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Columbia Med Student Wins Best Neuro-trauma Paper at National Neurosurgery Meeting


A Columbia medical student, Garrett Banks (above), mentored by Dr. E. Sander Connolly from the Cerebrovascular Center, has won Top Neurosurgery Forum poster in Neurotrauma and Critical Care for stroke research he presented at the recent meeting of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS).

Banks is a medical student (class of 2015) at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, who has been working as a Research Fellow in the Department of Neurosurgery under the direction of neurosurgeon, Dr. Sander Connolly and fifth-year neurosurgery resident, Dr. Charles Mikell. The result of his work was a paper titled, Probabilistic Tractography in Hemorrhagic Stroke Patients to Map the Default Mode Network: Clarifying Mechanisms of Unresponsiveness.

Banks and his co-authors studied the integrity of the white matter pathways in patients who suffered from a hemorrhagic stroke, or brain bleed, and compared that to levels of consciousness after their stroke. White matter is made up of the long axons of nerve cells in the brain and is largely responsible for transmitting signals from one part of the brain to another.

According to Banks, “The study was performed using a special type of MRI, called diffusion tensor imaging. We found that injury to certain white matter tracts, connecting the anterior [front] and posterior [back] areas of the brain, correlated with a decreased level of consciousness in patients.”

The paper was co-authored by Garrett P. Banks, Charles B. Mikell, Christopher G. Filippi, Andrew Kai-Hong Chan, E. Sander Connolly, Jr., and Jan Claassen.

The results of their research received a lot of interest at the Annual Meeting of the CNS where Banks gave a poster presentation at the neurosurgical forum in the section on Neurotrauma and Critical Care. Winning Top Forum Poster in this section brought even more attention and we are sure to see some interesting follow-up research in the near future.

Garrett Banks plans to apply for residency in neurological surgery and says, “I hope to work in neurosurgery academia, where I can engage in a challenging and rewarding field while simultaneously advancing the science that governs my daily practice.”

To learn more about Bank’s mentor and one of the paper’s senior authors, Dr. Sander Connolly, see his bio page here.

patient journey

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