Neurology News

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  • December 31, 2009

    Rochester Neurologist Takes a Lead Role Tackling Charcot-Marie-Tooth

    A Meissner corpuscle, a tiny structure in the skin that allows us to feel light touch. David Herrmann monitors these structures to gauge the extent of a patient's neuropathy.

    Neurologist David Herrmann, MBBCh, associate professor of Neurology and of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center, is taking part in a newly funded nationwide study focusing on a condition known as Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, a painful nerve condition that affects more than 100,000 Americans.

    Herrmann, director of the Peripheral Neuropathy Clinic at Strong Memorial Hospital, is part of a team that has been awarded $6.25 million from the National Institutes of Health. The project is based at Wayne State University in Detroit and includes Herrmann and other collaborators from around the world.

    The new funding, part of NIH's Rare Diseases Clinical Research Network, will support the Inherited Neuropathies Consortium for the next five years.

  • December 29, 2009

    Rochester Physician Honored for Key Role Educating Nation’s Neurologists

    A Rochester neurologist who is widely credited with enhancing the education of neurologists nationwide has been honored by the discipline's largest professional organization.

    Ralph Józefowicz, M.D., professor of Neurology and Medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center, has been awarded the 2010 A.B. Baker Award for Lifetime Achievement in Neurologic Education by the American Academy of Neurology. He will receive the award at AAN's annual meeting in Toronto in April.

    Under Józefowicz's leadership, Rochester has become widely recognized as a wellspring of quality education for neurologists. Doctors around the nation who are training in neurology routinely rank Rochester's School of Medicine and Dentistry among their top choices. Within the school, the residents whom Józefowicz teaches typically garner a disproportionate share of teaching awards.

  • December 17, 2009

    UR Study Reveals Chemo’s Toxicity to Brain, Possible Treatment

    Researchers have developed a novel animal model showing that four commonly used chemotherapy drugs disrupt the birth of new brain cells, and that the condition could be partially reversed with the growth factor IGF-1.

    Published early online in the journal Cancer Investigation, the University of Rochester Medical Center study is relevant to the legions of cancer survivors who experience a frustrating decline in cognitive function after chemotherapy treatment, known as chemo brain.

    It is not yet clear how our results can be generally applied to humans but we have taken a very significant step toward reproducing a debilitating condition and finding ways to treat it, said Robert Gross, M.D., Ph.D., professor of Neurology and of Pharmacology and Physiology at URMC and principal investigator of the study.

  • November 5, 2009

    Rochester Physician Named Editor of Leading Neurology Journal

    A neurologist and epilepsy expert at the University of Rochester Medical Center has been named editor in chief of one of the world's leading journals devoted to issues involving the brain and central nervous system.

    Robert A. Gross M.D., Ph.D., professor of Neurology and of Pharmacology and Physiology, was named today to lead the medical journal Neurology, the world's leading clinical neurology journal. As editor, Gross assumes a major leadership role in the world of neurology, helping set the direction and focus for the discipline worldwide. He will contribute to decisions about which issues are of most importance to physicians and patients, and which new findings and new research avenues are most worthy of attention.

    Gross has been involved with the journal for 20 years, first as a reviewer, then associate editor for the past eight years. During the last two he has also been deputy editor and most recently served as interim editor in chief.

    Gross succeeds another Rochester neurologist, Professor Robert Griggs, M.D., who is now president of the American Academy of Neurology, an association of more than 21,000 neurologists and neuroscience professionals that publishes Neurology. Griggs himself served as the editor of the journal from 1997 to 2007.

  • October 15, 2009

    Cost Effectiveness of Blood Pressure Device Evaluated

    A study conducted by the University of Rochester Medical Center demonstrates that, for certain patient populations, an experimental device that lowers blood pressure may be a cost effective treatment. The implantable device, called Rheos, is in advanced stages of testing for individuals with drug resistant hypertension.

    The study – which appears this month in the Journal of Clinical Hypertension – used data from two large population-based studies and compared the incidence of adverse health events such as stroke and heart attack for groups of individuals with and without the blood pressure lowering benefit of the device. Researchers then projected the health care costs associated with those events over a patient's lifetime. The results show that if Rheos continues to perform at a level consistent the initial findings in ongoing clinical trials, then the device is a cost effective way to control hypertension.

    Our goal was to determine whether or not the benefit of Rheos would offset the higher upfront costs, said Kate C. Young, Ph.D., MPH, an instructor in the departments of Surgery and Neurology at URMC and lead author of the study. What we found is that the device's cost effectiveness is dependent upon the degree to which it can reduce blood pressure and the starting point of the patient.

  • October 12, 2009

    Rochester-Led Parkinson’s Study Pays Off Again, Two Decades Later

    Parkinson's disease progresses more slowly in patients who have higher levels of urate, a chemical that at very high level is associated with gout, scientists have found. While it's unknown whether the high levels actually somehow protect patients or simply serve as a marker of protection, the finding supports the idea that patients and doctors may one day be able to better predict the course of the illness.

    The study, led by scientists at Massachusetts General Hospital and the Harvard School of Public Health and including physicians at the University of Rochester Medical Center, was published online in the Archives of Neurology.

  • September 29, 2009

    Emmy Awarded to ABC News Primetime Story Featuring Jonathan Mink, M.D., Ph.D.

    ABC News was recognized with an Emmy Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for a Primetime story featuring URMC pediatric neurologist Jonathan Mink, M.D., Ph.D. Dr. Mink, a professor of Neurology, Neurobiology & Anatomy, Pediatrics, and Brain & Cognitive Sciences, focuses his reseach on the function of the basal ganglia in normal control of movement and the pathophysiology of basal ganglia disorders characterized by abnormal involuntary movements.

  • July 16, 2009

    Genetic Source of Muscular Dystrophy Neutralized

    Deposits of toxic RNA (red) are seen here inside muscle cell nuclei (blue) from an individual with myotonic dystrophy.

    Researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center have found a way to block the genetic flaw at the heart of a common form of muscular dystrophy. The results of the study, which were published today in the journal Science, could pave the way for new therapies that essentially reverse the symptoms of the disease.

    The researchers used a synthetic molecule to break up deposits of toxic genetic material and re-establish the cellular activity that is disrupted by the disease. Because scientists believe that potentially all of the symptoms of myotonic dystrophy – the most common form of muscular dystrophy in adults – flow from this single genetic flaw, neutralizing it could potentially restore muscle function in people with the disease.

