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News, Events and CMEs

From breakthroughs in neurosurgery research, to patients and procedures that are in the news, to information on upcoming events, you can find the latest information here.

Please check back regularly for updated news and events about UR Neurosurgery.

Neurosurgery News

20172016201520142013 Archive

Featured in The Science Times: How Alzheimer's Catches People Skimping Sleep: New Study Explains Cause Of Dementia

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Photo of Dr. Maiken Nedergaard

A recent scientific study shows that insufficient amount of sleep leads to the development of Alzheimer's disease. Researchers gain more evidence and are beginning to believe that lack and poor quality of sleep results to the fusion of Amyloids, proteins that bond together to form Alzheimer's plaques.

Dr. Maiken Nedergaard, the lead researcher from the University of Rochester Medical Center, explains the glymphatic system that is present in humans. She says that this system is 10 times more active when in slumber than when awake. The process allows cerebrospinal fluid to flow through spaces around the neurons of people's brains. This a method of purging unwanted proteins (Amyloids) and other wastes into the circulatory system garbage collectors and eventually flushes it out of the body.

In simple terms, Nedergaard explains that the brain has its own sanitation and public works department. It is like a network of sewer facilities mostly done during the brain's nightlife. An example of a housekeeping staff descending to building offices for a cleanup duty to avoid the lumping compound that causes Alzheimer's.

Read More: Featured in The Science Times: How Alzheimer's Catches People Skimping Sleep: New Study Explains Cause Of Dementia

A Sprinter’s Marathon

Friday, May 12, 2017

It was early February when Lockard, shortly into her second track season at Rochester, decided to earn a little extra money by volunteering for a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study in the University’s Neuroimaging Center.

About 10 minutes into her scan, Frank Garcea, the graduate student running the procedure, told her there was a problem with the machine. He aborted the scan and told Lockard they would have to reschedule.

Shortly after Lockard returned to her dorm room, she received a phone call. The machine was fixed, she was told. When she returned to the center, however, she discovered the machine hadn’t malfunctioned. Instead, Brad Mahon, an assistant professor of brain and cognitive sciences and neurosurgery, and the principal investigator of the study, was there to deliver to her in person some troubling news. The scan revealed a mass—approximately 2.4 cm-by-2.4 cm-by-4.8 cm in size—on the lower part of her brain, near the brain stem.

At first, she panicked. Then, after calling home, she went for a long walk in the chill of February in Rochester. “After hearing the news,” she recalls, “I needed the long walk outside to finally breathe.”

Within days, she met with Howard Silberstein, the chief of pediatric neurosurgery at the Medical Center.

“The tumor was in a tough location, very deep in the cerebellum and up against the brain stem,” says Silberstein. “It had probably been developing slowly over Laura’s childhood.”

Read More: A Sprinter’s Marathon

Protein Key to Nerve Health Hitches a Ride on Brain’s Garbage Truck

Thursday, March 9, 2017

astrocytes and neuronsA new study shows that the brain’s waste removal system serves as both trash collector and delivery service, providing neurons with a protein important to maintaining cognitive function while simultaneously cleaning brain tissue. The research may help explain why different genetic varieties of the protein, called apolipoprotein E (apoE), can indicate risk for Alzheimer’s disease or promote longevity.

The study was led by Rashid Deane, B.Sc., Ph.D., a research professor in the University of Rochester Medical Center Department of Neurosurgery and member of the Center for Translational Neuromedicine, and appears in the journal Molecular Neurodegeneration.

ApoE is responsible for delivering cholesterol to nerve cells in the brain and plays a key role in synaptic plasticity, the process by which neurons build new connections in order to learn and store memories.

Read More: Protein Key to Nerve Health Hitches a Ride on Brain’s Garbage Truck

G. Edward Vates Named Director of REMS Program

Friday, March 3, 2017

Effective march 1, G. Edward Vates, professor of Neurosurgery, will succeed Flavia Nobay, associate professor of Emergency Medicine, as director of the Rochester Early Medical Scholars (REMS) program Nobay will become SMD's associate dean for admissions July 1.

Vates looks forward to making REMS the premier program for training future scholars in the field of medicine while also enriching the unique opportunities provided to REMS students through the best liberal arts education.

Vates, a native of Wilmington, Del., graduated summa cum laude from Duke University with a B.S. in Zoology. He entered the MD-PhD program at Cornell University Medical College. Vates obtained his Ph.D. in the laboratory of Dr. Fernando Nottebohm at The Rockefeller University, where he studied vocal learning. He received his M.D. degree in 1997 and then completed neurosurgical training at the University of California, San Francisco followed by a fellowship in cerebrovascular and skull base surgery at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School.

