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The Risk of Neurosurgery - Residency Hours

It seems as though the field of neurosurgery is struggling to strike a balance between properly trained doctors with enough residency hours under their belt prior to going into practice, and the risks overworked medical students pose to their patients. Neurosurgery is full of "complex, high-risk tasks," according to this month's Journal of Neurosurgery. Residents must work long hard hours, which is thought to compromise the quality of their care. But without the training garnered by those long hard hours, neurosurgeons of tomorrow may pose a public health risk by making mistakes on their patients.

Read more on About.com.

Promising New Therapy for Treatment-Resistant Depression

Researchers at three U.S. institutions have been studying a new form of brain stimulation called cortical brain stimulation, with promising results.

"Imaging and transcranial magnetic stimulation studies have demonstrated that the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) area of the brain plays a critical role in patients with major depressive disorder (MDD)," said Emad N. Eskandar, MD, of Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School, who will be presenting the study results on May 5, 2009 at the 77th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons in San Diego. "These findings prompted research in which we used an investigational epidural cortical stimulation system to deliver targeted stimulation to the left DLPFC in 12 patients with MDD."

Read more at About.com.

Utah neurosurgeon named AANS secretary

SAN DIEGO - William T. Couldwell, MD, PhD, will be named secretary of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons for the first year of a three-year term, at the AANS Annual Meeting in San Diego, on May 4 to 6.

An active member of the AANS since 1995, Couldwell has served on the AANS Board of Directors since 2006 as a director-at-large.

He is chair of both the Development Committee and the editorial board of the association's peer-reviewed socioeconomic publication, AANS Neurosurgeon. He is also a member of the following committees: Executive, Finance, NeurosurgeryPAC Board of Directors, the Neurosurgery Research and Education Foundation Executive Council and Strategic Planning.

Read more on thespectrum.com

New imaging analysis predicts brain tumor survival

U-M researchers develop 'parametric response map' to analyze changes in a tumor’s blood flow.

Ann Arbor - As early as one week after beginning treatment for brain tumors, a new imaging analysis method was able to predict which patients would live longer, researchers from the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center have found. The method uses a standard magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, protocol to monitor changes over time in tumor blood volume within individual voxels of the image, rather than a composite view of average change within the tumor. This parametric response map allowed researchers to see specific areas in which tumor blood volume increased or decreased, that may have canceled each other out when looking at the changes as an average.

Results of the study appear in the advance online edition of Nature Medicine.

Read more - University of Michigan, Comprehensive Cancer Center

Neurosurgery meets Social Media

On March 18, 2009, Henry Ford neurosurgeons Kost Elisevich and Steven Kalkanis led a team of doctors in a surgical procedure to remove a brain tumor.

The 47-year old male patient had recently been diagnosed with a tumor in the speech area of his brain. During the surgical procedure, called an awake craniotomy, the patient was put to sleep while his brain was exposed, then awakened to answer questions while the surgical team mapped out the specific areas of his brain involved in speech. Once the mapping was complete, the the patient was put back to sleep while the surgeons removed the tumor, avoiding the sensitive areas identified during the mapping procedure.

Although awake craniotomies are not unusual these days, the thing that made this surgery unique was that the patient agreed to allow his surgical team to broadcast their progress during the surgery on Twitter, and upload video to YouTube.


Read more and see movies on Brain Tumor Action Network

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