    This study establishes a proof of concept that could be followed to develop a successful treatment for myotonic dystrophy, said URMC neurologist Charles Thornton, M.D., the senior author of the study and co-director of the URMC Wellstone Muscular Dystrophy Cooperative Research Center. It also demonstrates the potential to reverse established symptoms of the disease after they have developed, as opposed to simply preventing them from getting worse.

  • July 5, 2009

    Study in Nature: MicroRNAs Hold Promise For Treating Diseases in Blood Vessels

    The pictured microRNA molecule (green) may prevent the thickening of blood vessels walls that leads to clogged vessels and heart attacks.

    A newly discovered mechanism controls whether muscle cells in blood vessels hasten the development of both atherosclerosis and Alzheimer's disease, according to an article published online today in the journal Nature.

    The study was led by the Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease in San Francisco, with key contributions from the Aab Cardiovascular Research Institute at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry.

    Thanks to stem cells, humans develop from a single cell embryo into a complex being with about 250 unique cell types. As the fetus develops, cells divide and multiply (proliferate) in many generations and specialize (differentiate) with each generation until millions of functional cells result (bone, nerve, blood, skin, muscle, etc.). To serve specific roles in the body, some stem cells also switch back and forth between primitive, rapidly proliferating precursors and their mature, functioning, non-proliferating counterparts, a quality called plasticity.

  • June 17, 2009

    Telemedicine Expands Reach of Care for Parkinson’s Patients

    A unique and innovative telemedicine project is providing distant nursing home patients with Parkinson's disease access to neurologists at the University of Rochester Medical Center. A pilot study of the project – the results of which were released this month at the International Congress of Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders in Paris – demonstrates that the system can improve the quality of life and motor function of patients.

    This study shows that we can effectively deliver care for Parkinson's patients via telemedicine, said URMC neurologist Ray Dorsey, M.D. This system enables us to reach and provide a high level of care to patients who might otherwise not have access to a specialist.

    Dorsey and his colleague Kevin Biglan, M.D. oversee the project and divide patient responsibilities between them. The effort is a joint initiative between URMC and the Presbyterian Home for Central New York in New Harford, a 250 bed nursing home near Utica and about 150 miles from Rochester.

  • June 15, 2009

    Protein Regulates Movement of Mitochondria in Brain Cells

    Scientists have identified a protein in the brain that plays a key role in the function of mitochondria – the part of the cell that supplies energy, supports cellular activity, and potentially wards off threats from disease. The discovery, which was reported today in the Journal of Cell Biology, may shed new light on how the brain recovers from stroke.

    Understanding the molecular machinery that helps distribute mitochondria to different parts of the cell has only recently begun to be understood, said University of Rochester Medical Center neurologist David Rempe, M.D., Ph.D., the lead author of the study. We know that in some disease states that mitochondria function is modified, so understanding how their activity is modulated is important to understanding how the brain responds to a pathological state.

  • April 30, 2009

    Brain Protein Central to Both Parkinson’s, Drug Addiction Identified

    Scientists have identified a protein that appears not only to be central to the process that causes Parkinson's disease but could also play a role in muting the high from methamphetamine and other addictive drugs.

    The action of the protein, known as organic cation transporter 3 or oct3, fills a longstanding gap in scientists' understanding of the brain damage that causes symptoms like tremor, stiffness, slowness of movement and postural instability. While these are found mainly in patients with Parkinson's disease, there are more than three dozen other known causes of this array of symptoms, known as parkinsonism.

    In a paper published online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, scientists at the University of Rochester Medical Center and Columbia University have shown that oct3, a protein that shepherds molecules into and out of cells, plays a critical role, bringing toxic chemicals to the doorstep of the brain cells that die in patients with Parkinson's disease. The team found that oct3 is involved in the brain's response to addictive drugs like methamphetamine as well.

  • April 30, 2009

    URMC Physician Elected President of American Academy of Neurology

    University of Rochester Medical Center neurologist Robert C. Griggs, M.D. has been elected president of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN), the world's largest professional organization of neurologists.

    Griggs, who was elected at the AAN's annual meeting this week in Seattle, will lead an organization that was established 1948 and consists of more than 21,000 neurologists and neuroscience professionals. Griggs has also served as chair of the AAN Education Committee and editor-in-chief of the Academy's prestigious scientific journal Neurology for 10 years.

    Dr. Griggs is a visionary and has made extraordinary contributions to the field of neurology, said Catherine M. Rydell, executive director and CEO of the AAN. His decades of leadership with the Academy and the respect of his peers position him well to lead the organization. The AAN relies on outstanding continued leadership as we look ahead toward furthering research and treatments for the neurology patient and professional.

  • April 29, 2009

    Neurologists Establish Professorship in Honor of Robert J. Joynt

    Colleagues and friends in the Department of Neurology at the University of Rochester Medical Center are more than halfway toward their goal of raising $1.5 million to honor the physician who founded the department.

    The professorship will honor neurologist Robert J. Joynt, M.D., Ph.D., one of the most influential neurologists of the last half century, who is now Distinguished University Professor at the University of Rochester Medical Center. Joynt founded the University's Department of Neurology in 1966 and guided the department for 18 years, laying the foundation for what is today one of the nation's leading neurology departments.

    The professorship, to be known as the Robert J. Joynt Chair in Experimental Therapeutics in Neurology, is designed to further development of treatments to treat neurological diseases. The Joynt Chair will support research to treat disorders like Parkinson's, Huntington's, and Alzheimer's diseases. Friends, alumni, colleagues and grateful patients have contributed to the fund thus far.

  • April 28, 2009

    Poor Sleep Quality Leads to Poorer Prognosis after Stroke

    Stroke victims tend to do worse if they also have diagnosed or undiagnosed obstructive sleep apnea prior to having the stroke, according to a study presented April 28, 2009, at the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) annual meeting in Seattle.

    Latha Stead, M.D., professor and chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center, and professor of Neurosurgery, reported the findings at AAN, along with several other stroke studies measuring the factors that lead to a poor prognosis.

    We know that obstructive sleep apnea has been linked to a multitude of cardiovascular problems, yet it is concerning that the vast majority of cases remain undiagnosed, Stead said. In the context of recovering from a stroke, sleep apnea can have a serious impact, and for that reason we encourage people to become more aware of obstructive sleep apnea and to get treatment.

  • April 16, 2009

    3 Events Offer Hope for People with Brain Tumors

    A PET scan allows doctors to see a brain tumor in an elderly man.