Read More: G. Edward Vates Named Director of REMS Program

Study: Home Care Improves Stroke Outcomes

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Photo of Strong Memoroial Hospital ED

Stroke patients who are paired with caregivers that help them transition back to their homes are significantly less likely to be readmitted to the hospital. The results of the pilot study, which showed a 39 percent reduction in the readmission rates of stroke patients at Strong Memorial Hospital, were presented last week at the International Stroke Conference in Texas.

The study was authored by Ann M. Leonhardt Caprio, M.S., R.N., A.N.P. and Curtis G. Benesch, M.D., M.P.H. with the UR Medicine Comprehensive Stroke Center, and Denise Burgen, M.B.A., M.S.N., F.N.P, R.N. with UR Medicine Home Care.

The study focused on one of the measures used by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to determine quality of stroke care – whether or not a patient is readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of being discharged after suffering a stroke.

Read More: Study: Home Care Improves Stroke Outcomes

Faculty Reflect on SMH Stroke Center Highlighted in Super Bowl Ad

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

A new ad that will premiere during the Super Bowl focuses on Strong Memorial Hospital’s Comprehensive Stroke Center. You can watch it here. We asked neurologist Curtis Benesch, M.D., M.P.H., and neurosurgeon Tarun Bhalla, M.D., Ph.D., about UR Medicine’s stroke care and what is being done to improve access for patients across the region.

What does SMH’s designation by the Joint Commission and American Heart Association/American Stroke Association as a Comprehensive Stroke Center mean?

Benesch: Designation as a Comprehensive Stroke Center indicates that our center either meets or exceeds the highest standards of care required to provide timely and comprehensive care to patients with complex cerebrovascular disease. Our site has undergone rigorous site visits and annual reviews by the Joint Commission to ensure that we satisfy all the requirements for this designation, including metrics for primary stroke care, surgical stroke care, endovascular care, critical care, longitudinal outpatient care, research, education and outreach.

How does this designation differentiate the hospital from other stroke centers?

Bhalla: All Comprehensive Stroke Centers must provide neurosurgical care, endovascular care, and neuro-critical care. These efforts are enabled in part by a well-established interdisciplinary infrastructure of exemplary stroke care (EMS, emergency medicine, nursing, therapy, and rehabilitation). Although other sites in the region may provide some of these aspects of care, UR Medicine is the only certified Comprehensive Stroke Center in Rochester, reflecting our willingness to submit to the scrutiny of external review to ensure we meet those high standards. It is not just a label but rather a public affirmation of the breadth and depth of a large multidisciplinary team of providers working together.

What is being done to extend stroke care across the health system? For example, if you are a stroke patient and you arrive at a regional hospital supported by UR Medicine, what does that mean for the care you receive?

Benesch: We support all of our regional partners with immediate availability of consultations with experts in Cerebrovascular Neurosurgery, Stroke Neurology, and Neurocritical care. These experts can help in acute treatment decisions and, with our transfer center, can facilitate transfer of patients to Strong Memorial Hospital as needed. Furthermore, we have developed a coverage model to provide 24/7 telestroke consultation to hospitals across the region in an effort to enhance acute stroke care.

Providing timely, appropriate, and comprehensive care for stroke patients requires a high level of coordination and collaboration among caregivers. What is necessary to facilitate communication, coordination, and continuity of care across the team?

Bhalla: First and foremost, the team has to believe in the concept that the more of a difference that we can make up front, the better a stroke patient will fare in the long run. The care they receive from the first 911 call to when they arrive at the hospital is only the beginning of a journey that continues through operating room, neurocritical care, and rehabilitation and is one that will determine how much function a stroke victim will ultimately recover. We all play a part, but everyone must share the same vision. Internally, it means that all the groups that represent the continuum of care must continually focus on ways to improve communication and coordination. But this also requires building awareness and education within the community. People need know how to identify the signs of stroke and EMS providers need to know what to do and where to take patients.

What does the future hold for stroke care?

Bhalla: We are committed to continuing to find creative ways to deliver the highest level of stoke care to patients where and when they need it. This includes working with community providers and partnering with EMS to leverage the resources of our Comprehensive Stroke Center to diagnose and potentially begin treatment for stroke patients even before they reach the hospital.