainly change people's expectations of when treatment is indicated."

Details: Dawei Sun, Shintaro Nakao, Fang Xie, Souska Zandi, Alexander Schering, and Ali Hafezi-Moghadam. Superior sensitivity of novel molecular imaging probe: simultaneously targeting two types of endothelial injury markers. FASEB J. 2010 24: 1532-1540 ; doi: 10.1096/fj.09-148981 ; http://www.fasebj.org/cgi/content/abstract/24/5/1532 

Press release prepared by:
Cody Mooneyhan
cmooneyhan@faseb.org
301-634-7104


Mass. Eye and Ear Collaborates with the National Eye Institute for Healthy Vision Month
 
Contact: Public Affairs
Ph.: 617-573-3340

Boston (April 29, 2010) – May is healthy vision month. The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary has collaborated with the National Eye Institute to raise awareness on the importance of having comprehensive dilated eye exams. A comprehensive dilated eye exam is a painless procedure in which an eye care professional examines the eyes to look for common vision problems and serious eye diseases, many of which have no early warning signs.

A study led by National Eye Institute has found that more than 11 million Americans have common vision problems such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism and presbyopia. These problems can be detected through a comprehensive dilated eye exam and corrected with prescriptive eyewear such as eyeglasses and contact lenses. Eye exams are also important in detecting complex eye diseases such as glaucoma, macular degeneration and diabetic eye disease. Millions of Americans are affected by serious vision loss from complex eye diseases, therefore early detection and treatment is very important in reducing the risk of permanent vision loss.

“Comprehensive dilated eye exams are important for maintaining good eye health,” said Matthew Gardiner, M.D., Director Emergency Ophthalmology Services at Mass. Eye and Ear. “It’s important to get an eye exam at least once every one to two years. Mass. Eye and Ear offers routine annual eye and vision exams, prescriptions for eyeglasses and referrals for contact lens fittings and management of a variety of common eye problems such as cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.”

Find a window of time to schedule an eye exam today. Visit www.masseyeandear.org or www.nei.nih.gov/healthyeyes to learn more about eye exams and common vision problems.

Founded in 1824, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary is an independent specialty hospital providing patient care for disorders of the eye, ear, nose, throat, head and neck. Mass. Eye and Ear is an international leader in Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology research and a teaching partner of Harvard Medical School. For more information, call 617-523-7900 or visit http://www.masseyeandear.org/.
 

Mass. Eye and Ear Holds Oral Head and Neck Cancer Screening; Chefs Participate in Annual Support for People with Oral Head and Neck Cancer Taste Event

Boston (April 12, 2010) - Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary is going all out to recognize Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Week (April 12-16) and raise awareness about these types of cancers.
 
In addition to organizing an oral, head and neck cancer education and awareness table on Monday, April 12 and the hospital's ENT phsyicians providing free oral, head and neck cancer screenings to the public on Friday, April 16, the hospital’s chef is also participating in the annual Support for People with Oral, Head and Neck Cancer (SPOHNC) Taste Event. The annual SPOHNC Taste Event was conceived by Former Mass. Eye and Ear Social Worker Mary Anne Macaulay. Macaulay is now a social worker at the North Shore Cancer Center in Danvers, Mass., where the event will be held to benefit patients at the facility. The SPOHNC Taste Event, which has been planned for North Shore Cancer Center patients only, was inspired by renowned Chicago chef Grant Achatz, who was diagnosed with stage four tongue cancer and lost his ability to tastes as a result of treatment. This led him to experiment with a variety of food textures, appearances and smells. SPOHNC's Annual Taste Event call on other chefs to do the same, as they prepare special meals suited to the nutritional challenges often encountered by oral, or head and neck cancer survivors.
 
In recognition of the event, Mass. Eye and Ear Food Services Director Nick Seremetis and Executive Chef Dino Licudine will join other chefs in creating and providing special dishes specifically prepared so that they are easy to eat for survivors of oral, head and neck cancers. The special meals will be enjoyed by patients at the North Shore Cancer Center.
 
"Survivors of oral, head and neck cancer face specific challenges related to eating, such taste changes, difficulty swallowing, chewing or experiencing a dry mouth. One or more of these conditions can often be the side effect of interventions such as surgery or radiation, which are used to treat head and neck cancer," says Mass. Eye and Ear Social Worker Elissa Hatton, LICSW, who provides services to oral, head and neck cancer survivors at the hospital. Hatton coordinated the donation to the SPOHNC Taste Event and also coordinated the hospital's head and neck cancer awareness table, which will provide education and information about oral, head and neck cancer. Hatton will host the table in the hospital’s lobby along with Valerie Hope Goldstein, SPOHNC Chapter Facilitator at Mass General Hospital in Boston.
 
Founded in 1824, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary is an independent specialty hospital providing patient care for disorders of the eye, ear, nose, throat, head and neck. Mass. Eye and Ear is an international leader in Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology research and a teaching partner of Harvard Medical School. For more information, call 617-523-7900 or visit http://www.masseyeandear.org/.