    People with brain tumors, and those who love and care for them, will observe Brain Tumor Awareness Week with three educational and celebratory events sponsored by the University of Rochester Medical Center and James P. Wilmot Cancer Center.

    On Friday, May 1, there will be a seminar for patients, their families, and physicians that focuses on the latest research and treatment approaches in brain and spinal tumors. Then on Thursday, May 7, patients, families and clinicians will gather for the Community Sharing Hope Picnic at Kings Bend Park in Pittsford. And on Saturday, May 9, there will be an education and supportive program for caregivers.

    Each year, approximately 500 people with brain tumors are treated at the Medical Center and Wilmot Cancer Center, making it the largest program in the region. The events are offered by the Program for Brain and Spinal Tumors at the Medical Center and the Wilmot Cancer Center.

  • April 15, 2009

    Rochester Scientist Wins Major Award for Alzheimer’s Research

    A Rochester researcher whose work has opened up a whole new avenue in Alzheimer's disease research has received a major prize from the American Academy of Neurology.

    Berislav Zlokovic, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Center for Neurodegenerative and Vascular Brain Disorders at the University of Rochester Medical Center, will receive the 2009 Potamkin Prize for Research in Pick's, Alzheimer's, and Related Diseases during the AAN annual meeting later this month in Seattle.

    Zlokovic will split the $100,000 prize with two other researchers, Michael Wolfe, Ph.D., of Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, and Robert Vassar, Ph.D., of Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University. The prize, which honors researchers for their work on Alzheimer's disease and related disorders, will go toward the investigators' Alzheimer's research.

  • March 25, 2009

    Oxycodone Effective Against Shingles Pain

    The painkiller oxycodone is effective at treating the acute pain of shingles, an illness that often causes severe pain which can become long-lasting and sometimes even permanent.

    The study, published in the April issue of the journal Pain, is one of the first to carefully evaluate different methods to relieve pain during a course of shingles, which many patients say causes the worst pain they have ever experienced. Effective pain treatment is crucial. Not only can the pain of shingles disrupt people's quality of life, but it is also possible that the less effectively the pain is treated, the more likely it will become a long-term problem that can change a person's life forever.

  • March 20, 2009

    Abnormal EKG Can Predict Death in Stroke Patients

    People who suffer an ischemic stroke and also have an abnormality in the heart's electrical cycle are at a higher risk of death within 90 days than people who do not have abnormal electrical activity at the time of emergency treatment, according to new research.

    The study also provides a threshold at which the threat of death is highest: QTc intervals greater than 440 milliseconds in women and 438 milliseconds in men have the worst prognosis. The findings are published online March 20, 2009, in the Journal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases.

  • March 12, 2009

    Weighing the Options after Life-Altering Stroke

    CT scan of the brain of a patient who has suffered a massive stroke. The darker, wedge-shaped area on the left is the portion of the brain that has been damaged.

    Choosing to have aggressive brain surgery after suffering a severe stroke generally improves the patients' lives and allows them to live longer, according to research by neurologists at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

    The findings should help patients and families put into perspective a decision that is nearly always painful and difficult to make – whether putting a patient through aggressive surgery after a catastrophic stroke is worth it.

    For families facing this difficult choice, the more information we can provide, the better for their decision-making, said neurologist Adam G. Kelly, M.D., who has helped hundreds of families chart a course after severe stroke. Kelly presented the findings last month at the International Stroke Conference in San Diego.

  • March 10, 2009

    Long-Term Effects of Early Parkinson’s Treatments Similar

    A study published online today in the Archives of Neurology involving two common drugs used to treat early-stage Parkinson's disease shows that, while the drugs each have advantages and disadvantages, the overall impact tends to even out over a long period of treatment.

    Clinicians and patients often struggle with what is the right initial approach to treating Parkinson's disease, said University of Rochester Medical Center neurologist Kevin Biglan, M.D., M.P.H., the lead author of the paper and a member of the Parkinson's Study Group, an international network of researchers that oversaw the clinical trial. This study tells us that, over the long haul, patients on the different drugs end up at roughly the same place in terms of their level of disability and quality of life.

  • February 16, 2009

    Event to Benefit Those Affected by Neuromuscular Disorders

    An arts and crafts show to be held in Batavia later this month will benefit patients and their families who have been affected by neuromuscular disorders like neuropathy, muscular dystrophy, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease).

    The show will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 28, at the Batavia Holiday Inn at 8250 Park Road, immediately off Thruway Exit 48. Admission is free.

  • January 5, 2009

    Tingling Hands, Burning Feet? Rochester Neurologist an Expert in Tracking Down Neuropathy

    Hands that feel like they're burning; feet that make it feel like you're walking on pins and needles; numbness that spreads gradually up the limbs. These are among the most vexing of symptoms for patients and their doctors alike. Many patients spend years going from doctor to doctor seeking a diagnosis, and many doctors order test upon test, with no firm conclusion.

    Now a Rochester neurologist has helped compile a national set of guidelines that aim to help doctors better diagnose the most common cause of such symptoms more quickly and efficiently and with less expense.

    David Herrmann, MBBCh, director of the Peripheral Neuropathy Clinic at Strong Memorial Hospital, is an author of the guidelines for a painful nerve condition known as neuropathy, which affects millions of people with diabetes and many other patients as well. The new practice parameters were published last month in the journal Neurology.

  • December 21, 2008

    Two Cardiovascular Proteins Pose a Double Whammy in Alzheimer's

    Amyloid is visible as white around the blood vessels in the brain of a mouse with a condition like Alzheimer's.

    Researchers have found that two proteins which work in tandem in the brain's blood vessels present a double whammy in Alzheimer's disease. Not only do the proteins lessen blood flow in the brain, but they also reduce the rate at which the brain is able to remove amyloid beta, the protein that builds up in toxic quantities in the brains of patients with the disease.

    The work, described in a paper published online Dec. 21 in the journal Nature Cell Biology, provides hard evidence directly linking two processes thought to be at play in Alzheimer's disease: reduction in blood flow and the buildup of toxic amyloid beta. The research makes the interaction between the two proteins a seductive target for researchers seeking to address both issues.

    Scientists were surprised at the finding, which puts two proteins known for their role in the cardiovascular system front and center in the development of Alzheimer's disease.

    This is quite unexpected, said Berislav Zlokovic, M.D., Ph.D., a neuroscientist and a senior author of the study. On the other hand, both of these processes are mediated by the smooth muscle cells along blood vessel walls, and we know that those are seriously compromised in patients with Alzheimer's disease, so perhaps we shouldn't be completely surprised.

