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Carolyn Greene

Q: What are the advantages of using electronic health records to monitor the health of large populations?

A: EHR systems collect vast amounts of information on large numbers of patients. That means that in addition to tracking the prevalence of diseases or risk factors within the population as a whole, we’ll be able to track how well we’re treating and controlling chronic diseases over time by age, sex and neighborhood poverty level.

“Innovative findings produce rewards of publication, employment and tenure. Replicated findings produce a shrug.”
proto, a prefix of progress, connotes first, novel, experimental. Alone, it conjures an entire world of the new: discoveries, directions, ideas. In taking proto as its name, this magazine stakes its ground on medicine’s leading edge—exploring breakthroughs, dissecting controversies and opening a forum for informed debate.
Replicating research

Sam Kaplan

The Problem of Replication

It’s disappointing when seemingly groundbreaking studies can’t be repeated. But it’s happening a lot.

Yarn in tangles inside an illustrated human head

Tangled Up in Tau

Trouble with the protein may underlie most kinds of dementia, perhaps including Alzheimer’s. New drugs could help.

Chris McCulloh

A Tough Job Made Tougher

“Disabled” doctors? They don’t like the term or the implication, and their careers have been anything but limited.


Comprehension Test

For patients to be effective partners in their own care requires a basic grasp of medical terms that, shockingly, many don’t have.

Artistic photo of a woman's body

No Easy Answers

The name—ductal carcinoma in situ—begs the question: how to treat a small breast lesion that has yet to spread.

Microscopic image

In Finer Focus

Bringing never-before-seen structures into view, today’s microscopy is dispelling cartoon concepts and answering unanticipated questions.

An older twin

Same Genes, Different Fates

Few identical twins suffer identical maladies, leading science to probe the significance of epigenetic changes that make paths diverge.

venture philanthropy

Venture Philanthropy: A New Driver for Research

Disease foundations that use a venture capital model get a stake in the breakthroughs they fund. Not everyone thinks that's a good idea.


Mass General First Responders on Boston Marathon Bombing
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helium cliff - [ˈhē-lē-əm ˈklif] n: an anticipated decline in the supply of helium, an inert gas that is essential for magnetic resonance imaging equipment.

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