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Oral contraceptive use not associated with increased birth defects risk

Dr. Brittany Charlton is first author on a study that appeared online in BMJ The study found that Oral contraceptives taken just before or during pregnancy do not increase the risk of birth de-fects, according to a new study by researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Statens Serum Institut in Denmark. They found that the prevalence of ma-jor birth defects was consistent (about 25 per 1,000 live births) across all pregnant women in the study population regardless of contraceptive use.

Brittany is an Alum of the Epi Doctoral Program and was a Rose Traveling Fellow recipient .

Twin study estimates familial risks of 23 different cancers

Publication1Dr. Lorelei Mucci is co-lead author on a study that shows, for the first time, that in twin pairs where both developed cancer, each twin often developed a different type of cancer—which suggests that, in some families, there is a shared increased risk of any type of cancer. The study, pub-lished in JAMA, was led by researchers at HSPH, the University of Southern Den-mark, and the University of Helsinki.


Outstanding Contribution to the Science of Trauma Psychology

Dr. Karestan C. Koenen was awarded the 2015 Award for Karestan KoenenOutstanding Contributions to the Science of Trauma Psychology. This award recognizes distinguished contributions to scientific research, such as a particular discovery or a sustained body of research and scholarship.

Top 10 Clinical Research Achievement Award for 2015

Sonia Hernandez-Diaz and her team received one of the “Top 10 Clinical Research Achievement Awards in the United States for 2015” for their pro-ject “Antidepressant use in pregnancy and the risk of cardiac defects”. N Engl J Med. 2014, 370(25):2397-407.
This prestigious award from the Clinical Research Forum recognizes outstanding accomplishments in clinical research. The recognition of the award was made during the opening plenary session at the Translational Science 2015 meeting on Thursday April 16th. Krista Huybrechts represented the team in the ceremony.

Dr. Lorelei A. Mucci to present the 5th Annual Alice Hamilton Lecture

Lorelei MucciDr. Lorelei A. Mucci was presented the Alice Hamilton Award and will speak on Monday, May 11, 2015 3:30-5:00pm in Kresge G-2. Mucci will present her lecture titles:”A Female Researcher Exploring the Male Prostate“. Dr. Alice Hamilton was the first woman appointed to the faculty of Harvard University and a pioneer in the fields of toxicology and occupational health.

Reception to follow lecture

Tyler VanderWeele first book release
VanderWeele Book release
Tyler VanderWeele’s book “Explanation in Causal Infer-ence: Methods for Mediation and Interaction” has been published by Oxford University Press. It is available through the Oxford University Press website and on Amazon.




Women and Heart Disease: What You Don’t Know May Kill You

Epi Faculty at Webcast

Epi Faculty speaking at inaugural event in The Dr. Lawrence H. and Roberta Cohn Forum.

Deadlier than all forms of cancer combined, heart disease is the leading cause of death of U.S. women. Sometimes this killer comes with symptoms signaling a potentially deadly problem. Sometimes not. Even when symptoms manifest, the signs in women can be so different from those in men that the symptoms are misdiagnosed or overlooked. This Forum event provided a concise overview of the causes and forms of heart disease in women — and then explored today’s leading-edge prevention and treatment strategies. The inaugural event in The Dr. Lawrence H. and Roberta Cohn Forums, this webcast was in collaboration with The Huffington Post.

Mediterranean diet has marked impact on aging


In a study published online in The BMJ, research at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital found that greater adherence to the Mediterranean diet correlated with longer telomeres.

Telomeres are repetitive DNA sequences at the ends of chromosomes that get shorter every time a cell divides. These shorter telomeres have been associated with decreases life expectancy and increases risk of aging related disease, while longer telomeres have been linked to longevity. Immaculata De Vivo, Associate professor in the Channing Division at BWH and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health was senior author on this study and Marta Crous Bou, post doctoral fellow in the Channing Division of Network Medicine was the first author.

Probing genes for disease risk

New research by Alkes Price, Associate professor of Statistical Genetics at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and colleagues focuses on new approaches to characterizing and identifying genetic factors in complex disease.The study outlines a new way of estimating how much variation in a particular trait is due to genetics. Examples looked at in the paper include height, body mass index, and prostate cancer. Geneticists tend to analyze traits like height and BMI because it’s very convenient to assemble huge amounts of data based on the amount that is readily available.

The long-term goal is to identify disease-related genetic associations and then to use that knowledge to understand which genes or pathways are biologically important so that experimental drug targets can be devised, evaluated, and test.


The Catalyst by Jocelyn Kaiser

Harvard University epidemiologist Marc Lipsitch has become a prominent voice in the debate over studies that create potentially dangerous new flu viruses that critics fear could escape from laboratories and cause a pandemic. This past July, Lipsitch organized 18 scientists who crafted a statement calling for governments to curtail these controversial studies until risks and benefits can be thoroughly weighed. It drew an online response a few days later from an opposing alliance of researchers who support the experiments. Still, to Lipsitch‘s surprise, they gave a little ground: They agreed that researchers needed to publicly air the issues. The turn of events highlights how Lipsitch, a one-time philosophy major turned biologist, has recently shown a knack for being in the right place at the right time, with a message and data that have helped shape the conversation.

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