  • December 8, 2008

    Breaking the Silence After a Study Ends

    While an estimated 2.3 million people in the U.S. take part in clinical trials every year, there currently exists no formal requirement to inform them of study results; an oversight that leaves participants confused, frustrated, and, in some cases, lacking information that may be important to their health. In an article published today in the Archives of Neurology, researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center have proposed a novel and effective approach to disseminate the results of clinical trials to study volunteers.

    Industry, government, and academic researchers are dependent upon the willing participation of millions of individuals to fill the estimated 50,000 clinical trials conducted every year that evaluate the safety and efficacy of experimental drugs and medical devices.

    Researchers are only required to inform participants in instances when new information arises that may affect their willingness to continue participation. However, neither federal guidelines nor institutional review boards generally require disclosure of results at the conclusion of a study – even if the study is halted. Consequently, many research participants never learn the outcome of studies in which they volunteer.

    Individuals who volunteer to participate in clinical research frequently expose themselves to risks, both known and unknown, said URMC neurologist Ray Dorsey, M.D., the report's author. Because of their participation, they should be informed of the results of these studies in a timely and personalized manner.

  • December 2, 2008

    URMC Leads Study for New Treatment for Tourette’s

    The University of Rochester Medical Center is leading a multi-center clinical research study of a new experimental treatment for Tourette's syndrome. The study will examine whether or not a drug that alters the chemical activity in the brain can alleviate the symptoms of the disease.

    Tourette's syndrome (TS) is a neurological disorder characterized by multiple, repeated tics. These tics generally consist of abrupt and involuntary vocal outbursts or muscular jerks. Symptoms usually begin at an early age and can increase in frequency and severity over time. Many individuals with TS have a mild form of the disease and do not require medical intervention unless the tics interfere with normal daily function. Patients with more severe forms of TS are currently treated with various antipsychotic drugs.

    While the precise mechanism that causes Tourette's is unknown, we have long observed that the neuro-chemical dopamine is overly active in individuals with the disease, said URMC neurologist Roger Kurlan, M.D., the study's principal investigator. This chemical imbalance in the brain may play a role in the disease and, consequently, the drugs that are currently used to treat the disease are known to suppress dopamine production. However, these drugs are also associated with severe side effects that often deter their use.

  • November 19, 2008

    Scientists Exploring New Compounds to Target Muscular Dystrophy

    The CUG triplet repeat at the root of myotonic muscular dystrophy

    Scientists have identified a promising set of new compounds in the fight against muscular dystrophy. Using a drug-discovery technique in which molecules compete against each other for access to the target – the strand of toxic RNA that causes the most common form of muscular dystrophy in adults – a team at the University of Rochester Medical Center has identified several compounds that, in the laboratory, block the unwanted coupling of two molecules that is at the root of the disease.

    The work was published online November 7 by the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

    This discovery gives us, for the first time, a molecule that targets the wayward RNA at the root of myotonic muscular dystrophy, said Benjamin Miller, Ph.D., the chemist who led the study. This is a first step toward developing a drug-like molecule that perhaps could be used someday to treat the disease. This lead molecule provides a framework for moving forward.

  • November 14, 2008

    Researchers Identify Toehold for HIV’s Assault on Brain

    Scientists have unraveled in unprecedented detail the cascade of events that go wrong in brain cells affected by HIV, a virus whose assault on the nervous system continues unabated despite antiviral medications that can keep the virus at bay for years in the rest of the body.

    The new research reveals key steps taken in the brain by Tat, a protein that is central to HIV's attack on cells called neurons. Researchers discovered the receptor that Tat uses to attack neurons, and they were able to reverse the effects of Tat in the laboratory by blocking the receptor.

    The discovery of a major molecular player in the process opens up a new avenue for researchers to explore in their efforts to prevent or treat HIV's neurological effects, for which there is no currently approved treatment. Researchers say that much of the molecular action that underlies HIV's attack on the brain also occurs in other diseases, such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases, and that the results spell progress for those conditions as well.

    The team from the University of Rochester Medical Center and other institutions published its results online Nov. 13 in the journal PloS One.

  • November 13, 2008

    Alzheimer's Gene Slows Brain's Ability to Export Toxic Protein

    A ring of amyloid in the wall of an arteriole in the brain of a patient who had Alzheimer's disease (Courtesy of James M. Powers, M.D.)

    The only known genetic risk factor for Alzheimer's disease slows down the brain's ability to export a toxic protein known as amyloid-beta that is central to the damage the disease causes, scientists have found.

    The research, published Nov. 13 by the Journal of Clinical Investigation, provides new clues into the workings of a protein known as apolipoprotein E4, or ApoE4. People who carry two copies of the gene have roughly eight to 10 times the risk of getting Alzheimer's disease than people who do not.

    The new results are in line with a body of research amassed over the last 15 years by the leader of the team, Berislav Zlokovic, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Rochester Medical Center, that blood circulation plays a key role in the disease. His team has identified much of the molecular machinery that allows amyloid-beta to sidestep the body's safeguards and enter the brain, and he has discovered molecules that falter when the toxic protein accumulates in the brain.

    Our latest findings help explain one of the major risk factors for Alzheimer's disease, said Zlokovic. ApoE4 changes the brain's ability to rid itself of amyloid-beta. It's becoming more and more apparent that the brain's ability to clear out amyloid-beta, through the vascular system and across the blood-brain barrier, is central to the development of Alzheimer's disease.

  • November 11, 2008

    Music on My Mind Chamber Orchestra Set to Debut

    More than 30 health care professionals from throughout the University of Rochester Medical Center are getting ready for their inaugural orchestral performance tomorrow afternoon. The Music on My Mind Chamber Orchestra, which includes a broad cross section of health care disciplines, including an emergency medicine physician, a scientist in the Laboratory for Laser Energetics, and an athletic trainer, will play at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 12 in the Flaum Atrium.

    Conducted by David Harman, who also conducts the University of Rochester's Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra, as well as the Penfield Symphony and the Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, the group will perform selections by Mozart, Beethoven and von Weber.

  • November 7, 2008

    Pearson Lands Two National Leadership Appointments

    International heart and stroke prevention expert Thomas Pearson, M.D., Ph.D., has been tapped by two national organizations to lead efforts aimed at decreasing the incidence of two of the nation's leading causes of death and disability: cardiovascular disease and stroke. Pearson is the Albert D. Kaiser Professor in the Department of Community and Preventive Medicine and Professor of Medicine at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry.