Mass. Eye and Ear Alerts Patients to Laptop Theft and Data Breach

Contact: Mary Leach, 617-573-4170

Boston (April 20, 2010) — On February 19, 2010, a laptop belonging to a physician affiliated with the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary was stolen while the physician was lecturing in South Korea. The laptop belonged to Dr. Robert Levine, a neurologist with a particular focus on ringing in the ears, or tinnitus.

To date, Mass. Eye and Ear has determined that data owned by Mass. Eye and Ear on Dr. Levine’s laptop contained demographic and health information of approximately 3,526 patients treated by Dr. Levine at Mass. Eye and Ear between February 3, 1988 and February 16, 2010, and of a small number of participants in research conducted by Dr. Levine at Mass. Eye and Ear who were not also Dr. Levine’s patients, as follows:

  •  67 participants in somatic tinnitus modulation research, and
  •  One participant in pulsatile tinnitus research.


Dr. Levine reported the theft to police in South Korea. In addition, as required by law, Mass. Eye and Ear is reporting the loss of its patient and research participant information to the individuals affected, and to the appropriate state and federal authorities.

The following types of information about affected individuals associated with Mass. Eye and Ear may have been present on Dr. Levine’s laptop:

  • Name,
  • Address,
  • Telephone numbers,
  • E-mail,
  • Date of birth and age,
  • Sex,
  • Medical record numbers,
  • Dates of service,
  • Medical information, including diagnoses, symptoms, test results, and prescriptions,
  • Name and contact information for patient pharmacies, and
  • Research participant status.

      
In addition, four individuals’ information also included their pharmacy insurance account number.

To the best of Mass. Eye and Ear's knowledge, Social Security numbers, financial account numbers and credit card or debit card numbers of individuals associated with Mass. Eye and Ear were not present on the laptop.

Mass. Eye and Ear is sending letters to affected individuals at their last known address. The hospital has posted a notice on its website in the event that the contact information for affected individuals is out of date and to provide notice to individuals for whom Mass. Eye and Ear has no contact information.

Individuals who fit into one of the categories above, and who do not receive a letter directly from Mass. Eye and Ear, may contact the Mass. Eye and Ear Breach Response Center at 877-313-1395 to determine if they are affected.

Mass. Eye and Ear has no indication that the information on the stolen computer has actually been accessed or inappropriately used. The computer was password protected and contained a tracking device commonly referred to as “LoJack.” The tracking device contacted LoJack on March 9 when the stolen computer was connected to the internet in South Korea. LoJack was able to monitor the computer’s configuration and on-line use, and determined that:
 

  • A new operating system was installed on the computer following the theft, and
  • Software needed to access most of the information about affected Mass. Eye and Ear individuals had not been reinstalled.

On April 9 it was determined that it was unlikely that continued monitoring of the computer would lead to its retrieval, and a command was sent by LoJack to the computer permanently disabling the hard drive and rendering any information, including information about affected Mass. Eye and Ear individuals contained on the hard drive, permanently unreadable.

Despite the result of the tracking and destruction noted above, Mass. Eye and Ear is unable to know whether the information about affected Mass. Eye and Ear individuals on the computer was accessed between the date of the theft and March 9.

Should information have been inappropriately accessed, Mass. Eye and Ear does not believe that the information on the laptop regarding the affected Mass. Eye and Ear individuals presents a risk of financial identity theft. It is possible, however, that someone may be able to learn about affected Mass. Eye and Ear individuals’ medical care from the stolen data, and affected individuals may have a risk that someone may attempt to use that information to impersonate them in order to obtain medical care or medications in their name.

In order to protect affected Mass. Eye and Ear individuals, Mass. Eye and Ear is providing information on precautions that they can take to protect themselves against medical identity theft, and has arranged to provide them with one free year of credit monitoring, identity theft insurance and restoration services.

In order to prevent similar breaches from occurring in the future, Mass. Eye and Ear is updating its information security program, including, but not limited to, taking the following specific actions:
 

  • Deploying encryption to laptop computers that connect to Mass. Eye and Ear’s computer network, and
  • Providing education to Mass. Eye and Ear staff regarding limiting the amount of data stored on laptop computers.

Mass. Eye and Ear continues its investigation into the information on the stolen computer to determine whether there could be information about additional individuals associated with Mass. Eye and Ear that has not yet been detected. Should additional information be discovered, Mass. Eye and Ear will provide additional notices as appropriate.

"Mass. Eye and Ear apologizes to those affected for any concern, inconvenience, or risk that this incident may cause," said John Fernandez, Mass. Eye and Ear president and CEO. "We regret that this incident occurred and are taking appropriate steps to protect individuals associated with Mass. Eye and Ear who may have been affected by this breach and to limit or prevent where possible such breaches in the future."

