Posts tagged ‘neuroscience’

National Brain Bee creates buzz for next generation of neuroscientists

Cedar Cliff High School junior Thussentham Walter-Angelo, winner of the 2019 Central PA Regional Brain Bee, bends over a clipboard on his lap and writes answers during the 2019 USA National Brain Bee, held April 12-14 at Penn State College of Medicine. He is seated in an auditorium, surrounded by other students. He wears a plaid shirt, gray pants and glasses.

Cedar Cliff High School junior Thussentham Walter-Angelo, winner of the 2019 Central PA Regional Brain Bee, answers a question during the 2019 USA National Brain Bee.

By Carolyn Kimmel

Thussentham Walter-Angelo remembers the question from a second-grade school report: What do you want to be when you grow up? His answer then was the same as today – a neurosurgeon.

“I was always interested in neuroscience,” the Cedar Cliff High School junior said. “There’s just so much to learn and not a lot that’s known. This competition is a great way to prove yourself.”

Walter-Angelo, who won the 2019 Central PA Regional Brain Bee sponsored by the Central PA Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience, was one of 56 contestants at the 2019 USA National Brain Bee Championship April 12 to 14 at Penn State College of Medicine on the campus of Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.


April 24, 2019 at 10:00 am Leave a comment

Epilepsy Monitoring Unit celebrates 25 years

Epilepsy Monitoring Group

The Epilepsy Monitoring Unit conducts a surgical conference where team members discuss patient situations and treatment plans.

Like many mothers, Lorraine Schaeffer wanted to give her daughter every childhood opportunity possible, from play dates to participation in school and community activities.

Her epilepsy, however, stood in the way.

“I had to tell her ‘no’ so many times,” recalled the East Hanover Township resident. “It hurt me and I knew it hurt her even more. My daughter was getting ripped off in life because of my problem.”

The neurological disease had been Schaeffer’s nemesis since high school, when she experienced strange times of feeling like a “volcano” overtook her body and literally stopped her in her tracks. (more…)

March 23, 2016 at 11:18 am Leave a comment

Penn State collaboration to bring malaria power bar to children in need

There’s an awful calculus that takes place in malaria stricken regions of the world.

Due to malnutrition, children in these areas often suffer from iron deficiency anemia, which can lead to serious cognitive and motor impairments. While iron supplementation may sound like an obvious solution, there’s been a big problem with it.

Studies in mice and humans suggest that iron promotes malarial infection, likely by increasing the number of red blood cells—the target for the Plasmodium parasites that cause the disease.

More blood cells mean more infection, which means more inflammation. When the disease spreads to the brain in cerebral malaria, this inflammation causes neurological and cognitive damage in survivors.

This conundrum has left health experts at odds with each other about whether children in sub-Saharan Africa and other regions of the world where malaria is prevalent should get iron supplementation. More than 70 percent of malaria deaths occur in children under age 5. This year alone, according to the World Health Organization, the disease has killed more than 300,000 African children in this age group.


March 16, 2016 at 3:18 pm Leave a comment

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

Changing the concussion culture in the NFL

football player in pads and helmetRobert Harbaugh, M.D., ’78 has a unique vantage point as a member of an NFL subcommittee studying the long-term effects of concussions on professional football players. First, Harbaugh is a well published and highly regarded neurosurgeon who serves as director of the Penn State Institute of the Neurosciences and chair of the Department of Neurosurgery. That’s the professional part.

Second, he’s lived the experience of watching his own son play football, and has a 12-year-old transitioning from flag to tackle football. That’s the parent perspective. Third, Harbaugh himself played football in high school and college, and suffered three concussions along the way. That’s the personal piece.

All three reasons have enticed him to serve—unpaid, with no perks, no Super Bowl tickets, and no chance to mingle with football legends—as chair of this NFL subcommittee, which is part of a larger committee established by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to study head and spine injuries in football players. Harbaugh’s group is charged with developing a comprehensive database that will gather and analyze information over time to help determine what factors lead to acute and delayed neurological injuries in NFL players. (more…)

February 17, 2012 at 1:27 pm Leave a comment

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