    For the past three decades, Pearson has been a driving force behind the development of many of our nation's policies and guidelines as they relate to heart disease and stroke. He has participated on dozens of policy panels for national organizations including The National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Institute of Medicine, the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association.

  • October 15, 2008

    URMC Expert on Stroke to Give Free Talk

    Curtis Benesch, M.D., director of the Strong Stroke Center at the University of Rochester Medical Center, will give a free talk on Treatment and Prevention of Stroke from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 3, at the Hahnemann Club, 301 Stoutenburgh Lane, located on the campus of The Highlands at Pittsford, off of Route. 31, just east of the village Pittsford.

    Benesch will discuss how to recognize the symptoms of a stroke, what to do when those symptoms occur and how to prevent a stroke in high-risk individuals. Also discussed will be the treatment of acute stroke and the many ways patients can decrease their risk.

  • October 3, 2008

    Neurologist to Discuss Pioneering Stem Cell Research

    Steven Goldman, M.D., Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Neurology, will discuss his pioneering efforts to use stem cells to treat human disease as part of a lecture series highlighting biological and biomedical research at the University of Rochester.

    Goldman will speak at 4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 10, in the Class of 1962 Auditorium at the Medical Center. It's the latest installment of the Second Friday Science Social lecture series geared mainly to faculty, staff and students at the University, though the general public is welcome as well.

    Goldman, who is also professor of Neurosurgery, is internationally recognized for advancing our understanding of stem cells and their use to treat human disease. He began his studies of the brain's stem cells more than 25 years ago, and his doctoral thesis in 1983 was the first report of neurogenesis – the production of new brain cells – in the adult brain and opened the door to the idea of neural stem cells as the source.

  • September 24, 2008

    Out of Iraq Emerges Hope for Those with the Severest of Head Injuries

    An Iraqi boy, injured in a bombing at a Baghdad market, who survived a severe brain injury after treatment by Major Jason Huang, M.D.

    There may be more hope than has been recognized for some people with severe brain injuries, according to a U.S. neurosurgeon who earlier this year spent four months in Iraq treating soldiers and civilians. Jason Huang, M.D., this week presented his results from his experience in Iraq at the annual meeting of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons in Orlando, Fla.

    Huang discussed blast injuries, a type of wound that has affected thousands of U.S. soldiers and others in Iraq. The term includes injuries caused by roadside bombs or improvised explosive devices (IEDs), as well as car bombs, suicide bombs, and other blasts.

    This is a type of injury unlike anything seen regularly here in the United States, said Huang, an assistant professor of Neurosurgery at the University of Rochester Medical Center who is also a major in the U.S. Army Reserve.

    Here we might see gunshot wounds to the head, or severe injuries from motor vehicle accidents, but we don't see blast injuries, and so neurosurgeons haven't really had much experience treating them. What we're seeing in Iraq is different even from injuries suffered by soldiers in previous wars. The extent of the blast injuries was far worse than I ever would have imagined, Huang said.

  • September 23, 2008

    Rochester Neuroscientist Honored By Danish Academy

    Maiken Nedergaard, M.D., D.M.Sc., has been elected a member of the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences, the premier scientific society in Denmark. The society elects only six new members worldwide every other year.

    Nedergaard has been a pioneer in brain research, demonstrating that brain cells known as astrocytes play a role in a host of human diseases. For decades, much of the attention of neuroscientists had been focused on brain cells known as neurons, which send electrical signals. Astrocytes were long considered cells whose primary function was to support the neurons.

    Nedergaard has turned that notion on its head, showing that astrocytes themselves play an important role in epilepsy, spinal cord disease, migraine headaches, stroke, and Alzheimer's disease.

  • September 19, 2008

    Researchers Disclose Key Advance in Treating Spinal Cord Injuries

    Researchers in Rochester, NY and Colorado have shown that manipulating stem cells prior to transplantation may hold the key to overcoming a critical obstacle to using stem cell technology to repair spinal cord injuries.

    Research from a team of scientists from the University of Rochester Medical Center and the University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine, published online today in the Journal of Biology, may lead to improved spinal cord repair methods that pave the way for victims of paralysis to recover the use of their bodies without the risk of transplant-induced pain syndromes.

    The research focuses on a major support cell in the central nervous system called astrocytes. When nerve fibers are injured in the spinal cord, the severed ends of the nerve fibers fail to regenerate and re-connect with the nervous system circuitry beyond the site of the injury. During early development, astrocytes are highly supportive of nerve fiber growth and scientists believe that, if properly directed, these cells could play a key role in regenerating damaged nerves in the spinal cord.

  • September 19, 2008

    University of Rochester and The Highlands at Pittsford Present To Your Health!

    The free To Your Health! series featuring health experts from the University of Rochester Medical Center resumes in September, with programs offering advice on learning more about your health and preventing and treating common age-related health issues.

    Offered at convenient times, the afternoon programs are taught by URMC's distinguished physicians and other providers affiliated with Strong Memorial Hospital, Highland Hospital, the Eastman Dental Center, Visiting Nurse Service and other affiliates of the Medical Center.

    All lectures through November will be held at the Hahnemann Club, 301 Stoutenburgh Lane, located on the campus of The Highlands at Pittsford, off of Rt. 31, just east of the village of Pittsford. The Club is an ideal setting for learning and socializing with curious, like-minded peers, and parking is conveniently located right outside the clubhouse, along the street.

    All seminars are free but registration is limited. Register by calling 585-275-2838.

  • September 18, 2008

    Gelbard Named Director of Center for Neural Development and Disease

    Harris A. Gelbard, M.D., Ph.D., professor of neurology, pediatrics and of microbiology and immunology, has been named director of the Center for Neural Development and Disease at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

    The center, which brings together a broad array of physicians and scientists, targets a complex system rather than a single disease. Center researchers investigate stroke, traumatic brain injury, brain tumors, nerve injuries, HIV-1 associated neurologic disorders, Alzheimer's and other diseases with the goal of creating treatments and therapies.

    We think it is most crucial to understand the development of the nervous system — how it is put together — so we can better understand how diseases of the brain and peripheral nervous system take away function, said Gelbard. This kind of understanding is what translates into treatments and better care.