 
Understanding the Irritation: Scientists Isolate Portion of Virus That Causes Pink Eye

Contact:  Mary Leach, (617) 573-4170

Boston (April 15, 2010) – Viral keratoconjunctivitis, also known as pink eye, is a common, uncomfortable and highly contagious condition. There is no known effective treatment for this adenovirus infection that can force some individuals into isolation for up to two weeks. The virus is resilient and can remain infectious for up to 30 days on a plastic surface. Infection with the adenovirus causes inflammation, which results in red, irritated eyes, blurry vision and discharge.

But now, relief may be in sight with a new understanding of how the eye reacts to this virus. Researchers in the Howe Laboratory, Department of Ophthalmology of the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and Harvard Medical School, and in the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, used a novel model to determine what part of the virus is responsible for inflammation in pink eye. Their findings are outlined in the April 15 issue of PLoS Pathogens.

“We were interested in understanding what part of the human adenovirus causes inflammation. We found that it is the protein coating around the virus that is most inflammatory in the eye. This is important because without inflammation, there would be no discharge from the eye, and therefore no transmission. Now that we know what causes the inflammation, we hope to find a way to block it,” said James Chodosh, M.D., M.P.H,, Mass. Eye and Ear cornea surgeon and senior author of the paper.

Using a unique mouse model of adenovirus keratitis, Dr. Chodosh and his team studied the role of viral components in the cornea to determine which viral part(s) induce an innate immune response. The authors found that neither viral DNA nor viral gene expression was necessary for inflammation. In contrast, viral capsid, the protein coat of the virus, induced inflammation similar to intact virus. Mice lacking the toll-like receptor 9 molecule, which acts as a pathogen DNA-sensing molecule within the cell, developed clinical inflammation upon adenovirus infection similar to wild type mice. Virus associated inflammation in the mouse cornea could be blocked by a treatment with a peptide containing components of the adenoviral capsid. Adenovirus infection of the cornea induces inflammation principally through contact between the viral capsid and the host cell.

 “Our study provides new insights into how the innate immune system in the eye responds to a clinically important viral pathogen,” Dr. Chodosh said. “With the new understanding, we are a step closer to developing a treatment for this common – and highly contagious – eye condition.”

In addition to Dr. Chodosh, who a Lecturer in Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School in addition to his Mass. Eye and Ear affiliation, the authors of the paper include: Xiaohong Zhou and Jaya Rajaiya, both who are now Research Instructors in the Department of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School, and Ashish Chintakuntlawar, who was a postdoctoral fellow. Funding for the research was provided by a grant from the National Institutes of Health, National Eye Institute.
 

Founded in 1824, the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary is an independent specialty hospital, an international center for treatment and research, and a teaching affiliate of the Harvard Medical School. Information about the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary is available on its website at www.MassEyeAndEar.org.
 

More Genes Associated with Age-Related Macular Degeneration Identified

Contact: National Eye Institute
(301) 496-5248
neinews@nei.nih.gov

WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 13, 2010) -- A large genetic study of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) has identified three new genes associated with this blinding eye disease—two involved in the cholesterol pathway. Results of this large-scale collaborative study, supported by the National Eye Institute (NEI), part of the National Institutes of Health, were published online April 12 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary researchers Joan W. Miller, M.D., Ivana Kim, M.D., and Margaret DeAngelis, Ph.D., were part of this collaboration and coauthors on the paper.

“Genome-wide association studies require large numbers of patients to discover significant genetic associations. The success of this effort was made possible by a community-wide scientific collaboration of sharing DNA samples and analyzing the genomes of more than 18,000 people,” said Paul A. Sieving, M.D., Ph.D., NEI director. “This study increases our understanding of DNA variations that predict individual risks of AMD and provides clues for developing effective therapies.”

AMD is a leading cause of visual impairment and blindness in older Americans. Researchers have previously discovered genes that account for a significant portion of AMD risk through genome-wide association studies (GWAS), which scan the entire DNA of individuals to uncover genetic variations related to certain diseases.

The recent large GWAS was led by Anand Swaroop, Ph.D., currently chief of the NEI Neurobiology-Neurodegeneration and Repair Laboratory, and Goncalo Abecasis, D.Phil., professor of biostatistics at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

The strongest AMD genetic association found in the study was in a region on chromosome 22, near a gene called metalloproteinase inhibitor 3 (TIMP3). Mutations in the TIMP3 gene were previously found to cause Sorsby’s fundus dystrophy, a rare inherited early-onset form of macular degeneration. Although further research is needed, it is likely that the genetic region pinpointed influences the expression of TIMP3.

The study has also shed light on a new biological pathway for AMD disease development, by uncovering two genes associated with AMD risk in the high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol pathway: human hepatic lipase (LIPC) and cholesterol ester transfer protein (CETP). Scientists identified two additional genes, lipoprotein lipase (LPL) and ATP binding cassette transporter 1 (ABCA1), that may be involved in the cholesterol pathway as well, but more research is needed to confirm these findings.

HDLs are among a family of lipoproteins that transport essential fats, such as cholesterol, through the bloodstream. It is believed that early stages of AMD are affected by accumulation of oxidation products of cholesterol and other lipids in the retinal pigment epithelium, a layer of cells in the back of the eye. However, the relationship between HDL cholesterol levels in the blood and AMD is still unclear.

