Public Release: 

Tip sheet: Johns Hopkins researchers present findings at science conference in D.C.

Johns Hopkins Medicine

What: American Association for the Advancement of Science 2016 Annual Meeting

When: Feb. 11-15, 2016

Where: Washington Marriott Wardman Park

(2660 Woodley Road NW, Washington, DC 20008)

****Embargoed for release until Feb. 13 at 1 p.m. ET****

Big Data Clinical Realities and the Human Dimensions of Interoperable Data

Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, 1-2:30 p.m.

Marshall Ballroom North (Washington Marriott Wardman Park)

Researcher John Aucott, M.D., assistant professor of medicine and director of the Lyme Disease Clinical Research Center at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, will present about the collection, storage and use of large amounts of research data to aid in the discovery of personalized therapies for treating human illness.

As part of his presentation, and being reported in the Feb. 12 edition of the e-publication of mBio, Aucott will discuss research that he and colleagues from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the University of California, San Francisco have been working on for the last two years.

Investigators used next-generation sequencing to analyze blood samples of 29 patients with Lyme disease to assess the molecular processes contributing to the disease and the development of post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome. Approximately 73 million sequencing reads were generated per blood sample in this study. Aucott will explain how large data sets like these are used to better understand the pathology of a disease, and how big data may help in the discovery of better, more targeted and personalized treatments.

Aucott is available for interviews before and after his presentation.

****Embargoed for release until Feb. 14 at 3 p.m. ET****

Hearing Loss and Dementia: Who's Listening?

Sunday, Feb. 14, 2016, 3-4:30 p.m.

Marshall Ballroom North (Washington Marriott Wardman Park)

Hearing and aging expert Frank Lin, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of geriatric medicine and otolaryngology-head and neck surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, will discuss the broader implications of hearing loss on our cognitive and thinking abilities. Lin will explain how hearing loss has been linked with faster rates of brain atrophy and a greater risk of cognitive decline and dementia in older adults. He will also explore the broader implications of these findings for efforts to address the public health crisis that rising rates of dementia now pose to societies around the world.

Lin is available for interview Wednesday, Feb. 10, and Sunday, Feb. 14, before and after his presentation.

****Embargoed for release until Feb. 14 at 3 p.m. ET****

Communication Breakdown: Detecting and Treating Language Deterioration in Patients with Neurodegenerative Disorders

Sunday, Feb. 14, 2016, 3-4:30 p.m.

Marshall Ballroom North (Washington Marriott Wardman Park)

Neurologist Argye Hillis, M.D., will present new ways to predict ? earlier than traditional testing ? which patients with neurodegenerative disorders will develop severe language and communication deficiencies. Hillis will explore a new way to enhance existing therapies that improve these patients' language skills.

Patients with Alzheimer's disease or dementia that impacts a part of the brain that controls language can develop progressive aphasia -- problems reading, writing and speaking. Hillis will discuss two techniques to predict outcomes in patients with progressive aphasia: One test tracks eye movements with a camera, and the second uses resting-state functional connectivity magnetic resonance imaging (rsfcMRI). The eye-tracking test works by revealing a person's lack of confidence when matching up pictures with spoken words, foretelling future problems in understanding spoken language -- one type of progressive aphasia. The rsfcMRI test looks at how the right and left side of the frontal cortex are functionally connected when a person is not asked to do any task. The less that the right and left parts of the brain overlap in their activity at rest, the more rapidly that patient may decline.

Traditional treatments for progressive aphasia use speech and language therapy. Hillis will describe how adding transcranial direct current stimulation, essentially running electrical pulses over the head, can enhance the effectiveness of these therapies.

Hillis is available for interviews Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016 and Sunday, Feb. 14, 2016.

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