  • September 4, 2008

    Steven Goldman to Lead University’s Department of Neurology

    After an extensive national search, a neurologist who is a leading international figure in efforts to use stem cells to treat human disease has been tapped to lead the Department of Neurology at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

    Steven Goldman, M.D., Ph.D., a professor of Neurology who has been with the University since 2003, will become the Edward A. and Alma Vollertsen Rykenboer Professor of Neurophysiology Chair, Department of Neurology within the School of Medicine and Dentistry beginning October 1. He will lead a department known nationally for its research and the education it provides its students and young doctors.

    Dr. Goldman's efforts will be central to the advancement of the field of neuromedicine, an area we've targeted in our strategic plan for significant growth and future investment in faculty and resources, said Bradford C. Berk, M.D., Ph.D., Medical Center CEO. His experience as an outstanding researcher and clinician is a perfect fit for the position.

  • September 3, 2008

    Wilmot Cancer Center Answers Calls to Stand up to Cancer Sept. 4

    Doctors from the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center will answer questions about cancer screening, diagnoses, treatment and ways to reduce your risk during a special call-in program set from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 4. The event is part of the Wilmot Cancer Center's participation in the national Stand Up To Cancer effort.

  • August 14, 2008

    URMC & NIH Partner to Expand, Accelerate Clinical Research in Neurological Diseases

    The University of Rochester Medical Center and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke are hosting a week-long training session designed to create a new generation of researchers with the specialized skills necessary to conduct clinical trials in neurological disorders.

    The session, which is titled the Clinical Trial Methods Course in Neurology, is part of a push on the part of the National Institutes of Health to beef up the nation's translational research capabilities by increasing the ranks of clinical researchers and focusing more resources on clinical research skills, technologies, and systems that will accelerate medical discoveries.

    Neurological disorders are a critical area of need in terms of expanding our ability to design and conduct trials that have maximum efficiency at the lowest possible cost, said URMC neurologist Bernard Ravina, M.D., the director of the course. Participants in this course consist of a select group of individuals who are committed to being clinical researchers and conducting clinical trials and will benefit from hands-on training that they really cannot get anywhere else.

  • July 15, 2008

    AHA Recognizes Quality of URMC Cardiac, Heart Failure, Stroke Programs

    The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association has honored Strong Memorial Hospital of the University of Rochester Medical Center with a Triple Performance Achievement Award for meeting its high standards for coronary artery disease, heart failure and stroke care.

    Strong Memorial is the only Rochester-area hospital to receive this honor, and the only Rochester-area hospital to receive any level of American Heart Association recognition for its coronary artery disease and heart failure care.

    The achievements of Strong Memorial in three program modules of the AHA/ASA Get With the Guidelines program consist of: coronary artery disease and stroke care, which each earned a Gold Sustained Performance Award to celebrate two or more years of adherence to all measures of AHA/ASA performance standards; and heart failure care, which received a Silver Performance Achievement Award for 12 consecutive months of compliance of performance measures.

  • July 15, 2008

    Quick Formula Could Forecast Which Cancers Chemo Could Kill

    Researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center have coined a simple formula that predicts how well a certain chemotherapy will work for targeting brain and other nervous system cancers. The formula, which will publish in mid-July in Cancer Chemotherapy and Pharmacology, is pegged to two important proteins that compose such hard-to-kill tumors – one of which, ironically, makes them so drug-resistant in the first place.

    We're unraveling the mysterious, even paradoxical, ways chemotherapies interact with various cancers, said one of the study's investigators Nina F. Schor, M.D., Ph.D., the William H. Eilinger professor and chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Rochester. From this, we're developing techniques that will help us more quickly predict which medicines are most effective for each tumor.

  • June 11, 2008

    Doctors Testing New Treatments for Lower Back Pain

    Physicians are testing two drugs approved to treat other conditions to see whether they might also help patients who have severe pain in their lower back and in their legs. The research studies at the University of Rochester Medical Center are part of an effort to come up with new treatments for pain caused by a condition known as lumbar spinal stenosis. Doctors are looking for up to 75 people to take part in the studies.

    Lumbar spinal stenosis is the most common reason that people older than 65 choose to have back surgery. Nerve roots in the spinal canal are put under pressure as age causes the bones in our back to degenerate. The pressure on the nerves results in pain, sometimes very severe, in the lower back and the legs when patients stand or walk.

    Doctors turn to a variety of drugs to treat the pain, but no drug has ever been proven to relieve the pain effectively. Even the most effective solution, surgery, does not significantly relieve pain in approximately one-third of patients. A study recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that the pain relief experienced by many patients after surgery often did not translate into better mobility and function in their daily lives.

    Neurologist John Markman, M.D., assistant professor and director of Translational Pain Research in the Department of Neurosurgery, designed the new studies to study the benefit of non-surgical treatments.

  • June 11, 2008

    World Experts in Specialized Radiation Therapy to Gather at URMC

    Cancer survivor Jarod Finlay will share his experiences as the first patient to undergo an investigational procedure – stereotactic body radiation therapy – during a conference of world experts on the procedure this Friday and Saturday at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

    Finlay, who had metastatic tumors in his lungs, received the groundbreaking therapy more than seven years ago when his doctors treated his lung tumors using technology originally designed to destroy brain tumors. This technique and scientists' research to support its expanded use will be discussed by more than 100 experts attending the Scientific Conference on Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy. Finlay will deliver the opening address by describing his care and perspective.

  • June 4, 2008

    Human Stem Cells Show Promise Against Fatal Children’s Diseases

    Scientists have used human stem cells to dramatically improve the condition of mice with a neurological condition similar to a set of diseases in children that are invariably fatal, according to an article in the June issue of the journal Cell Stem Cell.

    With a one-time injection of stem cells just after birth, scientists were able to repair defective wiring throughout the brain and spinal cord – the entire central nervous system – of mutant shiverer mice, so called because of the way they shake and wobble. The work marks an important step toward the day when stem cells become an option for the treatment of neurological diseases in people.

    Neuroscientists at the University of Rochester Medical Center injected a type of fetal human stem cell known as glial stem cells into newborn mice born with a condition that normally claims their lives within about 20 weeks of birth, after a lifetime of seizures and other serious consequences. While most of the 26 mice that received transplanted glial stem cells still died, a group of six lived far beyond their usual lifespan, and four appeared to be completely cured – a first for shiverer mice. The scientists plan to gather more evidence before trying the approach in sick children.

    It's extremely exciting to think about not only treating but actually curing a disease, particularly an awful disease that affects children, said neurologist Steven Goldman, M.D., Ph.D., a leader in manipulating stem cells to treat diseases of the nervous system.

