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Helen M. Shields, MD

Professor, Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School

Associate Master, Oliver Wendell Holmes Society, Harvard Medical School

Physician, Gastroenterology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Contact Info

Helen Shields
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DF/HCC Program Affiliation

Gastrointestinal Malignancies

Research Abstract

1) Barrett's Esophagus
I initially described Barrett's esophagus' topographical appearance using scanning electron microscopy and light microscopy comparisons. I and my team identified a distinctive cell using scanning electron microscopy that expresses ultrastructural characteristics of both columnar and squamous mucosa. By light microscopy we also described a multilayered epithelium that by cytokeratin immunocytochemistry has both columnar and squamous-type cytokeratins. This hybrid type of epithelium may be of great importance to our understanding the cell of origin of Barrett?s esophagus. Currently I am collaborating on a series of projects designed to elucidate the role of multilayered epithelium in the development and progression of Barrett's epithelium as a precancerous entity.

2) Colon Cancer Screening
I have recently completed a study of the factors that influence doctors in their decision-making process when presented with a positive stool for occult blood in a middle-aged or elderly person. The patient's family history, the patient's anxiety over the possibility of having colon cancer, number of positive Hemoccult windows, and male gender were all important factors contributing to significantly more evaluation tests being done.


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