Posts tagged ‘neurological health’

Advancing to the next level of technology

With the addition of the new Leksell Gamma Knife® Perfexion™, Penn State Hershey Medical Center welcomes the first significant advance in Gamma Knife technology in the past thirty years. Gamma Knife surgery is a well-established method used to treat selected targets in the brain. More than 50,000 patients undergo Gamma Knife surgery every year.

There are many additional benefits of the new stereotactic radiosurgery system. In particular, the new positioning system moves the entire table during the procedure, rather than just moving the patient’s head back and forth. This enables physicians to treat a greater area, including the upper cervical regions.

“With the current Gamma Knife technology, we have to be concerned about the location of multiple tumors,” says Sandra J. Brettler, M.S.N., R.N., C.C.R.N., C.N.R.N., nurse coordinator, neurosurgery. “Sometimes, we have to treat them twice, because we cannot reach all of the tumors in the same session. Now, with Perfexion, we can treat them all at once.” (more…)

August 23, 2012 at 11:00 am Leave a comment

Putting time back on our side: LionNet advances stroke care in the region

Physician using LionNet monitor to view scansThere’s a motto in stroke care: “Time is brain.” For stroke patients, hours–even minutes–can mean the difference between an excellent recovery and permanent neurological injury. According to the National Stroke Association, in the U.S., stroke is the fourth leading cause of death, killing more than 133,000 people each year, and a leading cause of serious, long-term adult disability.

At Penn State Hershey Stroke Center, patients receive new treatments and interventions that may reverse or reduce the effects of a stroke. Now, our stroke specialists are extending their knowledge out to the surrounding communities with the launch of the new Penn State Hershey telestroke program and network, called LionNet. Through LionNet, local community hospitals can access Penn State Hershey neurologists and neurosurgeons for real-time consultations using two-way audio-video technology. “The main benefit of this system is to allow an academic medical center [like Penn State Hershey] to integrate itself with community hospitals that don’t have the same level of advanced stroke care or who desire additional stroke support and guidance,” explains Raymond K. Reichwein, M.D., ’91, R ’96, co-director of Penn State Hershey Stroke Center, and director of the Neurology Stroke Program.

Often, local hospitals receiving a patient through the Emergency Department would like to access the level of knowledge or support available at Penn State Hershey to properly diagnose or treat a stroke. LionNet’s partnership model enables our partner community hospitals to treat more stroke patients and improve their overall outcomes through 24-7 access to Penn State Hershey Stroke Center physicians. Real-time consultations occur by simply activating the system where one of the Penn State Hershey specialists can get online to assess patients via a web cam. (more…)

July 25, 2012 at 7:45 am Leave a comment

Penn State researchers make strides toward early diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease

Parkinsons disease graphicThe casual observer barely notices how a person’s arms swing when walking, but to Penn State Hershey Medical Center neurologist Xuemei Huang, M.D., that natural movement can speak volumes about a person’s neurological health.

Specifically, Huang and her team of clinicians, engineers, kinesiologists, and computer scientists at Penn State have made the study of gait the focus of their research into identifying early signs of Parkinson’s disease. About 1 million Americans suffer from the tremors and movement abnormalities that Parkinson’s cause, and that number is rising as the population ages. “Over the past years, we have been focused on understanding what happens in the brain of Parkinson’s patients. If we don’t understand a disease then we don’t know how to treat, cure, or prevent it,” Huang says. “One of our projects was to try to detect Parkinson’s disease very early because we know the disease does not appear overnight; it develops over a long period of time. We have shown how we may use arm swing during walking as a potential early gauge of disease.”

Parkinson’s disease involves the death of dopamine nerve cells in the brain. Dopamine regulates dexterity, spontaneity, smoothness, and stability when a person moves. Today, the typical Parkinson’s patient does not get a diagnosis until their tremor or motor dysfunction is so obvious that the brain has already lost 60 to 80 percent of its dopamine. “One of the inspirations for our research was to be able to diagnose Parkinson’s before that 60-plus percent of dopamine is lost,” Huang says.

Huang’s breakthrough research into the role of gait in Parkinson’s disease began while she was at the University of North Carolina. She coauthored a scientific paper that reported that symmetry in arm swing differed significantly between people with early Parkinson’s and people who did not have the disease. She came to Penn State Hershey in 2008 to further her research.


February 10, 2012 at 9:15 am 2 comments

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