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UR Medicine Opens Doors on New NeuroMedicine ICU

Monday, July 28, 2014

UR Medicine today unveiled a new state-of-the-art unit dedicated to highly specialized care for people with serious and life-threatening neurological conditions, like strokes, seizures, brain and spinal tumors, and traumatic brain injury. The Neuromedicine Intensive Care Unit (ICU), which is the only unit of its kind in the region, is located on the eighth floor of Strong Memorial Hospital.

The $5.5 million, 5,500-square-foot unit consists of 12 beds and is staffed around the clock by an extended multidisciplinary team trained to treat the most challenging and difficult neurological disorders. The neurocritical care team members include neurointensivists, neurologists, neurosurgeons, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, critical care nurses, anesthesiologists, respiratory therapists, social workers, physical therapists, speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, nutritionists, and clinical pharmacologists.

Diseases and injuries that impact the brain and central nervous system have a unique set of challenges and require expertise that is not commonly found in a traditional ICU setting. While brain function must be continuously monitored, providers also need to be trained to recognize that these conditions can potentially lead to other problems, such as cardiovascular, kidney, and respiratory complications or infections, particularly if a patient remains in an ICU setting for a long period of time. Also, once a patient has been stabilized, there must be continuity of care as they begin the process of recovery and transition to rehabilitation.

Read More: UR Medicine Opens Doors on New NeuroMedicine ICU

Neurology and Neurosurgery Ranked Again as One of Best in Nation

Friday, July 18, 2014

For a second consecutive year, the departments of Neurology and Neurosurgery have been ranked in the top 50 in US News & World Report’s 2015 Best Hospitals guidebook.

Under the leadership and guidance of Chairs Holloway and Pilcher, Neurology and Neurosurgery were ranked as the 49 best. URMC’s success in the U.S. News rankings reflects the hard work that our faculty and staff have invested to continuously improve quality, patient safety and satisfaction. It also reflects URMC’s growing reputation for first-rate care, said URMC CEO Bradford C. Berk, M.D., Ph.D.

Read More: Neurology and Neurosurgery Ranked Again as One of Best in Nation

Model Sheds New Light on Sports-related Brain Injuries

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

A new study has provided insight into the behavioral damage caused by repeated blows to the head. The research provides a foundation for scientists to better understand and potentially develop new ways to detect and prevent the repetitive sports injuries that can lead to the condition known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

The research – which appears online this week in the Journal of Neurotrauma – shows that mice with mild, repetitive traumatic brain injury (TBI) develop many of the same behavioral problems, such as difficultly sleeping, memory problems, depression, judgment and risk-taking issues, that have been associated with the condition in humans.

“This new model captures both the clinical aspects of repetitive mild TBI and CTE,” said Anthony L. Petraglia, M.D., a neurosurgeon with the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry and lead author of the study. While public awareness of the long-term health risk of blows to the head is growing rapidly, our ability to scientifically study the fundamental neurological impact of mild brain injuries has lagged.

Read More: Model Sheds New Light on Sports-related Brain Injuries

Heart/Stroke Association Honors UR Medicine for Highest Quality Care

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association (AHA/ASA) has once again recognized UR Medicine and its Strong Memorial Hospital for achieving its highest standards of care for stroke, heart failure, and resuscitation.

Strong Memorial Hospital has received the AHA/ASA Get With The Guidelines program’s highest honor, the Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award for a fifth consecutive year. The hospital was also tapped for the Target: Stroke Honor Roll, which recognizes hospitals that have consistently and successfully reduced door-to-needle time – the window of time between a stroke victim’s arrival at the hospital, the diagnosis of an acute ischemic stroke, and the administration of the clot-busting drug tPA.

“We are proud to earn this recognition, however we continue to work to improve time-to-treatment for people who are suffering a stroke. Early treatment is proven to preserve brain function and enhance recovery for each patient,” said neurologist Curtis Benesch, M.D., M.P.H., medical director of the UR Medicine Comprehensive Stroke Center.

Read More: Heart/Stroke Association Honors UR Medicine for Highest Quality Care

UR Medicine Helps Forge National Stroke Care Guidelines

Friday, March 28, 2014

photo of multiple MRI scans

 

A new statement from the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that people recovering from a severe stroke receive tailored and coordinated care that optimizes quality of life and minimizes suffering. The statement – which was published today in the journal Stroke – represents the first attempt to establish a fundamental set of recommendations that can help guide physicians, patients, and their families through the difficult decisions that arise from this condition.

The majority of stroke patients require access to some form of palliative care, said Robert Holloway, M.D., M.P.H., the chair of the Department of Neurology at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. Accomplishing this requires that a hospital’s system of stroke care and its team of providers place the patient and their family at the center of the decision-making process and build a plan of care that is based on their values and informed by effective and constant communication.

Read More: UR Medicine Helps Forge National Stroke Care Guidelines

Stroke Survivors Deserve Team Care

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Palliative care that minimizes suffering and improves quality of life should be provided to patients who've survived a stroke, experts say. The care should be a team effort involving patients, families, stroke specialists and health care providers such as neurosurgeons, neurologists, primary care doctors, nurses and therapists, according to the new scientific statement from the American Heart Association (AHA) and American Stroke Association (ASA).

