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Neuroscience (SNI) Blog

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Drug treatment and weight loss restores vision in a blinding disorder linked to obesity

As many as 100,000 Americans suffer from a disorder called pseudotumor cerebri or idiopathic intracranial hypertension that can cause permanent blindness and chronic headaches. The disease primarily strikes obese women of reproductive age with symptoms of daily headaches, visual symptoms including transient blurring or blindness, double vision, and pulsating noises in one’s head. Up to 5-10% of these patients may have permanent visual loss due to optic nerve damage.
 
A recent national trial funded by the National Institute of Health’s National Eye Institute has shown that a common water pill, acetazolamide, combined with a moderate but comprehensive dietary and lifestyle modification plan can restore and preserve vision in women with this disease. I was one of the local investigators for this trial along with Dr. Eugene May.
 
The symptoms of pseudotumor cerebri are thought to be due to high spinal fluid pressure around the optic nerves and brain due to impaired reabsorption of spinal fluid that is continuously being produced within the brain. This results in chronic headaches and swelling of the optic nerves that can lead to permanent blindness if left untreated. Patients typically are ...

New Brain Stimulator Approved to Treat Epilepsy

On November 14th, 2013 the FDA gave its approval for an implanted brain stimulator to treat patients with medically refractory epilepsy. Epilepsy is one of the most common neurological disorders affecting nearly 1 in 100 Americans. This device has been under investigation for 10 years at the Swedish Neuroscience Institute (SNI) Epilepsy Center.

As principal investigator for the trial, I led  a team including Dr. Michael Doherty, Dr. Lisa Caylor and Dr. Alan Haltiner, along with the research department at Swedish to investigate the safety and effectiveness of the device through pivotal trials. The results showed that the responsive neurostimulator system (RNS) made by NeuroPace was indeed effective in treating patients with drug resistant seizures.

Why is this so significant? This device represents the first new non-medication treatment for seizures proven to be effective since 1997, and gives new hope to patients whose lives have been put on hold due to seizures. ...

SNI Research Aims to Expand Cerebral Palsy Therapy Options

Before they learn to crawl or walk, about 10,000 babies every year in the United States will develop a condition that will change how they will do just that. Cerebral palsy (CP) is a neurological condition caused by a brain injury before birth, during delivery or before a child’s second birthday. An estimated 800,000 Americans live with CP.

The most common symptom in CP is spasticity, an increase in muscle tension that impairs proper movement. Abnormal postures or movements, weakness or loss of muscle control and rigidity are also part of the constellation of CP signs and symptoms. While physical therapy remains the cornerstone for treatment, new medications and therapies for CP are being developed to help improve and manage symptoms.

Currently, Swedish Neuroscience Institute is participating in a study to determine the safety and tolerability of one such medication. Dalfampridine (AMPYRA ®) is a medication currently used to help improve walking speed in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients. This phase I clinical trial aims to evaluate AMPYRA’s® safety, tolerability and its effect on sensorimotor function of adults with CP. The study will look at how single and multiple doses of the medication have on CP patients, including:

  • Hand strength
  • Manual dexterity
  • Walking speed
  • Gait

There is no cure for cerebral palsy. Therapies for CP ...

SNI award from NIH - 2.2M

Swedish Neuroscience Institute was awarded a 7-year, $2.2M grant by the National Institute of Neurological Disease and Stroke (NINDS) to participate in the NeuroNEXT program, a national consortium of 25 neuroscience centers of excellence that will conduct early-stage clinical trials. John W. Henson, MD, FAAN, and Daniel S. Rizzuto, PhD, will lead the effort at Swedish. Swedish Neuroscience Institute was the only non-university hospital chosen to participate, highlighting the value of Swedish’s investments in research and clinical infrastructure. For more information about NeuroNEXT click here

David Newell, M.D., co-authors cover article in Journal of Neurosurgery

David Newell, M.D., neurosurgeon and co-executive director of the Swedish Neuroscience Institute (SNI), co-authored the cover article in the September Journal of Neurosurgery on the results of a study using ultrasound for the treatment of brain hemorrhage. The study involved 33 patients with spontaneous intracerebral hemorrhage who were screened for inclusion in a SNI clinical study known as “SLEUTH” (Safety of Lysis with Ultrasound in the Treatment of Intracerebral and Intraventricular Hemorrhage). Read the abstract and full text of the article. Read background information on the study. Watch a related video on WebMD.

The Spring Issue of BrainWaves Is Now Available

The Spring 2011 edition of BrainWaves is now available online.

BrainWaves is the newsletter of the Swedish Neuroscience Institute. Published quarterly, BrainWaves provides information about neurological conditions treated at the Institute, and also profiles the programs, services, and new initiatives of the institute and its staff.

Also check out our past editions of the BrainWaves newsletter.

SNI Communication Tools

SNI is leveraging communication tools that deliver information to patients, referring physicians and the public as a crucial part of providing care at the advancing edge of neu­rological knowledge. The goals of these tools are two-fold. One goal is to update established patients and their doctors regarding the latest developments in our programs and centers. The other is to lower the barrier for patients and physicians who are facing a new neuro­logical problem to discover tertiary subspe­cialty care.

A new SNI communication tool

Dan Rizzuto, Ph.D., director of SNI research, and John Henson, M.D., recently launched the SNI blog to complement other commu­nication efforts and to provide a communication outlet for the staff of SNI. The SNI blog offers brief notes about advances in neurological care provided in SNI’s centers, as well as news items about the institute that are of interest to our patients and referring physicians.

Blog content is more dynamic than Web content. Search engines are able to detect targeted key words within each entry, which helps direct highly relevant Web traffic to the blog. This aids in the dissemination of infor­mation to patients and physicians. Viewers also can subscribe to an e-mail notification system that will alert them to newly posted material.

Other SNI communication tools

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