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Winter 2016: Highlights at Columbia University’s Department of Neurosurgery

Winter 2016 Highlights from the Department of NeurosurgeryTemperatures may be low, but spirits are high here at Columbia University Medical Center/NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital.

Our winter season has so far been filled with exciting news and accomplishments. Here are some highlights you won’t want to miss.

1. NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and NYC Fire Department Team Up to Bring Stroke Care to Patients

The professionals are coming to you—on wheels. Columbia has joined with Weill Cornell Medicine and the New York City Fire Department to launch the Mobile Stroke Treatment Unit. This is the first emergency vehicle to hit East Coast streets equipped to provide medical care to someone possibly having a stroke.

Stroke is a condition in which blood flow to the brain is blocked, and every second counts in minimizing damage to the brain. “This new mobile unit will allow us to treat patients faster, more effectively and with greater accuracy while outside of the hospital,” says Dr. Sean Lavine from Columbia’s Endovascular Neurosurgery Center.

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2. Say What? NIH Awards Columbia Researchers a Grant to Study Speech Perception

Listening to someone talk may not feel like a difficult task, but it actually requires your brain to handle a lot of information—body language, tone, inflection. The way the brain coordinates and processes this information is not fully understood, but a group of researchers at Columbia, including Dr. Sameer Sheth, intend to find out.

This group received a generous grant from the National Institutes of Health to study the complex way the brain handles speech. The hope is that a better understanding can in turn help scientists and physicians better understand diseases where language is altered, such as autism and stroke.

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3. What Happens When a Neurosurgeon Needs a Neurosurgeon?

Brazilian neurosurgeon Jose Nasser found himself in an unusual position: He needed a neurosurgeon. The numbness on one side of Dr. Nasser’s face had turned out to be the warning sign of an acoustic neuroma, a rare tumor that develops near the nerve connecting the brain to the ear.

But here’s where the story gets interesting. Dr. Nasser, having completed a fellowship at Columbia, remains a colleague—and close friend—with Dr. Michael Sisti, who happens to be an expert on acoustic neuromas.

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4. SNS Honors Neurosurgeon Dr. E. Sander Connolly With Winn Prize

Dr. E. Sander Connolly’s dedication and determination as a neurosurgeon stood out to the Society of Neurological Surgeons, and he was awarded its highest scientific honor, the H. Richard Winn, M.D. Prize.

The Winn Prize is given to a neurosurgeon who demonstrates outstanding, continuous commitment to research in the neurosciences. As part of the honor, Dr. Connolly gave a lecture and spoke about his commitment to researching how the brain repairs itself after a stroke.

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5. Dr. McKhann Works to Create a Road Map for the Brain

If you want to get someplace, you look at a map. But what if that place is inside the brain? Well, you look at a map created by Dr. Guy McKhann and his colleagues. Dr. McKhann is a leader in what’s called brain mapping, the process of determining the function of each area of an individual’s brain.

Most recently, he and his team mapped an area of the brain involved with a certain type of seizure. Knowing exactly what the surrounding areas of the brain do, or brain mapping, can help Dr. McKhann and other neurosurgeons successfully treat this type of seizure with surgery.

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Learn more about the Columbia neurosurgeons mentioned in these posts at their bio pages below.

Image credit: ©[cocoparisienne]/pixabay

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