Posts Tagged ‘neurology’

Putting Patients First – Advancing Brain Treatment Possibilities

Brain cancer injury informationFor those of us who watched the President’s State of the Union address on Tuesday night, we were touched by a number of stories, conflicts, and hardships faced by Americans from all walks of life. Health care rhetoric aside, one story, that of James Howard from Katy, TX, was especially touching and relevant. Howard, who is only 28 years old, was diagnosed with brain cancer in March of 2010 and as we listened, we learned of his touching story and the barriers he faced in acquiring treatment. James Howard is not alone. There are many people out there like James Howard, who, without access to the latest medical treatments, wouldn’t be here.

While the debate regarding health care reform continues, what we at Emory can do is to provide access to the latest treatments to save lives like that of James Howard. And through our research and medical advances, that’s exactly what we’ve done for patients like Jennifer Giliberto, Gary Gelb, Neil Cullinan, and Donna Yancey, all of whom underwent brain surgery at Emory Healthcare.

Our neurosciences team of researchers, physicians, surgeons, and staff are dedicated to leading research and development in the world of brain injuries and cancers.

For example, Emory is one of the few places in the country offering minimally invasive neuro-endoscopic procedures for resection of deep-seated brain tumors and 3D endoscopic pituitary tumor removal. We’re also conducting groundbreaking research investigating solutions such as the use of magnetic nanoparticles for targeted imaging and therapy of brain cancer. This dedication advancing the medical possibilities is what drives everything we do, and our efforts aren’t going without recognition.

Recently, Dr. Costas Hadjipanayis, chief of neurosurgery at Emory University Hospital Midtown and assistant professor of neurosurgery at Emory, was named president of the Southeastern Brain Tumor Foundation. With a mission to “improve the quality of life for brain tumor patients and their families” through research, awareness, and support, the efforts of our team members such as Dr. Hadjipanayis and those of the Southeastern Brain Tumor Foundation allow us to continue to advance the possibilities in the treatment of brain tumors and injuries.

We honor the dedication shown by our neurosciences team and its members such as Dr. Costas Hadjipanayis, who are making strides in improving the lives of patients and families affected by brain injuries and cancers each and every day.

Emory Neurosciences Taking Steps to Expand Reach and Capacity

In response to the recent surge in neurological patients and an increased demand for neurological treatment, Emory Healthcare’s Neurosciences program has made strides over the last year in broadening the program’s reach and capacity.

Emory Neurosciences, which includes Emory Healthcare’s Neurosurgery and Neurology divisions, is a leader in neurological treatments and services and consistently ranked as one of the industry’s best. Both the Neurology and Neurosurgery divisions were recently ranked 12th in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. In addition, many of Emory’s neurologists and neurosurgeons are consistently recognized as Atlanta’s Top Doctors by Atlanta Magazine and as America’s Top Doctors.

In an effort to further accommodate the increase in patient demand, Emory Neurosciences has implemented several key improvements over the last year:

State-of-the-Art Neuro ICU Renovations

In May of this year, Emory’s Neurosciences Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at Emory University Hospital Midtown was completely renovated to increase patient and family comfort and incorporate the latest innovations in medical technology.

All 12 rooms of the Neuro ICU were overhauled and each now includes continuous electroencephalogram (EEG) capabilities to constantly measure and record electrical brain activity, and a physician viewing station to monitor each patient. Additional renovations such as new flooring, furniture, and even flat screen TVs were also incorporated to improve patient and family care and comfort. The renovations also incorporated the latest technology in patient lifting equipment and glass doors that block sound and allow our nurses to keep a close eye on patients from their nursing stations.

Expert Neuro Doctor Additions

The addition of two new physicians at The Emory Clinic at Kennestone, physiatrist Hassan Monfared, MD, and neurosurgeon Kenneth Hill, Jr., MD have also allowed Emory Neurosciences to further expand its service offerings and geographic reach.

Monfared, assistant professor of rehabilitation medicine, Emory University School of Medicine, is the first physiatrist at the clinic’s Marietta location. He brings 20 years of experience in physical medicine and rehabilitation services and has particular expertise in pain medicine and chronic spinal pain. He is board certified in physical medicine and rehabilitation and pain medicine.

Hill, assistant professor of neurosurgery, Emory University School of Medicine, graduated from the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine and served his residency at the Penn State Hershey Medical Center. He was a neuro-oncology fellow at Emory. His surgical interests are in brain and spinal tumors, degenerative spine diseases and general neurosurgical procedures.

“With the addition of Monfared and Hill, we are able to strengthen our commitment to provide excellent patient care and services to the residents of Marietta and surrounding communities,” says Barrow. “At the same time, they will help us proudly continue to advance the surgical treatment of neurological disorders and the tradition of excellence in medicine that Emory has come to be known for the world over.”

New Technology – Myriad System

Opening a completely renovated ICU, and the addition of new physicians are not the only changes being made at Emory. New technology is also being incorporated into neurosciences offerings at Emory.

The Myriad system, is one of several new high-tech systems installed in the recently opened neuro-endoscopic operating room suite at Emory University Hospital Midtown. The device’s superior control allows for extremely precise surgical work in removing both malignant and non-malignant tumors. Because the majority of the surgeries performed are endoscopic procedures, with small cameras projecting the surgical site in the brain onto monitors, clear and well-defined, high definition images are vital. The specialty operating room also consists of four high-definition monitors, two overhead high-definition cameras and a state-of-the art control system that can conference out live procedures for teaching purposes.

The combination of these advancements has allowed Emory Healthcare to better partner with community physicians in providing neurological care. We will continue to keep you updated on breakthroughs from Emory Neurosciences. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments below.

New Study Finds Possible Link Between Low Vitamin D Levels and Parkinson’s Disease

Past research has indicated that their may be a link between low vitamin D levels and Parkinson’s Disease, but a cause-and-effect relationship between the two has never been established. However, a recent study discussed in a July 2010 Archives of Neurology editorial (written by assistance professor of neurology at Emory University School of Medicine, Marian Evatt, MD) demonstrates a significant need for additional research on whether vitamin D supplements can help prevent Parkinson’s.


The study is the first to demonstrate that low vitamin D levels are a telling factor in predicting a person’s likelihood for developing Parkinson’s Disease. The study tested vitamin D levels in blood samples taken from over 3000 people from 1978-90 and followed the participants to observe whether Parkinson’s was developed later in life. A fairly telling result was witnessed – participants with the lowest vitamin D levels were 3x more likely to develop Parkinson’s when compared to individuals in the group with the highest vitamin D levels.

Dr. Evatt believes that vitamin D may help prevent the gradual degradation of neurons displayed in people with Parkinson’s. Neurons that are typically lost over time in individuals suffering from Parkinson’s are responsible for production of dopamine to help control movement, which is why stiffness, tremor, and general slow movement are common symptoms of the disease. Recent research conducted on animals, however, suggests that vitamin D may be able to help protect these neurons.

Dr. Evatt and her colleagues are currently holding a pilot clinical trial to explore the effects of vitamin D supplements on Parkinson’s patients with low vitamin D levels. She is also involved in research and epidemiological studies of the vitamin’s effects on the disease. In her editorial, Dr. Evatt makes a recommendation for raising the target/recommended vitamin D levels due to its obvious benefits for bone health and potential benefits to the nervous system.

If you’re interested in making sure your vitamin D levels are where they should be, fish such as salmon and tuna, milk, mushrooms and exposure to sunlight are good sources of vitamin D.