News

New telestroke service bridges a critical gap in underserved areas, making emergent stroke treatment more accessible

Sarah Engkjer and Benjamin Miller, MD
February 19, 2018

The disparity in specialty healthcare access continues to grow between rural and urban areas in the United States, according to U of M neurologist and stroke specialist Chris Streib, MD. “I recently saw a 50-year-old woman who had a devastating stroke,” he recalled. “She was a physician in rural Alabama and had the stroke while at work in the hospital. She did not receive tPA [a clot-busting medication used to treat stroke] or get transferred to a comprehensive stroke center for an interventional procedure to remove the clot, despite these being Level 1 recommendations from the American Heart Association for stroke treatment. This was someone who was a critical player in their local healthcare community and she is now completely disabled. First and foremost, she was not given the best chance for an independent recovery and second, their community lost a tremendous resource." He believes one of the solutions to a problem like this is to connect rural hospitals to stroke experts through stroke telemedicine or “telestroke.”

Trek to the Mexican jungle ends in pituitary surgery at the University of Minnesota Medical Center

Toucans in the Mexican Jungle
January 25, 2018

Imagine this. It’s February 2016. You’re in the humid jungles near Mexico’s border with Guatemala on a self-guided birdwatching expedition. You and your partner have been on many such trips. Uncharacteristically, you begin getting headaches. You take pain medication, but the headaches always return, especially at night. Then you begin getting nauseous at night as well. Your vision doubles. Finally, your left eye starts to bulge. You realize that you’re not just dealing with the onset of headaches. But you’re in the jungle, miles from help.

U of M and Hennepin Co. Medical Center spinal cord and traumatic brain injury research being showcased during free, public event on January 31

Event Logo
January 23, 2018

The public is cordially invited to the Minnesota Spinal Cord and Traumatic Brain Injury Research Symposium, Wednesday, January 31, 2018, from 1 to 5 p.m., at HealthPartners Neuroscience Center, 295 Phalen Blvd., in St Paul, MN. The event is free; however, registration is limited. Attached parking will also be free. U of M researchers David Darrow, MD, MPH; Molly Hubbard, MD; and Ann Parr, MD, PhD; and HCMC researchers Maggie Mahan, MS; and Abdullah Bin-Zahid, MD, are being featured.

Neurosurgeon, educator and researcher treats all spine pathologies

Illustration of Spine
January 19, 2018

Kristen Jones, MD, a 2014 graduate of the U’s neurosurgery residency program, recently joined the Neurosurgery Department staff as a dual-trained spine surgeon and assistant professor. She took a unique approach to her education. Following residency, she helped develop and then completed a year-long complex spine fellowship focusing on spinal deformity, working with both the Neurosurgery Department and Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at the U.

Researcher joins Chen Lab at the U of M

Beibei Xu, PhD
January 19, 2018

Beibei Xu, PhD, is a recent addition to the brain tumor laboratory being led by Neurosurgery Department Head, Clark Chen, MD, PhD. Most recently, Beibei was a post-doctoral fellow in the laboratory of Franck Mauvais-Jarvis, MD, PhD, at the Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans, LA.

Helmet helps give toddler the “best head shape he can have”

Miles Voigt
January 10, 2018

When Miles Voigt (pictured at right) was six weeks old, his aunt pointed out to his mother that he was starting to favor laying on his left side. During his two-month wellness check, the pediatrician noticed that a flat spot on his head had developed as a result and suggested his parents meet with a physical therapist. “She thought he had torticollis*,” explained Miles’ mother, Annie. “From the time Miles was 10 weeks to about 20 weeks old, we met weekly with a physical therapist to try and strengthen his left side.”

New surgical technology enables life-long epilepsy patient to be seizure free

View of Stephen Botilla's Brain During Procedure
January 9, 2018

Stephen Bottila has always had seizures. The 46-year-old Virginia, Minn., resident had meningitis when he was 13 months old, which led to epilepsy. In addition to anti-seizure medication, he had a vagus nerve stimulator implanted in 2001 to help manage his seizures. A car accident in 2012 aggravated the condition, increasing his seizure rate to about 20 a month. In addition to the unpredictable nature of the seizures themselves, Stephen was often injured during the falls they produced. He was depressed and suicidal, conditions that are sometimes associated with epilepsy. “The medications weren’t helping,” Stephen said. “I wanted to do something about the seizures, even if it meant taking a risk. I needed another solution.”

Equipment upgrade brings new level of expertise to department’s patients

New Technologies Graphic
January 3, 2018

Patients with neurosurgical conditions such as aneurysms, strokes, arteriovenous malformations, brain tumors and trigeminal neuralgia are being better served by the U’s Neurosurgery Department these days. Why? The angiosuite used to help diagnose and treat these patients was recently upgraded. Neuroradiologist Bharathi Jagadeesan, MD, explained that a new machine, the Siemans Artis Q, was installed in the suite and it benefits both patients and the neurosurgeons and technologists using it.

New technology, minimally invasive approach gives U of M brain tumor patient a second chance

Peter Carvahlo and Rony Franca
January 2, 2018

Peter Carvalho, who is pictured at right with his mother, Rony Franca, recently helped make a bit of Minnesota history. As a result, he feels like he has a new lease on life. Under the care of a University of Minnesota Medical Center (UMMC) team led by Clark C. Chen, Lyle A. French Chair and Neurosurgery Department Head, the Hibbing, Minnesota resident was the first in the state to have brain surgery using the ClearPoint Neuro Navigation System.

UMMC neurosurgical team rises to the challenge of emergency stroke/brain tumor surgery

Kip and Cassandra Chaffee
December 20, 2017

St. Paul, Minn., resident, Cassandra Chaffee, was getting ready to go to sleep on March 31, 2015. She would be having surgery for a brain tumor the next morning and wanted to get as much sleep as she could. Her husband, Kip (both pictured at right), came in and asked her to move over a bit. Cassandra tried to comply, but couldn’t. “I didn’t have any control over my hand and was slurring my speech,” she said.

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Cover of Fall 2017 Inside Neurosurgery