  • May 12, 2008

    Conference to Highlight Rochester Stem Cell Research

    A half-day symposium showcasing research in the field of stem cell biology at the University of Rochester will be held on May 23. The symposium, titled Frontiers in Stem Cell Medicine, is being sponsored by the University's Clinical and Translational Science Institute and the Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Institute.

    Speakers at the symposium include: biomedical geneticist Mark Noble, Ph.D., director of the Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Institute; neurologist Steven Goldman, M.D., Ph.D., chief of the Division of Cell and Gene Therapy; cancer researcher Craig Jordan, Ph.D., director of Translational Research for Hematologic Malignancies at the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center; Edward Puzas, Ph.D., with the Department of Orthopaedics, and Rocky Tuan, Ph.D., chief of the Cartilage Biology and Orthopaedics Branch of the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.

  • April 30, 2008

    May 1 Picnic to Celebrate Brain Tumor Awareness Week

    Brain tumor survivors and their families, friends and University of Rochester Medical Center staff will celebrate Brain Tumor Awareness Week with a picnic from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday, May 1, at Kings Bend Park in Pittsford.

    Many in attendance at the picnic will be members of Brainstormers and the Adult Brain Tumor Network at Strong Memorial Hospital and the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center, which provide support for brain cancer survivors and their families. Every year, more than 185,000 people will be diagnosed with brain tumors in the United States.

  • April 24, 2008

    Brain Tumor Care, Treatment in Spotlight

    Patients, physicians, and those caring for loved ones with brain tumors will have an opportunity to attend two full days of programs hosted by health care professionals from the University of Rochester Medical Center. The efforts, co-sponsored by the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center, are offered through the recently enhanced brain tumor treatment program at the University, where approximately 500 brain tumor patients are treated each year.

    A seminar Saturday, April 26, will focus on people caring for patients with brain tumors. One week later, on Friday, May 2, another full-day session is geared toward patients, their families, and physicians, covering the latest research and treatment approaches in brain and spinal tumors.

  • April 24, 2008

    Neurologist Wins Fellowship to Support Parkinson’s Research

    A physician at the University of Rochester Medical Center has been recognized for her work aiming to ease the side effects of medications widely used to treat patients with Parkinson's disease.

    Michelle Burack, M.D., Ph.D., instructor of Neurology and Pediatrics, received a clinical research training fellowship from the American Academy of Neurology. The fellowship covers her salary and related costs for two years.

    Burack is studying ways to try to alleviate some of the troublesome consequences of treatment that many patients with Parkinson's disease face. The disease is marked by shaky, stiff and slow movements, a result of the death of key nerve cells in the brain known as dopamine neurons. Early treatment with a medication designed to boost the amount of the signaling molecule dopamine in the brain is usually very effective.

  • April 15, 2008

    Promising Parkinson's Finding Spurs New Clinical Study

    The progression of Parkinson's disease is slower in patients who have high blood levels of urate, a close chemical cousin of the molecule that causes gout, researchers have found. The finding could lead to a way to predict how a given patient with the disease will fare, and it opens the door to a new approach for treating or preventing the disease.

    The findings were made public - posted online by the Archives of Neurology on April 14 - the same day that the Michael J. Fox Foundation announced a new study aimed at slowing the disease by continuing the research in people. The foundation is funding a $5.6 million study, the largest award in the foundation's history, to investigate the potential of boosting urate levels to slow or stop the disease.

    The project is being led by physicians at Harvard and Massachusetts General Hospital together with neurologists at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

  • April 7, 2008

    Leaky Blood Vessels Open up Nerve Cells to Toxic Assault In Lou Gehrig’s Disease

    Leaky blood vessels that lose their ability to protect the spinal cord from toxins may play a role in the development of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, better known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease, according to research published in the April issue of Nature Neuroscience.

    The results mark the first time that scientists have witnessed molecular changes occurring long before key nerve cells start dying. The unexpected finding opens up a new front in studies of ALS, a disease in which motor neurons in the spinal cord die off for unknown reasons, resulting in dramatically weakened muscles. Patients lose their strength, their ability to move or swallow, and eventually lose their ability even to breathe. Most patients live only a few years after diagnosis.

    We believe these changes contribute to or possibly initiate the onset of ALS, said lead author Berislav Zlokovic, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Rochester Medical Center. It's clear that these changes occur before the loss of neurons, and it's well known that the types of changes we are seeing certainly injure or kill these types of cells, which are extremely sensitive to their biochemical environment.

  • March 18, 2008

    Stopping a Receptor Called 'Nogo' Boosts the Synapses

    Changing dendritic spines on a neuron - evidence of brain rewiring

    New findings about a protein called the nogo receptor are offering fresh ways to think about keeping the brain sharp. Scientists have found that reducing the nogo receptor in the brain results in stronger brain signaling in mice, effectively boosting signal strength between the synapses, the connections between nerve cells in the brain. The ability to enhance such connections is central to the brain's ability to rewire, a process that happens constantly as we learn and remember. The findings are in the March 12 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.

    The work ties together several research threads that touch upon the health benefits of exercise. While those benefits are broadly recognized, how the gains accrue at a molecular level has been largely unknown. The new research gives scientists a way to produce changes in the brain that mirror those brought about by exercise, by reducing the effect of the nogo receptor.

    The find comes as a surprise, because for much of the last decade, the nogo receptor has been a prime target of researchers trying to coax nerves in the spinal cord to grow again. They named the protein after its ability to stop neurons from growing. Its action in the brain has not been a hot topic of study.

  • March 12, 2008

    Friday Open House for New Neurology Outpatient Clinic

    The Department of Neurology is holding an open house for its new outpatient clinic located on the first floor of the Ambulatory Care building. The open house will be held on Friday, March 14 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

    This new clinic is the culmination of years of growth and planning and will now enable us to provide our patients with the level of care they require in a setting that is far more convenient and designed to their needs, said Robert C. Griggs, M.D., chair of the Department of Neurology.

  • January 14, 2008

    Our Understanding of Movement Is on the Move

    How our brain controls our movements is a bit more complex and varied than scientists have previously recognized, according to research recently published in Science by a team of scientists and physicians at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

    The team led by neurologist Marc Schieber, M.D., Ph.D., professor of Neurology and of Neurobiology & Anatomy, showed that at least occasionally, the brain is able to bypass the usual route of nerve fibers it uses for controlling hand and finger movements, using an alternate route to send its signals. Such flexibility in controlling movement has been suspected but not actually shown before.