“We suspect that these genetic variations found in the cholesterol pathway impact the retina differently from the circulatory system, so cholesterol levels in the blood may not provide meaningful information about AMD risk,” Swaroop explained. “Nonetheless, we have uncovered a major biochemical pathway that may be a target for future AMD treatments.”

For more information about AMD, visit http://www.nei.nih.gov/health.
 
 
Mass. Eye and Ear Receives $1,000 Donation from the Boston Host Lions Club
 
Contact: Public Affairs
Ph.: 617-573-3340
 
Boston – (April 8, 2010) – The Boston Host Lions Club raised $1,000 for pediatric care at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary during its “Bunnies for Babies” chocolate bunny sale last month. Mass. Eye and Ear pediatrics services are designed specifically for children and provide comprehensive care in the hospital’s specialties to infants and children. The Lions have donated more than $4 million to benefit Mass. Eye and Ear’s mission during their long-standing relationship with the hospital. 

The Lions Clubs International is the world's largest service club organization with nearly 1.35 million members in approximately 45,000 clubs in 197 countries and geographical areas. The Boston Host Lions Club consists of men and women who volunteer their time to humanitarian causes. Lions are committed to providing vision for all through countless local efforts.

Founded in 1824, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary is an independent specialty hospital providing patient care for disorders of the eye, ear, nose, throat, head and neck. Mass. Eye and Ear is an international leader in Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology research and a teaching partner of Harvard Medical School. For more information, call 617-523-7900 or visit http://www.masseyeandear.org/.
 

Mass. Eye and Ear Audiologist is Member of Team Receiving 2010 Martin Prize for Excellence in Clinical Research

Contact: Public Affairs
Ph.: 617-573-3340

Boston (March, 17, 2010) – Christopher Halpin, Ph.D., Clinical Associate, Department of Audiology at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and Assistant Professor, Otology and Laryngology at Harvard Medical School, is a member of the team of clinical researchers who were awarded the 2010 Martin Prize for Excellence in Clinical Research from Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Halpin has been an audiologist at Mass. Eye and Ear for more than 20 years. He is a resident of the West End in Boston.

The 2010 Martin Prize for Excellence in Clinical Research recognizes the research team, headed by Scott Plotkin, M.D., Ph.D., of the Pappas Center for Neuro-Oncology at the Mass General Hospital Cancer Center for outstanding achievement in clinical research, published in “Hearing Improvement after Bevacizumab in Patients with Neurofibromatosis Type 2” in the July 23, 2009 edition of The New England Journal of Medicine. The award was recently presented at the 63rd Annual Meeting of the MGH Scientific Advisory Committee.

Dr. Halpin and colleagues are being recognized for their contributions in establishing lasting hearing improvement in patients with hearing nerve tumors associated with the disorder Neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2). NF2 is a hereditary disease associated with bilateral vestibular schwannomas causing the growth of noncancerous tumors along the nerves of the brain. The tumors cause progressive hearing loss in most patients and many lose all functional hearing during their early adulthood or middle age. Before this work by Dr. Plotkin and colleagues, there was no successful medical treatment for such tumors.

The team used a chemotherapy agent known as bevacizumab. Bevacizumab is a vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) neutralizing antibody that has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in the treatment of cancers. The study was conducted in 10 patients using the bevacizumab treatment. After treatment, tumors shrank in nine patients and six patients had improvement in hearing words in their remaining ear. These improvements continue to be maintained in the majority of these patients. The VEGF blockade with bevacizumab treatment gave some patients with NF2 who were at risk for complete hearing loss or brain-stem compression from growing vestibular schwannomas, hearing improvements and/or tumor-volume reduction.  This is the first study performed using bevacizumab in patients with NF2-related tumors, or vestibular schwannomas.

Dr. Haplin is an adjunct faculty member at Harvard-MIT Speech and Hearing Biosciences and Technology. His research and clinical interests focus on optimizing hearing aid output to damaged cochleae, the main cause of sensory or “nerve” hearing loss. He is currently working on the diagnosis of cochlear regions using word recognition, genetic investigations and analysis of audiologic results in human temporal bone cases. Dr. Halpin is an investigator in clinical trials of medications and techniques designed to improve hearing function in sudden idiopathic sensory hearing loss, and also in this study of chemotherapy for tumors in NF2.

Founded in 1824, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary is an independent specialty hospital providing patient care for disorders of the eye, ear, nose, throat, head and neck. Mass. Eye and Ear is an international leader in Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology research and a teaching partner of Harvard Medical School. For more information, call 617-523-7900 or visit http://www.masseyeandear.org/.
 

Missing Our Dear Friend


The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary community was saddened to hear about the passing of Ray Tye on March 10.  Mr. Tye and his foundation, the Ray Tye Medical Aid Foundation, has enabled Mass. Eye and Ear to help children from all of the world.
 