The majority of stroke patients need access to some form of palliative medicine," statement lead author Dr. Robert Holloway, chairman of the neurology department at the University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, N.Y., said in an AHA/ASA news release. The stroke team and its members can manage many of the palliative care problems themselves. It encourages patient independence and informed choices, he explained.

Read More: Stroke Survivors Deserve Team Care

UR Medicine Recognized for Stroke Care, Launches Neurocritical Care Program

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Strong Memorial Hospital has been recognized by The Joint Commission and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association as a Comprehensive Stroke Center. This designation, which has only been conferred on two other hospitals in New York State, places Strong among an elite group of institutions that provide highly-specialized complex stroke care.

“We are proud that the Joint Commission has recognized our dedicated team of neurologists, neurosurgeons, radiologists, emergency department physicians, nurses, therapists, and staff,” said neurologist Curtis Benesch, M.D., M.P.H., the medical director of the URMC Stroke and Cerebrovascular Center. This certification is a testament to their commitment to provide the highest and most comprehensive level of stroke care to our community.

Read More: UR Medicine Recognized for Stroke Care, Launches Neurocritical Care Program

URMC Plays Role in New Epilepsy Technology

Monday, December 2, 2013

XRay Showing Responsive Neurostimulator System

Physicians at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) Strong Epilepsy Center were involved in the recent approval of a new treatment for epilepsy. The implantable medical device - called the Responsive Neurostimulator System (RNS) - monitors brain activity and can detect and counteract seizures.

URMC was one of only 28 sites in the country to conduct clinical trials of RNS, which was developed by the California-based company Neuropace. The research showed that the device decreases the number of monthly seizures by nearly 38 percent. URMC neurologists Michel Berg, M.D. and James Fessler, M.D., and neurosurgeon Web Pilcher, M.D., Ph.D. were involved in the study.

This is the first FDA-approved brain implant for epilepsy that responds to the brain’s activity, said Berg, an associate professor of Neurology. For patients who are unable to control their seizures with medications or are not eligible for resective surgery, this device could provide an important treatment option.

Read More: URMC Plays Role in New Epilepsy Technology

Copper Identified as Culprit in Alzheimer's Disease

Monday, August 19, 2013

Copper appears to be one of the main environmental factors that trigger the onset and enhance the progression of Alzheimer's disease by preventing the clearance and accelerating the accumulation of toxic proteins in the brain. That is the conclusion of a study appearing today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

It is clear that, over time, copper's cumulative effect is to impair the systems by which amyloid beta is removed from the brain, said Rashid Deane, Ph.D., a research professor in the University of Rochester Medical Center Department of Neurosurgery, member of the Center for Translational Neuromedicine, and the lead author of the study. This impairment is one of the key factors that cause the protein to accumulate in the brain and form the plaques that are the hallmark of Alzheimer's disease.

Read More: Copper Identified as Culprit in Alzheimer's Disease

Neurology and Neurosurgery Ranked as One of Best in Nation

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Chair of Neurology, Robert Holloway, Jr., M.D., M.P.H. and Chair of Neurosurgery, Webster H. Pilcher, M.D., Ph.D.

Chair of Neurology, Robert Holloway, Jr., M.D., M.P.H. and Chair of Neurosurgery, Webster H. Pilcher, M.D., Ph.D.

When US News & World Report’s 2014 Best Hospitals guidebook hits newsstands today, a record number of six University of Rochester Medical Center specialties will be ranked among the very best in the nation. That’s the highest number of URMC programs ever to earn a seat in the magazine’s list of the nation’s top 50 in a single year, since US News began ranking hospitals in 1989.

The URMC adult specialties nationally ranked included Neurology and Neurosurgery as the 29th best. URMC’s success in the U.S. News rankings reflects the hard work that our faculty and staff have invested to continuously improve quality, patient safety and satisfaction. It also reflects URMC’s growing reputation for first-rate care, said URMC CEO Bradford C. Berk, M.D., Ph.D.

Read More: Neurology and Neurosurgery Ranked as One of Best in Nation

3 Events Offer Hope for People with Brain Tumors

Thursday, April 16, 2009

photo of brain tumor

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.

Read More: 3 Events Offer Hope for People with Brain Tumors

Rochester Scientist Wins Major Award for Alzheimer’s Research

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

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.

Abnormal EKG Can Predict Death in Stroke Patients

Friday, March 20, 2009

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.

Read More: Abnormal EKG Can Predict Death in Stroke Patients

Weighing the Options after Life-Altering Stroke

Thursday, March 12, 2009

photo of a CT scan

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.

Read More: Weighing the Options after Life-Altering Stroke

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

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

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.

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

Study of New Epilepsy Treatment Underway at URMC

Saturday, September 15, 2007

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.

Read More: Study of New Epilepsy Treatment Underway at URMC

Study of New Epilepsy Treatment Underway at URMC

Friday, September 14, 2007

photo of the Responsive Neurostimulator system

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.

Read More: Study of New Epilepsy Treatment Underway at URMC