  • November 7, 2007

    Copper Damages Protein that Defends Against Alzheimer’s

    The research by neuroscientists at the URMC was presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in San Diego Nov. 3-7. The work was highlighted as part of a press conference on potential environmental influences on Alzheimer's disease.

    The team found that copper damages a molecule known as LRP (low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein), a molecule that acts like an escort service in the brain, shuttling amyloid-beta out of the brain and into the body. The molecule's role in Alzheimer's was revealed more than a decade ago by another author of the work, Berislav Zlokovic, M.D., Ph.D., professor of Neurosurgery and Neurology and director of the Frank P. Smith Laboratory for Neuroscience and Neurosurgery Research. Zlokovic is widely recognized for demonstrating that blood vessels, blood flow, and the blood-brain barrier are central to the development of Alzheimer's disease.

  • September 15, 2007

    Study of New Epilepsy Treatment Underway at URMC

    The University of Rochester Medical Center is participating in a multi-center study of a new medical device to treat epilepsy. The Rochester study is being overseen by neurologists Michel Berg, M.D. and James Fessler, M.D., and neurosurgeons Web Pilcher, M.D., Ph.D. and Jason Schwalb, M.D.

    Uncontrolled seizures related to epilepsy are generally treated with medications, said Berg, medical director of the Strong Epilepsy Center. However, many individuals treated with medication alone continue to experience seizures or have unacceptable medication side effects. If these patients are not candidates for epilepsy surgery, then options to effectively control their seizures are limited.

  • September 14, 2007

    Study of New Epilepsy Treatment Underway at URMC

    The University of Rochester Medical Center is participating in a multi-center study of a new medical device to treat epilepsy. The Rochester study is being overseen by neurologists Michel Berg, M.D. and James Fessler, M.D., and neurosurgeons Web Pilcher, M.D., Ph.D. and Jason Schwalb, M.D.

    Uncontrolled seizures related to epilepsy are generally treated with medications, said Berg, medical director of the Strong Epilepsy Center. However, many individuals treated with medication alone continue to experience seizures or have unacceptable medication side effects. If these patients are not candidates for epilepsy surgery, then options to effectively control their seizures are limited.

    The Responsive Neurostimulator System (RNS) is an implantable device that is designed to suppress seizures in patients with epilepsy before any symptoms appear, much like implantable cardiac pacemakers are intended to detect abnormal heart rhythms and then deliver electrical stimulation to correct them. Neuropace, the California-based developer and manufacturer of the RNS system, is funding the trial. URMC is one of 28 centers across the country testing the new technology.

  • August 30, 2007

    Alzheimer’s Project Focuses on Role of Brain Inflammation

    Scientists at the University of Rochester Medical Center have received $1.37 million to continue their work looking at some of the earliest events that occur at the start of Alzheimer's disease - a condition that now generally goes undetected until the death of key brain cells has been underway for decades.

    The team led by William Bowers, Ph.D., associate professor of Neurology and a scientist in the Center for Neural Development and Disease, is focusing on the role of inflammation in the evolution of the disease. Just as rheumatoid arthritis can ravage the body's joints because of the inflammation it causes, scientists are realizing that the same thing happens to the brain in patients with Alzheimer's disease. The brain can be under assault for decades as the body attempts to fend off some perceived threat.

  • June 12, 2006

    Rochester Awarded New MS Research Center

    A new research center whose scientists are working on better ways to treat multiple sclerosis has been established in Rochester by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

    The University of Rochester Medical Center is bringing together experts who normally focus on Alzheimer's disease, HIV vaccines, and spinal cord repair, as well as multiple sclerosis, in a unique center designed to stimulate MS research by drawing on the expertise of scientists from a wide array of disciplines. The new Collaborative Multiple Sclerosis Research Center Award – the only one in the nation established by the society this year – is headed by neurologist Benjamin Segal, M.D., associate professor of Neurology and director of Neuroimmunology Research. Segal has enlisted several of his colleagues to direct their attention on new ways to investigate the disease.

    Also taking part in the project are neurologists Steven Schwid, M.D., and Andrew Goodman, M.D., who have extensive experience with clinical trials in MS; and Howard Federoff, M.D., Ph.D., and Tim Mosmann, Ph.D., who head research centers in aging and in vaccine biology, respectively.

  • March 28, 2002

    New Findings About Brain's 'Compass' Offer Clues About Alzheimer's

    A tiny section of the brain that is ravaged by Alzheimer's disease is more important for our ability to orient ourselves than scientists have long thought, helping to explain why people with the disease become lost so easily. The findings by neuroscientists at the University of Rochester Medical Center are reported in the March 29 issue of Science.

    Neurologist Charles Duffy, M.D., Ph.D., previously discovered that a small section of brain tissue slightly above and behind the ear - known as the medial superior temporal area (MST) - acts much like a compass, instantly updating your mental image of your body's movements through space. In new research, Duffy and graduate student Michael Froehler show that the MST acts not only as a compass but also as a sort of biological global positioning system, providing a mental map to help us understand exactly where we are in the world and how we got there.

  • January 31, 2002

    Road Skills Hint At "Motion Blindness" Of Alzheimer's

    Doctors have added to the evidence that patients with Alzheimer's disease lose their way not simply because their memory is failing but because they are subject to a unique form of brain damage that causes symptoms doctors call "motion blindness." Some of the new data comes from driving tests of a small number of patients, where researchers have linked the condition to the loss of one specific driving skill: the ability to stay in one's lane while driving.

    While it's obvious that people with Alzheimer's disease are losing their memory, that's only part of the reason why they become lost, says neurologist Charles Duffy, M.D., Ph.D., who leads the research team at the University of Rochester Medical Center. These patients also lose their ability to perceive their own motion. That's ultimately what puts them at much greater risk than others of becoming lost.

  • April 18, 1995

    Two Scholars Win Sloan Fellowships

    Charles J. Duffy, professor of neurology and ophthalmology, and Turan Erdogan, assistant professor of optics, have been awarded 1995 Sloan Research Fellowships.

    The two University of Rochester professors were among 100 scientists and economists selected from a field of 400 nominees. Each Sloan Research Fellowship recipient is awarded $30,000 over a two-year period. Sloan Research Fellows are engaged in pioneering research in physics, chemistry, computer science, mathematics, neuroscience and economics. Once they have been selected, Fellows are free to pursue whatever line of inquiry interests them. The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation created the fellowship program in 1955 to encourage research by young scholars at a critical time in their careers.

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