“Ray Tye never stopped caring," said John Fernandez, Mass. Eye and Ear President and CEO. "Thanks to his generosity, in 2003 a young man from Ecuador who sustained a gun shot wound to his face received treatment here at Mass Eye and Ear to restore his ability to eat, drink and speak. Since then Mr. Tye enabled more than 25 patients to receive advanced treatment that they would not have been able to obtain elsewhere. He used to say, ‘when you save a life, you save a future.’ Ray Tye saved many futures.”

Thank you, Mr. Tye. We will miss you.
 

Research Reveals That Temporary Hearing Deprivation Can Lead to "Lazy Ear"
 
Contact: Mary Leach
Ph: 617-573-4170

Boston (March 10, 2010) –Hearing scientist Daniel Polley, Ph.D., an investigator at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary's Eaton-Peabody Laboratories of Auditory Physiology, has gained insight into why a short-term hearing deprivation during childhood may lead to persistent hearing deficits, long after hearing is restored to normal. The research, featured on the cover of the March 11 issue of the journal Neuron, reveals that development of the auditory cortex is vulnerable if it doesn’t receive appropriate stimulation at the right time.

It is well established that degraded sensory experience during critical periods of childhood development can have detrimental effects on the brain and behavior. In the classic example, a condition called amblyopia (also known as lazy eye) can arise when balanced visual signals are not transmitted from each eye to the brain during a critical period for visual cortex development.

"An analogous problem may exist in the realm of hearing, in that children commonly experience a buildup of viscous fluid in the middle ear cavity which can degrade the quality of acoustic signals reaching the brain, which has been associated with a long-lasting loss of auditory perceptual acuity," explains senior study author, Dr. Polley.

Dr. Polley and his colleague Dr. Maria Popescu from Vanderbilt University implemented a method to reversibly block hearing in one ear in infant, juvenile and adult rats then looked at how the parts of the brain involved in hearing were impacted by the temporary hearing loss.

They observed that the temporary hearing loss in one ear distorted auditory patterning in the brain, weakened the deprived ear's representation and strengthened the open ear's representation. The scope of reorganization was most striking in the cortex (and not "lower" parts of the central auditory pathways) and was more pronounced when hearing deprivation began in infancy than in later life. Therefore, it appears that maladaptive plasticity in the developing auditory cortex might underlie "amblyaudio," in a similar fashion to the contributions of visual cortex plasticity to amblyopia.

"The good news about amblyaudio is that it is unlikely to be a permanent problem for most people," concludes Dr. Polley. "Even if the acoustic signal isn't corrected within the critical period, the mature auditory cortex still expresses a remarkable degree of plasticity. We know that properly designed visual training can improve visual acuity in adult amblyopia patients. We are gearing up now to study whether auditory perceptual training may also be a promising approach to accelerate recovery in individuals with unresolved auditory processing deficits stemming from childhood hearing loss."

About Dr. Daniel Polley Dr. Daniel Polley is a principal investigator at the Eaton-Peabody Laboratories of Auditory Physiology at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary in Boston, Mass., where the focus of his research is auditory cortex development and plasticity. Dr. Polley received a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Richmond (1996), a Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from the University of California, Irvine (2001) and completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco (2005). He was formerly an Assistant Professor at Vanderbilt University. 

 
Hugh D. Curtin, M.D., of Mass. Eye and Ear Receives Award from the American Society of Head and Neck Radiology

Contact: Public Affairs
Ph: 617-573-3340

Boston (Feb. 26, 2010) – Hugh D. Curtin, M.D., Chief of Radiology at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and a resident of Wellesley, MA, has been presented with the 2009 Gold Medal by the American Society of Head and Neck Radiology (ASHNR).

Dr. Curtin has been a reviewer for several major journals and is the author of more than 150 peer-reviewed articles, many of which have influenced the way images are interpreted in head and neck radiology. Over the years, Dr. Curtin has lectured both nationally and internationally and is most proud of the many awards he has received for his teaching excellence.

Dr. Curtin completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Toronto, St. Michael’s College and his medical degree at SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, New York. He continued his medical training at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center where he was an intern then a radiology resident. Dr. Curtin also completed his fellowship in Pediatric Radiology and a clinical fellowship in radiology in Sweden.

He rose to full Professor of Radiology in 1988 at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and moved to Boston in 1995 when he was appointed Chief of Radiology at Mass. Eye and Ear. Dr. Curtin is a full Professor of Radiology at Harvard Medical School.

“Dr. Curtin has always been an important resource to his colleagues. He is admired as a scholar and for his numerous contributions to the Department of Radiology at Mass. Eye and Ear and to the ASHNR. The 2009 Gold Medal is a symbol of his outstanding achievements in head and neck radiology,” said Joseph B. Nadol, Jr., M.D., Chief of Otolaryngology at Mass. Eye and Ear and Chair of the Department of Otology and Laryngology at Harvard Medical School.

Founded in 1824, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary is an independent specialty hospital providing patient care for disorders of the eye, ear, nose, throat, head and neck. Mass. Eye and Ear is an international leader in Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology research and a teaching partner of Harvard Medical School. For more information, call 617-523-7900 or visit http://www.masseyeandear.org/.
 
 
Heart Disease Has Mass. Eye and Ear Seeing Red  


Contact: Public Affairs
Ph: 617-573-3340

Boston (Feb. 25, 2010) – Mass. Eye and Ear employees are standing up in the fight against heart disease during Wear Red Day, an important part of the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women campaign to build awareness and urge women to take concrete actions to reduce their risk of heart disease. Mass. Eye and Ear’s Go Red Day is Thursday, Feb. 25. Employees will be seeing red because they’ll be wearing red to show their commitment to the fight against heart disease in women. This is the second consecutive year that Mass. Eye and Ear has participated in the event.
 
Heart disease is the number one killer of women in the United States. The Mass. Eye and Ear Wear Red Day is a way employees can speak out, raise awareness and show their commitment to the fight against heart disease in women.

Some studies suggest that risk factors for cardiovascular disease such as obesity, high cholesterol, diabetes and smoking, may also increase your risk of developing age-related macular degeneration or AMD.  You can take steps that may help to keep both your heart and your eyes healthy by adopting healthy behaviors including not smoking, reducing saturated fats and cholesterol in your diet, and exercising regularly.

Visit the “Go Red” table outside the cafeteria at Mass. Eye and Ear’s Boston Campus from 8 to 9 a.m. and from noon to 1 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 25 for healthy recipes and more Fitness Works at Work will also be available from noon to 1 p.m. providing information on “Healthy Heart” living from the American Heart Association. The hospital’s cafeteria will also be serving  healthy options all week.

At 12:30 p.m. all those in the hospital wearing red will have the opportunity to meet in front of the Café to participate in a group photo to show that Mass. Eye and Ear has a heart when it comes to raising awareness about heart disease.
 
This event is sponsored by the hospital’s Human Resources Advisory Committee.                                                                                         


Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Cataract Surgery Trainer Helps Teach Ophthalmology Residents Cataract Surgery

Boston (Feb. 2, 2010) – The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Cataract Surgery Trainer, a virtual training tool which helps to train physicians to perform cataract surgery, has been shown to enhance teaching in cataract surgery when compared to traditional teaching methods. The results of a multi-center study evaluating the program's effectiveness as a supplement to traditional teaching tools was published in the February issue of Ophthalmology.

Cataract surgery is the most frequently performed surgery in the United States on people over 65 years old, yet it is one of the most difficult surgeries to learn. John Loewenstein, M.D., Mass. Eye and Ear Associate Chief of Ophthalmology for Clinical Affairs and Vice Chair of Education for Ophthalmology, and Bonnie An Henderson, M.D., former director of Mass. Eye and Ear's Comprehensive Ophthalmology Service, developed the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Cataract Surgery Trainer as an interactive computer program to assist ophthalmology residents in learning skills required to perform cataract surgery.

The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Cataract Surgery Trainer allows ophthalmology residents to experience the decisions required and tasks involved in performing cataract surgery in a virtual environment. Specifically, the program allows the learner or resident to click on actions involved in cataract surgery, view the animated actions on the computer screen and receive feedback as needed. Residents receive the benefit of having access to tips related to the specific surgical task they are performing, or utilizing the option of browsing to learn more about related topics. The program offers a library with resources to the learner, including commentary from experts, surgeons and professors in ophthalmology and video demonstrations. The program also includes video clips of actual surgery.

Important benefits of The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Cataract Surgery Trainer include allowing learners to practice the cognitive skills involved in cataract surgery and view the consequences of their surgical decision making in a safe, computer simulated environment. In addition, The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Cataract Surgery Trainer allows residents to practice surgery at any time, without the need of a teacher or instructor being present. Ultimately, these benefits will be passed on to the patient. To take a look at The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Cataract Surgery Trainer for yourself and view a demonstration, visit http://www.gnaritas.com/.

To test the effectiveness of The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Cataract Surgery Trainer program, a prospective, multi-center, single-masked, controlled trial was conducted using medical residents in the ophthalmology departments of seven academic institutions. Residents were randomized into two groups. One group received a video disc of The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Cataract Surgery Trainer program in addition to traditional teaching in their residency program, while the other group received written teaching materials in addition to traditional teaching. Both groups took online anonymous pretests and posttests, as well as answering satisfaction questionnaires.
Results showed that there were no differences in pretest scores between the two groups. However, the group provided with The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Cataract Surgery Trainer program scored significantly higher on their posttests. In addition, the mean difference between pretest and posttest scores for The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Cataract Surgery Trainer group was significantly better than in group that did not use The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Cataract Surgery Trainer. Residents responding to questionnaires reported using The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Cataract Surgery Trainer as being "more fun," as well as reporting that they were more likely to use a program such as The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Cataract Surgery Trainer again compared with the likelihood of using traditional tools.

"We're pleased that the findings of this study suggest that The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Cataract Surgery Trainer could be an effective supplement to traditional teaching. We hope that this computer simulation tool, when used as a supplement to teach residents the skills involved in cataract surgery, would better prepare residents for their experience in the operating room," said Dr. Loewenstein.

Founded in 1824, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary is an independent specialty hospital providing patient care for disorders of the eye, ear, nose, throat, head and neck. Mass. Eye and Ear is an international leader in Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology research and a teaching partner of Harvard Medical School. For more information, call 617-523-7900 or visit http://www.masseyeandear.org/.
 
                                                                                       
Wycliffe ‘Wyc’ Grousbeck elected Chairman of the Foundation and Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary

Contact: Mary Leach
(617) 573-4170      

Boston (Jan. 27, 2010) – Wycliffe “Wyc” Grousbeck, co-owner and chief executive officer of the Boston Celtics and an avid supporter of initiatives relating to blindness, was elected chair of the Foundation and the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary on Jan. 26. The announcement was made by John Fernandez, Mass. Eye and Ear president and chief executive officer.

A resident of greater Boston, Grousbeck assumed the role of Managing Partner, Governor and Chief Executive Officer of the Boston Celtics in December 2002, after organizing and leading a local investment group that purchased the team. He is the NBA Governor of the Celtics, the Chair of the NBA Planning Committee, and is a member of the NBA Labor Relations, Audit, Compensation and Finance committees.

Grousbeck became involved with Mass. Eye and Ear because his family has been touched by blindness. He and his family have been devoted to research and educational initiatives relating to blindness and other conditions for many years.  Grousbeck founded and co-directs a genetic therapy research project targeting CEP-290 related blindness, involving 10 leading medical institutions and 18 prominent medical researchers (four of whom are Howard Hughes Investigators). His family was honored to endow the Grousbeck Professorship in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at the Harvard Medical School, currently held by Leonard Zon, M.D., a leader in stem cell research and cancer biologics. His wife, Corinne, is Founder and Chair of the Trust Board at Perkins School for the Blind (Watertown, MA), an institution devoted to educating blind and deaf/blind students worldwide. Corinne has also served for many years on the Trust Board of Children’s Hospital Boston. Wyc and Corinne are also involved in the Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation; Perkins School for the Blind; Children’s Hospital Boston; Boys and Girls Club of Boston; National Braille Press; Horizons for Homeless Children; Cradles to Crayons; and the Lovelane Special Needs Riding Program.

“It is a privilege and honor to become the Chair of Mass. Eye and Ear. This institution is at the forefront of preventing and restoring vision and hearing loss, which is a personal mission of mine that I take very seriously. I am looking forward to supporting the efforts of the extraordinary vision and hearing researchers, educators, physicians and patient care professionals of Mass. Eye and Ear,” Grousbeck said.

“We are pleased to have Wyc as part of our team,” said Fernandez. “Wyc’s expertise as a businessman, combined with his passion for our mission, will enhance the strength of this organization and help it to thrive. Wyc’s involvement with Mass. Eye and Ear is a natural fit.”

Fernandez expressed his appreciation to outgoing chair Diane E. Kaneb of Weston, Mass., and extended his gratitude for her leadership, friendship and guidance over the years. “We have made great strides and accomplished much in support of our mission during Diane’s tenure.  She even continued as chair for an extra year, while helping to lead the search for her successor. We look forward to her continuing involvement as a member of the Mass. Eye and Ear family,” he said.

Grousbeck holds a bachelor's degree in history from Princeton University (1983), a law degree from the University of Michigan (1986), and an MBA from Stanford Business School, where he was a Miller Scholar (1992).

The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary is an international center for treatment and research and a teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School. For more information, call (617) 523-7900 or TDD (617) 523-5498 or visit www.MassEyeAndEar.org.
 

Mass. Eye and Ear Ophthalmologist Receives the Research to Prevent Blindness Physician-Scientist Award

Contact: Public Affairs
Ph: 617-573-3340

Boston (Jan. 14, 2010) – Louis R. Pasquale, M.D., Co-Director of Glaucoma Service at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary has been presented with the Research to Prevent Blindness (RPB) Physician-Scientist Award. Dr. Pasquale is one of only 43 physician-scientists at 23 institutions who have received the award since it was established in 2000.

The RPB Physician-Scientist Award gives medical doctors in the United States the opportunity to devote more time to clinical eye research activities, providing greater opportunities for specialized study with direct application to the human condition. The award comes with a $60,000 grant to pursue promising scientific leads.

“Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in the United States. In many cases, the causes are unknown. This grant will help Dr. Pasquale further his research into the causes of this disease. Dr. Pasquale’s research focuses primarily on the genetics and the interaction of genetics and lifestyle risks in glaucoma. We hope his work will lead to knowledge that will help us understand the causes of the disease and develop treatments that may prevent the disease before it causes vision loss.” said Joan W. Miller, M.D., Chief of Ophthalmology at Mass. Eye and Ear and Chair of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School.

About Mass. Eye and Ear Infirmary
Founded in 1824, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary is an independent specialty hospital providing patient care for disorders of the eye, ear, nose, throat, head and neck. Mass. Eye and Ear is an international leader in Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology research and a teaching partner of Harvard Medical School. For more information, call 617-523-7900 or visit http://www.masseyeandear.org/.

About RPB
RPB is the world’s leading voluntary organization supporting eye research. Since it was founded in 1960, RPB has channeled hundreds of millions of dollars to medical institutions for research into the causes, treatment and prevention of binding eye diseases. For information on RPB, RPB-funded research, eye disorders and the RPB Grants Program, go to www.rpbusa.org.

 
Graves’ Disease/Thyroid Eye Disease Support Group at Mass. Eye and Ear

Contact: Public Affairs
Ph: 617-573-3340

Boston (Jan. 14, 2010) – The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary is forming a Graves’ Disease Support Group/Thyroid Eye Disease. Thyroid Eye Disease is a result of too much or too little thyroid hormone, which can cause a range of eye and vision problems, including a "staring" appearance, dry eyes, double vision, and protrusion of the eyes or swelling of the eyelids and tissue around the eye. All symptoms can be treated medically and/or surgically. Only an ophthalmologist can provide total care for the eyes: medical, surgical and optical. Any eye problem should be treated by an ophthalmologist specializing in Graves’ disease.

Mass. Eye and Ear’s Thyroid Eye Disease Support Group is the official support group by the Graves’ Disease Foundation. The Graves’ Disease Foundations’ (GDF) is the only health agency dedicated to finding the cause and cure of Graves’ disease. Its mission is to support research for Graves’ thyroid disease, to improve quality of life for people with Graves’ disease and those who care for them, and to educate patients, caregivers and the public about Graves’ disease and its treatment. GDF has helped thousands of patients better understand the symptoms and treatment programs for Graves' disease.

The support group will allow members to express their experiences and concerns about this chronic illness, which will help them form a social connection with others and improve coping skills.  The meetings will also provide an open forum for physicians from multiple specialty areas to share with members, the latest medical and surgical treatment options in a group clinic setting.

The first meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 21, 2010. This will be a physician-led group, a first for New England. For more information and to be added to the group's mailing list, please contact Rose Shea at 617-573-5548 or email rose_shea@meei.harvard.edu.

About Mass. Eye and Ear Infirmary
Founded in 1824, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary is an independent specialty hospital providing patient care for disorders of the eye, ear, nose, throat, head and neck. Mass. Eye and Ear is an international leader in Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology research and a teaching partner of Harvard Medical School. For more information, call 617-523-7900 or visit http://www.masseyeandear.org/.

About The Graves’ Disease Foundation
The Graves' Disease Foundation (GDF) is the only national health agency dedicated to finding the cause and cure of Graves' thyroid disease. The Foundation is the leading source of help and hope for thyroid patients. Visit www.NGDF.org to learn more about your thyroid and our Foundation.                                                                                     
 

Mass. Eye and Ear Alerts Patients to Data Breach

Contact: Mary Leach
Ph.: 617-573-4170

Boston (Jan. 4, 2010) — On Nov. 30, 2009 the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary discovered that a patient’s credit card had been inappropriately used on Nov. 11 and 12 by a Mass. Eye and Ear employee. Mass. Eye and Ear conducted an investigation and determined that two employees were involved, both of whom were terminated. We reported this situation to the Boston Police Department. In addition, as required by law, Mass. Eye and Ear is reporting this incident to the appropriate state and federal authorities.

While Mass. Eye and Ear is only aware of one credit card that was actually misused, Mass. Eye and Ear has determined that approximately 1,076 individuals used credit cards that may have been physically handled or taken over the telephone by the two employees.

Mass. Eye and Ear is sending letters to potentially affected patients at their last known address. The hospital has posted a notice on its website in the event that the contact information for potentially affected patients is out of date, and to provide notice to approximately 35 individuals for whom Mass. Eye and Ear has no contact information. In addition, individuals who used their credit cards to pay for services provided to friends or family members who are patients also may have been potentially affected.

Only individuals who paid for services using credit cards in the departments and between the dates outlined below have been determined to be potentially affected by this incident at this time.

Potentially Affected Individuals
Only individuals who paid for services using credit cards in the departments and between the dates outlined below have been determined to be potentially affected by this incident at this time.
 

  • Vision Rehabilitation:  March 20, 2006 – December 1, 2009
  • Head and Neck Surgical Oncology Service:  July 14, 2008 – November 20, 2009
  • Laryngology Service:  July 14, 2008 – November 20, 2009

      
Mass. Eye and Ear will provide one year of free credit monitoring and additional information to potentially affected individuals to protect them against possible harm resulting from this incident. Any individual who used a credit card as noted above, and who wishes to determine if they were potentially affected by this incident, may call 877-676-0383 to learn if they were potentially affected.

As part of its normal employment process, Mass. Eye and Ear performs appropriate background checks on employees to protect against this type of incident.

"We are saddened and disappointed that two of our, now former, employees chose to violate our trust in them," said John Fernandez, president and CEO. "Mass. Eye and Ear apologizes to our patients and their friends and family members for any concern or inconvenience that this incident may cause."